Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rain & Brush

On again, off again rain this afternoon out at the Lodge.

This evening we got a good soaking rain after 7 p.m.

It all only amounted to 0.18" though.

Unfortunate part was that brush and leaf litter was being pulled together, bailed, and brought for composting while the rain was going on.

At least this will reduce the fire danger.

Presently it is 10:17 p.m.
The temperature is 60.4 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 98% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.62" and steady.

A Birdsongful Morning

Better be prepared to get up early if you leave the windows open.
The birds are very excited about dawn, pre-dawn, and post-dawn for that matter.
It is nice, assuming you got to bed early enough to be able to appreciate it.

Things here at the foot of the Cascades are cool, shady, slightly overcast, light breeze, and generally pleasant.

A satisfying note horticulturally.
We have trouble getting much to grow here in the dense shade.
Nevertheless, this spring's plantings seem to have taken hold.
One heritage apple tree to match the two planted here early in the last century has taken hold.
Three deep shade, deep cold miniature rose bushes also seem to have taken to the soil.

Last year we planted four Hawthorne trees as edging to the Lodge.
They 'survived' last year, but definitely didn't do much more than that.
This spring they have come into their own and are growing quite well.

Things have been quiet at the trail head as yet.

The Cascades Brook is flowing.
The Cascades have a small flow going over the top.

Yesterday's pending Thunderstorms never materialized.
Today's predicted Thunderstorms..... well, who knows?

Presently it is 8:08 am,
The temperature is 62.8 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 75% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.80" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We have a fan

Thanks to Mike for the shout-out on 508 this week.
We're flattered!

(And if you want to do a 508 on site, let us know.)

The wrens are happy

As I write this, the wrens and the robins are doing a joint chorus outside.
(Okay, joined for a bit by a passing jet. But still...)

Clear blue skies out there!
At 2:30, it is 76 degrees
34% humidity

As of yesterday, the fire danger remains LOW

Thursday, May 29, 2008

High skies

The kids at the bus stop this morning were thrilled to realize that you could see the moon! It's in the last quarter.

Clear skies this morning.
At 9:30 it is 57 degrees and rising
46% humidity and so the fire danger remains MODERATE

Trails are clear and dry. The brook is burbling along.

There isn't much on it yet, as it only went up yesterday, but the GWLT blog expansion continues with a new one for Nick's Woods.


A bit behind on the's an oriole from Mother's Day. He was enjoying the blooming apple tree behind the Lodge.

(the junior-est ranger refers to this bird as an "Oreo," which complicates her finding it in the tree)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Neighbor in the Cascades

Due to a tree hearing notice we have learned that the remaining private lot along Howard Street adjacent to Cascades West along its northern edge is being developed.

The lot is mostly in Paxton, with the road and a small bit of the land in Holden.

They appear to be looking to pave Howard Street running south from the intersection of Camp Street and Howard Street to the house. They are looking to take out as many as 28 trees to get this work done running to the lot.

We will be tracking the project and the work as it moves forward.

* * * * * * * *

This morning Volunteer Ranger Bob Q. and I (Colin) were out at Nick's Woods preping for the National Trails Day projects on Saturday June 7th, 8:30-11:00 a.m. A new northern trail loop is in the works as is a stream crossing!

* * * * * * * *

This afternoon John Coolidge of MassAudubon and I walked Bovenzi Conservation Park with an eye to abuter issues like sheds, fences or dumping on conservation land. We took digital photos, walked with GPS units and enjoyed the afternoon outside in the forest.

Maybe they live here

Not one but two cottontails when we went out to get the paper this morning!
(at some point we'll remember to bring the camera with us, maybe!)

The storm has cleared out and so we are left with clear skies.
Last night's storm gave us 0.04 inches of rain
That brings the fire danger back down to MODERATE for today

At 9:30 it is 52 degrees
49% humidity
There's a hiker out this morning already.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just missing us

According to the National Weather Service, the dramatic weather is passing to our north:

We're still looking for possible thunderstorms until 8 pm tonight, however.

Bunny alert!

A big cottontail was out having his breakfast this morning on the grassy back lawn next to the Lodge. He hopped off into the woods once he was spotted.
(Hide the lettuce!)

Overcast skies and a lower barometer (29.77 pounds of pressure) hint of the storm that's coming. The forecast is for severe thunderstorms coming through between 2 and 6 this afternoon.
While we didn't get any measurable rain last night, it is damp out there, especially under the trees. Currently, we've got 86% humidity here, though it's falling.
At 9:30, it is 67 degrees.
Fire danger here is MODERATE, 'though it looks as though it's up to high in the Berkshires.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Red Flag Warning in Effect!

