THE CHANGING SEASONS – JULY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, July 2019 – Our Hottest July Ever!

It’s official. This has been the hottest July in recorded weather history … 140 years worth. Not only have these been the hottest days, but they have also been the hottest nights with temperatures rarely dropping below the 80s.

I haven’t been outside much. For an asthmatic, this is bad karma. The hot, wet air makes it difficult to breathe and lacking inhalers (because I can’t afford them), being inside is a lot safer.

I did take a few pictures in the garden and of the newly repainted deck, but this hasn’t been much of a photographic month. If someone turns down the thermostat and the humidity, maybe we’ll have some breathable air. Right now, it’s like trying to inhale hot soup. Whatever that stuff is, it isn’t real air.

The newly refinished deck — which is also why there are no birds. It was time to take in the feeders until the fall. I miss my birds!

The Garden – Daylily Central!

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 post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

BLUE ON WOOD – Marilyn Armstrong

BLUE DOOR ON A HOUSE WITH A BRIGHT AUTUMN TREE

Every autumn, I go and take pictures of this little house because it sits next to a large maple tree that turns bright red or orange every fall. So I have a series of pictures of this house on subsequent autumn afternoons. Some autumn color changes are better than other years, but the little house always has its blue door.

I believe it used to be a carriage house for a larger home that is gone now.

THE CHANGING SEASONS – JUNE 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, June 2019

I took more than 2000 pictures in May, but June, not so many. Part of that was taking down the bird feeders. I really miss the birds. I got a few bird pictures early in June before I emptied the feeders. I didn’t realize how much I counted on being able to take great pictures without driving somewhere or even trekking outside with the camera.

Mourning Dove

But on the other hand, Rich Paschall came to visit from Chicago and it was great. To finally meet someone you’ve known online for many years was a huge treat. Despite it raining the entire time he was here, we still managed to get outside to take some pictures.

Mostly, it has rained. We are hoping to paint our deck. Owen power washed it, but we need two days of dry weather and then a third to do the painting. We have yet to get three non-rainy days in a row. We live in hope.

The pictures which follow are mine and Garry’s, taken whenever and wherever it wasn’t raining. We tried to cover as much territory as we could. Not bad, all the wet weather considered!

Rich, Marilyn, and Garry by the Blackstone Canal
By the Blackstone in Smithfield, Rhode Island
Tom and Ellin, Marilyn and Garry in the Marina, Connecticut
Flowers
Birds and Squirrels

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 post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

THE CHANGING SEASONS: MAY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, May 2019

Photography: Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

It has been a weird month of May. A lot of rain, a lot of cold days with and without rain, then a couple of hot muggy days. Immediately followed by cooler dry days and then wet, quite cold days. It’s only in the low 50s right now and will be in the mid-40s tonight. That is cold for this time of year.

Flowers – Marilyn Armstrong

Weather forecasts these days are closer to guesses than they used to be. There’s so much very bad, dangerous weather rolling across the continent. Tornadoes, flooding, violent thunderstorms only a few miles south of here. As long as the winds don’t change, all we are going to get is drenching rain.

Mumford Dam and River – Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

The gardens look pretty sad. There are flowers, but everything, even the Hosta, is droopy and no really fully developed. Except for Solomon’s Seal — which is happy in gray rainy weather — everything else looks like it wishes it could have stayed in the ground.

The Village – Garry Armstrong

There were a few good days and we went out for one, and Garry for another. Otherwise, it was some of the flowers and of course, the birds.

Boys and the River – Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

The pictures make it look like we’ve had a lovely, sunny month. The truth is that all of the pictures were taken over a period of five sunny days. The rest of the months was gray, rainy, and mostly, cold.

The following pictures of the birds may tell more of the story because the birds get really hungry when the weather is cold and rainy. When it’s bright and sunny, they tend to ignore us. Also, they aren’t happy with us right now because we bought cheaper food. It’s not bad food, but it has less of the more expensive components because rain or not, there’s real, live food all over the woods. There are bugs and fruit and nuts to eat and they don’t need to depend on our buffet.

Birds – Marilyn Armstrong

Except for the squirrels. They have completely given up finding their own food. As far as they are concerned, they own us and expect a good, solid meal every single day. They ate ALL the food in two days this week. I mean down to the last few seeds at the very bottom of the hanging feeder. And they did it while we weren’t looking.

The Red Christmas Cactus – Marilyn Armstrong
Macro red cactus

Murderer’s Row – Marilyn Armstrong

They have figured out when we are around — and when we aren’t. They are smarter than people think!


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 pingback to Su-Leslie’s post, she will update it with links to your post.

THE START OF BOATING SEASON – BY ELLIN CURLEY

From New Years on, Tom counts down the days until he can start working on the boat to get it ready to go back in the water. It spends its winters shrink wrapped and up on pilings in the parking lot of the marina, squashed together with all the other beached boats.

The first thing we have to do each spring is getting off the shrink-wrap. This involves lots of cutting and rolling of the large sheets of plastic protecting the boat from the winter elements. This usually takes one day, which is not too bad. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Then comes the cleaning, which is a big production. The bottom has to be painted and the hull has to be waxed and buffed. On a 40-foot boat, that’s a lot of waxing and buffing!

It also has to be over 55 degrees and dry for Tom to be able to do this kind of work and this year the weather has not been cooperating.

