Tag Archives: new england

Drought in New England

Old map of my neighborhood

When I tried to type “drought” in the title just now, it auto-corrected to “fright.” Exactly!

We are finally getting some rain, but it’s been bad, really bad — super hot and dry. Even that hardiest of perennials, the hosta, has struggled. I’ve dug up four shrubs and will likely have to dig up two more. Ferns have crisped and collapsed. Astilbe try valiantly, but barely make it despite daily watering. I’ve even been watering well-established trees for fear of losing them (NB: our reservoir, the Quabbin, has high levels right now).

It’s been a close-to-home wake up call for an area relatively immune to the drastic effects of climate change. Hurricanes are rare here. Tornados happen now again, but usually out by Worcester or Springfield. We don’t get flooding or wildfires and until now, drought was something that happened out West.

A dogwood that I planted at the elementary school years back doesn’t look like it’s gonna make it

A “flash drought” is nothing like the nearly decade-long drought in California, say, but it brings immediate consequences.

I read that a temperature change of 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic for forests in the Northeast.

This is not autumnal turning

No wonder some nights I feel the acid bloom of fear just as I’m dropping off to sleep.


IMG_7881It rained hard during the night and was still sprinkling when I took these pictures, but it is supposed to be 50 degrees today, and look at what I found.
IMG_7886The creeping sedum — ever so humble, but ever so bold!
IMG_7887On the south side of the house, an early crocus – though that is redundant, isn’t it? Soon this bed will be crowded with them, and with elegant snowdrops.
IMG_7871Even the ignored pot, so recently piled-high with snow, brings on a sense of spring.  I can’t wait to see what ‘s emerging under those leaves.

If you’re in the mood to celebrate the Equinox with a smile, take a quick listen (less than 2M) to the Detroit Elementary School’s cover of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’.

Happy Spring, fellow winter survivors!

more snow

IMG_7275 IMG_7278 For the first winter that I can EVER remember, New Englanders are uniformly complaining about the weather. The more usual head-shaking about changeability of the sky or stoic shrugs have given way to groaning.

Snow has relentlessly fallen every few days – or at least it feels that way.  With each accumulation comes heavy lifting, re-arranged schedules, worry about roads and rooves.  I have been living on my heating pad.
IMG_7307A friend of my brother-in-law died of a heart attack shoveling. Last night, there was news about two calamitous building collapses. Up in Salem, my sister’s building keeps producing lethal icicles, four feet long, two stories up, directly above her walkway.
IMG_7291This week found both K and me out on the roof, chipping, sweeping, scraping, and chiseling. The guy at the hardware store joked about using an acetylene blow torch. I laughed, but kind of wondered whether it might work — water was coming in through our kitchen ceiling, and nothing to that point had yet stopped it. Thankfully, the ice melt that I bought worked. I flung an entire box up into the valley where two parts of our house meet. Within hours, I could put away the pots that had been on the floor catching water.
IMG_7330I took comfort in knowing that were the ceiling to cave in, it would invariably happen when my husband was in Korea or Russia, and he was home (though he was NOT here when that awful slush and frozen rock-like stuff had to be moved around).

And, now it is supposed to rain and I find myself wondering, “What will THAT do?!”  I am driving to Maine today to help celebrate a friend’s birthday. Wish me luck!! I hope the freezing rain has come, melted, and gone. In the meantime, I am loving the squirrels who visit our deck.
IMG_7233 IMG_7246IMG_7223 IMG_7228 IMG_7239

It’s so cold that…

image by dee at clothcompany

It’s so cold that —
** Jack is doing his business in record time!
** Yesterday, at high school pick up, students had their HOODS up! (but still not wearing hats, scarves, or coats).
** I regretted wearing pj bottoms for the morning school run just now and felt an especial wave of gratitude for the heated seats on my return.
** I am wearing a down vest to sit at the PC.
** My new angora/cashmere socks (thank you, M!!) are ranked as one of my favorite possessions.

Stay warm everyone out there who is under this same frigid air!

An Excellent Day

All of a sudden, the profusion of growth in New England makes the mind reel.  It is happening so fast!  Everywhere I turn, something flowers or blades upward, about to unfurl.  Even the sweet woodruff, so humble and unassuming, offers a splendid display.

I think I have another fiber artist to thank for the multitude of blooms on our wisteria.  Normally, our vine confounds us by producing one or two blossoms — maybe five in a lush year.  I have tried ‘savagely pruning’, as recommended on Victory Garden or some similar show, but with never with any real results.

This year, however, fiber artist and papermaker Velma Bolyard put out the call for wisteria vine in order to try weaving with its bast (her work as an artist and teacher is inspiring — find her here: Wake Robin).  So, I cut the vine a couple of times in April — something I never have done before — and voila!  It is going like gangbusters out there with pale clusters of flowers all over.  I will have to make a note to repeat the pruning in April next spring!

Day 15

The ferns grow at an amazing clip.

The fiber house is soon to be enclosed by greenery.

But the best unfolding of the day was the happy, happy news that my sister has been deemed eligible for both SSI and SSDI.  I screamed outloud and peed myself a little, it was such good news.  (Eighty percent of applicants are turned down at the first go ’round).  I was prepared for the appeal process and ANOTHER five or six months of uncertainty.  Suddenly, a future for her seems possible.  Suddenly, four months of effort have a positive resolution.  I might even go so far as to assert that the $50,ooo I paid for a legal education paid off a little today.