Posts Tagged ‘Mother Nature’

Two days ago I saw a Robin and thought “wow, is that really a Robin in the tree”?  Uh yes it was and then today I saw another Robin out in front of our building.  I’m wondering if this is a major screw up on Mother Nature‘s part or could it be that winter is over and here is our harbinger of Spring?  Or maybe it just hasn’t been  cold enough for the Robins to realize that winter is here and they should have left a couple of months ago.  

Well it’s cold enough now!  11 degrees today and possibly going down lower tonight.   I hope those Robins still have intact nests, although this would be night to bunk in with a warm furry squirrel.

Global warming anyone????

Go South NOW!

Go South NOW!


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Every season brings us proof of a higher power, a creator more talented than ourselves.  Some of us refer to this master artist as God, some as Mother Nature and others, well I can’t really speak for those who don’t acknowledge or appreciate the fact that the beauty around us was NOT put here by us.  I, for one, marvel at the beauty God has created BUT I’m quite happy to credit Mother Nature here in my blog for the endless seasons of exquisite art.  AND OF COURSE, I have to credit Murray Head for his unbelievable artistic eye and steady lens, for if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t get a glimpse of any of these wonders of the world.   I live 5 blocks from Central Park, but I can’t tell you the last time I was there.  So thank you Murray for bringing Mother Nature’s Art Show to us all.

lotus, pink water lilly, Central Park

Pink Perfection

water lilly, Central Park

Wonderful White Water Lilly

dragon flies, water lilly

Serene Summer Scene


turtle, Central Park pond, mallard duck


All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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English: A bundle of collard greens, from an o...

A Bunch of Collard Greens

DON’T be put off by the ingredients in this super winter pasta dish.  Depending on where you are when you are reading this, winter has either been a no-show or you’re cursing that damn gopher in Pennsylvania!  I’m in NYC and we’ve had a “pass”  (so far) on a snowy, frosty, icy winter.  Thank you Mother Nature  for making amends to us for last year’s horrible onslaught of snow! So even though Daylight Savings Time is around the corner as is the official beginning of Spring, I don’t count out the infamous month of March.  It IS still winter and it is cold even if it’s  not freezing.  And that’s why a hearty pasta meal featuring classic winter vegetables is appropriate and tasty.

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 lb of short pasta such as rigatoni or penne

1 TBS olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large shallot, minced

1/3 cup white wine such as Pinot Grigio

1 bunch collard greens-ribs removed, leaves sliced crosswise

reserved roasted cauliflower**

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain pasta.

Meanwhile in a medium pot, heat oil over MEDIUM heat.  Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, till soft, about 5 minutes.  Add wine and cook till almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add collards and cook, stirring  occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Add cauliflower, lemon zest and pasta.  Cook until cauliflower and pasta are hot, stirring and adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil.  Serve immediately.

** Preheat oven to 450 degrees; Toss cauliflower florets with 2 TBS olive oilSeason with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, flip and roast for 10 more minutes or till tender.

Recipe from Martha Stewart‘s EveryDay Food

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Did anyone in Ocean Grove really sleep last night? Every hour or so, one of us got up and went downstairs checking the basin and pail for overflow, looking out the front door to see if Broadway was a road or a lake, then stumbling back up the stairs to bed for another hour of sleep.

Sunday morning dawned and we cautiously looked outside to see if there was any damage to the front of the house and if there was a layer of sand on Broadway indicating the storm surge actually breeched the dunes, the boardwalk, Ocean Avenue and rushed down the road to us.  Thank God, NO!

After opening up the doors and pushing the storm windows up and bringing the screen back down,  my thoughts turned to the shore.  “Let’s go see what happened at the beach”.  By the time we got to the Boardwalk, it was already highly populated with fellow survivalists who like us wanted to see what happened at the source.

Shocked and suprised, we found an intact boardwalk but some heavily damaged dunes.  There was less sand on the boardwalk than there was after last winter’s Nor’Easter.  But the concrete benches were pushed away from the railings like so many pawns in Mother Nature’s chess game.  There was a salt water pond between the dunes and the boardwalk which looked to stretch from the Broadway beach entrance to the Beach Office.    Peter and I walked to the Fishing Pier which still had police tape across it, where a large group of people  had gathered.  A utility shed had been torn off its base and now rested up against the boardwalk.   Then we walked onto the beach  at the South End entrance to get a closer look at the angry foaming sea.  I noticed that I only walked down two steps and I was on the sand – that stair-case has a least 6 steps!!!!

