AHOY AND AHEAD – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Ahead

We got a notice from our BOA branch, which is right next door to our grocery store that they are closing the bank. This is a total pain in the butt and basically means, unless we can bank in Rhode Island while living in Massachusetts (not always easy or even possible), that we should change banks.

You cannot begin to imagine how much I don’t want to change banks. It isn’t that I have some fierce loyalty to BOA. I don’t. They’ve never done me a favor and basically, I don’t like them. But they are very convenient — or until now, have been very convenient. And I have ALL my payments lined up with them so I have very little to do on a monthly basis. Which is good because I’m not a great money-tender.

There are other banks in town, but not many and I’m more than a little dubious about them. The rest are all at least 15 to 20 miles away … or more. So we are off to the bank to try and see what we can work out. IF we can bank in the nearest town with a full-service bank (North Slaterville, RI) and keep the rest of the arrangement, I’m okay with that. If not, we have to start setting up at another — probably equally inconvenient bank — then move all of our electronic deposits to the new bank, get new cars, set up all those payments again. Not a thrilling prospect.

JUST when you think you’ve simplified your life, it comes around again. So first, we’ll go in, make a deposit (it’s cash — I do NOT do cash in an ATM!), talk to the manager (who’s main favor to us was giving me a fabulous recipe for making homemade (cheap and delicious) humous.

Then, to the dam in the middle of town and maybe up to River Bend for some pictures before this glorious Autumn ends, It’s at peak now, so it’ll just be a few more days before it starts downhill to November, which is its own sort of Autumn — the bronze age, as it were — and finally, real winter by the middle of December — if it doesn’t snow first.

So once again, it’s another one of those weeks. Doctor appointments (two of them, both mine) and the “gutter repair” people (tomorrow — they are having a sale and maybe, just maybe, we can get ONE more thing done before the snow flies. Which could literally be any day now. We have had pretty heavy snowfall as early as September. Last year, it didn’t show up until my birthday in March, but after that, we were in it to our asses until May!

I’ll do the best I can to be here, but I can’t believe I’m supposed to be retired.

I am moving ahead. Ahoy there world — this elderly lady is dashing around trying to keep her life, such as it is, on track.

I have to point out to the bank and Garry and I are 149 years old. We deserve a break!

STILL AUTUMN IN MY MIND – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – November 18, 2018


It’s cold out and there’s snow in the driveway. We haven’t found a plow guy yet, but we live in hope. As long as he or she (we’ve never found a she who drives a plow, but why not?) gets here before we need an oil delivery, we’re good.

Martha Kennedy suggested YakTrax so we can walk up our frozen driveway and not fall on our collective heads and the dogs like snow a lot better than they like rain. They hate rain.

Well, to be fair, Gibbs feels that the sofa is the right place for him pretty much all the time, but the Duke loves everything. Bonnie only goes out when it’s 72 degrees with a light breeze.

Never you mind. We will survive winter. I just wish it hadn’t decided to begin before Thanksgiving.

The last time we had a big snow in early November, we got 120 inches for the season which was an all-time record. Even if you really like snow, that is a great deal of snow and a lot of money for plowing.

Meanwhile, I’m still living in my dreams of the autumn we almost had. Don’t ruin my dreams. I need them.

WHICH WAY – SO MANY ROADS, SO LITTLE TIME – Marilyn Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: November 8, 2018


A day in the yellow woods in Mendon. A place I always want to get pictures, but rarely find a place to safely put the car. The road is so twisty, and there is swamp on both sides of the road … and it is hard to see where the swamp begins and the earth ends.

But this time, we got lucky.

And got some pictures. Mostly mine because Garry kept not bringing a camera. I have since given him a pocket camera which hopefully will convince him to take some. He winds up borrowing mine, but two people on one camera don’t work well.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The Providence-Worcester line through Mendon

The leafy driveway

Railroad crossing, Chestnut Street

ROSES AND OAK LEAVES – Marilyn Armstrong

Roses & Oak Leaves 


A few days ago, our entire property was completely covered by a full carpet of oak leaves. You couldn’t see anything but leaves and broken branches from the trees. The rain and wind have never quit for more than a day or two at a time.

The leaf vacuum crew came and cleaned us up yesterday and while we aren’t completely free of leaves … there are always more up there in the trees … we can see the deck and the driveway … and even the front lawn.

Late roses and oak leaves

Oak leaves in the ground cover

Of course, the rain and the wind are coming back. It’s going to be a bad week. Regardless, we’re going to be away in Connecticut for a few days, so the dogs and the weather are going to have to try and get along without us for a few days.

