Old Number 2 was one of the long-serving fire trucks in our town. Almost 20 years ago, she was replaced, but no one could bear to scrap her, so she was put out to pasture … literally. Her rusting hulk stands in the empty field across from the post office — where she remains, even today, though now because the rust has started to win the battle, she is fenced off for safety’s sake.


A Photo a Week Challenge | Ruins


“What do you mean, you’re fracking here! In the valley? Why?” I asked.

I was horrified. Ever since “fracking” became the latest, greatest trend in assaulting the earth, I have been sure it was going to do serious harm. How can anyone believe drilling through earth’s bedrock is okay? Could be safe or sane?

What about hidden, previously dormant fault lines? Or not so dormant fault lines. The aquifer and who knows what else? And about those nukes?


The utility companies are telling the government they can’t supply enough power if they aren’t allowed to drill and drill deep into the earth. Drill down to and through the supporting stone, the spine of the planet. And … oh, by the way, they also said: “We’ll pass the costs on to consumers.”

Naturally. You are going to destroy my world and make me pay for it.

The valley already has the highest number per capita of nuclear generating plants of any region in the country. You don’t see the nukes because they hide behind trees and fences. Big fences with barbed wire on top. Not the kind of fencing you expect to see in a park. So when you do see it, you know. There’s a nuke back there. One of many. When the mills moved south, the nukes moved in. Can’t leave that river idle, can you?


Now, they’re going to do a little “harmless fracking.” Right next door to all those nuclear plants. What could possibly go wrong?

This would be the first time, but it wouldn’t be the last. Well, on second thought, maybe it will be the last. Some mistakes are final. Irrevocable.

From some disasters, there’s no coming back. 




It’s my favorite Judy Collins song. Not because it’s her best ever, though it’s very good, but because I was in a very bad place when the song came out and it comforted me. I listened to it and along with some good friends and time, emerged into life again.

When we went to see her in concert in Boston last year, she sang it to close the concert. Obviously, I’m not the only fan who loves it.

I hope this will brighten your day, too!



We are in the midst of what feels like a life-and-death struggle to survive an alien invasion. Today marks the ninth day of the siege. It feels longer.

Anyone who has ever been seriously ill, or recuperating from major surgery, knows the feeling. The early worst agony passes. You’re too sick to do anything much, but well enough to be fed up with being sick. Bored by pain, weary of being off your feet. The sound of your own complaining is aggravating. You feel like “this movie needs a good editing!” except it’s real life and doesn’t work that way.


The day is beautiful, the sky brilliant blue. It’s gorgeous as a backdrop for the bare limbs of tall oaks. I’ve gotten (almost) used to the look of naked trees in June. The catalpa and sassafras have leaves because they are least favorite trees for the caterpillars. The forsythia are safe for the same reason, at least for now. The hairy caterpillars have not yet eaten all the maples. No doubt they’ll get to them. Soon.

Life’s a struggle. We struggle to be born. We struggle to grow up, to make a life, a difference. To find meaning. Struggling to survive an alien caterpillar invasion was never on my list of likely scenarios. Call me crazy, but of all the things I imagined might one day happen to me, this never even made the bottom of the list. Insect invasions were the stuff of John Steinbeck novels and Egyptian plagues.

People have commented that they could never cope with this. That’s pretty much what I would have said had this been happening to someone else and me merely reading about it.


So I’m here to tell you that when you have no choice, you cope. You manage. What else can you do? Lay on the floor and try to die? Go live somewhere else? Where? Maybe if you’re young enough with still living parents, you can go back to mom for a while … but at our age, we are where the kids come when all else fails.

Whatever struggle is involved, we deal with it to the best of our ability. That’s life for you. As I gaze out my picture window I see the swaying naked oak trees, the remaining leafy branches of catalpa and sassafras trees. I see a robin chowing down on caterpillars. It’s a banquet year for local birds who eat the caterpillars. I expect to see fat robins and juncos. It’s their movable (moving) feast.

I also see caterpillars creeping up the glass and along the sills. If I look up, the eaves are covered with them. As is the foundation of the house and the driveway, the deck, and lawn furniture.

The sprayers are coming, the sprayers are coming. Today! Not sure exactly when. Might not be until late, but days are long this time of year.

