Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, June 30, 2013

from mist to sunshine

Denise woke up really early this morning, at 5 AM. Wow! I made sure she didn't fall back to sleep since I really wanted to bounce along the water somewhere. I suggested that we head to Fort Foster in Kittery Point, Maine - and Denise said she thought that was a good idea.

The park wasn't open yet when we arrived so Denise parked along the road outside of the gate (that's where she parks for off-season visits to the park). Denise had to duck under that gate but I could bounce right under it. We stopped so she could take my picture when we got to the water.

Rover at Fort Foster, Kittery Point, ME

There was a kind of a low mist when we first arrived. It burned off pretty quickly; then we could see blue in the sky. There were other people walking, lots of dogs too. I think everyone really likes this park.

It was a nice morning to walk by the sea.

lighthouse visible from Fort Foster Park in Kittery Point, Maine

shimmering water, reflecting the blue of the sky

There are more photos available in the gallery South coastal Maine - 2013 starting with this photo and ending here.

--- Rover

"flat" iris

As I walked into the gardens of the Stevens-Coolidge Place yesterday morning I was surprised to see several beds of iris. The bloom on both my favorite bearded iris and the non-bearded iris is long gone, but there was sea of purple wearing a flatter flower. Luckily searching for "flat iris" came up with what I think is the proper name. These beauties are known as Japanese iris.

Japanese iris in purple

Saturday, June 29, 2013

a walk in the woods

What a funny forecast day. The weather wizard was calling for a pretty high probability for heavy rain today so I figured I'd decide on outdoor activity as the day unrolled.

It was gray but dry when I woke up. I took a chance and headed out on my bike for a morning ride. About 1/3 of the way through my planned loop it started sprinkling. The sprinkles turned into light rain and back into sprinkles. I briefly though about turning around but then I figured that I would just live with getting wet. Luck stayed with me and the sprinkles stuck around for the rest of my ride, no heavy rain.

The sky changed to blue, the wind started blowing... I knew I wanted to wander a bit and I felt like something a little different. I didn't have to think too long when I realized that the Ward Reservation is just a couple of miles from home. I haven't visited there in a while - decision made!

As I walked through the woods the light kept changing. One minute the sun was streaming through the trees, shining directly on the ferns. The next minute the light grew dimmer. A little bit later the sun streams reappeared.

bright green ferns highlight tree trunks

Friday, June 28, 2013

hiding in plain sight

This little rabbit was happily sitting in the grass, munching, looking around.

baby rabbit, hiding in the grass


A tiny flower wearing light shades of purple...

delicate petals in a light shade of purple

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

a bridge, counterweight balance

One of the first things that caught my eye when I saw the Memorial Bridge last Monday were the very large chains that are attached to the counterweights and to the side of the towers of the bridge. The chains are massive and while the look is interesting I suspected there was a (non-decorative) purpose to them.

I was standing near a bridge worker at one point so I took advantage of his presence to ask about the chains. It was good to have an answer but it was clear I should have been taking notes! I was happy when I was looking at the news items on the bridge web site to find that I wasn't the only person asking about the chains. If you're curious too, I've included the answer as copied from the Memorial Bridge web site below.

center span raised, counterweight chains bearing weight on the side of the tower

This photo was taken with the center span in a raised position, the counterweights down. You can see the chains at the attachment point on the tower of the bridge.

balance <> lift bridges

What do the chains do?

The bridge operates on the simple principle of balance. These are “counterweight balancing chains” used to balance out the weight of the 64 cables that lift the bridge center span. The chains attach to the concrete counterweights which are used to help raise and lower the center span on the bridge. The center span is connected to the concrete counterweights, one on each end, via 64 cables which are draped over 4 very large sheave (pronounced shiv) wheels (pulleys at the top of the towers).

The cables themselves weigh a lot. Just as the counterweights counterbalance the center lift span, something needs to counterbalance the 64 cables. So, as the bridge raises and the counterweights descend, an increasing amount of the chain length (and chain weight) hangs from the steel towers rather than from the counterweights. So as the length and weight of cable on the bridge side of the sheave wheels decreases, the length and weight of chain supported by the counterweight also decreases, maintaining the balance that is so critical to proper operation.

Information courtesy of Memorial Bridge PR, in answers to questions in the News section of the Memorial Bridge site.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

center span, raised

After I left Fuller Gardens I turned to the north and east for a quick Portsmouth visit. I was delighted to find Memorial Bridge in a different state than it was when I left there on Monday. I knew the barge was gone; the surprise was that the center span was sitting high, raised between the two towers.

