They Call It Moonglow

Moonglow. Not a super moon.

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At the 40th Anniversary Balloon Festival it was 3 tethered balloons glowing  in the dark. The photo that resulted is one of my favorites . The Boston Globe newspaper liked it too as it was featured “above the fold” in one of the Sunday editions.

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The “Moonglow” was my main reason for attending the Festival this year. As much as I like the photo from 2012, I felt that I could do better. I wanted another try. This year they planned on more than 3 balloons. Moonglow was going to be at the airport. It was scheduled for 8 pm Saturday night.

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There was also a 5 pm launch but as we arrived at the airport we learned that the 5 pm launch had been grounded due to high wind gusts. Disappointing but not a disaster. After all we had loads of pictures from Friday evening’s launch.

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We set up our lawn chairs and settled in to wait. The breeze was pretty stiff and it began to get chilly but we hung in there. We were hoping that if the balloons were tethered maybe they’d still be able to pull off the Moonglow.

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Alas, it was not to be. About 7:30 the chase teams began to pack up. They moved the baskets to the tarmac and lined them up. To a rousing sound track they sent propane flames skyward but no balloons.

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The Festival was over for us.

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There was a final launch scheduled for dawn on Sunday but we had no plans to attend that one.

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So I will leave you with a few more photos from Friday night

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And the promise that I will try again another year to capture that perfect “moonglow” picture.

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“Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon????”

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They came in Waves

2 years ago we thought the show was pretty good but this year the launch far out-shown anything from 2012.

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I don’t know how many balloons made it up but they launched in waves. You watched them drift overhead and turned to follow them out of sight only to turn around to more balloons lifting into the air. We heard the goal was to get 80 balloons in the air. I think they made it.

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Music filled the air providing a sound track to the spectacle. Each balloon was unique. Bright colored traditional balloons rose side by side with whimsical animals and even a sci-fi Icon.

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Yes , there was even an 85 ft, 600 lb black balloon that struck fear in the hearts of the rebel alliance. Darth Vader himself rose from the ground to the strains of the Star Wars Overture. Darth was definitely the celebrity  of the day. Sadly he remained tethered and we never got to see him soar.

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Once of my favorite images was when a brightly colored balloon seemed to rise over Darth Vader ‘s helmet like a tiny moon. Several looked like they might not clear his 85 ft. height.

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Right next to us was large black and white balloon that turned out to be a giant Panda!

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As the balloon inflated children romped in its shadow.  What a thrill to be so close to the behemoth as it inflated!

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I was too close and then I wanted to zoom in on a more distant balloon. I was juggling lenses every few shots! Now I know why the photography team all hand at least 2 cameras around  their necks. Maybe next time I’ll have that extra camera too.

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We Have Lift Off!

Thursday night was the kick off to the 42nd Adirondack Balloon Festival and all of the balloons were grounded by the weather, mostly the winds.

Friday seemed to be much more favorable so we headed to the airport about 4:30 pm for the afternoon launch. We had pre-paid parking which I highly recommend! Why? Because it gets you much closer to the airport proper and when you are carrying a chair and camera gear, less is certainly more. :)

You need to arrive early and for ballooners it’s almost like going to a football game and tailgating! There are food trucks and craft vendors. The kites always do well and there are always a bunch of them flying as we wait for the main event, the hot air balloons.

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You never know if there is going to be a launch until right before they go up. All eyes watch the wind socks because wind gusts will put a kibosh on the launch every time. Safety First.

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As I said, Friday night seemed to hold a lot of promise. The sky was clear and the wind sock was limp. Sandy and I lugged our chairs and I lugged my camera and we staked out a spot near one of the chase trucks. We could see a few balloons being spread out and one purple balloon was starting to inflate. There was a good turnout here already.

Getting around is crucial for the ballooners. They have to go to the pilot’s tent for updates and run around on all sorts of errands as the launch deadline approaches. One enterprising ballooner found a new way to get around quickly… A Segway!

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Finally at just about 5 pm we began to hear the whoosh whoosh of the propane tanks firing and balloons began inflating all around us.

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The first Balloon to take off was a really pretty purple-blue balloon that had a elongated shape, not the traditional balloon shape. The wind, what there was of it was pushing the balloon in our direction. Perfect positioning.

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For some reason the balloon didn’t seem to be gaining altitude. As it passed over the airport terminal building toward the trees we all wonder if it would clear them. It did, but just barely, the bottom of the basket actually scraping the top branches.

Not too much farther on they seemed to give up the fight and down it came. So the first balloon up was also the first balloon down. We heard later that it may have had a leak.

