Weekly Photo Challenge: Fruit

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa has selected “fruit” as her travel theme. Allrighty then. I’m in.

Some interpretations of fruit may be a little bit loose. But what the hey, we have fun.

First up: my kitchen! I was making a lemon-caper vinaigrette to have with our dinner salad one night. As the Lord sayeth, verily, it was good.

Dee-lish!

Dee-lish!

Next up: on a chilly morning wandering the grounds of the Essex Resort in Vermont, I stumbled upon a planting of frosty ground cherries.

And then I ate one.

And then I ate one.

I like grapes. I like how they prepare them at the Ravines Wine Cellar at Keuka Lake (bonus: they do wine and chocolate pairing tastings…hell yes!). Imma leave this right here.

Super-yummy. I love a good tasting room.

Super-yummy. I love a good tasting room. Did I mention they do chocolate pairings? 🙂

Close to my home: I spotted this dwarf pomegranate blooming along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail one fine late-summer day.

I really need to take another bike ride down the Rail Trail soon.

I really need to take another bike ride down the Rail Trail soon.

And finally. One night while visiting my mother, la momma asked me if I wanted anything fruity after dinner. Sure, I replied. What have you got?

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Health, darlings. Health.

Mmmm hmmm. Apple pie, strawberry ice cream. I’m not sure if she and I define “fruit” the same way. Nevertheless, it was very good indeed.

Enjoy the rest of the fruity offerings on Ailsa’s photo challenge! See you ’round the interwebs.

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Photo Challenge: Monochrome

This week, the good people of WordPress issued a “monochrome” photo challenge. OK. I’m in.

Here’s the cream-on-cream sleeve of a wedding dress decorated entirely in sea shells. Not that that would be too heavy to move in or impossible to sit in. You can feast your eyes on this baby at the Peabody Museum in Salem, MA, when you’re in that town and need a break from the witch business.

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Here comes the sorely weighted down bride…dum dum da dummmm…

Next, we have the gentle golden glow of lights in a grape-cluster chandelier. I want one of these in my house soooo bad. See them for yourself at Dr. Frank’s winery in Keuka Lake. (And plus, there’s wine!)

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Tres glamorous!

In the right light, battleships look more blue than grey. Welcome to the USS North Carolina, docked in Wilmington, NC. And by “right light”, I mean, against a blue-blue sky.

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You got something to say?

The Buffalo Valley Rail Trail boasts all manner of flora, which crumbles into funky shapes of brown and grey when the seasons change. Behold a desiccated milkweed pod.

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Monarch butterflies love these things.

And today, right outside my front door, I noticed a funky little leaf curling in upon itself, tucked in among the rhododendron bush.

Fractaltastic! (Science joke. If you don't get it...you won't get it.)

Fractaltastic! (Science joke. If you don’t get it…you won’t get it.)

There’s my monochromatic photos. I hope you enjoyed, and maybe even decide to play along (if you haven’t already, of course). Thanks for dropping by!

See the rest of the monochrome photos on the WordPress Daily Post page.

Travel Theme: Slow

Ailsa has echoed the words I’ve heard over and over this past week: Can you believe it’s already December? Oh my stars, how the time has flown!

And you know, it’s true. I kind of can’t believe it myself. I mean…I have cookies to make! Presents to buy! A holiday visiting schedule to plan! And a birthday to have! What the hell? Is it really December?

Consequently, Ailsa’s travel theme this week is: slow. Ooh, nice. So get on over to Where’s My Backpack?, put your feet up, and relax.

Milton State Park is just up the road from my house. While it’s got its fair share of natural beauty, there are those odd bits of random debris that either get dumped or make their way up from the river, and are strangely beautiful in their own, slowly deteriorating way.

Time is having its way with this old tank.

Time is having its way with this old tank.

It’s been two years since Hurricane Sandy tore its way through the Jersey shore, and parts of the town of Seaside Heights have been slow to rebuild. Not that it’s the town’s fault, mind you. It’s just that there was an insane amount (technically referred to as a “staggering shit-ton”) of repair work that needed to be done, all along the NJ/NY/DE coasts.

Some day...

