Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home From New England

I roughed out a post for every day while in New England, but rather than use only them for a week, I'm going to intersperse them with some current events such as this one.  I sure am glad to be home to my high speed DSL - it was painfully slow at our New Hampshire condo.

We left Bartlett, New Hampshire about 6:15 am Saturday morning and pulled into a motel in Dublin, VA 15½ hours and 864 miles later – it was dark, raining, and we were whipped but I was on a mission to get my coolers of seafood home as quick as I could - more on this later. Going this far the first day allowed us to get on the road again early on Sunday and pull into Almost Heaven South at 10am.  From Bartlett to here, it was 1107 miles and 19½ hours and the total trip was 3029 miles over the 11 days - I'm getting my rear in shape for a longer trip later in the year.

When we got home we found several changes, the first of which was the 13 year cicada’s whose constant droning sound was now on the ebb. Here are a few shots of what we found - they emerge from the ground after 13 years.

Climb the trees and shed there shells which stick to the leaves.

To become this bug that flies around awhile, mates, lays eggs, and dies.

They were everywhere but do little damage - this is the garden bean trellis.

Per Wikipedia - "After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig, and into these she deposits her eggs. She may do so repeatedly, until she has laid several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, Magicicada, which has a number of distinct "broods" that go through either a 17-year or, in some parts of the world , a 13-year life cycle. These long life cycles perhaps developed as a response to predators such as the cicada killer wasp and praying mantis. A predator with a shorter life cycle of at least 2 years could not reliably prey upon the cicadas.

Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) down to 2.5 m (about 8½ ft). The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging.

In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt (shed their skins), on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned skins remain, still clinging to the bark of trees."  Some folks around the world eat them, but not I.

Then we found a pretty good crop or shitaki mushrooms growing on the inoculated log - I'll dry some of them.

Finally the garden had grown a lot.  The beans are climbing the trellis; the tomatoes have some small fruit, the potatoes are ready to gravel out some small ones, and the corn is moving along - it all needed water though.

And the blue berries are still looking like a bumper crop..

A couple of final thoughts on New England. The mountains and other terrain were gorgeous, the people were friendly, and I liked the quaintness of the small towns, even if I did have to go 30 mph thru one about every 4 miles. The rocky Maine coast looks like a different than the sandy beaches I’m used to and it’s a shame there isn’t a nice long drive along it, like the Pacific Coast Highway in CA. We had surprisingly good weather and I loved the cool mornings and days in the 60’s – it was mid and high 80’s here while we were gone.

Further south in the USA, we drive miles for the fresh white water fishing steams and pristine lakes that are absolutely everywhere in NH and ME. The weather and bad planning kept us from driving up Mt. Washington, so maybe next time for that. While I was ready to come home, we really needed another week to do the area justice - go up into Northern Maine and over to Bar Harbor and spend some time further North and South in NH.  All told, it was a great trip and I'll report more over the next several days.

A cold front went through here just before we got home and it was a cool 60* on Sunday, which I like much better than the 80's here while we were gone - so it was great weather in New England and now here.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.  Header pic is the Saco River in Bartlett, ME.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  No post - can you believe it?



  1. Love the header of the river from the trip Larry. Very nice. Your garden is amazing. Can't believe your tomatoes have some small fruit on them. It's 44 over here this morning. Burr.

    Cicadas are interesting. They are called "Cigales" in the south of France and a symbol of Provence. I brought a couple of examples home in the form of a ladies lapel pin and a refrigerator magnet. They are a big deal there. The gardens in Provence are almost as pretty as yours.

  2. Not gonna lie, cicadas make me feel ill. We get them up here also and they scare the living daylights out of me.

    The garden is looking amazing!

  3. I'm laughing about Joanne's comment! I'm somewhat of a bugaphobe myself. I've always been confused over this whole cicada business and that 13 year cycle. Growing up in Kansas we had a cacophony (did I just say cacophony?) of cicadas every summer. I'm assuming they don't all come out the same year? We don't have them until August here in Colorado and only in the big cottonwoods. I love hearing them make thier racket. Something soothing about the whole thing.

  4. The garden is lookin' good!! If that was mine, I would have left and come back to dead everything :)
    We used to have Cicadas in Nebraska... we'd go out and find their shedded husks and throw them at each other! lol

  5. I had heard of those bugs on the news the other day. Interesting. I'm glad they arent't here. They aren't coming are they? Sounds like you had a great time on your trip. It must be neat to travel through all those little cities.

    At least you found your gardens have moved along nicely. That's a lot of berries. My bush is loaded too. YOu have a nice BIG garden there. Nothing better than to have good fresh veggies.

  6. Enjoyed your post and photos. Your garden looks great and much further along than mine and I am further south! But I had a few delays.

  7. Larry... 15 1/2 hours surpasses the length of any 1-day drive that we've ever made. It demonstrates that you are a true 'foodie', as the long drive was because of your cooler full of fresh seafood! That blueberry bush is just packed with berries! Nice... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  8. Glad you had a good trip. We have a long driving trip this summer (3 weeks) --but we decided not to drive too far each day... Neither of us can stand that many hours in the car... So--our trip will be longer but more leisurely I think...

    We haven't seen any cicadas here yet... I'm surprised since they are around us in TN.

    Your garden looks good

  9. As long as the cicadas don't damage anything, they're just a noisy nuisance. We were attacked by "bag worms" one year in Maryville, and they just ate our shrubs bare in one day! I still haven't planted. It's been in the 50s since I've been back. I think I'm going to have to cheat and buy plants!

  10. Oh my gosh, your bushes are covered in berries!! Thanks for linking up!

  11. Your new header is awesome! It sounds like you had a great trip! Cicadas are really noisy and not really pretty but guess they must have a mission. Just wish it would be in the cool 60's here! We'd be wearing shorts and washing the car. I think we missed summer somewhere along the line. Your garden looks absolutely fantastic! No mulch? Some straw. Do you hoe a lot?

  12. They don't call them bugs for a reason. Very interesting up until the part of some people eating them, yuck, but then perhaps the shells don't taste all that bad, I'll pass thanks. Your garden is coming along very nicely

  13. Good grief, Larry... look at your garden! I am hanging my head in envy. :( We finally have a sunny day today, 65, and a forecast of 70-73 the next several days. I am hoping to finally put my tomatoes in the ground and out of the hoop house. Favas are out of the ground, but still no beans... our soil is still too cold.

    It sounds as though you and Bev had a great time. We talk about driving into New England and spending some time, but that will have to wait.

  14. Your garden looks amazing - so huge! I had to laugh about the cicadas. We don't have them up here, but I miss them. When I was a kid we would climb trees and catch them and tie a thread to their middle and make "kites". I also remember filling my pockets with the crawly buggers when we had catching contests. I loved bugs.


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