Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rock the Boat Radio

I remember seeing the advertisements on TV when I was in high school, living in the middle of the state. It was the early '80's, a time of weird hairdos. Disco was dying and rock'n'roll or cheesy soft rock were the choices.  WFNX burst onto the scene offering alternative music, something I'd never heard of and wouldn't be able to tune into until I moved north of Boston a few years later for college.  It was a small radio station, located in a small city on the north shore, but it gave a voice to anything and everything deemed not mainstream.

An eclectic mix of music and radio programs, in it's earlier days there was a wine buyer who would discuss wines, a radio show called "1 in 10" discussing LGBT issues long before they became as mainstream as they are today, and the music was a mix of new artists and new wave/alternative rock. The Ramones, The Smiths, Nirvana, The Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins all were on WFNX before one or 2 of their songs made it to the rest of the stations. It was how I found out about new music for many years.

 I was hooked and it became my first choice radio station from college until today.  Sure, I'd flip around the dial when there was a song I really couldn't stand, or a long string of advertisements, but I'd always return.  Sadly, WFNX announced this week that they are shutting down, all the djs have been let go and they are being sold to Clearchannel.

I understand the business decision; along with everything else, radio is changing due to the digital age and the internet. Why listen through advertisements when you can create your own personal radio station on Pandora? I'm sad because it's the end of an era, a goodbye to djs I'd listened and become attached to over the years. One more small, independent company going the way of the dinosaurs.

I suppose as one gets older life is full of these changes. Progress brushes the things that are obsolete aside to make way for new, more efficient and exciting things. I understand that is the way things work and know there is reason for things being this way. And I think it is a good lesson to appreciate things they way they are today, for we have no idea what tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be like. That's what keeps life exciting, interesting and new.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rain, Rain, You're Ok

Many years ago I read  that it was better to take outdoor photos on a cloudy day, rather than a sunny one. The less intense light allowed the colors to be more true and less washed out. It had never occurred to me and seemed counterintuitive, until I actually tried it. The colors really were more vibrant. Since then, I've tried to get garden photos on cloudy days and just this spring found how beautiful things can be after it rains. 

It's true everyone loves a sunny day and after a week of rain our moods certainly do suffer. It's good to be reminded that even rainy days are good for something, even if it's just getting a few photos to be looked at on another, brilliantly bright day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good Morning, Sunshine

Show me a cat and I'll show you the best place in the house to sit. They always know where the warmest, coziest, most comfy places are. 

All that research is exhausting. Yawn.

A stretch, a few turns and back to doing what cats do best. Time for some serious zzzzzzzzzzzz's. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


A non-gardener would think us completely crazy; today Joe and I emptied the back of my car, rounded up every available bucket, pail and rubbermaid container we could find and drove 45 minutes north to a horse farm in Boxford. Our quest? Horse manure!  Just look at this beautiful stuff:

I expected to need to roll the windows down on the ride home but the stuff is so well composted there wasn't any odor of dung; just a sweet, earthy smell of dirt. No need to Fabreze the car!

The raised beds are filled with peat moss, compost, soil, vermiculite. I added fresh compost from our bins this spring, but I really wanted some horse poo to amend the soil. After several false starts on Craig's List, I found a place that would give it away- free!  What's not to love?

The green lettuce is growing well, but for some reason the red lettuce is way behind, though the seeds were started at the same time. Hopefully with the newly added manure the red ones will take off and catch up with their green neighbors.

The broccoli is finally starting to increase in size and the carrot seeds have sprouted. Once they get a little bit bigger they'll need to be thinned out.

The garlic seems to be doing well; it's very difficult for me not to dig down to check on it.    A practice in patience......

A new bed added this spring. This year it has potatoes, which are still underground. This was the real reason I wanted to horse manure- to hill around the potatoes as they grow so they'll produce more tubers. The 4 containers have what's left of the manure, saved just for this purpose. 

This may be a yearly trek if there is a big difference in the amount of produce we get from the garden. And if the plants are half as happy as I am about the manure we'll be just fine. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Changes in Latitude

 Although this past winter was incredibly easy, with record low snowfall, it seemed interminable in other ways. Prior to my surgery Joe and I promised ourselves that once I was recovered we were going to go somewhere relaxing, where we could just sit, read books and de-stress. In reality, it doesn't work that way, a trip doesn't magically erase a difficult situation, nor does it make everything ok. It does, however, give you something to anticipate, look forward to, and is a wonderful escape from the realities of everyday life.

As a rule, when we travel, we like to do a lot of walking, sightseeing and soak in as much of the area as possible. While stimulating, trips like that can be exhausting. It felt odd to go somewhere and just relax, we both struggled with not cramming our days full of adventures other than picking a place to dine and taking a morning walk along the beach with our coffees.

The beaches were gorgeous; unlike New England's coastline, the beaches were white-sanded and stretched on for miles, circling the entire circumference of the island. No harbors, inlets or bays, just one continuous, shell-covered beach. The shells were spectacular: pinks, peaches, glistening white, conch shells (very difficult to find a good one that wasn't inhabited) and even a starfish.

The water was warm enough for swimming, feeling like bath water compared to our icy north Atlantic. Our first day on the beach we saw several people pointing to a spot in the water near the shore. A fin! To our shock and amazement people started swimming towards it- even running from the beach into the water! After a second we realized it was a dolphin- up north when someone sees a fin there is a mass exodus from the waves and plenty of screaming, for it's a shark. 

 We were fortunate enough to be able to see a snowy egret, a little blue heron, which we were told would most likely be extinct by the end of our generation, pelicans, as well as ospreys.  An experienced birder pointed out a little screech owl in the bushes, which we were lucky to see. 


 The sunsets were spectacular. We dined at a spot called the Sunset Grille one evening, which was delicious.  After the meal we were able to walk across the street and watch the sun sink below the line of the horizon.

No, a vacation can't erase experiences we view as negative, but it can provide a welcome diversion and some unforgettable sights. How very lucky we are to have so many beautiful places in the world.