Not cool, Sandy. Not. Cool.

Closer to home, and with happier implications, on a lazy summer day I took a bike ride along our fine rail trail. The air was thick and heavy, and you had to push through it to go forward. Insects let out a slow buzz around my head and the bold, bright sun pushed every living thing back into the comfort of shade. Even the cows couldn’t be bothered.

Central PA was burdened by summer this day.

Cow stays under the tree branch, because being out in the sun = a whole lot of nope.

While visiting my boyfriend’s family, we took a side trip to The Meadowlands Museum for a slice of Rutherford history. It was very well done, with thoughtful exhibits that highlighted topics of industrial, ecological and cultural importance to the area. In the basement, though, they had tables filled with items that didn’t quite belong anywhere yet, and were in the process of being catalogued. Like this device, which is perhaps the slowest way I can imagine to crank out fresh-squeezed citrus juices (though I’d bet it would extract every single drop).

Crank that orange like it ain't no thing.

Crank that orange like it ain’t no thing.

And finally…

Check out the slow, steady flow of the beautiful Susquehanna River. I get to feast my eyes on this every day.

Home.

Home.

So remember, folks, to take a few minutes and breathe every now and again. Maybe we can’t slow down time, but we can manage our reaction to it. And check out the other folks participating in Ailsa’s travel challenge! Maybe you’ll find something in there that will inspire your own entry… 🙂

Scenes from the Rail Trail: October 12, 2014

Oh, it was a glorious day for a bike ride!

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Hey there, pokey fuzzy thingie.

I suited up and hit the rail trail a few days ago. It’s turning to fall now, and that means…well, of course it means that the leaves on the trees are turning spectacular shades of gold and red and orange. But it also means other plants are changing. Drying up, or exploding into fuzzies. Pulling out one last gasp of color. And in the meanwhile, all these plants are busy adding a deep, rich sense of texture to the trail. Call it nature’s Halloween decor, if you will.

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It’s a chuckle patch! (Magic Garden fans, you know what I’m talking about.)

Whether the colors are vibrant or subdued, they’re all a visual treat.

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Old Rattlebones the Milkweed Pod, that’s what this is.

It can look surprisingly like an oil painting.

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Pokeberries at the end of the season.

And there’s berries far out into the sky and the leafless trees. Kind of like looking at the Hubble Deep Field images. Only different.

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Billions and billions of berries… ~~Apologies to Carl Sagan~~

I never noticed how well black walnut pods match their nubbly leaves, but there you have it.

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Nature gets all matchy-match.

And then there’s a poof!

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I believe they call this the Santa plant. (Like I would know.)

And a pow!

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Like fireworks.

And a…uh…

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Admit it, these kind of look like Animal from Sesame Street.

The trees were in a full-spectrum onslaught of pretty.

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Turning, not one, not two, but THREE fall colors for your enjoyment!

And there were a few spokey-looking…I have no idea what these things are. But I sure do dig their style.

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For all I know they just released spores of alien dust and we are now all doomed. But they look cool, innit?

Even your basic, standard-issue corn is getting into the groovy-texture act (with a little help from a neighboring plant).

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Clearly, corn knows how to accessorize.

And a vast army of wilting sunflowers still manages to look stunning (though perhaps slightly dejected) in the afternoon sun.

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Sunflower post-mortem.

The thing is, pretty much no matter where you look on the rail trail you’ll see something that will catch your eye. It’s not hard to find something of interest, when you’re surrounded by this.

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Hello.

If you want to find out some more information about the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, you can visit them on the web here, find them on Facebook, or Twitter away. The BVRT is owned and operated by the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority and may be contacted via email bvrailtrail@bvrec.org or telephone 570-524-4774.

And to play you out, here’s local singer/songwriter KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner‘s ode to the BVRT, appropriately titled:

“Meet Me On The Rail Trail”.

See you there!

Scenes from the Rail Trail: August 5, 2014

The weather in Lewisburg has been sublime the last few days. Cool. Not terribly humid. It’s been that beautiful sort of “makes you want to go outside and do something hearty and robust” weather, even if you’ve been working your tail off trying to get ready to teach your first Zumba class while brushing up on Silver Sneakers routines, and you really should take opportunities to sit or drive or relax because you’ve literally been dancing for three or four hours a day.