Leaves and the dog’s rope toy still wet from rain

The weather has gotten pretty weird. It’s hard to explain, but it doesn’t “feel” normal. The weather has always followed a pattern. Not the exact same pattern every year, but typically in late August, you’d see the first yellow leaves. Night time temperatures would begin to drop which triggered the leaf change.

Oak leaves

By mid-September, nights were chilly, even though the days were usually quite warm. By the end of September, at least half the trees had changed color and two or three weeks later, by mid-October, Autumn peaked. When we got lucky, it would linger a couple of extra weeks. If the winds didn’t rise and we didn’t get a lot of rain, you might still see quite a lot of fall right through November.

The last of the woods. Bare now

This year, spring never came. Summer started more than a month late and the flowers that bloom in May didn’t bloom until July. Some never bloomed at all. The dry days of summer never happened and the wind and the rain have continued undaunted and as far as I can tell, are not going to stop. Eventually, it will be cold enough that the wind and rain will become snow and rain.

We didn’t really have Autumn or spring. We’ve had a few days here and there, but mostly, it’s not the seasons. It’s just weather.

MORE OF AUTUMN – Marilyn Armstrong

More of Autumn -FOTD – November 11, 2018


The leaf sucking company was here this morning. The dogs went into total hysterics. Actually, that’s not true. The Duke went berserk because he thinks he is a giant protector, except I don’t think he has scared anyone yet. He’s just not a terrifying creature.

They came with giant vacuum cleaners and in about an hour, they sucked up about three million oak leaves. Then they blew them into the woods to join in the mulching of millions of other leaves.

Japanese maple – the last autumn tree

As they were packing up to leaves, the wind came up and half a million more leaves blew down, but at least you can see the ground now. They even cleaned off the deck and the area around the lawn furniture.

But our crazy little Japanese maple is still looking amazing. It is now officially (according to me) The Last Tree of Autumn. Most of the trees are completely bare, so this tree is unique.

‘Il n’y a plus de saison” – OUTSIDE, IT FEELS LIKE … WHAT? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – November 10, 2018 – Autumn Leaf


I still have autumnal pictures, even though it’s raining. The wind came up and all day, it was like being in an oak leaf storm, with whirling leaves everywhere. It’s supposed to be over tomorrow morning, but the next day, new storm.

A rose and a brilliant Japanese maple.

The weather never really stays nice anymore. We haven’t had a single weekend without rain or three days of sunshine since last winter.

Evelyne Holingue commented that in France they now say “Il n’y a plus de saison.” Which translates to “There are no more seasons.” 

There’s definitely a seasonal blurring. We have winter and we have summer, but winter is longer than it used it be with intermittent weeks of almost summer-like weather followed by blizzards. Spring doesn’t happen and summer is one storm after another.

And there are places where the weather is more extreme than here.

Really, there are no more seasons and I think if you want to understand what climate change means, this is the beginning, that blurring of seasons and the loss of the “interim” short seasons of spring and fall.

I don’t know what comes after this because although we’ve always had erratic weather patterns here, this is somehow different. It feels different. I’m just hoping the rivers don’t rise.

This valley can flood. We’ve seen it, but never in November. Flooding is something for spring rains and snow melt-off. Meanwhile, it sure is raining hard outside.

MORE OF THE LAST AUTUMN TREE – Marilyn Armstrong

The Last Autumn Tree – FOTD – November 9, 2018


We had a second sunny day in a row. Unbelievable! But not to worry. It will rain tomorrow. Probably not until the evening. The rivers are full and they are expecting rivers to flood.

I am trying not to think about it, hoping the sump and the pump are up to the task. And our French drains are not clogged with leaves and the gutters are still viable. And the roof doesn’t leak.

The tree in all her glory

It has been raining  … major storms … several times each week and the rivers are cresting. And guess who lives in a river valley?

Amazing colors!

I went out and took more pictures of The Tree. Because after tomorrow’s storm, it won’t have any leaves left. Count on it.

I have save more pictures because I’m going to need them.

OH GLORIOUS JAPANESE MAPLE – Marilyn Armstrong

Japanese Maple Tree – FOTD – November 8, 2018


When all the other maple trees are bare and almost all of the oak leaves have fallen, suddenly, my Japanese maple tree lit up like a neon sign.

I have had this tree since I brought it home from Maryland in a bucket. It was not even a foot tall. Now it’s about 20-feet tall, though it still needs a bit of support. It usually turns red in the fall — but not like this.

This was neon sign nightclub light flashing colors. I not only didn’t add saturation to the pictures. I actually reduced it a bit because it was a bit blinding.

We’re supposed to have another not rainy day tomorrow, so maybe I’ll take more pictures!

DANGER! THE OAK LEAVES HAVE FORMED AN ARMY! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Danger


There are so many leaves on the ground here, it’s hard to explain to people who don’t live in the middle of an oak woods. When I was outside today taking pictures, it was like being in a leaf storm.

