Categories
Travel

Borden Flats Lighthouse

 

 

Our adventure began at the Borden Light Marina in Fall River, when Kevin Ferias picked us up and took us in his boat to the Lighthouse. It didn’t look very big from shore but loomed large by the time we reached the daunting steps to climb up to the apron.

 

Nick Korstad bought the Lighthouse, which had been abandoned for over 50 years, and painstakingly refurbished it to what you see here today. Our guide and current Lighthouse keeper, Kevin, bought the Lighthouse from Nick in May 2018. He has had a passion for lighthouses since he was a child and will keep on the tradition of renting the lighthouse so everyone can enjoy it’s history and charm. Kevin gave us an extensive tour of the Borden Flats Lighthouse from bottom to top and I’m sure I only remember a quarter of the vast information and stories he shared. Kevin took a few photos for us and then departed and we had the place to ourselves as “Lighthouse Keepers” until the next morning.

Kevin pointed out that the lighthouse has a 5 degree tilt which happened when it moved quite a distance with the hurricane of 1938. It was set in it’s current location more securely with this apron around it and a steel base

He showed us the large, older solar panels which have not yet been removed and the new ones which are already ready to be updated.

Kevin is so enthusiastic about his subject. We learned a lot of history and lore from him, including the story of John Paul and his ghost who haunts the lighthouse.

 

There is a relaxing deck which we took advantage of to read, write, listen to music, have drinks and dinner, and just enjoy watching the boats go by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first floor is very welcoming and houses the kitchen and bathroom.

 

 

 

On the second floor is a lovely living room.

In the third floor sitting room, there is a library of books and paraphernalia on lighthouses. As we climbed each floor, Kevin pointed out how the walls became less thick.

The green chute, pictured above, used to carry animal fat and kerosene to the top of the lighthouse and now it is used to house wiring.

The bedroom is on the fourth floor but Kevin is considering moving  it to one of the lower floors in the future.

There was enough power to run this fan at night.

The next level houses the lighthouse mechanics, with great views of the Braga Bridge, Battleship Cove, and the Mount Hope Bay.You can see the old style beacon light with Fresnel lenses in the photographs on the right. The light sources have changed significantly through the years to the current LED lights.

In order to get outside to see an unobstructed view you need to bend/crawl through this door but it’s worth it.

Kevin took a photo of us at the top.

This flag has to be replaced every few days!

I climbed up at dusk and at night to get these shots when the light went on. We got our exercise climbing those stairs!

Each window was decorated uniquely and added to the nautical ambiance.

 

We had beautiful views of the bridge, the battleship ” Big Mamie”, Saint Anne’s Church in the distance, and many boats passing by, including the Block Island ferry. We even spotted an unidentified fish! I grew up in Fall River and remember as a child, waiting in the car going to or from Somerset, for the bridge to open to let boats go through before the Braga Bridge was built.

 

As we were eating dinner, we were treated to a colorful sunset. We were originally supposed to go in November but our date was cancelled due to high winds. As I watched the dramatic sun set, I realized July was a much better choice! I developed one of the shots in tungsten white balance and it looked like the now closed power plant was breathing fire.

We were surprised by fireworks from more than one location, a shooting star, and spotted the Big Dipper constellation. Despite the intense heat that day, as we played a game of scrabble on the first floor that night, my legs felt cold!

I had so much fun photographing the lighthouse. There were tons of interesting detail shots also, too numerous to post. Sharyn caught this photograph of me taking photos. You had to be careful not to get too close to the edge! I included 2 or 3 shots in this blog taken with my iPhone like this night shot above as I didn’t bring my tripod. The rest were taken with my Sony A55

When I woke up the next morning at 4:30 a.m.,everything was cloaked in fog.

The sun burned off the fog and we had a relaxing morning after breakfast, enjoying the last moments of our “Lighthouse Adventure”. Thank you Kevin for preserving the history of the Borden Flats Lighthouse.

Categories
Blog Museum Exhibit

The Power of Photography: Memory Unearthed, The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross

 

The special exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Memory Unearthed, The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross, is quite amazing. Henry took photographs of life in the ghetto as he was required for Nazi propaganda. But he also risked his life by bravely photographing the deplorable conditions of the ghetto and the.deportation of the Jewish people. He managed to sneak into the train station in guise of a cleaner and shot photos through a hole in a board of the wall of the store room. He shot groups of residents, who were told they were being transferred to work camps. being boarded onto cattle cars.

There is a short film at the entrance to the exhibit where Henryk and his wife were interviewed and I highly recommend watching it. Henryk shows how he swiftly slid his camera out to take concealed shots. Fearing his death, Henryk buried his negatives in the ground to ensure the world would see the tragedies that had occurred.