There didn't appear to be any work going on although I did see two workers clad in bright yellow vests and hard hats walking down the steps from the control room. I'm guessing that the span was left in an up position both to allow boats through and to prevent people from trespassing on the still very much under construction bridge.

center span raised


It was a good day for a visit to Fuller Gardens, a day to smell the roses, a day to be fascinated by flowers in different shapes and colors.

I wandered through the garden, stopping to capture an image, stopping even more often to notice the scent rising from the flowers and to enjoy standing amid the flowers. The splash of color was wonderful.

a yellow rose

Jump to the gallery Fuller Gardens - 2013 to enjoy more roses from today's walk.

sand sculpted

The annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition started last Thursday and ran through yesterday at noon. This year I decided to take a Friday afternoon holiday so I could see the sculptors in action at a time when their creations were closing in on a finished state. The competitors have until noon on Saturday to finish their work - but since the front of the sculptures face inland visiting on Saturday morning means that the sun would be shining in my eyes. Friday afternoon was a good choice.

It always amazes me to see something so detailed carved out of sand.

Carl Jara working on his sculpture, a man holding a man holding a man

wizard or warrior?

More amazing creations in sand can be seen in the gallery sand scuplted.

According to the event website the sculptures will be lit for evening viewing through July 7th.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

foxglove in pink

I'm always amazed to see the inside of a foxglove (flower). It seems as if someone took the time to paint each one.

foxglove in pink

Friday, June 21, 2013

bridge (still) closed

I've been checking the Memorial Bridge website on a regular basis to see the bridge news, to keep in the loop when the opening date is announced. I was surprised this morning (although I'm not sure why) to see a post about misbehaving humans. Even though both ends of the bridge are surrounded by chain link fence and strong no trespassing signs some people apparently think the signs don't apply to them.

Reading and understanding are qualities that should rank high in importance for all of us.


Please help us spread the word – the Memorial Bridge is not open to pedestrians or bicyclists. The bridge and surrounding area is a very active construction site.

Archer Western Contractors is reporting that some bicyclists and pedestrians believe that the Memorial Bridge is now open and are entering the construction site trying to pass through. These people are being escorted out of the area by the bridge workers.

The bridge will not be open to anyone until mid to late July. Please help us spread the word.

warning from the News section of the Memorial Bridge site.

Please help spread the word to anyone you know who plans to wander in the area: this bridge is closed!

under construction
really? does this bridge look like it's open?

Thursday, June 20, 2013


The summer solstice is tomorrow, bringing us the longest day of the year. This evening I felt pulled to the gardens of the Stevens-Coolidge Place to see if summer was in bloom.

I found a few lingering spring blooms and a few emerging summer flowers, tiny and delicate.

delicate petals in a light shade of purple

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

a wild rose

A wild rose gives a splash of color.

a wild rose, a splash of color

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

on the wall

As I walked through Portsmouth yesterday I found paintings on the walls of some of the buildings. Interesting...

painting, on a wall in Portsmouth

Monday, June 17, 2013

center span placed

Today was "float the center span in" day for the new Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth. The river closure started at 1 AM and I expected the center span to be floated to the bridge soon after that time. I considered heading to Portsmouth to watch last night but somehow watching and then staying awake all night (or sleeping in my car) didn't appeal to me. So... this morning I headed to Portsmouth for some bridge watching.

I arrived before 8 AM, parking my car on Peirce Island. I walked across the bridge back to Portsmouth then headed to the pier closest to the bridge. The center span was in place, still appearing to be resting on the supports on the barge. As the hours passed the span was attached to the bridge, unfortunately via an activity that was not visible from where I was watching.

The span (on the barge on which it was assembled) floated from the construction site to the bridge at 1 AM, high tide. By late morning the workers were disassembling the pieces of the barge that cradled the span so the barge could be removed. It was still in place when I left Portsmouth this afternoon but I just checked the bridge web cams; the center span now has nothing under it.

Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth Kittery
(screen shot) from the Memorial Bridge webcam

I stood on the pier next to the bridge, I moved to a pier a bit further back that has a good full bridge view, and I spent some time soaking in the scenery from Four Tree Island (just off of Peirce Island). Everywhere I walked I found other people who were as fascinated by the bridge construction as I am, wonderful!

I took a break from bridge watching late in the morning, heading to Discover Portsmouth where there is an exhibit on the bridge reconstruction. If you're near Portsmouth, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the exhibit Bridging the Piscataqua: Construction + Community, running through October 13, 2013.

I'm looking forward to crossing the new Memorial Bridge by foot and by bike. Oh, I'll probably drive across too, but it's the human-powered options that tempt me.

