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America The Beautiful

July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day, from our home to yours.


O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

At Least I Won’t Have to Shower Tonight!

June 25, 2013

The pool garden is 95% planted, with the exception of six white rose a’sharon plants for the back wall that will be planted next week, and all new grass seed, which will happen early fall. Oh yes, and someone named Mr. EOS has an arbor to build for us (hint hint).

I dragged down a couple of water towers to make sure the new plantings stay watered, but not overwatered, and had a fight with the tower to get it to auto rotate, so soaked I got that I came up to change my clothes at the SAME time the doorbell rang and the HVAC repairman arrived to fix a compressor issue. Let’s just say wet white shirts are not as nice a look on a 65-year-old as a 20-something. I thought about explaining WHY I was drenched, but figured I’d only get myself into more trouble, so I let his imagination have a good time.



ANYHOOOOO, here’s the garden so far. Envision lush green grass in between the flower beds, an arbor with vines flourishing, and a seating arrangement somewhere, not sure where yet. Originally we thought the seating arrangement would go inside the center square, where the roses and lilacs are, but looking at it now, I might want to have the seating arrangement closer to the stone wall, looking at all the plantings.




Lavender and roses. Such a fragrant combination.


A fine new magnolia (and on either side will be three white rose a-sharon.



White Diana Rose a-sharon in the bed with the butterfly bushes and ornamental grasses


hydrangea and tree here have been in place since about 2003. Growing well.







Meanwhile, the garden that was new last year up front is doing great guns. Filled in so nicely. Love it.

It’s a lot of work gardening but the rewards are so long-lasting. Love it.

It’s A Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s SuperSolar Boat!

June 24, 2013

Reader CosHarbour sent some photos of the totally cool PlanetSolar boat that was in the New York waters on the 21st, bound for a trip north after last year being the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the world.

In today’s New York Times, coincidentally, a long article about the voyage. Beyond CosHarbour’s photos, I’ve included one photo by the NYT photographer and one from the PlanetSolar website.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Last year, after it became the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the globe, the Turanor Planetsolar could have taken its 5,500 square feet of photovoltaic cells and eight tons of lithium-ion batteries and sailed off into the sunset.

The Turanor Planetsolar, which cost $17 million to build, circumnavigated the globe using only solar power in 2012.
Instead it is becoming a scientific research ship, at least for the summer. The boat, a 100-foot, $17 million catamaran that was dreamed up by a Swiss eco-adventurer and bankrolled by a German businessman, will cruise the Gulf Stream studying the role of atmospheric aerosols and phytoplankton in regulating climate, under the direction of Martin Beniston, a climatologist at the University of Geneva.

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The New York Times The Turanor Planetsolar

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The New York Times
The Turanor Planetsolar

CosHarbour caught real-time images of her. It’s hard to get a perspective on her size, although the man in the red shortsd looks pretty small in comparison to the vessel.

Photo from Planet Solar website

Photo from Planet Solar website


Boats and I are NOT best friends, that inner ear thing that most women in my family have makes for some two-bagger outings, added to my mild claustrophobia, I can tell you right now, I will not be signing up for their second round-the-world trip. More power to the scientists who take on such adventure. Send me a post card.

EOS Weekend: The Yes, I Am Alive Edition

June 15, 2013

Thanks for your email and comments – it’s awfully nice to be missed. Been busy, and what with the rain, all the rain, so much rain, well, it did nothing for a blogger who takes photos.

I’ve been remiss in posting these stellar photos from Betsy in Albuquerque; she sent them a couple of weeks ago. She’s up first.

One night short of a full moon in Albuquerque. It is a very quiet night, no wind, few clouds…..just breath taking.

Betsy says: My husband gets credit for this one. He used a camera that takes multiple low light shots and combines them taking the blurriness out.

Every once in awhile the mountains at sunset are spectacular. You can see why the early Spanish settlers named these mountains “Sandia” which is watermelon in Spanish. For just a few minutes the west face is brilliant. The skies are very smokey looking north from the city but thank goodness clear around us.

SoundBeacher emailed me too. Lucky you. Betsy and SB in one week.

When the weather has been good, it’s been very very good. Like Tuesday night after all the bad weather moved out — the day finished with a glorious evening. I just had to get down to the beach to see what it would look like with the clearing sky. Nature is never one to disappoint and here are some photos.

It’s a sailboat race

Sailors racing with spinnakers flying and rays of light brightening Long Island.

A fisherman out casting in the still water.


Sit a spell and watch the golden light of the setting sun

Evening at the beach just before sunset after a storm.
Sun scape

Happy Father’s Day one and all. We have sunshine for the first time since 1902. So today everyone is outside, soaking in the rays but alternately coming in to watch the golf. Go Phil!

Thank You Very Much Peggy Rockefeller!

June 6, 2013

We took much of yesterday to enjoy some New York culture. The Cloisters and then on to the New York Botanical Garden to take in the sights and smells of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. Spectacular. Spectacular.































We strolled over to the conservatory to see the Wild Medicine exhibit. No blog-worthy photos to post of inside the conservatory….


But I did catch a dragon fly resting on a lily pad.

A Very Boring Day In Michigan!

