I found another snakeskin in the yard today! This must be the official skin-shedding week.

Things in the yard yesterday.

What I especially love: the way my veins are blue and sticking out, how dirty my fingers are, and how soft the flutes of that ivory-toned mushroom look. Touching. Broken. The faded decadent 1890s mauveness of Lady in Red hydrangea. The faint greenness and white hyacinthine innocence of Little Lime hydrangea’s hyacinthine blossoms. (LIR = Valentine and LL = Cecil!) The congruity of snakeskin texture and stone wall texture, and their swirl of silver and orange. How the rock reminds me of a fire. How the snake’s head and tail don’t meet. This whole collection of photos just feels oddly V-story to me, though I can’t quite articulate why.

There’s a green lightning bug blinking right outside my window. It looks just like the power light on the TV.

Fallen native mountain laurel blossoms on two kinds of moss. ♥

Fallen native mountain laurel blossoms on two kinds of moss. ♥

Oh my God. I just saw a pileated woodpecker in our bird feeder area—on a tree and on the ground. She flew away before I could take a picture though. But, eeeeeeeeeee!!!! WOW. How can I get her to come back??

I went to a neighborhood barbecue today! It was pretty good, but I’m exhausted now from talking to all those people. (I stayed from 1 until 7:30!) The best part was hearing about neighbors’ recent WOLF and RATTLESNAKE sightings. Oh, and the reason we have so many more rabbits this year is probably because our next door neighbors’ dog died.

For the past two nights I’ve heard this really creepy animal screeching sound in the yard or close by in the woods. I feel like if I could just look out the window I would see it, but it’s too dark, of course. I don’t know what it is. Maybe a fisher? It’s scary and cat-like! It only lasts a short time and then stops as soon as I’m thoroughly freaked out.

Aaaaaaaaah!!! I just saw a BABY BUNNY in our yard, near the road! It’s SO CUTE.

(The lettuce is a GONER.)

Such a nice weekend.  Dean and I had a lovely relaxing day out on the patio yesterday, watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks while Dean trimmed Cyrus (one of our bonsai trees), and we had our first cookout of the year and even ate outside!  Our grill got bashed this winter when the giant piece of ice fell off the eavestrough, but Dean fixed it and it worked just fine, although the top is still a little dented.

The ambitious chipmunk from last year is still around and climbed the bird feeding station pole again!  It was the first time he did it this year, but he got the hang of it again pretty quickly and it was super fun watching him climbing up and stuffing his cheeks with safflower seeds, then running back to his home to stash away his harvest!  He is so brave and hard working, I feel like he deserves all the seed he can gather.  Climbing that high pole is really an impressive feat for a little chipmunk, and he’s the only one who can do it.

Today the sky was nice and clear and the weather mild, and I had a very pleasant afternoon gravehounding.  First I went to Edwards Burying Ground (God’s Acre) in South Windsor, but I didn’t realize that the stones there face east, so I will return tomorrow morning.  It isn’t really that far away, so getting there while the sun is on the right side of the stones shouldn’t be hard.  I went there back in 2010, and last summer with my friend Rick when he was in Connecticut doing fieldwork, but I wanted to return to take a photo of Gershom Bartlett’s earliest stone, which Rick showed me when we were there together.

After stopping in South Windsor, I went to the old Ellington burying ground, then to two burying grounds in Tolland.  I’d been to the Ellington one last fall, but the sky had clouded over while I was there, and I wanted to return to get photos of two very early Bartlett stones that Rick helped me find (remotely, via Facebook messaging) last time.  The lighting was perfect today, and I got nice photos and really enjoyed walking around, listening to birdsong, photographing stones, and thinking of Rick.  He died on Wednesday, and I will really miss sharing observations and insights with him.  The sun was bright and all day long I kept noticing mica-rich schist stones gleaming with silver, which was the last thing we’d ever talked about.  I’d written to him, “The most gorgeous stones, to me, though, are those particularly mica-filled eastern CT schists that shine like a slab of silver when the sun catches them just right. So beautiful…” and Rick replied, “I’m with you 100% with those mirror-like schists.  Love ‘em!” :-)

I’ll post the photos of the early Bartlett stones tomorrow after I go back to South Windsor, and write a little more about Rick.  It’s very rare that I actually like someone enough to be friends, and he was pretty special.

