The Changing Seasons: October 2016

Hosted by Cardinal Guzman, this is a monthly challenge which shows the places we live and to which we travel — throughout the year and through all seasons. Locally, October is the unchallenged best photographic month. If you live in New England and you own a camera, October is when you feel you should be out there shooting, no matter what else is on your schedule. And basically, that’s what we have done. More than 2,000 pictures. Obviously, many (most?) remain to be processed … but these are some of the best.


Garry and I take more pictures in October than we do in any other six month period. Those of us who live in New England feel a compulsion to shoot as much as we can while Autumn is in town. The foliage doesn’t last long.

The pictures in this gallery were all taken on either 4 October or 7 October 2016.

This year, autumn has raced by. The first color appeared in the trees during the first week of October and peaked this week. Now, in many areas, the leaves are falling. Trees will soon be bare.

This bunch of pictures were all taken two days ago, 18 October 2016 at River Bend Farm, part of the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor park system.

We’ve been out shooting every other day since the first week of the month and we were out today. I think by next week, we will be past the peak of the foliage and heading for the bronze and bare trees of November and the winter that follows.

This final group, taken today 20 October 2016 by the Blackstone River and Canal. You can see the difference of color from just a couple of days ago.

With Garry and I shooting together and so many pictures, I hope you’ll forgive the “mix and match” of our photographs. I’ve indicated who took which shots in the caption.

What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2017.
It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed.
These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

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!



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Vibrant Colors

It’s just so bright outside this week. I don’t know if we have reached peak. It’s a bit early for it, but it wouldn’t be the first time the foliage has peaked early.


Vibrant colors? You want vibrant colors? Here are some for you and they are nature’s own, one and all.

And now, a selection of Garry’s photographs. Because we have taken well over a thousand foliage shots between the two of us. With at least another week of full color to come, it’s time to start getting serious about posting pictures.

cee's fun foto chall


Garry came back from the deli with news. Lance and Betsy have sold the place and are retiring. Someone else is taking over.

Quaker Deli and its friendly and generous owners were among the very first people to welcome us to the valley more than 16 years ago. Until we got our feet under us and began to know our way around, it was a required stop in our daily rounds. They make great sandwiches and sell quality cold cuts. And they always know how we like it sliced.


But time has had its way with them, as it does with us all. It’s what happens nowadays to almost all “mom and pop” shops. In this case, it’s not a lack of business. It’s simple tiredness. The kids don’t want the business. Mom and pop don’t want to spend all their remaining years on their feet. So, they sell.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if only whoever takes over the place would keep it as what it is … a place to pick up a few necessities without going into town. Where you can buy a great lunch, made for you. Buy a lottery ticket or whatever. Most of the new owners of these shops are immigrant families. They see a small business as a ticket to the Dream of America.


They don’t mind the long hours and hard work. But they don’t necessarily maintain the place in any way that resembles how it was. They go more heavily into higher volume, bigger profit items — like lottery tickets and cigarettes. They stop selling food and making sandwiches. This has happened to every little deli or mini grocery sold since we’ve lived in the Blackstone Valley. If it happens here, we will have to go into town for everything. The last convenience store will be gone.

I have heard over and over again that mom and pop stores are disappearing because we don’t support them, but that’s not necessarily true. It may be true sometimes, in some places. In this case, Lance and Betsey have plenty of business, maybe more than they can comfortably handle. All the truckers stop there to buy lunch. It’s the only place at this end of town where you can get an emergency supply of eggs or half-and-half.

The problem is that — not unreasonably — their kids have different dreams. They don’t want to run the family deli. They want a job where they can sit at a desk and go home without worrying about the business.


Small business are nonstop work. Buying, selling, bookkeeping. Ordering supplies. Tracking sales and figuring out what you should buy in greater or less quantity … or just stop selling entirely. The shop may be closed, but there’s always work to be done. I’m sorry to see them leaving and we will miss them very much. But I understand. I couldn’t do it.

Among many other reasons, this is why we need immigrants. They will happily do the jobs we can’t or won’t do. Think about that the next time you begin to rail against newcomers to our shores.

Do you want that job? Could you do it? Would you?


Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Even the day before yesterday, the color hadn’t really risen in the trees along the Mumford which runs through the middle of Uxbridge. But today, there was color. There will be more. Tonight there’s a hard frost expected and that should make the color really “pop.”

I didn't see it at the time, but there's big hawk overhead.

I didn’t see it at the time, but there’s big hawk overhead.

There rain has helped the water level. And the dam is flowing with some strength again.

There rain has helped the water level. And the dam is flowing with some strength again.


Once upon a time, trains were the way to go. Last week, my son — a longtime railroad enthusiast — was offered a rare opportunity, to travel through the Blackstone Valley by train. There are no longer any passenger trains here and even the freight trains come through perhaps once a week.

You can hear the long whistle as they approach the town. The train station is no longer a stop of the rail line. It has been saved from destruction, originally turned into a bank and now a real estate office and it is beautiful, but the train doesn’t stop there or anywhere in this part of the Valley.

Read the rest of the story: By Train Through the Valley… Photos by Owen Kraus



We don’t usually see sunsets in the summer here. The trees typically hide the sky. But this year, having had our oak trees thoroughly defoliated by the gypsy moth caterpillars, we have an almost wintry view of the western horizon.


I looked out the window and I said “Oh, look … what a pretty sky!” So I grabbed my Olympus and ran out front, ignoring the dive bombing moths. Then, I went back inside, popped the chip into the computer and started to process. Ten minutes later, I looked up and said, “Oh, MY!”


Garry looked over and said, “You’d better move!” and luckily, I had the Panasonic loaded for bear and I hot-footed it to the front for the second act of the show.


You can sort of see that there are the beginning of new leaves on the oak trees. Some of the maples still have leaves … others don’t. I’m not sure why they ate one tree and not another. That’s probably too existential a question to ask when dealing with caterpillars.