Cold. Fifty inches of snow on the ground. Groundhog day has come and gone, but we didn’t need a groundhog to know that winter is far from over.


Far from over, yet less than two months to spring. Which is difficult to imagine right now, when it looks like the Antarctic just outside our front door and there’s no chance we will be able to go anywhere until Owen and the snowblower clear a path.


It’s a good time to remember why we live in New England. Because it isn’t always like this.

Manchaug spring 2

Spring will come and there will be flowers. Sunshine.

solomon's seal

Warm days and green fields.

River Bend Farm river

A lazy river where ducks, geese, swans, and herons nest, fish, and enjoy those sunny days.



 Wildflowers and water lilies and gardens full of color.

Chinese lily

It’s why we stay here, put up with the cold, ice, and snow. Because spring and summer always come again, and finally the finale — Autumn. That’s the payoff.



There are laws laid down by the government, religious laws, basic laws that govern human behavior (right, wrong … you know, that stuff), and then, there are laws. As an author, you must not make characters who suddenly behave outside the universe you have constructed for them, nor can they directly contravene the laws of physics or other natural forces without consequence  — or at least an explanation.


I have spent my life carefully avoiding adversarial encounters with governmental laws. Whatever laws got broken, I’ve been extremely cautious about when, where, and to whom I advertise this information and never have any of my transgressions caused harm to others.

Everything else is up for grabs. I pay homage to physical laws. I get the whole gravity thing. If I were to try, for example, to fly, the negative payback would be immediate and terrible. Mother Nature doesn’t have courts or lawyers. I obey her without question or quibbling. In turn, she graciously allows me to live in her world.

I’ve never accepted any religious authority. Nor am not a major author, so within the lesser laws of writing, I obey those which pertain to bloggers. I don’t spam. I’m not a a troll. I tell the truth and check my sources twice. I present opinion as opinion and know the difference between opinion, Truth and facts.

I’m nice to most people. Generous within the limits of what I have to share. Kind (over-indulgent and ridiculously sentimental) to animals. Polite to strangers. I have a sense of humor. I’ve never robbed a bank, killed anyone, or cheated on my taxes without the full support of a professional accountant and loopholes in the tax law.

picture of snow all white

So there you have it. A basically law-abiding citizen who, other than some minor substance experimentation and sometimes driving too fast, has lived a righteous life. Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? (It hasn’t been, not at all …)

Speaking of Mother Nature. Lady, I have a bone to pick with you. This snow and bitter cold thing? Enough already. Seriously. Don’t you think it’s time to move along? Like maybe slide on down the road to the Arctic circle. Polar bears like this stuff and they’ve been having a hard time. Send the super-chilled air and the next few feet of snow to them. They will say “thank you” and so will I.

DAILY PROMPT: Breaking the Law — Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?


Growing up in New York, snow days were a special treat. Of course, it snowed every winter, but snows deep enough to close school weren’t common. Once per winter, maybe.


I would sit, nose pressed against the picture window, watching the snow pile up and hoping it wouldn’t stop. “Keep snowing, keep snowing,” I’d whisper. I wanted to wake up to a white world. To that hushed, near-silence of a morning following a heavy snow.

Finally, no school! We would put on all our winter clothing — at the same time. Back then, kids didn’t have as much clothing as they do now … and it wasn’t nearly as warm. When we were finally all bundled up, we’d clomp to the garage to get the sleds. Drag them to the hill at the end of the street.

And now, back to our snowstorm, about 14 hours in progress with another 12 to go.
And now, back to our snowstorm, about 14 hours in progress with another 12 to go.

It was quite a hill. Steep. Icy. You could go really fast if you were in the right position. If you got it perfect, you could almost fly. If you hit a rock or a ridge of ice, you might really fly. We didn’t think anything of it, no matter how many times we limped home, dragging our shattered Flexible Flyer behind us.

My feet always froze. They hadn’t invented insulated footwear or Uggs. Our coats were just cloth. Even wearing all the sweaters we owned, we were never entirely warm. I was usually the first kid to give up for the day. My feet would go from cold, to numb, to painful icy lumps. Hands, too. Galoshes leaked and my socks would freeze.

Worse, rubber boots had no tread. It was a thrill going downhill, but going back up would be increasingly difficult as the day wore on. Ice would glaze. Eventually, there was nowhere to walk where you could get any traction, not even along the curb.


