WITH RELENTLESS EFFICIENCY

After a lot of whining and complaining, I settled down. I filled out the ridiculous amount of paperwork, reconstructed as much of my medical history as I could — anything more than 5 years ago, is more than a little vague — and of course, my list of medications. I got my son to witness my permission to hunt down my records (good luck with that), and signed a new health proxy (everyone should have one — and I do mean absolutely everyone). Then, papers in hand, we drove over to the new doctor’s office — a mere one town over!

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I turned them over along with the appropriate Medicare insurance information and went home to notify Blue Cross Blue Shield that I’m changing doctors. They actually didn’t care because I have a PPO and don’t require a listed primary care doctor. I can go to any doctor that takes BCBS payments … which is nearly every doctor in the region except the group to which my current doctor is migrating.

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I explained that I needed an appointment with the new guy because I was going to need new prescriptions at the end of this month. Somehow, she found an appointment. Which conflicted with the dental appointment and the finishing up of my crown. So I took the doctor appointment, moved the dentist to the following day, leaving one day before the cardiologist appointment … and the almost immediate arrival of a houseful of out-of-town visitors. June and July have filled up.

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Summer always fills up quickly. I’m sure you’ve noticed. The weather turns warm and suddenly, you’re booking stuff for next September. It’s because winter is brutal. You can’t count on anything in the winter. Nature might just decide to throw a blizzard on the day you plan to visit those friends in Vermont. Instead, no one is going anywhere for a few days at least.

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It’s amazing how we manage to not see people we really want to see because when we are free, they are not. Everyone is busy seeing the people they need to see while they can … and before you know it, another year slips away.

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I haven’t found the cure for not enough time. I’ve been looking for something to do about this my whole life. I thought, after retirement, we’d have all the time in the world. In a sense, we do … but we live in New England. Winter is at best a wild card. You can plan, but you can’t be sure it will really happen, which means we really only have half the year to do stuff . There’s always more stuff to do than time.

I’m working on this. I suspect I’ll always be working on it forever.

THEY’RE BACK! RETURN OF THE GYPSY MOTH

It’s going to be a big year for the gypsy moths. They never really leave, but some years are really bad compared to other, relatively light years.

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This is going to be a bad year. One side of my house is covered with caterpillars. Garry had to dig his car out, as if from under snow. They’ve been coming into the house via the dogs. A few hitched a ride on some Amazon deliveries. I’m spooky about bugs of any kind though I’m not actually afraid of caterpillars, per se.

Unlike spiders and other crawling insects, my heart does not threaten to seize in my chest when I find one. Unfortunately, my startle reflex doesn’t know what’s crawling on me. I only feel something crawling and I do the knee jerk EEK, YOW, UGH, YUK before I ultimately recognize the culprit.

It’s not only that the gypsy moths are creepy pests. They are an invasive pest that consumes oak trees. They have been known to wipe out entire hardwood forests. They’ve almost killed off the black oaks in Pennsylvania.

They aren’t even pretty. No redeeming features that I know of and no natural enemies, either. A pest of the first magnitude with the distinction of being number 1 on our national list of destructive invasive species.

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As you’ve probably guessed by the repetition of the word “invasive,” gypsy moths are not native to these parts. Originally a European pest, they took to the New World with a vengeance as soon as they got a bite of it. They’ve been in New England since 1869. at which time they were accidentally introduced near Boston, Massachusetts. Normally, we are happy to have visitors to our fair shores, but not these guys.

In their 150 years on these shores, they have made their way from Massachusetts to Canada,  down to Florida, then back up the middle to Wisconsin and beyond. It’s only a matter of time before they are literally everywhere there is food they can eat. They prefer hardwood trees, but in a pinch, will eat literally anything that grows.

On a purely person level, this means that I won’t go outside unless I must until the moths retreat. We haven’t had a really bad gypsy moth invasion in a few seasons. Probably the exceptionally cold, snowy winters kept them in check.

They are back. I’m so very sorry to see them again.


NOTES:

1: In case you’re interested, click on “gypsy moths” here or at the beginning of this post. It will take you to a link where you can find out more than you ever wanted to know about these nasty, hungry pests. Yuck.

