Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 16, 2018

Roads and snow …
UMass Memorial – parking lots and garage … and cars …
Garry clearing the front path
Our road, post storm


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 16, 2018

Roads and snow …
UMass Memorial – parking lots and garage … and cars …
Garry clearing the front path
Our road, post storm


I sallied forth into the cold white world with the Olympus OMD. One lens, the 12-50mm telephoto. I left the camera bag and lens cap inside so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with them.

Home in the snow
Up the driveway. We had no idea how much we would hate this driveway when we bought the house.

I can’t shoot with gloves on and in that kind of cold, my hands go numb pretty quickly. Five minutes into shooting, I can no long adjust the lens.

More about Duke
Home, with tractor

I am not a big fan of snow, which is probably an odd thing for someone who has spent his entire adult life in New England. Not to mention having covered just about every blizzard that occurred in the region for 31 years.

Our road and the snow  – and a school bus
Another dangerous dog

There are a lot more pictures, but since Marilyn does the processing, these are the ones she had time to work on. More photographs to come but hopefully, no more snow!

Just under 28 inches.




We finished watching the third 4-1/2 hour piece of “The Lord of the Rings,” extended version last night. Given the weather, I pointed out that we could be trying to climb Caradhras, but Sauron was totally against it and we never made it.

For a variety of reasons — aching muscles maybe? — Garry didn’t find it nearly as hilarious as I did, but the man who shovels is allowed to get grumpy about it. Still, we were definitely atop Caradhras and the snow was not going to quit anytime soon.

There was no noise at all until we heard that wonderful sound, the sound for which I yearn all through the storms of the last two weeks: a plow clearing our driveway. There was an awful lot of snow out there, but the dogs, who go into a medium-level frenzy when trucks are in our drive, gave us a lot of energy. Gibbs is particularly noisy about two things: any kind of diesel-powered vehicle and my son, Owen, of whom he is insanely fond.

Duke and Bonnie in snow

Duke barks hysterically whenever the neighbors emerge from their house. He seems to believe they are about to intrude on our space. Also, they have dogs. Very big dogs. Really, huge dogs. English Mastiff and a boxer. They are really quiet, peaceful creatures who bother no one — except The Duke who gets extremely feisty in the face of Other Dogs Nearby. And they aren’t that near. It’s at least 300 feet from here. More, maybe. We have what is considered a really tiny plot of 2.43 acres of land. Next door, they have maybe 27 acres? Possibly more?

It doesn’t look real. I’m not even sure what bush that is. Rhododendron maybe?

A lot of people around here have a huge amount of land, but the majority of it is wild, thorny, rocky, and generally uninviting to walkers. No trails, either. So mostly, no one on two legs goes in there. No one goes there in the summer because you will be consumed by mosquitoes.

Many other creatures live there, though. Deer, raccoon, fishers, skunk, coyote, bobcats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, eagles and other raptors. Red-tailed hawks and owls. I almost never see them, but I hear woodpeckers constantly.

Foxes, chipmunks. Many fewer chipmunks since the arrival of the bobcat who is very fond of fresh chipmunk. Rats, mice, and some of the biggest spiders to make landfall since Shelob didn’t kill Frodo.

I yearn for New Zealand. If the world should bestow many dollars (or any other currency — I’m not picky) on us, that is the single vacation I would take. Fly to the west coast. Take a ship down the Pacific Ocean and land in some famed harbor. I know that’s the long way, but a cruise to New Zealand and a cruise back sounds like heaven to me.

We might never leave Hobbiton. Well, I suppose we’d have to. There are dogs and family and friends back here … but these days, not living in the U.S. doesn’t seem like such an awful idea. I’ve lived abroad before and I liked it, so it’s not that crazy, for me anyway.

Bonnie and Duke like snow. Gibbs was serious about the sofa.

If New Zealand is impossible, how about San Diego? Great weather. Beautiful beaches. One 5-hour flight and voilà. No more snow. Ever. Or we could go back to Israel. I’ve got a passport. As a citizen, I have — in theory — another home. But that may be my other country. It isn’t Garry’s and while he has nothing against a Jewish country — he’s put up with me for long enough — it might be more change than he is entirely ready for.

So in answer to two questions of the day — where would I rather be and what about noise? I’d like my dogs to shut up, but please, bring the snow plow. Then, send me to New Zealand.


I cannot begin to express how tired I am of winter. I was doing okay. Even through the last two nor’easters, I was alright. I figured after two big storms in less than a week and a half, we were done and spring was going to pop right out of the cold earth.

Not exactly.

This was a huge storm. We didn’t get the high winds that they got along the coast and down on the cape, but we got about two feet of snow and it’s pretty heavy. Because we didn’t get the wind, the snow is heavy in the trees and has not fallen off at all.

The trees are all bent over and I wonder how many of them are going to break. They are obviously stressed.


Photo: Garry Armstrong

The dogs — at least The Duke and Bonnie — have been enjoying it. Gibbs is not much of a weather dog. He’s a “lay in the sun all day” kind of dog. He has a spot on a rock in the front of the house and he has been known to just lay there for hours soaking up the sun. So snow and ice … he doesn’t hate it, but he isn’t thrilled about it either.

