ODE TO FOUR SEASONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Winter generally sucks in New England. But for me, there is also a bright side.

I love wearing my favorite winter sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

So I’ve established that I like the variety of clothes that seasons provide. I would get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once I’ve put on my beautiful outerwear,it’s not all that cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas!

Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

I have to confess that I’m not a heat lover or a sun worshipper. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by taking off more clothes. I can only go down to tee-shirt and shorts or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed. But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I hate heat and can dress appropriately to stay warm in cold weather. What else do I like about having seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I live through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter 12 months of the year any more than I want to live in summer all year round.

But for the three months winter lasts, I can appreciate what it has to offer. For example, we often have a fire going on winter nights. I love that. My husband and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out with us in the winter. I think it’s because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer (play golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, etc.)

I’m lucky that I really love where I live and don’t dream of moving elsewhere. If I did move, it would probably be to another place that has seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange.

I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly come out on trees, every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same, stagnant, year in and year out. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part, but I’m happy dealing with a world that changes four times a year.

THE STRANGEST WEATHER OF ANY APRIL – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Traveling from Massachusetts to Connecticut and Back Again –
Cee’s Which Way Photography Challenge

It really has been a totally wacko week for weather here in the upper northeastern quadrant of this continent.

On the road again …
Snowing!

We drove down to Connecticut on Friday. When we left the house, it was snowing lightly. By the time we got to the Mass Pike, it was snowing a lot more than that and a few miles down the road, it was close to a whiteout.

Route 320
Icy windshield

As we crossed the border into Connecticut, it changed to heavy rain … and as the miles past, it became cloudy and the rain went away.

Remi, Garry, Tom and sunshine

By the time we got to Tom and Ellin’s house, the sun was out.

Coming home at sunset

We drove home today in relatively mild weather with a bright blue sky.

THE GREAT SNOWS OF MARCH

A Photo a Week Challenge: Nature’s White

From Nancy Merrill: IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A NEW PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) FEATURING WHITE AS FOUND IN NATURE.

We’ve had an overdose of white around here this month. Three major snowstorms in less than two weeks and a few minor ones. Luckily, at this point in the year, the sun is quite strong, so most of it has melted quickly.

It is still cold. Until we are solidly inside April, we could get more of that white stuff. Not yet time to put the boots and overcoats away.

I have pictures of April blizzards from earlier years. I’m hoping this is not one of those years.

Icy rocks

ODDBALLS AND STRANGENESS – GARRY & MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: March 18, 2018

Snowy selfie – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Oddballs. I have been taking a lot of strange pictures in the house. The outside has been difficult to negotiates. Garry, though, has been out there, frozen fingers and all. Kudos to him!

Although a lot of snow has melted, especially on areas that get a lot of sun, there’s still plenty around elsewhere.

Two happy dogs! Photo: Garry Armstrong

The woods is full of snow and along the road, there are huge piles of it created by the plows.

Recycling only please! Photo Garry Armstrong
Gibbs fully enjoying snowstorm

It’s a good time to follow Gibbs’ lead: enjoy the sofa. Have another cup of coffee!

Warm inside, snow outside

 

THE CHANGING SEASONS – MARCH 2018 – GARRY & MARILYN ARMSTRONG

February ended and we all thought — especially me! — that spring was just around the corner. We’d had a lot of snow in January — with warm weeks in between. We had considerable snow in February — with even warmer weeks in between. This being March, I was waiting for the song of the Carolina sparrow.

THE FIRST STORM – March 2

It was mainly high wind and rain. We got a dusting of snow, but we also got the kind of heavy, drenching rain I usually associate with tropical storms and hurricanes. The first storm, on March 2, lasted almost three days — longer on some places along the shore.

For this “Changing Seasons,” I am here to show you the rest of the winter. Apparently winter was not wintry enough, so anything remaindered landed in March. We had three major nor’easters in less than two weeks.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There is another possibly on the way, but none of the local meteorologists have quite figured out whether or not it is going to hit us or wander off into the Atlantic.

THE SECOND STORM – March 9

This was another heavy wind event with terribly high tides, massive shore erosion … and about 5 inches of snow, inland. The trees were moving in the wind which is more than a little frightening considering the size of these giant oak trees. The less I looked at them, the happier I was.

We didn’t lose power, but we were lucky. Across New England and New York, more than a million people lost power and some still have not yet been connected.

For all the dull months when we took very few pictures, we made up for it big time in March. Tons of snow, rapid melting. More snow. We don’t live on the coast or I could show you 50 foot high waves pounding the sea walls in Scituate (pron: Si-choo-ate) and everywhere along the cape, but especially in Bourne and Barnstable.

THE BIG ONE – THE THIRD STORM – March 13

The predictions for this one were a little different. A heavy blow of more wind along the shore, but massive quantities of snow for our area. in fact, Worcester won the cup — the most snow in the region.

Just under 28 inches.

Worcester beat out Uxbridge by less than half an inch getting a full 28 inches. We got 27.7 inches. It was a lot of heavy, wet snow. We didn’t get any of the wind and the trees groaned under the weight of the snow hanging in its branches.

Digging out

We both took pictures but even so, no one went very far. It was cold, the snow came down for a long, long time — almost 24 hours in total.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

March is by far the most erratic weather month in this region. March came in like a brace of hungry lions. I’m hoping he leaves us gently, trailing flowers. Right now, that seems unlikely.

All the early flowers were killed off by the brutal snow that followed the warming period. I think we will go from winter to almost summer during April. That isn’t unusual, either. In fact, it is more typical not otherwise.

Gibbs enjoying the snow

February is usually the worst month for blizzards and really heavy snow, but March takes the cup for 2018. Just because the month is more than half over, it’s too early to stow your winter gear.

The better news is there’s a lot of melting going on when the sun is out. It’s still cold, but not like it was earlier in the winter. We aren’t getting prolonged bouts of below zero (Farenheit) temperatures.

And, then, there was getting around after the snow. The towns are all good at cleaning up. We may not be good at a lot of other things, but we know how to clear the roads.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Rules — not etched in stone:


Do you want to participate in «The Changing Seasons»?
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!

Hosted this year by: Zimmerbitch – Age is just a number

PHOTOS OF THE GREAT WHITENESS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I sallied forth into the cold white world with the Olympus OMD. One lens, the 12-50mm telephoto. I left the camera bag and lens cap inside so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with them.

Home in the snow
Up the driveway. We had no idea how much we would hate this driveway when we bought the house.

I can’t shoot with gloves on and in that kind of cold, my hands go numb pretty quickly. Five minutes into shooting, I can no long adjust the lens.

More about Duke
Home, with tractor

I am not a big fan of snow, which is probably an odd thing for someone who has spent his entire adult life in New England. Not to mention having covered just about every blizzard that occurred in the region for 31 years.

Our road and the snow  – and a school bus
Another dangerous dog

There are a lot more pictures, but since Marilyn does the processing, these are the ones she had time to work on. More photographs to come but hopefully, no more snow!

Just under 28 inches.

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.