Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring has Arrived in Connecticut - Very Quickly Indeed

Today, Spring really did arrive here in southern Connecticut, and with something of a fury at 88 Degrees. On March 2nd - not even two months ago - the scene was vastly different with nearly 6 inches of snow on the ground!

March 2, 2009

and the same scene Today, April 26, 2009

Crab Apple Blossom Detail

Weeping Cherry, just shy of peak bloom.....

Magnolia, beautiful, but in need of some pruning for optimal blooming

Whisteria Chinensis (White) just now budding out for bloom in a week or two

Wisteria budding detail.

Wisteria are among my most favorite plantings with their sensuously fragrant blooms, but they are very difficult to coax to a bloom here in the Northeast.

My (very small) vegetable garden now ready for planting and we just expanded it this year! Last year we lost almost all of our organic produce to a ground-hog who took up residence in the stone wall that back stops the garden. My husband had some dark thoughts on how to permanently evict him, but I was able to persuade that adopting 2 dogs was the better way... of course that solution came with its own set of problems.

Finally, the Forsythia are in full bloom as well. This year the blooms were particularly abundant. It's taken quite a few years of feeding and aggressive pruning to get this result.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interieurs New York to Host Jose Esteves' RE-BORN Lighting Art Exhibit

On May 5th, 2009 18:30 - 20:30, Interieurs will host Lighting Artist Jose Esteves in New York. Jose will exhibit his new "RE-BORN" series of stunning one of a kind lighting sculptures. A part of the proceeds from the sales of these beautiful works will go to benefit the Orangutan Foundation International.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New orangutan population found in Indonesia

April 12, 2009 7:09 AM EDT

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Conservationists have discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote, mountainous corner of Indonesia - perhaps as many as 2,000 - giving a rare boost to one of the world's most endangered great apes.

A team surveying forests nestled between jagged, limestone cliffs on the eastern edge of Borneo island counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a "substantial" number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at the U.S.-based The Nature Conservancy.

"We can't say for sure how many," he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate "several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even."

To read the rest of the story, click the link: New orangutan population found in Indonesia

...and stay tuned for future posts about my involvement with the Orangutan Foundation International.

Photo: Luke G. Gardner, Copyright 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Moroccan Sahara: The Desert Purifies the Soul

"The desert purifies the soul"
is an old Tuareg saying
that I have come to understand completely.

From an early age vacationing near the dunes at Pyla in the Southwest of France, I was fascinated by deserts and I read all the tales of the great British and French explorers who had trekked through and across the immense Sahara.

Wanting to escape the cold and noise of New York during the tense run-up to the Iraq war, I embarked on a project to explore the Moroccan Sahara by camel with my family. I found a great French outfit based in Marrakesh that provided us with a guide, driver and Land Rover to reach the Sahara. After a day of brutal driving on rocky tracks, we finally reached the meeting point where we were introduced to our Berber desert team and our camels.

Our Caidal tents were worthy of "Out of Africa" lined inside as they were in bright silks. Woven fiber rugs and Berber carpets served as our floor. We had separate dining, sleeping and bathing tents.

An early breakfast in the dunes

Camel riding at first is a painful experience but becomes almost hypnotic as you sway with the camel's movement. Those who travel through the desert embark on a spiritual voyage as well, as the mind focuses on the immensity of the desert, the intensity of the heat and the traveler climbs the immense stretches of sand in search of peace.

No two places could be as different from each other as are New York and the western Sahara Desert. From the vast expanses of the Sahara's empty sands to the truly stunning starlit night skies, the desert really is the complete antithesis of traffic and billboard choked Manhattan (or London, Shanghai and Bangkok). Don't misunderstand, I love the excitement of the world's great cities, but I find with increasing frequency that I miss and need the counter-weight of the desert to feel whole and fully spiritually balanced.

I was overwhelmed by the beauty, the silence of the scenery and in awe of the great dunes.
Climbing the dunes is truly an astonishing experience for it seems that there is no end in sight. From the crest of the dunes, the immensity of the landscape is quite overwhelming in its sheer but fearsome beauty. The orange color of the sand as it gleams at sunset is the most unforgettable memory of the trip. I'll never forget my desert stay because it compelled me to re-examine many of my priorities which has ultimately helped me further focus and sharpen my aesthetic sense.

In preparing this post, I had hoped to be able to provide you the name and contact information for the wonderful company that facilitated my travels into the Sahara. Alas, my research indicates that the company I had engaged is no more. If I've tempted you to venture into the desert (and I hope I have), you might try contacting Sahara Trek a company that appears to offer a similar experience.

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