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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Comparative Weather Madness!

(Ooooooo...... Pretty Charts!)


You look over the 8 a.m. and p.m. readings and mostly you get the idea that, hey, you know there isn't a whole lot different between the area around the Lodge and the edge of the Meadow.

Maybe there isn't, or maybe we are looking at it the wrong way.

So we set up a system to capture the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure at half-hour increments from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (At the edge of the meadow there is the wireless unit out in the woods and the registering unit, which is enclosed) Thanks for the assist on this to the gang.

Now this gets a little more interesting!
Maybe there is something distinct about 400' elevation, and exposure versus Cascades bottom....

(Not like you are really going to read the above data sheet)

But here is a chart on temperature.
Warmer during the day at the Lodge than up on the hill.... ok.
Temperatures fall off at different rates such that when we would usually look at the snap shot they are about the same.
Potentially interesting.


And then there is the humidity.....
More humid up on the hill and falling as evening sets on.
Less humid at the Lodge and rising as evening sets on.

Barometric pressure tracking the same.
Only difference is that the weather equipment up at the edge of the meadow registered a rise in pressure earlier than down at the Lodge.


At 10:30, it is still only 72 degrees
90% humidity under the trees
Fire danger is LOW

The storms that blew through yesterday did cool things off, and, I suspect, take some of the humidity out of the air (if you aren't under trees!). We got 0.28 inches of rain yesterday and 0.08 inches after midnight last night.

Barometer here is holding steady at 29.71 pounds of pressure.
Two of the rose bushes here at the Lodge are in bloom.

The Cascades and the brook will be sending through all of that rain today!

Friday, June 27, 2008


Very, very humid...

You wouldn't think that it could be so humid and not rain.

Up in the meadow this morning, it's 95% humidity
Here at Lodge? 93%
That's pretty wet.

We've had a number of hikers go through, including two from the City of Worcester on their treasure hunt!
Barometer is steady at 29.8.
At 10:30 am, it is 73 degrees here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fox, Hawk, and Weather

Firstly, a cool sighting of fox up by the meadow in the woods.
And a hawk as well.
Very cool!

Not like the weather, which is very humid.

Meadow Weather 8:00pm
66.7 degrees F, with 95% humidity, and 29.71" of mercury, all steady.
Lodge Weather 8:00pm
68.0 degrees F, with 96% humidity, and 29.77" of mercury, all steady.

There is a difference of elevation, and distance, yet little difference in conditions.
We will keep checking in to see what else we learn over time.

the rain came

It wasn't even 10:30 when it started.

It hasn't held up some intrepid hikers, though (GOOD FOR YOU!).
It did send us inside to bake.

More Fun with Remote Weather

Presently it is warm, sunny, with a light breeze. Quite nice!

An interesting thing about the Cascades is that there is about a 400 ft. elevation change from the base of the Cascades to the top of the Meadow (keep that in mind on your next hike!). The hill which has the meadow is exposed to wind while the base of the Cascades are in a valley and are more sheltered at the bottom of the 'cliff.'

Ok, fine. So what?

Well we have set up some remote weather gear to see what if any differences are noted from the base to the top.

Last night at 6 pm the hill registered:
69.6 degrees F with 71% humidity.
While the Lodge registered at 6:24pm:
70.3 degrees F with 73% humidity.

Given that the equipment is within a degree of error that is more or less the same reading.
We hadn't got the timing or pressure thing worked out by that point.

This morning at 8:03 am the hill registered:
29.47" of Mercury and steady; 65 degrees F and steady; 83% humidity.
The Lodge at the same time registered:
29.88" of Mercury and steady; 65.7 degrees F and rising; 91% humidity

The pressure difference is a function of elevation.
You reset the device to your base elevation to account for the presence or absence of the column of air above you pushing down. We might need to tweak that a bit as theoretically the pressure should be the same unless the system is changing and there was no rising of falling noted so.....

The increased humidity here at the bottom of the Cascades next to the brook isn't particularly surprising.

All of that weather observation fun aside,
It is a beautiful day for a hike!
Enjoy it, particularly as there will be a chance of thunderstorms later in the day.

The Cascades have flow and the Cascades brook has flow.
Even the small fall on the Silver Spring Trail has flow.

A Scarlet Tangier was noted yesterday in the woods at the edge of the meadow.
The bunny was here at the Lodge.
New rose along the stone wall at the Lodge as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Falls are rushing!

