MORE OF GARRY’S WORLD IN WHITE – Garry Armstrong

I took a lot of pictures and each day Marilyn processes a few. Then I post them. This is mostly Aldrich Street, down the road from the house — and then, our house. With bushels of snow.

Down by the bar at the end of the road

As Aldrich breaks off from Route 146A

A bench on the Common with snow

Our 1928 Fordson tractor

Looking for work?

Home sweet home with our mailbox and our across the street neighbor’s mailbox

Oh, look! Mail!

Home. With snow.

We’re expected warm weather, rain, very cold weather, a bit of snow, a bit of sleet, more warm weather. These days, a forecast is everything you can think of that isn’t summer in one ten minute narration on television.

And if you wait until the end of the news, they will have revised it. Completely. Isn’t it great that there’s no such thing as climate change?

AMERICANS DON’T PICK COTTON – Marilyn Armstrong

Photography: Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

You really get a feel for rivers when you live in a regional watershed. The Blackstone and its tributaries flow down from the Worcester hills at the northern part of the state.

The Blackstone is not a wide river. Not like the Mississippi or even the Hudson. It’s a relatively narrow river that drops about 900 feet from its beginnings. It does a lot of twisting and turning, making it much more powerful than its size would suggest.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It concludes its nearly 50-mile run as it flows into the sea down around Newport, Rhode Island. All the dams were built to power factories and mills, which is why every town in the valley is called “mill” something — or has the name of one of the mill owners.

Early greenery along the river in Rhode Island

Uxbridge is unique. We are named after Uxbridge in England. That’s our twin town, though it’s nothing like our Uxbridge. England’s Uxbridge is an affluent suburb of London. We’re not an affluent anything.

Spring by the Mumford Dam – Photo: Garry Armstrong

The problem with the dams is they block the river and make it hard for wildlife to move up and down the river and many people want to get rid of the dams.

Because this region was the “birthplace” of America’s industrial revolution (1788), most of the earth used to build the dams is hazardous. It’s amazing how much pollution we created in the good old days, before the chemical revolution. We made things every bit as poisonous as we do today.

Spring, downtown Uxbridge

So although they would like to release the dams, they can’t. That hazardous dirt would poison the river. The 45 years we’ve spent cleaning up one of the most polluted rivers in the world (as of the 1970s) would be undone. Instantly.

The train doesn’t stop here anymore – Photo: Garry Armstrong

We are — in 2019 — more or less the poor cousin to other towns in New England, but once upon a time, this was the most prosperous area in the country. Uxbridge had a population and stuff like trains, buses, and businesses.

In the early 1900s, mill owners decided they weren’t rich enough. So they moved down south to where cotton grew and where people worked cheap. By the 1920s, they had closed all the factories in New England.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The south got the mills, the dams, and the pollution. Then, they realized they were rich, but not rich enough, so they said “Screw the USA” and moved the mills to the far east where people were willing to work for pennies, including children as young as four or five.

Suddenly, all the modestly priced cotton sheets we used to buy became expensive. Between moving the mills and fabric factories to another continent, they simultaneously realized it was also cheaper to buy the cotton there, too. Like, from India, Pakistan, Israel, and places in North Africa.

So it was and so it has remained.

Roaring Dam: Photo: Garry Armstrong

It’s why you can’t find decent percale sheets anymore. The cotton they grow overseas is different than the cotton we grew. It’s finer and silkier, but not as strong or crisp.

To finish us off, we then banned immigrants from picking crops. The idea was that Americans would pick cotton once those brown-colored foreigners were gone. Instead, it turned out that no American of any color, race, or creed will pick cotton. The professional pickers are gone and so are the farms where cotton grew.

Bridge over the Blackstone River

Americans will not pick cotton. Not only do we not do the job well, but we refuse to do it at all. Today’s Americans do not pick cotton. Not white, brown, black or any shade in between. We would rather starve.

John Grisham wrote a book about growing up in the south and picking cotton called “The Painted House.” It’s his little autobiography about before he became a lawyer, then an author. It’s enlightening.

Early autumn at Manchaug

David Baldacci has written something along the same lines about his native West Virginia and how it has been completely destroyed, its people uprooted and ruined. These lawyer-writers are interesting guys. They are more than lawyers, more than writers. They are thinkers.

These southern authors come in two varieties: racist and incredibly liberal.

Guess which ones I read?

RADICAL SHMADICAL- Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Not Feeling Radical


I couldn’t think of anything radical except maybe for that day I went in for a light trim to my waist length hair and before I had a chance to say what I wanted, the guy with the scissors had lopped off 10 years of care and love and left me with a chin length “bob.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

That was really radical and I can’t even begin to tell how seriously pissed off I was. It took years to grow it back and now, I can’t grow it back — it’s too thin, so I keep it around shoulder length. At least I’m not bald. Yet.

Otherwise, it’s Sunday. I need a break. I’m tired, half asleep and the house is pretty cold … and I can’t afford to turn the heat on yet. It’s too soon.

We took photographs yesterday and then I came home and made fish chowder. Then I realized I was going to sit down or fall down … and where was my wrist brace?

So today is a radical day off.

ALONE AND IN SOLITUDE

BEING ALONE

I’m not sure that “alone” and solitude mean the same thing. Technically, they are synonyms but the concept of “alone” implies loneliness while solitude implies a choice to remain without company. Solitude speaks of private time while alone implies the absence of people.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Maybe it’s the choice that makes the difference?


ALONE – adjective & adverb

1. Having no one else present; on one’s own.
“she was alone that evening”
Synonyms: by oneself, on one’s own, all alone, solitary, single, singly, solo, solus.

2. Indicating that something is confined to the specified subject or recipient.
“we agreed to set up such a test for him alone”
Synonyms: only, solely, just.


Photo: Garry Armstrong

One dog alone, guarding us all!


SOLITUDE: noun
1. The state or situation of being alone. “She savored her few hours of freedom and solitude.”
Synonyms: loneliness, solitariness, isolation, seclusion, sequestration, withdrawal, privacy, peace. “She savored her solitude.”

A lonely or uninhabited place.
Plural noun: solitudes
Synonyms: wilderness, rural area, wilds, backwoods.


Garry shooting

Photo: Garry Armstrong –

One blossom

THE CHANGING SEASONS – JULY 2017

The Changing Seasons: July 2017


It stopped raining for a few days this month and we took advantage of the time, brief as it was, to go take some pictures. Last month, everything was still sparse due to the cold, rainy weather we’ve been having since March.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

As soon as it warmed up at the very end of June, everything that could grow went into hyper-overdrive, producing the must intense, lush flowers and leaves and ferns I’ve ever seen. To make up for the lost weeks of non-spring, we got spring and summer wrapped up on one crazy-ass ball!

The pictures were taken by both of us — Marilyn and Garry Armstrong. Except those taken around the house, they were taken in one of the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor parks in Uxbridge.


Don’t miss Max “The Cardinal’s” wonderful pictures! Drop by his site and take a look.


The sun has been slipping in and out all morning … maybe there will be more pictures today.