RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD, GARDEN, CAR, BIRDS, SQUIRRELS … Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Raindrops

It has been raining more in the past few months than in any other months in the history of weather records, which is more than 200 years. April was the rainiest month ever recorded. Surprisingly, I don’t have a lot of rain pictures because I got pretty sulky about the rain and refused to go out unless it was a doctor’s appointment or grocery shopping. But I have a lot of pictures of birds and squirrels in the rain.

They don’t seem to mind. Or maybe having no choice in the matter, rain is just there, like the wind and the trees. It’s life in the big woods. Like snow and heat. When outside is home, the weather is life.

This squirrel is actually shaking off the raindrops.
Rain on Election day. Probably should have known it wasn’t going our way.
Rain on the window
Rain on the feeder’s roof
Rain on the Cowbirds

THE CHANGING SEASONS: FEBRUARY 2019 – Marilyn and Garry Armstrong

The Changing Seasons: February 2019

This has been a very strange winter. Instead of what we usually get — mountains of snow accompanied by very cold weather — we got a tiny bit of snow, a fair amount of sleet, and a lot of rain and wind.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – House and some snow
Aldrich Street – Photo: Garry Armstrong

In a lot of ways, this is a good summary of this winter. A little snow, a lot of sleet, and when this picture was taken, 60 mph winds were blowing.

And of course, there were the birds. Two bird feeders, about 100 pounds of birdseed … and one Panasonic 4/3 telephoto 100-300 mm lens later …

And of course, our Christmas cactus that has been in more or less continuous bloom since Thanksgiving ..

And more pictures from Garry.

Photo: Garry Armstrong
If you look beyond the fence, you’ll see Gibbs and the Duke by the front steps
Photo: Garry Armstrong

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
Bonnie and living room

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.
Three bright birds

If you do a ping-back to this post, Su-Leslie will update it with links to all the other photographers.

WEATHER AND WINTER – Marilyn Armstrong

Our weather is weird. In the past decade, we’ve had winters where we are buried in 12 feet (about three meters) of snow next to winters where we don’t get any snow — or so little, we never need to shovel. Or this winter where mostly, it has been so warm with a day or two of cold, then more warm weather. We’ve had the rainiest spring, fall, and winter ever recorded or remembered. It’s pouring right now.

Cold Cardinal Monday

It’s late January — and our dogs are picking up ticks. The ground has not frozen.

Two days ago it was -4 Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius) and today, it’s 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) and it’s pouring rain. Three days ago, we got snow and then freezing rain, winding up with an inch of solid ice on everything. It was like cement. Immovable.

Today is Thursday. It’s warm, raining hard, and blowing a gale.  Everything is washing away. Not a bird in sight because the wind is too strong and they dare not fly. The wind is so powerful our 150-foot (46-meter) oak trees are swaying in the wind like grass. Kind of scary because should one of them fall we are underneath the trees. Big trees. Very big.

An early January morning

Germany used to be a cold country. So was Switzerland. Now they get spring and summer before us. Although New England has always had erratic weather patterns, we had seasonal winds and water temperature that was typical year-to-year. We knew where the weather came from and what it meant. Now, we know nothing. The northern storms are not coming down. Our storms are coming up from the south or the west. No more “Montreal Express” to bring down the arctic weather.

How come ticks are alive in January? We’re going to have massive invasions of insects because of how warm it has been through much of what ought to be winter. Parts of our house are damp and beginning to rot from the rain.

The sun from the east

We get cold days, but just a day or two at a time. Then, it warms up overnight and it’s sort of spring again. I don’t mind not having icy roads, but I mind not having seasons! I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but I actually miss the snow.

We’ve always been weak on Spring. We used to laugh that we got exactly enough time to race down to the local department store — when we had department stores — and buy a bathing suit between the last snow and the first daffodils.

This year, we also missed Autumn, the one really good season we get around here.

Are we getting climate change? It would appear we are in the middle of it. The winds are not blowing from the same directions they used to. The ocean is too warm. Birds are not migrating. Bears aren’t hibernating.

What is our world doing about it? Not much.

And eastern morning …

As for the depression that comes with winter darkness, that’s the only thing that hasn’t changed. I write my way through it. I take pictures of birds. It helps.

Writing helps most. It gets dreary in the winter. Dark until well into the morning and dark again long before dinner. We may change the weather, but so far, we have not managed to change the rotation of the earth or how it circles the sun — or tilts towards or away from the burning orb in the middle.

Last March!

Even among the many who believe in climate change, no one has any idea what to do about it. It’s such a big thing and we are little tiny people living in a damaged world.

THE CHANGING SEASONS AND CHANGING FAST – JANUARY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons: January 2019

I can truly say that this entire month has been about birds. There have been a few more pictures here and there, but effectively? Birds. All birds all the time.

The birds help keep me sane in an insane world.

And there are so many MORE bird pictures. Buy a couple of feeders, get a good lens and a camera and you don’t have to worry about the world. You just have to worry about catching a picture of a chickadee diving off the feeder.

