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It definitely was a long winter this year. I have to admit that I absolutely love the snow especially when its peacefully falling or on a beautiful sunny day being out in the fresh crispness of winter. By the time there are layers of ice where you need snowshoes to walk on it, and the snow is now shades of charcoal along the roads, I long for Spring.

I love what Charles Dickens wrote about March because it the truth living in the Northeast! I am on the lookout for that first “Spring Day”!!

Kim

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John loves to hike and he knows I love photography so we decided to do a photo hike in a new area out by Long Valley. It was a good hike especially along the Black River where you  were climbing over rocks. I didn’t love the uphill climbs as it reminded me how out of shape I am.  It definitely was a popular spot with families young and old and the family pets!

After our hike, we stopped off at the Cider Mill Farms for some homemade goodies and coffee. Lovely family place!

 

 

autum benchAutumn Walk by Kim O’Neill

Walking through crisp air,
leaves fall around me like rain
the soft sounds of peace.
*   *   *
Leaves spin as they fall
painting yellow, orange, and red
a rustic landscape.
*   *   *
Shepherd at my heel
loves to explore on our walks
the world around her.
*   *   *
Squirrels scurry about
collecting their goods to store
for cold days ahead.
*   *   *
The smell of fireplaces
warmth and coziness nearby
the breath of Autumn.
*    *   *
As I step inside
I press my leaves in a book
memories to keep.

Originally posted on Ennui Made Me Do It:

photo friday theme – from the road

split rock reservoir

John and I were on the road doing all the Saturday errands  - “the depot, the warehouse shop and gas stop, a Jersey diner” all places I won’t name because there may be some sarcasm in my tone as it’s the typical to do places. On the way home, I suggested we stop by the reservoir near our home to see the sunset. I took this photo from the crazy one-lane bridge. There are stories about this bridge in a book which involve mafia and other people you wouldn’t want to meet at night on a one-lane bridge!

For John and I, we enjoy it every time we are there and plan to purchase another kyak to enjoy this beautiful place from the water!  - Kim

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backyard

We have now lived in our home for 10 months! I am thoroughly enjoying our first Autumn in New Jersey. We’ve been apple picking and decorating with all the great pumpkins and gourds and of course the changing of weather and leaves!

The thing that hasn’t changed is our home projects. When I wanted this home, I loved it… where John envisioned what he could make of it. So it’s been one project after another… all outside except for the inside being painted. People coming and going since January, blocked driveways, mess, people knocking when you are still in your pajamas! All of this upsetting my protective German Shepherd Bailey who barks whenever anyone           enters her domain!

This week our huge outdoor project was completed and it looks beautiful. We have to take the time to enjoy before winter moves in!  I am truly happy my husband envisioned the potential to make it our home. Now I just need some help on the inside.

Hiking around Split Rock Reservoir

Hiking around Split Rock Reservoir

I just returned from Miami and the Keys to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday in Key West. I was so happy taking in the beautiful weather and incredible water that always puts me at peace. Although the “Duval Crawl” was anything but peaceful! We had a fun night celebrating and then took in the water views again as we passed over from key to key heading to Miami.

While in the middle of all this, I was reading a book called Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman. It was about a man’s trek through the AT (Appalachian Trail) 2,176 miles running from Georgia up through Maine. It was something he dreamed of doing and after his wife died from cancer, he needed to make peace with himself and God. I really loved his adventure and the friends he made along the way. I couldn’t wait to see if the trail ran through New Jersey and found that it is not far away – just at 80 and Del Water Gap.

John has talked about doing it before and now I am really looking forward to going out to take a day hike out along the AT trail. Now there are trails all over the area we live in so I may want to try hiking right in my back yard first!! We walk down to the reservoir along the gravel road but really haven’t ventured into hiking yet!

If you have a trail in the NJ area you love hiking, please let me know!!

Happy Trails!

 

For information on the book Hiking Through, go to: http://paulstutzman.com                    Also go to http://www.appalachiantrail.org for information on day hikes and what to expect.

