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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Light spinkles clearing to a magnificent day

It was overcast and occasional drizzle fell, but never amounted to much this morning.
Then the skies opened and it has been blue skies, a gentle breeze, and reasonable temps all day long.

Present Conditions 3:50 pm:
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class;
29.12" Hg of pressure and steady;
80.8 degrees F and steady;
30% humidity and steady;
no reading in the Cascades Brook presently;
medium breeze frequently gusting to 3mph;
o.o" of rain yesterday, and nothing recorded for this morning's light rainfall.

We painted property signs and informational signs here at the Lodge this morning as part of a work project.
Thanks to the improved weather everything is drying nicely.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Report from the ALB hunt

NECN joined the ALB hunt yesterday:

Afternoon breeze

It has warmed up a bit today, but we still have a steady 1/2 mph of breeze right now, so it is still pleasant.
At 2:30 pm, it is 83.7 degrees and steady
31% humidity and steady
29.26 inches of mercury and steady under clear blue skies
The stream remains below measurable levels.

If you're up for some Land Trust work this week, we have an event for you! Thursday (July 29) morning from 8:30 to 11:30 am, we're having a volunteer event here at Cascading Waters. Park at the parking area by the street and head up the driveway to the shed. Tools will be provided. All are welcome!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cooler and clear

Lovely day for a hike out there today! If you're looking for one to join, the Greater Worcester Land Trust will be continuing their Asian longhorned beetle hunt today at the Nick's Woods property. Join them at noon at on Smith Lane, off Holden Street in Worcester. Bring your binoculars!

At 10 am, it is 72.3 degrees and rising.
29.26 inches of mercury and steady under clear blue skies
41% humidity and steady
1 mph of wind
The stream remains below measurable.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cool, Breezy, Blue-skies Morning

9:02 am conditions:

29.12" Hg and steady for pressure;
68.2 degrees F and rising for temperature;
42% humidity and falling;
0.0" of rain measured yesterday (and 0.04" measured for Saturday);
No reading on the stream gauge in the Cascades Brook;
There is a gentle breeze persistently, and it stiffens to 3.0 mph from time to time;
MODERATE is the USFS Fire Danger Class for today.

It is interesting to watch the tree tops some 70 plus feet up swaying and for there to be nothing more than a gentle breeze down on the forest floor. I am sure that this is a combination of the shelter provided by the steep Cascades to our west and the trees and their leaves all around us.

It is quite amazing out there right now for pleasant weather!

A Dynamy crew is due to join us and do some work here at Cascading Waters later this morning.
A neighbor stopped by this morning to borrow some forestry wedges for a tree cutting project of her land.
Another neighbor stopped by to drop off a grant prospect for an Environmental Internship.

Busy times in the neighborhood!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot and Sticky!

As of 9:30 a.m. the conditions at the Lodge:

75.4 degrees F and climbing;
83% humidity and steady;
29.09" of Hg pressure and steady;
0.39" of total rainfall yesterday;
a gentle breeze with no reading;
no reading on the stream gauge in the Cascades Brook;
USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW;
blue skies with water drops clinging to the leaves that shake off in any breeze.

Since then we have seen a groundhog this morning, though it sure looked suspiciously smaller than the groundhog from the other day. I can't tell conclusively, and maybe the hot and sticky humid conditions are making me see through mirages, but maybe we have multiples?

Be still out there and seek the occasional breeze.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Well, it is raining right now.

As of 6:15 p.m. the conditions here at the Lodge are decidedly damp.

29.19" of Hg pressure and falling;
66.9 degrees F and steady;
70% humidity and steady;
no rain yesterday, and so far 0.35" today;
no measurement on the gauge in the Cascades Brook;
no reading on the anemomenter;
the sky is grey and dripping.

One highlight of today:
GWLT submitted a grant to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation to fix up the stone walled lined cart path entrance to the new Southwick Brook property in Leicester on Marshall Street.
Keep your fingers crossed folks!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beautiful Evening Report

Conditions at the Lodge as of 5:40 p.m.:

29.18" of Hg pressure and steady;
75.9 degrees F and steady;
34% humidity and steady;
yesterday's rainfall at the Lodge was 0.16";
a light breeze is moving through but is not reading a MPH;
the steam gauge in the Cascades Brook has no reading;
the USFS Fire Danger Class for today is LOW;
skies are blue with white clouds.

