Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Flora from the Farmers' Market................

Our Saturday jaunt into downtown included a visit to the 
State Farmers' Market - a huge complex of stalls, under cover 
but open-sided to allow the breeze to waft through drying 
the perspiring brow on a hot southern Summer's day.

I found the perfect flower stall. All flowers grown 
on a farm a couple of hours drive west of 
town.......being gently and lovingly arranged by a 
young, smiling coupleoriginally from Laos, into 
the type of bouquets I love, informal, loose, mixed, 
perfect colors.
Reminded me of the amazing flower stands on the 
streets in Thailand.
Do you enjoy cut flowers in your home?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bering Island and the boys............Part II

With the sun continuing to shine graciously, our 
remaining time on Bering Island was used to 
saunter through the older part of Nikolskoe Village.  

Click Photos to enlarge

While our lovely 'home away from home' waited at anchor 
in the distance, we took time to gather images of the 
original village, a few buildings still occupied - 
but peeling paint, rotting wood, 
collapsing structures............all so  
much more interesting and loaded with history 
than the shiny, bright colored, new construction 
up on the hillside.
The old refurbished building is the village museum which was 
really interesting, and such a beautiful blue........
more history of Bering Island (the Commander Islands)can be found here.
Loved this mural depicting a girl riding an Orca whale....
Memorial to explorer Vitus Bering - he is actually buried on the island in another location.
And then there were the village boys...the Bering Boys 
as I call them, whose lives on this small, 
treeless, usually foggy, remote island 
are so very different from what most kids 
experience in this modern age. We wondered what 
the future holds for them......there is no higher 
education available unless they leave their 
island. There is no real employment on the island, 
it seems most of the 600 or so people live on 
government subsidies.

These boys were fascinated by our Zodiacs and loved 
having a chance to take a ride. They were quiet 
and very well behaved.
As our passengers were transported back and forth 
to the ship, the expedition crew allowed groups of 
boys to travel with us. Although we were unable to 
converse with them - they spoke no English - just 
seeing their joyful expressions and hearing their 
whispers to each other, we knew they were having 
the time of their lives. Looking back and viewing 
their island from the ocean must have been exciting.
Expedition crew member, Jamie, taking the boys for a ride.
These last two images, the boys silhouetted in the late 
afternoon sun of a beautiful day at the shore..............
....and the metal sculpture of the welcoming, or perhaps 
saying 'goodbye', angel ~ is how I will remember my 
visit to fascinating Bering Island..............

Next time: Return to Petropavlovsk, disembarkation, and flying across Siberia to Moscow.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A porch, a book....a Summer's day.

Couch On The Porch, Cos Cob
Frederick Childe Hassam  
American Impressionist 

You may catch me here..........if not, walk through 
the garden, perhaps you'll find me cutting a bunch 
of something pretty, getting my hands dirty pulling 
the weeds, watering thirsty plants, checking the 
upcoming harvest of soon-to-be-ripe figs.

Childe Hassam's body of work is amazing. Although perhaps best known for his 'flag paintings', to me his Summer paintings, many of the New England shore and Isles of Shoals, close to where I lived for several years before coming south, are my favorites.
Here is a link to reproduction paintings available online - type Hassam in the search bar to see his work.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The American Road Trip..............................

 Zipping down the highway, but really wanting to jump out 
and pick fruits and nuts.......the orchards 
of California are awesome, and a couple of weeks ago
 in early July they were at their peak.
Comfy in the rental car. GPS turned on, but I still 
enjoy the feel of the paper map unfolded in my lap. 
Sunglasses, reading glasses (map type is tiny), 
and small manageable camera at the ready.
Who knows what one will see on the road trip.
Leaving Lassen National Park overlooked by Mt. Lassen. 

We left California and were on the way to Portland, Oregon.
9 hours of majestic scenery along a fairly quiet highway.
Sun shining, very warm temperatures, thankful for a/c of course.
 Heading toward spectacular Mt. Shasta, California.
 Dancing beneath the mountains in McCloud, CA......what 
could be more lovely on a Summer evening. 
But more tarmac to cover - friends were waiting for us ahead.
 I want a mountain in my back garden!
Onward, miles of scenery such as this...........
 .......boring?  NEVER. Crossing the state line into Oregon the scenery still beautiful. 
Now and then something really different appears. 
If you can't stop to get close to a dragon, you can at 
least take a quick pic with that great little 
camera...........if you're fast and your driver 
Bob (or Tom, Dick or Harry!) slows down a wee bit! 
Mt. Hood in the distance. A billion pics snapped of 
that one, of course.
On we drove, passing many vintage cars from a motor show...........
 ........Mt. Hood following us - stunning.
 The American family on the road........recalling our 
trips (sans bikes) when the kids were young. 
We traveled every Summer by road, crisscrossing 
the country, trying to get that long list of 
states checked off. 
Yep, we've always been a traveling family and our 
road trips were many.

Always A FAVORITE THING........a fabulous road trip. 
The only way to really see America. 
Do you enjoy taking a trip by road? 
Do you have a favorite journey to share?

Linking to Claudia at Mockingbirdhill Cottage for Saturday's A Favorite Thing party. Come join us.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bering Island, Part I....................

June 4, 2013 - 8:00 AM 
Bering Island, the Commander Islands (or Komandorski Islands)
Temp. 8C/46F
Light SE Breeze

Caledonian Sky approaches its anchorage off 
Svero Zapadnyi Cape.

Click photos to enlarge

By 9:00 AM we were settled in the Zodiacs for a cruise 
of the wildlife-rich part of the coast of 
Bering Island and its offshore isles.
The early morning fog, chilling the air, soon 
dissipated and we were astounded by the sight 
and sound of thousands of pairs of nesting seabirds 
on the cliff ledges...

....and several groups of amorous sea lions.

We returned to the ship for lunch and repositioned to the 
point where we could navigate the zodiacs to land for 
an afternoon visit to Nikolskoe Village, a remote community of 
approximately 500 people on Bering Island. 

Above, the older section of the village.................

...the newer buildings and the church.........there 
is a small military base also which we were 
not permitted to photograph - it was just a long 
building painted green!

Pic via Paula ~ photographer of stars her friends.

Can you believe, yet another pic of me sitting on the 
ground and fiddling with my footwear!  
This was a dry landing at long last, and as the 
weather became quite warm and sunny, 
I changed out of my clunky grey Ugg wellies and into 
lightweight Puma walkers, it felt so good.....
especially as we were off to a special concert 
being held in our honor!

The people of the village had prepared a colorful 
outdoor welcome concert and informal tour of 
the community, including the excellent museum. 
We were told that only two tourist ships come each 
year and we were the first of the season.
The elderly lady above and below, obviously a 
village matriarch, started the entertainment 
with a mournful song, long and mesmerizing, 
and of course we had no idea what it was about, 
but we applauded her effort.

Here the same woman introduced a very young child 
who also sang for us - how lovely that the 
young ones are learning the old 
songs and dances........... the pre-teens....

.....older girls....

 .....and of course the gentlemen who were awesome 
and appeared to enjoy themselves......

 ......and the ladies having fun dancing in the sun.

Blue roof of the museum in background.

It was a long but wonderful concert, quite memorable for 
many reasons - one being the fact that Bering Island 
apparently only experiences about 5 days of sunshine annually -
usually being socked in by fog and mist - and fortunately 
we hit the first of those five this year for our visit!

Next time - a walk through the old village, and those 
cute 'Bering Boys' who sailed with us on their ocean.