Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 21, 2014

Little Adventures

Yesterday, day 31 of summer, was one of those days weather-wise that you wish could go on forever. The sun shined, the temperature was a moderate 80°, a gentle breeze on the air.  A great day, I said to myself, to take the dogs for a walk.  I hadn’t done so in quite a while and figured the dogs would be more than happy to get out to our old path.

Out our driveway and up the street…

off we go

…around the corner and past the house with the goat…

past the goat

…plowing through the tall grass at the edge of the parking lot for the soccer fields…

plowing through

… and entering the preserved farm lands of (really and for true!) Old MacDonald.

Alton's way

We followed the path as though it hadn’t been months since we’d last been there…

the path

…and arrived at Daphne’s favorite stopping spot, the little brook…

Daphne's favorite spot

…that runs from a quiet swamp.

peek into swamp

Perhaps not too quiet: red-winged blackbirds and cicadas regularly call out from this place.

Black-eyed susans were in bloom every where I looked. The dogs must have been thinking, doesn’t she have enough pictures of those things? But they patiently waited for the sound of the shutter before moving along again.
black eyed susans

Although by the 4th or 5th time I stopped near bunches of them, Teddy was starting to push his nose into stems, sure that there must be something far more interesting that was getting all this attention.

Upon my return, my girls had an idea for another little adventure: frozen yogurt at one of the seemingly many new places that have popped up around here. Who was I to say no to a fabulous idea like this?
Fro-yo

April 6, 2014

A Wonderful Spring Weekend

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 5:28 pm
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Spring is finally sproinging around here, and it’s about time after the lousy, frigid, snowy winter we had!

Saturday brought a delicious visit to Pickity Place in Mason NH. I’ve blogged many times about this favorite lunch place of my sister, our best friend and me.
Lunch was good and tasty, but the dessert yesterday was OFF THE HOOK! Check this out:
Fabulous dessert (1)

Fabulous dessert (2)
That gorgeous thing is a vanilla flan with caramel sauce, raspberries and mandarin oranges.

Happy pansies and jonquils decorated the little cottage in the woods:
Pickity pansies

as well as the perennially sleepy Pickity Kitty:
Pickity kitty

Today brought sunshine and a high temperature around 60 degrees F! That in itself is a wonderful thing. The hike that we were rained out of last weekend was rescheduled for today. I have a friend with an interesting goal this year – to hike all 92 miles (the width of the state of Massachusetts not including the north shore and Cape Cod) of the MidState Trail. It runs from Douglas MA on the Rhode Island border to Ashburnham MA on the New Hampshire border. I said I’d like to join as often as possible, so we began our quest today! We did a little over 3 miles today, but that included looping back to the parking lot, so we still have around 90 miles to go. Next time we will strategize with parking cars and such so we can accomplish more of the route in one outing.

But for today, we enjoyed each others’ company and being out in the spring air. Our dogs enjoyed every puddle they tromped through and getting muddy!
Rhode Island-Mass border
Group portrait of Sherry, Greg and me (and Angel, Teddy and Daphne) at the Rhode Island-Massachusetts border.

Rhode Island line, Midstate Trail
The marker

78 Miles to the Ocean!
A crossing trail, running through Rhode Island. Only 78 miles to the ocean! Let’s go!

After lunch on our spring hike
One more group portrait, after our lunch break.

I’m looking forward to making my way up my home state throughout this spring, summer and fall – I hope we can find the time to complete the full trail.

Happy spring everyone! Is it finally feeling like spring where you are too?

P.S. WordPress has nicely informed me that today is my 4 year blogoversary! Still carrying on the “when I feel like it” way, 4 years later! ;-)

December 14, 2013

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 3:41 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

After being treated to a relatively warm and mild autumn here in New England, things have changed significantly here, and in much of the country it seems. Cold air, snow, ice – we seem to be getting it all, all of a sudden. It isn’t “officially” winter yet of course, but it might as well be. There have only been dustings of snow so far – though that’s due to change tonight. Electra is expected to drop 6-8 inches on this region. But it is one of those things that I can’t change, so why should I worry about it, right Robin?