One of these weeks, these millions of caterpillars will become millions of moths. Who will lay mega-millions of eggs. Something to which we can all look forward, eh?


Yesterday, I realized we can’t spend the summer locked in our house with doors and windows sealed.

The invasion, now an official worst in living memory gypsy moth attack in the Uxbridge-Whitinsville area, has made it onto all the local network affiliates. This is likely to force the town to figure out how to prevent this happening again — but worse — next summer.

It’s too late to save the summer. The oak trees are bare. So are all the birch. The caterpillars are finishing off the maple and pines. They’ve killing my fuchsia and the garden is dead before anything had a chance to bloom. The damage is done. The pines are gone for good; they won’t come back. The caterpillars are way out of control and marching north. We may have been the first, but we won’t be the last.

The little crawling eating machines are not finished. They will keep chomping on anything they can digest until they become moths and stop eating– at least a month from now. Then, instead, they will begin laying millions of eggs to ensure the next generation.

That’s the life of gypsy moths. Eat a forest. Dump excrement everywhere. Morph into ugly brown and white moths (the white ones — females — can’t fly). Lay millions of eggs. Repeat until there are no trees left standing.

Late yesterday, UPS delivered my marmalade and jellies. Neither Garry nor I had the stomach to retrieve the package. This morning, I geared up. Long dress. Clogs with socks. Long sleeved over-shirt. I couldn’t find a hat, so I just did perpetual motion. It was lovely out there. I haven’t been outside for a couple of days. I almost forgot what a delightful time of year this is.

I spotted the package on the sidewalk in front of the wellhead, by the front gate.

Which is when, looking down, realized the ground is writhing with caterpillars. The package was covered with them. A small package, yet so many hairy brown crawlers. I knocked them off the package, grabbed it, and ran for the door, stomping them back from the entrance, hearing them crunching under my feet. OH YUCK.

Coming in, I opened the marmalade and the ginger jelly, put in an English muffin to toast and took a deep breath. I made it. I was out maybe 3 minutes or less? Glad I have a pacemaker. It kept my heart from stopping.

I settled down with coffee and a muffin and two (TWO!!) kinds of sweets. Very good. Delicious. Hot coffee, sweet muffin, and I’m alive, alive. The caterpillars didn’t get me!

The phone range. It was Lance of Turf Technologies Inc. calling, as promised. Quick conversation and he said “This is now, officially the worse infestation ever. Good for you. People like you squawking is probably why the news picked it up.”

I know, because — I’m married to a news guy. I may not know much, but I know if you make noise and pique their interest, the news people will come. Maybe the powers-that-be — the ones around here making like ostriches — will take notice. As the days roll on with no relief, I become increasingly less hopeful.

One of the worst side effects of this mess is that I’m horribly depressed. I sit here, watching summer slip away, realizing there’s nothing more I can do. There’s a package outside somewhere. It’s a movie I ordered from Amazon, but neither of us is willing to look for it, not if it means going outside.

caterpillars 2016

A neighbor posted this picture. It could just as easily be my house. That’s what it looks like. I’m not taking any pictures because I can’t bring myself to go out. I haven’t been out of the house for nearly a week. I suppose that’s contributing to the depression.

No matter how horrible it is for us, I can’t imagine how bad it is for the farmers. This is apple orchard country. We’ve got farms. Trees, corn, dairy cattle. I can’t imagine how they are coping with this and what a economic catastrophe this will be for them.

This is the worst summer ever.


Our pingbacks needed a vacation. They were overworked. Tired. Fed up. Weary of being used and never rewarded for their important role in keeping the lines of communications open.

72-cropped-cheshire cat grin

The pingbacks went walkabout. On strike. Gone away. I understand. If I were a pingback, I’d take vacations too. But you are back now.

Please tell your friends, the reblogs, to come home, too? I need them.



I don’t usually put up multiple posts, but there are so many different way to look at “pure” as a visual concept. So here’s one for today and there will be another tomorrow.

Putting aside the current gypsy moth invasion which is putting a serious crimp in our lives, this would have been a great summer. Not only is the weather moderate, but we have had enough rain so that our river is full again. The ponds and streams have fish and the herons are happy.

This post is about the purest thing … water. Clean, sparkling, fresh.


I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016