Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Weekend

Saturday Morning in New Hampshire at Mom's
I won't write of politics, current events, war or military history today. The weekend I just had was far too fine and holds the promise of memories which will be with me until the day I close my eyes for the last time. Times like that, where I got to spend quality time with my Mom and my youngest brother are far too rare. But this past weekend was extra special.

For the past few years The Missus Herself and Yours Truly have made the trip up north to visit my mother on the weekend before her birthday. For the past three years this has coincided with the Apple Festival in the town where I came of age. It's something to do when the air begins to have a hint of winter in it and the leaves are turning.

Of course, this year The Missus Herself is out west with The WSO and the newest member of our tribe so I opted to make the trip all by myself. While I don't mind, much, traveling by myself, it's better if my better half is along. Makes the miles go by faster somehow to have company on the journey.

While I do know the way to Madame Mère's house, this time I hooked up the old Garmin. She sometimes will pick an odd route and then I get to argue with her. (Her? Why yes, The Nuke set her mother's Garmin to have a lady's voice. And yes, they both get upset when I refer to the Garmin as "Bitching Betty." It's tradition ya know.) Again, makes the miles go faster although the other drivers are certainly convinced that I'm an absolute loon.

C'est la vie!

I had originally planned to leave at noon on Friday, working only a half day. On Thursday I informed my boss that I had changed my mind and would be coming in not at all on Friday. If that last bit puzzles you (syntactically that is), don't feel alone. That's how I phrased it with my boss. I do believe that I am prone to verbal dyslexia and will occasionally jumble the words in a sentence. They're all there, just not in the right order.

"As to Friday I will be coming in not at all."

Puzzled look as the boss parses the sentence. The light dawns as to what I meant as opposed to what I said and he says, "Okay. By the way, when did you start speaking like Yoda?"


I awakened Friday to a warm and partially overcast sky. There was rain in the forecast, I was hoping I wouldn't see it before I got to Mom's house. My hopes were dashed as I headed west on the Mohawk Trail (what we call Route 2 through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) as small drops of liquid began to hit the windshield.

When I got off that highway onto the smaller road wending its way to the border with New Hampshire it started raining in a very serious manner. The cloud deck was nearly at hilltop height and the mist was down in the trees as the autumn rain pounded my vehicle, the road and everything else in sight.

As I got further north I could see that the foliage was headed towards its peak. But with the lowering skies and the deluge around me it was all against a soggy grayish background. While not without a certain beauty, the colors of the leaves were muted, not dull just not as vibrant as they would be if it were sunny.

Saturday I got my wish. The day dawned bright and clear and remained that way the rest of the weekend.

The foliage was incredible, the sky so blue and the company sublime.

Much laughter ensued, much excellent food was consumed and I developed quite a fondness for Sam Adam's Octoberfest beer.

It ended all too quickly but the memory remains. It was an excellent weekend. Most excellent indeed.

A perfect morning in October.

The venue for the Apple Fest, which was well attended. My old junior high is nestled back there.

Heading for the orchard. I grew up in the shadow of that mountain.

Vermont country road.
A common sight in Vermont - "Posted" - keeps the hunters away. Most of the time.
Some of the apple trees at the orchard. There are literally thousands of 'em!
Country scene at the orchard. I wish I could share the smell with you. Fall in Vermont!
Same shot, pulled back a piece. The camera doesn't do justice to those distant mountains.
A riot of color. This is somewhat muted compared to some years. But not bad for such a dry summer.
There's something about a stand of birch. Especially with that backdrop.
Tourists headed out into the orchard. When I was a kid we did that all the time with my Grampa Ray.
The blue skies of Vermont.
Walkin' down a country road...
From the North Springfield dam looking towards the airport. Had an episode in a small aircraft flying along that ridge. A slightly stronger gust and a slightly less capable pilot and I would probably still be up there. But I'm not and for that I'm thankful. One thing among many to be thankful for!
View behind the dam. Somewhere in those woods me and a buddy built a bunker of sorts, more of a dugout really. A place to hang out, far from the madding crowd.
This flock of pigeons at the dam were fun to watch. They too were enjoying the day.
Mount Ascutney
"My" mountain. We once chased a cloud above her summit. Dipping and weaving through the sky much like those pigeons.
A long, long time ago.
A nearby hill, the light tower is visible just to the left of the peak. At night the hills all have their twinkling red lights. Well, there is an airport nestled among those hills.
The sheer joy of life.
The sky goes on forever.
The airport, just beyond the trees. Back in the day there were two A-26s parked there. We boys figured out how to get inside. It was a while before the airport staff was on to our game!
The glory of the sun in a New England sky.
The hills of my boyhood.
Back at Mom's. These trees are next to her backyard.