You would have though that for all the drama of yesterday's weather we might have seen more rain, but no. Doesn't appear that the blackout in Worcester hit us here either. It, the poweroutage, did hit the Trust headquarters downtown though.
Other fun stuff:

The groundhog is back!
This is yet another siting of the groundhog this summer, who was seen this morning grazing on the clover quite happily. We appear to be one of his regular stops this summer. So no bunnies, but yes groundhog.
Action Running Groundhog Shot!
Groundhog on the Rocks!

Also fun, Tuesday's ALB hunt at Kinneywoods and Cook's Woods found no evidence in the 2 hour survey. We did however munch on some late season blueberries and early black raspberries to everyone's pleasure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Come search for the ALB!

You can join us in hunting the Asian Longhorned Beetle this afternoon over on the Kinneywood property. The hunt starts at noon at the very end of Dawson Road (just down the street from Cascading Waters). Bring binoculars and water!

At 10 am, it is a comfortable 74.3 degrees and steady
45% humidity and steady
29.18 inches of mercury and rising (those storms are still moving out)
Although we did get a spatter of rain here last night, it wasn't enough to move the rain gauge. It looks like the dramatic weather on that one went north of us.
The stream is below registering.
No wind at the moment.

The development next door continues on apace, 'though they seem for now to have given up the heavy drilling.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Severe Thunderstorms!

That's right!
The National Weather Service has predicted Severe Thunderstorms for this evening and tonight!

When the sky went grey about ten minutes back it stopped being conceptual and I tidied up the signage routing and painting projects around the outside of the shed.

Presently it is 11:35 and the conditions are:

29.12" of Hg pressure and steady;
77.4 degrees F and steady;
37% humidity and falling;
0.0" of rain yesterday (and so far today as well);
No reading on the Cascades Brook stream gauge;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class;
A gentle breeze is moving through but no reading on the anemometer.

We have had a number of folks hiking through.
That was pretty good.

Sadly, we also discovered some dumping along Olean Street this morning as well.
It has been picked up, but it is really disheartening to see such abuse.

The signage projects underway include:

A property sign for Cascades West for Silver Spring Road a.k.a. Howard Street by Boynton Park.
A property sign for Cascades East for Olean Street at the turn around.
A property sign for Marois 28 on Goddard Memorial Drive.

(Last week the Dynamy folk were sealing one side in Polyurethane to survive the New England weather.)

A complex USFS Fire Danger Class sign for Olean Street in front of Cascading Waters, but on the northern side of the Cascades Brook.

(This is the project that the Brownie Scouts were working on, and it is getting pretty close to needing to be installed.)

Onward! To the lightning!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Light Breeze Takes the Edge Off

3:31 p.m. Conditions:

29.15" of Hg pressure and steady;
81.3 degrees F and steady;
30% humidity and steady;
0.00" of rain yesterday;
No Reading on the stream gauge in the Cascades Brook;
0MPH registering on the anemometer, but a light occasional breeze moves through at 2.0 MPH;
NONE for USFS Fire Danger Class.

It is a wonderful day out there, especially because of the breeze moving through.
If you can find a spot under the trees with the breeze you win!

It is a fantastic day to be outside and moving around.
It is shaping up to be "good sleeping weather" as well for tonight at 65 degrees.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Floating Glass...

So, the wind shifted, the sky turned grey, but not black like yesterday, and we checked the weather forecast.
Chance of rain and thunder-storms tonight.
Ok then.
Out we go into the yard to store the equipment, put away the projects, etc.

Now, it hasn't rained much this summer yet.
In particular it hasn't rained long and hard the way only a torrential downpour can.
And each time we get a long, hard, torrential rain like that little bits of broken glass magically appear in the yard like manna, only not.

