WINTER TREES TURN GOLD AT SUNSET #6 – Marilyn Armstrong

WHEN THE SUN TURNS THE WINTER TREES TO GOLD – Marilyn Armstrong

 

When the setting sun turns the trees to gold — in February!

I’ve never seen this before or since. It was February. The trees were bare and we were coming home from Connecticut. The sky was dark with clouds, but there was a shaft of sunlight and it lit up the trees and turned them to gold. I took pictures and I’m glad I did. I’ve never seen this happen before or since.

GREEN GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Green

Memories of summertime along the river. And now that autumn is ending, the next color will be white!

Green trees and reflections of green in the river

Quietly afloat down the river – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Summer by the Blackstone

A bright green day for the grazing cattle

Green by the bridge

Za’atar!

JAPANESE MAPLES TREES – Marilyn Armstrong

Japanese Maples – 09.04.19

On a sunny day in August, the Japanese Maple we raised from babyhood has come into its own.

What a beautiful tree it has become! It is tall and bright green all summer, but turns scarlet in autumn and stays scarlet when all other trees have lost their leaves.



Japanese maple in sunshine

Graphical view of Japanese Maple

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: UP IN THE TREES! – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Trees

We’ve been away for a few days and I’m going to need a bit of time to get up to speed. I’ve got some interesting ideas, but it will take me a bit of time to write and edit them, so be a little patient. Didn’t take any pictures. It rained the entire time we were away, so there was no boating and mostly, Garry was trying to learn how to use a microphone and cut audio tracks — something with which I am NOT familiar, so I couldn’t be of much help.

Japanese maple in full leaf

My primary function seems to have been surrendering my Mac to Garry’s professional ambitions. I didn’t use it much anyway.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some trees!

Trees along the river and the pathway to the road

Sun through the trees

ON THE TREE OF LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Tree

On the tree of life, I am but a twig. A twig with a powerful desire to go back to bed and stay there until I feel better. I’m beginning to wonder what feeling better feels like. Would I recognize it if I bumped into it?

I am apparently becoming increasingly anemic. Maybe that’s the problem. To bee or not to bee, it’s a buzzing question.

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.

WITHOUT A PARTRIDGE IN SIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

Pears of the Day – October 9, 2018

My vision isn’t as good as it used to be. I can see but only wearing exactly the right glasses which these days, is nigh unto impossible. I can get close, but never exactly right. I can read with no glass. Middle vision, I use computer glasses but right now, they are a bit too strong and I need a new checkup and new eyeglasses — for which I don’t have money.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Without sharp middle vision,  I can’t clearly see the LCD on my camera. If I wear my distance glasses, I can’t even read the dials on my camera, let alone focus a lens.

Pear in a tree

So I am dependent on autofocus. Which, fortunately, is a lot better than it used to be — depending on the camera I’m using and of course, the lens.

So here’s the story of the pears.

More pears in the tree

Garry and I are at River Bend Park. It is part of a long string of parks surrounding the Blackstone River, all loosely titled “the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor.” One step to the left of a national park.

All the parks are linked by the river or the adjacent canal, or one of the river’s many tributaries. Then there are the streams, swamps, other smaller (and sometimes nameless) rivers, lakes, and ponds. This particular section of the park includes a big barn build during the 1700s on land that was a farm. Hence the name River Bend Farm.

I’m looking at a big tall tree which, as far as I can tell, is full of big yellow flowers. And then, while I was trying to find the flowers, I heard a “thunk.”

Thunk? Flowers do not make a “thunk” when they fall. Flowers are inclined to float gently to the grass. This “flower” hit the ground solidly. Realizing that I wasn’t looking for yellow flowers, I pulled out a small camera with a really long lens and eventually realized that all those big yellow flowers were actually bright pears. It was … a pear tree.

I took pictures. I was not sure I got any sharp ones, but I shot anyway. It turns out, I got more than a few and they are pretty good.

Later on, Garry said that he knew it was a pear tree because he narrowly avoided getting bonked on the head by a falling pear.

Funny about it being a pear tree because I used to have a huge old pear tree in my backyard in Hempstead. That was at the first house I lived in as a married woman. The pear tree was a cross between a Bartlett and a Bosc and produced the best pears I’ve ever eaten. It produced tons of them.

The neighbors all came by with baskets to collect pears. I still had tons of them remaining. I made pear pies, pickled pears, gingered pears and of course, we ate them. Despite that, there were bushels of pears remaining.

Pears by the river

In the course of events, we all learned a great truth. Do not sit under the tree when the pears are full-grown. Because one of those big babies — completely unripe and hard — falling from the upper branches could knock your head in.

