Friday, July 28, 2006

My contest entries...

I spoke earlier in the week of turning in some of my vacation photos for a contest the "Skill Center" at work was having. The "Orange Moon", the "Malibu on the Floating Bridge and the "foxglove?" white flowers I posted yesterday were 3 of them.

There is a (longish) story behind the other 3.

Back in grade school, the one I used to walk to when I lived in this house (before we moved when I was in 5th grade), I read a lot. My "Friendship 7 Summer Reading Program" card from the summer of '62 has all the slots filled out (maybe 25 books, I haven't seen it for a while) with a little Mercury capsule stamped for each book I read, but the front of it is covered with dozens of stamps for the ones there was no room to write in. Someday I'll find it and scan it...

I don't know if it was that summer, or later, but in that library (and I remember it being that library) was one about Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. I don't remember much of it, but that was my first memory of Vermont.

All these years of going to Vermont I've passed things by getting there. Niagra Falls, the Air Force Museum at Dayton along with the Wright Brothers sites that are there, the Erie Canal. Two trips ago we stopped at the Bennington Museum on the way out coming home, and even Dottie was glad we had (Bill was with us that time). Last time (2004)I tried to stop at the Bennington Battlefield Monument, but missed the closing time by a few minutes. (Someday...)

That last week before we left I looked up the Old Rhinbeck Aerodrome. I had seen it when Neil Armstrong did a PBS series called "First Flights". It is a museum to the first two decades of aviation- with flyable aircraft or replicas. Though open all week, they only fly on the weekends. It's a bit south of Troy in New York State.

The weekend was already taken by an anniversary party for Ed and Jane (their 25th), so that got demoted to someday...

I also printed some short haul rail excursions that run in Vermont and their prices. Time didn't allow for them, either...

The night before we left I googled Fort Ticonderoga, thinking of Ethan Allen, and Vermont history, etc.. I found a website and printed some things including a map and the hours, etc..

Deb and Verne, Dottie's two youngest sisters, have always been wonderful about putting up with my camera and I. In 2004 it was Deb who said "when I come home this way I get a really nice view of Camel's Hump, if there's a sunset tonight it might be perfect". It was, I shared it with you all a while back. Verne took me to Lake Iroquois; you have been there as well with me.

When they found out I wanted to go to Fort Ticonderoga they worked it out so that the day before we left, the two of them, along with Verne's husband and two sons could all go as well. We loaded our Malibu and Verne's SUV on a ferry and crossed Lake Champlain, then drove about an hour south.

The fort and the battlefield park surrounding it were amazing! There are still trenches there from 1758 and what we call the French and Indian War. The memorials to the soldiers that fell in those battles have fresh flowers on them, 258 years later!

Then after you pass the memorials and plaques to these earlier battles, you come to the fort itself.

Which brings me to my other contest entries (finally...hope you're still with me).

That may be in the half dozen "best things I've ever shot"...

You enter through a wonderful gift shop/snack bar (really good food as well). There are re-enactors, there are guided history tours...the museums that are housed in the fort structure itself have some amazing things I'll share in the next few days.

That one I actually had to let them pull because I turned in 6 prints and hadn't read the fine print, I was only allowed 5. One instructor wanted to pull the Malibu on the bridge out, but since that's what we build for a living, I told him to pull the fife and drum corps instead, and kept this next one in as well.

Sometimes you get lucky...

Our weekend plans are up in the air; we're trying to keep the 3 grandkids on Saturday night so John and Noel can have a "date night" before school starts again the middle of August. So far they haven't committed, but if we don't we have lots of things we can do. I might get a chance to visit some of you over the weekend, but most likely won't be posting again until Monday (now if you got this far you can breathe a big sigh of relief. Dottie's sisters have always complained about how long it takes me to tell a story).

Lovely weekends to each of you!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

A little something...

to make up for the longer post I had planned for tonight (overtime and my first day back in the gyn are catching up with me, not to mention Photoshop wasn't cooperating as I tried to reduce these, lol).

Our first Monday in Vermont, after I photographed the car on the Brookfield Floating Bridge, we had gone back to my sister-in-laws in East Roxbury. We went up the road past her house, one I've been down many times, and I ran across these flowers...

