Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Halloween and even the clouds dressed up, as tongues of fire in the sky.

The weatherman said this is the 5th fair-weather Halloween in a row. It was in the 50's this evening, but it felt warmer. I grabbed the motorcycle keys after dinner and went for a quick ride.

These ghosts floated eerily about a giant peace symbol in front of this guy's house.

This witch was spotted wheeling away a baby carriage of some sort. Some devilish child, I'm sure.

A turnip Jack O' Lantern. Kind of creepy, eh?

The original Jack O' Lanterns were made from turnips, rutabagas, beets, ect. The use of pumpkins occurred when Irish immigrants came here in the 19th century.Here's a link with the story of ol' Jack:

A beautiful night with the leaves blowing all around and the silver clouds cruising by in the mild night breeze.

Through the breaks in the clouds, I noticed the constellation Orion, the hunter. It was just starting to rise over the eastern horizon. Here's a graphic of it:

It's a winter constellation, and one of the most recognizable in the sky. It didn't feel like it tonight, but Winter is near....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What up, Holmes?

Wanna see a Comet?

If you look at the constellation Perseus in the northeast for the next few days, you'll be able to see a small comet. The comet, called Holmes, has recently puffed out a huge cloud of dust, and the dust is being reflected by sunlight. It looks like a small fuzzy star now, but the dust is slowly expanding day by day...

The following graphics from Sky & Telescope magazine:

Around 11pm the stars and constellations are positioned this way:

Here's a link with more info on it:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Punkin' Pickin'

Since Kelly has been around it has become a 'tradition' to hunt for, bag, and emboss an unsuspecting pumpkin. Something to do with her Belchertown country back-woods upbringing, I think.

We struck north on our hunt.

No shortage of scenery on this brisk, windy October day as we drove up through Sunderland.

Always loved how the Sugarloaf and Toby mts. suddenly jut out above the flat floodplain of Sunderland.

There was also no shortage of pumpkin stands, either.
We decided to give last year's pumpkin supplier, Laurenitis Farm, some return business.

We pulled in to their nice looking stand on Rte. 116.

Apparently they were big on mums as well as other fall-farm-fare.

After careful deliberation and thorough comparison we decided on our respective pumpkins.

Coming back down Rte. 116, we came through Amherst.

We could use a snack to tide us over until dinner, so we stopped in at Antonio's Pizza for a slice.

They have a wide variety of pizza by the slice, and I mean variety. If you can eat it they've probably made a pizza out of it. Antonio's is famous around here, especially among the college crowds that cram the restaurant and sidewalk after the pubs close.

I know this is true, as they have a camera out front, aimed at the sidewalk.

Video is fed to MassLive, 24/7, via this "Campus Cam".

We then made a couple stops at the Hadley mall for supplies, and headed home.

After dinner, we began the gruesome business of carving out pumpkins.

Like most things in life, the time and care put into the carving, equaled the quality of the carving. Chris was done first. I churned out a satisfactorily scary pumpkin head. Kelly pulled out all the stops with hers this year.

A couple of 'tea lights' or tiny candles, and the job was done.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Meat Market

We went up to Arnold's Meats in East Longmeadow to restock our freezer.

Arnold's has the BEST prices for meat and poultry around. Period. They also have Turkey and fish.

Would this guy lie?

The "People Pleasin' Place". (The animals might have a different take on that).

They also have another Arnold's (the original, I think) in Chicopee.

This horse reminds me of one photographed by Bill Dusty of The Springfield Intruder at the Big E last month.

to wit:

On the way back we stopped to check out the scene of a massive fire that occurred here in East Longmeadow, about a month ago. It was an upscale retirement complex, still under construction, called BlueBird Estates. You might recall hearing about the retirement complex, 130 units in all, that were ablaze around midnight September 26. The fire was was huge.

They have someone guarding the area now, 24/7 I would assume. This security guard sprung into action when I approached. He only allowed me as far as a barricade fence.

It was later found that arsonists had set the fire with gasoline. The fire was set one day before sprinkler systems in the $13 million complex were scheduled to be installed. The FBI even got involved.

It must still be under investigation, the buildings appear to be left standing the way they were after the fire.

The individual apartments were going to be rented for $1800 - $3600 per month.

Well, so much for that.

The 41 acres that the complex was on, was part of a farm across the street called BlueBird Acres. That orchard and farm store closed down in 2003. It's land partitioned and sold off.

It was pretty popular in it's day, along the lines of Atkins Farm in Amherst or Randall's Farm in Ludlow. Gone gone gone.

Did a double-take as we passed this house...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Heavy Drizzle

The first signs of the approaching weather front this morning...

Sure enough, rain by late evening.

That didn't stop us or anyone else from going out, though.

We had dinner at Fitzwilly's in Northampton, and scored window seats.

Chicken Picata for her...

And (surprisingly) steak and cheese with big fat fries for me.

De-licious, and the service was right on. Good stuff.

Then we sat out front of Starbucks and had a coffee.
Ruminating on the light rain, or heavy drizzle. Easy going night.