THE BATTLE FOR WHITIN’S POND – Marilyn Armstrong

There is an ongoing war between the Canada geese and the swans. It has, it seems, been going on forever and will go on forevermore.

Ducks get along with every other kind of waterfowl. Swans, geese, even herons will swim with ducks. No friction. It doesn’t matter what kind of duck, either. Any color, any shape duck will swim anywhere with any kind of fowl.

Between Canada geese — or maybe any geese — and swans, there’s an ongoing battle. You will see swans on a pond or you will see geese, but unless they are fighting, you won’t see both.

Why not? You’d have to ask the birds because I have no idea.

In the nest

In the reeds

Nesting

Swans have possession of Whitin’s pond. They swim there, eat there, nest there, raise their cygnets on those quiet waters before the small dam where the river continues. Really, Whitin’s pond is not a pond. It’s just a really wide part of the Blackstone and it is very shallow. This makes it particularly good as a nesting site.

This year, the geese decided to invade the swan’s nesting site. They cracked open the swans’ eggs and took over the site.

The battle is waged.

The battle is waged.

The swans fought back and ultimately, managed to drive the geese away. The geese are much more agile than swans, at least out of the water. In the water, though, swans are much bigger and a lot stronger than the geese.

There are usually more geese than swans, so by sheer number, the geese have an advantage, but the swans are very persistent in protecting their locations. And this part of the Blackstone belongs to the swans and has as long as we have lived here.

Attack mode!

As it happened, we showed up on the day of the first big battle of the geese and the swans. We didn’t know until a few weeks later who won the war, but there were the swans and their cygnets, so they are the victors. I have not seen any more geese on that part of the river.

Watching for the invaders.

Watching for the invaders.

Where were you while the battle was going on?

Where were you while the battle was going on?

Forgive? Will they build a new nest?

Forgiven? Will they build a new nest? They did and from it came cygnets, so all was not lost.

It’s hard to understand the battle. There are plenty of places to raise cygnets and goslings. It’s a big river and there are more than adequate ponds and lakes. Maybe there is more food on this part of the river.

Swan and nearly grown cygnets

Whatever the reason, this is where the battles begin and end.

STUFF AND NONSENSE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Joints and/or Things You Enjoy

What a combination! Things I just like … or joints. Mostly, I don’t like my joints. They are arthritic and sore. The hips and spine especially. There are other joints of which I’m fond, but for a bunch of reasons, I won’t be posting their pictures.

Where else are joints to be found? Furniture. Buildings. Bridges. Let’s see what I’ve got lurking around my photo files.

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It’s a twofer. Joints and something I really LOVE to do

This falls into the category of "thinks I like to do ..."

This falls into the category of “thinks I like to do …”

Joints!

Joints!

Lots of joints on this former turkey!

Lots of joints on this former turkey!

WHERE’S MY WIFE?

As we were packing up to come home — really, I wasn’t packing so much as stuffing my belongings into a duffel — I was bummed. At having to come home to reality.

Reality is full of telephone calls. Details. Bills. Thanksgiving is next week, Christmas just a month after. Holidays and gifts mean money. Which is always a problem and inevitably ups my anxiety levels to absurd heights.

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As if the holidays aren’t enough, it’s also “open enrollment” for medical stuff. I need to take a hard look at Garry’s drug plan. And I need to be sure I’m in the best Medicare plan I can afford. I think the Blue Cross PPO I’ve got is as good as is available, especially considering its modest price.

Nonetheless, I need to check. If I find out I missed the boat, I’ll have a year of kicking myself before I can fix it.

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Then there is The Cell Phone. By now, everyone knows how I feel about cell phones. I no longer have one of my own, having had it turned off. Garry and I share one. Mostly, it’s his, but sometimes I use it too.

Which is fine, except it’s an iPhone 4 and more than 2 years old. It didn’t have good audio when it was brand new. Time has not improved either the phone or Garry’s hearing.

I’m looking at Amazon’s Fire phone now that they’ve dropped the price. Both Garry and I have Kindle Fire tablets and like them. We’re happy in the Amazon universe, so it might be a good fit for us … if AT&T won’t flatten us with fees and charges.

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Logically, it should be no big deal, but the way taxes are structured, it will be. I don’t understand people who actually want a new phone every year. I hate the whole process, the expense, learning the new equipment.

What a pain in the butt! Moreover, just to make it worse, Massachusetts requires we pay taxes on the full price of the phone no matter what the actual price. Which right now is 99 cents with a 2-year contract.

Garry’s existing contract with AT&T expires on December 20th, so I have to call. Find out what all of this will really cost. It’ll be 99 cents for the phone, plus a $40 “upgrade fee,” plus taxes. And who knows if the plan we have will be valid with a new phone.

