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, May 30, 2011

Sun (for the moment!)

11:22 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:

73.6 degrees F and rising;
90% humidity and steady;
29.32" of Hg and steady;
5" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
1.0-1.5 mph wind;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class;
and glorious sun at the moment.

About 9 a.m. showers moved through, making the world damp, but not really soaking things so that they are really watered. The storm has moved back out again and sun and replaced the dark grey overcast skies of before.

Yesterday there was more planting of trees for screening the construction site. We are now up to 11 trees on the bound line. In addition there was a movement of various rocks on site to make a line of large stone along the boundary line as far as the trees are planted as a visual cue to the construction crews when they finally turn their attention to working right up to their northern bound. It is hard to be careful and precise with large earth equipment (unless you have an expert operator) and any visual cues you can use are a help. This is particularly true as they have failed to maintain the silt fences around the construction site in accordance with the Conservation Commission's Order of Conditions, and that silt fence was the previous visual cue as to the bound line, in addition to keeping storm silt from moving off site.

Yesterday's census on the Morning glories found 6 plants and the heat appears to be a real help to the development of those plants. Here is hoping they make it.

Also yesterday saw a decent amount of hiking and mountain biking thru traffic. It was a good day to be out and about, and suddenly today looks like it will have its moments as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cool and Overcast

8:45 a.m. conditions:

68 degrees F and steady;
90% humidity and steady (it is practically misting at moments);
29.32" of Hg pressure and steady;
5" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
light occasional breeze w/o a reading;
LOW is the USFS Fire Danger Class;
overcast skies.

The efforts with the Morning glories hit a serious setback the other night.
2 packages of seeds, carefully planted, regularly watered, has resulted thus far in only 4 plants.
In my daily inspection of the plants I discovered that one was viciously attacked overnight by a heartless slug.
I am happy to say that after having been watered and another night it appears the Morning glory will survive this brutality.

When heading down to the Cascades Brook to read the meter for brook flow I disturbed a garter snake, very nearly 2' long!, that was resting by the side of the brook.

Yesterday became hot and uncomfortable near the end and it was wonderful to have cool weather move in and provide wonderful sleeping weather.

Yes, the construction is still smashing, digging, and pushing away in a loud metallic din, though they started a little later (8:30 a.m.) in honor of the holiday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beautiful morning...

Conditions as of 7:35 a.m.:

Hazy sunshine;
No wind recorded, no leaves stirring;
65.1 degrees F and steady;
94% humidity and steady;
29.23" of Hg pressure and steady;
5.2" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class.

Yesterday another Eastern red cedar was planted along the southern bound line with the work project. Problem was that it was an endless hole of rocks. It took as long to dig that one hole as it took to dig most of the previous 7. In the end we had a decent hole with decent soil, and a seriously impressive pile of rocks!

Last evening as the front was passing through we had some excellent wind here at the Lodge. We were registering 6.5 mph gusts, but remember that we are at the bottom of a cliff and surrounded by trees, o in order to get to that reading there is a LOT of wind moving around.

This morning the song birds are in their glory with all sorts of songs. (And as yet... no construction noises...)
{Spoke too soon by SECONDS!}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sun with Haze

7:30 a.m. conditions:

Cascades Brook is running at 5.4";
Temperature is 59.7 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 90% and steady;
Pressure is 29.21" and steady;
No wind or movement;
Hazy skies with sun;
USFS Fire Danger is LOW.

And yes, the construction equipment is moving already.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

9:05 a.m. Conditions: SUN!

That is right, the sun is out, and the skies are blue and it is glorious!

9:05 a.m. Conditions:
29.18" of Hg pressure and steady;
65.8 degrees F and rising;
73% humidity and falling;
5.6" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
Sun, blue skies;
Light breeze, but not registering a velocity;
USFS Fire Danger is LOW.

Yes, the banging earth machines are at it next door. Yesterday a visitor asked if they were creating a quarry, and I have to admit that at this second that is a fair question!

It is beautiful outside, the birds wholeheartedly concur, so head on out if it is at all possible today!

Monday, May 23, 2011

More Rain... sorta...