Gibbs enjoying the snow

Bonnie, though, loves snow. Always has. She was a Halloween puppy and her whole upbringing was during one of our worst winters. I think her earliest memories are bounding around the yard in the snow while mom stands there in her night-gown, boots, overcoat, gloves, and hat begging her to do her thing so mom can go back to bed. Three in the morning in a foot of snow with a howling wind was not the optimum time for puppy training. But it got done and Bonnie was left with a genuine passion for snow.

Digging out

Duke probably never saw snow until he moved here, but he has been having a lot of fun with it, finally. Once he decided that cold feet wasn’t such a big deal after all.

Meanwhile, it looks like another universe out there. I have never seen snow so heavy lying on the trees and not falling off. Usually, the snow falls within an hour after the snow stops, but when darkness fell, it was still up there in the trees.



They began talking about another big storm at the end of last week. I was trying to not listen because I’ve had it with winter. It has been pretty warm … well at least not bitterly cold. We’ve had two nor’easters in less than two weeks, so what were the odds of having another one?

Yesterday, the morning arrived with a brilliant blue sky. We already knew that there was a storm brewing and we hustled to try and get everything done before whatever it was that would hit us.

When we got home from the MVB and the doctor and the post office, the sky wasn’t blue. It was filling up with storm clouds.

Tuning in the weather on TV, we were assured we’re absolutely getting snow. A lot of snow. More than a foot  and possibly twice that. What happened to our tentative grasp on spring? The dawning hope of flowers?

And there’s twice this amount by now …

When I first got up this morning, I opened the insulated curtains and looked outside. About an inch and a half, I figured. Then I turned on the computer and realized … that was just the beginning. There was at least another foot, maybe a foot and a half still to come.

I went back to bed. I saw absolutely no point in getting up. When I finally poked my head out of the covers a couple of hours later, there was a lot more snow on the ground … on everything. I told the dogs to stop being ninnies and go on out, which they did. Complaining, then, suddenly delighted. They kept coming in, covered in snow, having me towel them down, then running right back out. They don’t need spring. This is great, right Ma?

Right kids.

Not spring quite yet.

Will this winter never end? Between the brutality of politics and the cruelty of weather, the news is giving me a headache.

Branches and snow – spring will be delayed until the tracks are cleared. Thank you for your patience.

Nor is there any guarantee this will be the last storm of the season.  It’s March. You just never know what’s coming next.

NOTE: Posts like this take a lot longer than you think. I have to take the pictures, process them, and finally post something. I apologize for being so slow, but all that takes time!


Today is my birthday.

It’s also the anniversary of the biggest, baddest blizzard to ever hit the east coast of the United States. The early part of March is frequently stormy. Blizzards are common, though usually the snow melts quickly in the spring.

Woods in winter

I appear to have been destined for snowy climes. This is not only the story of a storm, but a cautionary tale to never forget winter isn’t over until the daffodils are in bloom. You can never overestimate how dangerous weather in this region can be, especially in the spring when wind patterns become unstable.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 11. There had been a blizzard a few days before, but apparently it wasn’t a problem because I was safely born in Brooklyn Women’s Hospital. Nonetheless, throughout my childhood, no one in my family ever forgot to mention the blizzard that had hit right before I was born — they called me “the blizzard baby — and everyone still talked about my birthday storm from 1888.

Home in winter

Early March is a fine time for big snowstorms in the northeast. March 11, 1888 brought the biggest winter storm to ever hit the region. Known locally as the Brooklyn Blizzard of 1888 and up and down the east coast as the Great White Hurricane, it is my birthday blizzard, a foretaste of Marilyn to come. Or something like that.

Downtown crossing right after the 1978 blizzard

It was the worst blizzard to ever hit New York city and broke records from Virginia to Maine. It remains one of the worst — and most famous — storms in United States history. Accumulations of 40 to 50 inches were recorded. It’s hard to picture how much snow that is unless you’ve been through a few really big snowstorms. The deepest snow from one storm in my life so far was 28 inches. That’s only a bit more than half the amount of the 1888 blizzard. Despite all the changes and improvements to technology and infrastructure, that volume of snow would still paralyze us today. It’s more snow than any infrastructure can handle.

Did I mention snow is heavy? 50 inches on a standard roof will cause it to cave in. It would crush us.

It wasn’t merely a snow storm. The super storm included sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds. It was one of those occasions when people get put in their place, forcibly reminded of how strong Mother Nature is.

The storm blanketed areas of  New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. It carried with it sustained winds of more than 45 miles per hour. It produced drifts in excess of 50 feet. My house, at its peak, is about 40 feet, so so we are talking about drifts as high as a three-story building.

All forms of transportation were stopped. Roads and railroads were unusable. People were trapped in their houses for up to a week.

The Great White Hurricane paralyzed the U.S. East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine. The storm extended all the way up into the Atlantic provinces of Canada. The telegraph went down, leaving  major cities including Montreal, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Boston without communication for days to weeks. Because of the storm, New York began putting its telegraph and telephone wiring underground to protect it from future disasters.

The seas and coastlines were not spared. In total, from the Virginia coast to New England, more than 200 ships were grounded or wrecked and more than 100 seamen died.

130 years later, no winter storm has yet topped the big one of 1888.