UPDATE: From noon to 8pm today, a red flag fire warning is in effect. The lack of rain for the past four days (last observed rain at the Lodge was a trace 5 days ago at 0.08"), plus (updated to strong) winds, (and updated to include lightning strike possibilities this evening/night) add up to a potential for fire.

At 9 am, it is 63 degrees and rising.
55% humidity
Barometer holding steady at 29.91 inches of mercury.
We did some more rock raking yesterday and hope to have the whole driveway in shape this week.
The squirrels and birds are busy this morning.

As of 3:36 p.m., it is 77.2 degrees and falling.
37% humidity and steady.
Barometer falling to 29.80" of mercury.

As of 7:18 p.m., it is 68.9 degrees F and falling.
52% humidity and steady.
Barometer presently stable at 29.77" of mercury.

Something as yet and heretofore unobserved here at the Lodge:
Someone used and locked up to the bikerack installed some three years ago this afternoon!
May it be but the first of many such observances.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Enjoy that sun

It looks like it's staying around for awhile!

We appear to have garter snakes that have taken up residence in the stone wall along the trail. We keep coming across them in the grass along there. We'll try to get a photo.

At 8:30, it is 59 degrees and rising.
Clear sunny skies
52% humidity
Fire danger is MODERATE

Trails are clear and dry. The Cascades are running ('though slowing; if you haven't seen them, we're heading into the dry season, so get out there!), as is the brook.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day weekend

A lovely weekend for a hike, folks!

At 10 am it is 60 degrees and clear
57% humidity
Fire danger is LOW

C'mon through! The walking is fine!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Light Breeze, Sun

There is full sun in the sky and full shade on the ground here.
You have to love living on the temperate rainforest floor in summer time!

Presently it is 7:44 a.m.
The temperature is 50.0 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 81% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.68" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

The Cascades Brook is flowing.
The Cascades has some flow.

The parking area is open and the trails are in good shape.

This is shaping up to be a goos Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

is this May?

Feeling and looking like April out there, at the most.
At 10 am, it is 48 degrees
77% humidity
Last night's rain brought the fire danger down to LOW.

Might the sky be possibly clearing? It's raining again.

It won't matter right now, but as the summer goes along, it's sad to think of what the sudden increase this week in the impervious surface in the neighborhood will do to the temperature in the brook. While there aren't fish that venture far upstream, it is a stream that is the right setting for brook trout if it had water year 'round, and there's been some talk of stocking it with the brook trout's smaller cousins that can stand lower water levels in the summer. The increase in temperature that comes with a bunch more asphalt feeding water straight into the brook won't be good for that, though.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More animals closer to home

Yesterday the junior rangers report a garter snake here on the lawn. About two feet long, he wasn't so much afraid of us as wanted to be left alone.
The geese across the street at Cook's Pond are the proud parents of five goslings. The neighbors report that there were six, but, well, Mrs. Mallard's mistrust of places where there were "turtles in the water" was well-founded!

At 2:30 this afternoon, under skies that are alternately sunny and cloudy, it is 63 degrees.
38% humidity
No rain to speak of. It keeps threatening, but none falls.
Fire danger is MODERATE.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Red Fox

Red fox.
Cascades West about 2:30 p.m.
I would say an adult.
Bottom of the hill on Silver Spring Road near the town (Paxton/Holden) bound marker.
Four witnesses in total as we were having a GWLT scouting of some sites on the land.

I think this may be the third time I have seen fox up there.

More Sunshine

Presently it is 46.9 degrees F (and rising), clear, and sunny.
There is a light breeze.
The humidity is 65% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.53" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

The driveway paving operation to the N and across the street to the NE is completed, though there are still cars parked out in Olean Street so keep an eye out.

The difference between the recent raking of 16 yds of 3/4" stone for a driveway surface and the way it melds into the woods is particularly well demonstrated by the contrasting laying of asphalt and the way the yard becomes an extension of the street right up to the house.

This is encouraging as the stone felt like an "addition" to the site and an alteration of the landscape. This weighed on my mind as we were raking it out. True it is better for groundwater recharge but the visual is what we live with.

In truth the stone is a lesser alteration visually, and I appreciate that more now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Windy, Clear, and Pleasant

The sun is out, though it is pretty dark here at the moment, and there is a definite wind passing through.

We have now officially moved to "summer mode" here at the Lodge.
When the trees fully leaf in for the summer we spend most of the day in a fairly dark, and somewhat humid environment. It is the forest floor as our habitat.
Paradoxically, the winter, with no leaves on the trees, is particularly bright and dry.
I find this helpful in so far as I (Colin) deeply miss the sun over the winter so having an inverse sun cycle is really great.

