The Changing Seasons: July 2016

This has been a strange year. The caterpillars stripped the oaks and the sassafras trees to bare branches. A month later, it looks like springtime in our woods. The trees all have leaves again, but not the deep green leaves of summertime, but the bright yellow-green of newborn leaves.


It’s good to have the trees looking like trees again.


It also has not rained in any measurable amount since May. It’s close to a decade since the spring rains stopped. Not that I enjoyed the annual flooding, but I didn’t have to wonder if the well would run dry.

The riverbeds are dry again, the dams locked up to hold as much water as possible. Water restrictions limit use of water of lawns and gardens. We have our own water restrictions in place. Short showers. You don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth … or anything else. I have no idea how the farms in the area handle the problem, but it must be difficult.

No matter how many wells exist in an area, all wells tap into the same aquifer. When it doesn’t rain for months at a time, the aquifer gets low and water pressure decreases. Everyone’s lawn turns brown and the gardens wither. The whole region is dry, this year. Not going to be a great year for apples.


Since this is perhaps the eighth or ninth consecutive year of mild to severe drought in New England, it leads me to repeat something I read elsewhere (and I’m sorry I don’t remember the source). She asked “How many years of drought do you need before you recognize it isn’t a drought … it’s climate change.”

This isn’t California and the drought is not quite as severe … but this has historically been an area that suffers more from flood than drought. In the sixteen years we have lived in this valley, we’ve seen it go from annual flooding to a steadily increasing water shortage.

Climate change is real and it’s coming to a town near you, if it hasn’t already.

What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2016. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed. These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

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Gibbs has been with us for four months now and finally, he has decided to join the family. He’s still very wary of strangers. We don’t have much company. That no doubt makes the problem more difficult. Still, he’s doing pretty well.


Gibbs will look even more handsome soon, because Wednesday is grooming day!


He (by the way) shows a gratifying willingness to sit still while I take his picture. This is something I cannot convince Bonnie to do.



Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Older than 50 Years

I narrowly avoided the temptation to include pictures of me and all my friends. None of us are exactly “spring chicks” anymore, but that seemed a bit heartless. So I stuck with inanimate objects that don’t worry about whether or not their skin looks like an old suitcase.

Rockport, MA, Boston, Upton, Uxbridge, and Gettysburg, PA are all represented. Bet you can figure out which is which!





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Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge


Finding beauty in ordinary objects is not difficult when the things with which you have furnished your home are beautiful in your eyes. I’m a collector — or perhaps I should say “reformed collector” —  so there’s a lot of stuff here that gives me joy just to look at it. They serve no other purpose but to be beautiful.

The first genuinely bright day in a couple of weeks made taking indoor pictures much more attractive!


This is my dining room. More to the point, this is the home of my Dracaena Marginata, the plant I’ve been growing — and cutting back — for more than 20 years.


It needs to be pruned again as it starts to scrape against the ceiling. These must be the easiest of all indoor plants. The whole dracaena family are tolerant of low light and forgetful watering.


Give them half a chance and they will keep growing and never disappoint you. And … they are beautiful. Every once in a blue moon, they will also flower, though the flowers are nothing to write home about.


This is a challenge created to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple : find beauty in everyday mundane things and frame it beautifully and upload the photographs. And give me a pingback by including the URL of this post in your challenge post.

If you think this challenge helps you to see ordinary things in a more beautiful way and to improve your photography, do help a friend to improve their skills too. You are free to Tag/Challenge a friend to join MMC, so that world around us look more beautiful to more people around us.


Share Your World – 2016 Week 29

What is the perfect pizza?

Not in New England. I cannot help it. I know in my bones that the perfect pizza is nowhere to be found outside the five boroughs of New York. Brooklyn, last I knew, had the best of the best. The perfect pizza has a thin, slightly crispy (but not hard) crust. Plenty of sauce and lots of cheese. Mozzerella and  parmesan. Maybe romano too.


Toppings? Whatever you like except — I vote with Terry Pratchett on this one — pineapple. Pineapple has no place on a pizza. You can argue with me until we are both too old to care. Pineapple is a great fruit, but fruit doesn’t go on pizza. No fruit. On. Pizza.

Moreover. Great pizza is hand tossed, then baked in a coal-fired oven. Nothing else comes near it. I can smell it in my dreams …

Meanwhile, it being a long way to New York, we eat pretty much any pizza. With exceptions. Most of it is okay. Imperfect, but edible.

What is your favorite time of day?

Although I sleep through it most days, just around daybreak is my favorite time of day.

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Even if I’m only away for a few moments of it, there’ something different about the light as it comes up over the horizon.

Show us two of your favorites photographs?  The photos can be from anytime in your life span.  Explain why they are your favorite.

I have over 100,000 photographs and I don’t even remember most of them. Thus, because dawn was the subject of the last question, I will give you my two favorite pictures taken at sunrise.

In this first pictures, I saw the sun and the cloud would intersect and I waited until the exact moment when it happened. Patience was rewarded! I endured a million mosquitoes, but got a dozen pictures that are still among my all-time favorites. Moments like this can’t be repeated.


Taken originally in 2010, both my equipment and my technique have vastly improved … but you can’t repeat the moment.

The second picture was taken at almost the same time of day on the beach in Ogunquit, Maine. I took a few dozen pictures that morning and all of them are favorites, but this one, with the mist still hanging over the beach, is a favorite.


Complete this sentence:  I’m looking forward to…. 

The end of this heat wave … and some rain!

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