Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Itsy-bitsy spider


We interrupt this indignant NJ blizzard coverage to bring you a season-appropriate picture of a giant spider in my neighbor’s yard. I have to wonder how they mow the grass, what with that spiderweb covering most of the lawn.

Oh— and— just so you know— the legs wiggle in the breeze. Awwww.

Also just so you know, I took this photo the day before yesterday, about two hours before I took that marigold photo. Rrrrgh.

Happy Halloween! Because the snow has made everything dangerous in New Providence, our town is postponing Halloween until Friday, November 4. So I may be wishing you a SECOND “happy Halloween” in a few days!

October 30, 2011

October blizzard 2

Smoking power line, Springfield Avenue, 4:32 PM

Smoking power line, Springfield Avenue, 4:50 PM

Above, you see a before and after of a smoking power line, taken 18 minutes apart. I was standing about 100 feet away when I heard a loud POP, like a gunshot. I saw flashes of blue-green and gold accompanied by a few more pops and fizzles and sparks, and then it was quiet.

While I was out, I saw about four tree branches fall (two large ones), right before my eyes.

As dusk set in and my apartment lost power, all through the night, the reflective cloud-covered sky would occasionally glow that same electrical blue-green for a second or two, presumably from some other power line exploding somewhere.

The trees around here still have their leaves, and with 6-14 inches of snow on top of that, it’s just too heavy for the poor trees, so branches are falling down left and right— and taking power lines with them.

I talked to one of my neighbors last night, who said there were spots on the road that were so badly blocked that you had to stop your car to get out and move branches, just so you could drive around them.

This October blizzard thing SUCKS. I’m visiting my parents in central Jersey, which barely got touched by this dumb snow. On the drive here, I had to dodge downed power lines (!), and I nearly turned back after 10 minutes. My local train line (Morris & Essex, Gladstone branch specifically) isn’t running, either, so I’m not sure how or if I’m going to work tomorrow.


October 29, 2011

October blizzard


Yesterday, one of my coworkers sighed and said, “this is perfect fall weather.”

Today, we get THIS.

The weather prediction was for rain/snow, which I interpreted to mean “a few wet flurries that will melt as soon as they hit the ground.”

No no no, we’re getting a SNOWSTORM. In OCTOBER. OCT-FREAKING-TOBER.

We haven’t even had our first frost yet. The weather is somehow still above freezing (38-40 F, about 3 C). Heck, this weekend was supposed to be peak for autumn leaves!

The half-inch of snow you see on those marigolds happened over the span of about two hours. I came back from the grocery store, did a batch of laundry, and when I went back outside, it had gone from raincoat weather to a blizzard.

My car isn’t even close to winterized yet. I had a bunch of errands to run today, and I’m scared to run them. As fast as you can brush snow off your car, it piles back up again.

Unfair! Arrrrrrrgh, damn you, weather!

October 28, 2011

Looking up

Look up!

Yessirreebob, fall is sure in the air. I needs me some apple cider.

October 27, 2011

Nasty nasturtium!


Nasturtiums are pretty little orange and yellow flowers with round leaves, and they can do lots of useful things, like repel bugs that plague certain plants (like squash).

Here ends my knowledge about nasturtiums. (I didn’t even know it was a nasturtium until I Googled “orange flowers round leaves.”) If you would like to educate yourself further, check Wikipedia.

October 26, 2011

Carter House

The oldest house in Summit, New Jersey!

The Carter House, built in the 1740s, is the oldest house in Summit! Here’s a photo of it back before the dormer windows were added in the 1800s.

Carter House, sometime in the 1800s.


The house was mostly passed down in one family until 1939 (when it “was acquired” by a different family). Nothing of particular note happened until 1986, when a corporation bought the land it was on, and the old house needed to be physically moved down the street to avoid getting bulldozed.

It’s got everything an 18th-century family could possibly need. Floors, for example. Low ceilings. Walls.

Inside the Carter House!

The Carter House is currently home to the Summit Historical Society. A recent generous donation was put towards an addition in the back (with 21st-century-height ceilings, and good light, and elbow room, and generally modern amenities, all of which had been lacking in the 18th-century construction), which has made the historical society very, very happy.

Oh—and—bonus!—I met Patricia Meola, the author of the Summit Images of America book I’m always citing when I write historical stuff about Summit. How awesome is that! I had a bit of a fangirl moment. We talked photos for a bit.



Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738563307.

New Jersey Historical Commission. (2011). Four Centuries in a Weekend. “19. Summit: Carter House, 90 Butler Parkway.” [pamphlet.]

The Summit Historical Society. (1978). Glimpses into Summit’s Past: A Selection of Photographs and Texts Tracing the City’s Growth. Benway, Maxwell, & Smith, Inc.: Chatham, NJ.

October 25, 2011

Hibiscus syriacus cultivars 2

'E's not dead yet!

When I first visited the Reeves-Reed Arboretum, it was early March, and there was still snow on the ground. There were very few things to take pictures of. (I dunno, it was an arboretum, I thought there’d be trees. And in my defense, the snow had melted everywhere else.)

But ONE thing I photographed was a Rose of Sharon, or shrub althea, or Hibiscus syriacus cultivars.

The above photo is what Rose of Sharon seeds look like BEFORE they get all dry and dead-looking.

…One of these years, I will get myself to the arboretum when these flowers are actually in bloom.

October 24, 2011

Red ribbons

Red Ribbon, Red Ribbon

It’s Red Ribbon Week, so these ribbons are tied all over the downtown area of New Providence.

Red Ribbon Week is, according to, “a national event that honors the memory of US drug enforcement agent Enrique Camarena, who was murdered by drug dealers while on duty in Mexico in 1985.”

Various drug education programs will be sponsored throughout the week by the New Providence Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse, presumably to encourage kids not to do drugs.

Yeah, don’t do drugs, kids. It’s bad.

October 23, 2011

Autumn reflections


I love autumn!

Here in New Jersey, it looks like peak won’t be until next week, but things are definitely getting very pretty around here.


(Just in case this is a local terminology: “peak” refers to when the leaves are collectively at their most colorful.)

October 22, 2011

The Summit Free Market

The Summit Free Market!

Do you like free stuff? Do you have usable stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of but haven’t yet? If this sounds like you, you might enjoy the Summit Free Market!

The Summit Free Market [website] is essentially a free garage sale. You bring your own yard-sale quality items, and you take home anyone else’s items that you wish. No money is exchanged.

It takes place at the Summit Transfer Station [map] today (10/22), next Saturday (10/29), and the Saturday after that (11/5), from 8am-3pm.

The Summit Free Market held its first event in 2008, and it grown since then. Based on my discussion with one of the women supervising this thing, it evolved from the Environmental Commission’s disgust at how much perfectly usable stuff was getting thrown into landfills PLUS a burning desire to get today’s youth involved in recycling and environmental protection.

Youth, you say?

Yes, youth! The event is organized and run by local high schoolers, with some help from local middle schoolers.

I went when it had been open for an hour already, and it wasn’t exactly hopping. But a student told me that it usually picks up later in the afternoon. Kind of the opposite of a normal garage sale, I guess.

Between the three Saturdays that the Summit Free Market will take place, they’ll stow any leftover items in a rentable PODS container for the duration of the week. But eventually, said the woman I spoke to, they hope to occupy a permanent location, where items may simply stay on the shelf from weekend to weekend. And during the week, she added, the storefront would be open only to local churches and charities, who could come and browse and take whatever they need.

If you’re in the area, come check it out!

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