It’s clearly magnolia time around here right now (not including my very reluctant magnolia), so I really should go to Middletown to visit my favorite mauve magnolia. Plan for tomorrow, if it’s not too hellishly windy: Old Durham Cemetery, possibly North Cemetery in Middlefield, and Middletown’s mauve magnolia. If it’s too windy, I reserve the right to wimp out. It’s supposed to be sunny and in the upper 50s, but the “Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph” scare me. Today was rainy and cold. :-(

I really really wish I knew which way the stones face at Old Durham. Cemeteries with stones that unexpectedly face east are so frustrating. I kind of suspect they might face east, because most of the Find-A-Grave photos taken there are either really horrible or look like they were done using a mirror to light the stones. Of course, I have no way of knowing what time of day the photos were taken, but maybe I should go in the morning. Eeeek.

There was a cute turkey eating wildlife mix out of the bird/squirrel/chipmunk bowl earlier, but she ran away when I walked into the kitchen. Wimpy turkey! You’re welcome to dine!

I think I semi-pinched a nerve in my neck that affects my right arm. Grrr. Hoooooow did that happen??? And isn’t it usually my left arm that gets messed up? It hasn’t happened for a while, thanks mostly to Pilates, I think.

Someone (in addition to me) likes kumquats! I had a bunch of old ones (not moldy or anything, but kind of shriveled) that I was going to throw away, but instead I put them out on the birds’/squirrels’ tray, and now all except one is gone.

It was overcast and sort of cold today, but I went for a short walk around the yard to check on spring’s slow progress.

Pictures:
1) Tulip, the tulip tree sapling I encouraged last year, is getting large leaf buds! It’s really cool being able to watch what she does from a person-friendly height, because the big tulip tree is so tall that whatever goes on in his branches is viewable only with binoculars.
B) The blueberry bush has lots of buds and looks very pink! It think this might be a wild blueberry, because the blueberries it grows are very small, and there are native blueberries around here. It’s at the edge of the yard, near the woods.
3) Maggie, my star magnolia, has some big fuzzy buds at her very top! The rest of her buds are still extremely small. :-/ I encourage her every time I walk by! The other magnolias in town are already blooming.
4) Who made this hole in the lawn??? Squirrel? Chipmunk? Other? Does it lead anywhere? What’s the purpose? It’s pretty cute. I love how perfectly round it is. I saw another larger one, too.
5) Red maple blossom on the ground!!! Also, check out how insanely green that grass is now, thanks to all the rain. It was brown when spring started.
6-7) I walked over to check out the wetlands across the road and see if I could find any frogs’ eggs. I didn’t see any, but there are lots of skunk cabbages coming up, and big fiddleheads emerging from the ground!
8-9) Cool mossssssss down near our daylily area. It’s really pet-able!
10) !! The Lady in Red hydrangea has a zillion fat buds and little leaves already! I was really surprised. She’s far ahead of the other hydrangeas in the yard.

I also saw a most excellent Sign of Spring in the wetlands alongside Andover Road Burying Ground: emerging skunk cabbages!

Now I’m sitting out on the patio in bare feet, drinking jasmine tea and eating purple otap. Mauve otap, really. It’s pretty much the exact color of my sweater. I tried to take a picture but my hand is shaking like a canoe on a windy lake so it’s probably extremely blurry. There’s a weird bird (?) off in the woods making the most horrible plaintive “raaaah!” sound over and over, like a tortured cat. It’s pretty great.

[Maybe it was a squirrel??]

Now I’m sitting out on the patio in bare feet, drinking jasmine tea and eating purple otap. Mauve otap, really. It’s pretty much the exact color of my sweater. I tried to take a picture but my hand is shaking like a canoe on a windy lake so it’s probably extremely blurry. There’s a weird bird (?) off in the woods making the most horrible plaintive “raaaah!” sound over and over, like a tortured cat. It’s pretty great.

[Maybe it was a squirrel??]

Sign of spring: I heard a lone spring peeper frog’s shrill “meep! meep! meep!” backed by a quiet chorus of male wood frogs “quacking” from the wetlands across the road when I brought the trash out just now!

It was so beautiful out today! The sky was so blue up here, and almost all the snow from yesterday melted. I slowly strolled around the yard in the sun, noticing lots of cool details. The lawn is super-squelchy from all the rain and my boots got very muddy, but I didn’t care. Two new Signs of Spring: pale green shoots are beginning to emerge from the day lilies’ mounds, and the catmints already have a few minuscule leaves under the old dry stalks.

There are so many interesting things on the ground: moist, pet-able moss, tiny deer droppings everywhere around the yard, and an absolutely amazing number of chestnut burrs under our most productive chestnut tree, opened like flowers with velvet insides and painfully spiny petals.

After my stroll, I cut off the old dried-up Black-Eyed Susans from last year, and found another Sign of Spring: lots of fat fuzzy purple-and-green leaves growing out of the ground, mostly hidden by fallen oak leaves.

After I cleaned up a few leaf piles, admired some lichen, and looked at Succulent Hill’s progress, I sat on the patio writing down my observations while two chipmunks scampered back and forth, in and out of their secret passages in the stone wall, eating nuts and seeds I’d put out for them. The big Hairy Woodpecker was at the feeder about 15 feet away, trading off with Downy, nuthatches, a blue jay, and fluttering doves.

Then I made tea and sat on the patio drinking it, munching on an apple and watching the birds some more, wrapped in a blanket, trying to pretend it wasn’t starting to get cold, so I wouldn’t have to go inside yet. :-)

Okay, one last collection of some of my favorite random nature photos from our land. :-)

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #4. (Ferdinand!)

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #4. (Ferdinand!)

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #3.

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #3.

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #2.

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #2.

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #1.

The all-time most handsome frogs at our land #1.

Some of my favorite random nature photos from our land. ♥

Speaking of baby mice, a few days ago the grandson of the people who used to own our land in Willington wrote to me, so I’ve been looking at a lot of old photos that we took over the years, and having so many fond memories of our visits.  The grandson is around my age, and used to spend at least a month there every summer with his grandparents. His family lived in Queens, and they called our land “the country.”  That must have been such a wonderful way to spend the summer!  It’s a lot like how summers in Connecticut were for our family, coming from the D.C. metro area of Maryland.

I’ve sent him some photos of the buildings that were there when we first bought it (they were in pretty bad shape by then, and we knocked most of them down), and I imagine it must be wonderfully nostalgic to look at them.  But mostly what I’m enjoying looking over are all the nature pictures we took. It’s such a special spot. We haven’t visited in a while, and I’m sure it must be very overgrown, but I love knowing the land is there in its natural state and is a little oasis for the flora and fauna (especially the frogs!).  I’m going to post a few of my favorite photos tonight… just ones that strike my fancy.

Speaking of baby mice, a few days ago the grandson of the people who used to own our land in Willington wrote to me, so I’ve been looking at a lot of old photos that we took over the years, and having so many fond memories of our visits. The grandson is around my age, and used to spend at least a month there every summer with his grandparents. His family lived in Queens, and they called our land “the country.” That must have been such a wonderful way to spend the summer! It’s a lot like how summers in Connecticut were for our family, coming from the D.C. metro area of Maryland.

I’ve sent him some photos of the buildings that were there when we first bought it (they were in pretty bad shape by then, and we knocked most of them down), and I imagine it must be wonderfully nostalgic to look at them. But mostly what I’m enjoying looking over are all the nature pictures we took. It’s such a special spot. We haven’t visited in a while, and I’m sure it must be very overgrown, but I love knowing the land is there in its natural state and is a little oasis for the flora and fauna (especially the frogs!). I’m going to post a few of my favorite photos tonight… just ones that strike my fancy.

Today’s observed sign that spring is on the way: frisky squirrels making out in the back yard!!

Since I’m not usually around during March, I decided it would be fun to take the opportunity to observe and document the gradual approach of arrival of spring. The weather in Connecticut usually doesn’t start feeling spring-like until mid-April, but I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for subtle clues!

March 4: It’s about 27° out, with a layer of hard, frozen snow on the ground (I can walk on top without falling through). But the snow has melted enough so that the rocks in the woods are sticking out, and today I saw my first chipmunk out from hibernation (yaaaay!!!), along with our infrequent but always very welcome visitor, the Northern Flicker!

Since I’m not usually around during March, I decided it would be fun to take the opportunity to observe and document the gradual approach of arrival of spring. The weather in Connecticut usually doesn’t start feeling spring-like until mid-April, but I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for subtle clues!

March 4: It’s about 27° out, with a layer of hard, frozen snow on the ground (I can walk on top without falling through). But the snow has melted enough so that the rocks in the woods are sticking out, and today I saw my first chipmunk out from hibernation (yaaaay!!!), along with our infrequent but always very welcome visitor, the Northern Flicker!