THE CHANGING SEASONS: APRIL 2016 – NOT QUITE SPRUNG

I thought I’d add a few pictures to this because this month, after a warm and springlike March, April commenced with two quite substantial snows. It killed the daffodils — I’m hoping not forever, but they just died under the snow. Surprisingly, the forsythia continued to bloom while covered with snow.

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Both pictures were taken on April 3rd, but it snowed again on the 8th. I was just too tired of snow pictures by then to bother to shoot anything. I think in heavy snow regions, we do get weary of the white stuff. By the time April rolls around, we want some color, not more whiteness.

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It’s beginning to green. Here and there. A few blossoms on shrubs and trees. The green shoots of flowers that will bloom soon. One single bright yellow tulip.

Usually we don’t see full leaf on the trees until mid-May, but I think it’ll be early this year.

Dam on the Mumford in mid-April

Dam on the Mumford

Nothing was blooming by the dam, but the trees have that fuzzy look that means impending green. And there’s plenty of water this spring. After five years of drought, it’s a joy to see the river full and hear the rushing of the water.

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Everything is poised for spring, but it has not quite sprung.

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This is the dam over the Mumford in the middle of town. You’ve seen it before. The white building on the left is a liquor store now, but was a small mill in its former life.

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And then, there’s our garden. The daffodils died during the second April snow, but the forsythia remained undaunted. The day lilies are coming up with a fury. The violets are blooming.

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It’s Earth Day today. My garden is ready to celebrate.

What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

Some words from Cardinal Guzman

«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 2016. 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!

NOVEMBER BY THE RIVER

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Sunday was a glorious day. Cool enough to be comfortable in nothing more than a sweatshirt. Bright, sunny, clear.

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Our friend was visiting — too briefly — from Arizona. They have desert, mountains, forest … but we have water. The river, the dams, the canal.

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The leaves are almost completely gone from the trees … except for a few bright yellow maple trees by the Mumford in town.

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I believe this is the first time I’ve taken pictures along the canal in November. Sharp contrast, cooler colors. Interesting. Every season has a unique quality to capture. Even this short end-of-autumn time between the leaves and real winter.

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SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 24: WHERE’S AUTUMN?

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 24
7 octoBER 2015: where’s autumn?

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. September is gone and we’re an entire week into October. It ought to be glorious by now. Gold, red, glowing.

Not exactly. It’s pretty. Colorful, in a half-hearted way. Pastel compared to the last few years.

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The money shot for the week is the snapping turtle we met at the dam on the Mumford. He was sunning himself — a fine day on which to do it. The sun was brilliant. It was hard to see exactly what picture I was taking with so much reflection and refraction. Clouds make picture-taking easier.

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The leaves are changing, just not as much as one would expect. Autumn is — so far — somewhat missing-in-action. However, if nights get chillier, there’s a chance we’ll get that cold snap which brings the color up.

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The river is very low. At least there was some water in it today. The last time Garry and I were at the dam, the bottom was up on much of the Mumford and most of the dam was dry. Today, there was water flowing.

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The river is very shallow, no more than an inch or two deep and I didn’t see any fish. No herons or ducks. Too shallow for birds to swim. With no fish, nothing for long-legged waders to eat.

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I hope we haven’t seen the last of the rain. There’s a terrible irony in the dreadful flooding down south while we are drying up, just a few hundred miles north.

And then, there’s California.


Should you decide to accept this “challenge,” you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture. Make something up using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world. Play if you like, but if not, hope you have a great day! And maybe, a little rain.

CLOUDS OVER THE MUMFORD

A Photo a Week Challenge: Unusual Clouds

I love taking pictures of clouds. The night of the super moon, I was disappointed by the cloud coverage until I started processing the photos, and then I was thrilled with some of the images because of how the clouds added to the images.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO PHOTOS WITH UNUSUAL CLOUDS OR CLOUD FORMATIONS.

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Late afternoon in the middle of town, on the bridge over the river. In black and white.

GOLDEN AFTERNOON

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When Garry said I should come out and grab my camera, I wasn’t as thrilled as I usually am. Mid November is usually drab, vying with early March for nothing special to shoot. Nonetheless, I went. I haven’t taken any pictures for over a week and my camera was lonely.