Instead of worry, I bring you some of the things I’ve been up to in this cold weather of the last three weeks or so.

Before Meghan went back to college after Thanksgiving, we joined good friends of ours Greg and Sherry (brother and sister) and Sherry’s pooch Angel for a cold-weather, heart-pumping hike at Bigelow Hollow in Union CT.
walk with friends, furry and otherwise

Though the air was chilled, the company was great and the scenery was rather pretty.
cold picnic view

We hiked about 3 miles through the park on marked trails, and even had a picnic.
Daphne wanted a picnic too
Daphne for some reason believed she belonged on the picnic table. We had to convince her otherwise.

no swimming? no kidding!
With the exception of the four-legged ones, no one was really tempted!

Back at home, the dogs are quite happy that the snow season has begun.
pawprints

And the weather is definitely not too frightful for regular soaks in the hot tub.
dusting
I wish I could share the beautiful, clear, starry nights that I gaze at from the tub that these cold days have been leaving behind.

As much as I hate to admit it, November and December have been shedding some very pretty light.
winter light

There are these lights to enjoy as well:
tree '13

Here’s some more pretty sparkle:
2013 Champs ornaments
(You knew I’d have to have that ornament on my tree, right?)

I told you in this post that I was committed to making some changes in the one thing that I could change – me. How’s this post for a change? Appreciation of the cold from a self-proclaimed summer girl!

March 31, 2013

Spring’s Arrival

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it today. Easter is a day that is low key for me. We celebrated secularly, more so in the past when the girls were little and believed in the Easter Bunny. Now that they are nearly grown up, I still buy them a chocolate bunny, and I saw these donuts that I thought would amuse them, so I bought them too:
Easter donut
but that is about the extent of our Easter celebrations.
In the spirit of a lovely, long spring weekend Mama Nature has been fairly cooperative in that respect. Yesterday was a sunny day with temperatures in the 50’s so the dogs and I went out for a nice walk.
Daphne had her first “swim” in the little creek that crosses our path:
Daphne's first "swim" of the year
I only had my 75-300mm lens with me, so with the dogs on their leash, I couldn’t get far enough away to fit all of her into one shot. This shot, taken while I was trying, amuses me:
relaxing in the water
In addition to Daphne’s little swim, I had another first of the year. I heard peepers for the first time! Here’s a short video I took with my phone so that you could hear them too:

While we ambled by this small spring time swamp (it dries up come summertime), I saw a cute little couple:

 swampy ducks
I don’t know if this is their temporary home or just a stopover on their way elsewhere.

As we continued on our way, a hawk lazily soared in circles above our heads:
soaring hawk
The blue and the warmth and the peepers and the birds and Daphne’s swim: it all added up to a peaceful feeling of spring really being on the way. I may not celebrate Easter religiously, but this was my own little feeling of the rebirth of springtime.

I could easily end this post right here, but I have two other bits of news I wanted to share. First of all, Meghan has made her decision about where she will attend college in the fall: Clark University.

Clark is in Worcester, MA, a medium-sized city about 45 miles away from here. It is far enough away for her to live on campus, but close enough to come home when she would like. This decision is kick-starting the excitement of the end of senior year and planning for the future. Plenty more about all that in the days to come!

The other little bit I have for you is a rare “selfie”. I went to get my hair done yesterday, and at the last minute decided to have it highlighted. I decided I wanted a little change for spring, and I’m very happy with the results. I worked very hard yesterday afternoon trying to take a self-portrait of myself that I didn’t hate, and finally came up with this one that I like:
highlights3

However you spend this day, celebrating Easter or not, I hope it is warm and wonderful where you are.

February 9, 2013

Morning Views from Nemo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:23 am
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Western Massachusetts turned out to be the lucky ones this time around. It is a little after 10am on Saturday morning as I type this blog, and the power, internet and cable are still on. The snow seems to have finished and the winds are diminishing. The snow plow still has not been down my street, so I won’t be going any where any time soon (although hubby has a 4-wheel drive vehicle should we really need to get out). It is hard to tell exactly how much snow we have because of all of the drifting from the wind, but of course I have some photos to share with you to give you an idea.