Megs at beach

My daughter was up visiting from Miami before she heads up to work this summer at Camp Kiniya. I really don’t know all the fun things to do with her in NJ yet. With the heat wave that came through last week, we decided to head to the Jersey Shore. I just set the GPS to Monmouth Beach where I thought we could start and work our way south.

We started in Long Branch and worked our way through neighborhoods Asbury Park,  Ocean Grove, Avon by the Sea, Spring Lake and others. It was a totally different feeling from South Florida. I really loved how there were beach neighborhoods each with their own personalities. There were some lovely beaches to stop at but with Megs by my side, I was definitely looking for a little more excitement. After being diverted away from the beach back,  we hit Point Pleasant…

I knew this was exactly what we were looking for.

Boardwalk, shops, restaurants, rides and more… It was a perfect day out. We ventured into Martel’s for lunch. Meg looked longingly at the Tiki area with kids just a few years older all mingling at the beach bar. (Only 2 more years )  After lunch, we saw an aquarium which we HAD to visit. It was really nice for a small aquarium on the Boardwalk! We were there amongst kids on their field trips, but enjoyed watching feedings for  the harbor seals and penguins. Megan loves anything with animals, so it was a nice stop before we hit the beach.

The beach was very busy for midweek but there was a “heat wave” … The temperature on our phones read 90 degrees but there must have been colder weather off shore because it was chilly when the sun disappeared behind the sun. Megan ended up wrapping herself up in her towel like a burrito, I stayed in the sun and  ended up with a bit of color. Not a person found in the water with the water temperature and the waves crashing against the shore. It brought memories of a childhood vacation to Atlantic City where my dad liked to throw us into the waves.  When we had enough beach time,  we picked up ice cream cones to go and headed home.

Other than the 2 1/2 hours of traffic on the way home, it was an amazing day!

 

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Above: Megan wrapped in burrito

What is your favorite spot on the Jersey Shore? Or fun thing to do in the Garden State?

I had the chance to scratch something off my bucket list (OK, my husbands) and we purchased tickets to opening day at Yankee Stadium!

Yankee stadium lower level

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Our friends were visiting from Pleasanton, California,  and we were hitting all the NYC spots. This is my first time to a Yankee game, the new Yankee stadium and an opening day for professional baseball. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox (big rivalry!) and you could feel the excitement as everyone entered the stadium. My top picture was my first glimpse of the field… so cool. You could see them preparing the field and warm ups going on. Then the climb to the upper deck, grabbing our beer and dogs and getting to the seats.  As you can see, distance was the how I viewed the game but thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

 – Kim

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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I chose this poem today for poetry month. As I went out to do my early morning errands, I took a new road to explore. I found myself driving along Tourne Park with a nice hiking trail and then further down was a neighborhood and golf course which brought me out to another road I use frequently.
” I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

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I am noticing spots of color popping up here and there on our weekend drives and around our own yard. Daffodils and forsythia have been the first to arrive; so sunny they almost shout “spring is here!” There are many other promising shoots showing up as well! We found out that we have a pear tree which will have blossoms soon along with a lovely white cherry blossom tree. I noticed the giant fuzzy bumblebees are out working overtime, so I cannot wait to see the results of their hard work!

The koi fish have unfrozen and come back to life in the little pond we have. I’ve been researching them and almost gave them all away until I found out the importance they play in the balance of the pond…. so I’m only giving half of them away!! The real chore will be to spring clean the pond – this involves rubber gloves, draining the fishy water and pressure washing the basin and stones. I am sure to blog about that experience! Keeping it positive… I truly do love how the previous owners built it as a creek tumbling down into the pond. It is so peaceful. I look forward to getting water plants and flowers for the area.

We are putting in a fence for our pool (required) but are extending it so that our shepherd Bailey has some room to run off leash.  This will allow me to plant a greater variety  of flowers without the deer eating them. I have more research to do and maybe finding a local garden club!

Spring continues to show signs of color and warming trends! The Northeast seasons are definitely to be experienced and enjoyed!

Kim

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Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!
~L.H. Bailey

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