The Nazis began destroying all evidence of ghettos in mid 1944 and sent 70,000 Lodz Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Ross, his wife and 875 other residents were held back to clean up the ghetto. Fortunately Henryk and his wife were among those liberated in 1945 and he was able to recover the incredible record of history which he had buried. This collection is exhibited for the first time in an American museum.There was damage to some of the negatives but the photos were purposely not repaired.

I recently attended a photo seminar where they talked about the power of photography to educate or as an instrument of change, whether it be through documentation of natural phenomena or in the political arena. For me, as a photographer this exhibit truly highlights the power of photography.

“Ross’s skill as a photographer enabled him to make single moments into poignant narratives and his overall vision allows us to confront this difficult history.”

Categories
Backyard Adventures Backyard Pond Birds Blog Courtyard Adventures Nature

Harbingers of Spring

We had some beautiful sunny days in Plymouth this past week and my courtyard came alive. Last Thursday my fence was lined with robins.

They hung out on the fence, my outdoor fireplace and the roof of my neighbor’s home just long enough for me to take some photos.

I heard a ruckus at the end of the courtyard so I went around through the garage to investigate. The birds were disturbed by my presence but I saw the aftermath of their feast. The end of my courtyard is bordered by two hetzi columnar juniper trees which had been laden with dark blue juniper berries.They must have knocked off the berries in their feeding.

 

I caught this robin above the tree with a berry in his beak.

There were less than a handful of berries left on the trees.

A couple of the robins enjoyed a bird bath in my heated pond and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them

 

 

It must have looked refreshing because another one followed suit and took the plunge.

I had a few other visitors that morning who had their fill of birdseed and hung out on the double bird feeder pole and on the fireplace.

 

My glorious reflections returned that same morning as the slant of the sun hit the garden globe at just the right angle.What a surprise as I entered the study door!

My passion flower plants are thriving and my orchid plant is just about to bloom. Spring can’t be far off now!

Categories
Backyard Adventures Blog Butterflies Nature Travel

New Year Transitions

The last week in September, I stayed at my mother’s timeshare in Provincetown. It is a small unit but beautifully situated right on the beach with a  spectacular view.

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I love having the time to observe and savor each moment when there are no distractions.The week usually falls around the jewish high holidays so it is also a time of self reflection.

This year I was recovering from shingles and lyme disease which had invaded my body at the same time.I was still low energy and it was painful to hold my camera for long periods of time so I dedicated the week to writing. It was a good thing because after day two it rained continulously!

Last year I went to Race Point Beach on the west side of Provincetown to shoot the sunset, supposedly the best spot in Ptown.

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You can see the Pilgrim monument tower in the distance.

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I was reminded of a lesson Dick and I had discovered: you frequently get the best photos right in your own backyard.  On a broader level, I realized we often only have to look to ourselves for answers rather than searching elsewhere.

I had a few black swallowtail chrysalises from my courtyard which had not yet hatched out before I left. I took the potted plant of parsley and dill from my garden, where the caterpillars had formed their chrysalises,and brought it to Ptown with me.

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Can you see the two chrysalises here?

Not only was I able to enjoy the butterflies when they emerged but I put the plant outside my unit on the boardwalk by the beach so all my neighbors could enjoy them as well.

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Before the butterflies pump fluid into their wings they hang out for awhile and are very tame. My neighbor took some photos of me as the butterfly crawled up my arm before taking flight.img_2800

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On another gloomy, cloudy day, the sun came out just in time to set and the sky was a rich medley of pinks and purples.

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Just as the sky transitioned from dark, overcast clouds to a beautiful shimmering light and the butterfly emerged from a drab chrysalis to a graceful, jewel in perfect symmetry, I also feel like I am moving forward on my own journey of renewal. I am reminded of my rabbi’s sermon about moving beyond grief or difficult times to begin to dream new dreams. I hope these photos of the sunset and butterflies ready to spread their wings inspire you to think about new beginnings, dreams, light and freedom.

Categories
Blog Nature

Sunset over Old Silver Beach

I remember a professional photographer asking our camera club members to send him photos prior to a workshop. The instructions included  “and, please, no photos of sunsets or your kids”. Well, I don’t care if they are mine or yours but I love children’s photos and I love sunsets. The beauty that shines through, when the photographer captures a child’s personality, is exceptional. I wish I was talented enough to photograph children!

And sunsets. Obviously the photographer thought they were very trite but I could never get enough of nature’s glory. Each sunset is unique and tells it’s own story, just as the photograph of a child.The scene changes minute to minute, much as children’s emotions and expressions do.

