Please bear with me as I post more photo memories to take with me when we move! Harkness Memorial State Park is one of my favorite places, year-round for the waterbirds and in the summer for the flower gardens. On this walk we were immediately greeted by a sweetly singing song sparrow, who flew from branch to branch, teasing me. But I did get a few pictures of him!
American Black Duck Anas rubripes: Common coastal migrant and wintering species. In summer, an uncommon breeding species in freshwater and brackish habitats, especially coastal marshes; inland nesting occurs in freshwater marshes, densely forested swamps, and beaver ponds, mainly in central and western Connecticut. ~ Frank Gallo (Birding in Connecticut)
The American Black Duck hides in plain sight in shallow wetlands of eastern North America. They often flock with the ubiquitous Mallard, where they look quite similar to female Mallards. But take a second look through a group of brown ducks to notice the dark chocolate-brown flanks, pale grayish face, and olive-yellow bill of an American Black Duck. Numbers of this shy but common duck declined sharply in the mid-twentieth century. Hunting restrictions have helped to stabilize their numbers, although habitat loss remains a problem. ~ All About Birds webpage
Today was a beautiful, calm, spring day. No wind! A woman was there trying to fly a kite, which is possible there more often than not, but she had to give up. The temperature was 52°F (11°C) so I had my first walk of the year with no thermal leggings, wearing my spring hoodie. 🙂 I am going to miss living by the sea very much.
You wouldn’t think it was spring, Austin, if you were at home this morning, for we had a great snowstorm yesterday, and things are all white this morning. It sounds funny enough to hear birds singing and sleigh-bells at a time. But it won’t last long, so you needn’t think ’twill be winter at the time when you come home. ~ Emily Dickinson (Letter to William Austin Dickinson, March 24, 1852)
Springtime snowstorms were not uncommon in southern New England a hundred seventy-one years ago. They happened often enough when I was a child, sixty odd years ago. I prepared this post several years ago, hoping that we might get one again and I could use Emily’s words to go along with the weather. But it was not to be and since this is my last spring in New England I decided to post it now, in fond memory of times gone by.
Busy, busy, busy… We took a first batch of books to sell to the Book Barn and came home with a check for $65! The other day, talking to Larisa on the phone about sorting through my books, I mentioned that I had no idea there were so many of them. “I did, Mom,” she said.
We stopped to admire a new sign at the back entrance. Tim simply couldn’t resist putting his hat on the Cheshire Cat for a picture. 🙂
Oh, spring is surely coming, Her couriers fill the air; Each morn are new arrivals, Each night her ways prepare; I scent her fragrant garments, Her foot is on the stair. ~ John Burroughs (Bird & Bough)
How very strange to go through December, January and February without a single nor’easter! And to finally get one in March. Who knows? This may be the last one I had a chance to anticipate before the move. I’ve always enjoyed the drama and excitement these storms bring with them.
A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. … Nor’easters usually develop in the latitudes between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. These storms progress generally northeastward and typically attain maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. They nearly always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow, as well as winds of gale force, rough seas, and, occasionally, coastal flooding to the affected regions. ~ National Weather Service website
We took a nice long walk at the nature center the day before this nor’easter arrived. So delighted to see mama and papa goose swimming around the pond together. We first saw mama sitting on her island nest on the last day of March last spring. We kept checking back and got to see her little goslings exploring the world near the end of April. Maybe we’ll get to do it again this year.
Our ancestors spoke to storms with magical words, prayed to them, cursed them, and danced for them, dancing to the very edge of what is alien and powerful — the cold power of ocean currents, chaotic winds beyond control and understanding. We may have lost the dances, but we carry with us a need to approach the power of the universe, if only to touch it and race away. ~ Kathleen Dean Moore (Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World)
But, as it turned out, there wasn’t much to get excited about this time — for us. It started raining Monday afternoon and rained and rained. The wind blew and blew. Tuesday evening there were a few snowflakes in the mix but nothing to stick. We didn’t even get the coating to 3 inches of snow predicted for the coastline here. But I see things are much different inland…
Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather, William Pridmore, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Bramston) Pridmore, was baptized 23 April 1815 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England, at St. Michael’s Church, and died 3 September 1852 in Wisconsin. He married (as his second wife) 16 August 1838 at St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby (Leicestershire) England, Anna Sturgess, who was born about 1814 in Gaddesby, and died 5 November 1853, daughter of William and Ann (—) Sturgess.
