The Butterflies of Westford

Butterflies, harbingers of spring, gentle bits of gossamer floating on the breeze. Who does’t love those happy bits of color?

Well it seems that not everyone likes butterflies.

Butterfly Place

Our afternoon was visiting the Butterfly Place in Westford. It isn’t as large as the butterfly conservatory in South Deerfield. We’d been to Magic Wings several years ago and Alex wasn’t pleased with the large blue butterflies that seemed (to him) to swoop and dive bomb him. But Alex was older now so it should be ok , right?

Alex and Dawn entered the indoor gardens quickly enough but soon were looking to make their escape. Alex left first and watched from the window.

DSC_2336 copy

Dawn lasted longer but was clearly restless. Both children were ready to leave before my camera had even had a chance to acclimate.

DSC_2341 copy

The camera had been in the trunk of the car to give everyone more room so going from the cool outside air into the humid 80 degree environment the butterflies need caused the lens to fog. That was to be expected and the only thing I know to do is to wait patiently and let nature take care of the condensation.

DSC_2346 copy

I did try to take few pictures with the foggy lens treating it as a diffuser. I was pleased by the result.

DSC_2338 copy

In addition to the butterflies I recognized a Zebra Finch but there were several other colorful birds as well.

DSC_2352 copy

I don’t know what they were. Some children were calling the rainbow birds and that’s as good as anything considering their bright colors.

DSC_2350 copy_edited-1

DSC_2347 copy

The quail were out in force and quite active running between visitors feet.

DSC_2353 copy

DSC_2387 copy

There were quite a few people there, many with cameras but it was challenging.

DSC_2365 copy

Butterflies don’t stick around in one place for long and when one lights you need to be quick, jockeying for a chance for a shot before someone else pushes by you.

DSC_2359 copy

DSC_2361 copy

DSC_2363 copy

They have a “quiet hour” from 9 – 10 am for photographers only. You need to let them know the day before that you are coming. I think I just might try that.I’m adding it to my list!

DSC_2354 copy

The Comet Diner

Last weekend was beautiful, almost T shirt weather. The sun was shining and what little snow was left was rapidly melting. Quite a change from the -10 weather of the previous weekend.

So with the sun in my eyes, my friend and her 2 children loaded up the car and headed out for an early spring adventure. It was a nice drive to the little town of Westford in northern Massachusetts. We got there at just about noon so before we went in search of our afternoon activity we decided we should have lunch.

We had just gotten off the highway and expected to see restaurants or fast food places where we could grab a quick bite. We saw one little strip mall with a Chinese restaurant and a Pizza Shop but then nothing. We drove through the little town center with its library and town hall but no restaurants. Finally we turned around and headed back.

Passing the highway we saw another little strip mall but unlike the first one there were a lot of cars in the lot. We slowed down and spotted Comets Diner.


As we pulled in I saw saw several people heading into the diner. A good sign.

Inside was the wonderful 50’s decor with murals of sock hops and drive in speakers decorating the tables.


We lucked out with the last booth, only tables or seats at the counter remained.


Comfort food filled the menu. They even had deep fried chips, a homemade version of potato chips.


The kids had a side of chili cheese fries that they seemed to love, at least there weren’t any left overs. Desserts consisted of ice cream or strawberry shortcake.


It was a real traditional short cake too with one twist. There was a layer of vanilla ice cream. Nancy and I split one because they were huge but soooo good!


Thus fully satisfied and fully fueled for the afternoon we left the Comets Diner behind but I’d definitely recommend it if you get to Westford, MA.


A Trace is still a Trace

My sister was tracing my mother’s side of the family tree and said she found a Native American in our linage.


I thought this was just great. I’ve always felt a connection to Native Americans.


Of course I started asking for more information that she just didn’t have so finally I submitted my saliva (aka spit) to It seemed to take forever. Every couple of weeks I’d get an email from them with an update…we have your sample…we’ve submitted your sample…your sample is being analyzed…Then the big day came. I got an email with the title: Great News! Your DNA results are in!.


I was so excited!

When I checked the result I felt a little like the TV ad where the guy says “Growing up we were German then I submitted my DNA to and found out we were Scottish. I traded my Lederhosen  for a kilt.”

My heritage breakdown was

33%  Irish


26%  Great Britain


11%  Western Europe


But where was the Native American? In fact where was Canadian? I know my maternal grandparents were French Canadian! But I really wanted the Native American bloodline.  I felt so let down. But wait, there’s a tab that says “America Trace”. I clicked it and there it was…Native American, just a trace but that’s ok.


At least I have a little bit flowing through my veins.

I am a Wimp

I am a wimp. There I admit it. Last weekend the cold in the northeast smashed all records. With wind chills we were being warned about frost bite in 10 minutes!

With this dire prediction I got up at 4:30 am to drive to Scituate Ma to take pictures of the “sea smoke”. I wanted to get there around dawn.

sea smoke

Sea smoke is a phenomenon where fog wisps up off the water like smoke tendrils. The bitter cold and the warmer ocean were perfect conditions. But I am a wimp.

I got as far as sticking my nose out from the warm, toasty covers before I pulled the covers back over my head and went back to sleep.

Bed 002

I was really ashamed when I saw the absolutely beautiful photos my friend Sean took. I wish I could share them with you but I don’t have his permission . Search him out on Face Book. You’ll see some great pictures.

Sean Goss photography


We’ve been to Hawaii…in fact we’ve been twice. Once to the Big Island and once to Oahu.

akaka falls

When we were on the Big Island we went looking for a Green Sand Beach. We never found it but I finally met someone who did.

green sand beach

She said they got there by off roading so we must have been on the right track. We drove as far as we could in the rental and then I (the driver) chickened out as the road disappeared and got all rocky.

I recently found this guide book description of the road to the beach in question.

Keep in mind, driving to the actual beach is out for all but the most experienced off road drivers. Instead, most opt for a 2 1/2 mile hike each way along the wind swept and hot dusty deep rutted jeep roads.

Too bad. Would have loved to find that!

I wonder if there is a green sand beach on Maui?