BIRDS, BEES, FLOWERS, POLLEN, AND A VIRUS – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Changing Seasons


It was such a warm winter — with no snow at all — that spring is arriving without the usual fanfare. I don’t know how well out “outside” flowers are doing because I don’t go out. I can tell the season is changing because the birds are beginning to show their breeding colors. It’s odd.

They usually change more or less all at the same time, but this year, it’s rather patchy. Some are fully feathered in their finest mating displays. Others are partly changed. One has a bright yellow head, but a dull greenish body while another had brilliant yellow wings but was a dull green everywhere else.

Very yellow and ready to mate!

House Finch on the rail

House Finch

I have seen quite a few fledglings recently from their nests, so some of the Goldfinch are already breeding. The other day, I saw the first Brown-headed Cowbirds of the year. Most of the House Finches are deep red and obviously ready to mate.

There are buds on the trees and the pollen count is up.

We have the green shoots for the daffodils, tulip, and daylilies, but they are just shoots. Not ready for blooming. But it is very early in the gardening year for the northeast.

And finally, inside we are growing a beautiful array of orchids and hoping to stay healthy while trying hard to not worry. Worry is the ultimate waste of time. We always worry about the wrong things anyway. Whatever is coming, will come, with or without months of angst.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG – RICH PASCHALL

Let The Sunshine In, Rich Paschall

Now that Spring has officially arrived, we are thinking more about enjoying the sun.  You may have told someone that “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” or that you wanted to share the “Sunshine Of Your Love,” but you may be looking at this differently than we are.  Of course, “There Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone,” but “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying.”

If it remains cloudy where you are, don’t believe “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.” Just keep telling yourself, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and you will soon have your “Seasons In The Sun.”  Just be sure to stay away from the “House Of The Rising Sun” and you will be fine.

So let me be your “Sunshine Superman” and offer my top 10 Sunshine Songs to brighten up the beginning of Spring:

10. You Are My Sunshine, The Pine Ridge Boys.  This 1939 “standard” has been covered by so many artists it is hard to say where I heard it first.  Originally performed as a country song, it has received a lot of musical treatments.

9.  California Sun, The Rivieras.  The 1961 song by Joe Jones became a big hit when The Rivieras covered it in 1964.  The 1977 Ramones version also became a hit and showed up on various albums.

8.  Walking On Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves.  The 1985 hit was a consistent seller for the record company and pure gold for the artists who retained the publishing rights and songwriter royalties.

7.  Soak Up The Sun, Sheryl Crow. It’s her only number one hit and you can probably sing along with the chorus.  The 2002 release was written by Crow and Jeff Trott.

6.  I’ll Follow The Sun, The Beatles.  The Paul McCartney, John Lennon composition was written as early as 1960 but the Beatles hit was released in 1964 with lead vocals by McCartney.

5.  We’ll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett.  This happy pop tune was released in 1964 and won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1965.  Yes, it was the era for Folk Rock.

4.  Good Day Sunshine, The Beatles  There was no plan to add multiple Beatles songs.  I made up a list and then gave them a ranking.  This 1966 Lennon, McCartney composition also has McCartney on lead vocals.  Paul played piano on the track and later overdubbed his bass part.  I could not find a Beatles performance, but Sir Paul can still bring it.

3.  Let The Sun Shine In, The 5th Dimension.  The recording by the 60’s pop group is actually a medley of two songs from the musical, Hair.  It was at the top of the charts for 6 weeks in 1969.  Opening with “Aquarius,” the sound was sometimes called “Psychedelic Pop.”

2.  Sunshine On My Shoulders, John Denver.  Co-written and recorded by Denver for his 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises, it was released as a single in 1973.  By early 1974 it reached number 1.  When the album came out, I recall singing this song over and over with a friend.  I think our performance may have been fueled by adult beverages.  It will always hold great memories from a youth well spent.

1. Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles  This time it is a George Harrison composition that brings The Beatles back to the list.  Recorded in 1969 for the Abbey Road album, it was never released as a single.  Nevertheless, the track received critical acclaim and has been played and downloaded often.

Click on any title to go to the You Tune video, or let all of these songs shine down on you from playlist here.

THE CHANGING SEASONS, FEBRUARY 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, February 2020

It has been a dreary February. To be fair, February is usually dreary, though it normally gets more snow. We didn’t get any snow in either January or February which is a record for the past 100 years. We did, however, get a lot of rain, so at least we won’t run out of water anytime soon.