It is a weird thing, to harvest glass after the rains.
There used to be a lot more, but after some 5ish years now it is a modest crop.
It seems that either the former tenants buried their debris, or that the site has some fill that isn't the "Clean Fill" the signs you see at construction sites that are being excavated have.
In either case, there is broken glass, and as best as I can tell, the specific density of glass is pretty danged light and relative to rocks and soil in a liquid suspension, it 'floats' to the top.

This struck me as nuts.
However, after years of finding new glass after each large rain storm I have come to accept that glass 'floats'.

Being possessed with noting but time as I used a key to get under the leading edge of the glass pieces one by one I began to think of sea glass on the beach.
Do I have forest glass?
Sea glass seems to also tend to the top of the sands and roll back and forth in the surf.
So there you go.
Floating glass...

--- ---

Other stuff today:
Routing wooden signs outside and making a localized snow-fall of saw-dust.

Bright Sunshine After the Rain

9:38 a.m. observations:

Gentle breeze, with no MPH reading beside an occasional gust;
Blue skies;
75.0 degrees F and rising;
60% humidity and falling;
29.12" of Hg Pressure and steady;
0.31" of rain yesterday;
No reading on the Cascades Brook Stream Gauge;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class.

Last night was pretty amazing! In about 10 minutes the sky went black and the wind picked up. It held off raining long enough for us to put everything away, bring stuff in, close windows before it hit. And hit it did! The strongest strike, which wasn't too far away to the east, was strong enough to trip the circuit breaker for the outdoor plugs! Flash! Snap (circuit breaker)! pause, Thunder Strike! The storm brought in a healthy 0.31" of rain, which is nothing to shrug at.

Also fun yesterday, got to hike with some representatives of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation here in the Cascades. They were interested to see what we have been up to out here and we were happy to share all of the great volunteer work going on with them. We hiked from Cascading Waters to Cook's Pond beach, back to Cascading Waters, up to the Cataract Street bridge at the base of the Cascades, up the switchback to Wunneompset the split boulder, over to the the field of small glacial erratics at the top of the Cascades, and finishing at the Newton and Cascades Trail junction. It was a beautiful day for a hike, even a short one.

Today looks pretty darned nice so far. Come on out and take a hike.

Late last night the Cascading Waters entrance was serving as a speed trap!
Since Olean Street has a perpetual speeding problem this is very cool.
And to the observant volunteer who noticed this (we didn't), no, GWLT doesn't get a cut of the fines! Hah!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cool, Windy, and Hazy

8:52 a.m. conditions:

69.4 degrees and steady;
69% humidity and steady;
29.32" of Hg pressure and steady;
0.12" of rain yesterday;
0-1.5 MPH sustained wind gusts;
USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW;
skies are hazy.

Cool, Windy, and Hazy.

Earlier this week some volunteers worked to freshen the blazes from Olean Street to the top of the Cascades. We may need to do a little touch up work to make sure that they are convincingly circular, but they sure are much easier to pick out. Thanks to the crew for both that work and for putting another coat of poly on the property signs getting ready for installation!

Monday was a grant application to the state's Conservation Partnership Grants for land in West Boylston that tops the West Boylston Open Space and Recreation Plan's list.

Today, if all goes well, there is a chance to submit a grant to the state's LAND Grant program wherein the City of Worcester seeks to permanently protect a trail link between Green Hill Park and Lake Quinsigamond, AND protects a parcel of land off of Trinity Avenue that would expand Green Hill Park and protect the groundwater recharge for one of Worcester's reserve wells on Lake Quinsigamond. There is more awesome stuff going on with this land but I shouldn't go on and on about it. GWLT is partnering with the City to preserve this IF the City's application is successful.

And the day is a nice one!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still sticky...but no rain yet

We've got a forecast of mostly cloudy with scattered showers, but haven't had a drop of rain here yet. We've also got a steady barometer and mostly clear radar. Keep in mind that there is a flash flood watch in effect for tonight with possible thunderstorms.

At 10:30, it is 77.5 degrees and steady
50% humidity and falling
Currently, we're measuring no wind, 'though there is a light breeze.
The barometer is at 29.29 and steady.
The brook is dry.