Check them out this afternoon if you have a chance!

Water, water...

Yesterday we got 2.44 inches!
And then another 0.43 fell after midnight.

That's a lot of water, and it's all heading over the Cascades. The brook is at "you can hear it inside the Lodge with the windows closed" stage. It should all be getting a bit more impressive as the day goes along, too!

At 8:30 am, it is 63 degrees
98% humidity
Barometer steady at 29.88 pounds

Fire danger is LOW (and I wouldn't be surprised if it dropped over the course of today after all that rain.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's booming

The thunder is rolling out there, and the great echo off the cliff is in effect!

At 10:30 am, it is 64 degrees
98% humidity and actively raining
This morning we have already gotten 1.06 inches of rain (that's HUGE!)
Consequently, there is NO fire danger!

This is a line of storms coming through for the next few days, so we'll keep an eye on the Cascades. With all the rain today, even tomorrow they should be impressive!

UPDATE: at 1 pm, we've now had 1.93 inches of rain! Crazy. We've also cleared out the culvert behind the Lodge, lest it overflow and force an evacuation!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bunny in the road

This morning, in anticipation of the impending thunderstorms, I headed up into Cascades West to cover some GWLT materials with a tarp.

As I drove down Olean Street I had to swerve over the carcass of a rabbit.

Now 'our' rabbit is a wild animal, and it clearly isn't nearly as afraid, or as timid as it ought be (even with thrown tires and 10' ladders) so I have to say that I feared our daily visits had just come to an end. Later that morning the whole family made the trek down the road, but I didn't announce anything.

Good thing too.

Not ours!

This afternoon sitting over by the window, happily munching away was none other than the crazy rabbit.

and the beat goes on.....

Presently it is 8:00pm
The temperature is 69.3 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 88% and steady (a welcome relief after this morning's 94%!)
The barometric pressure is 29.94" and steady.
The rain storm (which was ferocious for ten minutes in East Brookfield this afternoon) only had trace amounts here at the Lodge, 0.04".
The USFS Forest Danger class is LOW.

Now just so you know, there is a certain lack of precision to the rain gauge.
It is located here at the lodge, and is under the cover of the tree canopy.
In a brief storm there is an amount of rain that is caught and clings too the leaves of the canopy.
It has to rain a little while before it starts to accumulate on the forest floor.
Now that value we are registering is meaningful in itself, as it has the greatest indication of change in trail conditions and fire danger.
It may not reveal the total rainfall for a given short event.
So the smaller the registered amount here, the more suspect the value.
The larger the registered amount here, the more likely ballpark the value.
Just thought I would disclose the system.

We have had quite a few hikers come through on this on again, off again, on again good day.

And now, from this point hence forward the days get shorter and shorter.
Take heart, it isn't noticeable yet.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rose and Bunny

First, more good news on the plantings.

The cold weather, deep shade rose bushes are taking nicely.
One produced a pink rose with a white and yellow heart in its depths today.
Unfortunately, it appears someone walking across the front 'meadow' wasn't looking where they were going, probably going for the trail, and broke the branch it is growing off of.
Nevertheless, the bush is in good shape and hopefully more roses are on the way.

Then there is the crazy rabbit.

Yes, the rabbit continues to be here eating most days.
The rabbit watches us and the cat without much concern.
I came barreling out the back door with a ten foot wooden ladder and there was the rabbit hopping away.
Drat, now I've surely scared it off for good.
Nope, it hops five feet away, grabs another mouthful and watches me walk by with the ladder.
It watches me go up and scoop out a blockage from the rear gutters in preparation for the next few days of storms, and only when I am coming back down the ladder does he hop off to the magnolia tree.

That is just the prelude.
So I am sitting on the couch, reading aloud a story on the US Forest Service (a request mind you) and right next to us, right at the back door, there is the rabbit looking in and listening and nibbling as we talk of Gifford Pinchot.
Truly odd.

Beautiful Day in the Woods

Cool, with a breeze, low humidity, full sun....
What more is there to ask for?

Well, hikers in our case, and we have those too!
Families, individuals, folks on bike (using the bike rack no less!)

Ok, we could have had enough rain to have the Cascades Brook and the Cascades moving as well, but we will just have to settle on that front.