After Ellington, I drove to two burying grounds in Tolland that I’d never been to before, North and Skungamaug.  They were both fairly small, and not too far of a drive, so the whole day was very relaxing and nice.  At first I thought North was going to be a boring cemetery, but it was one that Rick had recommended to me, so I gave it a chance and it turned out to be really fun, with lots of Ezra Stebbins stones (I love Stebbins and wasn’t expecting that!), some wonderful Ebenezer Drake and Upswept-Wing Carver stones, and a flowering tree whose smell reminded me of playing outside as a little girl in Maryland.  It made me sneeze, but I liked it. :-)  Visiting Skungamaug was neat because Dean used to golf there with his dad, and it had more Stebbins stones making all kinds of amusing faces.

Since I was close to Vernon, I stopped at Rein’s on the way back for a great kippered salmon salad sandwich, and got back early enough to wrangle a big rock out of the woods and then build onto two of my previous rock arrangements on Succulent Hill in the twilight.  I am very pleased with the modifications; the new stones I added look like they should have been there all along!  It was a good weekend.

Such a nice weekend. Dean and I had a lovely relaxing day out on the patio yesterday, watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks while Dean trimmed Cyrus (one of our bonsai trees), and we had our first cookout of the year and even ate outside! Our grill got bashed this winter when the giant piece of ice fell off the eavestrough, but Dean fixed it and it worked just fine, although the top is still a little dented.

The ambitious chipmunk from last year is still around and climbed the bird feeding station pole again! It was the first time he did it this year, but he got the hang of it again pretty quickly and it was super fun watching him climbing up and stuffing his cheeks with safflower seeds, then running back to his home to stash away his harvest! He is so brave and hard working, I feel like he deserves all the seed he can gather. Climbing that high pole is really an impressive feat for a little chipmunk, and he’s the only one who can do it.

Today the sky was nice and clear and the weather mild, and I had a very pleasant afternoon gravehounding. First I went to Edwards Burying Ground (God’s Acre) in South Windsor, but I didn’t realize that the stones there face east, so I will return tomorrow morning. It isn’t really that far away, so getting there while the sun is on the right side of the stones shouldn’t be hard. I went there back in 2010, and last summer with my friend Rick when he was in Connecticut doing fieldwork, but I wanted to return to take a photo of Gershom Bartlett’s earliest stone, which Rick showed me when we were there together.

After stopping in South Windsor, I went to the old Ellington burying ground, then to two burying grounds in Tolland. I’d been to the Ellington one last fall, but the sky had clouded over while I was there, and I wanted to return to get photos of two very early Bartlett stones that Rick helped me find (remotely, via Facebook messaging) last time. The lighting was perfect today, and I got nice photos and really enjoyed walking around, listening to birdsong, photographing stones, and thinking of Rick. He died on Wednesday, and I will really miss sharing observations and insights with him. The sun was bright and all day long I kept noticing mica-rich schist stones gleaming with silver, which was the last thing we’d ever talked about. I’d written to him, “The most gorgeous stones, to me, though, are those particularly mica-filled eastern CT schists that shine like a slab of silver when the sun catches them just right. So beautiful…” and Rick replied, “I’m with you 100% with those mirror-like schists. Love ‘em!” :-)

I’ll post the photos of the early Bartlett stones tomorrow after I go back to South Windsor, and write a little more about Rick. It’s very rare that I actually like someone enough to be friends, and he was pretty special.