Monday, July 12, 2010


High humidity overnight, 'though it's heading down. Currently, it is 59%.
76.8 degrees and rising at 10 am
29.21 inches of mercury and steady
No recordable wind
Fire danger is back up to LOW (it doesn't take long)
The stream is back down under the rocks.

No hydro-ax this morning so far, but the excavator is busy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cool, Clear, Blue Skies

What a fantastic morning!

9:00 a.m. observations:

72.0 degrees F and rising;
69% humidity and dropping;
29.09" of Hg pressure and steady;
0.98" of rain in the past 24 hours;
there is a breeze but no wind speed reading with an occasional gust of 1.5 MPH;
there is no reading from the stream gauge in the Cascades Brook;
Blue skies overhead;
USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

This is a wonderful day to get outside and enjoy the cooler temps and watch as the greens from the chlorophyll go wild with fresh rains.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


So there was a big thunderstorm that passed through early this afternoon.
Sometimes these downpours are all sound and fury and no real rain accumulation.

Not so this time!

We got 0.98" here, and given our equipment, I'd call that an inch of rain!

Let's give this some context here.

The national weather service tracks precipitation, and as far as I am concerned 0.01" of rain is an interesting technical note, but one thousandth of an inch isn't real rainfall. If it is less than 0.01" but detectable they call it "T" or "trace" amounts. Definitely not really rainfall in my book. So if you discount those readings (on 7/1, 6/29, 6/28, 6/27, 6/25, & 6/24) it was last a real rainfall on June 23rd with 0.22", which in itself is not a huge amount, but it is rain.

So, that is two weeks and two days with no rain!

If you are then obsessed and go back further you get to June 17th with a whopper of a rainstorm at 0.03"!

or perhaps the 16th with the massive 0.07" of rainfall.

And by that point you are looking at having had very little rainfall in almost a month. I can't go back any further than that easily as the National Weather Service records online peter out at that point.

All of which brings us back to the title of the post:

"Rain Alleluia!!"

Rain headed our way?!

Well, it has been well over a week now since we saw any rains.
And finally they are in the forecast for this afternoon, tonight, and a part of tomorrow.

Presently it is 9:08 a.m.

There is a gentle breeze moving through the leaves, but not enough to register a windspeed. You can feel it though, and that is what counts these days!

It is 76.6 degrees and steady;
It is 52% humidity and steady;
29.15" of Hg pressure and steady (and we are hoping that will change as the day goes on!);
0.0" of rainfall in the last 24 hours;
no reading on the stream flow gauge;
USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW;
blue skies with white clouds moving along.

And hikers just now out in the glen in front of the Lodge.

Of note:
1. There are a few blueberries in the Cascades just now coming into ripe.
2. There are raspberries and blackberries coming into ripe as well.

I had some of both yesterday and highly recommend them.

Weird aside:
If you are into odd things living in the Cascades, tune in to this week's 508 for a feature on "the blobs" in Cook's Pond!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Cue the hydroax

...and it's nine am here...cue the hydro-ax next door.
Yes, the development next door is continuing on apace, and, as we could tell you, it's not many inches to ledge here, so they're having to slam their way through to get the water lines in. It's noisy, to put it lightly.

At 9 am, it is 76.6 degrees and steady (that's good news!)
51% humidity and steady
The barometer is at 29.32 inches of mercury under clear blue skies
We have a nice 1.5 mph breeze right now.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


While the forecast for today was not for any cooler weather, it is cooler than it has been here in the trees. At 11:30, we're just hitting 81.1 degrees and rising.
42% humidity and falling (which is merciful for us, not so good for the fire danger level)
29.41 inches of mercury and steady
No rain
The Cascades are dry (mostly).
Fire danger (as will be no surprise to you following the fire on the other side of the Worcester reservoirs) is MODERATE

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

ALB found in Jamaica Plain!

An infestation of Asian Longhorned Beetles was found this weekend at Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, just across from the Arnold Arboretum.
If you are in the Boston area, please be on the lookout for:
1) Adult Asian longhorned beetles (shiny black beetles
with white spots and long, banded antennae)

2) ALB exit holes (dime-sized, perfectly round holes,
especially in maple, but also in birch, elm, horsechestnut, willow and
hardwood trees…but not oak)

3) ALB egg-laying sites (divots in the bark ranging in
size from 1/4 to 3/4 inches across – fresh pits often have oozing,
foaming sap)

The infested maple trees have been removed, and USDA/DCR are doing further investigation in the area. Should you find any of these, get in touch with USDA at 866-702-9938.

