The Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival: 2014

A few weeks ago I saw a notice for the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival. One of the events being promoted happened to be a dachshund race. I put the event in my calendar.

And so today I took a break from house projects to go wander around the festival. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday. After seeing booths for artists, authors, organizations, and various vendors I crossed the Arroyo Grande pedestrian suspension bridge to find the racing dogs.

Panorama of a crowd at the festival.

On my way I stopped to watch derby car races. It was the 2014 Big Ditch Derby (it was held in Arroyo Grande . . .). I camped out at the finish line and got some fun pictures of the competitors.

A derby car racetrack.

Big Ditch Derby 2014 b

Big Ditch Derby 2014 c

Big Ditch Derby 2014 d

Big Ditch Derby 2014 f

Big Ditch Derby 2014 e

Big Ditch Derby 2014 g

After derby cars I moved on to dachshunds. Actually, there were three classes: 1). Dachshunds 1 to 7 years old, 2). Dachshunds older than 7 years old, 3). Wanna be dogs (small dogs other than dachshunds).

Racing dachshunds.

It was high entertainment. The dogs were having a great time being the center of attention. Some of them abandoned the race to play. Despite many distractions, most of the dogs channeled their energy into running good races.

Paws of Thunder 1

Paws of Thunder 2

Paws of Thunder 4

I enjoyed the dachshund races more than the Wanna Be class. The champion of that class, however, was fun to watch. She had very floppy ears that looked like wings when she ran.

The Wanna Be final race.

The Wanna Be final race.

The Wanna Be class champion.

The Wanna Be class champion, with ears flying en route to victory.

The dachshund champion of one of the classes was Indy. I enjoyed watching him, since he was a bundle of energy on the track and then dialed it back to a happy, chill puppy afterwards.

A champion dachshund poses for the adoring public.

Indy the champion dachshund poses with his winnings for the adoring public.

When the races ended I walked back to the vendors and purchased a tri-tip sandwich and some kettle corn. It was a delightful afternoon interlude. I’m planning to be at the festival again next year.

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Growing Tomatoes

Pam and I have been growing several tomato plants we picked up at Tomato Mania 2014 at Cal Poly. We have been eating the bounty of our tomato harvests for the past month.

Freshly harvested tomatoes on the counter.

Freshly harvested tomatoes on the counter.

We have a Tiny Tim right by our front door. it was the first plant to produce good fruit, and it is still going strong. It’s a mightly little cherry tomato plant.

Tiny Tim.

Tiny Tim.

Our oddball tomato is called Green Sausage. It produces green, oblong fruit. We have been using it as a fried tomato, often paired with onions. I like it, but it is not great raw.

Green Sausage.

Green Sausage.

In late August the star of the garden was Sugar Lump, an indeterminate cherry tomato. It has small and sweet fruit. Right now this plant is almost gone, the cool nights in Arroyo Grande do not agree with it. Despite its current decline, it produced more than its fair share of fruit for us.

Sugar Lump.

Sugar Lump.

The September star in the garden is Artisan Purple Bumblebee. This large cherry tomato produces a massive amount of fruit with interesting striping patterns. We have been eating them raw and sauteed. The plant is still alive, and I expect it to be producing for a few more weeks.

Artisan Purple Bumblebee.

Artisan Purple Bumblebee.

The only full-sized tomato we are growing is Murray Smith. This Cal Poly special is a great plant for the Central Coast. We’re starting to get some fruit in mid-September. I expect another month at least for this plant.

Murray Smith.

Murray Smith.

It’s fun to grow your own food. Being near the coast can make growing tomatoes tough, but we had a respectable crop this year.

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Smelling the Roses

It is a good season of life. It has been fun adjusting to the new normal.

rose bottle

 

Pam and I have been savoring the last bits of summer. Today marks the start of Fall Conference and the fall quarter for me. My schedule will now become fuller and less flexible.

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Grounds for Sculpture: Seeing the Seward Johnson Exhibits

Pam and I ventured into New Jersey on our trip south after our time in the Pocono Mountains. We stopped by the Grounds for Sculpture.  It was an overcast day, with the  sun making occasional appearances. 

Grounds for Sculpture.

Grounds for Sculpture.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

As we approached the Grounds for Sculpture we began seeing realistic sculptures of people in various poses by the road and near intersections. I didn’t remember them from before, so I was intrigued by them. After we arrived we learned they were part of a special Seward Johnson exhibit.

