Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, December 31, 2018


Smooth ice is interspersed with rapidly flowing water on the Royal River in Yarmouth, Maine. It's winter!

winter on the Royal River

Sunday, December 30, 2018

in the harbor

A walk along the Eastern Promenade in Portland provided a view of a ship sitting in the harbor. It created a splash of bright color to contrast with the blue of sea and sky.

a ship in Portland Harbor

Saturday, December 29, 2018

wrack line

Walking the beach as the time of high tide drew closer allowed a glimpse at the wrack line, the line of debris left on the beach by high tide.

wrack line

Friday, December 28, 2018

still waters

The waters of the Merrimack River wore a smooth surface at high tide yesterday afternoon.

I'm always happy to walk to the center of the bridge to Plum Island to catch a view like this one.

Merrimack River at high tide, from the bridge to Plum Island

Thursday, December 27, 2018

to Parker River

As I drove past the entry station at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this afternoon a sign caught my eye.

Where public access to refuge lands does not require the presence of a federal employee or contractor, activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue on the same terms as before the appropriations lapse. Any entry onto Refuge System property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor's sole risk.

While I would have been happy to trespass by walking in on the beach if the gates had been closed, I'm glad the entry was not blocked.

It was an hour before high tide when I arrived in the refuge. My preference is to walk the beach as the tide is going out since it leaves a wonderfully smooth walking surface, but sometimes the timing of my visit doesn't coincide with outbound tides. Today it was a bit of a challenge to keep my feet dry - and with the temperature in the low 30s, that was important! I walked close to the water's edge, keeping an eye on the inbound waves, moving quickly when the water intruded.

I feel a sense of peace as I walk by the ocean.

looking across the beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

a window

A walk along a canal in Lawrence just north of the Merrimack River this afternoon left me standing across from Pemberton Mill, a replacement for the building with the same name that collapsed in 1860.

I was fascinated by the curves in the windows. I wonder when the metal grills over the glass were added to the structure; somehow I can't imagine that they were part of the original structure.

a window in Pemberton Mill, Lawrence, MA

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

icy reflections

With cool days and cold nights many of the ponds in the area wear a partial skin of ice.

icy reflection

Monday, December 24, 2018


As I wander through the photos from my visit to the butterfly conservatory ten days ago I have the feeling I will need a return visit before too long.

Delicate flowers thrive in the butterflies' home.

delicate flower

Sunday, December 23, 2018

a walk on the beach

It's always a good day for a walk on the beach!

Chill air and a bit of wind accompanied me as I enjoyed the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge early this afternoon, about an hour after high tide. I shared the sand with people and birds too.

beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, December 21, 2018


The winter solstice today brings unseasonable weather, rain and warmth. Cold leading up to the (calendar) change of season contributed to ice starting to form on local ponds.

a skim of ice on a pond at Harold Parker State Forest

Thursday, December 20, 2018

top photos :: 2018

As the calendar fades to the end of the year it's time for me to wander through the photos that I've published in 2018 to find my favorites. It's always an interesting exercise.

From the beginning of the year, here are my selections.

looking north

looking north
on the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge


a splash of color

inland waters

inland waters
looking to Plum Island


a Rudbeckia hirta

quiet waters

quiet waters
on the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge


gloriosa daisy

fallen leaf

fallen leaf
on a wet autumn day

in the woods

in the woods
a fallen tree, a mushroom, and moss


showing the beauty of a chrysanthemum


flowers opening

a pop of red

a pop of red
berries in snow and wet


a malachite butterfly

These photos are collected into the gallery top photos :: 2018. If you'd like to see larger versions of the photos or you would like to view them as a full screen slideshow, click here to jump to the gallery.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

assembly required

I decided recently that it was time to look for (and purchase!) a new computer desk. The one I was using is over 20 years old; it was inexpensive at the time I purchased it and it now looks pretty worn.

I spent some time browsing sites online and decided to purchase a desk that I found on wayfair.

computer desk by OneSource

The top is glass and the legs are steel; once it was assembled it felt very sturdy.

I always wonder if I will be able to manage assembling items like this desk. This time, the answer was yes! The instructions were clear, and overall the assembly process was easy. The only issue I had was attaching the keyboard tray to the sliding supports. Everything except the tray was pre-drilled. Given that it was black, it was hard for me to see the tiny indentations where the screws needed to go. Once I saw them I was able to get the screws started before attaching it to the supports. Whew!

