Boardwalk reflections

Some scenes from an early evening walk along the boardwalk at Asbury Park today…

My favorite shop for reflection pics is the Bodega Shoppe at the southernmost end of the boardwalk. There’s always something interesting on display in the window there… lately there’s this crazy looking bust with a curly wig that ends in a sailboat… fun! Reflected in the window are the happy people dining at Stella Marina (which has really nice homemade pasta, btw.)

The sky reflected in the windows of the north side of Convention Hall… the south side of the building’s been restored, but this side is still crumbling into the Atlantic bit by bit.

A new childrenโ€™s water parkโ€”a water-filled playground where kids wade through shallow pools and run under a giant squirting watering canโ€”sits just off the boardwalk, in view of the ocean. I need to find a stray kid so I can go…

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I stumbled upon a jazz band playing a free concert in Convention Hall… Asbury, you just never know.

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The queen of them all

Back to Orchid Week.

Look awake!

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Said to be fussy, we found Showy Lady’s Slippers growing in the dappled shade along someone’s driveway in Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin.

In someone’s driveway!

Like a common weed!

The location of the most prized orchids are oftentimes kept a secret so people won’t dig them up and carry them away. The kind people at The Ridges led us to these for photos.

Aren’t they pretty?

Ever seen any?

Wandering out to the driveway to see what I can find there…

Just add water

Speaks for itself, no?

At our favorite swimming hole along Cedar Creek in the Pine Barrens… made even sweeter by the huge muddy puddles we just had to tromp through on the walk there.

A new blogger among us

Please go visit my big brother’s blog

He FINALLY has an actual post up… some two years after threatening to start a blog of his own and leaving the occasional comment here as The Reluctant Chicken Farmer. Some of you know him from Facebook, too, and so know of his good sense of humor and tendency to rant. It promises to be a fun chicken blog once he finds his voice.

Stop in and welcome him to the blogosphere!

Grass Pinks

A wild rose torn to bits, then glued back together by someone who had never seen a flower before, might look something like a Grass Pink.
–Raphael Carter

Isn’t that a great quote about a really odd-shaped flower?

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Another orchid from The Ridges and one that I’ve seen here in NJ in the bogs of the Pine Barrens.

The upper petal should be triangular, according to the books, tho this one doesn’t look it; the important thing to know is that the bearded lip is the uppermost petal on a Grass Pink… the other pink bog orchids wear their beards on the lower lip.

What do you guys call that?

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The flower that walks

This might turn into orchid week here, so be warned…

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Mostly I prefer simple common flowers, but orchids and their variety of forms can’t be denied.

Look at those sweetly twisted sepals!

I geeked out for a moment there. Sorry.

So… flower fanciers, which do you prefer: the pink or the yellow?

Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid photographed at The Ridges Sanctuary in Door County, Wisconsin.

I really, really like the yellow.

Days at the beach

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.
–Robert Frost

I grew up with a mother that loved the beach… whole afternoons were spent baking under the summer sun, a cooler filled with sandwiches and ice-cold plums. Childhood photo albums are proof that many of our vacations centered around a visit to the shore, as if living within a couple minutes drive didn’t already offer us enough of the ocean’s delights.

My father is mostly absent from these memories… his fair and freckled skin kept him under the beach umbrella or back at home when he wasn’t rescuing me from the breaking waves or my brother’s torments. I don’t remember much beyond the shock of seeing him in shorts, his legs whiter than white, some goofy looking never-worn sneakers, his trademark black dress socks and the huge mole that grew near his left knee. He used to tease that the little fish liked to nibble on it…

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Someone, maybe him, or one of my big brothers used to let me ride on their shoulders in the water, out of reach of the sharks and jellyfish that I was so sure would devour me whole.

I spent a couple hours yesterday watching the same stories unfolding for any number of beachgoers… building sandcastles… bodysurfing… eating tuna sandwiches with a fine dusting of beach sand… the heady scent of Coppertone… all reminding me that this love affair with the sun and the water and the sand is in my blood, even though I burn just like my dad always did.

Any beachy memories to share from your own growing up?

Meddle not

Meddle not in the affairs of the dragon; for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Or without.

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Legs and wings, apparently, are too crunchy.

This last pic is nightmare material… look at that mouth!