Blithewood Mansion redux

You may remember that a while back I posted a link to some lovely photos of us, taken by talented photographer Melissa MacDonald, while we were staying in the Hudson Valley. The photos were shot on a rainy late-summer afternoon at the Blithewood Mansion, now comprising a portion of the Bard College campus on the banks of the Hudson River.

As it happens (never able to give my own camera a rest) I took a few photos myself. I mean, it isn't every day that one finds oneself in such a fanciful and painterly setting!
The Blithewood mansion was built in 1900, its grounds and stunning gardens originally designed by renowned landscape architect and horticultural journalist Andrew Jackson Downing.
Although the weather during the bulk of our trip East was magnificent (even uncharacteristically so), on this our last day in NY, it rained...slightly, and then steadily, and then torrentially, and then slightly again for the entire afternoon and evening.

Which was fine. Really it was. It seemed somehow fitting in this setting. It did nothing to decrease the delight of our photo shoot, and...well, everything is easier to swallow when one knows one will soon be en route back to the more clement climes of Colorado. Ahem.
I couldn't resist snapping this shot of QQ studiously reviewing her closeups with our portrait photographer ;)
After our photo session (during which it was raining too hard to move out from under the massive pillars of the portico) the rain let up a bit and, amid a gentle drizzle, we were able to venture into the stunning walled gardens.

Q turns into such a sprite in these settings, straight out of a storybook.
Exploring her own secret gardens.

The balconies look out onto a spectacular view of the Hudson River valley and the Catskill Mountains beyond.
Promenading with laolao.

On the way home, though the rain had closed in again, we stopped long enough to admire Frank Gehry's design for the Bard College performing arts center. It's difficult to see, in this light, the way the skin of the structure reflects the sky in all its various moods, but it's quite spectacular.


Squaw Pass

It used to be, when we lived in the mountains, that "scenery" was just part of every-day life for us. Not that our little garden neighborhood is an eyesore, by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the opposite! But from time to time we have to remind ourselves to get in the car and go higher. Mountain passes are touched with gold this time of year, and the season is fleeting...blink and you'll miss it!

This morning, we leaped in the car and manage to squeeze in a tour of Squaw Pass, between Evergreen and Idaho Springs, before our babysitter arrived at two for an afternoon of work.

We only just barely had time to make the circuit and get home in time, so most of the scenery was through the car window.
We did however find this idyllic meadow in which to stretch out legs and soak up the peerless September sunshine.

The itty one, fast asleep on the drive home.


The things we grow

After a week of chilly autumn rain, it dawned splendid again today, the kind of weather that Colorado is famous for.
Mike decided it was the day to turn of the drip system and pick the pumpkins. They have been growing well, with little Q knocking on each one and then kissing it in turn, like some sort of ritual, every day when we walk down the path.

They look bigger and more splendid somehow, snipped from their tangle of dying vines and set on display, guarding the front door.
Meanwhile it was my day to plant the bulbs, sprinkle them with bonemeal and fertilizers, and bury them under their thin layer of high-plains soil. Now, if only I can keep those punk squirrels away, they will sleep out the long, cold winter dreaming of gentle spring breezes.


The Dutchess County Fair....and memories of my own childhood.

Isn't this just the sweetest scene?
If you look closely, there are three children napping among these cows, tucked in between their warm, smooth, solid haunches. What a lovely way to experience childhood, don't you think?

I don't approve of elephants in captivity. It makes me sad. But their beauty always astonishes, and I can never resist capturing the image.


Etsy shop

So, if you've noticed the Etsy shop button on the left that's been morphing around lately...that's Mike, who's been kindly working on setting up a shop for me while I work. It isn't finished yet...I need to solidify the details that he's sketched in. But I will put up an announcement when it's actually up and running!


First pigtails!

First pigtails.


Into the woods....autumn at Lair O' The Bear state park.

In this set of pictures, you will see Q playing the drums on a tree stump. Those of you whose children are addicted to Yo Gabba Gabba will understand the source of this little drama.
As for this - I can't even begin to explain this, but I think it might have something to do with gymnastics. Nice show of balance, either way!
This little ritual is one she indulges in often of late. She is imitating her daddy's shaving ritual, from patting the shaving cream on to rinsing to the rubbing of the aftershave into palms and jowls. Too, too funny. Cracks me up each and every time.
Reading signs and stopping to smell the flowers.

Here, she is indicating to me that she has heard a particularly delightful and unusual bird call. Fluttering of both hands next to her ears is one of her made-up signs, meaning either crickets or birdsong. Very expressive girl.
Just, beauty.

Singing to herself. When I set her on this log (just a little too high for her to get on or off of her own accord) I thought she might object. Instead, she settled in and made it her own, gazing at the canopy of trees overhead, listening to birdsong, and finally...just signing to herself out loud.