Posts Tagged ‘Columbus Day’

I’m not thrilled with change in some areas while others like experimenting with new recipes and foods excites me.  BUT I’m not real happy about the change I have observed in the life and travels of the American Robin.  Known to me growing up as Robin Redbreast, I, like thousands of other New Englanders anxiously and eagerly awaited the first sighting of a Robin in the waning months of Winter and those of an early Spring. In fact, as I’ve written in this blog previously, spotting a Robin was certainly the sign that Spring was here!

Sometimes you might spot one standing between small patches of leftover snow in the yard while it pecked into the semi-frozen ground.  It’s really hared to describe the euphoric feeling one felt when seeing that large bird with the plump reddish breast in your yard or along the side of the road.  Some winters in New England could be very long and very gray.

“All my life’s a circle” sang Harry Chapin and of course, he wasn’t wrong.  All of life is part circle and part cycle.  When you live in area where the seasons are clearly defined, the impending signs of those seasons take on a special meaning. Like noticing all of sudden that the sun is lower in the sky and some of your neighbors have put corn stalks and gourds around their lamp posts – Fall is here and Halloween on its way.  And all the fruit and vegetable stands and grocery stores have large displays of gourds and the local supermarket ads are advertising the price per pound of turkey.  You come to rely upon those signs, you are used to them, they are part of the cycles of your year, your life.

Of course if you live in an urban area as I do now, there are also signs of the season to come. Department stores and shops display fall clothing before Labor Day, Christmas ornaments the day after Halloween and winter clothing by Columbus Day and Spring clothes while the temperature is still below freezing.  The problem with these harbingers  is that they are always so early, you begin to wonder if you’re living on a different planet than the stores that are displaying them.  It’s unnatural and a product of man-made capitalism.

That’s why I am unsettled by the appearance of  Robins in January and February.  I believe their presence is more a result of man rather than nature.  I know from articles I’ve read, that people have stated they see Robins all year long;  I just never have until the last couple of years. Is it climate change? Or is it because I now live in a Mid-Atlantic state and it’s warmer all year long than in New England?  The climate clearly has changed since I was a kid growing up in Connecticut;  Winters were full of snow and days of sledding and snow ball fights. Spring arrived with warm, not hot weather and windy days afforded lots of kite flying.  Summer was sultry but not so humid that you never wanted to leave an air-conditioned house and by the way, who had an air-conditioned house in the 50’s?

Robins are beautiful birds so I guess I should’t complain or question why they are here now.  Murray has taken quite a few photos of these lovely feathered creatures and I want to share them with you.

Robin on Winter Branches

Robin on Winter Branches

Robin Red Breast

Robin Red Breast

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If you are a follower of this blog, then you know we spend time on the Jersey Shore  and I have a category known as Art is Where You Find It.  Art is everywhere IF you have the eye to seek it out, the time to look for it and it helps if you have the ability to capture the sight on film or in this case, digitally.  Murray spent some of Columbus Day weekend with us and he disappeared for hours at at time, camera in hand.  Oh yes, and it really helps if you have an artistic eye for form, color and perspective.

This is the art that surrounds us;  It’s not hanging in a gallery in SoHo, we don’t have   the name of the artist but we do have the ART!

Sand Castle


Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey Shore, sunset at sea

Sunset at Sea-The Golden Hour

Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey shore, sea gull

Sea Gull and Street Lamp

jersey shore, ocean grove, asbury park

Boogie Board Art

art deco, Asbury Park, casino

Art Deco Craftsmanship-Casino Asbury Park

driftwood, solitary man

Solitary Man

Ocean Grove, Jersey shore, Canadian geese

Following the Leader

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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It all started this summer….quite often I would find Nicky leaning into a window, staring intensely.   He was looking at a cat, an intruder in his mind!  Sometimes there would be two;  A black female and a gray and white male who was NOT neutered.  There would be yowling and howling and Nicky would run from window to window to keep track of their whereabouts.  I would dash out and shoo them away, sometimes even throwing water on them!  I know that sounds terrible especially coming from an animal-lover BUT my own cats are my first concern and Nicky always got visibly upset over this invasion.

Fast forward to mid-September – the gray and white cat has disappeared but the black cat keeps coming back.  She would come up on the porch and look in through the screen doors or she would be on the back steps earnestly looking at the door, perhaps to see if it would open and let her in.