One Mourning Dove

And there are many woodpeckers, either a lot of Goldfinches or Warblers or both (take your pick, I personally have given up identifying anything) … and a new bird, the “house finch” — a little red finch that came from Texas via a whole lot of pet stores who weren’t allowed to sell wild birds in cages, so they just let them go and now, they live here.

House Finch

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month — and show how the weather has changed. Right now, there’s a lot of weather changing because this thing called “climate change” is affecting many countries all over the world.

You can call it whatever you want, but it’s here and it’s going to get a lot worse. If we can do nothing else, we can take pictures and talk about … the weather. Because the weather matter and it’s going to matter more and more as we ignore the problems this planet faces.


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 SuLeslie’s post at the following link:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/the-changing-seasons-january-2019/

she can update your post with links to everyone else’s.

MORE ICY WEATHER BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I took a lot of pictures yesterday, so I’ve got a few more to show you today. This is just as well because I feel totally non-creative at the moment. Part of it is simply that I don’t feel well.

The clunk I took on the head a couple of days ago didn’t help a lot either, but to be fair, I was pretty brain-dead before that too.

A couple of things are wearing me down. Politics is clearly one. Like a lot of liberals — and other fair-minded people — the ugliness of our political situation is dispiriting and depressing. Whatever humor I felt about it at the beginning has long disappeared. Now it’s just grim and hateful. It has made a lot of people a lot grumpier than they were.

It’s like living under a black cloud that just follows you around and keeps raining. Which either means we are rain gods or we are drawn by a famous (and I should add, dead) illustrator.

So, back to the birds. They are bright, non-political, and all they want is some seed.

I can do that.

More of the bright red bird
Cardinal and his Junco pal

Yesterday, the Patriots won a hotly contested game against the chiefs. It was one of the games where even those of us who aren’t super football fans can only say “wow.”

Cardinal in the cold
On a frozen Monday

All the other news is so demoralizing and sad, it’s hard to stay excited. Especially since with so many TSA agents calling in sick because the government doesn’t think they should pay them for their work, you have to wonder how people are going to get to the game.

The bitterly frigid weather hasn’t helped either.

Well-chilled Junco

From here to Atlanta is more than 1000 miles. Driving, that’s about 86 gallons of gasoline and at least two, maybe three days at the wheel.

A chilly Nuthatch

By train, that’s 24 hours.

Part of a Nuthatch and a Cardinal

Although there remain some flights available, the prices are ridiculous. Lucky we weren’t planning to go anyway, isn’t it?

COLD! CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold


Is cold fun? It was okay when I was a kid, though I also remember trying to defrost my frozen feet. They make warm boots a lot better today than they did when I was a kid. I would have given a lot for a pair of water-resistant Emu boots … or any kind of Uggs!

Home during the blizzard
By the time the storm was over, we had twice this much
This is my favorite way to look at the snow — through the French doors

It has been getting very cold at night and sometimes, by day. We’ve been getting brushed by snow. Not really whacked by it as they have been further north, but it has been a very close shave. Soon enough, it will actually land right on us.

FEEDING THE BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

We aren’t supposed to feed the birds. Not the swans or the pretty feathered ones. They are supposed to survive naturally. So I never put a feeder up. And I felt guilty every winter when I saw the poor frozen birds huddled in the bushes in the backyard.

This year, I said “Screw natural. We’ve destroyed their environment. We’ve killed the old forests and burned much of the rest. We’ve poisoned them with weed killer and let our pet cats eat millions of them every year … but we can’t feed them? Nuts to that.”

I decided it was the least I could do.

The latest climate report came out today. Because it’s Black Friday (which Garry called “Racist Friday”) and we are all supposed to be shopping (and no one I know actually was shopping at least partly because there aren’t a lot of places to shop), so maybe we’d miss that the entire report is nothing but bad news.

I wasn’t surprised. It has been pretty obvious that our environment is changing fast. Fires and floods. Spring and fall have gone missing. The bitter cold came too soon with snow in early November. Ocean water is more than 9-inches higher than it was 50 years ago.

There’s less snow in the mountains, so the drought in the west is probably permanent. It gets hotter and stays hotter longer each year and sooner rather than later, the crops will start to suffer. I think no matter how hard they try to manipulate the DNA for seeds, when it gets hot and stays hot, and doesn’t rain … the crops will fail.

People will die from the heat, die from lack of water. Eventually, people will also die from hunger. Rich people will survive longer, but sooner or later, the climate will get us all. Unless we go back to doing sensible things to deal with it. We can do it, but it’s not something any of us can do individually.

This needs to be a regional and national effort. This is why we have governments. They are supposed to care for us. It’s why we pay them money. I don’t think the idea was that we should pay them money so they can buy bigger private planes.

We need to get the big Orange Fool out of the White House and start taking care of our planet. While we can.

Meanwhile, I’m going to feed the birds!