Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


With the focus on the nesting of piping plovers and least terns, the ocean-facing part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is quiet. The beach is owned by the birds starting on April 1st each year, reopening when the nesting season is over.

looking south, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

from rain to fog

It was a magical morning at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The rain stopped when I arrived, starting again a little later.

After the rain, the fog rolled in.

at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Monday, June 27, 2016

seed pods

It's fascinating to see the transition from flower to seed pod. One day the lupine were showing full flowers; soon after the seed pods emerged.

lupine, seed pods lupine, seed pods

Sunday, June 26, 2016

a bird's beach

Today was a totally unplanned day. Before I moved from the house I received an email from the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge requesting help. The beach was attracting people, and there were no plover wardens scheduled.

I called the gatehouse to let them know I was coming, and started my trek to the water. I spent several hours on the beach stopping the occasional (people) incursion, attempting to explain that the beach belongs to the birds, and chatting with some interesting people.

I was posted at the south end of the refuge at the "border" between the national wildlife refuge and Sandy Point State Reservation. Most people were understanding but there were a few who were quite unhappy when I stopped them from proceeding onto the refuge beach. As I was heading out I stopped to chat with the state park ranger who was posted in the parking lot. She told me a couple of people complained about my stopping them; her response to me was "good job!".

I'm glad I'm able to help.

a bird's beach, at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
plovers are too tiny for me to catch but these sea gulls were happy to pose

The latest refuge piping plover population count shows that there are 42 pairs of plovers, 20 nests, and 51 chicks living on the beach at Parker River.

Friday, June 24, 2016

late iris

I think I've always been fascinated by iris. The flowers wear a very intricate and beautiful structure.

The late season emergence of Japanese Iris provides a splash of purple in the garden.

Japanese Iris

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I love the bright color of this wild rose.

wild rose

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

to the Y

Yesterday I went to the Andover / North Andover YMCA to check out the newly expanded facility (opened in April of this year). I've been a member for a long time but I haven't used the facility at all in too long. It was time to revisit and rethink.

From an article in the Eagle-Tribune:

The $23 million renovation of the Y, which took roughly two years to complete, upgraded a facility which had not seen many improvements since it first opened in 1974.

In January, the new Y opened to its members for the first time. Since then, members have enjoyed the 109,000 square foot building's various new features, including new swimming pools, workout equipment and studio workout rooms.

The completed expansion created new exercise spaces and added a 3rd swimming pool. With free time during the day it appears that swimming in a non-crowded pool is a real possibility. I'm not a fast swimmer, and swimming laps in circles in lanes where most are populated by faster swimmers doesn't work well for me. The new "family" pool has 3 lanes available for lap swimming between 6 AM and 3:30 PM, and the lap pool includes lap swim at some times during that time period as well. When I walked through the building yesterday in the middle of the morning there were empty lap lanes in both pools. I think it's time to swim again.

The weight equipment is all new, and there is a stretching area as well.

There are 3 studio / exercise rooms. I attended a pilates class in one of the studios earlier this evening.

I'm looking forward to using the Y, taking advantage of free time during the day.

Andover / North Andover YMCA

Monday, June 20, 2016


This rabbit was happily munching on grass. He waited while I grabbed my camera, quietly walked outside, then got close to the ground hoping to capture his image. I expected him to run as soon as I opened the door; instead he agreed to pose for me.

a rabbit, watching me watching him

roses and perennials

After visiting the sand sculptures in Hampton Beach yesterday morning I headed to Fuller Gardens for a pop of color. There were some perennials still in bloom and many varieties of roses, a treat for the senses.

a rose in pink

More photos are available in the gallery Fuller Gardens :: 2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

back to the beach

I headed back to Hampton Beach this morning to satisfy my curiosity, my need to see the finished sand sculptures. My two favorites from Friday continue to make me smile.

"She loves me" by Justin Gordon features an ogre picking petals from a sunflower, ending with "she loves me". Funny, I saw the sunflower as a pie when I first saw it on Friday. Now I see the flower with one petal remaining, other petals strewn on the ground.

