AWAKENING – A LITTLE EARLY FOR 2018

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – AWAKENING

Good morning little red finch!

I woke up this morning and started to cough. The deep, hacking cough that screams “bronchial tubes” and “pneumonia.” But it didn’t seem as bad as yesterday, which might mean that this is going to be just a regular cold and not something more serious.

On the other hand, a few days ago, we got this on the way to Connecticut …

It’s a little early in our year — this particular year — for the awakening of fresh young growing things. Unless you count the ants and the mice, both of which were doing simply grandly in our backyard and walls. We have called the killers of things we don’t want living in our house and this morning was the first time I saw any ants. He warned me it takes about two weeks to get them all, so I grabbed them up and disposed of them.

Almost a whiteout on the road

There were only three.

I disdained to check the condition of the basement. The death of small rodents in not a happy occasion for me. I do not hate mice and I am not afraid of them, but they make a horrible mess of the house. They live in the walls and after a while, your whole house smells of mouse turds. A few mice, trying to get in from the ice of winter I can live with, but an entire house full of families and generations of mice? I don’t think so.

I got to thinking about the “generations of mice.”

If you were a mouse, being smarter than “other mice” decided to buy a DNA package to find out to whom in your deep, dark past you might be related? The number of generations is exponential, my dear Watson. Mice dating back to the very first sort-of mammals scurrying around the feet of the giant lizards who ruled the earth.

I don’t think our databases could handle the volume — and unless they all had unique names, how would you know? An entirely different, yet somehow mind-blowing thought.

On the other hand, we got this driving (the same roads) home a few days later …

What would the name of your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother’s mouse name be and how could you identify her among the furry-faced zillions of other mice? It is a mind-boggling concept, so I’ll move on.

And this as our sunset just in front of our house.

To say that spring in New England and all points north is unstable is an understatement … and the climate changes our government is ignoring is definitely a part of the problem. To be fair, the weather in this part of this continent is generally unpredictable. Around here, it’s more about the level of unpredictability and this year has been crazy.

Instead of flowers, we have gotten snow and wind and rain and very cold temperatures. We had a few days when the crocus came up — and here they are:

Otherwise, we do have green shoots for the hopefully soon-to-bloom daffodils. Please view last year’s groups and try to relate:

2017 Daffodils by the tractor’s old wheel
2015 Daffodils in the same location. They ARE perennials you know.

This really is spring in New England. We get lots of winter and then we get “it’s not exactly winter, but it sure isn’t spring, either.” One morning, the sun comes up. Sometime between breakfast and lunch, the leaves on the trees open and by mid-afternoon, it’s hot, humid and buggy — which is what we humorously call summer.

Welcome black flies and flying jaws. Welcome mosquitoes who can bite you through your denim jacket. It’s time to itch, wheeze … and if you can, get yourself to one of our wonderful beaches. I wish our seasons were a bit more orderly and perhaps — predictable.

I’D RATHER BE IN HOBBITON, BUT I’D SETTLE FOR SAN DIEGO

I’D RATHER BE ANYWHERE IT DOES NOT SNOW

I LOVE THE SOUND OF SNOW PLOWS


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.

ANOTHER WORLD – THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Wherever there is water, there is a tree …

WordPress Photo Challenge: Out of This World


Nothing look more other-worldly to me than the desert. Even when I am there, it all seems unreal to me.

Of strange materials …

From the huge blue dome of the sky, to the rocky ground and the strange trees and cactus, it is another world.

Not far from Phoenix …

 

GOODNIGHT SWEET PRINCE … DON’T FORGET THE COFFEE

Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: SWEET


And all of the good stuff goes particularly well with coffee!

Home made pound cake … it’s a razor’s edge from being lethal!
Banana bread

WEATHERED AND WORN

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – WEATHERED


I resisted putting up a picture of me first thing in the morning. It was tempting, but I finally decided to take a pass on that. Weathered and wood resonate for me.

Be there a photographer so dead that he or she had not sought out aging wood barns and homes for great pictures and when that fails, there’s always rust and rot.

An old dodge pickup

Why do we photograph old stuff with such enthusiasm? The simple answer is it’s more interesting. The textures and colors are unique. The texture alone would do it for me.

Sleek, smooth stuff is shiny and often colorful, but you get a lot of depth with the textures of old materials. Wood, brick, stone, iron … it all works beautiful in the right photograph.

Stone bridge over the river and canal
Old Uxbridge Fire Engine 2

And that’s weathered enough for the day except, of course, we can’t leave out our very own weathered 1924 Fordson tractor, growing ever more weathered in our own garden.

GROWING – THE WEEKLY WORDPRESS PHOTO CHALLENGE

GROWTH OF SPIRIT IN THE COLD MOUNTAINS

I remember as a girl, my mother liked to give me  books she thought were important. One year was my “Nobel year” and all the books she gave me had won Nobel prizes for literature. Some were not bad at all. Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland (1915 winner) was incredibly long, but really interesting for a girl studying music because it is a fictionalized biography of Beethoven.

Jackman, Maine

Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun which won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, was a rougher go. It was about trying to survive on a hardscrabble, cold and barren part of Norway. I sort of hated the book, but I can’t forget it, either. These were people who lived terrible lives. They were so miserable it was almost art in its own way.

Attean view, Jackman, Maine

This prompt is about growth and I wish I had pictures from that hardscrabble land in Norway. For all I know, it has since become a tourist mecca. It has been a long time since the book was written and the world has changed. We now vacation in places no one could live 100 years ago and we think it very precious to be in these places.

Not so different than all the years we went to Jackman, Maine for vacation. An incredibly beautiful part of the country where you can — these days — easily survive. But work? Assets? Unless you came there already wealthy, you won’t find wealth in those mountains.

Jackman, Maine

On the positive side, you may find a kind of spiritual richness there unavailable in easier climates, in softer environments. And so these are pictures from Jackman, at the top of the mountains in northern Maine. It is as beautiful a place as I’ve ever been and probably one of the most difficult places to live. In that roughness is growth of your spirit.