[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

The small deck behind our sliding glass kitchen doors is one story up from the downward sloping ground beneath it. When you stand on the deck you are therefore in the air, looking out in spring and summer at green tree foliage. There our two housecats safely try snaring the small birds and squirrels frequenting the twin feeders hanging off the top rail. (They have better luck with the occasional crawling insect.) Every year we also put out a few pots of colorful flowers that can withstand hot morning sun with daily watering. An occasional bird dips its beak in the saucers of run-off water.

This year, a helpful garden center saleswoman recommended a few other flowering plants undeterred by blistering mornings. In addition to our usual orange impatiens, we therefore also came home with reddish million bells, orange and yellow zinnias, and — to hang off the railing between the feeders – a large yellow lantana.

Soon two gorgeous new visitors arrived (plus several bumblebees). As one who lived almost all her long life in concrete cities, I had never seen a live butterfly up close. But there it was one morning, fluttering around the lantana for almost twenty minutes, black of wing with white and yellow markings, much larger than I would have imagined and not afraid of me when I came close. News of the lantana must have spread: the next day a second brilliantly yellow and black butterfly joined the first, sipping nectar from its multiplicity of yellow flowers.

Now when I hold the watering can over the lantana each morning, it’s for the two butterflies too. My butterflies. I’m so proud!




I can’t remember who first sent me this.  Just that it came in an email and made me feel good.  So good, in fact, I played it again twice more before saving it for a rainy day.

It’s a flashmob performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, staged and filmed in the main square of Sabadell, Spain, to look as if it were spontaneous. But you don’t really need to know that. Just think of it as a booster shot of happy.

I ran it here nearly a year ago, when this blog was new and had two dozen viewers. (It got three likes!) So a few of you have seen it. But very few. Now that for most of us the leaves are falling, winter’s chill is in the early morning air, and we’re setting our clocks back this Sunday to conserve what little light seems left in the world — it may be time to run it again. After nearly two hundred years, it’s still a heartwarming infusion of pure joy.






They move away fast when you take out a camera.


But it’s spring. And you know where a young goose’s fancy turns in spring.


Maybe if we hurry around to the other side of the pond, we’ll be able to get a better view.

Ah!  That's better!

Ah! That’s better!


There used to be two. Now there are eight:  mama, papa and six little goslings.


I wish I could show you the six little balls of fluff huddled near their mama more clearly.


But the parents are protective; they just don’t come close to shore with their goslings.

And even the miraculous iPhone 5s has its limits.

As do I.

But if you click on a photo to open it, you’ll get a better view.

(Don’t say I didn’t try.)






Marquand Park is an arboretum and recreational area at the corner of Lovers Lane and Stockton Street in Princeton, New Jersey.  It has walking paths, a baseball field, expanses of grassy lawn and attractions for young children, such as a playground structure and a sandbox with trucks and sand toys belonging to the town. The park gets its name from Princeton University professor Allan Marquand, who acquired a parcel of property at this location in 1885.  In 1953, the Marquand family donated seventeen acres of it to the town for use as a park, and in 1955 a non-profit foundation was created to care for the new park.  Marquand Park now features over 100 species of trees and shrubs — none of which I can identify for you, although each has a small name plate telling you what you might want to know about it.

But one needn’t be an arborist to visit the park.  Especially in the spring and fall, it’s lovely to stroll its paths, or sit on the grass or on one of the conveniently located benches.  Last Sunday,  which was Mother’s Day, Bill and I did just that. The weather was glorious. If we turn the calendar back, you can come along too…..  Be warned, though:  there’s a lot to see, beginning with the views from the parking lot:





The children’s area is closest to the parking lot:




IMG_0590 IMG_0595

IMG_0732But then we leave children behind and enter the park proper:

IMG_0588IMG_0596IMG_0597IMG_0599IMG_0600IMG_0602 IMG_0607

IMG_0610IMG_0613Now we come into a shaded area:


IMG_0619IMG_0620IMG_0621IMG_0623IMG_0625IMG_0626IMG_0627IMG_0628IMG_0632IMG_0633IMG_0636IMG_0637IMG_0638And here comes the sun again:



IMG_0645IMG_0646IMG_0649IMG_0651A private house adjoins the park.

IMG_0652IMG_0654IMG_0655IMG_0656IMG_0657IMG_0658IMG_0660Time for a rest?  Probably….


IMG_0698IMG_0594Views from the bench:

IMG_0661IMG_0663IMG_0668IMG_0673IMG_0674Better get up and get going again….

IMG_0670IMG_0664IMG_0666IMG_0667IMG_0702IMG_0703IMG_0705IMG_0710IMG_0713IMG_0721[We’re nearly back to the car.  Just a little farther….]

IMG_0723IMG_0725IMG_0726IMG_0728IMG_0737And here we are!


I warned you there’d be a lot to see.

But wasn’t it a lovely day?



Nothing fatal. Just a comprehensive case of eczema that makes it painful to sit, think, or type. So if you’ll excuse me while it gets getter, here’s a rerun that should cheer you up until I rise again from my couch of itchy-scratcy, all anointed with Medicare Part D-approved medications that are supposed to relieve the need to tear myself apart with my fingernails.  Please bear with me and enjoy.  It’s a flashmob performance of Beeethoven’s Ode to Joy, recorded in one of the main plazas of Sabadell, Spain.  Some of you will have seen it before; others not.  Whichever category you’re in, my feeling is you can’t get too much joy. 

[Re-blogged from November 23, 2013]




After the bittersweet emotions of the previous post, we need a booster shot of happy.

I am therefore presenting again, for your viewing and listening pleasure, a flashmob performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, from the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony, filmed in the main square of Sabadell, Spain.  I first uploaded it in “Learning to Blog: 2-5” — the blog where I began.  Therefore some of you will have seen it. But some of you have not. Still others (like the ones who prefer heavy metal ) may leave and never come back.

A risk I will take.  Bill wants to see it again, I want to see it again,  you may want to see it again too, once you’ve seen it the first time. Who owns this blog, anyway? 

So here goes….

Get ready. Get set. Go!