The beach was very small and the shore line significantly closer.  Hopefully the tides will revert to their normal height over the next couple of days.

hurricane Irene, Ocean Grove boardwalk, Ocean Grove, NJ
Mother Nature re-arranged the furniture
hurricane Irene, ocean grove sand dunes, ocean grove nj
Dune Fence Uprooted
hurricane Irene, sand dunes Ocean Grove, Ocean Grove, NJ
Ravaged By Irene
hurricane Irene, Ocean Grove nJ
Irene’s Foot Bath Behind the Dunes
hurricane Irene, Ocean Grove boardwalk, South End beach Ocean Grove
And Where Are The Other 4 Steps?
hurricane Irene, Ocean Grove nj

Storm-surged Shed

hurricane Irene aftermath, Ocean Grove, NJ

The Angry Sea Foams at the Mouth

All photos taken by me.

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Well not really because he isn’t even black after all.  The little creature in question is actually a purple blue iridescent.  Murray has been out and about and ventured to Roosevelt Island which really is an island off the island of Manhattan.  He came across some great gardens and took fabulous photos of yellow jackets, flowers, bees, hornets and wasps.  Today we are all about the Great Black Wasp aka Sphex Pensylvanicus.

The great black wasp lives across most of North America, the larvae feed on living insects that the female paralyzes and brings to the underground nest.  Wicked huh? Why is always the female that does the dirty work and makes sure everyone is fed??  The following is from Wikipedia:

Adult females of S. pensylvanicus build an underground nest which they provision with various orthopteran insects,[6] particularly of the genera Microcentrum, Amblycorypha and Scudderia.[3] Prey are stung three times, once in the neck and twice in the thorax, and are paralyzed by the wasp’s sting, although they can survive for weeks.[1] The prey are then carried to the nest. While collecting their prey, the females are vulnerable to kleptoparasitism, in which birds, including the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), steal the prey that the wasp has collected.[6]

As you can see, Mother Nature has provided a food chain for all God’s little creatures – I wonder who eats the wasp?

great black wasp, sphex pensylvanicus

LOOK at this tiny little creature!!!!

Roosevelt Island, sphex pensylvanicus, great black wasp

"Pollinating is my life"

sphex pensylvanicus, great black wasp

Hanging On With One Leg

great black wasp

Look closely to see the wasp in action

sphex pensylvanicus

Great profile!

great black wasp

"And now a little from this flower"

The Great Black Wasp

All photos are courtesy of Murray Head

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There’s more than one “Terminator” in the news these days.  In fact I have some spectacular photos of a couple of them in action.  It seems it’s not just seeds and nuts upon which our feathered friends thrive. 

Please be advised that these photos contain graphic  acts of  ornithological  violence, however, Mother Nature is responsible for the food chain and just be thankful that you are higher up than  these guys.  By the time I finished posting these photos I was scratching my head a lot.

termites, central park, blue jay

"Mmmmm looks like lunch has arrived"

photo by Murray Head

Blue Jay, termites, central park

"But they're not as crunchy as peanuts"

photo by Murray Head

sparrow, termites, central park

"It's like an All You Can Eat Buffet"

photo by Murray Head

sparrow, termites, central park

"I can't talk with my mouth full"

photo by Murray Head

central park

"Interesting, very interesting..."

photo by Murray Head

central park

"Look who's coming to dinner"

photo by Murray Head

central park


photo by Murray Head

red bellied woopecker, central park

"My nexr meal is just around the corner"

photo by Murray Head

central park

Twisting for Termites

photo by Murray Head

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About a week ago, I was in the Grove and it was a miserable night.  It had been raining for a while and due to the bad drainage problem on our street, there was a river of water about 2 feet wide I had to cross or jump over to get into my car.  I needed to go to the grocery store and it was getting late.  When I came out of the grocery store, I was pelted with hail.  Literally marble size balls of ice were raining down on me as I tried to quickly get all the bags into the car.  Driving home the road was covered with these rolling pellets.  And then I had to try to leap over the river while holding grocery bags.

After I got all of the groceries put away, it started to thunder and lightning.  At the first sound of thunder, the cats disappeared up the stairs and under the bed.  THEN, a crack of thunder hit and the whole house shook and I knew those cats were gone for the night.  It was so loud and so close that I immediately looked out the front windows to see what if anything had been hit.  I couldn’t see anything and then one, two,  three and then four and five fire engines roared up Broadway and turned north on Central Ave.   I called Susan and Jim and asked if they could see where the engines went and I kept looking to the north sky for that dreaded orange glow.  Jim said he could see the engines and he would check it out.  I soon received a call telling me that a house had been struck by lightning on Embury Ave but didn’t seem to be on fire although all trucks ready and on standby.

This is what Mother Nature wrought upon Ocean Grove that night!

oCEAN gROVE,  Embury ave, thundersnow, lightning

Lightning strikes

Embury Ave, Ocean Grove NJ, lightning strikes, thundersnow

Lightning bolt through the turret

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Six-Word Memoir book cover image

"The Book"

It just goes to show you that begging and pleading does work!  I threw myself  on your mercy last week, tried a little guilt and YES, I did receive some great Six Word Memoirs and I’m sooooo happy!  THANK YOU, THANK you, thank YOU!