Please Ma’am may I come in!

She showed up one day when Peter was out in the yard and of course he petted her.  And she kept coming back….  It wasn’t long before it was apparent she was spending most of her days and nights on our porch so of course we started giving her small amounts of food.  However as a week went by and we knew we would be heading back to NYC, we got concerned as to who would feed her?   Would she have to resort to scavenging and/or hunting for mice or worse, birds?  

We had already started asking everybody we knew if they wanted a cat.  I begged our neighbor (who loves cats) to take as she had been visiting their doorstep also.  He wanted her but alas, his wife did not and besides they often took care of their son’s dog.  What to do?  We called all the rescue groups we could  find and it was always the same story;  There are so many abandoned and stray cats in the county that the rescue groups are overwhelmed and the shelters are full.   We gave our neighbor some food and asked him to feed her while we were gone.

Another week went by, we posted a plea on the town blog, put up Free Adoption posters in a couple of places and the temperature was starting to drop.  Finally a rescue group agreed to take her and find a foster home for her.  Peter delivered her to them, the next day she was taken to a Vet who confirmed she was spayed, no microchip, healthy and he updated all vaccinations and said “This cat is well-fed and healthy, she must belong to someone, you can’t give her away”  AND SO THEY DROPPED HER OFF AGAIN AT OUR HOUSE!  When we returned from NYC a day later, Peter thought he was seeing things when this little black cat came up to him and rubbed herself against his legs. OMG!

NOW the push to find a home for her was getting desperate!  And I was getting obsessive!  I couldn’t stand the fact that she spent night after lonely night sleeping on a chair on our porch.  It was getting colder each night. 

Our friend Murray came to visit over Columbus Day weekend and the little sweet cat captured his heart BUT he proclaimed he just didn’t want a cat at this point.  He sent photos of her to our mutual friend, Rosemarie,  a true lover of all wildlife AND…she said she would take Annie (I named this little orphan on the day of Finley’s Orphan Annie birthday party).  Rosemarie has never owned a cat but she was willing and eager to take on her new charge and planned on naming her Belle.  AHhhhh a sigh of relief, gratitude and happiness.  Belle was going to have a new home! 

We kept Annie/Belle with us in the house for the next two days hoping that we would see signs of a past domestic life return to this cat who seemingly had been living outside (but we weren’t entirely sure about that) albeit she does weigh 13 lb. and always wanted to come in the house.  That night she sat on my lap and then when we went to bed, up the stairs came the cat and plopped herself in the middle of the bed where she stayed all night much to the dismay of Nicky and Nora.

This fairy tale came true and has a very happy ending.  We delivered Belle to her new home yesterday.  She spent the afternoon exploring her new digs and ate dinner out of her new dish and lapped up lots of water.   A picture is worth a 1000 words so the following should tell the whole story!

stray cat, black cat, rescue cat

Belle Is Beautiful

new mommy, Belle Bria

Me and My Mommy

terrace, Belle, black panther

Just Looking…,

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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It’s a sunny Sunday in October, one of those peculiar days in that time of the year when it’s warmer outside than it is in the house.  I feel like I have to open the windows to let some warm air in.  The angle of the sun is just so warming, I wish I was sitting in the back yard instead of the cold living room.  Peter is replacing some of the screens in the doors with storm glass and that for sure is a sign summer is over!

1. The Morning Glories are getting really scraggly and dying, and pots of purple, rusty red, orange and yellow mums are omnipresent on porches all over town.

2. We made our seasonal pilgrimage to Delicious Orchards, loading up on apples and cider donuts.  If this were summer, we’d be at Matt’s buying corn and tomatoes.

3. Hard as it might be to believe, I have packed away my flip-flops and even my Tevas, not sure how my feet are going to react to real shoes.

4.  Somewhere between Labor Day and Columbus Day, the urge to take the crock pot out overcomes me and I begin to think about Hearty Beef Minestrone, Chilli, and One Pot Chicken.  Slow cooked meals are a hallmark of Autumn.

5. The air conditioner units are out of the windows and put into storage, the door-draft snakes are out of storage and the lawn furniture is cleaned and ready to store for the winter.

Mum's the Word!

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