Presently it is 2:31pm
The temperature is 76.1 degrees F and steady.
The humidity is 56% and steady.
The barometer is 29.97" of Mercury and steady.
The forest fire danger a la USFS is LOW.

The bunny is out back eating our dandelions.

It is simply a good day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A good drying day

(That's what we call these clear days with a bit of wind and low humidity here at the Lodge. With no dryer, it matters!)

We're having a slow morning here to recover from the platform moving last night. We had a GREAT crew of volunteers, who showed up ready to work and really threw themselves into it. From lifting to directing to hauling cinder blocks to speedy tree trimming, they did it all. Special mention to the younger set, who hauled dinner across the meadow for the rest of the crew. We barely got wet (super example of microclimates at work there) and enjoyed pizza, and, for those who were last to leave, brownies!

(And for those of you who were here: Bob's okay.)

We got .04 inches of rain last night

At 11:30, it is 68 degrees
61% humidity
Barometer is steady under clear blue skies
Fire danger is LOW

We had a group of mountain bikers come through an hour or so ago.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Platform moving day!

If you've got some muscles to lend and like brownies, the place to be at 5:30 this evening is here at Cascading Waters. Tonight the platforms go up to Cascades West!

The fire danger today is LOW
At 9:30 it is 60 degrees
71% humidity
Barometer steady at 29.68 pounds

Just yesterday's rain pushed the brook up into the wetlands surrounding it down below. The brook goes up and down everyday lately.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wild Turkey!

We manage the area more as a meadow than a lawn despite its small size.

The wildlife seem to think it is plenty big with the latest visitor being a wild turkey this afternoon.
This is the first time we have seen turkey in the past nearly three years of watching.

Thankfully Mike Benedetti was present with a digital camera while working on a 508.

Thanks for the image Mike!

Heart Association Hike photos

A word before the hike
In the Lodge clearing
Ginger takes a water break

Miracle dog returns

You might remember the dog that was supposed to have died of cancer awhile back?

He just came happily trotting through again!

Clear skies?

It looks as though the storms all moved through last night!
At 11 am, we are looking out at sun!
67 degrees
83% humidity and falling
Barometer holding steady at 29.68 inches of pressure
Brook is running nicely

Yesterday we had 0.51 inches of rain here

The hike at noon yesterday avoided all but a few sprinkles and brought out about twenty people (and one dog). We'll post pictures later today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Platform Moving Wednesday

A note from Anne in the GWLT office:

Wednesday June 18th is rapidly approaching and we still need five more volunteers to help move the Observation Outpost tent platform. We will meet at 5:15 this Wednesday at the lodge at Cascading Waters (135 Olean St. Worcester) to help load the platforms onto a trailer and then to help walk them through the woods to their destination. We expect that this will take about an hour and we will have pizza, brownies, and lemonade as a reward for a job well done. Please consider giving us a hand if you haven't signed up already and thank you to those who have already sent their RSVP. You can email or call me at 508-795-3838 x602 to let us know that you plan to attend.

The Land Trust can't do what it does with out you!

Hike at noon today!

No rain yet today, but the skies promise some later.
At 10:30, it is 61 degrees
98% humidity
Bartometer holding steady so far

The Heart Association is holding a hike at noon here today. If you're free, come join us!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just in from the National Weather Service



Little posting

We've had some out-of-state camping and hiking excitement around here in honor of Father's Day weekend, so we haven't been around to post. Sorry to those who may have missed us!

At 4:30 it is 60 degrees
95% humidity ('though not currently raining)
We've had 0.2 inches of rain today
Barometer is holding steady at 29.8 pounds of pressure

We've seen only one hiker today (she came to the door looking for the Cascades). A bit damp and chilly?

Happy Father's Day to those celebrating!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cool Evening

Things here at the Lodge are cool this evening.

It is 60 degrees out there and great sleeping weather.

We have been quiet as we have been surveying the city and our friends situations after the amazing Tuesday night frontal wall that ripped through the city.

A good hour and nearly a half ahead of time we could see far off reflections of lightning well before anything was here.
The intensity might have tipped us off, but it didn't.

Interestingly, the storm really wasn't about rain.
Yes, there was 0.31" in that short hit, but more than anything it was those incredible winds.

Due to the heat and humidity we had every door, window, and opening full and wide as the wall of ferocious winds swung down.
It was simply incredible.
A whiles into that the rains began in earnest and we closed things up a little, but soon enough the rains eased off and just the winds persisted as the primary characteristic of the storm.

