ALMOST AUTUMN IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

I didn’t have to go to a dam or a park. I just stood on our damp, slightly rainy deck and took a few pictures. We don’t get brilliant autumn here because brilliant autumn requires maple trees. Sugar maple trees, actually. They are the ones that turn scarlet, then golden.

Oaks turn dark green, bronze, brown, very dark brown, and fall off. So the bright yellow trees are alder. They turn bright yellow very early, then lose their leaves.

Some of these are sort of painterly. I got creative.

SHINY AUTUMN

SHINY – The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge 


Autumn. It’s my shiny season. From the day the leaves begin to change, I’m happy. It charges me up, makes me want to take pictures, go places, do things. Now, as August ends, I can feel October vibrating in the air. It doesn’t last long, so I hope it’ll be a good one.

These photographs are from October 2016.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

THE CHANGING SEASONS: MAY 2017

THE CHANGING SEASONS – MAY AND SUMMER HAVE ARRIVED!

Spring is a fickle season in New England. It’s common for us to not get spring weather. It stays cold, wet, and generally nasty until suddenly, in the middle of May, summer happens.

You leave the house in the morning to do a little shopping, and when you come out of the grocery, summer arrived. That the way it happened this year and it is absolutely lovely outside now.

THE RIVER AND THE CANAL

Usually, May is the herald of summer in this region. Around the middle of the month, the cold, windy, damp air blows away and the flowers bloom. In a good year, it’s sort of perfect. Warm, dry, and bright.

THE GARDEN – EARLY MAY

And so it was. The warm days blew in. Except this is going to be another year of Gypsy Moths, so the beauty of the season is only going to last a few weeks and then the maniac caterpillars will defoliate the trees. We are all hoping it won’t be as bad as last year. The heavy rains this spring might help, but we won’t know for a few weeks.

SWANS ON THE POND

These are the best of the summer pictures. The roses aren’t out yet. It was so chilly for so long, some of the later blooming flowers are not flowering, but they will be here. Maybe one more week. Meanwhile, this is May — maybe our best month — especially since we don’t know what’s coming.

All the pictures were taken by me and Garry Armstrong. If you aren’t sure who took what, look for the name on the photograph.


The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

SUMMERTIME – MAY IN THE MIDDLE

Photo: Garry Armstrong

This is how it works in New England. It starts with winter. Which may begin as early as September, but more typically gets moving around Thanksgiving … but may hold off until late January. The worst winter we ever had (that was measurable) started January 29, 2015. We hadn’t had so much as a serious flurry.

From the end of January until March, we were hit by just about 12 feet of snow. That is a lot of snow, no matter how you count it or what measurements you use. Other years, we’ve gotten significant snow in early November and not seen the ground until the following April.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

About spring. It’s our most ephemeral season. Many years, we go directly from winter to summer without a weekend to go buy a bathing suit. The first year I spent in New England, the temperature hit 90 degrees in early April and never dropped until suddenly, in September, the temperature fell by 60 degrees. Autumn arrived.

Pink wildflowers by the river

This year was as typical or at least as typical as spring gets. Cold, wet, cold, wet, windy, cold wet. In the middle of May, overnight, the clouds broke. The next day, it hit 96 degrees on the clock in the middle of town. While all the cold, wet, and windy weather was doing its thing, flowers were budding and leaves were beginning to pop.

Thus, I went out and took some pictures today. I was surprised that we have no sign of roses yet. Usually we see rose buds by mid May, but not this year.

Look closely and you can see the tiny black caterpillars destined to eat every leaf on the trees.

Bad news? The caterpillars are back. Tiny little Gypsy Moth caterpillars are crawling all over the oak trees along the canal. How bad will it be this year? No way to know. We had a lot of rain and that may help … but there’s really no way to know. Our property has been sprayed as much as we can without killing everything. It won’t solve the larger problem, but it will make it possible for us to come and go from our house without getting assaulted by hairy, poisonous caterpillars.

I’m trying to focus on enjoying the flowers and leaves while we have them. And hoping the trees survive another defoliation.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There’s nothing “gradual” about weather in this part of New England. It doesn’t change a little bit from minute to minute. It can change with hilarious suddenness. Back when Garry and I were living in Boston, one warm November day, we walked to the nearby bar to grab some lunch. We were wearing shorts and tee shirts. We were there for an hour and half.

When we hit the door to depart, it was 35 degrees and blowing a minor gale. We ran all the way home.

WHITE CHURCH BY THE COMMONS

It was one of the first churches in town and it has been abandoned. I don’t know how many years it has been empty, but it’s been awhile. Probably at least ten years, now. The church has no heat and no parking. The amount of work it would need to make it suitable for a modern community is enough to build a new church … and this one is small.

I love it. It’s a jewel box of a church, a perfect representation of the white clapboard churches which are the symbol of New England. I hoped someone would buy it, but as the years pass, I think it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball gets to it.

AN OLD DAM ON THE BLACKSTONE ONE WINTRY DAY

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I found a dam. I’ve been to that dam before, but it’s hard to see anything of it in summer. The trees and brush around it have really taken over. It’s difficult to shoot anything in the summer.

This is the most water I've seen coming over a dam on the Blackstone in several years. We didn't get as much snow as we usually get, but we did get quite a lot of rain and it has made a difference.

This is the most water I’ve seen coming over a dam on the Blackstone in several years. We didn’t get as much snow as we usually get, but we did get quite a lot of rain and it has made a difference. Will it be enough?

We tried to shoot here last summer and couldn’t get anything worth mentioning. This time, it was just me. Garry opted to stay in the car and after about 10 minutes, I was inclined to agree with him.

The last two weeks have been almost like summer, but it was cold today. I shot quickly and then, we went home to the warm house. Just in time to feed the dogs!

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I was watching the weather this evening and they were warning that we have no snow run-off this year, so we really need some rain and soon, or all this water won’t be enough. More than 80% of New England is in a moderate to severe drought state and has been for a long time.

I was wondering about that. Let’s do some rain praying around here!