June 4, 2013

As regular readers know, Michigan is about to embark on installing an awesome Garn wood heating system in his back forty…this lovely number he had delivered over the winter…

Michigan tells us in his own words the process so far….. and gets two points for providing the riotous headline!!- Mr. EOS’s words: FANTASTIC, on both the project (he wants to be there) and the headline. There’s a future for you in blogging Michigan!

To get utilities out to the new building we didn’t want to rip up the driveway and trench the front yard up so…

We chose to go with the underground boring option and it worked out well. They had to bore from the back yard under the garage floor and then through the concrete wall in the mechanical room.

Boring bit (this one is called a “duckbill”) with carbide teeth is used for the initial bore and cut through concrete wall. The “duckbill” contains sensors and transmitters so it can be “steered” by the operator to the predetermined point. It’s quite accurate.

Next, a coring rig is mounted to the wall with an anchor and a 12” bit is used to bore through the wall. It took about 20 minutes to cut through this 8” wall.

Once the wall core is removed, the duckbill is pushed through a bit further to change it out for another tool head.

The duckbill has been removed and a reamer head is attached. This will allow the utility pipes to be attached to it and pulled back through the initial boring while spinning and spraying an expanding clay solution to form a supporting wall for the final bore. The center of the reamer remains stationary while the outside spins. You can see the angled spray nozzles at the back of it.

Utility pipes hooked up and spraying begins while pulling back. We’re pulling 4 pipes at once here; one 4” and three 1 ¼” schedule 80, heavy wall pipe.

Pulling and spraying continues until the head emerges from the original point of entry. This boring machine has a 11 thousand pound pullback strength.

You can see the clay solution begin to spray out as pullback begins.


Their job is complete and mine will be to trench from the 4 foot depth point that they kindly marked for me, out to the new building.

We’ll be waiting and watching for the next installment Michigan. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. Just let us know when the first wood burning party is and we’ll be there!

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Men World

June 3, 2013

Yes, I do watch the TV show Mad Men, and love all drama, the 1960s clothes, and archival actual news clips. But that’s NOT what this post is about. Sorry Don Draper fans.

Lately, a dating website called Our Time, that caters to those in the 50+ age group, has been advertising on TV quite a bit. I’ve caught two or three of their ads and was instantly struck by one incredibly glaring constant. Even the homepage of their website carries the same theme as the videos.

Watch all three ads….and tell me what you see, or (hint hint) don’t see.

There will be a test.

Test #1.

Test #2.

Test #3.

Peony Power Redux

June 3, 2013

The skies opened last night – an extraordinary series of torrential rain storms with equally powerful thunder and lightning. But lucky for me, and hopefully you too, I took some peony photos before the rains because today, the flowers look a tad droopy.















The bed of peonies wraps around the entire stone patio, a cornucopia of color that brightens up even a day like today!







That’s it for the peony photos this year.

The End of an Era. The Carvel Store is Gone.

June 2, 2013


For as long as we have lived in Bedford, Carvel in its stand-alone iconic store on Route 117 in Bedford Hills was THE place to go. On a hot night after kid’s soccer or baseball. On a Sunday after working hard in the yard. As a treat on a weekday when….well, for NO REASON.

Mmmm, root beer float.
Mmmmm, small vanilla soft ice cream cone with chocolate sprinkles (jimmies if you are from Boston!)
Mmmmm, half vanilla half chocolate swirl cone.

I’ve blogged about this a few times before, moaning the loss of architecture where the building is synonymous with the brand – McDonald’s Golden Arches is about the only other example I can think of that exists. Okay, Bob’s Big Boy. Others?

Reader CosHarbour sent me a link a long time ago with a photo of the Bedford Hills store in all its glory but I deleted the link. So, if you are reading Cos, and aren’t too busy driving around in your cool red Fiat, can you find that link and send it again? Thanks.

Here’s one from Indiana that is similar.

Ours sat like empty for years…years…years. Such a sad sight. If it couldn’t be restored, it’s almost better it is gone.

Coming soon – a newer, larger Splash carwash! Not that I don’t wish them well, I use them all the time, but maybe as a tribute to the land’s use before them, they could sell Carvel in their waiting room! :-)

PS: I should say there still IS a Carvel in town but it’s tucked away in a busy shopping center. Just not the same. Carvel, bring back the stand alone stores!!

1916 Packard Twin Six Touring. Simple Elegance Defined.

June 1, 2013

As seen at the Dragone Auto Auction, Westport, CT, a 1916 Packard Twin Six Touring.

When Packard introduced a new “Twin Six” engine in 1916, they literally changed the market. As a masterpiece of engineering, the new engine was an L-Head configuration using a 60 degree bank with 12- cylinders. Displacing a full 424 cubic-inches, the V-12 engine was rated 88 horsepower, this at a time when Henry’s Model T topped out at just 20 horsepower.

This was one of my favorites. Solid yet sleek.




The beauty is in the details – the wheel spokes, the exterior door handle, the toggle to secure the top, the head lamp, the leather seating….simple elegance. Packard got it right with this car. I hope whoever the winning bidder was gives it nothing but tender loving care….and me a ride!








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