Friday, April 24, 2009

My Town: Routes 5 & 10

There's nothing I like better than gallivanting along back roads. And there's no time I like better than mid-April when the trees have started to show their colors, but only slightly.
So today, in a rare mix of leisure and opportunity, I traveled along the back road of Route 5-1o, accompanied by my Canon Power Shot SX10. I was in search of one tall and one round shrub to begin the landscaping of my front yard.
This is what I mean about the trees just starting to show their leaves. There is something mystical and magical about this for me, and year after year, I marvel at the way it makes me feel
The garden centers large and small are now officially open. This little guy is selling mostly pansies, which I will plant in front of the big rock in my yard this weekend.

I live in the Pioneer Valley, in a culture pocket of five nearby colleges and universities, surrounded on all sided by farms and farmland. The barn you see here is for the harvesting of tobacco. When the warm weather is certain, the sides of the barn will open up and the tobacco "sheets" will be seen hanging to dry.

The land is turning from brown to green in a flash. Soon this soil will be turned over and plowed , and then the crops will be planted.

Who wouldn't want to live in this sweet house with its four tall pines?

This garden center sells mostly good sized shrubs and trees. I bought two shrubs today, got some help putting them in the back of my car, got some help transferring them to a wheel barrel in my driveway, and am currently explaining to my back that it couldn't be helped. I love visiting garden centers as much as I love visiting bookstores. All summer I will stop and shop, picking up annuals and perennials and several more shrubs.

It's news to me that my neighboring town is famous for celery, but here's at least subjective proof. And I can confirm definitely asparagus too.

Just an old barn with a creative touch.

And just a hot dog takeout that had a line a mile long.

And lest you think my part of the world is all about hot dogs, go ahead and add diners to the mix too.


  1. KJ, I'm in Oregon, almost on the 45 parallel, so I can't be much farther south than you, yet Spring has been in swing here for going on two months. We western Oregonians owe that to the proximity of the Pacific.

    Say, are you SURE those were four pines? In the photo, they looked bare.

  2. snowbrush, no, i'm NOT SURE! damn! i wish i knew my trees. i should know my trees. (voice drops). okay snowbrush, if they're not pines, what are they?


  3. Boy, oh boy, looking at these photos makes me ache for my old NY home. I loved, loved, loved visiting the neighborhood garden centers, especially the one closest to my home where I could stay and chat a while with the owner and his helper. They filled me in on the latest neighborhood gossip, and I got to visit their growing pigeon pen. Ah, good times.

    Hey, I really dig that Diner photo! Colors are marvelous.

  4. my my ms. sinclair, you are making the rounds on my blog tonight. may i say i am quite honored (kj bows and blushes.) gotta love those garden centers, though i've never seen one with pigeons before. xo

  5. Oh thanks for the trip around your neighbourhood . .famous for celery, now that's some claim to fame. If they could work out a way to keep it crisp for more than 2 days I'd be well impressed. Lovely little neighbourhood. One thing I must do in the states is eat a hot dog and go to a diner for a piece of pie! We don't have anything like the American 'Diner' here. Garden centres? Well we have a ton and they're open all year round of course. Clare and I pootled down to Windsor (little colonial town about 15 minutes away) and because it's Anzac day here, most things were shut but we'd forgotten how lovely it is to be a tourist in your own neighbourhood and wonder by the river in the sunshine! Twas perfect . .

  6. Only us ever-hopeful New Englanders can treasure the tiny tiny blushes of green on the trees right now - to us SPRING is officially here! To others on the west coast or down south or in the UK we live in a barren frozen wilderness. (Which most of the time we do) Love that diner - I'm a diner fan, as well as a good hotdog fan. We were outside yesterday also, enjoying the warmth, the budding trees and bushes, and blooming daffy's.

  7. Enjoyed my wander with you along your back roads ... I thought you were going to say those sheds were for horses to exercise over winter ... must be a sight when the sides are taken down for the tobacco sheets to dry. I'm now just wondering if Tom does a short hot dog and grill and is it just as famous*?*

    ... I was planting pansies on Thursday

  8. I love that old barn with the horse. Looks like we were out on the backroads with our cameras at the same time yesterday!

  9. i love the wooden buildings, so rural, so serene and so peaceful, all looks like a good place to 'hang out'...have a fabulous weekend.

  10. aaaa-cho! Yup, trees are budding.
    How did you get that horse to pose next to the tobacco barn? - It's shorts weather today!

  11. thanks for the tour of your area. i've driven on route 5 a number of times in that region. it comes all the way up here to Vt too. have fun landscaping. I just did a quick watch on tv of that house channel and they were saying landscaping is one of the big home improvement things you can do to raise the value of yr house.

  12. if they're not pines, what are they?"

