THE CHANGING SEASONS: AUGUST 2016 – DOG DAYS

The Changing Seasons: August 2016


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The dog days of August are here. Strange weather has persisted, though the last few days have been more like a “normal” summer than any of the preceding months.

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The Gypsy Moth caterpillars stripped the trees in early July. Now, in the second half of August, the leaves look full and the deep green that is normal for this time of year.

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It also finally began to rain. It is not as much as we need to make up for the exceptionally dry May, June, and July, but we had a few good rains in the past few weeks.

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When I last looked, the river was no longer dry mud. Not full, not exactly flowing, but at least it was wet and some water was coming over the dam.

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By next month, the leaves will be changing. Summer arrives slowly, but ends quickly.


What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«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!

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CEE’S ODDBALLS ON A STEAMY SUMMER AFTERNOON

 Cees’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 32


After weeks of no rain at all, suddenly we’ve been getting thunderstorms in the afternoon. It’s probably because of the heat and humidity. I remember, when I was a kid, when the weather got like this — before we had weather channels or 24 hours news or the internet — we expected thunderstorms. When you got a lot of heat and steamy air, you expected thunder and lightning to follow.

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We’d head for Mary’s house because she had a covered porch. There, we could play monopoly and watch the rain. Rainy afternoons are full of memories.

I am glad we’re finally getting some rain. It will take a lot of days like this to make up for the weeks of drought.

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IT’S TOO DARN HOT

We have been staying inside because that’s where the air conditioning is. It has been the heat wave from Hell with temperatures closing in at nearly 100 degrees (Farenheit) for weeks. And then, there’s the humidity,  closing in at nearly 100% pretty much all summer. Whatever it is they are marketing as air out there, it isn’t. For those of us with asthma or any other breathing issues, it’s unhealthy and possibly, unsafe to be outside.

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We had a long, drenching thunder-storm this afternoon. It should have cleared the air, but it didn’t. It did, however, give the plants a good watering, added a bit of desperately needed water to the aquifer, and refreshed the tinder-dry woods.

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The dogs sleep on the coolest surface they can find. Today, they are both on the hard floor because it’s too darn hot to sleep on the upholstery. I’d join them, but I probably would need the jaws of life to get me back up again.

Sometimes, you need a song to say it right. This is definitely, unquestionably the right song for the day. Maybe for the month.

IT’S RAINING, NO WAIT, IT’S … NOT

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First came the roar of thunder.

“Oh, wow,” I said. “Maybe we’re going to get some rain, finally!”

“It certainly is dark enough,” Garry said.

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The dogs decided they needed to be on the love seat with us because they are very brave about many things, but thunder worries them. Those titans bowling in the clouds means you never know if a giant bowling ball will fall from above.

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Then, the sky opened up. For maybe 10 minutes, it poured. Exactly as the weather people on TV were announcing “heavy thunder squalls are passing over southeast Worcester county,” the sun came out.

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Not exactly, the extended drenching rain we hoped for, but it’s got to be raining somewhere. Maybe, through the magic of a connected aquifer — and our very deep well — water from wherever it is raining will seep through an intricate network of channels in the rocks to keep our well full enough to continue serving water

DRAMATIC CLOUDS. NO RAIN.

Outside my window, the sky is dark, dramatic, and glowering.

“Maybe there will finally be some rain today,” says my husband.

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“That would be really nice,” I answer, but then I turn to the forecast.

It says that we can expect a day of dramatic, dark clouds … but no rain. None. Nor any rain for the next week. Maybe next weekend. I know from experience that meteorologists have no idea what the weather will be doing a week from now. They just put that stuff there to keep us from losing hope.

Stormy Skies - By Marilyn Armstrong

I’m trying not to lose hope … but we sure do need rain. Clouds? They’re a tease. They make us think something is going to happen to relieve the drought.

At least it isn’t so hot. That’s something.

THE DAILY POST | DRAMATIC

THE CHANGING SEASONS: JULY 2016 – REBIRTH AND DROUGHT

The Changing Seasons: July 2016


This has been a strange year. The caterpillars stripped the oaks and the sassafras trees to bare branches. A month later, it looks like springtime in our woods. The trees all have leaves again, but not the deep green leaves of summertime, but the bright yellow-green of newborn leaves.

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It’s good to have the trees looking like trees again.

