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!


This is the worst part of winter for me because by now, I’ve had more than enough winter. Even thinking about snow makes my back hurt and my sinuses back up. Spring tends to be very brief and rather late in this latitude. Beautiful for all of five minutes.

Pink apple blossoms
A flowery road by the farm
New leaves

I thought I’d give you some springtime visuals. Something for all we northerners to dream about.


Last April, I looked out my window and there was a pretty little finch with a bright red-head on the wire. He was a very small bird on a very high branch … far away. I grabbed my super zoom Panasonic and took picture.

One red finch on a wire
A little closer …

Shooting through the not very clean living room picture window that also has a rectangular frame around each pane to a tree above my line of sight at almost a full 600 mm extension. It was no surprise that the pictures were not sharp.

Red finch and best lady friend
Two of them on a wire

I was happy to have gotten any pictures at all because by the time I get a camera in hand, there’s nothing to shoot. This time, at least I got some pictures. Not great pictures, but a lot better than nothing.

The lady on her own

The biggest surprise was discovering this was a new bird. The red finches used to be found in pet shops. They originated in the southwest, but made popular cage birds until caging wild birds was made illegal. Pet shop owners just let them go and suddenly, there were red finches all over the country. These were the first I had ever seen.

The boy again …

First there was the male with the bright red-head. Then his lady friend joined him on the wire — our cable wire — and they sat there. Chirping. Surrounded by the buds of a spring that had not yet arrived.

Close up of our lady

Today, I tried to see if i could do something to make the pictures a little less fuzzy and blurry. Better, I think.


House Finch | Audubon Field Guide – National Audubon Society
Adaptable, colorful, and cheery-voiced, House Finches are common from coast to coast today, familiar visitors to backyard feeders. Native to the Southwest, they are recent arrivals in the East. New York pet shop owners, who had been selling the finches illegally, released their birds in 1940 to escape prosecution. A few better pictures below from various other sources:


Welcome to New England where our most popular regional sport is politics. Football, baseball, basketball and hockey cannot compete with the joys of arguing politics. That this year is politically the worst experience since we drove out the British only means that all our other complaints will have to wait in line until the political rage has been satisfied, at least temporarily.

When politics and sports are finished, we move on to the single sport in which everyone, of any age, can actively compete.

Weather. Or more accurately, complaining about the weather.

Lake Otsego

From bitterly cold to stiflingly hot, we’ve got the weather to cover it.

Winter is too long, too snowy, too icy, and much too cold. I couldn’t agree more. Everyone is cranky and whiny from the first flakes through final melting. Of course, mud season, the inevitable followup to the heavy snow, is no one’s favorite, discounting the dogs who revel in it.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Spring? What spring? Where are the flowers? Why can’t we get a decent spring season? Is this the punishment of a malign deity?

Until the lilies bloom, New Englanders are cranky.

Pink petunias

Some time during May, summer drops by, usually in mid-afternoon. The morning is comfortable until the temperature goes way up and the humidity moves in. The leaves on the trees droop and it is definitely summer. Always too hot. Muggy. Humid.

Or, maybe it’s not hot enough.

“Hey, how come it’s June and we still need heat?”  

In summertime, those triple H days — hot, hazy, and humid — give us a collective headache. Everyone complains. Relentlessly.

Autumn is New England’s winning season. It is everyone’s favorite time of year — except it’s much too short. There are oceans of dead leaves to shovel. We rate our autumn by the brightness of leaf and you can stand on line in the grocery and hear people commenting that “this one isn’t as good as the year before last. Does anyone remembers 2012? Wasn’t that a doozy?”

We live in the “Snow and Long Commutes” region. Especially the snow. And Worcester.

On a bad year, heavy rains from a tropical storm can push all the way up the coast. Those drenching rains ruin the fall foliage. Which makes everyone cranky.

And whiny.

We recover if the Sox are in the playoffs, but become downright grim if they aren’t.

Speaking of whiny, I know people on Facebook who, in the middle of a summer-long drought during which we haven’t gotten a drop of rain, will rant furiously on the day the drought breaks. I bet they’d be even more whiny if their well went dry . That would be a serious rant!

New England. What’s not to love?


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – June 2, 2017

February 2017
June 2, 2017

The past few weeks haven’t been great for photography. It’s been dark, gray, rainy, and pretty cold, too. Today is lovely. We had a doctor appoint and then a grocery stop to pick up a few things. I was hoping to pick up some flowering plants for the deck, but all the plants look  tired and sad, so we agreec — if it isn’t raining tomorrow — to go to the nursery and maybe buy a few healthy plants.

February 2017
June 2, 2017

But I knew this prompt would be “up” today, so I took a few pictures. Also, found a couple from earlier months I never got to processing.



The roses have no buds. The day lilies are tall and green, but no flowers. Not a single flower and I don’t even see buds. This weather has just stopped the flowers in their tracks. I’ve never seen this before, where the flowers just stop growing. I am hearing this from others, so this season has been a strange one.

The roses have no buds. Maybe they will develop late buds and do all their blooming at the end of June or even July? They typically have a long blooming life … but none at all? I can’t believe they won’t even throw a couple of random flowers. By now, they are usually covered with perfect little roses. So … other than the Columbine, we have a few spiderwort and a few wild strawberries. Everything is incredibly green, so maybe eventually we’ll have more.

Meanwhile, we don’t have the flowers we should have, but we sure do have a lot of Columbines!

Flowers of the Day


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.