Friday, September 25, 2015

Why I Do This

I started this blog back in March of 2012. Shortly after the untimely death of a writer who's musings, tales of Naval Aviation, thoughts on current events and politics I read every day from when I first stumbled across his blog to the very end of time, if you'll allow the phrase.

Those of you who know of whom I speak need not be reminded, those who don't, well let's just say that you missed something special, something which I doubt I'll ever see again.

I was stunned to say the least. I've written on this topic before, usually around the anniversaries of certain milestones in that wonderful writer's life and I won't belabor the point in this post. Suffice to say that on the 6th of March and the 9th of November there will be posts in his honor. I'm not sure how hizzoner would feel about that, my writing certainly doesn't hold a candle to his.

So I started this blog partly as therapy, partly to replace the daily visits to his place and partly to chronicle my life and times for future generations. Mostly the future generations related to me by blood or by marriage.

Along the way I've made a number of friends in the blogging world. By that I don't necessarily mean those folks who have their own blog, though many do. I have met a number of really fine folks who read my musings and stories and seem to appreciate them for what they are.

I've added two fellows to the writing staff here at The Chant, Tuna and Juvat, and both contribute something very special to the content herein. Both were in aviation, both have a wealth of stories and thoughts to share, and both are good friends. Tuna I've actually met in person, I will meet Juvat one of these days.

So what am I getting at? Lately I've been overly concerned with the number of page views for what we post. I've found myself thinking, "Wow, the readers apparently didn't care for that post at all!" Then I check the (admittedly wildly inaccurate) statistics which Google provides and note, "Damn, readership appears to be down today."

So recently I've come to the realization that I'm fussing about things over which I have no control. I mean it's not like I do this for pay, 'tis a labor of love in many respects.

Bottom line is that you, the readers, will read what you enjoy, if a post is boring to you, odds are you'll move on without stopping by. But you'll come back and so far you have done so, every day. For that I am most appreciative. (No, Robin, there are no door prizes...)


Yesterday I shared some photos of life here on the coast. Whilst trying to ascertain what to write about today I was going through my photos. Two years ago in October I traveled north for Madame Mère's birthday. Just so happened that the very same weekend was the annual Apple Festival in my old hometown. While the festival itself was rustic, quaint and I found it entertaining, I was somewhat alone in that assessment of the affair. So my kid brother, The Musician, suggested we head up to Wellwood Orchards, a local favorite for all things apple and fall related.

I took a lot of pictures on that part of the trip, some of which I'll share here. Some of them I'm saving for a future post. Let me just say this before the (ahem) slide show, fall in New England is one of the most beautiful spectacles on this planet. From the rocky coast of Maine down through the hills, mountains and river valleys of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, down Narragansett Bay out through the forests of Connecticut, there is no place I'd rather live.

Yes, winters can be brutal at times. It's part and parcel of my native land. While I don't mind visiting warmer climes in the winter months, I like being home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, no matter how high the snow piles are. (Usually not too high. That nastiness comes in January and February!)

New England, it's part of me, I am part of it. One reason I do this blogging thing is to share that with others. That way you can enjoy the scenery but not have to shovel the snow. Of course, you're missing out on all the wonderful smells New England has to offer. Well, except maybe in the spring, near a dairy farm. Can get a might odoriferous it can...

So, without further ado, pictures from October of '13, just north of where I grew up.

Parking lot at Wellwood Orchards, they do a fine business in the fall.
Parking lot at Wellwood Orchards, looking north, the foliage was spotty that year.
Looks like a tour just finished (the tractor and wagon on the right.)
Heading away from Wellwood, the apple trees do go on for a ways.
Virtually the same shot, slightly different angle.
Yes, I did get carried away with the cell phone camera.
Enough already!
Yup, I just moved the camera to the right side of the car.
And then back to the left. (Hhmm, pretty yes, clever? No.)
This shot is meant to show that while some trees still have their leaves, many have dropped theirs.
In the distance, Mt. Ascutney, 3130 feet, I saw this mountain every day as a kid.
Old meeting house in Weathersfield, Vermont. Off by itself in the woods.
Back at the old homestead, basking in the warmth of the mid-October sun.

For what it's worth I went to the Apple Festival last year and will be going again this year. It seems to consistently occur on the weekend before my Mother's birthday. Gives us an excuse to get out of the house. I also seem to find a new Air Force hat every year.

And they're cheap, er, inexpensive...


  1. Autumn sunshine. Can't be beat.

    It's nice to see that New Englanders can build a properly dynamic fence!

    1. The sunlight in autumn is truly glorious!

      Need to build strong fences around an orchard, they need to be tall too!

  2. Yep, some nice little hills. Err, mountains. 'scuse me.

    1. Yeah, they're pretty small compared to some. Thing is, they're very old mountains, much older than the Alps and the Rockies. So they're a bit worn down.