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It also has not rained in any measurable amount since May. It’s close to a decade since the spring rains stopped. Not that I enjoyed the annual flooding, but I didn’t have to wonder if the well would run dry.

The riverbeds are dry again, the dams locked up to hold as much water as possible. Water restrictions limit use of water of lawns and gardens. We have our own water restrictions in place. Short showers. You don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth … or anything else. I have no idea how the farms in the area handle the problem, but it must be difficult.

No matter how many wells exist in an area, all wells tap into the same aquifer. When it doesn’t rain for months at a time, the aquifer gets low and water pressure decreases. Everyone’s lawn turns brown and the gardens wither. The whole region is dry, this year. Not going to be a great year for apples.

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Since this is perhaps the eighth or ninth consecutive year of mild to severe drought in New England, it leads me to repeat something I read elsewhere (and I’m sorry I don’t remember the source). She asked “How many years of drought do you need before you recognize it isn’t a drought … it’s climate change.”

This isn’t California and the drought is not quite as severe … but this has historically been an area that suffers more from flood than drought. In the sixteen years we have lived in this valley, we’ve seen it go from annual flooding to a steadily increasing water shortage.

Climate change is real and it’s coming to a town near you, if it hasn’t already.


What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«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!

thechangingseasons_6367 large

UNEXPECTED WEATHER?

You can’t expect the weather … except … you really can. It’s unexpectedly hot around here. But it’s summer, so this unexpected heat wave was entirely expected and is completely normal.

The electric company apparently didn’t expect it and have gotten quite hysterical about the whole thing. You’d think it was their homeowner customers who created this emergency by our derelict over-usage of electricity. It’s not the mall which refrigerate the entire space to 65 degrees when it’s 100 outside. Oh no, never the commercial customers.

Meanwhile, it’s freaking HOT and the humidity is up there too. A couple of days ago with this weather visible on the map and the television meteorologists getting all excited, National Grid swung into action. It has been a pretty dull weather period, more notable for what isn’t happening (rain) than what is, namely muggy, gray days during which it looks like rain, but doesn’t.

National Grid started sending out (pardon the pun) heated warnings.

I got the first two via email, then two more via early morning robot calls.

Turn down your air conditioning to 78 degrees! Avoid high bills! Don’t stress our power grid. (Subtext: We need all the power to keep malls at 65 degrees. You homeowners are not big customers, so you can sit at home wheezing and sweating.)

If I turn the A/C to 78 degrees in this house, the humidity will turn our home into mold city.

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In the spirit of coöperation — and in hopes of not getting an electric bill that will knock me off my feet — I turned it up to 75 degrees. This is an older house without central air. Just window A/C. and even that, not in every room. We don’t cool rooms we don’t use much. Which is, to put it mildly, not as efficient as we might wish. It’s all we’ve got and summer is short. Our A/C units are less than two years old, so this is as good as it will get here.

By the time evening rolled around, the house was disgusting. We were disgusted.

Sticky. Hot. Everything was damp, especially us. The dogs wouldn’t sleep on the sofas, preferring the hard floors where it’s cooler. They’ll go outside only if threatened. Even so, they were throwing us dirty looks which hadn’t been washed this century.

By nine in the evening, I looked at Garry and said “How hot are you?”

“Bad,” said Mr. I Love Summer. “How are you doing?”

“I’m miserable,” I said. “I was thinking — damn National Grid. I can’t breathe!” I have asthma. The humidity was making my lungs work a double shift.

I turned the air conditioning to a more breathable 73. After an hour, air returned to the house.

I’m betting the people who write electrical usage “guidelines” are not sitting and sweating in their houses. I bet they have central A/C set for their personal comfort. They are not sweating out the heat wave. I know power is an issue, but so is quality of life.

Flash message for guideline issuers: OLDER PEOPLE TOLERATE HEAT POORLY.

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That’s right. You get older and your body is not as efficient at regulating core temperature as it was in youth. Those of us with other physical stuff, like arthritis, asthma and heart problems? Our ability to tolerate days of sitting in heat and humidity is dangerous to life and the continuation thereof.

I’m sure I’ll get the bill for this mad, crazy need to breathe. The bill alone might give me a stroke. Right now, I don’t care. I just want some air.

DAILY POST | UNPREDICTABLE?