William had married (as his first wife) 13 October 1835 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby, Mary Anne Smith, who was born in Gaddesby, and probably died there before William married Anna.
All of William’s children were born in England. He was a blacksmith, like his father. At the time of her marriage, Anna was employed as a servant.
According to their granddaughter, Gertrude Mabel (Hubbard) Hamilton (1874-1965), who wrote, after she went to England on a research trip: “William left Great Dalby May 12, 1852. Stayed at Syston until Friday May 14. Went to Liverpool and on board the ship May 15. Sailed Tuesday the 18th.” Sadly, by September of the same year he was in Wisconsin where he died of cholera, age 38. According to Gertrude, William was “Buried at Milwaukee Sept. 4 in Chestnut St. Burying Ground.” A little over a year later, in November of 1853, Anna died, age 38, too. It’s not indicated in Gertrude’s research notes where Anna was when she died.
There was a family story that said William went on a trip and never returned. So perhaps Anna and the children were not with him when he got sick and died, so far from home.
This sad turn of events left their children orphaned. Abraham was 15, Eliza, 14, Emma, 9, Reuben, 7, and George, 5. It’s unknown who looked after them but William had brothers living in New York and Indiana, where the children still lived as adults.
William & Mary were the parents of a son:
1. Abraham Pridmore, born before 20 May 1837 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England, died 8 January 1914 in Buffalo (Erie) New York. He married Hannah Cullen, who was born 1833 in England and died September 1902 in Rochester (Monroe) New York. Abraham & Hannah were the parents of three daughters.
William & Anna were the parents of six children:
1. Eliza Pridmore, born 6 June 1839 in Great Dalby, died 29 December 1914 in Rochester (Monroe) New York. She married John Stephen Ford, who was born about 1833 in England and died 5 June 1899 in Rochester. Eliza & John were the parents of four children.
2. Emma Pridmore (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandmother), born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby, died 7 April 1917 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. She married 6 February 1866 in Marion (Wayne) New York, Delorma Brown Hubbard, who was born 8 May 1842 in Albion (Orleans) New York, and died there 21 March 1915, son of John and Lydia P. (Randolph) Hubbard. Emma & Delorma were the parents of three children.
3. Reuben Pridmore, born 6 April 1846 in Dalby Magna (Leicestershire) England, died 2 November 1928 in Albion. Reuben died unmarried.
4. George Pridmore, born 10 December 1847 in Great Dalby, died 14 March 1930 in South Bend (St. Joseph) Indiana. He married 20 December 1876 in Niles (Berrien) Michigan, Emma Sudreth, who was born 11 April 1853 in Bristol (Elkhart) Indiana, and died 2 June 1942 in South Bend, daughter of Thomas and Mary (—) Sudreth. George & Emma were the parents of three children.
5. Charlotte Pridmore, born 6 April 1849 in Dalby Magna, died there 22 June 1849, age 2 months.
6. Thomas Sturgess Pridmore, born 6 March 1852 in Dalby Magna. No further record.
My grandmother took these pictures of me and our family’s adored pet Sheltie, Skipper. I was 13 years old, a brand new teenager, and Skipper was about 4 years old. My sister has been diligently digitizing my grandmother’s huge slide collection and it’s been fun discovering these glimpses back into our childhood.
Skipper was the only dog I’ve ever had. When I was a toddler I was bit by a dog, an event I don’t remember. But I do remember my parents encouraging me to pet a friendly dog at some point afterwards, in order to help me overcome my fear. It didn’t work. My fear of dogs has plagued me for my whole life, although now it’s only with larger dogs.
I was about 9 years old when my mother brought a little puppy named Skipper into our lives. I was afraid of him in the beginning. The first time my parents left me at home alone with him I got very nervous and climbed up on top of the dining room table. Skipper kept running circles around the table and there I sat until my parents came home. Goodness knows what he must have been wondering about me!