    I doubted that the were pines because the didn't have needles--of course, they could be dead pines. Saying that they are from a small and distant wintertime photo is another matter. Sorry

  13. I love love love meandering around back roads! That's a sweet house with the four trees. I wonder if they're elms. They grow pretty tall. Or oaks? I also thought of tamarac trees because they drop their needles in the winter. I wouldn't want to live in that sweet little house if there was a big wind coming through town and those trees became bombs!
    And I'm with Bella on that diner picture. WOW!! Brian loves diners.
    I can top your celery fame. We have an artichoke festival out here in castroville with an artichoke queen and everything!
    Oh, tell Baino that it helps to cut the bottom off the celery stalks and stand them up in a glass with a little water in it. It really does make it last! Try to remember to change the water every day.
    I love the little mural on the barn too. A visual surprise!

    Thanks for the tour KJ. I'll see it in person one day!
    We'll all want to see those shrubs once they're planted, but be mindful of your back ;)


  14. Lolo is too modest-in the same area, Gilmore claims to be the garlic capital of the world-with signs everywhere for miles and miles and famous Gilmore garlic in every retail outlet. Isn't it funny what sticks in your mind?

    I have a friend whose home town has the yearly Fire Ant Festival. I guess all the fruits and vegetables were taken. And there is a town in Oklahoma that has a Bigfoot Festival.

    I love reasons to celebrate.

  15. debra's Gilroy. You're right, I forgot them!! The garlic festival is HUGE. Garlic wine and garlic ice cream just seems wrong to me though :P

    KJ, I forgot to tell you there's an award for you at my place.

    And we want more pics of Drew so we can see him grow like Maggie!


  16. baino, somehow i have a feeling i'll be grinning and nearby when you eat that hotdog and have pie in that diner. i'll add it to the agenda.

  17. What a lovely ride!
    You live in beautiful surroundings.
    I love April and Spring too!

    Glad your package has arrived and that you liked the content!

    Send my love to Emily!

    love >M<

  18. enjoyed the walk a lot...
    great photos... loved the old barn with that painting on it...

  19. Thank you, for your tour.Celery is not such a bad thing to be know for, :-).

  20. What a lovely tour! Makes me want to head north! Soon ...

  21. mim, i imagine you and i beaming at our good fortune that spring has sprung! xo

    bimbimbie, when those barns open up and the tobacco gets hung, i'll post some photos of it. at first i had no idea it was tobacco. hahaha about tom's hot dogs. good point bimbimbie! and imagine we are planting pansies together! xo

    cs, i LOVED finally getting out with my new camera. i only know how to set it on auto and point/shoot, but i had a wonderful couple of hours gallivanting. takes my mind off other things... :)

    soulbrush, i really like where i live. i didn't expect to at first. hey, you have a good weekend too. don't forget you are a doll!

  22. chewy, i love that shot with the hourse. she/he must have just been chilling' :)

    suki, we ripped out all the old tired shrubs in front of the house last year, so i have the orgasmic opportunity to plan, design, shop, and plant. i just love it. and i find the landscaping in people's front yards is really boring, so it's a challenge for me.

    snowbrush, no need to ever be sorry. it's a pleasure to have you here.

    lo, you will indeed see it in person! i know about the artichokes in your neck of the woods--i've been there and had fried artichokes from the roadside stands. i loved it! i'm landscaping. i'll take before pix tomorrow just for you
    ps xoxoxo you are wonderful, really!

  23. debra kay, a fire ant festival? YUK! no way. never. (i'm scrunching my face) xo

    lo, i will take some shots of mr. drew tomorrow. i don't think i can keep up with soulbrush though--she probably lives closer to her sweet maggie? oh, the award: so serene and hopeful--just like you...

    marianne, this is a pretty cool place to live. i'm going to post pictures of the area here and there all summer. YES! I LOVED THE CARDS! THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL MARIANNE. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    hb, do you have areas that look like this?

    annie, your comment reminded me of a guy i wanted to date: he dressed in a super hero costume as carrotman. i thought he was crazy until he told me he was a nutritionist and he visited elementary schools as carrotman. then i liked him even more! :)

    melissa, come north, girl, come north! i'll be waiting for you with open arms!

  24. I had to come over from Chewy's place and say hi.
    I mean anyone who mentions cartwheels has to be pretty cool!

    Enjoyed seeing your area,,and the landscaping,,,and the mural on the barn,,,heck it's a great blog!

    Hmmm, Bigfoot festival in an Oklahoma town,,,blogging is so educational. I live here and didn't know it.

  25. hello babs, thanks for stopping by. i checked out your blog this evening and met 'the little girl within.' thanks for your kind words, and yes to cartwheels :)

  26. kj it looks beautiful. Love garden shops as much as bookstores. Wow.

    That says a lot.


  27. I rally enjoyed this outing you shared with us! LOVE all your pictures and your adventurous spirit, Thanks kj and John says hi kj!

  28. yes... we have different climates in different parts of Iran... thus different sceneries...

  29. Sure looks like a great place you live in!

  30. enjoyed looking through your photos here. I very much like the grandma holding the baby above!