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.

AUTUMN’S END – REMEMBER THE DAYS? – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumn’s Over – FOTD – November 17, 2018


It snowed. I don’t like the snow. It’s too early for snow. But I’m pretty sure fall is done for good and all. So let’s remember it for this shining moment.

Winter waterfall

Sigh.

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.