Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire or Season of Summer

It’s been a warm, dry season so far and we are now deep into the summer season. No fires though, unless you count the ones we build for our own enjoyment. I’m hoping it stays that way. Mill fires in particular have been huge in the valley.

When Bernat Mills burned down 5 years ago (is it 6 now?), it took every firefighter in the valley more than 2 weeks to put it out. Even after that, it continued to smolder for months.

Those old wooden mills are always at risk of fire, though since Bernat Mills, there hasn’t been another and that’s a good thing.


Despite the horrible condition of the garden as winter ended … and despite my not having done anything at all to improve the situation, nature appears to have triumphed. The garden is back.


Maybe it’s the amazingly good weather we’ve had all through June. Almost no rain, but the sun has shone every day while the heat and humidity have been minimal. In other words, perfect summer weather.


It’s been downright Caribbean around here … except for the lack of rain. I noticed today that the dam on the Mumford has also been closed and just a trickle of water is being allowed through.


If we aren’t yet having a drought, someone in the water and drought commission is worried and saving up water in the bigger lakes and ponds. Meanwhile, the flowers are blooming like mad.


Set for Solstice – Today’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). How are you taking advantage of the extra hours of light this time of year? Do you like it, or do you already miss earlier sunsets?

I finally crawled out of bed this morning … an hour ago? Yeah, that’s about it. I noticed it was bright (not before coffee!) and cool (thank you!). After I scrubbed my teeth and limped to the kitchen, greeting each dog as I made my way past the big biscuit canister to the coffee machine to press “start” lest I not have coffee. Without coffee, I don’t care if this is the final day before Armageddon, I’m not ready!

The pig-chicken-cow antique canister where i store the Greenies

The pig-chicken-cow antique canister where I store the Greenies

Summer Solstice. What do you know? Time just crept up from behind and whacked me on the head. Last I knew, it was the Vernal Equinox and I was on a gurney rolling into the operating room where they were sharpening their scalpels for me.

And look! The world moved a quarter way around Old Sol and it’s summer. Already. I should rip my clothing off and go dance under the moon tonight to honor Mother. I’d probably get munched on by millions of flying jaws who want my blood. Maybe that’s their own tiny way of honoring Herself.

Anyway, a naked me in any light might scare the wild creatures so much they’d move to another part of the forest. It might even scare me half to death. It’s not pretty. Mother Gaea wouldn’t mind, though. She’s entirely open-minded. Just mark me “crone” and move on.

Petunias on the morning of the Summer Solstice

Petunias on the morning of the Summer Solstice

It is a beautiful day. Couldn’t ask for a nicer one. This kind of perfection is rare in these latitudes. When the still sleeping husband arises from his dreams, maybe we can talk about an itty bitty excursion to one of the many waterways. With photographic intent. Perhaps fit in a little dinner afterwards at a favorite Asian eatery. I like that plan.

Of course, it’s just my plan and I’m half a pair of oldies. It wouldn’t be fun without the other half. Strange how closely connected we are. Much closer than when we were when younger and working separate jobs, going separate ways.

I guess that’s what happens in retirement. You get very close or pull apart. I know a lot of old couples who discover on retirement they can’t stand each other. A bit late to make that discovery, I should think. Not like you’re going to rebuild your world at this late date. And who would want to? Of course, we don’t always have a choice in the matter but I refuse to think about that.

My getting old is barely acceptable, but Garry is forever young to me. The world is always young too. Bright green leaves, flowers, waterways — they all constantly renew their youth. That’s amazing, isn’t it? If only we earth-bound creatures could do the same.

I’ll ask The Mother if she might make an exception while I do that naked dance under the moon.


River Bend Farm river

There were no swans out on the pond, probably because people were there — boating. It’s the first time I’ve seen people on the pond. I’m sure it confused the swans almost as much as it confused me. There is a small boat launch area and always has been, but I’ve never seen a boater on the pond. Maybe I just missed it.

River Bend Farm Father's Day

I was trying to think of a place to go and realized it’s been a long time since we visited River Bend Farm. It’s one of the many parks along the Blackstone River, part of the Historic Corridor in which we live.

River Bend canoe

Being Father’s Day and perfect weather — as good as weather can be — we had plenty of company. Families including as many as four generations and lots of dogs.

