Sunday, October 6, 2019

Scenes from Early Autumn

As promised, I took Olga back to Hampstead Heath yesterday for a long, long walk. We had a great time. She must have been storing up energy these past few weekends because she was a wild thing. At one point, as she barked and barked and barked at a squirrel up a tree, an older woman with a Scottish accent said to me, "Is she all right?"

I couldn't tell if she meant "Is she friendly?" or "Is she mentally well?" I covered my bases and said yes, she's friendly and she's just excited about the squirrels.

It's beginning to seem truly autumnal, with a few changing leaves scattered here and there...

...but there are also a few lingering traces of summer, like the two red admiral butterflies I saw fluttering around this stand of purple asters.

The chestnuts are falling, their spiny husks opening like alien pods. The shiny brown nuts within litter the forest floor.

I've blogged this brick arch or gate several times, but on this walk I noticed a sign has been attached explaining its origins. (You can see the sign, a dark square on the right side of the structure. It definitely wasn't there a few years ago.) Apparently this is known as the Pitt House Gateway and dates from around 1766, when it was built as an improvement to the residence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham.

Olga and I found an iridescent blue magpie feather, lying in the dewy grass.

By the time we reached Golders Hill Park near the end of our walk, Olga had given up barking at squirrels. She was barked out. Instead she stared through the fences along the woodland paths, seething with canine frustration. So close, and yet so far!

Last night, Dave and I watched a documentary double feature -- "The Last Resort," about two photographers who depicted the lives of Jewish retirees in Miami Beach in the late 1970s; and "Fahrenheit 11/9," Michael Moore's movie about the election of Donald Trump. The first was fascinating, the second, depressing and infuriating. Moore raised perfectly valid criticisms about American political structure and society, but he took everyone to task (even Obama) and his film was ultimately short on solutions. I can accept that our societies and our democracies are in grave danger, but aside from voting -- which as he points out is an act diluted by the power of the main political parties and the electoral college -- what do we do about it?


  1. Picture 3 is not a horse chestnut husk. It looks like a sweet chestnut husk to me and whereas horse chestnut seeds (conkers) are inedible, sweet chestnuts are delicious when roasted. Sweet chestnuts were introduced to Britain by The Romans as a nutritious food source.

  2. I'm sitting wide awake in a motel room in Winslow AZ after driving to New Mexico on Friday. Just a little weekend getaway but I ended up misjudging distance and had to spend this night a little further afield than I planned. Then to top things off, I can't seem to get to sleep. Might as well read some blogs! You have some great photos today. I love the close up of the chestnut with Olga in the background. And, don't you wonder what William Pitt would think if saw what was left of his home today.
    Thinking about Moore's movie is depressing. I'm not sure I want to see it. Just reading the NY Times and watching the PBS news hour is depressing enough.

  3. Fabulous Photos And Olga's Outing Was A Classic - Her At The Wall Is A Perfect Metaphor For Politics - Enjoy The Week Ahead


  4. YP: You are correct! I've never been good at telling those trees apart. I just changed it to chestnuts.

    Sharon: Whenever I hear of Winslow I always think of that Eagles song: "I was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see..." Hope you finally got some sleep! I wouldn't blame you for bypassing Moore's movie.

    Padre: Thanks! I suppose Olga's desire for squirrels is a metaphor for so many of us, desiring yet uncertain how to achieve -- politically or otherwise!

  5. The woman's question about Olga reminded me of the time that one of my hens just would NOT stop cackling. Loudly. Lily finally said, "Mom, I think your chicken's broken." One does wonder what Olga would do if she ever got a squirrel.
    I'll give that documentary about the retirees a go. Not so much the Michael Moore thing. It would only add fuel to my already-roaring fire.

  6. The politicians are not going to change the system to get better government . They don't want less power and they certainly don't want us to have more power.

  7. I don't think there's anything we can do besides voting and taking to the streets. and I don't see Americans taking to the streets anymore. we're too lazy.

    signs of fall here too and that's the only way to tell though we are supposed to have a cool front move in tomorrow to bring temps down to the 80s.

  8. Nice feather find. I hunt for feathers, so I know a fated feather when I see one. It wanted to be found my you.

    Dear Olga. She's Charlie Brown, and the squirrels are Lucy holding the football.

  9. I forgot to mention that I loved seeing your evening primrose. Mine are still blossoming too. That arched wall really is quite interesting. That would look nice in front of my yard entrance. I'll bet Olga is really happy now after her long and barkable walk outside. She seems such a joy. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. I don't think I could watch Michael Moore's movie. We're living the nightmare 24/7. Seeing the squirrel photo reminds me that my twin brother has befriended an injured young squirrel that has taken up residence in the redwood tree in his yard. The squirrel comes to visit everyday now, sits on the railing of his deck and enjoy the nuts and fruit Michael gives her. He's learned that her FAVORITE food is avocado.

  11. Olga sounds delightful. Our Foxy loves barking at the squirrels and will chase them. I have never known her to catch one haha.

    I love the arch. I think that it is amazing how things built hundreds of years ago still stands while modern structures will fall with a harsh wind.

    Michael Moore... not much that I can say about him because he does try to influence his documentaries. I quit watching him several years ago. I don't think that much will come of this impeachment inquiry. I can hope but then I think that Pence isn't much better... UGH. I will vote tho but not for the present administration.

    I love the colors of the leaf. I wish I had some of those kind in my yard but ours are little tiny leaves that we never seem to get all of them up no matter how much we rake. I love Autumn. It is my all time favorite season.

    Have an awesome week.. Take care.

  12. I love your photos today...we can pressure our senators and congress people, work to uphold voting laws or reverse initiatives designed to curtail them. I'm not sure much will come of the current inquiry though I hope I am wrong.

  13. Good question about what else can we do.
    So much!

    Nice guide from the NYT: "How to Participate in Politics: Vote, Lobby [write, call], Show Up [includes smart protesting], Talk Politics, Donate Money, Run for Office"

    Trump is coming to my town (Mpls) next week, and more people are expected to turn up in protest than to attend his rally. They've raised money to bring the Trump Baby balloon too! :)

  14. I love the leaf. You'd think in the land of the maple leaves we would have plenty, but most of the "maple" (i.e. maple-shaped) leaves in our town are from Norway maples, a Euroasian import that is susceptible to a virus that leaves them with black splotches all over the leaves. Not very photogenic! Yours is MUCH better.

    Poor Olga! I can imagine her frustration. Great picture, though!