This past Wednesday I joined the new Pine Hills photography club  to photograph the sunset at Old Silver Beach in Falmouth.The first photo was taken at 4:14 pm and the last at 5:24pm. Even at that hour, it was hard to leave as there was still lingering color in the sky . The sunset was so magnificent that the photos required very little post processing.

So, pretend you are at the beach, sit back, relax, and enjoy the virtual sunset!

 

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Categories
Backyard Pond Birds Blog Butterflies Courtyard Adventures Flowers Frogs

A Beautiful Day in the Courtyard

 

All of these photos were taken on August 31st, 2015. It is not the date that is important but the fact that the photos were taken on the same day which is quite remarkable to me.I have received so much joy from my garden this summer.I have had two broods of painted lady caterpillars and have had black swallowtail butterflies lay eggs in my courtyard as well. I had a Giant Swallowtail butterfly which I never had in my Lakeville garden and  are pretty rare in Massachusetts. We have had many beautiful sunny days and I will often think I might like to go to the beach or take a day trip to Cape Cod.Then I will look out my window and see the water lillies in full bloom, a black swallowtail butterfly nectaring on my fuschia buddleia or a goldfinch stopping by to eat the seeds of the coneflower blooms which I have left for him. I generally reach for my camera instead of the car keys.

I knew my Lakeville yard like the back of my hand. I knew where the butterflies would be during each part of the day because of the position of the sun. I knew each species’ favorite nectaring plants. I knew which branch the hummingbirds landed on before they swooped down to the feeders.This summer I got to know my courtyard.This is the second summer I’ve hosted a chickadee family and I know the special branches they prefer to land on before they enter the birdhouse.I know the frog’s favorite rocks. I know that the butterflies love to sit on the warm paving rocks of my courtyard.I can count on a show every day at 4pm performed by  The Hummingbirds.

I went for a swim one afternoon at the neighborhood pool and one of my neighbors remarked that I hadn’t been down to swim very often. I told her some days I had trouble leaving my yard because I didn’t want to miss the butterflies. She responded that was the first time she had heard that one as an excuse! But if you haven’t seen much of me this summer, it is in fact because I cannot resist the allure of my courtyard garden and all it’s goings on!

 

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Dick would have loved this one: this was a favorite refrain of his.

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Categories
Blog Flowers Gardens

Garden Visit

Last summer I was given three heirloom tomatoe plants by Bob Feingold. I believe it was meant to be that I was at the morning minyan service the day he brought tomato plants to share.

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Shortly after that day, I broke a bone in my foot and didn’t get much further than my courtyard all summer so those plants became even more important to me.It was just a month after my husband died and being present in my garden  and tending my garden became very therapeutic for me.  Experiencing the every day gifts of nature was a healing environment for me. Bob writes a blog on his website. In his blog entitled “Serendipitious Beauty” he talks about how wonderful things happen in the garden and they elevate the spirit. I find that to be so true. There is always something going on in my garden: a butterfly nectaring, a hummingbird whisking by, a new bud opening, and these miracles of nature open your heart and make it soar.

I have enjoyed getting to see Bob’s extensive gardens in different seasons and stages through his facebook postings and photos. I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit his garden last week.The flowers were glorious in their variety of brilliant and subtle colors. I look forward to seeing the garden in other seasons in the future.

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Bob’s specialty is heirloom tomatoes  and he has many varities. It was nostalgic for me to see the vast expanse of tomato plants as my dad used to have a garden very much like that. Like Bob, his joy was the satisfaction in growing his own food and sharing it with the universe.

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My favorite part of the gardens were the well thought out children’s gardens, each dedicated to a grandchild. You just know those children will develop a love of nature and gardening in these special places.

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Bob shared some of his garden harvest with me and I enjoyed a most delicious salad.

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If you have eaten at the Back Eddy Restaurant in Westport, MA  you have probably partaken of Bob’s heirloom tomatoes which he supplies to them. Bob  and  his wife Janet have a website www.24K-heirloomtomatoes.com. They have gardening tips and resources and you can find out more about their gardens there.

Categories
Backyard Adventures Blog Butterflies

Painted Lady

On June 17th I noticed tented painted lady caterpillars on my licorice plant (helichrysum petrolatum).The licorice plant is a larval plant for the painted lady butterfly.The painted lady is one of the most widespread butterflies in the world.It can be found in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Butterflies always have particular larval plants that they feed on such as milkweed for the monarch butterfly. They instinctively lay their eggs on plants that the caterpillars will eat.The painted lady is not as particular as most and it has several host plants including  thistle, mallow, hollyhock, pearly everlasting, borage and licorice plant. I purchased some licorice plants with this in mind and planted them in a container garden with some dill.Painted ladies are also  adaptable in terms of their habitat, which may include urban, suburban, swamp, bog, marsh, tundra, desert ,dune, rainforest, and  apparently Robin’s Pine Hills courtyard.

