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Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

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Archive for February, 2015


A Midwinter Walk Along The Farmington River

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The weather in New England, from the middle of January until now, can be summed up in two words — snow and cold. A lot of both. We are starting to measure snow in feet instead of inches. There have also been days when cold is measured by the Alaskan standard of “seconds to frostbite” instead of degrees. Winter weather patterns like this are not new in this area, but once this type of weather cycle sets in, it is slow to move on. There are only two ways to deal with this weather — complain about it or embrace it. In past years, my wife, Tricia, and I often would take a two week vacation from all of this and drive south to Louisiana to visit friends and embrace Mardi Gras and the warm weather. This year, however, we decided to embrace the cold and snow. This is the time of year when I begin interviewing the professional farmers and the gardeners that work the soil on the “flats” to get an idea of what varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers will be planted come spring. If weather permits, I first take a walk along the river and around the fields before talking to anyone. Unfortunately, the first snowstorm turned to  freezing rain before it ended, and coated all of the trails with a sheet of ice. Since I don’t own ice cleats, I had to wait for more snow to cover the ice. I didn’t have to wait long. A week later, another large storm moved across the country and dumped as much as 30 inches on the East Coast. The Farmington area only got about 12 inches. This was enough to cover the ice sheet and make my 5-mile hike possible.

In the warm weather months, I hike this trail every day, and collect mental images of what I see and experience during the hikes. I have included some of my favorite warm weather images along with the snowy photos that I shot during this winter hike.

Below are photos of two of my favorite fishing spots, taken during  fishing season, followed by some recent shots of the same areas as winter settled in.

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Here are two photos of Kolp Gardens at the beginning of the gardening season and later as the gardens flourish.

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Below: The snow-covered back path along the gardens, looking east.

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As I continue walking east, the gardeners’ rest area comes into view.

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I have reached the east end of the gardens and head back to the west and into the woods along the river.

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There were folks ice fishing on this day.

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This pudgy little sparrow landed in front of me several times as I walked along the river path. I think he was gathering animal hairs for a nest.

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This bridge crosses a drainage canal then empties into the river. In the back, on the right, is a boat house used by the crew teams of Farmington High School and Miss Porter’s School, a private school. From here I turn around and head back to the parking area.

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Leaving the river path back onto the flats and down the path to the parking area.

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Walking at my usual pace, I can cover a mile in about 15 minutes. On this day it took at least 30 minutes to  travel that distance.

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