The Retirement Rookie

An important part of retirement is finding other retirees. Since you exercise, you’ll find yourself comparing notes about aches and pains. I love being able to swim laps during the week.

The Dink Toed, Bow Legged Triathlete

retire

I’m a week into my retirement and I’m feeling very unqualified to answer the many questions I’ve been asked.   How does it feel being retired? What’s it like? What’s your plan? Are you going back to work? How does you wife feel about having you home all day? And on and on…they never stop …but what’s worse is I don’t feel qualified yet to answer any of those questions… other than to say I Love it!

Really …I can say….so far so very, very good…

Love having time for myself…

Love spending more time with my wife and family…

Love not feeling rushed all the time…

Love having time to enjoy working out more….

Love getting things done around the house…

Love having Saturday ever day….

As I get more skilled in my new role, I hope I’ll feel more qualified to answer questions.   To get better prepared I’m working…

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A Spring Hike

I haven’t seen a jack in the pulpit for years, thanks for sharing.

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Seeing the purple trilliums bloom told me that it was time to walk down an old rail trail in Westmoreland to see the wild columbines bloom. But purple trilliums aren’t the only sign and I almost turned back when I saw that the red elderberry at the start of the trail wasn’t blooming yet. So far every time I’ve seen the columbines in bloom the red elderberry was blooming as well.

There has been a lot of logging going on up here over the past few years and you can now see deep into the forest, which is or was mostly beech, maple and oak. I was glad I could see so far because this is known bear country up here. I had a can of bear spray with me but I’m hoping I never have to use it. If I saw a bear way off in the distance I’d…

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More Signs of Spring

Instant summer, where is Spring?

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Flowers aren’t the only beautiful things to appear in spring. Fern fiddleheads can also be beautiful as this lady fern fiddlehead (Athyrium filix-femina) shows. Lady fern is the only ferns I know of with brown / black scales on its stalk. This fern likes to grow in moist, loamy areas along streams and rivers.

I came very close to stepping on this small garter snake because I didn’t see it until the last moment, but it didn’t move. In fact it let me take a few photos and walk away and when I went back later it was still there soaking up the sun. It’s a good thing my grandmother wasn’t with me because she would have been up the nearest tree, so great was her fear of snakes. She knew garter snakes weren’t poisonous, but she was still afraid of them.

Garter snakes might not be poisonous…

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Late April, Early May Flowers

Spring has sprung. I have hellebore, magnolia, grape hyacinth, daffodils but not trout lilies or trillium.

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Spring is moving along quickly now and magnolias are blossoming all over town. I thought this one was particularly beautiful even though it didn’t seem to have any scent.

Grape hyacinths have also suddenly appeared. There was no sign of them a week ago but here they are. Last year at this time I saw hundreds in bloom so they’re just a little later this year.

I want to call this photo “suddenly scilla” because last week there were about three blossoms here. I couldn’t believe they could grow and blossom so fast. It must be the higher temps we’ve had over the past week.

There isn’t anything about scilla that I don’t like. I especially like their beautiful color.

Forsythias are blooming in nearly every yard now. They are common and over used, but I have a hard time imagining spring without them. They ask for nothing and bloom…

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I’m retiring… everyday but Saturday.

Yes it is true, Saturday is the best

The Dink Toed, Bow Legged Triathlete

Saturday

My Retirement Plan:  Make every day Saturday …except Saturday which becomes Super Saturday….

I have always loved Saturday’s.   For years I have tried to find a way to fit a day in between Saturday and Sunday to make it last …. I tried taking a Friday or Monday off to see if that would help, but nothing beats a Saturday…

Saturday4

Why is it that Saturday morning coffee, breakfast, cartoons, people all seem better than on any other day of the week? There must be something special about this day that magically makes life better….So, my plan for retirement which starts at the end of this week is to:

Make every day Saturday …except Saturday which will become Super Saturday….
Since announcing my retirement everyone is curious about what I am going to be doing with myself. Frankly it was a little bit stressful not having some awesome plan like saving the planet…

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Things I’ve Seen

signs of spring

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

I was shooting photos of a wintery Mount Monadnock when spring hopped into the photo in the form of a robin. He’s there in the grass on the left.

Robins are very curious birds, I’ve found. They seem to like watching what I’m doing as much as I like watching them. I had one let me stand right next to it just the other day.

A raccoon has become a regular visitor to where I work. Somehow it has damaged its paw and doesn’t seem to be able to see very well. We think it must be quite old for a raccoon but it still gets around fairly well and can still climb trees.

Two mallards hid in the reeds in a small roadside pond. While he watched me she tipped up and ate. She ate quite a lot, ignoring me the whole time.

They finally got tired of me…

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Spring Fever

Right now I’m looking at a mountain of snow, under that spring awaits.

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

The weather people are saying we’re in a “very active pattern” right now. The rest of us are saying “enough.” It wasn’t that long ago when the ground was bare except for plowed up snow piles, but then winter decided it wasn’t finished and we’ve had one nor’easter after another ever since. The first was rain, the second was snow, and the third is snow. Snow at this time of year doesn’t usually stay long but the cooler temperatures of late mean that it’s melting slower than many of us would like.

Despite the storms spring is definitely close at hand. Canada geese have returned and have taken up residence in the Ashuelot River. Soon they’ll be choosing nesting sites.

Willows are shouting spring. I love how they take on this golden color in the spring. It seems unusual that a tree’s branches rather than its foliage would change color…

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Following an Old Stone Wall

I heard a fascinating talk by Keyin Gardner of Hopkington called “Discovering Stone Walls”.

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Two of my great loves are history and botany and one of the best ways I know of to get a good dose of both is by following stone walls. This particular wall is in Swanzey, New Hampshire and surrounds what I believe is the oldest cemetery in town. Revolutionary war soldiers are buried here so it certainly has some age.

Right off I spotted some sulfur dust lichen (Chrysothrix chlorina.) It’s very yellow and hides under overhangs so it doesn’t get rained on. At least I think that’s why I always find it tucked away like this, but this is odd behavior for a lichen because they usually like a lot of rain and sunshine.

Sulfur dust lichens are kind of granular in texture. If you’re lucky you can sometimes find them with fruiting bodies (apothecia) but more often than not I see them when they aren’t…

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Another Round

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

There I was last Saturday before I climbed Hewe’s Hill in Swanzey, admiring some daffodil shoots. I was surprised to see them because it’s very early for daffodils here. These bulbs made the same mistake last year and paid for it with heavily frost bitten (and killed) leaves. Since bulbs rely on their foliage to make enough energy for the following year’s bloom I’m guessing that they must be in a weakened state.

I even saw green grass.

Insects were flying about. I think this one was a winter crane fly. They look like a large mosquito but don’t have the blood sucking beak that mosquitos do. I’ve read that females spend most of their time in the leaf litter of the forest floor where they live, so I’m guessing this one was a male.

You might have been fooled into thinking it was spring until you woke up Sunday…

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A Walk in a Snowy Forest

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Last Saturday was cloudy but warm with temperatures in the 40s. Rain was supposed come in the late afternoon so I headed out to one of my favorite places in Keene early in the day. It’s a trail through a small park at the base of Beech Hill and there is just about anything a nature lover could want there, including a mixed hard and softwood forest, streams, seeps, a pond, and a huge assortment of wildflowers, fungi, and slime molds in spring, summer and fall.

About 6-7 inches of nuisance snow had fallen a few days before but this is a popular spot and many other feet had packed it down before I got there. I find that my trail breaking days through knee deep snow have ended, so my strategy is to let others go first and then follow their trail. There’s plenty to see out there for…

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