Thursday, October 1, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on the first day of October.

As is often true around this time of the year, there is an Atlantic Ocean hurricane finding its way into our news headlines, and stimulating milk sales in local grocery store.

Before I get swept into this theme, I wanted to share with you all some city views from the past few weeks.

This is a grand time of the year to take walks around the city, creating yet another competitor from my spare time.  I now have a tower of books either waiting for me to read page one, or for my progressing toward the book's final page.  The book which I've most recently begun is John Banville's The Blue Guitar.  Its main character is a painter, and I immediately recognized the choice of Constable clouds on the novel's cover.  It was almost a year ago that I was fortunate to visit the V&A Constable exhibit, along with Celia Hart and Gina Ferrari.

I wish that I could be traveling over to the UK again this autumn, but practical considerations will be keeping me in New York until the new year.

However, just over a week ago, I had the immense pleasure of meeting a longtime blogging friend, Elizabeth Musgrave, who writes Welsh Hills Again, and her husband.  Once again, it was as if I was meeting someone whom I'd know for a long, long time.  Blogging creates marvelous opportunities.

We joined my NYC friend and fellow blogger, Elizabeth Wix, for a hearty lunch at a typical New York diner, and then set off on a wonderful walk along the length of the High Line park, that has been created on what was formerly a derelict, unused above ground railroad track.

The weather could not have been better, with a clear blue sky and a slight breeze.  I was amazed to see just how much new real estate construction has been encouraged by the success of the High Line.  

In the following show, you can see some actual railroad cars "parked" on rails at street level.

 Elizabeth is now back home in Wales and has written a post about their trip to the States.

In a prior post, I promised to take some pictures of the lady apple farmer's stand and hope that you all will be able to make out some of the names of the apples shown on her signage in my photos.  I was sorry to find the Cox's Orange apples were sold out before my arrival at the market.  Maybe I will have more luck on my next visit.

I did buy at least one sample of many varieties that I'd not before tasted, and of course, by the time I got home, I had no idea which one was which.  They are all delicious!

The charge for most of the varieties was $1.50 per pound.

I try to select the smaller apples, preferring them to the giant versions.

Moving on to the seasonal vegetables that are new to the mix, I liked the colors, textures and shapes of the squash, cabbages and cauliflowers nestled together.  I did not buy any this time, but will have many more opportunities.  I am savoring my final weeks' opportunities to find perfectly ripe and tasty tomatoes.

Some folks have asked me to show some of the progress I've been making on my marathon knitting project.  The following photograph shows last week's status of the back of the jacket.  I am so, so close to completing this jacket.  I just need some dedicated hours.

Let's see, what else do I wish to show you all.  Well, it must be Central Park, where the end of summer has many signals.

I love the blowzy look of these overgrown areas of the Shakespeare Garden.  I wonder if the gardeners have had some weeks off, or perhaps have been guided to just let nature run its course.

I find this maturity lovely, even on a cloudy day.

Would you all guess that this is in the middle of a large city?

There are still some very delicate little flowers to be found.

The tree leaves are still mostly green.

How I wish that I could properly identify the stars of this show.

Another sampling of purple flowers decorating the garden.

Well, at last...I do know roses when I see them.  There are still a few around.

I took this photo to show twigs tied together that earlier in the season supported some flowering plants...peonies, I think.

Don't know what this is either, but I like the look of the wispy, light-colored lines against the little green leafy ground cover.

And then there is this rather frothy appearing off shooting from another mystery plant.  Forgive me my ignorance.

Another span of froth, with some other garden visitors arriving in the far background.  The scale of the tiny folks compared with the seemingly large foreground froth amused me.

The ruby coleus leaves glowed beautifully against the softer green tones.  Or so I thought.

Green and brown leaves like these are something I might yet get around to drawing.  The composition interests me.

I also could not resist this view of another sign of autumn.

The density of the flowering plants against the texture of the nearby trees made an intriguing contrast, that seems to blend into a soft and misty distance.  Remember, this is in the middle of New York.

Another city view that seems very far from Times Square.

If you click to enlarge this final photograph you will see the remains of a large stage at the far end of the Great Lawn, where on most days, softball is played.  On the day before I took this photo, the stage was the site of a concert featuring Beyonce and others.  

I am hoping you all have enjoyed seeing this very random collection of early autumn city views.  Before long the trees in the above photograph will be showing their golden leaves.

Although the Pope was in town for a few days, and all sorts of international politicians have been in town for the United Nations session, there are many parts of the city that seem untouched by such news making events.  These are the parts that I endeavor to show you all.

Thank you so much for your visits and comments.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

September has been speeding along since my last post, and along the way I have added a birthday to my record.  I am now 70 and cannot quite take it in.

Keeping to my promise, I did return to visit the dahlia farmer's stand and brought back a bunch of pink dahlias, to admire and sketch.

Even with careful diagonal re-trimming of thick stems and daily changing of water in the vase, dahlias do not last too long.  And so I enjoyed taking lots of photographs of the blooms and buds and making many little studies, showing the flowers' life stages.

I filled several sketchbook pages with graphite and colored pencil drawings and wondered why I don't draw more often.  It is great fun to concentrate on discovering how dahlias are constructed.

I do plan on using some of my photographs as reference for yet more dahlia drawing.

