Sunday, April 28, 2013

Island Beach State Park snapshot: dunes

A few weeks ago my sister, her sons, and I visited the NJ shore, horribly devastated after superstorm/hurricane Sandy.  But the Island Beach State Park, one of the few areas with natural vegetation left on the barrier islands of New Jersey, looked surprisingly unscathed. Only the human-made structures were buried, destroyed or maimed.  In the cedar forests you couldn't even tell a hurricane went through.  Here is the beach dunes, moved inland several yards, and with beach plums poking through.  Lots of sand were moved inland and the shores are no longer as wide, but still - nature seems to be able to handle nature's wrath a lot better than cities and villages.  Photos of those will show up soon here on the blog. 

Train cars: The Chevy Shot

The Chevy Shot, originally uploaded by ericwill.

We often feature train shots by our friend EW here on the blog, and here is another one.  I don't know the back story, but just look at this - the diesel locomotive running by, the old car from the 1950s, the grain silo and the funnels to release who knows what into sacks, barrels or truckbeds. It is a historical moment, just like so many other moments that pass by us without notice. A photo of America's past, but taken just a year ago. Click on the photo to see more of Eric's fantastic train photos.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stamp of the Day: Gardening

The stamp of the day is Swedish and about Gardening - and mostly serves as a reminder to me that I need to water my raised beds so my seedlings don't dry out and die out.  Here in New Jersey we have chilly nights (mostly without frost), and daytime temperatures up to 70 F (19 C) now.  Sunshine and nice!   The garden has exploded in green - in just three weeks we went from dreary brown to green, green, green with specks (or clouds) of flowers in yellow and pink.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring proof from NJ

Here are some very quick photos to show that the spring is here, finally.  In the last two weeks every plant has burst open and things grow faster than I can photograph. This is among the best times in New Jersey, before the horrible hot and humid summer.

Right now, flowering in the garden is: gooseberries (krusbär), plums (plommon), dandelions (maskros), pear tree (päron), peach tree (persika), dead nettle (rödplister), daffodils (påsklilja, pingstlilja), Scilla (scilla), crown imperial(kejsarkrona), bleeding heart (löjtnantshjärta), hairy cress (hårig bräsma), goldenbells (forsythia), birch (björk), veronica (trädgårdveronika), and common rocket (sommargyllen).

I have been busy prepping the raised beds for the sowing of carrots, onions, chard, radishes, peas, lettuce and beets, and they are all coming up now. There is plenty of space for the tomatoes and peppers, which have to wait until last frost date, May 15. I bet they might have to revise that soon, considering our increasingly warmer climate.

 spring garden in NJ, USA: pear in bud

Spring! Daffodils

spring garden in NJ, USA: growing weeds on purpose

Prepping the raised beds for this year's harvest

daffodils - it is spring!

ATC: In the middle of April

An ATC embroidery by me.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bologna, Italy in April

I went on a short journey to Bologna, Italy last week. Here are a few pictures from the city, a shop with cheese, pasta and sausages, dinner plates and plants (for LS). The Muscari is probably a wild flower.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring green

A find outside Bologna, Italy. Beautiful, like little trees. Even the most common things are worth your interest. Enjoy life!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring signs

The weather is still cold, but the last snow will be gone's raining. The flowers and the birds don't care, so spring here to stay. My kids take a last ride down the slope, without gloves. Hold on!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winter or Spring? Snapshots from Södertälje, Sweden

Winter is still holding its cold grip here in Sweden. Yesterday the channel through Södertälje was full of ice on the fresh water side of the locks.

But spring is here, even if it´s hesitating. These flowers are called vintergäck, translates as "winter mocking".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stamp of the Day and Book Review: Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

I recently reread a most amazing book that I hadn't read for probably 30 years - Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft, by Thor Heyerdahl.

It was like seeing an old friend, and realizing that the old friend was even more interesting, nicer and fun than I remembered from before.  The book is a classic of course, and describes the rather crazy trip of 6 explorers on a small balsa raft from Peru to Polynesia and their 101 days at sea.  They proved that pre-historic people could have traveled such distances before modern navigation and metal tools.

Thor Heyerdahl's prose is great, he pulls you into the story and the diary, and there were only a few times I felt 'I want to know more! Give me details!'

Kon-Tiki is both an adventure story and an academic description of fieldwork, a great combination.  The thing I remember most from when I read this book as a teenager was the description of picking up the flying fish that had landed on board during the night, and making fried flying fish for breakfast each day. Somehow that image had etched itself into my memory.

Now I have more images, of whale sharks, crashing onto the reef around the final island, and the monotony of just sea, sky, and a tiny raft...

It is now 55 years since this trip was done, and it has been memorized on many postage stamps. Here are a few from Norway and French Polynesia: