Not Pooh Monday, Apr 27 2015 

While contemplating our big Cucumber Magnolia for some troubling die-back*, I noticed something odd. At first, I thought it was an ambitious woodpecker. This was worrisome since ambitious woodpeckers mean ill trees. But, when I put my hand against the marks, my nails fit the marks….


The red mark on trunk is about six and a half feet above the ground. You can see some other scrapes on the trunk to the bottom right.


Here is another mark, on the other side of the tree. The spacing is roughly an inch in between slashes. The sets of slash marks are roughly paired, and about four feet apart, climbing the tree.

No guesses?

It would appear that one of our local bears climbed the tree in the last few days. I agree with them that it is a lovely tree to hang out in, nice big horizontal branches, a good view, and all….but!


* It is officially #16 on the Connecticut Notable tree list for size, but may have moved up the list since the measurement. The tree is probably the most central tree in our landscape, so any dead branches are worrisome.

Learning Sunday, Apr 26 2015 

It is always useful, interesting, and otherwise educational, to go to nearby places and look at them from a different angle. Even when, especially when, you think you know them.

For example, I have crossed this bridge many times, almost daily recently, but I have never bothered to go down below it.  It is a good sized bridge (that white pine over there is a fully mature tree, no twig). Yet, we are so used to our environment, in this case a fairly narrow road deck, that we don’t stop to appreciate it nor to look at the thing as a whole. Go look, again, from a different angle, on a different day, and the world is new.


(Satan’s Kingdom, if you were wondering)


brrrr Friday, Apr 24 2015 

It snowed!

Still we will get there. A photo from last year, I wish it was a bit sharper, but rather fun nevertheless.


Busy! Wednesday, Apr 22 2015 

We got the fallen pine tree, one of two fallen pine trees actually, shifted today, with the help of the red dragon. Hydraulics are wonderful helpers! Now to find a nice replacement spruce for the one that was squished by the old pine. Probably a Norway spruce, similar to the mature one a bit to the south. (Much smaller though!! Pity one can’t move 80 foot trees…)

The vegetable garden is being dug, slowly. The peas aren’t in yet, though, which seems a bit  late; but then the lilacs are only just starting to swell.

The crocus are almost done, with only a sparkling scatter of pure white crocus out in the meadow, (which is lovely emerald green, quite elegant).* The daffodils are beginning to bloom, all at once for some reason and relatively short. Don’t ask.

*Including one way, way out in the field about as far as one can go.  A very ambitious chipmunk no doubt, I feel bad about him forgetting his dinner location though…

Rain! Monday, Apr 20 2015 

I know, in comparison to other places, we aren’t exactly dry. Still, a good day of spring rain is wonderful; one can watch the buds swell, the color come into the trees, the grass turn green. It was also a good day for slipping a few new roses into the ground. Among them: ‘Alba Maxima’ the Jacobite Rose (which is also known as the White Rose of York) and ‘Gallica Officinalis’ the Apothecary’s Rose (which is also known as the Red Rose of Lancaster). History lives in plants; I hope that these will get along better than the people did….perhaps I ought to plant a thistle and a leek?

One extreme to another Saturday, Apr 18 2015 

Funny how it goes from nothing to inspire writing to too busy doing to write…

Two new trees: a Serbian Spruce and a Sweetbay Magnolia, joined the collection today. We shall see how they do, hopefully well…the holes are good….

Stopping to enjoy the land is as important as working to maintain it. I had the pleasure today of managing to put aside the to-do list (in this case a list for the land trust of which I am a board member) and just enjoy a piece of property we manage. This property is something of a love/hate for the board. A gorgeous, big parcel with the potential to be a real showcase, it also protects an important bit of land. But, it has just about every problem that an old New England dairy farm/sand-gravel pit/abandoned property can have.

However, we collectively decided to simply enjoy the walk, nominally meant to determine a possible trail. The view was a good reason. One wood turtle, far from the stream, likely laying her eggs; numerous tree swallows; three phoebe nests (one in a muddy blown down tree root-ball); Ruby Crowned Kinglets; one Sharp-Shinned Hawk; one Broad-Winged Hawk; one Red Tail Hawk; a variety of other birds; sign of coyote, bobcat, porcupine; and (the crowning glory) two wonderfully well constructed, very active (one trail was actually wet) beaver dams. That the beavers were busy cutting down the alder, birch, and willow we had carefully cleared the invasive shrubs from two years running and that their dams made a several proposed river crossing rather problematic for our trail design….well, entirely worth it.

Remarkable what the Connecticut woods have!

21 Years Ago Today Thursday, Apr 16 2015 

Picture 003

April 16th, 1994: Ten years old.


April 16th, 2015: 21 years old.

I’m a Chevy girl!

It’s Tax Day! Wednesday, Apr 15 2015 



Transcendence and time Monday, Apr 13 2015 

There is something remarkable, something beyond rational comprehension but not beyond human thought, in contemplating a Mourning Cloak Butterfly delighting in the first warm, still air of spring; while standing in a place where time is written in stone. One butterfly, three people discussing cemetery maintenance now and in perpetuity (a word so seldom used these days!), and all around the graves of four centuries in silence stand.

It is rare that we ask ourselves, or are asked, to do things which will bear fruit, for good or ill, in the time beyond our lives and the lives of our children. I think we are better for it when we do though.

Peep! Saturday, Apr 11 2015 

The wood frogs have started up in the ponds finally. Not a deafening chorus, but definitely determined. It must be spring! They have to wait till the ice is essentially gone, which it is now, except for some shaded corners of swamps. Though, the big reservoirs are still covered in ice, rotten but ice nonetheless. I suspect by tomorrow though, that ice will be gone, probably all at once.

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