Presently it is 8:10am here at the Lodge.
The temperature is 48 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 63% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.29" of mercury and steady (yet low enough to show unstable weather potential).
Yesterday's rain showers didn't register any significant amount.
The USFS Forest Danger is LOW.

There have been a lot of hikers who went through this weekend. It was great to see you all.
There have also been a lot of folks stopping by the Lodge for Land Trust business.
Busy times here.

Finally a big thank you to George and the Dressers of Dresser's Tree Farm in Jefferson for the chance to spend yesterday morning planting frasier fir saplings. Great fun was had by all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bright, bright

The storm just blew over us last night. We got no measurable rain from what looked fairly impressive on the map.
At 9 am it is 57 degrees and rising.
58 % humidity
A dog walker just went through on his daily round.
Fire danger is MODERATE (interesting: we went through Douglas State Forest yesterday, and they had a sign up for VERY HIGH there. Have we gotten that much more rain?)

Almost minutes later two more hikers moving through.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful Spring Weekend

The time now is 2:54pm.

The sky is clear, there is a breeze, the sun is bright, and last night's rains have really topped the cake!

It is absolutely amazing out there.

Even the USFS Forest Danger is LOW.

Presently it is 72.1 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 32% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 29.32" of mercury and steady.

Yesterday we got 0.47" of rain.
Since midnight we got 0.31" more,
For a grand total of 0.78" of rain.

The Cascades Brook is swollen and running.
The Cascades have flow.

The trail is in good shape and we have been having traffic here at the trail head all day long.

This is one of those awesome weekend days.
Grab it!

Friday, May 16, 2008


We were out this morning at the Bhatia funeral...

At 1pm, it is 57 degrees and cloudy
70% humidity (a bit of rain, but not measurable)
Fire danger remains MODERATE
Cascades are trickling
Two hikers just went by on the trail: don't let the rain deter you, either!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

National Trails Day!

Please join the Greater Worcester Land Trust for clearing and blazing trails in celebration of National Trails Day!
Saturday, June 7th At Nick's Woods 8:30 am to 11:00 am
No Experience necessary
(Clippers, loppers, bow saws, and work gloves most welcome)
Please park at St. John's Church and meet at the end of Smith Lane.
RSVP or 508-795-3838 X603
For more information about the land trust visit

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sunny with some wind

Not dropping off the map or anything...

72 degrees at 1:30 pm
32% humidity

Barometer holding steady at 30 pounds of pressure.

It seems we missed posting a red flag fire danger warning yesterday! I hope that didn't have any ill effects.

Today the fire danger remains MODERATE.

We have a pair of wrens who seem to be thinking of nesting in the big evergreens next to the house. The Junior Rangers are in great hopes that finally something might move into our birdhouses!

Michael Bhatia information

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral Mass on Friday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 151 Village St. in Medway. Calling hours will be held on Thursday from 4- 8 p.m. at the Ginley-Crowley Funeral Home, 3 Barber St. in Medway. Burial will take place at the family plot at the Valley View Cemetery in Ticonderoga, NY.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Michael’s memory may be made to the Michael V. Bhatia Memorial Fund c/o Rockland Trust Company, 288 Union St., Rockland, MA 02370.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Michael Bhatia, Rest in Peace

Our condolences to Tricia Bhatia and her family today.
(Through this past spring, Tricia worked at the Land Trust, and we were glad of her help last week in digging post holes at Nick's Woods.)

Her brother Michael, a scholar on Afghanistan and a doctoral candidate at Oxford University, was killed, along with two American soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, by a roadside bomb last Wednesday. He was 31.

You can read The Boston Globe's coverage here.

So, so sorry, Tricia.


We have...ducks!

The Junior Rangers report in that they have seen, several times now, a mallard pair (this morning just one of them) in the brook between Olean Street and Cook's Pond. We suspect they may be nesting down by the pond. We hope if they decide to cross Olean, they will take the culvert under the street, as we have no friendly Officer Michael on hand to help them cross!

A hike this morning the length of the Cascades Trail! There was a pretty impressive wind up on the hill this morning. No trash (well, except for the remains of the old dump on Cascades East, which practically qualify as antiques now!). There has, unfortunately, been someone out with a knife blazing the trail: it isn't good for the trees, dude! Not to mention that carving "John 3:16" into a tree is not a great evangelizing technique!

The trail itself is in good shape, 'though the sign pointing the way onto the Silver Spring Trail up from the Cascades Trail is down (and now propped up). We also could use a bit more blazing (with PAINT!) right there, to make the Cascades Trail clearer.

