Category Archives: Walks

A Lovely Garden on a Rainy Day

Today I walked a few blocks to the Loring Greenough House in Jamaica Plain to see the garden just after it had rained. They recently won a first prize in the Mayor’s Annual Garden Contest  in the category for organizations.*

Loring Greenough House Garden 2

It was a pleasure to stroll along the two long beds extending from the back door of the house and take pictures of the flowers with rain drops on them in the cool gray light. We’ve needed the rain so badly, although what we got wasn’t nearly enough. I worry about the farmers in Massachusetts in this drought, especially since I know some of them from the farmers markets where I’ve bought my produce for many years.

The Greenough House garden was looking green and lush, though, and most of the flowers were in the pink-lavender-purple range which is my favorite. I wish I knew the names of all the flowers, but alas… I don’t.

It’s nice that in recent years the Tuesday Club, which owns the house, has invited the public in to enjoy the grounds. There are chairs placed under the old apple trees, and it’s a delightful place to sit a spell and relax among the greenery and flowers right in the busy center of Jamaica Plain.

Chairs under the Trees

 * It must be mentioned that Andrew Hatcher, a board member, is the one who devotes countless hours to this garden, and I believe he has made it what it is. I heard him speak movingly about gardening at an event at the house last spring.

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Boston Harborwalk

It’s not often that I’m able to walk around the city in July, hating the heat as I do, but this year as late as July 2nd I was able to go downtown on a beautiful Saturday and enjoy walking around all afternoon on the Harborwalk.  The Harborwalk is a most amazing development in Boston in the last twenty years, which will link 39 miles of public pathways along the waterfront when it’s done, a Sapphire Necklace to go along with the Emerald Necklace of green parks we already have, thanks to Frederick Law Olmsted.   Already twenty-some miles are ready, and one can walk all along the waterfront downtown, up and down wharves, and across the channel to the Fan Pier, which affords some of the best views of Boston.

Tea Party Ship

I started out at South Station and crossed over the channel. Here I’m looking back over at the old and new buildings. The Tea Party ship is in the foreground. This reminds me of how, when I’m in England and people ask where I’m from, when I say Boston, they immediately mention the Tea Party. Most people around here don’t think about it all that much.

Harborwalk

I must say I like the Intercontinental Hotel building.

Intercontinental Hotel

I walked along Fan Pier, where the view of Rowe’s Wharf is fabulous, although I don’t like the look of that big cruise boat, the Odyssey, that ties up there.

Rowes Wharf from Fan Pier

Rowes Wharf and Custom Tower

Since my Cape Ann excursion I had been longing to get back to the water, and going downtown to the Harborwalk was a fun and refreshing way to be by the water right in the city.

The fine weather held up through July 4th, which was great for all the visitors and the holiday festivities. The next day, July 5th, the humidity set in, and our fantastic stretch of summer weather was over. We were very lucky to have it as long as we did. We were leaving for Maine on July 9th, so we didn’t have too many hot days to get through.

 

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A Spectacular June in Boston

Roses outside our WindowsWe’ve just had one of the loveliest Junes in memory, with day after day of sun, blue skies, and most importantly, low humidity. There were very few uncomfortably hot days in the entire month. While the news in the world has seemed devastating, nature has been at her most benign. I decided not to work as hard this month on the house clearing project and to give myself some time off for excursions within the city and beyond.

The neighborhood has been blooming. Right outside our window the rose bush was lush earlier in June. That rose was planted not so many years ago, and it has thrived in the sunny, south facing patch of ground outside our building.

As I walk around the neighborhood, I like to look into people’s gardens. The pink and lavender and blue flowers have been heavenly.

 

Meanwhile the ducklings and goslings are growing up at the Pond. We’re so lucky to live in the city and yet have the chance to observe wild life two blocks away at Jamaica Pond. Thank you, Frederick Law Olsted–I will never cease to be grateful. The green and blue tranquility of the Pond is a priceless asset to the neighborhood.

The Green Cove

I call this the Green Cove, for obvious reasons.

Mama duck and ducklings

The mother duck takes care of her babies all by herself; the male duck is out of the picture early on. The ducklings stick together and stay close to mother. They fall into line behind her in the  water, and they’re a lovely, quiet family. I like the duck personality.

Swimming

Meanwhile, in the Canada goose families the father goose is always present, keeping watch.

Into the water

Goose Family in the Water

The goslings grow fast.  I took the photo of the pretty one on the left on June 6th. By the 19th they had become gawky like the one on the right.

We have two sets of goslings at the Pond this year, one group of seven and one of five. The two families join forces to raise the young, so I always see them together, four adults and twelve goslings, with the five being slightly older than the seven.

Two goose families

Sometimes I like to go back to the Pond to watch the sunset. If I sit on a bench on our side of the Pond, the sun sets directly across the water. It’s as Thoreau said, “Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever.”

Sunset at Jamaica Pond

Sunset over dock

 

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Lovely June Day

June 1st has been a lovely day, after a hot and humid May 31st. A north east breeze was blowing, and we had a delightful walk at the Pond.