If the wizards drop by and turn them into soldiers, I shall have an army of millions at my beck and call.

Chairs with leaves

Watch out DC! The oak leaves are marching and they will take you out.

ONE GOLDEN DAY AMIDST A SEA OF MUD AND WIND – Marilyn Armstrong

Golden November Day – FOTD – November 5, 2018


Bronze oak leaves piled against the back door

So just when you think autumn is over for good and all, when every maple leaf has blown to the earth and half the trees along the road are broken, the sun comes out and the oak trees are burnished gold.

Through the trees

Sunshine and oak trees

It’s the only sunny day we’re going to get this week. It’ll be stormy and windy and raining tomorrow and the day after. I think we may get half a day of not-rain sometimes in the middle of the week, but after that, it’s going to get cold, with more rain.

So I picked up my camera, went outside to the deck and took some pictures.

The light through the trees is amazing

Sunshine!

Just a day of sunshine made me feel better. And I’m not dealing well with the time change. I can’t believe it’s not even 10 pm. It has been dark since a little past four. It’s going to be mostly dark for the next four months. I wonder if any of my winter coats still fit?

 

A SUNNY FALL DAY IN NOVEMBER – Marilyn Armstrong

A Beautiful Autumn Day in November


An orange maple leaf

It has been a pretty sad sack of Autumn in Massachusetts. Last week, the leaves finally decided to change. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of our now daily rain. A particularly heavy rain with plenty of wind.

The best leaves

I pondered the situation and realized we were indeed going to get some lovely autumn foliage, but half the trees will be naked by then. Today, finally, it was (mostly) sunny for most of the day. But tomorrow, the rain is back. Wind too. Good thing I took my camera with me. I could tell Garry wished he brought his because he had to borrow mine and take a few shots.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Always have a camera. You just never know!

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was a running around day. We had to catch up on errands. We get money on the first of the month, so we go shopping. By the first, we are out of everything except coffee, half-and-half, and dog food. And of course, treats for the dogs. Can’t run out of treats.

Curving rail tracks

The trees — wherever they still were trees and not naked limbs — were beautiful. Not much red, but deep orange and a glorious golden-yellow. The woods were lit up when the sun hit them.

ONE GOLDEN AUTUMN EVENING – Marilyn Armstrong

A Golden Autumn Evening


Yellow trees and our gate

It was a sunny day. A beautiful day.  I painted a little piece of my front door that needed retouching because when we replaced the lock and door handle, it didn’t precisely fit where the old one had been.

Then, after that, it got gray for a while. I was sad that we couldn’t have a single sunny day, uninterrupted. I was so sad, the sun felt sorry for me and came back.

Red maple

The road was truly golden

As we headed toward evening, the trees along the driveway turned to gold and our maple turned red and orange. Some of the roses are still blooming. They do look a little bedraggled, but alive.

Red maple, yellow aspen

Dark red maple

FESTIVAL OF LEAVES & FLOWER OF THE DAY: A WALK BY THE CANAL – Marilyn Armstrong

Week # 6: Walk By The Canal

FOTD – October 30, 2018


It should have been spectacular color, but it was mostly still green with some yellow. Still, it was definitely pretty, especially when the amber light hits it in late afternoon.

All the yellow leaves

Picnic by the canal

Still, it was a crisp fall day. If the leaves were not scarlet, they were yellow, glowing in the amber sunlight, with the canal as shiny as a mirror.

Just a couple, walking along the trail on their way to River Bend Park.

BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE – Garry Armstrong

FOTD – Be It Ever So Humble – October 26, 2018

It was a beautiful day. Actually sunny from earliest rays of the morning until sunset. I went out to clean up our front walk — the dogs, you know — and everything looked bright. We didn’t get much in the way of reds or orange, but the woods are quite yellow and the oaks are beginning to turn to bronze.

I went in to grab my camera and took a few pictures.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Aldrich Street

Photo: Garry Armstrong -The oaks are changing color

Fred the Flamingo is still in the garden – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Down the driveway – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong – West past the shed into the woods

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – No Place Like Home – October 23, 2018

It rained in the morning.

These days, it always rains in the morning. Every morning. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow morning, too.

With a little luck, it’ll stop before they start the World Series.

Sassafras

Which starts tomorrow evening. It’s on Fox network so most people with American television will be able to see it. Probably in Mexico and Canada, too.

Route 98, heading north

We had a bit of sunshine right before our doctor appointment, but by the time we got out, the sun was gone.

There’s no place like home.

There wasn’t much to photograph until we got home and I realized that at least our street had some nice color. No sun, but the trees look pretty nice.