Tuesday, February 28, 2012

none too pleased

Apparently the woods got wind that I was leaving today and were none too pleased with me. Or as I read recently, "to err is human, to arr is pirate". Arr!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

another pretty drive in Lancaster County, PA

Headed down to PA to celebrate my wife's grandfather's 96th birthday. After a huge family feast in Ronks we had a beautiful drive back to Lititz taking Gramma and Grampa back home. We should all be so lucky to live such healthy and long lives as Howard and Hilda Good. God bless them. Born on February 29th, a true leap year baby, I want to wish my new grandfather a very happy 24th!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today is the day...

After three and a half sensational years helping to maintain and improve Central Park today is the day I give notice that I am leaving the Central Park Conservancy and officially begin the career shift back to the eastern end of Long Island. Standing near the North Meadow Rec Center looking west as the sunrise begins to wash over the west side, it's going to be a heavy day for sure.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Krissy's new wheels

We realize moving back to the country that we are going to need a second car so my wife, proud daughter of a military man, was thrilled when we finally figured out her new set of wheels!

Every time we go east we pass this old M60 tank in Wainscott, NY, and after enough passes we knew we had to take a funny shot and see if we could get a chuckle out of Krissy's dad. Success.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

lamb chops a la Richie

When my father asks if you want to come over for dinner, trust me, you say yes!

Eventually these would be broiled to perfection and served with a deliciously garlic-intensive broccoli rabe and baby Yukon Gold potatoes roasted with small white onions and herbs. ...and that was just the entree. ;-)

Harley dog!

We were east again and this time we got to see our friends who we hope might soon be our neighbors. Not to mention we got to see our favorite of the mini dogs, Harley.
Part wookie, part ewok, all fuzz, just hysterical.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ilex opaca in Central Park

Ilex opaca is commonly known as American holly. They have a large stature and presence in the landscape and as you can see here an impressively conical shape. Like most evergreen holly they are either male or female. In this case the male is on the right and pollinates the female on the left so you get this nice fruit set.

Monday, February 13, 2012

when one door closes, let's hope another one opens

This is the allee (should have an accent over the second e, pronounced "al-lay") of Cryptomeria, or Japanese cedar that you pass through when entering the Longhouse Reserve in East Hampton, a 16-acre garden and sculpture park founded by Jack Larson. As a lover of both public gardens and my home turf, the eastern end of Long Island, this place is truly one of a kind.

Friday, February 10, 2012

winter sunlight...

It's wild to think about the sights and sounds and experiences I have become so accustomed to living in New York City, even wilder to think about leaving them. One day I left the Horticultural Society of New York when they were still in that cavernous space on 58th Street. It was probably an interview, which would take the scene back almost ten years. From there I had nothing else on the agenda so I decided to stroll Central Park. Like most new to the city I would get terribly turned around, but I wasn't concerned. I knew I could figure out where I had to get to by that point in order to get back to safety, at that time a tiny room share in Park Slope. I was already used to walking a lot, and this afternoon I walked for a long time. Eventually I would end up in an alien land. I stumbled upon a fenced-in formal garden I didn't even know existed. I climbed stairs and found myself under a breathtaking wrought iron pergola covered in wisteria. It was summer or early fall so the park was rich in green, new growth. Giving my legs a break I would sit for a few and watch a gardener carefully pruning back the aged wisteria with a pole pruner. He seemed at peace. Carefully snipping the unwanted new shoots I would remember thinking to myself, "gosh, if I had a job like that I could last in this city a long time". This was on the heels of being at a party at my brothers apartment in Brooklyn and a friend of his recommending that I "just give the city ten years and see how you feel", a suggestion that seemed like pure lunacy to this young surf kid from a small ocean town. Sure enough nearly ten years would pass. I would learn the man I saw that afternoon was a gentleman named Paul Serra, Assistant Curator at the Conservatory Garden there in the north end of Central Park. (My walk had apparently taken me from the base of the park at 59th Street all the way up to 105th Street on the east side). Paul and I would not only get to know each other but would become good friends and colleagues tending to the Conservatory Garden under the direction of Curator Diane Schaub and Director Lynden Miller. I would get my chance to have an "office" most people would die for. And as my dear friend Diane would compliment, I would share some of my best years with that garden. I learned to love and respect the garden and the park and those that tend to it in such a caring and selfless way. Doug Blonsky, the President of the Central Park Conservancy, the organization that maintains the park for the city of New York through a model public-private partnership, himself wastes no time calling his horticulture staff the ambassadors to the park. After years I would learn how right he is, and how proud I am to say I am one of those ambassadors.

This week was a major week. Only a couple months ago we began the search for a home, a real house, and yard. Thanks to all the right people being in our corner we found a house that seemed perfect. We said "why not" and put in a bid, and to our amazement the back and forth happened quickly, and in our favor. All of a sudden the question of whether this might be the year we get out of the city became the question of how soon might we get out of the city, no "if" about it. We put out feelers on the work front and crossed our fingers. Hard work, it would turn out, had once again paid off as calls quickly led to conversations which led to setting up meetings. Our house bid was accepted, confirming we are buying our first home. Interviews were set, letting us know that we have the skills to take the show on the road. I would pause and look up to get caught by the morning sun as it narrowed through the buildings along Fifth Avenue and shot in to spotlight the wisteria covered pergola in the middle of the Conservatory Garden. It's these moments that make you stop for a sec, to behold the beauty of the here and now. Maybe it's a sight you have seen a thousand times before, but you never saw it like this before. Or maybe it's like you are seeing it for the first time, all over again. It's the exploration and adventure that will ensue that you don't even know yet. You will remember this place and time. The next challenge begins. With great admiration and respect you get a deeper glimpse into who you are and where you are going based on where you came from, and all of those steps along the way. The pergola and the wisteria, the tiers of spirea and yew, you have been so good to me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

other assorted wildlife

This is Puck, the regal fat man. When it comes to the cats, we call them "the beasts", and as you can see, terribly ferocious.

Friday, February 3, 2012

great day for hawks in the park

In the north end of Central Park today we were lucky to have a bunch of great hawk sitings. This first guy was so hidden in the landscape my friend had to point him out to me. I don't know my hawks well enough to figure out what kind he is, but I was very thankful he let me get a couple good shots of him, even if only on my camera phone.

He really could have cared less about us, for there were a lot of squirrels out that were just as oblivious as I. Did I mention it was lunch time?? ;-)

This other one I couldn't get such a good shot of. He was picking over a pigeon that was clearly his midday feast. I admit I'm not even that much of a birder but the hawks of Central Park are so wonderful to watch. Isn't their camouflage just amazing!?!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Neil Young, genius.

Sunday my friend Bubba posted a link to a little Rolling Stone write up on Neil Young. They were letting people know to go to Neil's website to listen to a 37 minute jam that they guessed was recorded rather recently. Sure enough the jam is awesome, Neil Young and Crazy Horse doing what they do best, making amazing music. From there I had to dig through the archives and find this album, Live Rust, from 1979. If you like Neil Young this is a must have album in my opinion. Takes me back to when I lived in California, actually on a ranch next door to Neil's property. Such good music.

And definitely go to neilyoung.com and check out the jam too! There's a little Cortez the Killer about 19 minutes in. It'll take ya right back.