I like the simplicity of this desk.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


While my primary purpose of visiting the butterfly conservatory last week was to find color, I remain fascinated by the glasswing butterfly. Its transparent wings allow it to blend in with its surroundings, sometimes hiding in plain sight.

glasswing butterfly

Monday, December 17, 2018

across the river

The Merrimack River came into view as I walked the trails of Maudslay State Park on Saturday. It wore a (mostly) smooth surface, creating wonderful reflections.

looking across the Merrimack River

Sunday, December 16, 2018


The design on this butterfly's wings is stunning!

I couldn't convince it to come away from its very green perch; I'm happy that the wings are still visible.

butterfly wings, intricate design

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Maudslay afternoon

It was a warm December day, a beautiful day for a walk in the park. Today's walk in the woods destination was Maudslay State Park.

When I started out I felt like I had the park to myself. After a bit of walking I started to encounter people and dogs who had chosen to walk the loop in the opposite direction.

It was a beautiful day!

evergreen branch

Friday, December 14, 2018

seeking color & warmth

Hmm... where can I go on a December day when I'm looking for color and warmth?

This morning I headed west, aiming for the center of the state for a visit with butterflies. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory was my destination. It's just over 90 miles from home, far enough away that I don't get there as often as I'd like.

It was quiet when I arrived; just a few visitors (plus staff) were wandering among the butterflies. I feel a sense of peace and wonder. I walked slowly through the conservatory, looking around, watching butterflies in flight, watching butterflies at rest.

I'm still going through my photos from today. For now I'll share one of my favorites, a portrait of a malachite butterfly in what seems to be a normal pose, hanging upside down.

malachite butterfly

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Days of cold temperatures have created frozen surfaces on lakes and ponds.

a frozen pond

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Simple shapes in bright red cascade across a faded landscape.


Monday, December 10, 2018

calm waters

I never know if a wander at Harold Parker State Forest will highlight reflections in one of the ponds or if the water will wear a choppy surface. Conditions change on the whim of the weather wizard. On a visit last week the waters were calm, reflecting both the trees and the sky.

reflections in a pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Sunday, December 09, 2018


The water and ice in the Merrimack River wear shades of blue enhancing the color of the almost clear sky.

looking across the Merrimack River to Plum Island

Saturday, December 08, 2018

chill air

The winter solstice has yet to come but the air today certainly felt like winter. The combination of temperature and wind was a good test for my layering skills. I managed to don the right layers to combat the chill air as I headed out for a walk this afternoon.

While the sky wore blue I continue to feel a strong desire for the bright hues of flowers. Today's color comes from a fallen bougainvillea blossom captured in the greenhouse at Lyman Estate two weeks ago.


Thursday, December 06, 2018


A vine twists around a branch wearing thorns, reaching for sunshine.

vines, twisting

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


Pops of red decorate the landscape as the winter solstice draws closer.

red, autumn color

Monday, December 03, 2018

December warmth

It was relatively warm today with temperatures reaching well into the 50s. The predicted high for the next few days is much more seasonable, 20 degrees colder.

It was a good day to watch the sky change, to see a blue background emerge and then fade again. It was a good day for outside wanders.

reflecting trees in a pond at Harold Parker State Forest

Saturday, December 01, 2018


The opening petals of a dahlia wear different shapes, from tightly curled to flat and open. As winter draws closer I look back to the flowers of late summer for a bit of color.


Friday, November 30, 2018

on the river

Clouds and blue sky were painted on the waters of the Piscataqua River today.

on the Piscataqua River

Thursday, November 29, 2018

flowing water

Walking in the woods today really highlighted the amount of rain that has fallen. The trail on the east side of Collins Pond in Harold Parker State Forest had a stream of water flowing up the middle, and Field Pond was outside of its normal boundary in some places.

a stream covers a trail, Harold Parker State Forest

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

a sense of calm

The water can be quiet or calm, at high tide or low. I find that walking next to the ocean provides a sense of calm.

high tide at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Monday, November 26, 2018


Someone referred me to the website Forks Over Knives a while ago. It's a site focusing on a plant-based diet, offering recipes as well as articles and some fee-based courses / planners. I wandered through the recipes when I first connected with the site, bookmarking it for future reference.