She loves me

"Dada read" by Carl Jara shows a father reading to his toddler. Stuffed toys that match the size of the toddler complete the scene.

DaDa read

In spite of the hordes of people at Hampton Beach I'm glad I returned to see the final sand creations.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


The annual sand sculpting contest at Hampton Beach started on Thursday with sculpture completion later today. I visited yesterday to see the in progress creations. I'm in awe of the detailed sculptures that are created in sand!

I find that the sculptures that pulled me in are by the same artists as those I've enjoyed in years past.

sand sculpture by Justin Gordon
sculpted by Justin Gordon

sand sculpture by Carl Jara
sculpted by Carl Jara

More sand creations can be seen in the gallery emergence :: Hampton Beach 2016.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

a pop of pink

When we were walking in Prescott Park on Saturday we came upon an area holding pots of plants soon to be placed in the gardens. Colors were separated, placed close to plants wearing similar shades.

I loved this pop of pink!

glowers, a pop of pink

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

plover warden

This morning was my first stint as plover warden at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The entire 6-miles of beach at the refuge closes each year on April 1st at the start of the piping plover nesting season, remaining closed until the birds are done with it (usually sometime in August or September). The closure is well signed, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service uses volunteers to help encourage visitors to remain off of the closed beach.

The last count I heard indicated that there are 47 pairs of piping plovers on the beach with 32 active nests.

The beach above the high tide line is signed and has a rope border to discourage trespassing, but below the tide line there is nothing showing the closure (other than a continuation of the line above the high tide mark). Most people were aware and didn't go anywhere near the closed section of beach, although I did need to stop someone from chasing her child's beach ball. It was very windy all morning, and the beach ball just took off, rolling onto the closed beach and quickly disappearing. Before it disappeared I could see the mother starting to walk toward the beach closure sign. She wasn't very happy when I told her she couldn't retrieve the ball; luckily it disappeared from sight very quickly.

Funny, sometimes people seem to think the signs aren't meant for them. I wonder why.

warning sign at the start of the boardwalk

warning sign showing fine
Sign showing potential fine of $100,000

warning signs

If you're interested in information about the closures, take a look at the fact sheet The Piping Plover and Beach Closures at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

Update on 6/17/2016: the refuge beach is now home to 37 pairs of piping plovers with 65 chicks.

Monday, June 13, 2016

on the water

As I look back to Portsmouth from Peirce Island I see a splash of color along the water.

on the water, Portsmouth, NH

Sunday, June 12, 2016

crazy windy

I just finished a long walk on this crazy windy afternoon.

The temperature dropped about 10 degrees while I was out, and the wind is currently pegged at 21 MPH with gusts to 35 MPH. That's crazy windy!

Yes, it was a very good walk.

Friday, June 10, 2016

in the woods

Spring walks at Maudslay State Park bring pops of bright colors in the form of blooming rhododendron and azalea. While much of the peak color appears to be gone there are still many bright patches.

rhododendron at Maudslay

door, covered

With renovations complete I had one remaining item, adding blinds to the sliding glass door in the living room. The old blinds were not in great shape so I opted to discard them at the start of the renovation. I thought about leaving the door uncovered since there is open land behind my place. No one walks back there except neighbors walking between units so there isn't really a privacy issue.

Even knowing that no one is standing at the door looking in, sitting in the living room with the lights on when it is dark outside drove my decision to add the option of a covered door.

I knew I wanted vertical blinds, and I knew I wanted something simple that would not draw attention away from the photos that live on the walls. I started by looking at sample books from two blind manufacturers at Home Depot, finding nothing that met my needs. That seemed odd to me since I was looking for simple and white. Hmm... I continued my search online.

I chose blinds from Stoneside Blinds & Shades. The company has sales offices across the country with a manufacturing facility in Denver. Abby, one of their design consultants, brought samples to my house. I selected at blind that has a pattern to it where the pattern is embossed but entirely white. Abby measured the door but before the blinds were ordered the installer, Andrew, came and measured again. Just over three weeks after measurement, Andrew returned to install the blinds.

