You might also like

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A rare sort of winter day

Yesterday, between Alberta clippers number four and five, the sky was clear, the sun brilliant.  I took my camera for a ride.

Every morning I go down into the valley to go to work.  My favorite route is Kendall Road.  Its name changes to Truxell half way down; all our roads have first names and the Truxell farm was on this road.  Charles Truxell was a trustee in the sixties. Hayward Kendall donated a huge tract of land to the state to be used in perpetuity for park purposes, and named in honor of his mother, Virginia Kendall.  It was a state park when I grew up, and now is part of the national park that ate Boston.

The road in the summer is canopied over by the tree leaves.  My summer pictures of driving through a tunnel of deciduous trees have not been spectacular.  But the reason for the canopy is so evident in the winter months I got successful pictures of their bones.

I pulled in and out of parking lots the entire length of the road.  Beside Kendall Lake, there are trailheads for The Ledges and for The Octagon rock trails.  Every parking lot is lined with quarried rock; there were two major quarries in the area up to the twentieth century.  One quarry now is The Quarry, a summer swimming hole for kids, and the other is Deep Lock Quarry, maintained by the Metropolitan Park Service.

When I left home with the camera my intent was to take pictures of shadows The blazing blue sky wound up preempting shadows, but here is an interesting tree.

This is one of many creeks through the glacial ravines that empty into the lake.  There is another little water course behind my house that travels to the lake.  About twenty years ago, with township zoning only slightly more lax than it currently is, the landowner up the hill behind us decided to clear cut his woods.  Nothing I said to the township or the EPA resulted in a stop work order.  At the next big rain storm the stark naked hill of course descended by the tons into our little creek.  Smothered our apple orchard, too.  When an EPA fellow finally appeared he shook his head and said “Lady, you have a helluva mess here.”  Jan and I went toe to toe with the Amish chainsawers and saved trees on our property.  That’s a good story for some time.

Eventually the hill washed entirely downstream to the lake and silted it in.  It had to be drained and dredged a couple of years ago.  It didn’t have to happen.  Here’s the lake from the parking lot, and a deer trail.

Many of the shelters at the trail heads were WPA projects that became state or local parks, and now part of the National Park.  I love the stonework and am happy it’s being maintained. Steps to a trail and an interesting tree.

At the end of the road I turned at the golf course and came back.  The tree is at the end of one of the lakes on the golf course, and the lakes have what the fire district calls dry hydrants.  Along the road there are two pipes that terminate in the lake and can be attached to the tanker by a hose at the working end.  If there is a fire in the district, godforbid, the tankers take on loads of water at the lake and go fight the fire.  For years the hydrants were black.  One day one of my favorite fireman, Nick, put down a receipt for paint and brushes on my desk, and went out and painted them red.  They still look spiffy.

I made my U turn to come home, and was obliged to take this picture:

Almost all year long our narrow township roads are clogged by spandex warriors.  We clean up their stinking sports drink bottles.  Often we can’t get out of our own roads to go grocery shopping.  And we even have to tell them how to behave.  Another story.  I guess I’ll be in business for awhile.


  1. The good, the bad and the ugly lol.

  2. That sky has a real cold blueness about it....doqeqqsqqq it not?

  3. I can't wait to hear your battle of the axes story!
    I loved visiting your neck of the woods from the comfort of my armchair..we must do this more often!
    Jane x

  4. I adore the elegance of the bare bones of trees in winter. Thank you for taking me on this pilgrammage - it was a delight. And I will be very interested in your story about the spandex tribe. Rude, arrogant, bullies far too much of the time.

  5. That snowy landscape is not a sight I see here Jo.

  6. spandex warriors - on bikes?
    Is that clear cutting idiot still living there?
    I didn't notice the spiffy red hydrants in your pics. I do appreciate spiffy.

  7. These are cool pictures; I do like the first two with the road and the trees; you can definitely see the changing of the season as you travel that road!


  8. I loved the line "all our roads have first names" and also the special tree by the stairs ... are you seeing if we are awake? haha Looking forward to the stories that were remembered while you told this one. You would be a great pleasure to travel with!

    1. I also intended to mention the town near us where the fire hydrants are all painted to co-ordinate with the nearest building or landmark - eg a prisoner in striped clothing near to the police station, a uniformed ball player near the baseball field, etc. They have been maintained for close to twenty years now and provide a job for an artistic student every other summer.

    2. I'll have to mention this to Nick and to the Art Academy. The kids painted the picnic table last year; the hydrants would make wonderful animals.

  9. Some of those pictures are good enough to be postcards or calendars. I love the snow covered steps.

  10. Brrrr.... It's fun to see your winter photos. It really irritates me when people think of the world as their garbage can. Sigh...

  11. I really like the way you write. I like the bones of the trees in the snow.
    If the sea wall wasn't constantly shored up here, most of the village would be under water.
    I loved your driving comment on my blog & read it out toi my husband

  12. I have really enjoyed your photographs, could almost feel and smell the clean, fresh air.

  13. Beautiful pictures. Hard to believe that your neighbor clear cut his land and for what purpose? Now he has no land, certainly no top soil. Stupid. Did he truly not understand what would happen or just not give a damn.

  14. It really upsets me when I hear of ignorant people cutting trees
    down and causing environmental disaster. You're so lucky to still have tree-lined roads like that. So many ash trees have been cut down due to emerald ash borers and we still are losing big, beautiful elms to Dutch elm disease. It's so sad.

  15. It looks so beautiful there. You are so lucky :)

  16. Here in Oregon we do not know what an Alberta Clipper is. Could you fill us Wild Westerners in?