COLOR IN OCTOBER – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – COLOR


Autumn is languidly considering the possibility of dropping by any day now. The rhododendrons are blooming again … simultaneously with the ones in Sydney, Australia. How weird is that? And my roses are still very much in bloom.

Our own maple tree and it’s one red branch.

The trees? Except for some older maples, meh. Lots of yellow and a bit of orange, but mostly, green. Lighter green than August or September, but still undeniably green.

Douglas

I don’t think we’re going to have much of an autumn. Maybe we’ll get a few great days before it rains again and they all fall off overnight — which is what happened last year.

Bright yellow maple – Douglas
River Bend

It’s the extra month of summer we’re getting. Summer used to be finishing up by late August and quite crisp by the end of September. It’s the nighttime cold snap that brings the leaves into full color and we haven’t had that. We’ve had a few chilly nights, but all of them have been raining.

And rain is the other thing the ruins autumn foliage.

We had to get to the medical lab this morning for bloodwork — me and Garry. Which meant no coffee or English muffins. I took a camera anyway.

I figured there might be a bright tree somewhere and sure enough, right across from the medical building, one huge — old and beginning to die — maple. An interesting mix of brilliant color and naked dead branches. I like the way these half-dead trees look. Good juxtaposition of color and nothingness.

At River Bend

So as of October 10, 2018, these are the colors. This should be full peak autumn. Typically, Columbus Day is peak foliage season. I’m not sure we will actually have a peak foliage season or even a couple of days of it, but here are the bright trees to date.

From New England to you. Color.

WITHOUT A PARTRIDGE IN SIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

Pears of the Day – October 9, 2018

My vision isn’t as good as it used to be. I can see but only wearing exactly the right glasses which these days, is nigh unto impossible. I can get close, but never exactly right. I can read with no glass. Middle vision, I use computer glasses but right now, they are a bit too strong and I need a new checkup and new eyeglasses — for which I don’t have money.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Without sharp middle vision,  I can’t clearly see the LCD on my camera. If I wear my distance glasses, I can’t even read the dials on my camera, let alone focus a lens.

Pear in a tree

So I am dependent on autofocus. Which, fortunately, is a lot better than it used to be — depending on the camera I’m using and of course, the lens.

So here’s the story of the pears.

More pears in the tree

Garry and I are at River Bend Park. It is part of a long string of parks surrounding the Blackstone River, all loosely titled “the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor.” One step to the left of a national park.

All the parks are linked by the river or the adjacent canal, or one of the river’s many tributaries. Then there are the streams, swamps, other smaller (and sometimes nameless) rivers, lakes, and ponds. This particular section of the park includes a big barn build during the 1700s on land that was a farm. Hence the name River Bend Farm.

I’m looking at a big tall tree which, as far as I can tell, is full of big yellow flowers. And then, while I was trying to find the flowers, I heard a “thunk.”

Thunk? Flowers do not make a “thunk” when they fall. Flowers are inclined to float gently to the grass. This “flower” hit the ground solidly. Realizing that I wasn’t looking for yellow flowers, I pulled out a small camera with a really long lens and eventually realized that all those big yellow flowers were actually bright pears. It was … a pear tree.

I took pictures. I was not sure I got any sharp ones, but I shot anyway. It turns out, I got more than a few and they are pretty good.

Later on, Garry said that he knew it was a pear tree because he narrowly avoided getting bonked on the head by a falling pear.

Funny about it being a pear tree because I used to have a huge old pear tree in my backyard in Hempstead. That was at the first house I lived in as a married woman. The pear tree was a cross between a Bartlett and a Bosc and produced the best pears I’ve ever eaten. It produced tons of them.

The neighbors all came by with baskets to collect pears. I still had tons of them remaining. I made pear pies, pickled pears, gingered pears and of course, we ate them. Despite that, there were bushels of pears remaining.

Pears by the river

In the course of events, we all learned a great truth. Do not sit under the tree when the pears are full-grown. Because one of those big babies — completely unripe and hard — falling from the upper branches could knock your head in.

BURBLE: A WORD THAT SOUNDS LIKE WHAT IT MEANS – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – BURBLE

Not only do I love the word “onomatopoeia,” I love what it means. It’s a Latin root (I think, but it could also be Greek) meaning “a word that sounds like what it means.

Nothing says burble like burbling.

