Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics and Highland Park, New Jersey

Raspberry Watercolor, Raspberry Photo

September 17th, 2014 by

raspberry watercolor by Leora Wenger, 2014

raspberry watercolor by Leora Wenger, 2014

Here it is mid-September, and yes, we still have raspberries! I started this patch at least ten years ago from three little shoots. Now I have to cut them back and make sure they don’t take over our entire backyard.

I did the watercolor as a response to an exercise to paint something you observe in nature in the One Watercolor a Day book. The last time I posted a watercolor was my Sage Watercolor way back in April. I guess I’ve gotten distracted by both spring and summer gardening! More attractive to dig in the dirt than take out the paints, observe and record? Seems to be gardening won out this year.

raspberry photo garden
The raspberries are not as sweet as the strawberries we get in the spring. But their season is longer. We get a few ones on the old cane in July; in August we start getting the bunches of raspberries on the new cane. Have you ever eaten raspberries fresh from the garden?

If you live in Highland Park or Edison, I can dig up a plant or two to give to you.

Thursday Challenge: Bees on Sedum

September 11th, 2014 by

sedum with bee on
My sedum flowers are in bloom – happy bees fly from flower to flower. I noticed there are several different kinds of bees.

Thursday Challenge: “GARDEN” (Flowers, Vegetables, Rocks, Orchards,…)
Next week: Next Week: BLUE (Anything with the colour blue in it,…)

bee on sedum
Have you seen bees on sedum?

Cardinal, Catbird and Robin

September 8th, 2014 by

cardinal in the garden
I’ve been filling my feeder with bird seed – the cardinals especially like the black sunflower seeds. But this cardinal was poking around in the other side of my yard, where I’ve been growing tomatoes and cucumbers.

cardinal poking garden rudbeckia
I wonder what he is thinking: “Shall I try a cucumber?” – no, probably not that.

What’s fun about catbirds is the way they sing. Also, they hop around quickly. This little catbird is a juvenile – I’ve been seeing other birds that are smaller than usual, meaning they are basically teenage birds.

catbird juvenile
Isn’t this little catbird cute? I like the way he looks down, clutching the edge of the garage roof with his little claws.

Ah, now he is looking right at me.

robin on garage roof
Robins usually don’t eat the bird seed in my feeder. I’ve been told they like fruit. I do have raspberries in my garden, but I’ve never actually seen a robin poke at my raspberries.

Last week I saw a yellow goldfinch with black head. I’ve also seen a blue jay. My friend saw a turkey vulture on her lawn. Seen any unusual birds lately?

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Nature Notes

Raritan River Liatris

September 1st, 2014 by

liatris by Raritan River, Donaldson Park
According to Wikipedia, there are many kinds of liatris. These purple flowers grow by the Raritan River at the edge of Donaldson Park, a large county park situated in Highland Park, New Jersey.

liatris donaldson park raritan river raining
Three weeks ago, when my daughter was in camp and I had a little more time, I went to Donaldson Park and took some photos. I took several of the Raritan River, such as this one with the tall, bare tree at the river bend. I really enjoyed the Raritan River liatris, the purple spikes bursting out of the sandy banks by the river.

liatris rainy day raritan river
It was raining that day, but not enough to get me soaked, despite the fact that I had not brought a raincoat.

liatris new brunswick raritan river donaldson park
In this photo, you can see a little of New Brunswick, New Jersey – that’s where some of Rutgers University resides. New Brunswick is more urban than Highland Park, but it is still small, especially compared to Philadelphia or New York City. Or Newark or Trenton. Actually, all you see is a bit of the bridge of the route 18 highway.

In other nature news, I started filling my bird feeder again (it got neglected as I paid more attention to my garden, but as I explained to my kids, only in the winter am I really concerned that the birds in our area need food to eat). I’ve seen blue jays, a cardinal and mostly lots of sparrows. Maybe soon I’ll have more bird photos.

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Nature Notes

Historical Windows of Asbury, Shawangunks and Ocean Grove

August 24th, 2014 by

house near visitor center Sam's Point Shawangunks
This old white house of wood was next to the visitor center on our hike in the Shawangunk Mountains. It looks like it might have once been a farmhouse. One hundred years ago this area was known for its berry pickers – hard to believe berry picking was once someone’s job. But I suppose in other parts of the world it still is.

Asbury Park, Paramount Theatre
If you visit Asbury Park, a prominent building is the Paramount Theatre. It is right on the beach, and a promenade boardwalk leads you from the theater to the old casino building. Lots of shops and restaurants have newly opened along the boardwalk. The theater (you can read its history here) was built back in 1927. Two years ago I posted Asbury Park: Pictorial History in Brief).

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Finally, here’s a beach house with historical windows in Ocean Grove, New Jersey (I’m guessing that the original windows were replaced – these looks simpler than how I imagine windows once used to be). Ocean Grove is next to Asbury Park. It has a rather different history. It started out as a Methodist town – here is some history. My husband remembers when you were not allowed to ride your car in Ocean Grove on a Sunday. He would ride his bike to work at his job, and when he got to Ocean Grove he would get off his bike and walk it.

I’m linking to I Wish I Were a Photographer on Toby’s blog. As she says, I wish Israel were no longer at war – I read via Facebook of my cousins and my friends too often needing to go to their shelters to protect themselves from the missiles. Last week, a four-year-old boy was killed.

Want to participate? See Whimsical Windows and Delirious Doors.
whimsical windows delirious doors

Shawangunk Flowers (and Leaves)

August 18th, 2014 by

milkweed flower
On our hike in the Shawankgunk Mountains we saw a variety of wild flowers. Milkweed was growing right next to the visitor center (see above photo).

chicory lavender  flower
The most prevalent flower on our hike was this lavender chicory. The daisy-like flowers might be Erigeron philadelphicus, commonly known as Philadelphia Fleabane.

daisy-like flowers
These daisy-like flowers seem to enjoy growing through the rocks. They look a bit like a lazy daisy.

fuzzy flower
I really like this fuzzy plant. No clue what it is. Some relative of thistle?

purple wildflower
This purple wildflower looks a little like purple horsemint.

yellow star flower
I don’t have a name for this yellow flower, so I decided to call it my yellow star flower of the Shawangunk flowers.

red leaf
This is not a flower but a leaf: a red leaf that glowed in the woods on the trail.

Verkeerderkill Falls top scenery
I posted the Verkeerderkill Falls on the previous hike post; above, you can see the top, the very edge before the falls “fall off” the cliff. I didn’t want to get any closer.

Finally, here is a great view of the scenery looking northeast from the Verkeerderkill Falls trail:
skies in shawangunks
This was a day in which the weathermen had threatened rain: only clouds that we saw all day were white and fluffy. What a glorious day.

While Googling for information, I found this blog called Friends of the Shawangunks.

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Nature Notes