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.

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

ODDBALLS AND STRANGENESS – GARRY & MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: March 18, 2018

Snowy selfie – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Oddballs. I have been taking a lot of strange pictures in the house. The outside has been difficult to negotiates. Garry, though, has been out there, frozen fingers and all. Kudos to him!

Although a lot of snow has melted, especially on areas that get a lot of sun, there’s still plenty around elsewhere.

Two happy dogs! Photo: Garry Armstrong

The woods is full of snow and along the road, there are huge piles of it created by the plows.

Recycling only please! Photo Garry Armstrong
Gibbs fully enjoying snowstorm

It’s a good time to follow Gibbs’ lead: enjoy the sofa. Have another cup of coffee!

Warm inside, snow outside

 

THE CHANGING SEASONS – MARCH 2018 – GARRY & MARILYN ARMSTRONG

February ended and we all thought — especially me! — that spring was just around the corner. We’d had a lot of snow in January — with warm weeks in between. We had considerable snow in February — with even warmer weeks in between. This being March, I was waiting for the song of the Carolina sparrow.

THE FIRST STORM – March 2

It was mainly high wind and rain. We got a dusting of snow, but we also got the kind of heavy, drenching rain I usually associate with tropical storms and hurricanes. The first storm, on March 2, lasted almost three days — longer on some places along the shore.

For this “Changing Seasons,” I am here to show you the rest of the winter. Apparently winter was not wintry enough, so anything remaindered landed in March. We had three major nor’easters in less than two weeks.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There is another possibly on the way, but none of the local meteorologists have quite figured out whether or not it is going to hit us or wander off into the Atlantic.

THE SECOND STORM – March 9

This was another heavy wind event with terribly high tides, massive shore erosion … and about 5 inches of snow, inland. The trees were moving in the wind which is more than a little frightening considering the size of these giant oak trees. The less I looked at them, the happier I was.

We didn’t lose power, but we were lucky. Across New England and New York, more than a million people lost power and some still have not yet been connected.

For all the dull months when we took very few pictures, we made up for it big time in March. Tons of snow, rapid melting. More snow. We don’t live on the coast or I could show you 50 foot high waves pounding the sea walls in Scituate (pron: Si-choo-ate) and everywhere along the cape, but especially in Bourne and Barnstable.

THE BIG ONE – THE THIRD STORM – March 13

The predictions for this one were a little different. A heavy blow of more wind along the shore, but massive quantities of snow for our area. in fact, Worcester won the cup — the most snow in the region.

Just under 28 inches.

Worcester beat out Uxbridge by less than half an inch getting a full 28 inches. We got 27.7 inches. It was a lot of heavy, wet snow. We didn’t get any of the wind and the trees groaned under the weight of the snow hanging in its branches.

Digging out

We both took pictures but even so, no one went very far. It was cold, the snow came down for a long, long time — almost 24 hours in total.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

March is by far the most erratic weather month in this region. March came in like a brace of hungry lions. I’m hoping he leaves us gently, trailing flowers. Right now, that seems unlikely.

All the early flowers were killed off by the brutal snow that followed the warming period. I think we will go from winter to almost summer during April. That isn’t unusual, either. In fact, it is more typical not otherwise.

Gibbs enjoying the snow

February is usually the worst month for blizzards and really heavy snow, but March takes the cup for 2018. Just because the month is more than half over, it’s too early to stow your winter gear.

The better news is there’s a lot of melting going on when the sun is out. It’s still cold, but not like it was earlier in the winter. We aren’t getting prolonged bouts of below zero (Farenheit) temperatures.

And, then, there was getting around after the snow. The towns are all good at cleaning up. We may not be good at a lot of other things, but we know how to clear the roads.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Rules — not etched in stone:


Do you want to participate in «The Changing Seasons»?
These are the rules for Version 1 (The 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 (The 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!

Hosted this year by: Zimmerbitch – Age is just a number

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.

IT WAS A HELL OF A STORM

I cannot begin to express how tired I am of winter. I was doing okay. Even through the last two nor’easters, I was alright. I figured after two big storms in less than a week and a half, we were done and spring was going to pop right out of the cold earth.

Not exactly.

This was a huge storm. We didn’t get the high winds that they got along the coast and down on the cape, but we got about two feet of snow and it’s pretty heavy. Because we didn’t get the wind, the snow is heavy in the trees and has not fallen off at all.

The trees are all bent over and I wonder how many of them are going to break. They are obviously stressed.

GARRY’S PICTURES


Photo: Garry Armstrong

The dogs — at least The Duke and Bonnie — have been enjoying it. Gibbs is not much of a weather dog. He’s a “lay in the sun all day” kind of dog. He has a spot on a rock in the front of the house and he has been known to just lay there for hours soaking up the sun. So snow and ice … he doesn’t hate it, but he isn’t thrilled about it either.

Gibbs enjoying the snow

Bonnie, though, loves snow. Always has. She was a Halloween puppy and her whole upbringing was during one of our worst winters. I think her earliest memories are bounding around the yard in the snow while mom stands there in her night-gown, boots, overcoat, gloves, and hat begging her to do her thing so mom can go back to bed. Three in the morning in a foot of snow with a howling wind was not the optimum time for puppy training. But it got done and Bonnie was left with a genuine passion for snow.

Digging out

Duke probably never saw snow until he moved here, but he has been having a lot of fun with it, finally. Once he decided that cold feet wasn’t such a big deal after all.

Meanwhile, it looks like another universe out there. I have never seen snow so heavy lying on the trees and not falling off. Usually, the snow falls within an hour after the snow stops, but when darkness fell, it was still up there in the trees.