After it passed I went over to the barometer and expected some wild reading, but no.
It registered a fairly typical nice day reading and it was guessing for sun.

The whole experience was wild.

We counted our blessings that the only tree to come down around us was an ill one far from the house.
Driving around the next day we began to get a real sense of just how intense those winds were.
Trees, and limbs were down on nearly every street.
Some places were nailed hard.
A friend lost his roof (not literally as it still rests up there, but he might as well have structurally as it is ripped free and is toast.)

And so we were in observing mode.

Wasn't that an incredible storm?
Thank God no one seems to have been killed locally.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thunder in the distance

...but that's all it is so far. The sky is blue overhead.

As of 1 pm, it is 88 degrees here (we may not break 90!)
[UPDATE: 1:45 p.m. and we just hit 90 with 54% humidity]
63% humidity and falling
Barometer holding steady at 29.85 pounds of pressure
Fire danger is LOW

We had some dog walkers go through this morning, but that has been it. Even if you don't want to hike, you might come down and stick your feet in the brook. The junior rangers recommend it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

But it's cooler under the trees! Whether here or elsewhere, find yourself a tree or two. It will be cooler!

At 11 am, it's 85 degrees here
63% humidity (and that's falling! It was 91% at dawn.)

Due to the rain and humidity, the fire danger is NOT (there is none!).

The brook is running and is quite pleasant to stroll along.
The Cascades are also running and are nice and cool.

Don't do anything strenuous, but if you're looking for a cool place, look for the trees! and the water!

Bunny photos

Here's the photos of our evening visitor from last week:

This gives you the best idea of how much he isn't afraid of us. That's the back of the head of one of the junior rangers. He'll only let us get so close, but he seems to understand that we mean him no harm (and would just as soon he eat our dandelions!).

(She calls him Peter.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hot & Humid (and bunny!)

The Weather Conditions at 6:09 p.m. were:
Temperature at 78.1 degrees F and falling;
Humidity at 82% and rising;
Barometric Pressure at 29.77" Mercury and steady.
Forest Fire Danger is NONE (big surprise!)

Yesterday's late evening/night deluge registered 0.20" of rain.
Tonight's passing shower did not register an amount.
That had this morning with a really high humidity (90's at breakfast).

There have been hikers.

And then there is our "pet" bunny.
There is a rabbit that has decided that the 'low maintenance' 'meadow' here at the lodge is a salad bar.
We have had him appearing fairly consistently for the past week or so.
Largely he is interested in Dandelion flowers and greens, and clover.
This is great, as I was feeling pretty delinquent to have so many dandelions all over.
No problem, this guy just eats them all up.

The squirrels, chipmunks, birds and butterflies, rabbit, skunk, raccoon, and porcupine are all enthused with the meadow.
We don't treat it with anything, and we don't water it.
Not interested in the chemical cocktail that produces the botanical monoculture known as the modern lawn.
'The meadow' is full of all sorts of wild flowers, grasses, and bugs.
(Funny aside: if you treat your lawn for grubs you will also kill off fireflies as well as they go through a grub stage. We have fireflies! (Also of interest, the skunk loves to snack on the grubs (really late late at night no worries) so they aren't a huge problem.))

Funny part about the rabbit is just how chilled out he is with people around, walking, talking, push mower, cat in the window, etc.
He is cautious, but largely unfaised.

I accidentally put that to the test Wednesday.
I pulled a tire that was thrown into Cascades Brook by Cataract Street and was walking it back to the Lodge.
When I got to the tree line I was on the wrong side of the stone wall and tossed the tire so that it would clear the wall and roll across the lawn to where I wanted it.
Trick was that at that moment the rabbit was hunched down and I didn't see him.
I throw the tire, he pops his head up and I watch as the tire tracks down on the rabbit as if it had a missile guidance system.
No surprise that he took off.
Very impressed that he came back, a lot, since then.

Rabbit spends a fair amount of time next to the rear screen door watching us.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Late Spring Perfection for National Trails Day

The previous day's rains have passed.
The sun is out.
There is a breeze.

Out in the sun it is quite hot.
Here under the canopy it is cooler, darker, and humid (and not at all in a bad way.)