For the record? It takes a staggering shit-ton of work to get ready to teach a class at a gym, especially early on when all the routines are brand new. Never mind prepping for two different ones. Moving on.

One of these recent glorious mornings–Tuesday, if all y’all must know–I hit the ol’ Buffalo Valley Rail Trail and pedaled my way off to work for the best commute ever. It’s summer, so mostly everything is lush and green.

Everrrrrrything.

Everrrrrrything.

Far as they eye can see. This. Green green green. Fecund is, actually, the word that leaps to mind, and I’m fairly certain that that word has never readily leapt to my mind until now.

Do I sound jaded? Like, “oh, lorrrrrrrrrd, everything was all verdant and…yawn…greeeeeeen…“. If that’s the case, I apologize, because it’s pretty fantastic to ride through. I felt like I was in The Shire, or something. (LOTR nerds: represent!). While a prolonged tunnel of greenness doesn’t necessarily make for the most dramatic pictures, I did manage to click one or two… 🙂

Like this one, of a morning glory, complete with some kind of bug having its way with the flower.

Hey bug, what'cha doing in there?

Hey bug, what’cha doing in there?

Or this, with the tops of the corn against the bright blue sky. Power lines stretching overhead gave a bit of an interesting perspective.

Sometimes, you just need to look...up.

Sometimes, you just need to look…up.

And, city folks, have you ever really looked at the roots of a corn stalk? No wonder they’re so easy to make horror movies about.

These are digging straight in to the bones of the Earth, it seems.

They’re like fingers, man, digging straight in.

I came upon this fuzzy thingie sticking out into the trail and really liked how it caught the light.

Remember making fake moustaches with these things?

Remember making fake moustaches with these things? You must pay the rent!

A tangle of pokeberry bushes… Wait, what? ***A*** tangle? These things are everywhere. The berries are inedible, and more than inedible, they’re poisony. The mature berries make great ink. Legend (i.e., Wikipedia) has it that the Declaration of Independence was written in pokeberry ink; the National Archives puts the kibosh on that tall tale (it was iron gall ink, which was apparently the ink of choice for centuries). But the bushes sure are pretty.

Poke. Poke poke poke.

Poke. Poke poke poke.

The pokeberry bushes intertwined with the delicately-flowered orange touch-me-not. I’ll have to go back and look to see if there’s a mature fruit capsule hanging there, because they apparently burst on contact, hence the name.

Kaboom.

Kaboom.

Then I found the leaf where bugs were making with the love. Avert the children’s eyes.

Bow chicka wow wow.

Bow chicka wow wow.

And remember, fecund? 

This is what that word means.

This is what that word means.

And finally…

A little bit of everything. Some sun, some sky, some green, a barn, a cow, and some early-turning leaves already sporting their fall color. Despite it being the height of summer, autumn is just around the corner.

Welcome to central PA.

Welcome to central PA, a little Nirvana on the Susquehanna.

See you on the Rail Trail!

Scenes from the Rail Trail: July 16, 2014

It was a glorious day in central PA yesterday; there was no real summer heat (high of 79? WHAT?) and the humidity was present, but bearable thanks to the lower temperature. When I woke up yesterday morning my first thought was, I am SO riding my bike to work today.

Even before I longed for coffee, that’s what I thought, so you know it was important.

Before too long I packed up my lunch and my change of clothes (because who wants to work in sweaty bike clothes?) and pedaled myself off to the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail and onward to work. It looked a little something like this.

I call this one "The Commute". Yes, that is a coffee cup at the handlebars.

I call this one “The Commute”. Yes, that is a coffee cup at the handlebars.

The rail trail is currently in high-summer foliage, so most of it is full-on lush greenness.

Sure, I'll get to work. Soon as I make my way through this time portal.

Sure, I’ll get to work. Soon as I make my way through this time portal.

And the birds were keeping it kind of low-key.  I heard the birds a-plenty, but didn’t see them. I did, however, get a visit from an inquisitive groundhog.