During the installation we discovered that the door wasn't quite straight. With the blind mounting hardware completely level the look to my eyes (and Andrew's too) showed the blind as sloping a little bit to the right. It took several adjustments before the lines looked right to me. Before declaring the installation complete Andrew took the time to patch the holes from the initial tries.

The blinds are exactly what I needed to finish the renovation.

I'm happy!

vertical blinds from Stoneside

vertical blinds from Stoneside

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

garden color

A garden delights the eyes with pops of color. Peonies in pink stand in front of purple iris and leaves wearing different shades of green.

peonies and iris, colors pop

Monday, June 06, 2016


Yesterday's visit to the garden featured flowers wearing water droplets. I love this iris showing wonderful colors.

iris in raindrops

morning munch

A rabbit sat outside of my door this morning happily munching on grass and clover.

rabbit, munching on grass

Sunday, June 05, 2016


A peony tips towards the ground creating a dreamy look.

peony in pink

Saturday, June 04, 2016

sunshine and fog

It felt like a good day for a walk along the coast. I headed to Odiorne Point State Park to wander a small part of the New Hampshire seashore.

When I arrived the sun was shining, white clouds decorated a blue sky. I followed a trail to the coast, then walked across mounds of moving rocks, some rounded, some jagged. As the ocean waves approached the shore the rounded rocks rolled in the surf, create an ocean song. I followed the coastline to Frost Point where a stone jetty extends into Little Harbor, then took inland trails back.

As I emerged on the coast again I saw fog approaching from the ocean. By the time I reached my starting point the fog had taken over.

under a blue sky, from Odiorne Point State Park

in the fog, Odiorne Point State Park

More photos from today's coastal walk can be seen in the gallery New Hampshire coast :: 2016 starting with this photo and ending here.

Friday, June 03, 2016

a splash of color

It was only three days ago when I last visited the gardens at the Stevens-Coolidge Place. The iris were blooming but the peonies still hadn't shown their color. Today the garden was a riot of peonies and iris, a splash of color.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

peony, faded

When I visited Long Hill just over a week ago the peonies were in full bloom. Today, most had faded.

peony, faded

It seemed odd (to me) that the peonies at the close-to-me garden haven't bloomed yet while those at Long Hill are past their prime. I think the peonies at Long Hill are tree peonies and those that live at Stevens-Coolidge Place are herbaceous peonies. Based on the information I've been able to find the two species bloom at different times.

product review :: new SmugMug gallery header

Yesterday a change was rolled out to all SmugMug sites allowing the use of a cover image at the top of galleries using specified layouts. Most of the galleries on my site use the Collage Landscape style, one of the styles including this new change.

My first view of the change was accompanied by shock. There were two changes implemented, a change in format for the breadcrumb wherever it is used, and the addition of a cover image for specified galley styles. By default in existing galleries, the cover image was off. The breadcrumb change was universal though; for my purposes it needed a little tweaking.

The breadcrumb is the line starting with an icon representing home followed by the names of folders and the gallery that is being displayed. The change to the breadcrumb involved breaking it into two lines with the folder structure shown on the first line and the gallery title shown larger and on a second line. The default gallery title size and the size of the slideshow and buy buttons was too large for my taste, drawing my eyes to the header instead of the photos. A bit of CSS was needed and available to change the size.

My next step was to enable the cover image in some galleries. I was quite surprised that with the cover image enabled the original size of the title wasn't as glaring. Even so, I prefer a slightly smaller size so I left the size-changing CSS in place. That was even more important to me since folders and journal-style galleries don't support use of the cover image - I needed a consistent size that made me happy in both types of displays.

Some photos aren't suited to be cover images since too much pattern obscures the text from the gallery description; others are perfect. With the right cover image there is a bit of polish added to the display.

I like it!

SmugMug new gallery header

To see a gallery that uses a cover image, click to the gallery Long Hill :: 2016.