March Racing clouds and whistling winds, Coats flapping in the breeze, Bright kites circling in the skies, The dance of swaying trees, The cheerful sight of crocuses, The first sweet breath of spring – Just part of all the many moods The month of March can bring.
Today, Kevin and I got some work done with the greenhouse. Now, the lower frame is installed and the panels are slid in place. There were so many screws for putting the frame together. Our backs began to hurt and we had to call it a day. But I’m glad we’ve got it this far. The next level had to be done with a ladder. The greenhouse is very tall.
Since the early morning hours, we have had rainstorms passing through Connecticut. Due to the rain, the air feels so refreshing. It is cleaner from all these pollens flying around, which are causing us to have seasonal allergies. Here in New England our allergies are not as bad as in Texas. But we still get them. Mostly our throats are itching. Today, we can walk outside without any symptoms. It is nice having a break. I used this opportunity to capture photos of the rain on our back porch. And I filled a couple of milk containers with rain water from the gutter. At some point, we need to get one of those rain water barrels. we had in Texas. Fresh rain water for the garden and greenhouse is still the best.
Kevin and I reinforced the wood frame because the outer frame was too big. And I didn’t want to chop the original frame up. Once the wood frame was done, I built the aluminum bottom frame. We secured it by screwing it into the wood frame. Hopefully, this will prevent the greenhouse from falling over in high winds. Now, all the little detailed work has to be done, before I can build the outer upward frames, so I can slide the polycarbonate panels into place. Yep, this will take some time to get all done.
Every day, there is more color in our yard. Over the last weekend, the pink Rhododendron’s buds began to open up and started to blossom. Once the whole bushes are in full bloom their green leaves can barely be seen anymore. There will be pink half globes all over the shrubs.
This morning, we had thick fog in the Naugatuck River Valley. The higher the elevation, the thicker the fog became. It was hard to see the school bus in the distance. Once I was back home, the fog cleared out fairly quickly and the sun came out.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
Earlier, when I laid out more bricks for the greenhouse floor it felt very humid outside. Later, it got breezy and the temperatures began to cool down a little bit. It started to get more comfortable. But with the breeze, the darker clouds and a storm front moved in. The rain was so refreshing. After the darkest clouds moved out, the sun began to shine again. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a rainbow.
The greenhouse was ordered and picked up, and the materials for the greenhouse floor were ordered and delivered. And I have my vision put on paper. All I need is to focus and some elbow grease to turn this idea into a nice little garden oasis. The first mission will be the base to build that floor. This will be a backbreaking project. Let’s see how everything will turn out. I’ll keep y’all updated on this project.
I’ve got some work done with the flooring for the greenhouse. After I measured everything out, I put the stakes in place and span a rope around the perimeter. Once I had the edging installed, Kevin and I dumped a gravel mix on the ground. Then we covered it with landscape fabric. Now, we have bricks on the fabric temporarily.
Since the weather is beautiful, and I recovered from the surgeries I had last Winter, it is time to work on my project where I left off last Autumn. Last weekend, I spread out the leveling sand and started to work on the brick floor. While Kevin transported the bricks from the pallet to the spot where I wanted the greenhouse to be, I laid them out on the ground. Every other day, I work on the greenhouse floor, so I can get to the next step: Building a frame on the bottom of the greenhouse to get more raised bed space and prevent it from flying away in the high wind gusts. The bricks are not set perfectly. But in most areas, I’ll have raised beds anyway.
Ozzy loves to explore everything in our yard. He watches bumble bees, butterflies, and many other insects emerge from under dew-covered leaves. Birds catch some worms and larva for their offspring on the lawn. Chipmunks perk their little heads from their burrows. And squirrels chase each other around a tree trunk. There is so much to see and prowl on for Ozzy. Once it gets warm throughout the day, he will take a nap in the afternoon. He needs the energy to continue his adventures in the evening, again.