We had a few warmer days and he got a lot done, but then it either rained or was too cold for over a week. Tom’s brother came down to help him work on the boat, but they only got one good day out of four. This time of year the weather is always erratic, but it seems to be getting more schizophrenic each year.

Big pile of cut plastic rolled up next to the boat

The fiberglass and the metal railings on the inside of the boat also have to be cleaned and Tom likes to get this done while the boat is out of the water. That’s because once the boat is in the water, Tom gets lazy and just wants to relax and enjoy it.

My job is the interior cabins on the boat. While it’s still out of the water, I do the annual thorough cleaning. Everything is covered in black soot and dirt and is disgusting. I throw away a garbage bag full of black paper towels. But I persevere and clean every inch of the boat, including the two toilets, the bathroom floors (by hand) and the shower. This is my least favorite day of the year.

The deck inside the shrink wrapping

Once I’ve cleaned the inside, I take home all the sheets and towels, wash them, bring them back to the boat and make the bed and put the clean towels out.

My pile of laundry for the boat.

Then I have to stock the kitchen. I have to wait until the boat is in the water because the only way onto the boat in the parking lot is by ladder and I don’t want to carry heavy grocery bags up a shaky ladder. Stocking the kitchen is like stocking a house – I have to buy every necessary item in my kitchen, starting from scratch.

I need basics like coffee and tea, salt, pepper and sugar, herbs and spices, condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings, and items to cook with like butter, oil, vinegar, chicken stock, onions, tomato sauce, etc. Then there’s snack food and company food because people are always stopping by for a drink on the dock. So I need cheese and crackers, chips and dips as well as cookies and other sweets.

The other trick in shopping for a boat, is I have to try and find the smallest versions of everything so I can fit it all in my small kitchen.

When the kitchen is stocked, my last job is to clean the deck and the flybridge. That has to be done last because Tom keeps all of his cleaning items strewn all over these areas. It looks like a bomb went off at West Marine. Once he finishes his cleaning and puts everything away, I get to do the final job.

That’s when the boating season officially begins for us.

Anchors Away!

AND SUDDENLY, IT’S ALL GREEN – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – BREATHTAKING

It’s gray, rainy, cold and the world is made of mud. No hope of flowers because it still feels like the end of winter.

Then, suddenly, the sun appears and you get a couple of warm day and the world explodes in color. Breathtaking barely describes it. It’s like a new world, a new planet. The sky is blue, the birds are singing. Of course, the squirrels are still eating all the seeds, but the lawn got mowed, the dead bushes are gone, there’s a tall fence to keep Duke in the yard where he belongs … for today, at least, the world is just perfect.

Garry went out and took pictures yesterday. Me too. I got serious about birds. He got serious about Uxbridge. There are so many pictures, I have barely had time to scrape along the edges of the more than 200 pictures from just yesterday. Call this “Breathtaking Sample 1” with more to follow!

From Garry Armstrong, the village and neighborhood:
Photo: Garry Armstrong – This picture is my favorite.
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The brand new crossing sign in the middle of town.
Photo: Garry Armstrong – At home in the woods
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The crossroads of Uxbridge
Photo: Garry Armstrong – The perils of not having a newspaper or even a radio station — we didn’t know there was a vote — or for what!

From Marilyn Armstrong, more birds and a squirrel.
The determined squirrel
Cowbird with Hairy Woodpecker – sharing!

THE CHANGING SEASONS: APRIL 2019 – THE RAINIEST APRIL SINCE 1872 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, April 2019
The Rainiest April in 140 Years

Photography: Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

It wasn’t just my imagination. Of the 29 days of this past, April 2019, twenty of them were rainy. And for the final day, tomorrow, it will also rain which will bring the total to 21 days of rain for the month of April.

Not surprisingly, we didn’t get out to take a lot of pictures this month. If it weren’t were the bird feeders on our deck, there might not be any pictures at all.

Most of the time, it has been chilly and wet. We got some daffodils and a few crocuses. We even got a few sad-looking Forsythias. Meanwhile, although we got a whole set of brand new young Rhododendrons while the mature bushes all died. I don’t know if the rain drowned them or maybe they were just ready to move on and that’s why they sent up the new shoots.

My son is going to cut them all down — the dead ones and the young ones and all of the rose bushes. They will grow back, or at least the living ones will. I guarantee that by August, the young Rhododendrons and the barbed-wire roses will be taller than me.

Owen says they cut down their bushes every year and by mid-summer, they stand more than seven feet high. Meantime, there are a lot of shoots for upcoming daylilies. Bless you, daylilies. When everything else fails, I can count on you!

Double trouble
Brown-headed Cowbirds

The rain killed most everything else. We got two tulips and a bunch of bright yellow daffodils. I’m hoping we will see some Columbine and Spiderwort, too.

When I look into the woods, I can see that there is green there. The maples are beginning to show fat buds. The young pine trees have new growth, too.

Despite having several large trees fall on it, the lilac has a full growth of new leaves. I am surprised. I was sure it was going to give up at long last, but somehow, it keeps coming back. It doesn’t bloom much anymore. There isn’t enough sunshine back at the edge of the woods. And this is not a bush anymore. It hasn’t been a bush in more than 18 years. It is old growth and almost as tall as a maple tree.

It’s baseball season again!

Whether or not it will flower? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s too early for blooming. It won’t flower until the middle of May if it flowers at all. Sunshine would help.


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 post, she will update it with links to of yours.