It sounds like the bridge will be opening sometime in July.

control room, nicely windowed

center span in place, looking like a full bridge!

More photos of the bridge can be viewed in the gallery Rebuilding a bridge, Portsmouth - Kittery. Images from today start with this photo and end here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


These purple flowers are usually seen popping off of a vertical stalk. Sometimes I see curved variations like this one.

curved and purple

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

two waters

Two bodies of water wear the color blue.

two bodies of water, quarry and ocean
at Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, Massachusetts

Monday, June 10, 2013

a quarry and the ocean

Oh! Yesterday I convinced Denise we should head to Rockport to wander at Halibut Point State Park. It's funny, the park isn't that far away but it's in a location where it makes more sense (to Denise, at least) to use little roads to get there instead of highways. We discovered that while taking highways to get there is a little further than using the little roads, it actually takes the same amount of time. We usually take the little roads.

It was a day when the blue sky was decorated with white clouds. When we walked in to the quarry we found that it was a good reflection day. Denise even took a photo of me standing on the edge of the quarry (in front of the wonderful reflection).

Rover at Halibut Point

We followed the path around the quarry and then headed downhill towards the ocean. I had a good time jumping on the rocks by the coast. Denise was careful to put her feet only on dry rocks because she thought the wet ones might be slippery. I wasn't as careful because I'm closer to the ground than she is so I figured if I slipped I wouldn't fall too far. No slipping though...

It was a very good wander!

--- Rover
reflections, at Halibut Point State Park

people, watching the ocean

Denise told me I should let you know where to find more photos from yesterday's wander. They are in a gallery named Halibut Point - 2013, starting here and ending with this photo.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

pretty in pink

Peonies open forming a sea of pink blossoms.

pretty in pink, peonies

Friday, June 07, 2013


I have a preference for bearded iris but I really like all varieties of these intricate flowers. This purple (not bearded) beauty caught my eye late yesterday, delicate and beautiful.

iris in purple, delicate petals

Thursday, June 06, 2013


The petals of this flower have faded but the stamens are still wearing bright colors.

bright stamens, faded petals

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

patterned, painted

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am fascinated by iris. Some of the petals look painted, and the contrast between the smooth petal and the beard makes the flower even more special.

delicate, painted iris

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

updated bridge float-in dates

I'm planning to take a day off and head to Portsmouth to watch on the day the center span of the new Memorial Bridge is scheduled to be placed. I've been keeping an eye on the bridge web site just in case.

That turned out to be a good thing because the float-in dates have changed from June 10 - 15 to June 17 - 22, with the change forced by the need for repairs on one of the cranes that is supporting work on the north tower construction. Because of the tide the times have changed too. The river closure on the 10th was set for 9 AM but the closure on the 17th is set to start at 1 AM. I suspect that means that there is more than a small chance that the bridge will already be in place by daylight. No matter, I'm still planning to head up there that day.

quiet water

From Saturday's walk at the Wells Reserve, quiet water just a bit inland from the ocean...

quiet water

Monday, June 03, 2013

iris in blue

Another wonderful iris from Friday's garden walk... I love the color and the still curled petals.

iris in blue, petals curled

Sunday, June 02, 2013

a Maudslay (early) afternoon

It was a hot and very windy day today. Denise decided to head to Maudslay State Park to see if this week's heat caused any new flowers to pop out and I decided to go with her. Oh! That's such a pretty place!

We saw new iris in bloom, and there were still azaleas and rhododendron popping out of the woods. It was hard to catch the flowers standing still but it was fun to walk there anyway. I was fascinated with this tree with a very hollow trunk.

--- Rover

a hollowed tree, still standing

A few more photos from today can be seen in the gallery Maudslay State Park - 2013 starting with this photo and ending here.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

to the coast

Today's forecast called for another unseasonably hot day. I felt the coast calling...

I headed for the Wells Reserve for a walk through the woods to the ocean where there was a cool breeze rolling off of the water.

low tide ocean waves roll into the Wells Reserve

More photos from today can be viewed in the gallery Wells Reserve - 2013.

for cyclists and drivers

As I cycled through Andover center this morning an electronic sign caught my eye. One line at a time, repeating, sending this message:

same road
same rules

I wonder if the people who need a reminder that bicycles belong on the road, that both bicycles and cars are considered vehicles, and that both are governed by the vehicle code in all 50 states even realize this sign is meant for them. I find it disconcerting that I have seen both drivers and cyclists ignore the rules of the road; sometimes I'd like to reach out and shake them!