An indoor garden

I didn’t get out much. It was dreary, dull, gray, and wet. Inside, I could take pictures of birds and flowers and my brand new quilt cover. I’m pretty sure I took other pictures, too, but I’m not sure what they were.

Macro Orchid

So first, let’s get to the orchids which have been blooming very well and there is suddenly a second branch with a lot more buds. Maybe this will be a long blooming period. Hope so!

Moving along, let’s take a look at the birds. This has been the month of Goldfinches. Red Finches too and the periodic visit by Nuthatches, Chickadees, woodpeckers of three varieties, Doves, Flying Squirrels, regular non-flying squirrels.

Now, a few cactus blooms …

My exciting new bedroom:

The new bedroom

And of course the concert we went to see with Ron and Cherrie, conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong, Garry’s baby brother. It was a brilliant concert — and Anton was amazing.

And then we were on the road, to and from Ellin and Tom’s place in Connecticut.

Meanwhile, guess what Garry is working on?

What does this mean?

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

  • The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.
  • If you do a ping-back to this post, Su-Leslie can update it with links to the other posts.

THE CHANGING SEASONS, JANUARY 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, January 2020


This hasn’t been a normal January. We had no measurable snow and only 4 out of 31 days have been lower than average January temperature. Every other day was higher than average bringing this month in as the third warmest recorded.

Most of my pictures this month were birds. Without snow to make the landscape interesting, there hasn’t been much to photograph. Glad I have the birds!

At the very end, I realized my Christmas cactus is blooming again and my big purple orchid is about to bloom too.

Orchid ready to bloom

I almost missed it!

Icy small canal off the Mumford Dam

Wide view of mid-winter on the Mumford


About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version 1 (Photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version 2 (Choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su Leslie’s original post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

SPRING IN THE VALLEY – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Spring Scenes and flowers of the day

We don’t have much of a spring season here. It tends to stay cold until suddenly in May, the leaves pop out of the trees and everything blooms during one, sunny midday. The process takes just a few hours. It’s amazing. One year, it was winter when we went into the grocery and summer when we came out.

Autumn to winter can be like that too. Garry and I went out for lunch in Boston wearing tee-shirts and shorts,. Two hours later, we came out and it was near freezing, We ran home — which, fortunately, wasn’t very far.

We do get spring flowers, though. And birds. I hope that will count because otherwise, I’m just out of luck!

Harbinger of spring – our purple crocuses

Columbine

More yellow daffodils

The Goldfinch turning bright yellow for mating season.

Spring along the river

Our last Tulip.

More bright Goldfinch

Baby oak leaves and a very blue sky

Along the fence, Forsythia flowers

And the House Finch turns brighter too

Spring on the Mumford River

Solomon’s Seal

Springtime on the Commons

FOTD – January 14, 2020 – Daffodils in Bloom

THE CHANGING SEASONS, DECEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, December 2019

The weather has definitely become an issue around here. We got some snow at the end of November and then again at the beginning of December. That appears to have been winter.

Since then, we’ve had heavy rain, a week of bitterly cold days, a few light dustings of snow, a lot of days so warm we had to put flea and tick collars back on the dogs because the moment the temperature goes into the 50s and 60s, the fleas and ticks pop up as if summer never ended.

For those who are waiting for climate change to show up, I have a flash for them. It’s here.

Many of us already live in hotspots where the temperature has met or exceeded the 2 degree Celsius level. The seasons are changing. Autumn is vanishing … and apparently, so is winter. The bugs are going to have a real field day this year since they’ve never died off.

Most large American cities are hotspots. All of Australia and Tasmania are in trouble. I suspect most major cities on every continent are already at, over, or approaching the tipping point. Between the fires, mudslides, giant storms, floods, polar ice melting … it’s here. Now. We are in it. Some places more obviously than others. I do not think we have a decade or two to fix our climate problems and I don’t see any evidence that we are doing anything positive to deal with the changing climate or our planetary ecology.

I’m trying to find something about which to be optimistic, but I’m not having much success.

Nuthatch and incoming Bluebird

Frozen woods

Carolina Wren

A huge Tufted Titmice!

Ice everywhere

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su Leslie’s original post, I can update it with links to all of yours.