No entry; dog ate my homework – Gail

This bi-polar weather makes me nuts – Margaret

Snow cutting into my social life – Susan Celtic Lady (she’s in the Northeast)

Day after day, glorious blue sky – Heather (she’s in Florida)

March still roaring! Where’s that lamb? – Me

Nervous twitch is making a comeback – Weez

And some more inspiration from

My baby’s name was Sydney Jane – Margot Bertoni

Love the men.  Hate the commitment – Lindsay Filz

I grew and grew and grew. – Randy Newcomer

Starving artist. Lucky break. Life downhill. – Will Samson

Changing mind postponed demise by decades. – Scott O’Neil

My spiritual path is 100 proof. – John House


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Although it’s hard to resist asking God, Mother Nature, the Force or whatever higher power (if any) that you believe in, there’s really no point in asking WHY?


Friday morning about 5:00am; FIRE! A pre-dawn blaze with enough wind to whip up the flames and carry sparks and embers through the air where they landed on another historic home.  Fire in Ocean Grove is a greedy beast, swallowing up as much timber as its tongue can reach.  WHY? Oh there are any number of reasons being bandied about; neglect, arson, faulty wiring, gas  pipe problem – WHY? Destruction, Loss, Damage See photos in


The photos in this link are posted in Blogfinger, a blog with lots of local information and a sounding board for residents.

Friday afternoon in Tokyo; EARTHQUAKE! TSUNAMI! What could be worse than having your house tumble down, the road open up below you,  gas pipes ripped apart, electrical wires loose  with fires breaking out and explosions every minute or two?  ONLY to be followed by a massive tsunami wave.   The tsunami roared over the initial damage and compounded the destruction 100fold. WHY? Destruction, Death, Fire, Flood, Mayhem, Radioactivity

smoke rises, Japan's coast, Ishimaki,Japan, earthquake, tsunami March

photo from MSNBC

Otsuchi, Japan, ferry boat, tsunami, earthquake

Otsuchi, Japan

Photo from MSNBC

total destsruction, earthquake, tsunmami,

Where is his house?

photo from MSNBC


Saturday afternoon: One day later, a few blocks away from the devastating fire site and on the other side of the world from the massive natural disaster, new life is forming.  Why? My daffodils are coming up!  Don’t they know it’s still March? We could have a snow storm.  I thought they would bloom at Easter as they have in the past.  Doubt that I’ll still have blooms since Easter is late this year.  My neighbors across the street who get the afternoon sun in their front yards already have snowdrops and crocuses blooming!

Daffodils, Ocean Grove, La Vie en Rose,March, spring

Early Spring-The Life Cycle Begins

Photo by Lori

Sunday afternoon: Growing up in New England, I can tell you that Spring is a much yearned-for season.  Every kid knows that when you see the first Robin,  Spring has arrived.  This big red-breasted harbinger is a sign that once again life has returned to the gray and leafless landscape.  When you see your first Robin of the season, you automatically smile because you know and anticipate what is coming.  Is there any season more welcomed than Spring?  I don’t know why the Robins have landed so early in March;  I think the ground is not completely thawed and any worms or grubs are still deeply burrowed.  We may still get snow but they’re here bringing a promise of new life.  Why?


harbinger of spring,  Robin, March, spring

Harbinger of Spring

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Love & Heartbreak Cover

Image via Wikipedia

Every couple of weeks I remind everybody about the origins of  the Six Word Memoir and/or the Six Word Project.  Last week I printed an excerpt from the Smith Magazine website and surprise of surprises, I got a comment from LARRY SMITH himself!!! I am so excited that he noticed the blog and our own little Six Word Memoirs.

Please read his comment on last week’s Monday blog; he invites all of us to visit the site and leave a Six Word Memoir. Let’s do it!!!

Here are the contributions from some of my most faithful readers – love you guys!!

Snowing again,when will it stop? – Susan Celtic Lady

New York is the Frozen Apple – Gail

White, white…nothing here has color! – Susan

New York City here I come? – Weez

Snow, sleet, rain, my brain drains – Me

Sorry for you readers in California and Texas, I know it must seem like we have a one track mind here in the Northeast.  It’s not us who has it, it’s Mother Nature.  Snow is the only thing on her mind lately.

And from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning, Six-Word Memoirs by writers Famous and Obscure.

I did ask to live backwards – Helen Gynn

Forest peace, sharing vision, always optimistic – Dr. Jane Goodall

Bespectacled, besneakered, read and ran around – Rachel Fershleiser

Supported the sublime with uncurbed enthusiasm – Jeff Newelt

Followed white rabbit, became black sheep – Gabrielle Maconi

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