Work is also continuing on my major knitting project, the fair isle jacket.  The sleeves are done and the fronts and backs are nearing completion.

I've also been reading wonderful books by Robert Macfarlane and Nan Shepherd inspiring me to spend more time outdoors.  Lots of walks have taken place on some the recent cooler days.  

Even though peaches, plums and tomatoes are still available at the farmers market, I have also begun sampling this years' apple crops.  Each apple farm seems to have a slightly different variety of these delicious fruits.

My plan for future market visits is to always try at least one variety that is new to me, along with gathering together some of my traditional favorites.

Autumn in New York is a time when lots of cultural activities begin their season and the city provides a feast of opportunities.  I am looking forward to sharing some of these with you all.  Meanwhile, I thank you for your visits and kind comments on my prior post.  It's grand to hear from you.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on an overcast, hot and humid afternoon.

A few miles away from here, lots of talented athletes are competing in the US Open Tennis tournament.  The weather conditions this past week have been tough for players and audiences alike.

I've been content to watch some of the matches on television, while actually continuing on with my current knitting projects, doing a little reading, drinking lots of water and ... taking a few afternoon naps.

My energy level has been reduced; however, I did manage to make one visit to the farmers market.  How could I resist buying more tomatoes and peaches?

I thought it might be interesting to show you some pictures of stands featuring items that I did not buy.



Healthy bread.

Bread crumbs.

Cakes and muffins.

Cornbread and quick breads featuring fruits and vegetables.

Large and heavy containers of flowering plants.

A parade line up of mums on the verge of full bloom.

Multi-colored beets.

I was greatly tempted by the delicate pink petals of these dahlias.

The creamy ivory dahlias next door also called my name.

Actually, this stand's entire display of flowers was very tempting.

And yet, I resisted.  My several tote bags were already quite full of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peaches, green beans, zucchini and red-leafed lettuce.  I could only carry so much on my subway ride back to my neighborhood. 

I will have many more days off next week, and might have to re-visit the dahlia situation.  As I have been typing on this lap top's keyboard, it seems as if the temperature has risen in my apartment.  I am now yearning for a thunderstorm to clear the air.

Thank you all so much for your visits hereabouts and your excellent comments.  I wish you all a happy early September weekend, even if, like those tennis players and myself, you will be working.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Yesterday's rain yielded us a brilliant sunny summer morning, without too much of the humidity that can sap our energy.

I got up early and dealt with laundry requirements in my apartment building's basement laundry room.  I was glad to see that almost all the washing and drying machines were functioning, and that I seemed to be the only tenant making use of the room

This is the sort of opportunity that can give a city dweller's day a fine start.  Once that laundry was dried, folded and stowed away, I was ready to take the subway downtown to Union Square.

This is definitely prime tomato season.  Yes, I do dream of having a garden and being able to grow my own tomatoes, but...when I see what Kernan Farms grow in nearby New Jersey, I know I must put those dreams to the side, and select some lovely ripe tomatoes from this stand and take them home.

This same stand is known for its marvelous peaches.  I did not resist their sweet and colorful call.

It is usually tricky when visiting the farmers market to know just how much to buy.  The entire idea is to be able to savor fresh produce.  I live alone, and know just about how much fresh produce I might consume before my next market visit.

Ahh, but I can admire the beautiful eggplants, and the many varieties of tomatoes, squash, and so forth.

I love the large signs around this stand proclaiming the source of their fabulous fruit and veg.

Another nearby stand was championing radishes, and a colorful variety of carrots.  I didn't buy these, but did purchase some of this farm's delicious and beautiful Lollo Rosso lettuce.  It became part of tonight's supper salad.

Do make note of that clear blue sky.  The following photograph shows just one aisle of one of my favorite plant stands.  I loved seeing this mom getting plant selection assistance from her two children.

Here's another view of the same stand showing some of their fine selection of cacti.  Sometimes there is a guitarist standing nearby serenading the plants.

Many of the flower and plant stands are now featuring sunflowers, in many varieties.  My little apartment does not have enough room to provide proper sunflower showcasing.

Now, please see how these varieties of plums shine in the almost midday sunlight.  I will perhaps get some plums on my next visit.

The colors of the bouquets for sale at a nearby stand sort of echo the colors of the plums.

It is not unusual for me to encounter some friends or acquaintances while strolling through the farmers market, but I have to admit being surprised to spy Santa at this fruit juice stand.  

It seemed a bit early in the year to let Santa know about my Christmas wish list, or to assure him of my good behavior.  

Instead, I was glad to be able have gathered several heavy bags of fresh fruit and veg before noon, and to make my way back home via subway.

This afternoon, I made more progress on my current fair isle jacket projects, had a late lunch while getting caught up with today's global financial news, did a little reading, and as the tune goes, "fell into a dream."  Isn't an afternoon nap a wonderful luxury?

I woke up to the sound of a phone call, from a person trying to conduct a political poll.  I declined.

It was almost time to prepare tonight's salad.  I thought before gathering together the various salad components, I would take a photo of the pretty peaches I bought this morning.  Aren't they lovely?  

Blueberries finished tonight's supper.  One of these peaches might take that role tomorrow evening.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  It is so interesting to learn how our summertime months are progressing.