Our plan for exploring France was to follow Vincent Van Gogh's path south from Amsterdam to the Mediterranean, with important stops along the way. It didn't turn out exactly like that. Nonetheless, we saw Holland and France through the painter's eyes. .  
I hope you enjoy this jaunt through the mountains and small towns of southern France. Bask in the sun by the pool at a bed & breakfast set in the middle of a working vineyard, with mountains as backdrop.
Be sure to turn up the music -- Don McLean's Vincent (also known as Starry Starry Night), a paean to the Dutch artist, including some of his more recognizable Provence landscapes. 


 
 
Thanks to global warming, or at least an overactive La Nina pattern, summer started sometime around April up here. That's very unusual for New England. Unheard of, actually. 

And, it has been a scorcher! But, here we are in the middle of August and we can see and feel hints that summer will soon depart. Some nights are well near 50. Flowers and crops that should fizzle in late August or early September, have already started to buzz. Soon, the water will be too cold for a dip, and the breezes will take down the first leaves of autumn, as a warning.
 
Until then, enjoy this little taste of summer in western New England. We've had gatherings with family and old friends, grandkid birthday parties, indoor and outdoor concerts, garden parties and garden tours, daily trips to farmstands for corn and tomatoes, and luscious  solitary swims at the end of the day. We even sat for a spell in a cottage ornée in Pat's gorgeous rose garden. 

Wish summer could go on forever, but I know better. 

I hope you've had a good season, doing whatever it is you wanted to do. That's the way it should be. This is not the autumn of our lives, but the summer. Remember that and dress accordingly. 

 
 
Here are some shots I took last week on Hutchinson Island near Stuart, Florida, where I fell in love with the sea, the pelicans and the tropical plants. 

 
 
My gift to you! Take a visual dip in Vermont snow melt on a very hot but breezy day. Please turn your audio dial down (or off) to avoid the static in the audio feed caused by a strong west wind. Enjoy! 

 
 
It's true, summer is really, really here, with a vengeance. It's been wickedly hot in New England the last week or so, but we have hope the universe will settle down and go back to normal. It's a good time to go for a dip, take a long ride, visit a country fair or smell the roses. 

Here are some photos taken in and around southern Vermont/western Massachusetts recently. 

If you haven't had a chance to take a vacation, sit back, relax and take one now. Enjoy!

For a virtual dip in the lake, go to One-minute vacation

 
 
Every day is earth day, so let's take care of it. Remember, we're all in this together. 
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Smith College Annual Spring Bulb Show
Northampton, Massachusetts
March 7, 2011


 
 
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September 1 has come and gone, marking the unofficial end of summer. It could go on, but somebody flicked the switch! Night temperatures have dipped down into low 40s, cooling off water and land, if not the inhabitants.

Blessed rain came just in time, but nothing dampens the spirit of those determined to wring out everything they can from what’s left of the warm days of the year.

Now is a good time to catch an afternoon on the road or on the water. Take the kids to a downtown street fair, a ballgame or out for a hot dog at the drive-in that soon will shut down for winter.

Fruit growers have started bringing in their crops and cleaning them up for town and county fairs that go on, rain or shine.

Here are some shots taken in southern Vermont, western Massachusetts, Boston, Washington DC, Lake George and Long Island, NY.

 

 
 
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Sunflower field in southern Vermont, August 8, 2010

 
 
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Can any place be greener than Vermont in early summer? Maybe Ireland. Maybe not.

Here's a peek at what we see from the deck and windows.
Today, after a hot spell, we got up to a steamy 73 degrees at 3 p.m. A crisp Canadian high moved in and pushed all the muggy air out. The weekend should be stellar, perfect for the Fourth of July.

I stopped off at a farm stand yesterday afternoon. They had lettuce, beets, radishes, strawberries, blueberries and CORN! Everyone is talking about it. No one remembers ever seeing corn in time for the Fourth of July in New England. But this was not a typical year. We had an early thaw followed by persistent rain, with just enough sun to get things started. Now, we’re reaping the benefits. Who says there’s no global warming?

Below are a few seasonal sites in and around southern Vermont/western Massachusetts. Photos were taken yesterday evening and this afternoon. If you look carefully, you'll see a pileated woodpecker making salad-bowl sized holes in a tree.

The bears are out and about, but we haven't seen any yet. Lots of other people have. One friend stepped out on her front porch to shoo away a bear from her bird feeder. He responded with a deep growl, and she high-tailed it back indoors.