River Bend June

A fine day. It’s our reward for surviving the long winter.

Garry at River Bend


Extra, Extra - A beautiful photo is one thing, but a photo with an unexpected detail has personality and pop. This week, share a photo that has a little something extra.

It’s summer in the valley and at least one resident knows it’s time to take it slow and enjoy the sunshine down on the farm.



Longing for Gravity

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most? (Thank you for the wonderful prompt suggestion, K. Renae P.!)

Mars. Different sky. Only two seasons — cool and hot. A few flowers, but not like those I’ve known and loved. Something resembling trees, but not Earth trees. No grass anywhere, though the pink sands are beautiful in their own way.

I certainly don’t miss full gravity. I feel light and springy and my arthritis and other joint problems are gone. I don’t miss my friends because all of them came on this journey too. It seemed a better choice than crumbling into decrepit old age on earth.


I miss trees and grass, even crab grass. Autumn leaves. The crisp snap of air on an October morning. Blue skies. Oceans with tides and waves. Breezes that rustle the treetops. Wildflowers in open fields. Dandelions, violets, spiderwort. Earth plants only grow in hothouses here and that’s not the same. I certainly don’t miss ice and snow!

It’s a new world. Different. But I can make a home here.


Climate Control

The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather affect your mood?


fresh snow deck bird tracks 7Welcome to New England. Technically, our most popular regional sport is politics with baseball running a hot second. But really, the one sport in which everyone of any age can actively participate is complaining about the weather.

Winter is too long, too snowy, too icy and much too cold. I couldn’t agree more and everyone is cranky and whiny from the first snow until final melting.

Spring? What spring? Where are the flowers? Why don’t we get a decent spring season? Is it the punishment of a malign deity? Until the day lilies bloom, New Englanders are cranky and whiny.


Summer is usually too hot. Then again, it may not be hot enough. It is always too humid. It makes everyone cranky and whiny.

Autumn is everyone’s favorite season but it’s never long enough. As often as not, heavy rains from tropical storms ruin the foliage, which makes everyone cranky and whiny.

For everyone, the weather provides something about which to complain. I love New England.




It’s the canal, not the river, but time has erased most of the differences. Fish live in the river and the canal. Wildflowers line the banks of both.


The canal was in use for only 10 years. After that, the railway came and the canal because what it is now … another lovely waterway in the Blackstone Valley.

canal river reflection



It was a gorgeous day. Warm, but not hot. Finally, everything is blooming. The trees are in leaf except for oak — they are in bud, but any day now.


It was busy by the canal. Families fishing. Runners using the old horse paths. Couples strolling. And, of course, Marilyn and I taking pictures. We fit right in.


Because we’ve shot this so many times, I tried to find some new angles. I think I did pretty well. Of course, it’s such a beautiful spot … hard to go far wrong.



This is the junction of the Blackstone River and Blackstone Canal, where they separate to run side by side. There’s a spillway, locks and a hiking trail where horses used to tow the barges.

It is historically important and exceptionally photogenic, which is why we come here so often. Recently they added a proper paved pathway with stairs and a small boat slip. And they put up an official sign so it’s no longer “the canal and locks behind the medical building” but part of the National Historic Corridor series of parks. But the work that needs to be done is not getting done. No money.

Since it was already adjacent to a parking lot, it is easily accessible. It’s more popular with the improved paths and steps.Oh, I almost forgot. They added a few picnic tables too. Nice.


It’s probably the last one of the season. In fact, it’s so late in the season, normally all the tulips would be done and gone by now … but it’s been a slow, chilly spring. It seems some of the flowers are trying to catch up.


The leaves on the lilacs, for example, opened today whereas usually they would have bloomed in the first or second week of May. They are always in bloom for Mother’s day … but not this year.

So here is the prettiest pink tulip I’ve ever seen in our garden. It is spring incarnate, is it not?




I took this picture “blind” because I could not see the swan with my own eyes. The nest and swan were almost invisible behind the reeds on the far side of the pond. All I could see was a bit of white. But, I figured,”What else could it be but the other swan?” They are always in pairs, especially this time of year when they are breeding.

So using my super zoom, I aimed at the white thing and took a series of pictures. It was the nest. The camera has far better eyesight than I do.