Walking into the kitchen first thing this morning, this is what the dogs and I saw:
After Nemo: first look

When I first opened the slider to let them out, the dogs really weren’t sure what to do when faced with snow nearly as tall as them. Then they jumped into it and plowed their way through:
After Nemo: dogs trying to get thru the snow

After Nemo: deck

Here are some views of my deck and back yard:
After Nemo: deck/grill

After Nemo: deck/table

After Nemo: backyard

You can see in that last shot that the trees are not coated in snow. I’m thinking that must mean the snow is more of the light and fluffy type rather than the heavy and wet stuff.

In my front yard, you can’t tell where the yard ends and the street begins since the plows are yet to make their way by.
After Nemo: driveway

After Nemo: front yard

Happy to report we are all safe and cozy and warm here. I have family and friends who are still not out of Nemo’s grips just yet. Eastern Massachusetts and other parts of northeastern New England are still under assault from the storm for a good part of today, and power is out for some. I’m hoping for the best for them, and that power is restored as soon as possible.

January 21, 2013

What does winter mean to me? (and a little mystery too!)

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:14 am
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If you ask me how I feel about winter in general, “Grumpy Cat” does a good job of expressing my feelings! (You’ve all seen Grumpy Cat around the internetz by now, right?)

I generally don’t like being cold, dealing with poor driving conditions, having the wind whip across my face or feeling like my nose has frozen shut when I step outside. I am a summer girl at heart, as I have expressed many times here on the blog. So when Scott proposed this month’s assignment on winter, I felt a bit like Grumpy Cat up there.

However, having lived in Massachusetts my entire life, even I can appreciate some of the simple beauties and offerings of wintertime.

My backyard does have a tendency to look a bit like a Currier and Ives painting after a fresh snow fall:
snowy backyard

Although I’ve pictured them many times here on the blog, a blog about winter has to include my two goofball dogs loving the snow:
golden retriever loves snow!

collie face full of snow

Winter time sometimes also means an afternoon hot coffee break. Curling up on a cold afternoon with a cup fresh from the Keurig and a biscotti for dipping can be a nice way to warm up:
coffee break
(like my cute teacher-cat mug?)

I enjoy bird watching all year round, but I have a tendency to fill the feeders and watch and enjoy the birds more in the winter (especially since there are no flowers to take pictures of!):
chickadee at birdfeeder

Birdwatching on this particular day brought me the answer to a mystery I’ve been trying to solve for years now. I took this picture of this adorable little brown bird sitting in the rhododendron right outside my window:
carolina wren
and set out to identify it afterwards. It was about the size of a sparrow but didn’t look exactly like most of the sparrows around here. I went to my go-to birding site, Cornell’s All About Birds and started searching. I found what I believe to be a match, a Carolina Wren. Now here’s the mystery part. For years, my husband and I have been joking about a bird call. One day he said to me, “I wish that bird’s girlfriend would answer him! Can you hear him calling ‘JudyJudyJudy’?” Then the call seemed to change slightly and I said, “Hey, I think she’s finally answering – it sounds like she’s saying ‘JimmyJimmyJimmy’!” And hence began the saga of Jimmy and Judy. One of us would often say “I think Jimmy and Judy are having a fight!” or “I wonder where Jimmy and Judy are today?”

Throughout all this bird-calling, I was never able to identify Jimmy or Judy. I’d see a little flit of a brown bird pass through the yard, but could never quite make out exactly what the bird looked like. Now the Cornell website includes typical bird calls for help in bird identification. While identifying the Carolina Wren the other day, I clicked on the bird call and guess what? “JudyJudyJudy,JimmyJimmyJimmy” played out from my computer speakers! Mystery solved!

Thanks again for the photo assignment Scott!

January 6, 2013

New Year’s Walk

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 5:55 pm
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Hi there everyone! We are nearly a week into the new year and this is my first blog post of 2013!  2013 – a year I’ve looked to since my first baby was born as so very far away and now it is here.  The year my first child graduates from high school.  I’m excited and nervous and happy and sad all at once.  But we’ve got months to go until that happens so I’ll contain myself for now.  You’ll be sure to hear more from me about that as June rolls closer with all the events that go along with it arrive.