Manchaug – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Recently, we’ve been spending a fair bit of time around waterways. What else is there to do in this river valley?

I thought about using pictures from Manchaug, but that’s more rushing than burbling. It is too high a drop to burble.

I did find some excellent burbling where the river and the canal separate. It’s a unique place, too — an area where the river widened. They put in a flow area so the river runs off to the right and does river things. Meanwhile, the straight flat canal goes through a set of large locks, then runs straight on toward Rhode Island. This has been an unusually rainy summer, so the water was burbling happily into the river, still leaving more than enough water for the canal.

The long walkway was originally where the horses plodded pulling the barges down the canal. Now, they have become places to walk with dogs and kids and cameras. The picture of the small bridge taken at River Bend is the same bridge you can see in the distance from the start of the canal.

River Bend and the Canal are just about 1/2 a mile distant from one another.

Which means that River Bend is really on the Canal rather than the river, though the two rejoin a little further down the way, at West River. All of these are very loud burbles!

WHICH WAY DOWN BY THE RIVER – Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: October 4, 2018

And finally, it stopped raining. The sun came out, the sky was a rich, bright blue and I can see the tree changing. If the weather holds, by the middle of next week, we should be a marvel of autumnal splendor.

Walk to the Blackstone Canal
The path along the canal and the little bridge to River Bend
Little bridge and dock

Right now, it’s the maples that are brilliant. They are always the first. More will come. The majority of the color is along waterways which is also where you most typically find batches of maple trees.

Country road, autumn trees
Maple on the lawn in October

We went out today and took a lot of pictures. There are so many, I’m not even sure where to start working on them, so I guess it will be a few at a time for various photo challenges.

Resting by the river

Now I’ll go see what I can find for Which Way!

GILDED WOODS: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gilded

I did not have a gilded dome to display or even a gilded hallway. What I did find was a golden pond, made golden by the incredible glow of the glowing leaves surrounding the pond.

On the lake were ducks, mostly mallards but also a few canvasbacks and the odd diver. Ducks get along so well. They are content to float with any kind of other ducks who may arrive. Nor have they any objections to whatever geese or swans might land in their waterway, either.

Gilded woods

Ducks are content to be in the water. They don’t fight, they don’t battle for the best nesting position or to be the leader of the floating feathered armada.

Living on golden pond
And then, with a slight change of light, the woods turns gold

And soon, the mallards are swimming across a truly golden lake.

Mallards on flowing gold
More golden ducks

RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE WITH GREAT LIGHT! – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Right Place, Right Time!


Right place, right time is the name of the photography game. That and the right light. Most of my best photographs were a combination of having a camera when I needed it and being where something happened worth commemorating.

From sunsets to laughter, it’s always about being there and having a camera ready. I always keep a camera with me and even though it weighs down my bag, you just never know what out of nowhere, suddenly, there’s a great picture.

Herons are pretty good about standing still while you take their picture. Unless you startle them.

Waiting for me in the river, one Great Blue Heron

The thing was, I didn’t have a long lens on the camera or even with me, so instead of zooming, I had to creep up on him.

More heron!

The ground was mucky and muddy, but I decided I could cope with mud because I wanted that bird. Except I was wearing open-back shoes and when I tried to clamber up from the bank of the river, my shoes stuck in the mud. My feet moved on, but my shoes stayed put. That was when I discovered I could not climb up the hill without my shoes. So I sat down to wait. I figured eventually, Garry would wander by and we’d work it out.

Which we did.

Don’t wear open back shoes in the mud by the river. And it’s always good to have a long lens with you.

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – WATER, WATER, WATER – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Water


Living surrounded by water, to no one’s surprise, most of my pictures involve water. Water in lakes and ponds, water flowing over fall and dams. I don’t entirely know where to start.

Dams? Streams? Ponds? Ocean?

I suppose, this being the Blackstone River Valley, it would have to be the river, its dams, canal, tributaries, ponds.

Photo Garry Armstrong – At the Canal
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Photo: Garry Armstrong
At Whitins pond …
At River Bend
Blackstone Gorge – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Bridge over the Blackstone
Summer on the Mumford
Swans in pairs on the pond
The dock at River Bend
September by the Blackstone

I think I’ll stop now. Because there really are so many … not to mention volumes from Tom and Ellin’s boat and marina. And of course, the beaches and docks …