Tag Archives: ma

From One Apple-Crazed State to the Other

Jones Creek Farms in the Skagit Valley region of Washington state.

Jones Creek Farms in the Skagit Valley region of Washington state.

Before driving across the country, the states of Massachusetts and Washington seemed to be worlds apart. Brought forth in entirely different times, forged by various people and industries that may have some similar mindsets, but they made very different states.

The culture of west and east coast in the U.S. has historically been polarized, but after having spent a few months in my new home in the Pacific Northwest, I’m finding they might not be so different after all.

One similarity? Apples.

People in Massachusetts love fall, understandably. Fall in New England is one of the best things I’d ever experienced, especially coming from a Southern state where fall just means fewer days to wear flip-flops and sit on the porch. When my partner and I were first throwing around the idea of moving out here, the thought of going without another autumnal wave of fall themed treats, brisk mornings and crunchy leaves seemed unbearable. The Evergreen State of Washington? No brilliantly painted leaves filling the windy afternoon air?

Gourds. It's fall!

Gourds. It’s fall!

But… that’s not all true. Although WA has plenty of trees that remain the same over the seasons, we were pleased to find that there are tons that go through the fall, dropping plenty for me to step on on the walk to work in the morning.

And that horrible gray season? While it’s almost here, we’ve gotten lucky to have crisp sometimes cloudless skies, moody fog, and nice chilly weather. It’s almost like we never left.

And just when it couldn’t get any more perfect…  (you probably guessed it from the title) apples.

Who loves apples more than the people living near a ton of great Central Mass. farms? Those living in Washington. According to the Washington State Apple Commission (yeah, there is one of those — that’s how crazy it gets), Harvest of Washington apples begins in mid-August and generally ends in early November. Each year, Washington harvests over 100 million boxes of apples, each weighing about 40 pounds. That’s a lot.

More apple “core facts” — 10 – 12 billion apples are handpicked in Washington State each year. If you put all of the Washington State apples picked in a year side-by-side, they would circle the earth 29 times (wtf?!). Crazy.

Enjoy some photos of our trip to Washington’s Skagit Valley for some fall fun:

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Harvard University – MC Escher Style

Harvard University - MC Escher Style

Took this photo a couple years ago when a friend came to visit. We went to Boston, and I tried to include all of those quintessential moments — the Common, the historical sites, and of course walking across the Charles to Harvard.

I left this shot in black and white to emphasize the patterns. Really reminds me of some of Escher’s crazy work.

Slideshow: Beautiful Spring Morning in Boston

Spent the early morning walking around the Back Bay. Thought I was going to do some street portraits (see them here: http://tinyurl.com/ae22ezr), but the springtime sun captured my attention more than I anticipated. Now if we could just get some leaves on the trees….

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The Aftermath – Nemo

Here are some shots of the aftermath of the blizzard that hit New England this past weekend. Before the storm, I couldn’t imagine everything covered in 2+ feet of snow, and after it hit, it looked as strange as I imagined it.

Unlike winters past, there was no snow on the ground before Nemo, and the storm completely changed the landscape, transforming everything into another world.

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Day/Night – My Attempt

So, as I expected, attempting Stephen Wilkes’ tactic of blending the day and night in NYC was severely less interesting when done from my front porch. Oh well. It was a fun try. If you check out his photos, he does a couple things where nicely, one being what he uses as a transitional point. The Flatiron Building makes a perfect object. I found it tough to do this gracefully.

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My first attempt is simply blended left to right, and for the second, I used the horizon as the point of transition, blending front to back. Let me know what you think!

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More than just running errands

This past weekend, I needed to go shopping. Usually, this is merely a question of how much effort my roommates or I feel like putting out; do we really feel like making the trek to Trader Joe’s for the better options or am I content with Price Chopper? (To add further complexity, I got a gift card to PChops for Christmas.) But this weekend was different. This weekend, I found myself farther out on Route 9, past the Trader Joe’s, past the other Price Chopper. I found myself in another world.

This is ridiculous.

The sun was dimly setting into the less than vibrant horizon, but I could still make out a huge hill in the distance. We drove over a small bridge, near a BJ’s gas station. A bulk grocery store having expanse into the market of gasoline is strange enough to me, but it gets far stranger. Fancy streetlights (not just the orange mercury vapor ones) lined the four-lane road that continued and wrapped around the hill on our right. The hill was clearly manmade and towered next to the cars parading past. The only thing that gave its prominence any competition was the structures to come.

Ahead on our left was one of the largest group of subdivisions I’ve ever seen. They were shiny and new, yet horribly flimsy and repetitive. All I could think about were the lyrics of “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds… except these boxes were less little and more ginormous. As we made the bend to the shopping arena, I groaned. Northborough Crossing is like its own city. Put in a school and a hospital, and have Wegman’s set up a P.O. box, and you’re all set. I wondered if there are any tenants in that apartment complex that work shifts around the shopping plaza and never have to leave.

According to an article in the T&G, the plaza has 2,400 parking spaces. The Wegman’s alone is 138,000 square feet.

The ridiculousnessness.

Now, I had been in a Wegman’s before in upstate New York, but this Wegman’s is something I had never before encountered. I was expecting something like Whole Foods – pretentious and trying way too hard to offer more of an experience than Wal-Mart while still serving the same purpose.

We entered… and I nearly had a panic attack. Besides being a Whole Foods on steroids, our local Wegman’s also has a whole separate Market Café area. Here, customers can get food on the spot to eat or order to go… that is, if you can ever make up your mind. We got a plate and filled it with some incredibly hodgepodge foods ranging from naan to broccoli salad to steamed asparagus. There was Thai, a pizza place, sushi, an entire vegetarian bar… It was ridiculous. I’ve felt like a glutton before, but when I realized that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat food or buy it first, I really hit rock bottom.

The moral of the story: go to Wegman’s but be prepared. This one’s a doozy, and its surroundings are just as perplexing. Just make sure some time has passed since you last read 1984 or any other books on futuristic dystopias.

From Pulse Magazine: Clark U’s Cycles for Change