Yesterday evening Kevin, Zoey and I took a little stroll in Echo Lake Park. Because there is a sign to walk in twos or bigger groups due to wildlife activity, I’ve never been on the backside of the lake. The weather was beautiful and we had to stretch our legs from driving back and forth to New York City. The Echo Lake Park Trail is approximately half a mile one way. While on the trail, we saw a turkey hiking up the hill, trying to get away from our curious dog. There are several benches to sit and relax by the water’s edge. On the backside of a boulder there are a couple of artwork drawings. A beaver left its own work close by the lake. Kevin wondered how long it would take a beaver to chew through a tree that size in the photo above. Since it gets warmer, more Canada Geese come back to Echo Lake, again. Zoey really wanted to chase them. But Kevin had a good grip on her, even when she jumped right off the bench. This girl is crazy, when it involves chasing wildlife. After all, she’s part Labrador and part Pity.
Now, at the end of April our yard has changed quite a bit. More ground cover blossoms have emerged from the ground; the shrubs begin to bloom; and our maple trees start to turn green. Spring becomes more colorful. The last couple of days, I’ve seen an American Robin picking nesting material on our property. A Mourning Cloak butterfly flew across our yard as well.
While I captured photos of fresh Spring blooms I asked our neighbor, if it was okay to capture some photos of the Saucer Magnolia blossoms on his property. After I’ve got permission, I shot some images of these beautiful blooms. They always remind me of my childhood in Germany. We’ve got a lot of Saucer Magnolia trees in the Court Garden of the Residence and in the Royal Garden (Kaisergärtchen) close to the train station in Würzburg. As a little girl, my grandma dressed me up, when we took a walk through the Court Garden of the Residence. When grandma sat on a bench to take a break near the Saucer Magnolias, I was collecting the blossom leaves from the ground and counted them, how many I could hold in my hand. That kept me busy for quite some time.
The last adventure was the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise – Landmarks, which guided us from the Hudson River into the East River under the BMW (Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge} before the boat turned around again. From the boat, we could see The Vessel, Little Island, Mid-Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, the Financial District, Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, Ellis Island, Lady Liberty (Statue of Liberty), Brooklyn, the BMW Bridges, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, the full One World Trade Center Tower, and the Waterfront of Jersey City. Jersey City had a fly-over by two Bell Boeing V-22 Ospreys, when we entered the Hudson River again. The tour lasted one and a half hours around half of Manhattan Island.
When Kevin, Sara and I exited the boat, we walked straight into 43rd street to pick up the car from the garage, Our New York City CityPASS adventures were done, and we wanted to leave New York before rush hour hit. The only attraction, we didn’t visit was the American Museum of Natural History. That place had been more interesting for Katelynn.
On Saturday, Kevin and I decided to take a spontaneous hike at Castle Craig. Katelynn came with us to get rid of her jetlag faster. When we arrived at Hubbard Park, it seemed like there was an event going on. Later, I found out it was the weekend before the Daffodil Festival. The tents went up, and vendors prepared for the event. Unfortunately, Peak Drive was closed off. And so we had to walk along the Merimere Reservoir towards the castle. On the walk, we saw wildflowers, and a millipede and had a good view of the castle’s tower. Since we didn’t bring enough water, we turned around after approximately two miles. Roundtrip, we did about four miles. Even when Kevin, Katelynn, and I didn’t make it all the way to Castle Craig, we had a nice hike at the park.
From the Space Shuttle Pavilion, we walked inside the USS Intrepid. Kevin, Sara and I had to go up a view flight of stairs to reach the captain’s cabin and the Pilot House. We could see the technology that was used back in the 1940s. There were a lot of radars for the ship and the incoming aircraft. When you click on the photos, you might not find the right names under them. I’m not good with ship terminology. Please bear with me!
Downstairs in the hanger, we saw a brass ship propeller; more airplanes, and helicopters (Sara posed in one for a photo.); and the history models of the USS Intrepid.
When Kevin, Sara and I entered the Space Shuttle Pavillion, we were greeted by the rear-end of the Enterprise. However, the twins of the Perseverance “Percy” Mars Rover and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured my interest first. It was very interesting to see both in the original sizes of their counterparts on Mars. Percy has the same dimensions, and is about 300 lb. heavier than its predecessor. The helicopter, Ingenuity, was designed to work for 30 days and five flights. It went on its first flight on April 19, 2021 and on the 26th flight April 20, 2022. It has a flight time of 49 minutes and 10 seconds, and traveled 6.23 Kilometers (3.87 miles) on Mars, so far.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Sara looked closely at the Enterprise and its history. Later, I went upstairs to get a better view of the Space Shuttle’s front and left side. I had to use my panoramic feature on my cellphone to capture the whole shuttle at once. It is huge. Coming back downstairs, I could take a glimpse inside the Russian Space Capsule, Soyuz TMA-6.