8:30 a.m. conditions:

Overcast grey skies, with a wet ground, but not actively raining;
Temperature of 50.9 degrees F and steady;
Humidity of 95% and steady;
Pressure of 29.32" of Hg and steady;
No recorded wind movement;
Cascades Brook is running at 5.6"; and
USFS Fire Danger Class of Low.

The development project to our south continues in its Xth year (honestly losing track at this point) with lots of noisy clanging of steel on the earth moving equipment.

* * * * *

On a seriously more uplifting note in general and for the Trust, last week saw the Trust receive a Conservation Partnership Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Division of Conservation Services to preserve 12.83 acres of land adjacent to Green Hill Park and to preserve a trail easement down to Lake Quinsigamond along the Coal Mine Brook!

(Or in short:
"GWLT got a CPG from EOEEA's DCS for 12.83ac. next to GHPk and a tr. easmnt. to Lk. Q. along the CMBk."
And yes... GWLT will end up with a CR.
Life in acronym land!)

Once the deal is completed there will be a continuous, permanently preserved trail from Shrewsbury Street behind the bandstand to Lake Quinsigamond that crosses two streets and one internal park road. This project commenced sometime in 1996-7.
15-16 years and a seriously intense soap opera results in a 3.5 mi. trail from downtown to the Lake!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No Rain... More Trees

Today has been overcast all day, and while we have been spared more rain, it is hard to celebrate when there was no sun to speak of. It might as well have rained if it weren't for the fact that the downtown art festival was spared.

Conditions as of 6:00 p.m. (a rare evening conditions report!):

The Cascades Brook is flowing at 5.8";
The Temperature is 57.6 degrees F and steady;
The Humidity is 75% and steady;
The Pressure is 29.41" of Hg and steady;
The Windspeed is pretty steady with a range from 1.0-3.5 mph;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Yesterday 3 trees were planted along the southern property line as future screening of the development going in. We chose a mix of Eastern red cedar, White pine, and White spruce. Each is coniferous, keeping a green screen all year. Each is Asian Long Horned Beetle resistant (important here in the USDA Federal Quarantine area). Each is naturally found in Worcester County, and the nursery sourcing them is local as well. Today an additional 4 more trees were planted. The newly operational rain barrel is very helpful for watering the transplanted trees and helping them get established.

A week and a half ago I also planted seeds for Morning glories down on Olean Street in the hopes that they might run up the guy lines to the telephone pole, and up the telephone pole itself. I have tried this twice before with only abject failure to show for it. Then the heavens opened and there was rain after rain after rain, and sadly Morning glories do not like to be over watered. Alas... not helpful. But then! This morning! I am deeply suspicious I saw a number of leaves from shoots popping up. Yes, they were sickly yellow, but there they were! Perhaps, just perhaps, we might see Morning glories after all.

So, the brook is still flowing nicely, even as the charge recedes, the world is growing along nicely, and little by little things are slowly drying out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sign is up!

11:00 am conditions:

64.9 degrees F and rising;
81% humidity and falling (it was 87% just two hours ago);
29.91" of Hg pressure and steady;
partial cloud/partial sun;
light stir of breeze, but nothing recordable in speed;
Cascades Brook is down to 6.0";
USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

A couple of fun observations.

1. The girl scout troop returned to put in place the fire danger sign they worked on (and a few of the parent chipped in with moving the beast of a timber frame that it hung in.) They did a fabulous job! Thanks girls!

2. The brook is slowing down without constant input of rain, and the second channel is still flowing but the volume is definitely slowing more rapidly.

3. After a week and a half of clouds and rain the sun is a glorious addition!

4. 15 trees arrived yesterday for screening the subdivision being built to the south. (Thanks to Mary Caulway for treking out to Gill, MA to get the trees) And they are fine looking trees, locally grown, of species found in Worcester County (Thanks Sudbury Nursery for the help on rustling up some stock for us (they usually work with big orders only.)) These need to get planted real soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Notes From the Temperate Rainforest

Yesterday the Cascades Brook was at 6.2",
Today the Cascades Brook is back up to 6.4",
and the brook is loud and the Cascades are flowing!

Steady rain input day after day has put the rooted vegetation on super overdrive in growth!

Yesterday out on Olean Street during one of the drier periods we saw a tan rabbit with a bright cottontail hopping around.

