ODE TO FOUR SEASONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Winter generally sucks in New England. But for me, there is also a bright side.

I love wearing my favorite winter sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

So I’ve established that I like the variety of clothes that seasons provide. I would get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once I’ve put on my beautiful outerwear,it’s not all that cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas!

Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

I have to confess that I’m not a heat lover or a sun worshipper. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by taking off more clothes. I can only go down to tee-shirt and shorts or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed. But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I hate heat and can dress appropriately to stay warm in cold weather. What else do I like about having seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I live through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter 12 months of the year any more than I want to live in summer all year round.

But for the three months winter lasts, I can appreciate what it has to offer. For example, we often have a fire going on winter nights. I love that. My husband and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out with us in the winter. I think it’s because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer (play golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, etc.)

I’m lucky that I really love where I live and don’t dream of moving elsewhere. If I did move, it would probably be to another place that has seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange.

I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly come out on trees, every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same, stagnant, year in and year out. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part, but I’m happy dealing with a world that changes four times a year.

A DRIVE THROUGH EVERY KIND OF WEATHER – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – April 13, 2018


We took a long drive through sleet and snow and rain and traffic jams. Considering it was April and not January, this was an awful lot of weather for such a relatively short journey.

These are some of the pictures. Are you impressed? You should be. It was a hell of a drive!

AWAKENING – A LITTLE EARLY FOR 2018

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – AWAKENING

Good morning little red finch!

I woke up this morning and started to cough. The deep, hacking cough that screams “bronchial tubes” and “pneumonia.” But it didn’t seem as bad as yesterday, which might mean that this is going to be just a regular cold and not something more serious.

On the other hand, a few days ago, we got this on the way to Connecticut …

It’s a little early in our year — this particular year — for the awakening of fresh young growing things. Unless you count the ants and the mice, both of which were doing simply grandly in our backyard and walls. We have called the killers of things we don’t want living in our house and this morning was the first time I saw any ants. He warned me it takes about two weeks to get them all, so I grabbed them up and disposed of them.

Almost a whiteout on the road

There were only three.

I disdained to check the condition of the basement. The death of small rodents in not a happy occasion for me. I do not hate mice and I am not afraid of them, but they make a horrible mess of the house. They live in the walls and after a while, your whole house smells of mouse turds. A few mice, trying to get in from the ice of winter I can live with, but an entire house full of families and generations of mice? I don’t think so.

I got to thinking about the “generations of mice.”

If you were a mouse, being smarter than “other mice” decided to buy a DNA package to find out to whom in your deep, dark past you might be related? The number of generations is exponential, my dear Watson. Mice dating back to the very first sort-of mammals scurrying around the feet of the giant lizards who ruled the earth.

I don’t think our databases could handle the volume — and unless they all had unique names, how would you know? An entirely different, yet somehow mind-blowing thought.

On the other hand, we got this driving (the same roads) home a few days later …

What would the name of your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother’s mouse name be and how could you identify her among the furry-faced zillions of other mice? It is a mind-boggling concept, so I’ll move on.

And this as our sunset just in front of our house.

To say that spring in New England and all points north is unstable is an understatement … and the climate changes our government is ignoring is definitely a part of the problem. To be fair, the weather in this part of this continent is generally unpredictable. Around here, it’s more about the level of unpredictability and this year has been crazy.

Instead of flowers, we have gotten snow and wind and rain and very cold temperatures. We had a few days when the crocus came up — and here they are:

Otherwise, we do have green shoots for the hopefully soon-to-bloom daffodils. Please view last year’s groups and try to relate:

2017 Daffodils by the tractor’s old wheel
2015 Daffodils in the same location. They ARE perennials you know.

This really is spring in New England. We get lots of winter and then we get “it’s not exactly winter, but it sure isn’t spring, either.” One morning, the sun comes up. Sometime between breakfast and lunch, the leaves on the trees open and by mid-afternoon, it’s hot, humid and buggy — which is what we humorously call summer.