AUTUMN COMES TO NEW ENGLAND – #WRITEPHOTO – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumn Comes to New England – #writephoto

It is the end of September. Normally, we would be wrapped in the bright leaf colors for which New England is justly famous. Not so far.

We were at Manchaug a few days ago and everything was green.  We always look for the first color of the year along the water, but aside from some berries and a few yellow leaves, it was still deep summer green.

The dam at Manchaug was full this year. Lots of rain this spring and summer.

It seems to make the colors bright and show up sooner than anywhere else.

But it was green along the river on Tuesday. Today is Friday and it has been pouring for the past couple of days. Good news? The temperature is down and you can see bits and pieces of the season on its way.

Bad news? If it doesn’t stop raining soon, the leaves will turn yellow, then brown, then fall off the trees. Rain is just not the best thing for autumn colors.

Today, though I began to see — through the rain — the start of colors and even the occasional scarlet maple tree shining through the green. And finally, I saw a tree. Just one tree, mostly yellow with some red. I took pictures.

Considering how grim much of life has been, one bright tree made all the difference.

TREES: OUR WINTER SPA FOR CHILLY MICE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Trees

I live amidst the trees. Sometimes, I think the trees live amidst us, too. The bug and mouse guy was here yesterday and reported that we have fewer than maybe a dozen still active mice and no visible bugs, except for a mosquito he found in our bedroom.

I said that mosquitoes are just one of those things, but what are those things that keep coming out of the drain and he said they were “drain bugs.”

I said “they don’t seem to do anything” and he said, “mostly, bugs don’t do anything.” I’m not sure how to feel about that.

Under the stars

But meanwhile, he pointed out that we live in the woods, so we’re going to have mice because the amount of room they need to climb under a door is about the width of a dime.

Snow

I said I sympathized with their desire to find a warm place for the winter, but not here. And he said, “This is the place they are looking for.”

Proudly announcing, we are the winter spa for mice.

THE LAST AUTUMN FOLIAGE

The day before all the leaves fell from the trees was beautiful. Garry wasn’t up to going out — his shoulder has a nerve issue and he’s getting a cortisone shot for it next week. But the sun was out and filtering through the leaves in our woods in mid-afternoon. I just grabbed my little camera and went out. Shot half a dozen pictures of the sun filtering through the oak trees. 

I did not know that these would be the last pictures of the leaves this year. Autumn was so short … just three weeks from when the leaves changed to disappearing. Now, it’s very cold outside. It will warm up a bit, but fall ended abruptly. Overnight. These are my last two pictures from Autumn 2017, taken November 8th. Our oak woods.

LOOKING OUT MY BACK DOOR

It isn’t as glorious an autumn as I have seen, but when I woke up this morning, the sun was shining and the woods were glowing gold.


Our backyard with the table, the glider, and the shed.

This is as pretty as our woods get. We don’t get that gorgeous scarlet because we have no maple trees. The dark shade from the tall oaks makes it impossible for maples to thrive.

The first leaves to change color, the first to drop from the tree

We do have one maple directly in front of the house. It is turning scarlet. I’m not sure, but it may be the only maple on our property. 

JAPANESE MAPLE – FROM BABY TO TEENAGER

72-Jap-Maple_34

The Japanese maple in our garden came home in our car from its birthplace in Maryland. It was just a sprig, planted in a bucket. Eleven years later …

It’s a real tree now. Not entirely grown up. More like a leggy adolescent. But still, it’s a long way from its bucket days.

Because so many people have asked, I’ve added this clip from “The Complete Japanese Maple” which you can look up. I’m pretty sure they will also sell you a tree of your own. Great pictures showing all the sizes of the trees from quite small, to full-size (like ours).


“Japanese maples are the most desirable garden trees that exist. A tree in fall is guaranteed to turn heads and gather admiring looks and the enormous variety of leaf forms, colors and tree shapes means that no matter what your taste or space restrictions, there will be a tree for you. Some grow into small trees 20 feet or more in height, others remain as low shrubs reaching five feet only after many years of growth. They may be upright in form, pendulous or cascading, with red or green leaves and as well as their stunning fall coloring, many have remarkable colors on their new spring leaves too. There are also a wide number of varieties with red or purple leaves all summer, which bring a unique highlight to any garden.

These trees have a reputation for being hard to grow, but this is largely undeserved. With attention given to their location in the garden and some minimal care, they will thrive and increase in beauty every year. Compared with many other trees and shrubs they have few pests or diseases and are versatile enough to thrive in locations ranging from full shade to full sun. They can be grown in the garden, in containers and of course they are ideal subjects for the ancient Japanese art of bonsai.”


Japanese maples also have glorious fall foliage, scarlet and deep yellow, often with red edging. Although I love the red leaf varieties, the autumn tree is so beautiful, it’s worth waiting for. They are among the first to change color and the last to lose their leaves.