Seward Johnson’s sculptures were located throughout the venue. Many of them were very realistic and required a moment of examination to determine if they were patrons or art. I liked Strolling Professor. He was reading a chemistry textbook, and the page was complete with text and figures.

Pam and I spent some time impersonating sculptures on a bench by a small pond. We would hold still, and inevitably every few minutes people would walk along the far side of the pond, spot us, and stop to stare for a moment. This was followed by discussions about whether we were sculptures or people. Then I would wave my hand or move my head and laughter would float across the pond. We did this for half an hour–it was highly entertaining.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

I had my picture taken by a hedge-trimming sculpture.

Grounds4Sculpture3

Most of the sculptures were life-sized, but some were  much larger than life. 

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

Grounds_2

In one of the buildings many of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes were on display. The prototypes were about 12 inches tall and were not painted. It was fun to see the prototypes inside and then encounter the full-sized, finished versions outside.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

The same building housed a section of sculptures that created 3-dimensional scenes from famous paintings. Visitors could walk in the display, thereby entering the painting. Pam walked into Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris: A Rainy Day (I didn’t capture the entire painting with the picture). 

Grounds4Sculpture2

The sculptures and gardens were beautiful.

Grounds4Sculpture4

I love the diversity of artwork. One of the whimsical statues captured my attention. Even though the title Sue’s Nightmare seems to indicate something menacing, I found the little critter amusing. It might even be smiling.

Sue's Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

Sue’s Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

The return of the photobomber.

The return of the photobomber.

The previous time I visited the Grounds for Sculpture I was disappointed to miss the peacocks. This time we saw a peacock wandering the grounds. It spent some time watching its reflection in glass. I expected nothing less form a peacock.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

The Grounds for Sculpture is a delightful place to visit, made even more so delightful by the Seward Johnson exhibit. When art and gardens combine it is a wonderful thing.

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Post Wedding: Hiding in the Poconos

When life provides an opportunity to escape to a refuge of peacefulness and shut out stresses and distractions it is wise to seize that opportunity. After the wedding Pam and I headed north to spend some time in the Pocono Mountains. We stayed in Dingmans Ferry, by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The area has a fascinating history. It also has Dingman’s Ferry Bridge, which is one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the United States. We paid $1.00 to the toll collector standing in between the bridge lanes on our trips over and back.

Our little cabin in the woods was a glorious retreat. And it had a hot tub. On the first morning we had a black bear on our deck welcoming us to the forest–I wish I had taken some pictures.

The back side of a small cabin, with a hot tub on the deck.

The little cabin we rented.

During our stay we played games (Jaipur, Morels, Canasta, Qwirkle), and an interesting trend emerged. Games that required a running score had a scoresheet (which may be seen in the photo below). Our titles were Wife and Husband on this scoresheet. And it just so happened that the Husband won every single game that was documented on the scoresheet, while the Wife won every single game that was not documented on the scoresheet. Our sample size was too small to determine any significance to this, but it made for an interesting trend (and one I will be watching).

hm1

The Delaware Water Gap area has forests with streams and rocks, which translate to waterfalls. We spent some time hiking trails and taking in the beautiful scenes.

Fulmer Falls.

Fulmer Falls.

Deer Leap Falls.

Deer Leap Falls.

Someone kept photobombing my pictures.

Deer Leap Falls Photobomb

While we were hiking to Dingman’s Falls we saw two beavers in the stream. They were working on lodge and dam construction.

A beaver floats in the water while chewing on sticks.

The variation in waterfall size and shape kept things interesting. Photos fail to do justice to most of them. Also missing are the glorious sounds of falling water and the forest. I enjoyed seeing all the mountain laurels, rhododendrons, hemlocks, beeches, partridge berries, and ferns in the forest. Everything was so green!

Silver Thread Falls.

Silver Thread Falls.

Dingman’s Falls has layers of rocks. This picture makes it look small.

Dingman's Falls.

Dingman’s Falls.

Above Dingman's Falls.

Above Dingman’s Falls.

hm3

Adam's Creek.

Adams Creek.

At Adams Creek one of us might have decided to go swimming in a secluded pool, while the other was reluctant.

Adam's Creek.

Adams Creek.

Adams Creek Falls is an impressive area. When we arrived at the falls a group of people were cliff jumping into the pool. I had to carefully maneuver to take a picture without humans in it.

Adam's Creek Falls.

Adams Creek Falls.

Adam's Creek Falls.

Adams Creek Falls.

It was a delightful time in a delightful place. The days flew by, and all too soon we were packing up and leaving. Life has many seasons and chapters, it is nice to savor the sweet ones.

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