I have to break the visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum into several parts. The first part is the Flight Museum. When we went on the Intrepid, which is at Pier 86 by the Hudson River, we’ve seen the Submarine USS Growler to the right. Kevin and Sara have Claustrophobia and therefore get anxiety in small spaces. Since I’ve seen the German submarine Wilhelm Bauer (U-2540) in Bremerhaven, I was okay with not going inside the USS Growler in New York City. However, there were some cool displays of planes and helicopters on the top deck of the aircraft carrier.
In my photos are the USS Intrepid (CV-11) – US Navy; USS Growler – US Navy; Grumman F-9 Cougar – US Navy; US Navy Blue Angels Hornet Replica; Grumman A-E6 Intruder – US Navy; Vought F-8 Crusader – US Navy; PZL-Mielec Lim-5 (MiG-17) – Polish Air Force; Sikorsky H-19 – US Coast Guard; Sikorsky HH-52 Seaguard – US Coast Guard
New York City reminds me of a buzzing beehive. It’s always busy, 24/7. Therefore, New York has a nickname, which derives from Frank Sinatra’s song “New York, New York”: TheCity That Never Sleeps. No matter where we went, there was always something going on. Workers, construction, trash trucks, police, people trying to get from place A to place B several blocks down the street, tourists, street sales people, homeless people who look for a couple of dollars, people who shoot selfies or Tiktok clips of themselves. In Times Square it could be seen all at once, since it is a big open area for everyone to look around, see all those sky-high billboards on the building, and enjoy life with a cup of coffee and some kind of snack. Kevin, Sara and I decided to make a short stop at the Disney Store New York. Before we walked to the garage and drove home, I wanted a plush “Lady Liberty” Minnie as a souvenir.
When Kevin, Sara and I arrived at the corner of 5th Avenue & 34th Street, I looked left and right to find the Empire State Building. It could nowhere be found. Then I read the sign Empire State Building and looked up. “Holy sh*t! This building is colossal.” Kevin asked: “Did you find it?” While I still looked up and almost got a neck spasm I replied: “I’m looking at it.” The bottom of the building blends in so well, we had no idea, it was right there. LOL
Once, we made it inside the Empire State Building, we had quite a bit to look at. Of course, there was the historical part that can’t be left out. Construction of the building started in March 1930, and finished in April 1931, just in time for the opening on May 1, 1931. There are tons of movies with the Empire State Building, including King Kong. The giant ape poses for pictures. He is actually a very nice fella, who hurts no one. But these airplanes still make him nervous. I guess the pilots didn’t get the memo, the shot of the movie has been done for almost 90 years, now. 😉 On the 86th Floor, we had a perfect view of New York City again. This time, I could get a better photo of the Chrysler Building, because the MetLife Tower was not in its way. We’ve got a better view of the Financial District, especially the One World Trade Center. The wind was chilly up on that floor. So, we looked around for a little bit and made our way back downstairs.
Once we were out of the Empire State Building, we took a break from sightseeing to have lunch at TGI Fridays. We also called it a day. New York was supposed to get a heavy rainstorm with flash floods. And we didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of it. After lunch, we made our way back to the car. But first, we hung out at Times Square for a little bit, since it was on our path to the garage.
Kevin, Sara and I had a late lunch at the Brick Oven Pizzeria on Thames Street, before we made our way to Goat Island. We saw the famous Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharves. A lot of people enjoyed sitting outside, eating, drinking and being social. The glass walls protected them from the wind. And the sun was warm. My face got sunburned a little bit. Sara got herself one of those Amethyst crystals, I talked about in Part I. As we kept walking, we’ve got a good look at the Oliver Hazard Perry sailboat in Newport Harbor. Almost halfway up on the bridge to Goat Island, I could capture some photos, I usually see on the frontpage of Newport tourist magazines: The Goat Island Lighthouse and the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge in the background. We didn’t make it all across the Goat End Connector, the bridge that connects Goat Island with Aquidneck Island. It was too darn windy. However, Kevin, Sara and I had a good time in Newport. We’ve got to see some places. Now, we know the size of Newport and Aquidneck Island. Next time, we can plan the trip better and know what to expect.