I have no photos of the eggs which I may have missed because of their small size(size of  a pin head).The incubation period is 3 to 5 days.The larva  then builds a silky, webbed tent nest as it feeds on the plant.

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I left a day later for a week  on Martha’s Vineyard and when I returned on June 26th my licorice plant  showed evidence of many visitors in all stages, many of whom had come and gone.I was also delighted to see some adult painted lady butterflies enjoying the nectar plants in my garden.

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The caterpillars change appearance as they mature.

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The caterpillar spins a silk pad to attach to and then hangs and forms a  chrysalis.

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The adult painted lady butterfly emerges about 7 to 15 days after forming a chrysalis.They live for about 2 weeks. The front side and the underside of their wings look very different.

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I’ve had many painted ladies visit this summer.  As you can see, they have nectared on many different plants in my garden but their favorite has been the coneflowers.

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Enjoying a warm spot on my courtyard path

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This beautiful  black swallowtail butterfly is now chomping on my dill plant and will likely be the star of my next blog!

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If you are interested in  gardening for the butterflies, check out my previous posts under the Archives: Monarch butterfly 10/12/12, Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly 1/3/13, and  Courtyard Visitors-EBS 9/17/14.

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Categories
France

Spirit of Light:Collegiate Church Notre-Dame, Vernon, France

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In April 2012, Dick and I went on an incredible photography trip to Monet’s Garden in France and Keukenhof Gardens in Holland with the talented photographer, Charles Needle. I processed many of our photos and blogged about some of the places that captured our hearts. Our lives were turned upside down in May 2012 when Dick was diagnosed with glioblastoma. The luxury of processing photos became a memory.

This week I have been motivated to look over our France photos as I am getting ready to join the dear friends we made on that trip at a reunion in Callaway Gardens.

Back in France, when our leader, Charles Needle, told us that we would be photographing a church, our first thought was that maybe this would be a good opportunity to skip out and  enjoy the shops, cafes and quaint streets of the city. Being jewish, we had no particular interest in taking photos of a church interior. We half heartedly joined the group inside thinking we’d stay a short while. Hours later, we emerged from the church with squinting eyes  and a new found sense of wonder in the miracle of light.

The church architecture, the sun, the magnificent stained glass windows, and perhaps the divine, provided us with continuous surprises. As the light unfolded, there was a spirit which infused the building and  the church was transformed into a sacred space.Thank you Charles for sharing it’s secrets with us.

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Construction began on the Collegiate Church Notre-Dame in the 11th century and it was completed in the 17th century. In 1072, the church was dedicated to the “Holy Mother of God” and that is why it was named Notre-Dame(our Lady).It is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of medieval architecture in France.

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Categories
Backyard Adventures Blog Butterflies Flowers

October in the Garden

passion flower & berries-06427        It has been a beautiful fall with many glorious days in the courtyard. When I have no motivation or energy to tackle even the simplest of chores, I retreat to the garden. It is my haven. I am drawn to it by the dreamy sound of the bubbling waterfall and the allure of new buds and flowers each day. I feel Dick’s spirit there and it fills my heart. I love the sunlight streaming into the courtyard, providing me with a special hot spot where I can watch a parade of visitors from my chair. October was a mild month and I enjoyed a variety of visitors that I didn’t expect. The monarch butterfly has greatly reduced in numbers in recent years, so I was thrilled to have some sightings this summer. One day last month, I even had 2 monarchs hanging out in my garden at the same time! Another sunny day in October, I had 2 painted ladies who spent the day. One of the painted ladies kept me company quite often this summer, flitting from one flower to another. I felt like we were playing a game as I moved all my pots around during the day to accommodate the sun and the butterfly followed suit. The painted lady last paid a visit on Nov 1st. I believe Dick is looking out for me as he knew I would be hangin’ in the courtyard with my camera.

I’ve also had a praying mantis who has been a courtyard resident all summer. Yesterday I caught him munching on dinner(see below). They say that the praying mantis is a symbol of G’d and comes to us when we need peace, quiet, and calm in our lives. “Usually the mantis makes an appearance when our lives are flooded with so much activity or chaos that we can no longer hear the still, small voice within. ”  It is said to keep our spirit calm in bad times. I have needed quiet time these last several months to restore my soul and the garden has been my refuge. Perhaps the praying mantis helped me along.

All of these photos were taken in October. Although it was still blooming, I dug out the last passion flower plant today in anticipation of the change in weather.

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