My first photos of 2013 were of a snow-covered walk in the woods, and I’d like to share them with you.  I’ve published pictures from this walk that the dogs and I take many times, but I’m pretty sure these are the first completely covered by snow.  It was a heart-pumping, feel-good-about-myself kind of walk.

The meadow that I walk into in the summer time that is usually filled with helicopter-like dragonflies, was shiny and sparkly in the snow.
Winter meadow

The brook where hot-and-tired Daphne likes to rest in the summer was partially frozen over.
Winter creek

Our “tunnel” path had a different look with a snowy bottom.
Snow covered path

There were no bluebirds to be found in this section of the walk this time around.
snow covered path 2

The new year began with a beautiful blue sky. If there were leaves on the trees, you could almost look into it and believe summer wasn’t too far away.
Blue winter sky

Near the end of our walk, nearly back to the house, I noticed these peeling birch trees. Funny, I’m 43 years old and I’ve lived in suburbia with birch trees my entire life, but I don’t remember ever seeing them peel like this.
peeling birch trees

Near the end of New Year’s Day, I took a picture of my dinner for that dinner blog-along I suggested in this post, and guess what? That’s the last time I remembered to take a dinner picture! The rest of the week was back to school and back to the routine and taking pictures of dinner disappeared from my mind! I’m going to try to make myself remember this week so that I’ll have at least 7 dinner pictures to share with you.

I hope 2013 is treating you well so far. I have a couple ideas for photo projects that I may or may not get to this year, but will definitely share with you if I do. Looking forward to another year of sharing photos and adventures with you.

December 30, 2012

Well that was unexpected!

At least it was unexpected by me.  For reasons unfathomed by hubby or myself, we set out to visit friends living about an hour away in a very “country” section of Connecticut yesterday afternoon – without checking the weather forecast!  On Friday I had noted that Saturday’s forecast was calling for an inch or two of snow.  Eh! I thought, what’s an inch of snow?

Our arrival in Woodstock CT was greeted with a very slippery driveway – a covering of snow over some previously frozen ice.  All the husbands from my group of friends, plus daughter’s boyfriend, worked at getting my little red Ford unstuck from the bottom of the driveway.  With several of these helpful souls pushing and my driving and trying to steer up the upward curving driveway, we arrived at the top with several fewer layers of rubber on my tires.

After that eventful start to our get-together, we settled inside for drinks, food, conversation and laughter with dear friends.  Outside, the snow continued to pile up.  We noticed snow plows passing by several times on the country dirt road.  My husband’s concern for our travel home deepened as the night went on.

By the end of the evening, when everyone was wishing to head out for home, the driveway had pretty much been blocked off with a snowbank from the passing plows.  Husbands again went to work clearing the way.  My hubby lamented several times about our lack of checking the weather foreccast.  If we had realized what we were in for, we most certainly would have chosen his 4-wheel drive Chevy Suburban to travel in.  Usually my car is our travel-vehicle of choice due to its better gas mileage and smaller number on the odometer.

What followed was a white-knuckled, foot-shaking, stiff-necked, 20 mph ride home.  Living in New England, of course I’ve driven in snow before, but I found something about last night’s ride scary.  The roads in Connecticut were snowy and slippery and not well lit.  I was the responsible driver for my family and daughter’s boyfriend. I was the protector, at the time, of three young lives in my backseat.  Several times I wanted to pull over and ask hubby to drive, but we were afraid of losing momentum and ending up stuck in the snow with those tires now missing a bit more tread than they had arrived on if we dared to stop the car.  So onward, slow and steady, we made the trek home.

In the morning, I had a look around.

what I woke up to this morning

This was definitely more than an inch or two!

Although it wasn’t fun for driving, the dogs certainly found it fun for playing!

Chase time
Teddy and his stick
Dog tug-of-war 2
Dogs consider stick
Golden retriever snow portrait
Collie snow portrait

All is well that ends well, right?