Current Conditions at 7:35 a.m.:
Grey, overcast, with no active precipitation,
54.9 degrees F and steady;
98% humidity and steady;
29.21" of Hg pressure and steady;
no wind;
the USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW (But I would say NONE!, not that they asked);

A funny reflection about the stream depths:
Yes, we watch the depths and it is sort of neat to give a rough sense of when the second channel opens, when the Cascades are roaring, when we are experiencing flooding, and how big a deal any particular storm was in the overall landscape. This week it had a new purpose. We were to the NNE of Cascading Waters at Kinneywoods looking at new trail alignments. That property has a bowl like shape with streams running in from the edges to a central wetland and how you route the trail is all about where the good crossings are for the streams. We were out there looking at flow that was higher than what the dutiful Intern had seen up to that point, and we could see areas scoured of leaf litter from the spring floods to see where the high flow marks were. The question was, how often, or how unusual is the water level we were presently seeing. Is this a norm to plan around, or an exceptional circumstance we need to work hard to cross securely? And having tracked stream depths at Cascades Brook for years now I can honestly say that I had a sense of the proper answer to that question intuitively. That is pretty cool! It turns out this ridiculous logging adventure that we enjoy has real-life applications in the field. Go figure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life in the Temperate Rainforest

Dang is it damp!

98% humidity,
and that only sort of covers the craziness!

It has been so damp and so rainy for so long that objects aren't wet, they aren't damp, they are absolutely saturated!
If you didn't have firewood under cover, forgetaboutit.

Last night we had a fire, more for cutting through the dampness than heat.
This is especially key as we needed to dry some laundry.

But more cool is what this does out there in the forest!
It is vivid green!
The growth over the last 36 hours of everything from leaves to grass is nothing short of phenomenal!
It is WILD out there!
The plants are soaking it up and running rampant!

Conditions as of 7:55 a.m.:
98% humidity and steady;
47.8 degrees F and steady;
29.29" of humidity and steady;
no wind;
6.4" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
the Cascades are gently running and the second stream channel is open;
USFS Fire Danger Class is "LOW" (Perhaps with a blow torch, a bellows, and nuclear fuel).

As for the stream,
Yesterday was also 6.4" of flow,
But bear in mind that in order to have consistent flow in a dominantly rain fed system you need steady rainfall as an input.
We have had that!

The rain gauge is still giving me weird readings like 0.67" of rain in 36 hours and I just don't buy it.
I have not, however, gotten the graduated cylinder out there yet either.
So lets say plenty and assume that the 0.767" is a minimum value.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Another nice morning

7:15 am

Cascades Brook is at 5.4";
Occasional light breeze;
50.2 degrees F and rising;
75% humidity and falling;
29.12" Hg of pressure and steady;
Yesterday's rain registered .2", and another .04 fell since midnight
(I am a little circumspect of these readings and will pullout the old analog rain gauge;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is not surprisingly NONE.

We have red trillium in bloom, and the Trout lily is still in bloom.

This weekend I made another vain attempt to grow Morning glories up the guy lines of the utility pole by the trail head. I persist in trying, but have yet to see any success. I did manage to get some poison ivy in trying though! A week or two from now and we either have a measure of success or so passes another year. I am entranced by the prospect of flowering plants hiding the utility pole supports instead of bittersweet or grape vine (or poison ivy).

The breeze has started to pick up a little since the measurements and the dappled light in the house and on the forest floor is in motion.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Another sign complete

The outside frame for another sign was completed today!
This one will be going up on Olean Street on the Cascading Waters property.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Trout Lily!

The Trout Lily have bloomed!

These are native lilies, and their leaves are an interesting dark color with mottled lighter greeen spots all over. The flowers themselves are yellow, with red accents and an occasional purple accent. Like most of our native flowers they are small, but right now there are enough of them along the banks and woods of Cascading Waters where you really won't miss them!

As of 2pm:
The Cascades Brook is flowing at 5.2";
The increasing cloud cover is drivingdown the temperature to 69.1 degrees and falling;
The humidity is 37% and steady;
The barometric pressure is 29.44" of Hg;
The wind moves from time to time but is presently not registering;
The USFS Fire Danger status is MODERATE.

Cloudy is the watchword for now, tonight, and tomorrow.