Welcome black flies and flying jaws. Welcome mosquitoes who can bite you through your denim jacket. It’s time to itch, wheeze … and if you can, get yourself to one of our wonderful beaches. I wish our seasons were a bit more orderly and perhaps — predictable.

THE STRANGEST WEATHER OF ANY APRIL – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Traveling from Massachusetts to Connecticut and Back Again –
Cee’s Which Way Photography Challenge

It really has been a totally wacko week for weather here in the upper northeastern quadrant of this continent.

On the road again …
Snowing!

We drove down to Connecticut on Friday. When we left the house, it was snowing lightly. By the time we got to the Mass Pike, it was snowing a lot more than that and a few miles down the road, it was close to a whiteout.

Route 320
Icy windshield

As we crossed the border into Connecticut, it changed to heavy rain … and as the miles past, it became cloudy and the rain went away.

Remi, Garry, Tom and sunshine

By the time we got to Tom and Ellin’s house, the sun was out.

Coming home at sunset

We drove home today in relatively mild weather with a bright blue sky.

APRIL FOOLS – THE SUDDEN SNOW

I was all ready to write about the return of the red finches and the day lilies pushing up their greenery into the warmer — but not yet really warm — spring air.

Good morning little red finch!

So, it snowed. It was supposed to be “a dusting” and I suppose it was, sort of. A very heavy dusting that was prevented from being a lot more than that because the ground was warm and it didn’t stick on the roads and walks.

Still, it was a bit of a shock. None of the meteorologists said anything about snow for this area and what little they said was “No big deal, don’t worry about it folks. Spring is here.”

From the kitchen …

It is  now almost 2 o’clock and the snow stopped. It is already gone from the trees and I’m sure it will be gone tomorrow, unless we get one more little surprise.

Meanwhile, though, the red finches are back and I think they are planning to nest right in front of the window.

From the dining room …

This would make for some really great photography, except that the window isn’t very clean because there’s no way to get to the outside without a two-story ladder — and we don’t have one. Someone stole ours a couple of years ago and it turns out, ladders are expensive.

From the living room …

So. Getting a reasonably sharp shot of the birds is difficult. I got two pretty good ones out of the more than forty I shot. The others were too blurry. Maybe a different lens? When birds show up, I tend to use whatever camera is nearest at hand, but this may call for something a bit more specialized.

In the meantime, please enjoy our entirely unexpected snow and a very pretty red finch!

THE GREAT SNOWS OF MARCH

A Photo a Week Challenge: Nature’s White

From Nancy Merrill: IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A NEW PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) FEATURING WHITE AS FOUND IN NATURE.

We’ve had an overdose of white around here this month. Three major snowstorms in less than two weeks and a few minor ones. Luckily, at this point in the year, the sun is quite strong, so most of it has melted quickly.

It is still cold. Until we are solidly inside April, we could get more of that white stuff. Not yet time to put the boots and overcoats away.

I have pictures of April blizzards from earlier years. I’m hoping this is not one of those years.

Icy rocks

PHOTOS OF THE GREAT WHITENESS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I sallied forth into the cold white world with the Olympus OMD. One lens, the 12-50mm telephoto. I left the camera bag and lens cap inside so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with them.

Home in the snow
Up the driveway. We had no idea how much we would hate this driveway when we bought the house.

I can’t shoot with gloves on and in that kind of cold, my hands go numb pretty quickly. Five minutes into shooting, I can no long adjust the lens.

More about Duke
Home, with tractor

I am not a big fan of snow, which is probably an odd thing for someone who has spent his entire adult life in New England. Not to mention having covered just about every blizzard that occurred in the region for 31 years.

Our road and the snow  – and a school bus
Another dangerous dog

There are a lot more pictures, but since Marilyn does the processing, these are the ones she had time to work on. More photographs to come but hopefully, no more snow!

Just under 28 inches.