seasons

4 SEASONS – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: LANDSCAPES OR SEASCAPES

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Landscapes or Seascapes

Most of the pictures I take are landscapes. Whether it’s of water or land, there are so many it’s hard to pick a few favorites. So, I decided to take a couple from each season. This satisfies my sense of balance and makes it easier for me to make a choice. Hope you like them.

SPRINGTIME IN THE VALLEY

April at Manchaug falls

The Blackstone Canal in May

The Blackstone Canal in May

SUMMERTIME

Sunrise - July in Rockport

Sunrise – July in Rockport

Mid-August - Cows at home

Mid-August – Cows at home

GOLDEN AUTUMN

Bright color in woods bathed in twilight

Bright color in woods bathed in twilight

Morning in Vermont, October 2014

Morning in Vermont, October 2014

SNOWY WINTER

Red farmhouse in Snow

Red barn in Snow

snowy field in Hadley

LAST WINTER

Winter is on its way. We’ve been warned. A couple of little snows. Just a few inches and now it has melted, so we are back to mud. But that’s because it warmed up and rained last night.

72-February Snow OO_4

In a few weeks, it will stop warming up. All precipitation will be snow or sleet (I hate sleet).

72-February Snow OO_1

Last winter was horrendous. It was bitterly cold and never warmed up enough to melt off. It would melt a little bit, then immediately freeze again until our driveway was a glacier from which we could not escape.

72-February Snow OO_2

Yet. It was beautiful. Snow is beautiful. Living in this valley, when the snow cover turns the world shiny and white looks like a painting, a Currier and Ives illustration. Even the most hardened winter hater can’t help but be awestruck.

72-February Snow OO_3

A few pictures from last winter … antique-style to add just a hint of unreality. I’m down with winter’s unreality, by the way. If only I could stay unreal until spring …

SNOW ON THANKSGIVING (AGAIN)

72-Thanksgiving-First Snow_01

I know it snowed last Thanksgiving too because I have photographic evidence, but I don’t remember. I know it was a terrible and long winter. That it was bitterly cold before Halloween and stayed cold until the middle of March.

72-Thanksgiving-First Snow_04

It’s not so cold this year. It has actually been a bit warmer than usual, though it’s not warm today. It started snowing — more accurately, sleeting — yesterday morning and has been dribbling icy stuff from the sky ever since. Now, at 3 in the afternoon, it seems to have finally stopped.

Nothing is falling, but the sky is a leaden white that to me, in my unprofessional role of meteorological guru, screams rain. Probably followed by freezing. In other words, ice. We have new snow tires, but they aren’t much help on ice. Nothing, including 4-wheel drive, is much help on ice.

Tempus fugit!

Tempus fugit!

So here are pictures of Thanksgiving Day, 2014. Not the dinner table because nothing is served yet … it’s all in the oven. I can smell it. The best part of Thanksgiving is how good it smells. My nose is singing a Hosanna.

72-Thanksgiving-First Snow_22

REFLECTIONS ON THE POND

When the water is still and the sun is bright, a pond or lake can be a mirror. Here is the world in mid-November, upside down. With ripples.

OCTOBER COMING HOME

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2014 #21 It was as if we spent all of October in the car. It’s not true, of course. We spent most of October on the ground, somewhere in New England. Massachusetts to Maine, Maine to Vermont, Vermont to Massachusetts, Uxbridge to Hadley and then once more around. Whoo hoo. These […]

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

My Top 10 Cold Weather Songs, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

With much of the nation having already been visited by cold and snow, it seems like a good time to bring on the winter tunes. Songs by any band with “Cold” in their name is not what we mean here.  Nor shall we include song about loves who are as “Cold As Ice” or running “Against The Wind.”  Our tunes are really songs about winter, cold, and snow.  Some are a bit more symbolic than others, but they will do nicely for my purposes.

Let’s be clear, they are not holiday songs, although some of them only get played in the holiday season.  Since the Christmas holiday season seems to start around Halloween and go until New Year’s Day, I guess there is already ample opportunity to hear some of them.  You will discover that there is no holiday greeting included in the cold and snowy lyrics.  In fact, we will give you some instrumentals just because you can already place them in your winter memory.

Let me start you off with an honorable mention from the movie White Christmas.  No I am not sneaking in a Christmas song.  This is strictly two minutes of wishing for snow by four big name performers:

There are a number of other songs about snow that may not be classics, but are good nonetheless.  Track down “Snow” by Harry Nilsson, for example.  Type in “Snow” in a You Tube search and you will certainly see “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.  On second thought, you better type in “snow songs” so you can avoid all those home-made videos of people stuck in a snow drift.

Here’s our bottom 5 with everything from a Classical sound to traditional, rock to rolling “down the streets of town” by a snow man.  There are winter birds of all kinds if you just let it snow:
10. Wizards of Winter – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
9. Winter – Rolling Stones
8. Frosty the Snowman – by just about everyone with a Christmas Album or two
7. Snowbird – Anne Murray
6. Let It Snow – Frank Sinatra, but there are probably a thousand versions of this by now

The next one earns a place here as much for the back story as anything.  This symbolic “A Winter’s Tale” was written by Freddie Mercury from his hospital room overlooking Lake Geneva, Switzerland.  The visions he describes are what he could see from his room.  He laid down the keyboard tracks and vocals in a Swiss studio two weeks before his death.  Queen later finished the song with their parts.  It was released as the second song on a posthumous album four years later.
5. A Winter’s Tale – Queen

Winter imagery can be found in a lot of songs by Paul Simon, especially from the Simon and Garfunkel years. A Hazy Shade of Winter was certainly one of their biggest hits and earns a spot on my songs of the Polar Vortex. You will find an intriguing version by the Bangles from years later, but let’s stick with the original.
4. Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel

One of the most popular songs of the Christmas season is Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson. Although often played only as an instrumental, the lyrics say nothing of the holidays. There is, however, “a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray.” They are rather seasonal as they “pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie,” but the song really is about a sleigh ride through the snow. Find a version with someone singing, if you must. Nothing says “Sleigh Ride” like the Boston Pops Orchestra:
3. Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson – John Williams & The Boston Pops

If you are not sleigh riding through the snow, perhaps you are walking in a winter wonderland. There are many versions of this seasonal classic, but I could not pass by Tony Bennett singing outside in Rockefeller Center. Tony’s nose is so red he could be Rudolph. Despite the frozen crowd, the musicians somehow manage to play as Mr. Bennett looks appropriately cold:
2. Winter Wonderland – Tony Bennett

When I think of cold and snow outside, this is my song. There is nothing that inspires me to go out in a storm. While I enjoyed seeing Joseph Gordon-Leavitt do this with Lady Gaga, of all people, and nothing compares to Ricardo Montalban crooning at Esther Williams or Red Skelton at Betty Garrett in the movies, the best version is Dean Martin and anyone. He recorded the song with a number of people, here with Martina McBride
1. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Dean Marin with Martina McBride

This Frank Loesser penned tune won the Academy Award for the 1949 romantic comedy musical Neptune’s Daughter.

SOMEWHERE IN SUTTON

Kaity and I went shooting today. We haven’t done that in a long time and it was a pleasure spending time with this young woman who is my granddaughter. It was not quite as bright and beautiful as it had been earlier in the week … but it was neither raining nor snowing. At this point […]

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