But while our attention was fixed on the purple-blue balloon and it’s troubles, the other ballooners were hard at work.

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Balloons over the Adirondacks

Yesterday was the first day of the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival. Opening festivities were planned for Crandall Park in Glens Falls, NY. But then the rains came and the wind gusts started…up to 10 miles per hour according to the weather reports. So they held the block party but no balloons in the air.

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Maybe today will be better.

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Just a quick Hi

Hi everyone! Are you still waiting for me? Oh my, you are wonderful! I’m finally starting to mend, at least my legs and back. The shingles continue to hang on. I had to stop PT because it was only making me worse. I was ready for a wheel chair and the back pain had changed. It wasn’t an ache anymore, it was take your breathe away pain. So I stopped and called my doctor who was on vacation, She won’t be back until next week and then I won’t be available. In the meantime I have seen a big improvement. I can walk again, the back pain persists but much less intense. Yesterday I walked all around the mall without stopping! Before I was walking from bench to bench, to rest before going on and I am limping much less.

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Labor Day weekend I had company and we went on a cruise of the Cape Cod Canal. I have pictures and stories and promise I’ll share soon.  The next day we went to the Roger Williams Zoo. More Pics but I wasn’t walking too well then so my poor friend was held to a mere crawl around the zoo as he waited for me to keep up.

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This is the busy fall season for real estate and I’m am working long hours but it will be worth it. One of the agents I support asked me if I had adjusted to my new schedule. (It’s suppose to be 9-6 M-F) I said yes but I got to thinking how time is so precious.

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On my old schedule I had too much time. Oh I had time to write my blog daily but  I was also bored a lot of the time. Now I scramble for every spare minute. There are days I pull laundry out with every good intention and never get a chance to look at it again until 8-9 pm. But I’m not bored!

I expect free time will be cyclical based on busy seasons and off seasons. So I expect I’ll be able to start posting more in another month – 6 weeks as we head into the holiday seasons.

So my blogging friends, you are never far from my thoughts. I always appreciate you and your support! Back soon :)

 

 

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A Little River Cruise

I had to get out. Summer is almost over and I’ve done NOTHING! I know you’ve heard it all before but I really had to try to get out so I bought a ticket on the River Quest Lighthouse Cruise. River Quest runs cruises on the lower end of the Connecticut River. I’ve been on a couple of their Eagle Cruises.

It takes about 2 hours to get there but the cruises are always fun. relaxing and educational. The lighthouse cruise is only done once a year and it’s the only cruise that leaves the Connecticut River and ventures into the Long Island Sound.

So here are a few images from my day:

Good morning! alarm

2 hours later there’s the Goodspeed Opera House!

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A Eagle!

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Look what happens when you do not get the proper permits!

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Bass Fishing

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My spare car is a Helicopter…how’d you like to commute with that?

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Osprey

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and more Osprey

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One More Osprey

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Oh those poor people who live along the river. (They are all either attorneys or car salesmen)

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The rest of the poor people have boats.

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I 95 just ahead.

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Under  I 95.

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Let’s go to the town dock for a little fishing.

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There’s the Acela train!

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This little lighthouse is actually a room for rent.

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There’s the first lighthouse.

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Lighthouse one and two.

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The breakwater lighthouse.

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Now that’s what I call “Gone Fishing”

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St. John’s Boys School for troubled youths.

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Gillette Castle

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Jet Skis on the river

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Wave to the Becky Thatcher!

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Heading back to the dock.

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We’re back in Eagle Park. Time for lunch.

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Posted in Birds, Connecticut, Cruises, lighthouses, trains, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Strawberries

About a week ago I saw a demonstration video on Facebook about How to Hull Fresh Strawberries. What caught my attention was the first frame, you know the one that’s like a photo until you press the arrow? It was of a woman with a knife and a bunch of mutilated strawberries with their tops cut off.

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I hate to say it but it looked like the way I hull strawberries too so I pushed the arrow. After the introduction which made fun of the woman and her knife and her poor sliced up strawberries they got to the good stuff.

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According to the demonstration you can perfectly hull a strawberry with a straw! They made it look so easy.

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Of course I had to run right our and buy a pint of strawberries to see if it really worked.

All you do is stick the straw up the bottom of the berry. When it pops through at the top it takes the hull with it. Very easy!

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At first I didn’t hold the straw close enough to the tip and it bent but once I got the hang of it I can tell you it does work and it’s pretty quick.

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But what I like most is that you get a beautiful strawberry that you can keep whole to decorate your plate or dessert.

 

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