  3. Have you ever hiked to the top of Mt. Ascutney?

    I did like the Meeting House, lots of buildings like that around NC but they are all churches.

    1. A long time ago I did hike to the top of Mt Ascutney. A very long time ago!

      Actually a Meeting House is what we used to (and sometimes still) call churches in this area. That one is used as a church.

  4. Very nice pictures. I also think Vermont is the most beautiful place in the world during fall foliage. Have you ever been to Burlington on Rte.7 during foliage? That is one spectacular view of the mountains. Once I saw the mountains in Washington and Alaska I did have to admit that ours seem more like "hills". The cascades and other mountains out there are majestic! Just my opinion. And, if you can get here in the middle of winter, any of those pictures will also be unbelievable. Again, just my opinion. I have lots of those. :) Vicki

    1. Thanks Vicki. I have not been to Burlington via Route 7. It does look picturesque, The only time I've been to Burlington is up the interstate.

      Speed over scenery. I've learned over the years that you miss a lot that way.

      Winter? Too early to be talking about winter.

      Or is it?

  5. Glad you do blog. Look forward to reading them.

  6. That Mazda is certainly green! The leaves are just starting to change here in the Badger State. We had a dry summer here in Central wisconsin, so it will probably ne a subdued fall.

    1. Oh yeah it's GREEN.

      I fear the foliage will be spotty in New England this year as well. A very dry summer.

  7. Nice looking orchard, kinda reminds me of Julian, CA. You need to make a trip out there next time you're in San Diego!

  8. I love autumn apples. They just don't grow here in the South very well. :-(

    1. Well, the South has many other fine things. This I know!

  9. I didn't come to know hizzoner until after that awful March 6. I guess if it weren't for that day you wouldn't be blogging. I really didn't know him until after the fact, and I came to the realization that for those who did come to know him before that day, it was a defining moment in their lives - a "before and after" kind of moment. Pretty remarkable about a man virtually no one knew personally but all came to know him through his writing and Internet dialogue. A close friend had indeed been lost that day.

    I've read through everything he wrote that I could get my hands on and came away with one thought - the man was, most of the time, inspired. His blog sorta morphed from stories of the Navy (and holy cow - some of those were so funny I had tears running from laughter - to later on, issues in his life. And political issues. A guy who listened to NPR but was also a libertarian. Some postings were so close to him and his pain I realized that his blog was an extension of some of his most private feelings that he was willing to share with his readers.

    He really wrote of his motivations for blogging in a post called Blogito Ergo Sum - actually he told us where he was and what got him started, but he honestly asked the reader was he doing it for himself or for the reader?

    It was an open question that he could not, or would not, answer.

    I think he did it for both.

    He came to refer to some of his readers as "the best friends I never met" and after reading his posts, I came to feel the same about him. But he suffered no fools for Internet trolls.

    All I know is when I post something to the web site created in his honor, it is a poor reflection on his writing. I don't know how he could do what he did for the most part, every day. It is beyond admiration - awe?

    To think that he wrote engaging dialogue day after day. He had a few off days and a few missed days, but he was for the most part inspired. Throw in humor - and self deprecating humor at that - and one can see why he had an army of readers (who he always referred to as "both of my readers").

    I don't know how he was able to keep up that kind of quality, if not for inspiration.

    1. His work is something I can only aspire to, but never attain.

      Still and all, his memory keeps me plugging away.

  10. Autumn is my favorite season, no doubt because I am a New England boy. The other day, I heard a commentator on a local Boston news and public affairs show bemoan the changing of seasons. He stated that The Fall (capital letters definitely intended) was his least favorite season of the year. Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would choose to live in this area if he felt that way. If you want summer all year, there are plenty of Southern states able to supply your needs.

    By the way, I don't think you overdid it with the camera on those roadside shots. There is something wonderful about a road (I'll qualify it by saying "an almost empty road") in the more remote regions of New England during the fall. Photos of such places make my soul ache to be there, perhaps just standing in one of the fields (and maybe enjoying a smoke, if that's permissible) while feeling a cool breeze, listening to a few distant cows, and savoring the thought of a ham and beans supper at a local white steepled church later in the day (and, if that's not your idea of a good time, that's fine, but it is one of mine and it is one that is quintessentially New England.)

    Thank you for re-awakening my appreciation of such things.

    1. "There is something wonderful about a road (I'll qualify it by saying "an almost empty road") in the more remote regions of New England during the fall. Photos of such places make my soul ache to be there, perhaps just standing in one of the fields (and maybe enjoying a smoke, if that's permissible) while feeling a cool breeze, listening to a few distant cows, and savoring the thought of a ham and beans supper at a local white steepled church later in the day..."

      In that one paragraph you've captured the soul of a New Englander.

      Probably why I love reading your stuff!


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