This is great. World history and global warming in one fantastic and funny timeline. Why didn’t I think of this myself? Why didn’t I write it? Gee whiz! Love it. Hope you will too. Take your time scrolling down. It’s worth the effort.

A Lecturers Life

I saw this today and thought how useful it was for teaching about the environment. It has some facts and importantly today for students, a bit of humour so they do not realise they are learning.

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The message is as follows:

“Post Tropical Storm Hermine will continue to impact the Rhode
Island South Coast and Massachusetts southeast coast with rough
surf… dangerous rip currents… beach erosion and a period of
gusty winds today. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for
the south coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts including Block
Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod.”


Yesterday afternoon, I could see treetops in motion. You’d be surprised on how rarely that happens. Most wind whips across the lawns, but when the tops of the big oak trees start to sway, there’s a stronger wind high up. The remnants of Hermine, the almost-a-hurricane is currently traveling up the Atlantic coast. Some wind, but nothing dangerous. Just enough to go outside and take the fuchsias down from their hooks. Turn the chairs upside down. We have a lot of glass and I’d rather not invite flying chairs.


It may not happen, of course. The paths of tropical storms, especially in these northern latitudes, is unpredictable at best. I’m hoping for a light grazing by storm. We need the rain and if we have to take a little wind as part of the package, so be it.



These may well be the last pictures of this years fuchsias. Against all odds, they have continued to produce flowers, even while the leaves fade. Their season is done, but like all living things, they fight for life. Right now, they are down on the deck where the wind cannot easily get to them. Even as they pass away, we protect them. And our windows.




The entire state of Massachusetts currently holds a status of extreme or severe drought. We’ve had less than 5 inches of rain here in central Massachusetts. Areas around Boston and northward into New Hampshire have had an inch less … around 3.75 inches. That’s very little water. Dangerously little water.


If you’d like to see an interactive “drought map,” here is a LINK. Other states in New England are also dry, but as far as I can tell, Massachusetts is overall, the most dry, although there are areas of New Hampshire, Maine, and New York which are also very hard hit.

For inexplicable reasons, the river has more water in it than it did last year at this time. Maybe whoever controls the water locally decided to give our fish, fowl, and other wildlife a chance to survive. Last year, they had nowhere to nest, and pretty much no food in the dry ponds and rivers.


I love the river and I miss the birds. I haven’t seen a goose, a heron, a swan, or even a duck this entire summer. Not in the spring either. I suppose they have all — sensibly — flown away to places where they stand a better chance of survival.


Ironic, isn’t it? Half the country is drowning in floodwaters. The rest? We’re drying up. Burning up. As I see the first tropical storm of the year heading for Florida, I can’t help but hope it stays a mere storm and brings its precipitation up our way. We really, really need some water.


There is, I might add, nothing more futile and frustrating than worrying about the lack of rain. You can’t do anything about it. Nothing. We have zero control over weather. Fretting about that over which we have no control is mind-destroying.


Nonetheless, I worry about the well. And the aquifer. I have nightmares about drought. Because if our well goes dry, we have no other water source. Neither do our neighbors.

AND THIS JUST IN (Literally, it just showed up in my email):

This is a message from the Uxbridge DPW. Due to the current drought conditions and health of our water supply, the Board of Selectmen voted to increase the water restrictions effective August 23, 2016 to a full ban on nonessential outdoor water usage. The ban on nonessential outdoor water usage are in addition to and supersede the prior restrictions that were recently enacted and will remain in effect until further notice. Examples of non-essential outdoor water uses include the following:

• Uses that are not required for health and safety reasons.
• Irrigation of lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems.
• Washing of vehicles other than by means of a commercial car wash, except as may be necessary for operator safety.
• Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks.
• The use of handheld hoses for watering vegetable or flower gardens, shrubbery and trees.
• Filling swimming pools.
Any person or entity who violates these restrictions will be fined according to General Bylaw Chapter 336 Water Conservation, Section 9. If using well water for irrigation, there must be signage indicating “well water in use” clearly visible from the street.


The Changing Seasons: August 2016


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.


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.


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.


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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 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.


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.






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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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