Hot and dry

We just at 9 am hit the "hotter outside than in" point and closed all the windows for the day.
At 9:15, it is 83.7 degrees and rising.
42% humidity and steady (mercifully dry)
29.35 inches of mercury and steady
We've had no rain for eight days.
The stream is down to a trickle, mostly under the rocks.
We have 0 mph of wind, 'though there is enough to stir the leaves on the trees.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fun Google Maps Aerial Tipi Shot!

Every so often the state flies a series of aerial shots for planning purposes.
The images, being government funded and procured, are free to the public, after all you paid for them!

The latest set is up for Worcester, and if you zoom in real close on the aerial image you can make out the blue tipi as a round profile from the sky!,+Worcester,+Massachusetts+01602&ll=42.285645,-71.861865&spn=0.000723,0.001206&t=h&z=20

The shot was taken before the shed.

Good fun!

Shed Flavored Preserves...

It is the season for canning and preserves, so why not preserve the new shed?

4 gallons of wood preservative used to date.

Assault on the North Face!

West Apex approach summitted!

2 sides in one day is not a bad days work.

Forest Sounds...

Out painting wood preservative on the north face of the GWLT shed.

In addition to the usual chirps and rustling there were two excellent sounds.
I hawk, juvenile, letting out a pattern of cries over a half hour or so.
Then the sounds of a native American wood flute threading through the trees from down towards Cook's Pond and the Tatnuck Brook.

Another Sunny & Dry Day!

Conditions as of 8:56 a.m.:

75.4 degrees F and rising;
35% humidity and falling;
29.23" of Hg pressure and steady;
0.00" of rain;
no reading on the brook stream gauge;
slow gentle breeze but no reading on the anemometer;
out of date USFS Fire Danger posted, but it has to be at least MODERATE.

Another dry day, even drier than the last.
Fireworks up on the hill in the woods last night and amazingly no brush fires.
The birds are in good spirits.

Tuesday through Wednesday night we have slight chances of thunderstorms, and that is our best chance for any precipitation.

Enjoy the day, especially those of you with the day off!

BTW: Yesterday we drove up the path and there was a big ole' groundhog sitting on the pile of granite rocks out front. Both he and we were stunned and stared at each other for a bit before he ducked down under the pile.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Beautiful Morning!

8:30 a.m. weather conditions:

72.3 degrees F and rising;
40% humidity and steady;
29.23" of Hg of pressure;
0.00" of rain;
no reading in the Cascades Brook;
breeze gusting to 2.5 mph;
USFS Fire Danger appears to be MODERATE.
Blue skies, nice breeze, makes for a nice day outside.

Dry. Things are pretty dang dry. For Cascading Waters to hit 40%, and I tend to call it "the swamp" because of humidity and shade. The leaf litter is dry. The dirt is dry. There is no rain for the foreseeable future in the National Weather Service update.

It has been a great time for painting though! Especially here where painting conditions are nominal at best. Yesterday we painted wood preservative on the front face of the GWLT shed. One full gallon was soaked in. On to the next side while the painting is good!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Variable Cloudy, Yet Nice

2:45 p.m. Observations:

67.5 degrees F and steady;
33% humidity and steady;
29.26"of Hg pressure and steady;
0.00" of rainfall;
no reading in the brook;
the USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW;
there is an occasional breeze, but nothing registering a wind speed;
the skies alternate between clouds and sun with regularity;
the ground is dry and dusty.

I fully expect the USFS Fire Danger Class to begin to rise in the next few days if we get no rain.

Great Greater Worcester Land Trust event last night at the Amphitheater at Cascades West!
Some 73 +/- folks were up there listening to music, hanging out, talking, and eating BBQ.
The weather couldn't have been better and there were almost no bugs (I wonder if the 8 citronella torches and the 2 BBQ grills had anything to do with that? or if it was just the lack of rain of late.)