Sometimes I could get my big brother to haul my sled and me up the hill, but pretty quickly, he’d lose interest and go off with the big boys to do big boy stuff, whatever that was.

I was the smallest of the girls. Scrawny and short. I remember going home, and defrosting my feet in cool water. Wow, that hurt. I think I was minutes from actual frostbite. I don’t know how anyone lasted all day, but some kids did.

deck and snowy woods

That was almost 60 years ago. Hard to believe so much time has passed. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. A frozen memory. Especially on a day like this, the big picture window framing the snow as it falls. It’s falling fast and hard and has been for hours. Garry keeps going out to dig a path for the dogs. More than four feet of snow in just over a week.

It’s winter in New England. I live about 250 miles north of where I grew up. Snow days are a regular feature. When we have a particularly hard winter, kids have to go to school extra days at the end of the year to make lost time.

It’s snowing hard. I wonder how many inches this time?


Embrace the Ick — Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

I guess it would depend on how you feel about blizzards. I love them. I do. The excitement, the crazed, hyper meteorologists practically foaming at the mouth with enthusiasm. They do truly live for storms and it’s contagious. Briefly, before I get into the actual dynamics of what is about to happen, I’m a child again. No school! For like, a week!


Then, I remember I am not a kid. I’m a senior citizen trapped in the house until we can find someone to plow out our ski slope (aka, the driveway). It would make a pretty good bunny slope, actually and I have often thought of how we could earn a few bucks from it. Never quite worked out the details, but I haven’t stopped hoping.

At nine in the morning …

When I went to sleep last night, the predictions for this area had gone down to just about 18 inches, but when I got up this morning, it was obvious we had exceeded the predictions.

At three in the afternoon …

Since it’s still snowing to beat the band and isn’t going to stop until sometime late tomorrow, we may actually get the prize for total accumulation, though for sheer ferocity and damage, Cape Cod, Cape Ann, Hull, Scituate, and other places on the edge of the Atlantic are getting thoroughly trounced.


So, enjoy the pictures. If you are in New England or New York, you probably have your own pictures. It’s hard to argue with the beauty of a major snow event. Snow is elegant. It produces naturally monochromatic images that can be quite breathtaking. I couldn’t get more than a couple of feet from any door and some of the doors proved nearly impossible to open, what with the snow piled up against it.


All of these pictures are taken from our deck, out one of the windows, or from the bottom of the driveway. There’s nowhere else to go. Owen and Garry did some digging in the front yard so the dogs could get out, but even our snow-loving Australian Shepherd seems to think a nice, indoor nap is a better idea. I’m with him.

I’ll make pasta sauce later. The smell of the sauce should make us all feel cozy and warm. Meanwhile, the snow is falling, falling, falling.


Challenge: 2015 Week #4

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, 
that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”
― Lewis Carroll, 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Oddball:  noun   a person or thing that is atypical, bizarre, eccentric, or nonconforming
                 adjective  whimsically free-spirited; eccentric; atypical

strange artistic woods

strange artistic woods


Become a Citizen Scientist. Click the link to read about Project Squirrel and to tell us about squirrels near you. Project Squirrel has been operating since 1997. During this time, over 1000 people have offered their knowledge, provided observations, and filled out the forms. We have been able to learn a great deal about these squirrels, particularly in the Chicago Metropolitan Region. Observations from other parts of the country have also been welcome and interesting.


In honor of National Squirrel Day …. What, you didn’t know? Well, today is National Squirrel Day. Project Squirrel gives you the opportunity to participate in … well … watching squirrels. Taking pictures of squirrels. And sharing your squirrel stuff with other squirrelly people.

Happy National Squirrel Day!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things



This is not a great month for photography. Although I love the absence of snow, the bare trees, hibernating flowers and gardens aren’t inspiring.


Of course it’s possible to find pictures any time of years, but some periods are much more photogenic than others. Meanwhile, I’m motivated to look through the folders of pictures from other months. See what pops out.

October was the bonanza month for photographs.


The top three pictures are Vermont, near Peachum. Glorious days. The scarlet and orange leaves had passed, but the gold remained. The trees were breathtaking.


These final two shots are in and around Jackman, Maine. You can see the difference in the advance of the seasons between Maine — slightly higher both in altitude and latitude than Vermont.