Eventually I lost my fear of him and we became good friends. My mother took him to obedience school and he was very well-mannered, affectionate and loyal. One day I brought a new kitten home. Christopher and Skipper got along well, right from the start. One evening while we were watching TV, Skipper nonchalantly walked into the living room with a playful kitten hanging on to his belly fur, upside down. 🙂
We took Skipper camping, hiking and canoeing with us on summer vacations. During the school year my sister and I were responsible for “running” him when we got home from school. (We were latchkey kids because both of my parents worked outside the home.) He was good about fetching sticks and balls, and obeyed the “drop-it” command flawlessly, but eventually he couldn’t resist his natural instinct to herd. And he loved to herd us around the yard and into the woods.
Since my father was a research scientist at the University of Connecticut, originally an agricultural college, he got permission to take Skipper to the sheep barns on campus. They allowed him to herd the sheep around the fields. It was fun to watch him zipping around, completely in his element.
He had one quirk we laughed about often. When visitors drove down the driveway and came to the door he would never bark to announce their arrival. But when my parents came home he would bark and bark until they got inside. My father kept joking that he didn’t make a very good guard dog. 🙂
Even though I do miss Skipper, I’m pretty sure he was one-of-a-kind and I’ve never desired to have another dog. But whenever I’m out and about and happen to spot a Sheltie my heart stirs and I ask permission to pet them.
We first came to this open space property three years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, and have been here many times since. Since we know we’re going to North Carolina in a few months this visit seemed special because we were well aware that we may never pass this way again.
A few days ago I spent some time sorting through my “walks” index file, pulling our favorite walks out of the rotation so we might visit them one last time before we go. Please forgive me for this very lengthy post. I want to save as many picture memories as possible!
Usually we walk down to the waterfall and back up the hill, but this time we explored two side trails. First we walked upstream to the dam and walked out on it until the break which lets the brook through now. Then we hopped down off the dam and walked along the brook, getting a different view. With no leaves on the trees yet we could see a lot of the features in the woods.
By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” But all the little streams higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much to find out before it was too late. ~ A. A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner)
We had never been at the top of the waterfall before. Tim even went out over it a little bit. My legs didn’t seem long enough to jump down where he was.
Then we found the main trail again and made our way down to below the waterfall. I was looking forward to getting pictures of an old tree with amazing roots extending into the brook.
After crossing the footbridge and getting the above pictures we decided to follow a new trail for a little bit. Sheep Farm South, a property adjoining this one, was purchased by the Groton Open Space Association in April 2021. New trails were created on it and linked to the existing ones on Sheep Farm. So we started down this one which passes by a large moss covered outcrop. It was taller than Tim.
After we passed the outcrop we found a path that went up above it and walked through the woods a bit until we circled around and spotted the waterfall below us. I’m pretty sure the little vine below is partridge berry. It looks like the plant my brother-in-law identified for us at Connecticut College Arboretum, although not as lush looking.
Before crossing the footbridge I noticed a side view of the tree with the water hugging roots. It was a rough trip back up the long hill to the parking lot because Tim’s sciatica started acting up, but he made it. Perhaps we strayed a little too far this time but we did get to see a lot of things we haven’t seen before.
Packing boxes have arrived and I’m feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before us but it was great spending a little time outside in the woods we will miss so much.
So, Tim has been feeding peanuts to a squirrel all winter. Then my dear blogging friend Linda suggested he try feeding them walnuts. On our next trip to the grocery store we looked in vain for walnuts. Tim asked the produce guy about it and he said they only had walnuts at Christmas time. Undaunted, Tim then found someone selling walnuts on Etsy, of all places. He also did some research and learned that walnuts are better nutrition than peanuts for for squirrels. Soon, the order arrived and four walnuts were put out on the balcony. It wasn’t long before they were discovered. This guy made quick work of his prize, sitting on the railing and in the sunshine. Lucky photo op through the sliding glass doors for me!
This morning Tim tried rolling a walnut towards the squirrel and it accepted the delivery without running away. I’m sorry I missed it!