2: Don’t forget the ants. Just because caterpillars have arrived, it does not imply the ants have departed. Have I mentioned how much I hate the bugs? This is not going to be my favorite summer.

3: Sometimes, life in the country is way overrated.

SOLOMON’S SEAL IN BLOOM

Suddenly, there are flowers. Everywhere. Trees are coming into leaf. Gardens are bright with spring flowers. I have been nurturing a patch of wild Solomon’s seal for more than ten years. This year, perhaps because of all the rain, they are in overdrive.

I took these pictures less than an hour after the rain … two weeks of rain … finally stopped. Hopefully, we will get a few days of sunshine before the next monsoon hits.

If you are interested in the medicinal properties of this plant (and there are many), this is a pretty good place to start.

Flower of the Day – Solomon’s Seal

NATURAL PHENOMENON

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: PHYSICAL PHENOMENON
FROM PAULA:

This Thursday I want you to get physical and show me a natural phenomenon that arouses your curiosity.

I find that condensation lends itself to great photographic possibilities, and you may find your inspiration elsewhere. Physical phenomena are all around us; just think of “Brazil nut effect”, foam, ice, cereal floating in a bowl of milk and clumping together. Think about magnets, static in your hair, or show me the most beautiful one of all – a rainbow. I look forward to your entries which will be again displayed on this page. Happy Thursday!

Living in a woods, the natural world and its phenomena dominate life. The leaves that fall and pile up, turning quickly to compost, and the rain water that runs down the driveway pooling at the bottom. Our ever-changing skies and the snow.

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The relentless seasons that are gone before I have a moment to grab them in my lens.

Rainbows have been few and far between, but this month, the equinox month, has been full of the most beautiful sunrises. This one is a favorite, taken as the sun rose the morning of the Vernal Equinox.

EARLY GREEN

March is not particularly green, at least not in New England. It’s a fickle month with warm days, cold nights, sudden thaws and freezes … and of course, snowstorms. Just to remind us who’s really in charge.

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Two days ago …

Today, I went looking for signs of green and found a few.

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The trees are bare, but fat buds are beginning to appear — a promise of leaves to come.

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But there’s more. On the ground, despite two snows in the past few days (and another on the way), the day lilies are coming up.

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A huge number of them are several inches out of the ground forming a blanket in the garden in the backyard.

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They are looking very enthusiastic! I’m expecting a great year for the lilies.

THE CHANGING SEASONS: VERNAL EQUINOX 2016

THE CHANGING SEASONS: MARCH 2016

Welcome to spring! Sunday was the Vernal Equinox, when day and night were the same length.

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Knowing it was the first day of spring, I set my alarm to wake me in time to photograph the sunrise. This sequence of shots were all take during the approximately 2 minute window of the equinox.

SUNDAY MORNING: DAWN ON THE EQUINOX

Spring is here. The earth rejoices. Me too!

And then, the following morning (yesterday), the fickle finger of fate, known locally as “the weather” decided to make a point.

MONDAY MORNING: DAWN, 2nd DAY OF SPRING

Please visit Cardinal Guzman’s gorgeous site to see his amazing pictures and find links to other participants in this wonderful year-long challenge!

The Rules:

These are the rules for Version 1 (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 (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!

This is a fascinating challenge and if you take pictures, you will enjoy it. This is my second year as a participant and I still love it!

ODDBALLS AND SUNRISES: CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

EARLY IN THE MORNING, JUST AS THE SUN WAS RISING

This time of year is dominated by the sunrise. Or, at least it is for me. This year has not been spectacular, but it has been lovely.

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Are these oddball? I can’t say. I took them all very early in the morning. Just at or immediately after dawn. I shot from a window off my bedroom where I keep a camera in case I see something.

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It could be the dawn, a bird, clouds, or anything else. I can grab a picture before it gets away and often, these pictures are so ephemeral, they exist for mere seconds.

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Moreover, I took all of these without benefit of eyeglasses. I’m was not entirely sure what I got — if anything — until I download the pictures to my computer sometimes days later.

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All of these were taken on the morning of my birthday. It was a lovely morning. A rosy dawn, a golden sunrise. A good day to be alive.