All is green now, so refreshing and soothing. Green Leaves

There is much new life among the water fowl.  I saw the nine ducklings for the first time, just a few days old.

Ducklings

IMG_3436

We’ve seen two small groups of goslings in the last week or two, and today we came across the latest goose family, resting on the back shore of the Pond. Seven goslings! I think this is the mother goose who was nesting on the hill. I was transfixed. What is it about baby animals that appeals more than baby humans? Everyone seems to love them.

Mother Goose with Goslings

As I watched, the little ones gathered around their mother, and she let some of them crawl under her wing.

Goslings Crawling under Mothers Wing_small

It was one of the sweetest things I’ve seen.

Gosling Climbing on Mothers Back_small

Climbing on mother’s back.

Mother with Gosling under Wing_small

All together, mother and babies.

All Close to mother_small

Just look at the one little gosling’s head sticking out from under its mother’s wing!

I had to tear myself away from this heartwarming scene as Peter was waiting. I’ll look for this goose family every time we walk around the Pond.

The early summer flowers are out at the Pond and in gardens on Pond Street.

Later, in the afternoon, I prepared a tea tray with my June plate and teacup and had a lovely tea on the chaise longue, with soft breezes wafting in the windows. It gives me great pleasure to use my china in a seasonal way, and so I only use the June china in June and enjoy it all the more when its turn comes around. June is my birth month and a special time for me every year. Welcome June!

Tea Tray June 1st

Tea on June 1st

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Nesting

Goose Nesting

A week ago I wandered off the paved path at the Pond and followed the dirt path along  the south shore of the Pond. There, to my amazement,  I found this goose sitting on a nest in the open on the little hill above the Pond. I had always wondered where the ducks and geese hide their nests, as I’d never seen one before in all the years I’ve walked at the Pond. I’ve been back twice, including this afternoon, and each time the lovely mama goose is sitting as calm as can be on her soft nest in a slight depression in the ground. She let me approach quite close. I spoke to her in soothing tones.  I will visit again, and it will be so interesting to observe this process and see the goslings in a few weeks. I’ve known many sets of goslings over the years and have watched them grow up–so fast!

Here’s the male goose, who came up out of the water.

MaleGoose

 

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A Spring Day on March 9th

Yesterday was a bizarrely warm day for March 9th here in the Boston area, in fact a record 76°. Unlike most people, I actually don’t like the unseasonably warm  weather we’re having this winter. As a lover of the quietness and inwardness of winter, when I feel quite centered in my beloved home, I don’t like winter to end too soon. I have many projects yet to complete at home before the spring. The warm weather lately has pulled me off my center and made me restless, too early in the year. I’m afraid the disruption of our seasons is a very bad sign for our climate.

Nevertheless, it was fun to go off on an excursion on the train yesterday to Wellesley College. A friend was desperate to see some greenery, and I suggested the Wellesley College greenhouses. Years ago Jeremy Foss, professor of painting at MassArt, used to take his landscape painting class to the Wellesley greenhouses when it was too cold to work outside. Wellesley College has got to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and I also admire the institution a great deal. I’ve read a fair amount on the history of the women’s colleges and have a quirky interest in the topic. I didn’t go to a women’s college, but I wish I had. My great aunt Nora went to Wellesley and became an English teacher, so I have a slight family connection with the place.

It’s an easy train ride to Wellesley Square and a short walk through the village center to the edge of the campus. There was a watercolor class going on in the classroom of the greenhouses as we entered, and a small group of women from a senior living facility were departing, having had their tour. We were free to wander around the greenhouses by ourselves; no one else was there but a friendly gardener who was watering the plants and answered a few questions for us.

First we walked through the room with the cacti collection, which I don’t much care for, and then in the greenhouse, there it was–the touch of spring we had come for.

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Quiet Winter Days

We just lived through the coldest night in Boston in over fifty years — nine below zero!  We’d been warned for days of the severe Arctic chill that was coming this weekend, with wind chills of twenty-five below or more, so Peter and I walked around the Pond Saturday morning and then burrowed into our home for the duration of the weekend.  The thermostat read 58° when we got up at 8:00 this morning, the lowest I have ever seen it.  Not until noon did it reach 68°.  For Valentine’s Day we allowed ourselves a little extra heat, and we were snug and warm all day.

I love these quiet winter days. We walk around the Pond in the afternoon most of the time. Peter prefers morning, but I’ve persuaded him it’s warmer in the afternoon in winter. I like to go later in the afternoon to see the colors of sunset and twilight.

Winter Lavender Blue at the Pond

Then it’s home to tea and a good book.  This past week tea was tiny slices of my favorite marzipan fruitcake. I make it every Christmas season, and this year I doubled the recipe and froze two little loaves — that size is perfect for teatime. The ginger cookies I made for the first time in January, and that recipe will become one of my regulars. It’s got chopped crystallized ginger and walnuts as well as nutmeg and  cloves. The buttery, spicy ginger cookies go very nicely with the fruitcake, which contains dried apricots, cherries,  pineapple and golden raisins.

 

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