Back down the hill and in her front yard, I found these...

4:17AM, my clock is set for 10:30...

Goodnight all!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Photo Sunday...

was going to be the St. Johnsbury Library and Atheneum, but I haven't Photoshopped those yet. I have been working on some other things, though, and it's almost 5 AM so I'm going to post them instead...

A while back I posted about a place I love and showed off some of my wife's homestate from 2 years ago. Among those was this one of our Neon and a Floating Bridge at Brookfield, Vermont.

The bridge and Brookfield are still as lovely as ever, though the bridge might be floating a tad lower this time. This one is a bit over 30 years old, as the last one got flipped by someone who decided to haul his dozer across it on a gooseneck trailer (way way overweight of what it's posted for).

The night shot I posted while I was gone was shot the same place as the day one I posted then...

In shooting a one minute time exposure to get the silver shine across the water I "burned out" the moon itself, which was gorgeous that night. I had shot several when I heard the car coming, so timed my next one to get the tailight streak all the way across and up the hill, and the headlights lit the end of the house just enough to make it show up nicely.

After that I put a telephoto on and shot the moon itself...thinking of so many of you like always...

I've been printing some things for a vacation photo contest held by the "Skill Center" at work, I'll share some later in the week.

May you all have a lovely Sunday!


Addendum: Forgot to say (though most of you know) that the white car on the bridge is the Chevrolet Malibu I build for a living...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

A beautiful buiding in it's own right, this museum is a treasure! The turret in the "L" houses a planetarium; the current show, besides the usual nightime sky is explaining volcanoes throughout the solar system and is quite amazing!

The first floor is a natural history museum, and also houses a gift shop inside the front entrance, and at the far end is a gallery that rotates exhibits. The current one is an amazing set of images shot with an 8x10 (negative size) view camera of Vermont side-hill farms.

You'll have to pardon my attempts to convey the scope and beauty of the interior of this wonderful place. These are handheld, existing light exposures at 1/8 to 1/15 of a second, wide open aperture with my digital Nikon set on 400 ASA speed.

The second floor has an overview of cultures from around the world through the ages, along with some Vermont, St. Johnsbury and Fairbanks history. It also houses the rock exhibits that used to be in the basement before the weather station was enlarged.

The basement has a small display showing the history of Fairbanks scales and their manufacture in St. Johnsbury, and houses the weather station for Vermont Public Radio and some other affiliates.

I've been here many times through the years, the first time with my mother-in-law who could remember attending dinners in the Fairbanks family homes when she was young, before the "family fortune" disappeared and they lost everything. It was always a very special place for her, and has become one to me as well.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Moving this from reply to post...

Jon-Marc; the Bennington Museum is in southern Vermont and as I drove by when I left, had signs out for a Rembrandt exhibit. I was running too late to stop, but have visited it before and seen it's wonderful collection. Art, history, a bit of everything.

If cityscape interests you, Burlington is awfully nice, especially the downtown area and waterfront. Sailing cruises, kayak or sailboat rental, a public beach, lots of cool stuff going on especially in the summer months. Shelburne is a beautiful place, and has the Shelburne Museum

To the northeast there is St. Johnsbury, a gorgeous "old city" with the Fairbanks Museum, and the St. Johnsbury Atheneum (a library and art gallery contributed by another Fairbanks decendant). (My wife is descended from the Fairbanks family, so I've been to the museum many times now; it's a beautiful building and a wonderful natural history museum, along with other collections of Vermont history. The Atheneum building is stunning in it's own right, and the paintings in the gallery have just been restored and are glorious!)

There are lots of "touristy" things to do as well, from touring Ben and Jerry's (free samples of what they're making) to riding the Alpine Slide at Stowe. I promise you that no matter where you drive in the Green Mountains, it will be one of the most beautiful places you've ever seen.

If you plan on being outside in the late afternoon, some kind of insect repellant is advisable, they've a pretty good crop of mosquitoes this year from all the rain!



Monday, July 17, 2006

Home again...

finally! I love Vermont, love being there, but my own bed has much to recommend it!