After Ellington, I drove to two burying grounds in Tolland that I’d never been to before, North and Skungamaug. They were both fairly small, and not too far of a drive, so the whole day was very relaxing and nice. At first I thought North was going to be a boring cemetery, but it was one that Rick had recommended to me, so I gave it a chance and it turned out to be really fun, with lots of Ezra Stebbins stones (I love Stebbins and wasn’t expecting that!), some wonderful Ebenezer Drake and Upswept-Wing Carver stones, and a flowering tree whose smell reminded me of playing outside as a little girl in Maryland. It made me sneeze, but I liked it. :-) Visiting Skungamaug was neat because Dean used to golf there with his dad, and it had more Stebbins stones making all kinds of amusing faces.

Since I was close to Vernon, I stopped at Rein’s on the way back for a great kippered salmon salad sandwich, and got back early enough to wrangle a big rock out of the woods and then build onto two of my previous rock arrangements on Succulent Hill in the twilight. I am very pleased with the modifications; the new stones I added look like they should have been there all along! It was a good weekend.

Cuuuute. The naughty lettuce-eating rabbit who lives in our yard is sitting about four feet from the house nibbling grass. Good bunny!

(Aaaaaah! He looks so soft. It’s hard to be mad at him for his lettuce-eating ways.)

It feels and looks like SUMMER today and I love it so much! Sooooo green and lush, everywhere. It’s wonderful to be able to finally wear summer clothes and palpably relax in the WARM soft air. I was practically swooning when I put on a breezy skirt this afternoon to go out to Scott’s, Gardiner’s and Belltown.

Oh yeah, Belltown is finally open for the season! Love LOVE. I got more local rhubarb, and some non-local strawberries that look really good. It’s still a couple more weeks until real local strawberries are ready. And, I got some frozen local blueberries! Perfect timing, because I just finished my stash of frozen local blueberries that I picked last summer. I’ve been eating them all winter in my refrigerator oatmeal.

My little lettuce plants that the rabbit in the yard chomped down to the ground are starting to grow back and have super cute baby leaves, but I think the dill is a goner. Oh, I failed to post about the rabbit’s badness. Last Tuesday, he ate ALL the lettuce except for the mean varieties (he’s really scared of them, for some reason… what a picky eater), all the dill, most of the fennel, and some of the cilantro and parsley. Dill is by far his favorite herb. I sprayed some stuff that has tastes and smells small animals are supposed to hate (pepper and cinnamon) around the lettuce/herb bed, and I think it’s working, unless he’s just smart and is waiting for the lettuce to grow more before he eats it all again. We shall see. I think he might live under the shed, because I often see him basking on the lawn near the corner of it. He’s pretty cute, but awfully naughty.

I just turned on the AIR CONDITIONING for the first time this year! It was 80° upstairs, so I figured it was time.

New fern about to open, in the wetlands across from our house.

New fern about to open, in the wetlands across from our house.

Turkey vs. Squirrel! Who do you think won? Or did they dine together in peace?

Turkey vs. Squirrel! Who do you think won? Or did they dine together in peace?

There’s a sweet girl turkey just standing out in the rain under the bird feeder looking forlorn. I wish I could give her some corn, but 1) I don’t want to get rained on, and 2) I know she’d run away if I opened the door.

[Edit, half an hour later:   I couldn’t take her sad look any longer, so I went out in the rain and put out food. She ran off into the woods, of course, even though I repeatedly told her not to. I hope she comes back.]

There’s a sweet girl turkey just standing out in the rain under the bird feeder looking forlorn. I wish I could give her some corn, but 1) I don’t want to get rained on, and 2) I know she’d run away if I opened the door.

[Edit, half an hour later: I couldn’t take her sad look any longer, so I went out in the rain and put out food. She ran off into the woods, of course, even though I repeatedly told her not to. I hope she comes back.]

These turkeys sure are getting comfortable here. Right now the female who comes around by herself (I assume it’s always the same one) is sitting in the sun taking a little nap on the lawn near the stone step to the bird feeder. She used to be really scaredy and run off into the woods any time I walked into the room.

In other news, I got up EARLY today so I can go to Derby in the morning and see all the stones that were in shadow last weekend! (!!)