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.