Which is my good side, he seemed to say. Sadly, I thought...it's neither. Because they're really not cute. But thanks for playing, Mr. Groundhog!

Which is my good side?–he seemed to say. Sadly, I thought…it’s neither. Because they’re really not cute creatures. But thanks for dropping by, Mr. Groundhog!

I saw some funky orange fungus doing its thing on a decomposing tree along the trail side. I believe this is Pycnoporous cinnabarinus.

Eventually, this fallen tree won't stand a chance.

Eventually down the road as rot happens, this fallen tree won’t stand a chance against a mighty tree fungus.

A few things: 1) Don’t eat it. 2) I’m happy to learn if I’m wrong. 3) Say “Pycnoporus cinnabarinus” three times, fast.

It's even coming out the top.

It’s even coming out the top.

Bet you can’t.

Anyway.

There were delicate little wildflowers all over the place.

Is this some kind of clover? I have no idea.

Is this some kind of clover? I have no idea.

Some flowers in the process of pollination.

Or a little somethin' somethin'.

Or a little somethin’ somethin’.

Some wild raspberries.

Delish!

Delish!

And a farm that’s been plucked straight out of a movie set.

Seriously? Are you frigging kidding me?

Seriously? Are you frigging kidding me?

Here’s a shot looking over one of the out-buildings of the farm. Notice the awesome sky.

I have no idea what this building is for. But it looks great.

I have no idea what this building is for. But it looks great.

And the side of part of the farmhouse. Complete with wagon wheel.

Wagon. Wheel. Can it get any more rustic?

Wagon. Wheel. Can it get any more rustic?

Location scouts, call me.

All in all, it was a surreally pretty day out on the BVRT.

Yup. Ain't no doubt about that.

Yup. Ain’t no doubt about that.

And I’m glad to say I took advantage of it.

See you on the trail!

Scenes from the Rail Trail: May 23, 2014

It’s spring! It’s spring! It’s almost summer-ish! It was a glorious weekend, one perfect for getting on the bike and heading off on the rail trail. Except for the pollen. That’s a different story.

I bring you this blog today in celebration of the official end of a long, cold winter and the return of spring and all its free-floating vegetal woe (does it matter if it’s a cold or allergies? My head still weighs a million pounds and I’m leaky). Not too much narrative today; I self-refer to “my head weighs a million pounds” and thus, today, me no like wordsing, is too hard-hard. So I will mostly shut up now; here are more scenes from the beautiful Buffalo Valley Rail Trail.

Technically, near the rail trail. But close enough for my purposes. Check out the crazy clouds and the sun star!

Technically, near the rail trail. But close enough for my purposes. Check out the crazy clouds and the sun star!

Some kind of dried something that looks cool.

Some kind of dried something that looks cool.

Pollen generator! Too bad they're cute and full of whimsy.

Pollen generator! Too bad they’re cute and full of whimsy.

ART SHOT!

OBLIGATORY ART SHOT!

Trees are just doing they thang everywhere.

Trees are just doing they thang everywhere.

Ohhh...poppies...poppies...

Ohhh…poppies…poppies…

I'm not sure if I've ever encountered a pink honeysuckle before.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever encountered a pink honeysuckle before.

Some kind of pretty little wildflower, adding its subtle prettiness to the trail.

Some kind of delicate little wildflower, adding its subtle prettiness to the trail.

Thanks, Nature, for framing this shot for me.

Thanks, Nature, for framing this shot for me.

If anyone can tell me why the tops of silos are painted sort of carnivalesque, I'm happy to learn.

If anyone can tell me why the tops of silos are painted in a sort of carnivalesque style, I’m happy to learn.

Allrighty then. Good to know.

Allrighty then. Good to know.

The birds were REALLY not cooperating with me this day. This semi-obscured woodpecker is the best bird pic I was able to get.

The birds were REALLY not cooperating with me this day. This semi-obscured woodpecker is the best bird pic I was able to get.

And finally…

We begin with clouds, we end with clouds. I stopped taking pictures after this and got myself home before the rain.

We begin with clouds, we end with clouds. I stopped taking pictures after this and got myself home before the rain.

No more posts.