At 10:30, it is 48 degrees.
63% humidity
Overcast skies, but steady barometer
Fire danger is MODERATE
No rain to measure yet today.

Chillier than you'd think out there.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Clearing skies

The rain looks as though it is mostly moving out. Chillier than it has been, though, so you'll want a layer if you're heading out.

At 1 pm, it is 58 degrees
57% humidity and falling

Barometer holding steady at 29.65 pounds of pressure

Last night we got .12 inches of rain.
Forest fire danger is LOW

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cascades to Newton trail

A hike this morning on up the Cascades trail to the Newton trail brought at least one very busy woodpecker into view. Trails are in good shape; no litter, little erosion. Stream is running full.

At 7am, it is 49 degrees (it's barely risen in the last hour).
76% humidity
Cloudy skies
Barometer is holding steady

Still no fire danger, but I'll venture to say it's LOW (the whole US Forest Service website is offline)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rain, rain

Warm but rainy this morning.
So far today we've had 0.04 inches of rain. It's amazing how what feels like "a lot" doesn't add up to much.
The falls are running.
It is 60 degrees at 10 am
93% humidity

And I'm thinking of sending the U.S. Forest Service an email to complain about their map!
The trails at this point are just damp, so the going should be fine for most of today unless the rain really increases.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another beauty

At 4:30 (sorry for the late post!), it is 72 degrees
26% humidity
Barometer is falling; clouds are coming in tonight
US Forest Service is still down...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Clear skies...

and the pollen count is climbing!
(Hey, maybe we should be posting that!)

Beautiful day out there, and the Cascades are still running.
At 8am, it is 52 degrees.
74% humidity
US Forest Service is currently offline, so we're guessing that the fire danger is still LOW.
Barometer is holding steady

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Rocks!

And so the big truck came with 16 yds of 3/4" stone for the driveway and parking area.

Only problem is that it now looks like the 16 yds. isn't really enough.
That seems impossible when you look at the size of the truck, but....

Well, we will rake it out and see how far it goes.

Presently it is 8:20am, sunny, light breeze, and very green.
The temperature is 50.4 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 79% and falling.
The barometric pressure is 30.00" of mercury and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

The trails are soft with periodic puddles.
The Cascades Brook is running, and there is some flow over the Cascades.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The skies clear

Finally this afternoon, the last batch of clouds headed out and the sun came out.
We've had 0.08 additional inches of rain here.
It is now 55 degrees
87% humidity
There is NO fire danger
The trails will be wet at least through tomorrow.
The Cascades are running and will continue to run for the next few days.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fire danger is out!

The fire danger, for the first time in some weeks, is nonexistent!

A good day to go out with a torch and cut up a car!

We didn't post here today because all at the Lodge were out bright and early to Nick's Woods, along with many volunteers. A mountain of trash, including a car, a refrigerator, a hot water heater, a snowblower, eight or more tires, were collected and hauled out! Three gates went up! Hot dogs were cooked and eaten. A good time had by all.

HUGE THANKS to those who braved the chilly wet day and came out to work!
A particular shout-out to the driver of the CLAW who hauled out all that metal!

Here at the Lodge at 9:30 pm, it is 41 degrees
97% humidity
Barometer holding steady (we're between storm systems, from the map)
0.12 inches of rain today

And I will vouch that it is wet and chilly!

Mark your calendars now for a National Trails Day event at Nick's Woods on June 7th!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rain coming through

It looks as though the rain is heading out.
It is damp out there, so if you're going out on a hike, you'll want to be dressed for it.

At 9am, it is 42 degrees and overcast
We got 0.12 inches of rain last night
89% humidity (not presently raining)
Fire danger (as of last night) is MODERATE

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

There is a calm before the storm on two fronts.

Firstly, there is a series of storm clouds associated with cooler air coming to rest on New England fro the next three or four days.

Secondly, there is a massive Earth Day cleanup at Nick's Woods coming for this Saturday morning with all of the gear, planning, delegation, and lead work you would associate with such an enterprise.

It is the later which delayed today's post.

Presently it is 8:15pm.
The temperature is 52.7 degrees F and falling.
The humidity is 38% and steady.
The barometric pressure is 30.03" of mercury and steady (yet indicating rain.)
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.

The brook is notably slowing and the falls have flow but no frothing white.

There will be improvements made to the parking areas here at the Lodge starting on Monday as well.

Some 16 yards of 3/4" stone are ordered from Worcester Sand & Gravel for an early Monday morning arrival. This is all going to get raked out by hand so there will be some interruption in the parking and access at the Olean Street trail head for a day or two. We are hoping to get the lower lot raked out first so as to have as little a disruption as possible. No worries for this weekend however.