Announcement:  Today is the beginning of a new week and at midnight tomorrow into Tuesday we ring in a new year.  How about we go for that dinner photography blog-along I mentioned a little while ago?  Take pictures of your dinner for about a week any time between now and January 13th – that’s two weeks from today, then post the pictures, along with a description, in a blog post.  Leave me a link in the comments in this post, and I will write a wrap up to send everyone around to maybe get some new ideas for dinner.  As I stated before, it matters not to me if your dinners are fancy or plain, homemade or pre-made, take-out or eat-in, vegetarian or carnivorous.  Like to use recipes?  Post a link if you like!  Prefer to do “a little of this, and a little of that”?  That’s okay too!  Just show me your food!  Due dates are loosey-goosey! ;-)

December 27, 2012

Dogs, a little snow and a Fire!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Some of you may remember that I am not a huge fan of winter, but that even I was wishing for a touch of snow to make things look pretty outside.  The winter storm that just finished piling on the mid-west and made its way here to the northeast last night dropped a few inches here.  Then it rained heavily this morning and washed a lot of it away and left piles of slush.  I’m looking out the window right now at what appears to be what the weatherfolk refer to as a “wintery mix”.  Just messy, not pretty unfortunately.

Christmas morning snow

Christmas morning also brought a touch of the white.  It wasn’t enough to cover the lawn, but the dogs enjoyed it.
Daphne love snow

dogs play in the snow

We had a peaceful Christmas morning.

Christmas morning tree

stuffed stockings

the girls with gifts

Christmas collie

Oh, and you must be wondering about that fire in the title! No, it wasn’t that kind of fire, it was this kind:
New Kindle Fire!
Dear hubby surprised me with a Kindle Fire for Christmas. We had decided we were buying them for the girls for Christmas – imagine my surprise with being presented with one myself!

Later in the day we welcomed family for dinner, gift-giving
The stuff of Christmas

and desserts galore.
Desserts Galore

The new dishwasher hummed quietly throughout the day!  Tell me about your day in the comments if you like!

June 24, 2012

It had been far too long since…

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

…the poochachos and I went for a walk.  With the busy-ness, issues and recent heat, Teddy and Daphne had been just a wee bit neglected by their mama in the walk department.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a nice sized yard for them to romp around, but for them, nothing matches the excitement of a walk on the leashes, outside of their little backyard world.

I swear Teddy figures out what is going on from the moment I make the decision to go for the walk.  This past Saturday morning, as I sat on the edge of my bed putting my sneakers on, Teddy began to whine his happy whine.  I hadn’t touched the leashes or the “special orange bags” but I swear he knew what was happening.

It’d been so long since we took a walk along the powerlines into the woods, I was unprepared for the changes that had taken place in our absence.  The path that we take to the fireroad along the powerline was all grown in:
overgrown path #1
We had to hike through some tall grasses and thorny vines to get where we were headed. My legs are a bit scratched up.

Apparently a lightening strike had taken place:
lightening strike?

I was happily surprised by the wildflowers everywhere I looked:
wild daisies

wild susan

Wildflower meadow

Even a little daylily appeared on the edge of our path!
wild lily

I even took a video with my phone because I wanted to share the sounds with you as I followed the fire-road for a bit, but my phone is unfortunately being a bit persnickity about sharing that video.  I tried emailing it to myself – froze my phone in the process – and tried uploading directly to YouTube from my phone – video no where to be found on YouTube.  If I get it to work anytime soon, I’ll add it to this post.

There was a little downside to this walk too.  When I got to one of my favorite sections of the pathovergrown path #2

when normally the only sounds I can hear are the red-winged blackbirds and peepers and on warm days like this one was, the cicadas, the dogs and I were assaulted by deer flies!  I put on my bug repellent before heading out for the walk, but these buggers didn’t care.  I hurried through the normally very quiet and peaceful section of the walk swatting all the way.

Daphne always looks forward to the creek crossing near the end of the walk so that she can do this:Hot n tired golden retriever

but I couldn’t let her linger as long as she would’ve liked due to those nasty flies!  Does anyone know, would a stronger deet percentage repellent help?  I was using fairly gentle “Skintastic.”

I certainly won’t let a few obstacles prevent the dogs and I from enjoying more walks this summer, but I will definitely be looking for a way to be more bug free the next time!

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