As the cold and grey winter days Give way, to the bright and beautiful spring … You know it’s time for you to hear, The Easter bells ring! The birds are chirping, The bunnies are out, There are Easter Eggs all around! There is happiness in the air, And a warmth in your heart to stay with you, All through the year!
Sara talked for months about going to Rhode Island. Since the girls have Spring Break, I started making plans for the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, Kevin, Sara and I drove to Newport and looked around a little bit. Mainly, we stayed in Thames Street, King Park, King Park Beach, Bowen’s Wharf, Washington Street, and Goat Island. The wind was gusty and cold at Newport Harbor. So, we made it short.
The photos above are from King Park and King Park Beach. Originally, we wanted to see Fort Adams. But we parked the car in Thames Street. And it was a long way to walk to the State Park. So, we took a nice stroll along King Park Beach to get to Rochambeau Statue and Monument. Kevin, Sara and I had a nice view of Newport across Newport Harbor. Newport has tons of wharves. Right now, it is still too early for sailing. But I can imagine the harbor will be full with boats in Summer. Newport also has a lot of history. It would take days to visit all these places and take all the information in. I believe this will be more interesting for Sara, when she’s older and hangs out with her friends. However, she got herself a nice small piece of Amethyst crystal in one of the tourist stores. She loves to collect crystal stones.
The girls are on Spring Break for Easter and the following week. Katelynn planned a trip to Texas for quite a while. She will spend a week with her boyfriend in Dallas. I wish I could go too. But this is her trip. She planned and paid for it. She will enjoy a week away from her parents and her little sister as well. 😄
Meanwhile, Kevin, Sara and I planned some small trips to Rhode Island and New York City as well. The weather is supposed to be okay. A little bit of rain in the forecast won’t keep us away from doing any sightseeing. We will dress accordingly. Sara wants to see the smallest state of the USA. So, we will make a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. And if we are not too tired, we might make a stop in Mystic, Connecticut on our way back home. For Newport we picked several points of interest. We might not even do half of it. But there is a plan to tackle some of them. 😉
The flowers still need a little time to bloom on the trees and shrubs, and emerge from the soil. In the meantime, we enjoy the early blooms of New England’s Spring. This week, we have some warm weather. Hopefully, it will soon wake up the dormant roots in the deep ground.
After dropping off Sara in school, I drove over to Echo Lake Park. Echo Lake Park is my favorite spot in Watertown. And it is only half a mile from our house. Usually, when I go there, I get greeted by a lot of Canada Geese. Today, there was a lonely goose paddling on the lake. My guess is that the other geese arrived at the park, later. I’m still waiting for the trees to bud and turn green. However, this could take until the end of April into the beginning of May. Connecticut teaches me a lot of patience in nature, for sure.
Since yesterday afternoon it rained, until this morning. Once the sun rose, fog covered the Naugatuck River Valley in a light blanket. However, it didn’t take long for the sun to burn the fog away. And sunshine came through the rest of the clouds. In our yard, everything was covered in thick pearly raindrops. The day warmed up fast. And we had temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s (15° – 16℃). There is more rain in the forecast for this weekend.
It’s been raining all afternoon today. The wind is strong, and it is cool enough to give me chills. I can’t wait for next week’s Spring weather to arrive in New England. Hopefully, we will see more colors in nature. The chilly weather and the beige/grays are getting old now.
Thanks to the previous owner of our house, we have beautiful flowers blooming from Spring to Autumn on our property. The daffodils are one of the bulb flowers we have in the front and the backyard. Since a few days, I’m waiting for them to bloom. And today is the day we have the first open daffodil on the hill in the front yard. It is another day closer to Spring. 🌱
We’ve had a steady Spring drizzle, today. It is also cooler than yesterday. However, this didn’t prevent me from shooting some photos in the afternoon. My neighbor came over and let me know, we’ve got a visit from a moose last night. Hopefully, it will come back, so I can capture a few photos of it.