By the time all is said and done, it’ll cost us hundreds of dollars … and Christmas is just around the corner. It makes me want to scream.

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There’s more. Lots more. Doctor appointments. Medication issues. Veterinarian trips. Dental work for Nan.

I need help. I’m overloaded, freaking out, tired. Stressed. I need someone to take care of business so I can relax. I need a go-to person to deal with the loose ends of our lives.

I need a WIFE.

SHARING MY WORLD – WEEK 46

Share Your World – 2014 Week 46

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep? 

Cleanliness and no bugs. But we’ve stayed in some pretty horrible places. Memorably horrible and hopefully will never repeat those experiences.

futon bed cape cod

Music or silence while working?

If I’m editing photos, I will listen to an audiobook or music, but if I’m writing, silence is best. Or at least quiet.

If you were to move and your home came fully furnished with everything you ever wanted, list at least three things from your old house you wish to retain?

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My Chinese porcelain (probably more than three pieces!), some of which is very old … as in thousands of years. And our bed. I LOVE our bed.

Hallway

Our artwork — the paintings and photographs we have hanging on our walls — is worth more than money. My framed photos, Garry’s awards and photos, plus the paintings and photographs we have bought through the years cannot be replaced. Most are one-of-a-kind. These are what make our home ours.

Han Dynasty 206 BC - 220 AD

Han Dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD

What’s your least favorite mode of transportation?

Air by far. It’s not the planes, although they are bad. It’s airports that really kill me. Who designs them? They are the worst experience — horrible — for everyone. Is there anyone who loves airports? If so, why?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

They finally fixed the well and we have water. And he came back and filled the huge hole with sand so we have something like a front walk again. Next week? A proper lid for the well, then we are finished with the crisis. Or so we fondly believe!

DOORS, KNOBS, HANDLES – FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Doors, Door Knobs and Handles

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture of a door handle or knob just for itself. It has always been part of a larger structure. But I do have doors. Lots of them. Old, new and in the middle. Arched, square, screened and wood. The door handles and knobs are there too — as part of the bigger picture.

Church door Amherst shadow

UU church door

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ANOTHER ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 38

I’m not entirely sure what make a photo odd any more. I just have photos. So here are a few. Odd? I don’t know. But  whatever they are, I’m fond of them and I can’t figure out what else they might be.

The first are my stained glass wolves on my living room window, the second a pot of marigolds in a flower box in Hyannis. The third is the old bread box I bought at a yard sale long ago.

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Hyannis flowers shop

old breadbox new bread

SOMEWHERE IN SUTTON

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Kaity and I went shooting today. We haven’t done that in a long time and it was a pleasure spending time with this young woman who is my granddaughter.

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It was not quite as bright and beautiful as it had been earlier in the week … but it was neither raining nor snowing.

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At this point in the seasons, a day which isn’t bitterly cold and when precipitation isn’t falling from the sky, is a good day to be out and about.

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Monday Garry and I are off again. Me to Amherst to stay with friends, he from there to Amherst to Long Island, then back to pick up the luggage (me). And home.

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I’ll try to get some pictures while I’m out in the western part of our lovely commonwealth.

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These pictures were taken somewhere in Sutton. A farm, a pond, a few bright leaves.

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We met a big (probably) Greylag (domestic, not wild) goose who was taking a break from the farm and failed to read the signs reminding us not to feed the geese. I hoped I was seeing a rare goose, but suspected, when he walked out of the water and stood there looking cute, he was probably domestic.

I have dogs. I know begging when I see it.

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WATER BIRDS AT LACKEY DAM

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I haven’t seen any swans around here at all in months. The local ponds, rivers, waterfalls were all  dry, with their muddy bottoms showing.

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Kaity tells me she’s seen a lot of swans, but not in the usual places. I assume they went to deeper water. Before the rain started in October, you could walk across Whitin’s Pond.

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The ponds are full again. Full of water, full of ducks. I’ve never seen so many ducks. And today, down by Lackey Dam, one swan … and a lot of ducks. The leaves around the pond are dark red to bronze and so, by reflection, is the water.

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A fine day for waterfowl.

NEVERENDING AUTUMN – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Not only has this been a particularly beautiful Autumn, but it has lasted longer than any in my memory. It started in September … earlier than normal … and it has not quite left us yet.

On our way back from the mall in Millbury, we left Route 146 via Lackey Dam road and when we got to the pond, Marilyn spotted a flash of white. A swan!

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I found a place to pull of the road and we took our cameras and walked the short path to the pond. The leaves were russet and red, the sky bright blue. Reflections were perfect mirrors of the sky with crisp leave floating like boats across the surface.

It was a John Ford afternoon. I could hear the music softly in the distance …

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