Last week I tried my first recipe from there, a split pea & cauliflower soup. It was interesting; while the split peas were softening (cooking!) it said to "sweat the vegetables... until the cauliflower starts to brown and the onions become translucent". The term was explained, and the directions were quite clear.

The soup was tasty! I know I will be playing with more recipes from Forks Over Knives; I need to decide which recipe is my next target.

If you're interested in trying the split pea & cauliflower soup, click to the recipe.

split pea & cauliflower soup
photo courtesy of Forks Over Knives

Sunday, November 25, 2018

a very high tide

High tide on Plum Island this afternoon was at 12:38 PM.

It was an unusually high tide. I passed over the Parker River on Route 1 on my way to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge at about 1 PM. The river was swollen, with water flooding areas that are normally dry.

Parker River just after high tide

I entered the refuge a good half hour after high tide. Water approached the edges of the road on the inland side of the island. What an amazing view!

Parker River just after high tide

Saturday, November 24, 2018


It was a picture-perfect outdoors day today, a wonderful day for walking outside. Before I headed out walking I decided I needed a visit to the greenhouses of the Lyman Estate; floral color beckoned.

I was delighted to find some camellias in bloom. While the camellias in the greenhouse are in full bloom during one of the winter months, some of the plants were wearing flowers today.

A brisk afternoon walk followed my visit with the flowers.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

a cold wind

While the winter solstice is still a month away today feels like a winter day. When I headed out for my exercise walk this morning the air temperature was 12 degrees and the wind was howling.

My second walk today was in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Although the temperature was up a few degrees, reading 18 when I stepped out of my car, the wind was even stronger than it was earlier. I felt the wind pushing me. Walking south was almost reasonable; walking to the north was very difficult. My wind- and temperature-dictated beach walk was shorter than I had planned.

I shared the beach with sea gulls. Some were flying, some walked the beach, and some were floating in the water. It's always a good day to walk by the ocean!

beach, parker river national wildlife refuge

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

afternoon light

While the winter freeze has started on this pond there was enough open water to create a peaceful reflection of trees and blue sky.

reflections of trees, Harold Parker State Forest

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


This morning's first surprise? Snow squalls!

Based on the forecast last night I expected to see rain mixed with a bit of snow this morning. Instead I opened the door to heavy snow squalls. Snow continues to fall, coating the grass with a layer of white and leaving slush and puddles on paved surfaces.

It's going to be a messy morning walk!

falling snow on berries

Monday, November 19, 2018


It was a cool gray day with rain filling the morning hours.

Raindrops were still falling when I arrived at Harold Parker State Forest for a bit of camera play. I found water overflowing the banks of Field Pond; the small circle I often walk was inaccessible today.

Dodging raindrops was easy; keeping my feet out of the mud was a little harder.

trees reflecting in a pond, Harold Parker State Forest

Saturday, November 17, 2018

morning blue

It was midway between high and low tide when I arrived on the coast this morning. I stopped at Jenness State Beach for a quiet walk on smooth wet sand. There were a few other people walking and a number of dry suit clad surfers braving the cold ocean waters.

The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the air wore a comfortable layer of chill.

blue sky, reflecting, at Jenness State Beach

Friday, November 16, 2018

a messy day with happy feet

The snow that started falling late in the day yesterday continued into the early morning hours before changing to rain. Before the switch there was 8.5 inches of snow on the ground. The snow compacted quickly leaving snow-covered surfaces, puddles, and generally messy walking conditions.

Since I have a strong preference for exercise walking outside I try to make sure I have the right layers for all weather. While I wear running shoes whenever possible, sloppy weather sometimes means that is the wrong choice. My first backup is my hiking shoes but on cold wet days like today that's not the right answer either. It was time for new winter shoes!

I've been very happy with my New Balance running shoes. Since I was pretty sure they had a winter walking/running boot I headed to the factory store (in the summer) to see if there were any boots hanging out on the shelves. No boots there...

It was time to turn to the New Balance web site. I ordered a pair of Fresh Foam 1100 Boots, described as "an ultra-modern sneaker boot". I crossed my fingers for a good fit and happy feet, waiting for winter weather to confirm their utility. Today was my sneaker boot maiden voyage, a wet and messy 5-mile (fast) walk. My feet were happy, warm, and dry!

New Balance Fresh Foam 1100 Boot