I had hoped to update more often while there, but we packed so much into the days we had that getting 5 or 6 hours sleep was hard to do; some nights it was only 4. I will give more detail in the coming days...with photos...

We ate in the car on the way home, rather than stopping, to try and make up some of the time we lost on Saturday as we "shopped" our way out of Vermont, trying to find a last few items for the grandkids and such. I drove 'til 1AM Sunday and made the "halfway" point, between Cleveland and Columbus when we stopped. Up at 8, out the door by 9, and after the time change we rolled into our driveway a few minutes after 9 last night. An offer of pizza got Bill and Laura to pick Angel up at my sisters and save us trying to pick her up before bed time or having to wait until tonight, so we unpacked and I started doing laundry.

The whole time we were there, people were complaining about the heat; it was in the upper 80's and low 90's. Right now, it's 96 and the heat index is 103; they're predicting 101 this afternoon!

I miss the Green Mountains!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Moonlight in Vermont

Monday night about 10:30 Eastern or so...



Sunday, July 09, 2006

A beautiful day...

of boating on Lake Champlain with Dottie's sister Jane and her husband. We were out about 4 hours; it was pure bliss!

Yesterday we made it in about 5AM; I had driven the whole 20 hours (I don't get to drive her Malibu very often, and loved every minute). I did finally check the mileage on the Syracuse to Albany part of the New York Thruway; it was getting 37.4. It's average since it was new is 35 according to the dash display...

After we got back we shopped for the surprise 25th anniversary party for Jane and Ed that's tomorrow; guess what chicken is on the menu, lol!

Off to bed...miss you all!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Greensville, Indiana...

12:45am EST.

We finally got away at noon; now Dottie's in the shower, and I'm waiting my turn. Not a bad day for no more sleep than we got; we are east of Indianapolis and west of Dayton, and will make the rest of the journey tomorrow on more sleep!

Malibu running wonderfully; haven't checked the milage yet, the computer says it's in the mid 30's...

Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement!

Tomorrow, VERMONT!!!



"East Bound and Down"!

Though we were further ahead than we've ever been, it was still a 4AM morning by the time we got everything and everyone dealt with last night, the last laundry done, etc.. Up at 9, Dottie's in the shower, and in about an hour we'll be heading out for Vermont.

Not sure how much time I'll have to check in or update, but know I'll be thinking of all of you...


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4, 2006

As the final countdown to our family 4th of July begins, I remember the 4th's past...

The ones at Grandma and Grandpa's house, with my Great Grandmother; my Great Aunts and Uncles; my Mom's sister and brother-in-law and my cousins; sometimes 2nd cousins...hours of food, hours of fireworks. Grandpa striking yellow "fusees" from the railroad so the sulfur smell would drive away the mosquitos; him standing holding a Roman candle in his hand and shooting the flaming balls out across the yard all the while telling us not to hold them in our hands. After his stroke, one of his big treats for the year was to sit in a lawn chair and have us bring them to him.

After Grandma and Grandpa gave up their house and moved into a retirement apartment, they came to my Mom and Dad's. We lost the cousins then, and most of the Great Aunts and Uncles were gone by then, but it was still the family 4th, with almost as many fireworks.

Grandma got sick the night of the 4th in '79; we didn't know for a few days it was the beginning of her last round with cancer.

After we lost her, then Grandpa, then my Dad, things were a bit dampened for few years. For a while it was just Dottie and I and our boys. My sister married and moved just out of town, and the family 4th gathering moved to her house the first time she asked. Her husband's Uncle Miller came to the first few, and would speak of growing up getting a "brick" of .22 shells for the 4th and being admonished to make them last all day. He spoke of re-enacting Civil War battles they'd been told of, or 1st World War ones..."they're coming through the woods" he remembered them "hollering", lol. Then he was gone as well. Cindy moved off to Lawrence, and we gathered there until they outlawed fireworks there three years ago.

Now my sons and their families, my sister and hers will gather here this evening. 20 pounds of chicken for the grill, several hundred dollars worth of fireworks we bought yesterday...somehow it will still be the family 4th, but somehow I'll be thinking of a lot of wonderful people who aren't here to celebrate as well!

Happy 4th of July to all!