Friday, May 30, 2008

Floral Friday #3

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stanley Stomps

This was a perfect picture of a lovely cloud captured in a still blue lake. Until a certain red dog came along and stomped into the water. See his reflection?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Said “Pace” not “Race”

The other day as we were walking the red dogs, a very official looking rider clip-clopped past us, scowling at dogs off the leash, but dogs who, nonetheless, “stayed” when instructed. Yesterday I understood the whole scene.

Yesterday was the Spring “Pace” sponsored by the Bedford Riding Lanes Association (BRLA), mentioned Heavenly Route. I don’t know many of the “horsey” people in town and until yesterday never understood the sport. As I was shooting, I met a lovely couple, Amy and Raymond McCarthy; Amy, a one-time pacer herself, gave me the lowdown. (You will meet Amy and Raymond later in the week).

I’d always thought the competition had something to do with making it over the jumps and finishing in record time. As it turns out, after eleven miles, the challenge is to arrive at the finish line as close as possible to the time officially declared the “pace’” for your riding skill and age group.

There are four categories of competition: Hunter (more leisurely); Junior, Jumper, and (perish the thought in Westchester County) Western. The pace time is a secret. It’s a two- or three-member team sport. You must finish with your teammate(s). You don’t have to jump, but you may. You must wear a helmet. You must rest your horse at the check point.

I wasn’t too confident of my ability to photograph these riders, and I’m not one to check every shot, digital camera or not. But I’m encouraged enough with this effort to try again in the fall to capture the joy of riding one of these beautiful animals.

This is one of two posts to compensate for no photos yesterday. But there was much to see and the glorious weather seduced me into the garden.

Memorial Day, 2008

I took more than 100 photos of the small Memorial Day remembrance in our town yesterday. But this is the photo that I think most represents the spirit of Katonah: a family flying the flag for its country. This has been my 21st Memorial Day in Katonah, and only the first in which I have attended the ceremony. Now, I’m sorry about that as it was quite touching with Boy Scout, Brownie, and Cub Scout Troops, our hope for tomorrow, marching along with the Katonah Fire Department, a handful of military veterans, the police chief, and our town supervisor, the very impressive, Ms. Lee Roberts. After the parade, two small-town rituals: ice cream for the kids at the Fire House and a family barbecue of hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone.

This is one of two posts to compensate for no photos yesterday. But there was much to see and the glorious weather seduced me into the garden.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Floral Friday #2

This is one of the first roses to bloom from my parents' garden. It is from a bush that is as old as I can remember. Although I don't have the scientific evidence to prove it, I believe that today's hybrids are bred for one characteristic or another. They either look great or smell great or last long. But, in recent years, I have found the co-existence of all three qualities to be elusive at best. This rose is an exception to my unscientific belief. Last year, using mayonnaise jars as greenhouses, my dad created a few new bushes from this rose for my garden. I am waiting for it to bloom. Happy Long Weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Sections of entry included: the “Elixer of Life,” “Portkey,” “Obliviate,” and “Goblet of Fire,” as The Ninth District of the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc., (AKA regional garden clubs) presented its annual flower show this weekend themed to the Hogwart’s Express.

Like flowers, flower shows have their own complicated structure including Division; Section, Class, and finally Entry. This entry is from Division 1 Design: “Spells and Charms;” Section A: “Incendio,” Class 2, “Obliviate,” in which the design had to include “some components to be viewed through others.”

Other sections included “Reducio,” miniatures ranging from three to eight inches in height, and “Stupefy” featuring “Elixir of Life,” “Underwater Wizardry” and “Three Broomsticks.” Division 2, Horticulture, had eleven sections ranging from herbs to single stems and cut specimens, and some of the most delicious looking asparagus I’d seen in a long time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Heavenly Route?

It is if you are a horse rider in Katonah, Bedford, Bedford Hills, or the surrounding towns.

The Bedford Riding Lanes Association (BRLA) is a publicly supported non-profit organization originally established as the Private Lanes Association to protect and maintain a system of country lanes so equestrians could circumvent paved roads and cars. Nominal annual dues get you an access tag.

There are approximately 200 miles of lanes running through woods and nature preserves with approximately 80% of the trails passing through private land. Walking the red dogs on one of these trails one Saturday morning, I ran into Richard Gere, who was astride his horse.

Approval to ride trails on private property is by informal agreement. When homes change title, the new owners are asked to grant permission and usually do. Initially, two prominent Bedford residents: Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren did not. Several years ago, when she bought the property, Ms. Stewart was asked if she would open her land to riders and she reportedly said: “When Ralph does, I will.” I have been told that since then both have. In fairness, before she left for prison in 2005, The New York Times reported that she participated in Trail Cleanup Day. The BRLA sponsors two paces each year. This year’s pace will be held May 30, and we’ll be there for City Daily Photo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From My Garden

Thank you to all our French friends for the story of Muget! After several failed attempts, my own Lilly of the Valley Garden is now established. Next year I hope to start the May 1 Muget tradition here. There are many people to whom I am thankful. This photo combines my Muget with Muscari Aramecium, which have been in my garden for many years. It is from a small bouquet on my desk. If you expand the photo, there's a little something interesting in the background, captured, for this photo quite unwittingly, but in real life, with intent. I hope you enjoy the shot.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lilly Pads 1

I "found" this picture when my dog barked away the goose I was trying to photograph. He was twisted into a Bikram yoga pose. But he hangs out here regularly and tomorrow is another day requiring another daily photo!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Skunked - 2

During a beautiful afternoon walk in the woodlands the other day, I found this Skunk Cabbage in its unfolded glory. Once the trees are in full leaf and the forest floor in shadow, I believe this plant will die back. But, in the fall it will issue a seed pod. I’ll keep a (Panasonic) eye on it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wildflower Meets Record Label

The Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris, a wildflower which blooms from March through June, is native to temperate regions of North America. It seems to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. The generic name derives from the Greek calathos (a cup or goblet for the shape of its flowers); its specific name is from the Latin palus (a marsh).

This plant was found along a stream bed at the Marion Yarrow Nature Preserve. As a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family (along with Pasque Flowers, anemones), the “cowslip” is considered poisonous. Nonetheless, it also has medicinal uses including as a cure for warts. Some sources say the leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, and that a well-diluted tincture made from the whole plant while in flower, may be useful against anemia.

In Hamburg, Germany, the Marsh Marigold is a record label. Click here to hear what’s playing.