BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – WINTER

Old #2 in winter

If there is one season we have more than enough of here in New England, it’s winter. It depends on the year, of course, Not all winters are created equal. Usually, we are buried under ice and snow from late November to early April. But there are exceptions.

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Every once in a while, we have a mild winter. We had one a few winters ago where there was nothing more than a dusting of snow for the winter … and then we had a drought in the spring because there was no melt-off to fill the rivers, aquifers, and lakes. Still, I was personally grateful for the break.

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Last year was horrendous. It was not the coldest winter I can remember, nor the snowiest, but it had the most ice. And bitter weather when you most needed a thaw to reduce the weight of snow on roofs, to make roads and walkways passable.

Hadley Snow Farm

Fortunately, spring was not accompanied, as it often is, by torrential rains so we avoided the annual flooding of everyone’s basement in all the valley’s towns.

Vintage snow through wintdow

Yet winter is magnificent. When that first layer of white comes down from the skies and wraps the world in its soft blanket, it’s hard not to hear music and poetry in your head. If only it weren’t so bitter … or last so long.

Hadley Winter Grove

How about we strike a deal? One month of winter … say January? Start right after the New Year then melt in time for Valentine’s Day. That would be more than sufficient.

Dec 2012 snow 1

Hail Mary?

Sudden Shifts – At the beach, enjoying the sun, nibbling on watermelon. Within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending form the sky. What happens next?


I should be writing. Processing pictures. At least be going to the kitchen to get another cup of coffee. I need more coffee.

I should be packing up our stuff to go to the beach. I promised the kids we’d go today, but the forecast calls for hail. Bullets from heaven. Buckshot of the gods.

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I can’t seem to move. Or think. My head is stuffed with cotton wool. Hey, remember cotton wool? Fuzzy, sort of rough? We used it to stuff things, right? Maybe we used it to clean things. Whatever.

After the long day yesterday, I can’t seem to quite wake up. Beach. Blanket. Thermal bag full of sandwiches. Do we have any cold cuts? Soft drinks? Bread. The Hell with it, we’ll buy hot dogs.

Towels. Suntan lotion. An umbrella bright with stripes. Do we still have the umbrella? Oh, right, it’s under the deck. Probably full of bugs. Spiders. Never mind. I’ll skip that.

Does my bathing suit still fit? It looked hideous last year. I looked hideous last year. Bet I won’t look any better this year. At least not in a bathing suit. Do I have a kaftan somewhere under which I could hide? No?

Let me get that cup of coffee and think about this some more.

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I hear they had hail on a beach in Russia. Glad I’m not Russian because I can’t run … even with hail falling. Does that make it a Hail Mary? Sorry. It’s that kind of day.

I think I’ll watch that Sox game. Where’s the remote?

DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING

Groundhog Week – If you could relive the past week, would you? Would you change anything?


It has been a simply gorgeous week. The weather has been perfect and nothing memorable has gone wrong.

river bend

We haven’t needed either heat or air conditioning. None of our dinners burned and the new convection oven we bought works like a charm.

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I wouldn’t change a thing. As I look out my window, it’s another perfect summer’s day, the kind of day about which Shakespeare wrote sonnets.

Sonnet  18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

And again today, the sky is bright blue. The air is warm with a zephyr breeze ruffling the leaves while a yellow sun lights the world. I’d have to be mad to meddle with this!

FATHER’S DAY AT RIVER BEND FARM

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

CRANKY AND WHINY IN NEW ENGLAND

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.

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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.

SEEKING LIGHT

To say I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime chasing the light sounds philosophical. Perhaps, on some level, it is because I’ve done my share of looking for truth. Occasionally, I’ve even found a bit of it.

Yellow leaves by the river, photo: Marilyn Armstrong

More often, I’ve been chasing light with a camera, shooting up, up, up into the trees, looking for a perfect ray of sunshine filtering through a leafy canopy, waiting to become a perfect picture.

sun and misty woods

Sunlight in woods

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Sun's rays on little canal

To get the rays of the sun, I don’t use a filter. I shoot into the sun, they move the camera a few degrees of center until I can see the rays in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. You don’t need a special filter. I didn’t use filters on any of these pictures.

BLACKSTONE CANAL, SEPTEMBER AFTERNOON

A couple of hundred years of polluting the river nearly killed it. How fortunate for us that nature is resilient. Today, The Blackstone Canal is in recovery but it’s slow. The fish are back, though weather or not it’s safe to eat them is a matter of controversy.

Blackstone river and canal divide

This is the early autumn, mid-September. Barely a breeze. The canal is as smooth as glass and reflects like a mirror.

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