Yesterday we received 0.47" of rain,
and when you combine that with the rain earlier in the week you get about 0.63 inches.
This rain has recharged the wetlands up at the top of the Cascades and there is flow over the top.

At this point, any additional rains would channel right straight for the Cascades and come down.
A good deluge in a thunderstorm, of which there is a chance this evening, would get us cooking!

Presently, at 3 pm, it is 84.6 degrees and steady.
69% humidity under the trees and there's an air quality alert on for this afternoon through tomorrow.

THANKS to all who came out to Nick's Wood this morning for National Trails Day! We got most of the other car out, trails cleared, trails blazed, a rock bridge across the stream mostly built...well done, folks!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Misty morning

Still damp out there this morning
Last evening, it was damp and chilly enough for a fire here at the Lodge.
Yesterday we got 0.63 inches of rain here. Today's might not add up to much more.
At 9 am it is 56 degrees
98% humidity (and the trees will keep it humid here for awhile after the rain stops)
Barometer holding steady at 29.94 pounds of pressure
Fire danger is LOW

Cascades are running a bit faster than yesterday, due to the rain.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rainy day

...although that didn't keep Deb Cary of Mass Audubon from taking two reporters from the T&G and the city's director of Health and Human Services on a short hike up to the Cascades! You go, Deb!
It seems that the Heart Association is sponsoring a series of hikes on the 16th of each month. On June 16th at noon, the hike will be here at Cascading Waters. Look for a write-up in the T&G.(I've looked; I can't find it online anywhere; let me know if you turn some mention of these events up.)

We were experiencing technical difficulties with our hardware this morning; sorry for the late post!

At 4pm, it is 59 degrees
97% humidity (raining). We've had 0.63 inches since the rain started last night.
Fire danger is LOW
The Cascades are flowing a bit. If the rain keeps up, we'll have a bit more there.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer prep

We are planning a remote outpost here at the Cascades for the summer, so some groundwork on that went on today. If you want to use your muscles on our behalf, plan on being here at Cascading Waters on June 18 at 5:30 to move the tent platform up to its summer home!

At 1:30, with birds singing in the trees, it is 76 degrees
40% humidity
Fire danger remains LOW

Several hikers (and at least two joggers) have gone through this morning, including one dog who is now on his sixth week, after being given two weeks to live with cancer. He seemed quite cheerful!

Monday, June 02, 2008


A bird filled morning:

First, a mother duck with eight (?) ducklings just finished crossing Olean Street ahead of me. They headed under the sign (oh, for the camera!) and into the bushes, where they were quite alarmed by my trying to see more of them.

Then, in the backyard, a hummingbird! We've lived here two and a half years and never seen one of these little guys! It was small enough that I initially took it for a dragonfly. It investigated the dandelions and the glass door before heading off.

UPDATE: The hummingbird had to have been a female or immature ruby-throated hummingbird (only the adult male has a ruby throat). They are the only hummingbirds on the east coast.
The ducks are more of a challenge. The mother was the littlest adult duck I've seen, and, as far as I can tell, she looked like a blue teal. They look possible, but awfully rare, locally. If you know about ducks and have a thought, send in a comment!

Sunshine, Cool, Not so Humid

9:44 a.m.
Presently it is Sunny, cool, not particularly damp, with a breeze.

Occasionally the breeze is quite strong.
The leaves are in full summer mode and make great rustling and hushing noises in the strong winds.

In short, an awesome morning!

The temperature is 64.0 degrees F and rising.
The humidity is 64% and falling.
The barometric pressure is 29.77" and steady.
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.
No recorded rainfall today or yesterday.

What more is there to want?

Yesterday saw moderate activity on the trailhead with small groups of folks going and coming all day.

Today would be even better were it not for the fact that lots of folks work. Alas, a good hiking day lost to work.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wet & Sunny with a light breeze

Last night's rains have created a humid forest floor at 96% humidity.
The sun is out and there is a light breeze occasionally stirring the leaves.

The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW

Presently it is 7:51 a.m.
The temperature is 61.7 degrees F and rising.
The barometer is reading 29.62" of mercury and steady.

As of right now the Cascades Brook is running gently and the Cascades have some more flow than yesterday, but only modestly so.

The weather forecast is sunny.

* * * * * * *

Report just in from Nick's Woods last night.
The access gate in the NE corner by the railroad tracks was damaged.
Folks are looking into recon to figure out how best to get the gate up and working again.