July, 2004 (pg.3)
You gotta have friends
Betsy and Cindy came to Mendon for our every-few-months get together. Since I spend so much time alone during the week (working and playing at home), it's always a spirit boost to see good friends.
Woonsocket needs you
It was a cool, cloudy Saturday. What to do? Ah, the Museum of Work & Culture, of course! We'd been wondering (and kidding) about it for a few years. The time had come to investigate ... and with no other great ideas, we went south to quirky, fascinating Woonsocket, RI.
The museum recounts the story of French Canadian immigrants who left farm life in Quebec to come to work in Woonsocket mills at the turn of the century. It does a pretty good job of showing the home, religious, work and social aspects of the mill workers lives. The museum itself is in an old mill building and sits near the Blackstone River. We saw one other visitor, then had the museum to ourselves. Stop by if you're in the area, they need business!
After a walk around the museum area and river, we drove to the Precious Blood Cemetery — right on the Woonsocket/Blackstone, MA border. It's an interesting place ... unique monuments and statues mark the mostly French Canadian graves.
Riding the Blackstone
Since a frustrating effort a couple years ago, I'd wanted to get back on the Blackstone River. A head of steam had built up ... Peter sighed, knowing it was useless to resist .. and started the long, arduous process of attaching the hull-a-ports to the rack of the car, getting the kayaks hoisted up and strapped down. This time we went to Uxbridge, starting the trip at the Rice City Pond.
There was a swan family — yes, with cygnets! living on the pond and we went their way first, through the very dense growth — reeds; invasive, but beautiful purple loosestrife, lily pads and some thick spinachy stuff. It was a beautiful setting, full of color, in between the high ground of Goat Hill and Lookout Rock.
After fighting our way out of the marsh to the river itself, we had another battle: against the current. It was surprisingly strong on the narrow Blackstone. I would stop paddling for a moment to take a picture and get turned sideways instantly. We made it to the Goat Hill Lock, one of the old canal locks still remaining, then turned back.
Woo, what a difference going down river! Riding the current, we felt like we were racing along, only paddling to stay on course... we saw a couple other kayakers go by at an intersection and they were a blur. Fun, fun. We were back at our starting point in no time. I hope the river is clean someday ... they are trying to make it fishable/swimable by 2010. It would be great for tubing!
After trying forever to get a good picture of a hummingbird ... persistence and luck have come together. I keep my feeder filled with delicious red sugar water and lie in wait. A cute ruby-throated hummingbird (female, so no ruby) is a regular. And success has bred obsession — I'm always on the lookout.
That's it for July — John and Mom are arriving soon ... see you next month. [More Pictures Here]