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.

SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – May 1, 2017


Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

I’m going to go with neither, thanks. I’m getting to be a real Caribbean kind of gal. I want lovely, warm weather. Cool evenings, warm in the middle of the day. Long stretches on beaches with palm trees. Lived in very hot. Lived with bitterly cold. Am planning to stay here, weather or not, but if I have to dream, it’s definitely a long beach and palm trees.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Long, though I wore it short for a lot of years when I was working full-time and being a mommy the rest of the day. It was easier to manage. Now it’s sort of medium – longer than short, but hasn’t made it to long. I haven’t cut it recently, so probably, it will eventually be long again.

What is your favorite month of the year?

October. If I’m going to live in this part of the world, there’s no month that comes near October for great weather and the most beautiful world surrounding me.

What is the easiest way for your to learn something new? By reading, by seeing and doing, in a classroom?

Reading or seeing both are fine. Classroom as an absolutely last possible choice. When I graduated college, I knew I was never going back. I didn’t hate school, not at all. But I was done with it and have stayed finished for the past fifty plus years.

GRAY DAY, RAINY MORNING

The last two days were gorgeous. Warm enough for shirtsleeves, but not hot. It was perfect late April weather.

Today, the rain has returned. I don’t mind rain. It’s a gray day with a steady rain falling. After nearly  a decade of drought, having rain a couple of days a week is just fine, thank you. I can use the shower and not worry we’ll run out of water!

According to the Official Meteorologists on TV, tomorrow will be all blue skies again. Today, though, we will stay inside and watch the rain fall. It’s not as cold as it was last week. Cool, but not uncomfortable.

It’s a good day for a warm book while cuddled with dogs.

THE CHANGING SEASONS: APRIL 2017

The Changing Seasons: April 2017


And also, today’s Daily Post | HARMONY

We haven’t been far from home this month. Last month, we were all over the place, but this has been a stay at home time. Not in a bad way. Lots of little fixes in the house. A quiet time. We have needed quiet.

The earliest flowers are in. Crocus and forsythia. A few daffodils. Everything else is budding, waiting for next month.

In town, no leaves on the trees, but the soft fuzz of spring on the edge. This gallery is from Garry Armstrong:

And then, the rest of life as it unrolls:

And that’s April. This year, so far. The real spring surprise comes next month because May is the month of flowers. April is the hope, but May is the blooming!


What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2017» 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 2017.
It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed.
These are the rules (want the full introduction? Click Here), 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

CRANKY AND WHINY

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.

From bitterly cold to stiflingly hot, we’ve got the perfect 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.

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.

Some time during May, summer drops by, usually in mid-afternoon. The morning is comfortable until the temperature goes way up there, the humidity moves in. The leaves on the trees droop and it is definitely summer. Which is always too hot. Muggy. Humid. Or, it may not be hot enough.


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

Those triple H days — hot, hazy, and humid — give us a collective headache. Cranky and whiny, that’s us.

Autumn is everyone’s favorite season except it’s much too short. and there are oceans of dead leaves to shovel. We rate our autumn by 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 and who 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 southern tropical storm drives up the coast and ruins the foliage. Which makes everyone cranky. And whiny. We get over it if the Sox are in the playoffs, but are even crankier if they are not. 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 cranky and whiny if their well went dry . That would be a big, serious rant!

New England. What’s not to love?

HOME AGAIN – CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 24, 2017


It’s convenient and fortunate when this prompt coincides with a recent road trip. It wasn’t a long trip. About three hours from our house to Tom and Ellin’s place in Connecticut and an easy drive. Only one city to cross — Hartford — and that’s usually easy unless you get there exactly at rush hour. We didn’t and it was a smooth way down. 

Highway bridge

Lots of talking and hanging about. Some good, old-fashioned table-thumping ranting — a good way to let off some steam. And Garry discovered the miracle that is virtual reality. You’d think I’d love virtual reality because I love amusement parks and rides, but for me that experience is shared. It’s not a “me with me” experience. It’s doing it then being able to talk about it with the other kids who were playing there too.

We didn’t go out much, probably because it was raining and sleeting for two out of three days. Of course the day we went home was glorious, as is today. Oh well.

Trucks heading into darkness

Driving home — starting later than usual — was no big deal. Nothing special until we were almost home. The sun had been swinging to setting down for the night, but at about four thirty, everything turned gold. The gray naked trees turned bright gold. They looked like deep autumn trees. The combination of the shadows and the sunlight were absolutely amazing.

Clouds and home ahead

I’ve been in the presence of golden light a few times. Once, at sundown, on our street, facing almost due west into the lowering sun. Another late afternoon on the Mumford river. The sun was gold, the trees were amber from the very end of autumn and the light hit the water and turned it to molten gold. This was similar but it lasted much longer. It was first pale yellow and deepened for close to an hour. By the time we were within a mile of home, we had to pull off the road and take pictures.

I’m sure there is someone out there who knows what causes light to change color? Particles in the air? Some odd configuration of a falling sun and the shape and form of the clouds? Reflections of amber leaves on the last of the Autumn trees? It is a remarkable event for the human eye. I may never find myself in that ring of glowing gold again, but I won’t so easily forget it.

DRIPPING

It snowed a billion tons of snow just a single week ago. Billions and trillions of tons and there was no food in the grocery store. We would be without power, without … anything. Life was ending. The hysteria on the television got to me eventually. I usually ignore the frenzy, but every now and again, I ignore it and wish I’d paid a little bit more attention. Like by getting another loaf of bread. Or maybe a few cold cuts.

Garry, who is totally unfazed by this stuff, went out into the Big Wide World and brought home a few odds and ends of groceries. Bread. Cold cuts. My prescription. We didn’t really need much. I keep the freezer well stocked, so it would have to really BE a billion tons of snow before we ran out of food.

Now, it’s dripping. The snow on the roof is drip, drip, dripping onto the ground. The snow and ice on the ground is drip, drip, dripping into the soil. Which presumably will burst forth into bright spring flowers. Soon. Like who knows? Day after tomorrow?

In the name of the billions and trillions of tons of snow that fell upon us last week (which, I might add, turned to rain before the big Kahuna nailed us with its massive power), a few pictures.

Over all? Not a bad winter.