SUNRISE ON A COLD WINTER’S MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

We seem to get our best sunrises on the quarter of the year. Sometimes glorious during the Vernal Equinox in March and just around Christmas, if the sky is clear, the eastern horizon lights up. Sometimes, it looks as if the house is on fire when the sky is that deep scarlet.

This morning, I woke up and realized I had nothing to drink. The dogs were barking anyway and Garry was sleeping like the veritable log, so I got up and made my way into the kitchen.

I poured myself something wet and cold … and looked out the window. The sun was just coming up and it was beautiful.

I can’t see the sky in the summer or fall. When the trees are full of leaves, all I see are leaves. But when the trees are bare, I can’t see the sky unbroken, but I can see it. Since I now have cameras ready and waiting for the shots, I just grabbed one and took half a dozen shots. I gave each dog a couple of little biscuits and headed to bed for a few more hours.

It’s almost the winter solstice and the sunrises are bright with the glory of the turning of the earth. And I have cameras!

COLD! CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold


Is cold fun? It was okay when I was a kid, though I also remember trying to defrost my frozen feet. They make warm boots a lot better today than they did when I was a kid. I would have given a lot for a pair of water-resistant Emu boots … or any kind of Uggs!

Home during the blizzard
By the time the storm was over, we had twice this much
This is my favorite way to look at the snow — through the French doors

It has been getting very cold at night and sometimes, by day. We’ve been getting brushed by snow. Not really whacked by it as they have been further north, but it has been a very close shave. Soon enough, it will actually land right on us.

COMPARING SEASONS – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Comparison

Two weeks ago, we were still hoping to get a bit more autumn, but before we were finished hoping, it was snowing. Snowing? Before Thanksgiving? It produced the coldest Thanksgiving holiday ever.

Even though it has warmed up a bit today, by tomorrow, it will be bitterly cold again.

House in summer

October at home in Uxbridge
Photo: Garry Armstrong –Winter at home

No pictures of spring because that’s a season we don’t really get. It’s winter, then suddenly, summer.

AT LEAST IT’S NOT SNOWING – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jack Frost


Every conversation about the weather — which has been rainy and windy all the time since last March — ends with someone saying “Well, at least it’s not snowing.”

When we moved here, our very first winter, it snowed all the time. We were charmed by the beauty. Everyone shoveled and we bought a really huge snow blower.

Duke and Bonnie!

By the second year, we were less charmed, the snow blower was huge and heavy. The snow never stopped falling. Driving down our road was like driving through a tunnel. The height of the snow on both sides of the road was well over 6-feet.

We also discovered why no one cements their mailbox in place.

The deck

If you cement it in the ground when the snow plow knocks it down, you need a whole new mailbox. If it’s just stuck in the dirt, you stand it back up and push the earth back around the post, and voilà. Also, it pays to get a rubber mailbox. They survive longer and keep your mail dry.

Mailboxes across the snowy woods.  Photo: Garry Armstrong

So you talk lovingly of Jack Frost and I think “Who’s gonna plow us out THIS year?” It’s never the same guy twice and half the time it’s some kid who takes out a garden or half the backyard. We’ll get through it, but it’s always a hassle.

Photo: Garry Armstrong –Winter in New England

I have thousands — literally thousands and maybe tens of thousands of more than 100,000 photographs — of snow. Blizzards. We get a lot of snow. I mean really — a lot of snow. I get depressed thinking about it.

The Renegade – We are counting on you!

We are the kind of people who need a 4X4. For some people, it’s a style. For us, it’s how we get out of the driveway in the winter. Without one, you get stuck until spring.

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