Mallards golden november at the dam

As we left the house, the sun came out. I noticed more than a bit of autumn foliage. Most of the trees are half bare. Naked branches cluster right, left, or center … but the rest of the tree is still clothed in golden leaves.

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Our first stop was Whitins Pond. The last time we were there, it was mostly muddy bottom. No birds and not enough water to float a canoe. Today it looked normal. The mallards I saw were too far away to shoot, but I was glad to see them swimming lazily on what may be the last warm day of this autumn.

Mallards November Mumford

Garry suggested we check out the dam in the middle of town. When we got there, it was after three … late afternoon since the clocks were turned back. The light was golden and so were the trees along the Mumford River. The angle of the sun and the trees turned the river to gold.

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We were above the dam and a whole flock a mallards were enjoying an excursion. There were males with their bright teal heads, females and adolescents — full-grown, but not yet wearing their adult feathers.

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It was gorgeous. These pictures are not processed. This is how it looked in the lens. No special effects … or any effects … were used. Just a little cropping. A drab day turned into a miraculous day.

November Mallards golden Mumford

AT HOME AND BY THE DAM – AUTUMN LEAVES

First, a little music … Edith Piaf and Yves Montand singing Autumn Leaves. Just for you. Why does everything sound better in French?


 

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The Mumford is barely a trickle of its former self, but it’s still beautiful. The trees are turning, brighter every day.

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The leaves reflect in the water and the sky is cloudless and blue. Autumn is our best season, when New England takes her fanciest clothing out of storage and steps out. The trees and the grasses glow with color. The air is amber and everything is beautiful.This is the season I wait for.

I hope it’s a great one. An epic Autumn.

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May it rain every night, but clear by morning.

IT WAS A MIGHTY RIVER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

The Mumford is normally a powerful little river. It’s the largest of the Blackstone’s tributaries.  The Mumford’s wrath has more than once been felt as it overflowed its banks and turned the town into a lake.

Mumford Dam - May 2014

Mumford Dam – May 2014

Mighty no more. The Mumford is barely a stream. Until the dam in Uxbridge, where the river crosses Route 16, the river looks more or less normal.

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That’s because the dam contains the water, allowing only a small spillway and a tiny overflow to pass the dam and flow into the Mumford. Immediately in front of the dam, there are a few inches of water — enough to sustain a few small fish that can feed at least one blue heron.

Mumford River - September 2014

Mumford River – September 2014

Just across the overpass formed by Route 16, probably no more than 200 feet from the dam, the river becomes a series of shiny, reflective puddles. Not a river at all. Unable to sustain fish or other water-based life. No turtles. No ducks, geese, or swans.

One heron, waiting for a fish

One heron, waiting for a fish

The drought to which no one is paying attention, which is being ignored by TV stations and newspapers alike, is taking a terrible toll on wildlife. If it doesn’t start to rain soon and steadily, it’s going to take a similar toll on people, especially those of us who get our water from private wells.

Mumford River, just down from the dam

Mumford River, just down from the dam

We all share the same aquifer. Not just in the Blackstone Valley. All over the state and across state lines into Connecticut and Rhode Island. The aquifer, a series of interconnected waterways that run through the base rock of New England, doesn’t know about state lines.

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Your well, my well, the wells belonging to my neighbors up and down our street and wherever the aquifer runs … they are all connected. Your well may be on your property, but the water belongs to all of us. Your water use affects me as surely as does the lack of rain.

Pretty reflections in the shallow puddles of the Mumford

Pretty reflections in the shallow puddles of the Mumford

Even if you are on “city water,” where do you think your water comes from? We are the watershed.

The water source is here. If we are drying up, so are you. Whether you know it or not.


As many of you may know, our well recently went dry. It was a chaotic moment for us. We did not have the money to renovate our well. I had no bright ideas. We had one option. I didn’t like it but we didn’t have a choice. We had to ask for financial help. It probably was the most depressing moment of my adult life.

I was surprised by the response. I am still shaking my head in wonderment at the generosity of friends and strangers. We’ve received enough money to schedule the renovation of our well.

Thank you doesn’t seem adequate to convey our gratitude.

Thank you!