MY HOME TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

My Home Town

It’s a small town. Main Street, north and south of Route 16 which crosses Uxbridge down the middle and moves on to other towns.

Thank you, Nancy Merrill, for offering such a great topic for photographs. I have had three home towns: New York, Jerusalem, and Uxbridge. With each change of home, my town has become smaller. There are a lot of issues involved in living in the country, but it beats out any city, at least for us. The beauty of our world is unmatched.

I wouldn’t mind a movie theatre and a bit more shopping,  but it’s a good and beautiful place to live. Whatever may be wrong with it, we are not spending our lives fighting for parking spaces, driving through endless crowded roads … and coping with the grime and grit of bigger cities.

BIRDS AND AN EARLY SNOW – Marilyn Armstrong

It was very cold and it was not supposed to snow, at least not here. It snowed all over the northern part of New England and Canada. In Chicago and Minnesota. Then, it snowed — just a little bit — here. Although I am a firm believer in climate change, New England has always had an erratic weather pattern.

We have winters so snowy we have nowhere to push it. Warm winters with no snow. Winters when it’s just like fall until spring … and that’s when the blizzards hit.

The biggest blizzard to ever hit New York was in 1888 on my birthday, March 11th. In fact, I was born the day after a blizzard so maybe it was my fate to wind up living where the snow can be relentless and the snow is so high that driving is like being in a tunnel.

A pair of hungry birds

So even though today’s storm was not even an inch deep, it was the warning. It’s going to be a long, cold winter. Snow in November isn’t common, but it isn’t rare, either. It almost always means a hard winter is on the way.

After the squirrels got through eating half the food we put out yesterday (and we have none left until the next delivery), the birds attacked the feeders with energy and fervor. I sure hope they deliver the food tomorrow.

Our squirrels need a diet and you can see the snow falling.

TOO MANY BIRDS! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Rely

Be careful what you wish for. I wanted more birds? I got more birds. I have new birds I do not recognize, or at least don’t recognize them as the usual local avians. There is a white one with a cockade that looks like a huge, overgrown Titmouse, but he’s the size — maybe even bigger — than the Blue Jays. He looks like a Gray Jay but might be an immature flycatcher. I rely on my bird books and the Audubon lists on the Internet, but so far, they have failed me.

The birds are moving as the weather moves, so it can be hard to ascertain if that bird now lives here or you’ve got the identity all wrong.

Everything except the finches have returned. There are no finches. They may still be nesting in Canada and I think I spotted a house finch the other day, but I didn’t get a good enough look at it. They may have been pushed out of the feeders by the squirrels or Blue Jays.

We are out of bird food. They ate 36 pounds of food in about a month and that is a LOT of bird food. We need to check out the feed and grain stores and see if we can come up with something they will eat that costs less. I can’t afford $100 worth of birdseed in a month. That’s more than the dogs — including their medication — cost. And of course, there are the squirrels who eat at least half the food — if not more. I wanted birds? I got them!

Chickadee and Titmouse

Mom, he took the WHOLE FEEDER!

One little nuthatch

Two Tufted Titmice

More Titmice

Name that bird! The size of a Blue Jay with a very small crest in black or dark blue

Titmouse in early (very early!) sunset

THE ARRIVAL AND IMMINENT DEPARTURE OF A SINGULARITY – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #47

A provocative question today that I think currently means very little. It probably meant something 200-years ago, but now? I doubt it.

Here’s the question:

Technological singularity?

Personally? I think we reached it years ago — probably at least 50 years ago — and we are already in the throes of it. It did not need to become a net negative, but because of other issues — politics being the obvious one but also human greed, corporate greed, and a refusal to believe that the world was not made to accommodate us and when we push its boundaries hard enough, it will, in its own way, push back.

We have a dying world. We have a horribly over-inflated belief in humanity’s place in this world. And it will come to pass — is already coming to pass — that we shall discover how unimportant we really are. We are mosquitoes sitting on the back of a world that is getting ready to take a dip in waters lethal to our kind.

We shall be cleaned out and slowly but surely vanish. The planet will survive and recover in its own way. Whether or not that recovery leaves room for our kind? I’m not overly optimistic about it. While we are making enormous progress on one level, we are destroying what needs to be saved at the same time. It won’t do us any good to create a green world when we have already destroyed the greenery.

We can try, but we’d better start trying a whole lot harder than we currently are. Because I don’t think we can call a time out on the changes we have created and the desolation it is likely to bring.

Sorry for not sounding more chipper and cheery. If someone has something chipper and cheery to add that is based on science and not a personal opinion, shout it out.

PORTRAIT OF A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER – Marilyn Armstrong

After the Blue Jay left, the Woodpecker hung around to enjoy a feed at the flat feeder. Woodpeckers aren’t picky and are just as happy eating from the hanging feeder.

I think they get to eat faster on the flat feeder.

For many critters, faster is better. Fewer interruption by other winged locals. I got some really good pictures of this guy.

This first one really shows how big and sharp that beak is. Add to that, his skull is twice as thick as other birds and he is very strong for his size. Other birds don’t want to mess with woodpeckers.

Two big Blue Jays tried to confront him today. For about 2 seconds and then they changed their minds and flew up into the trees. They were bigger, but one peck from this little guy’s beak and they would be goners.

A good look at the beak and head. This is one small, but tough bird!

Fabulous profile but messy eater

Testing the buffet

Aren’t I a handsome bird?

CHATTING AT THE FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

The one bird we are never short of around here are woodpeckers. We have at least five kinds. Only three of them come to the feeders: the little Downy Woodpecker, his big brother, the Hairy Woodpecker, and the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. The Red-Belly is the biggest of the bunch, but by physical size, the Blue Jay is a bigger bird.

I never realized what large birds Blue Jays are until I saw how big they are compared to the rest of our birds. Not, of course, counting the really big woodpecker who I see in the distance once in a while and the hawks and eagles.

Anyway, when the Blue Jay drops by for a meal, the other birds say “Yes sir, Mr. Jay,” and flutter off. Today, while big Mr. Jay was enjoying a little dinner, the Red-Belly decided to come by for a snack too. The Blue Jay is bigger, but other birds just don’t mess with the woodpeckers. Those birds have long beaks and hard heads and they are always in a grumpy mood. I think that’s from pounding their heads into oak trees all day long.

This is a series of pictures I got from the rather amusing event.

Blue is already there when the Red-Bellied Woodpecker arrives.

“Can we talk about this?” asks Mr. Jay.

“I don’t think so. How about you leave?” says Woody.

“This is MY feeder,” says Woody. “Take a flyer.”

“Okay, then. I’ll be flying a bit. See you around the woods,” says Jay.

The Red-Belly hung around for a while, it being dinner time. And when he was done, the Blue Jay came back and had his dinner too.  All was well but for some flurrying of feathers. As go the birds, so goes the world.

NUMBERED – Garry Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge:
Numbers: Anything with numbers on it

I’ve been around with the camera lately and I got some numbers while I was at it. Since all the pictures are mine, I guess the post is also mine.

The church is the first Quaker Meetinghouse in this country. It’s in pretty good shape, though it’s hard to photograph because of its position on the corner atop a hill.

1770 Quaker Meetinghouse

The corner of route 146A

But the sign is green!

Fire Chief numbers