The blue of the sky, the red and gold of the maples. My homeland.


  1. "Coming in not at all". That's just your inner German coming out. I see the apple farmer had a Ford 9N. I think Ford used to issue those to famers, it seems ever farm has one. Good little critters. Here in The Land of the Badgers, we had a dry summer, with less than 4inches of rain between the end of June, and Labor Day, so the colors are very muted, here. Probably much nicer up towards Lake Superior, where they had plenty of rain It will be crisp this weekend, with a high of 50 for the UW Homecoming Game. I am glad you had a pleasant Apple Fest. Dids't thee guzzle dark brown, pulpy apple cider, which is ever so tasty?

    1. I did not get to sample any cider, I was far too involved with the Sam Adams Octoberfest.

    2. Mmmm, Sam Adams Oktoberfest....ahhhhhh

    3. You have to read that in Homer Simpson's voice.

    4. As to your first comment, you inspired me to have one. Which led to another, and another, and...

  2. Wonderful pics indeed. And I remember that Garmin of yours. Never seen one like that before. Kinda cool how it actually waits until after you pass an exit before it tells you to take it.

    1. Yeah, she can be "amusing" at times. Not always real useful.

    2. There were a couple of points in the Post where I wasn't sure if you were writing this or Murph. A-26s indeed. I had a great weekend last weekend also complete with pictures, so there may be a rejoinder there.

    3. I love the follow on rejoinder posts!

      While looking at the airport I thought of Murph, which reminded me of the A-26s. So he at least inspired that part.

  3. Great pictures! Trees have not yet started to turn down here. My best use for our GPS is that The Commander argues with it instead of me about the route to be followed.

    1. Thanks Cap'n.

      Now there's a good use for a GPS, hadn't thought of that one.

  4. Understand perfectly your phrase of a turn I do. Riot of color indeed. I gotta get back there a little later in Fall apparently as the orange and red hues were even more vibrant in your pics.

    1. Mom's house is 150 miles north of where I live so the leaves turn earlier than Little Rhody.

      Mid-October is generally the best around here.

      Get that you do.

  5. "The camera doesn't do justice to those distant mountains.'

    I've found that to be true except when capturing an image across a valley from a higher elevation.
    It requires some extra effort.

    1. I'm still working my way through the camera's manual. But I'm sure there's a way to do it.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous foliage, Sarge - thanks for sharing it with us.
    And talking like Yoda ... priceless! :)

  7. You were on a trip back to your roots and to fall. Not with "The Missus" but just you. The trip would have had a different 'smell' to it she had been along. I'm not saying bad of course but a different vib. I'm sure your Mom enjoyed her boy back. Out here in SoCal we were 'enjoying' temps 104-110. Most leafs turn brown and crumble to the ground. Lovely, just lovely. Not our idea of what fall should be. We had hoped to been close to out of here to enjoy the fall in NC but hopefully we'll be there in the full throws of winter.

    As far as Ms Betty goes. I've turn the voice off because most of the time I've already preflighted my route and only need the fly-to-points when I get into the terminal phase.

    1. Betty is activated just in case there is a block to my progress, such as a road closed or other detour. I could probably drive the route in my sleep.

      Normally I use it to put me "in the basket" at the end of a long trip to a place I've never been before.

      I'm betting that NC is gorgeous in the fall.

  8. More fun than the average Bear should be allowed..

  9. An excellent adventure documented with superb pictures. Love Jonathan Livingston Pigeon and friends. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I really enjoy my camera, it makes it seem as if I know what I'm doing...



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