meadow, woods, old orchard

9.30.22 ~ Coogan Farm Nature & Heritage Center

It felt so good getting out for a long walk in the woods on a cool, crisp autumn day! First we enjoyed the meadows at the entrance to Coogan Farm.

milkweed pods
abundant goldenrod blooming everywhere
bee and asters
can you find the bee?
a stump that was growing out of the crack in a huge boulder

Following a path past the Giving Garden we came to the Gallup Orchard Trail, which winds through the woods before arriving at a forgotten orchard that was recently discovered and is being studied and restored.

a wolf tree welcoming us to the Gallup Orchard Trail,
a relic from farms of the past when trees along the edges of open fields
could spread their branches without competition from other trees
leaf, berries and orbs
ducked under a broken tree
marking the end of the woods and entrance to the orchard

Dating back to the original 1654 Gallup homestead and actively farmed by the Greenman brothers during the age of shipbuilding in the 1800s to feed their shipworkers at what is now Mystic Seaport Museum, the orchard contains clues that will help us uncover the history and heritage of the land.
~ Anna Sawin
(“Apples and Pears, Oh My!” ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center blog post, March 9, 2020)

pear on tree
apple on tree
fall color in the distance

The orchard is on a hill. We entered at the top of the hill and when we found our way down to the bottom we found this sign. The bottom entrance is off the Stillman Mansion Trail. We followed that trail back to the parking lot and encountered a cute little song sparrow, who wasn’t singing, only staring at us apprehensively.

song sparrow

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
(The Great Gatsby)

American burnweed ~ pilewort (thanks to Eliza for the identification)

I hope we get lots of walks in this autumn! πŸ‚ 🍁 πŸ‚

55 thoughts on “meadow, woods, old orchard”

    1. Thank you, Frank! The blend of summer and fall colors stood out to me, too. The cool, crisp air is so welcome after a summer of so much heat and humidity. Hope you’re having a good week, too.

  1. Your goldenrod photo is lovely, as well as the milkweed pod, they are so photogenic! With the stump growing out of the boulder, I instantly saw a side few of a bunny rabbit’s head, watching you. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Donna! I like your bunny rabbit head interpretation — it fits perfectly. πŸ™‚ It amazes me the plants that can take root in rocks and sometimes thrive. From the growth coming out above the stump it looks like some other plant is going to give the spot a try.

  2. Aw, what a cute sparrow! Thanks for taking us along on your Autumn walk, Barbara. I was particularly interested in the milkweed, as that’s supposed to draw Monarchs. I’ve seen something like it in my neighbor’s yard, but I still can’t tell whether hers is milkweed or not.

    1. Thank you, Debbie! I adore song sparrows. πŸ™‚ It’s my understanding that there are many varieties of the milkweed plant and that there are three plants that resemble milkweed and are often mistaken for it. But I imagine if you google “milkweed images” you might get enough of a sample to make a comparison to see what your neighbor’s plant might be.

  3. Nice meander, Barbara. I love seeing all the asters lately and the bees on them. Autumn is a lovely time for walking – the temps perfect. Your mystery plant is Pilewort (Erechtites hieracifolia)

    1. Thank you, Eliza! Asters and goldenrods and buzzing bees — the essence of autumn before the leaves change color. Thanks so much for the plant identification, I was feeling too lazy to make an effort to attempt it myself — lol.

  4. No, I cannot find the bee in the cluster of flowers, Barbara.

    I love the stump pic and my imagination can see a rabbit face as one of your readers mentioned.

    Is goldenrod the same as ragweed?

    I found the forgotten orchard and your history journaling of it very interesting!

    1. The bee is pretty much in the center of the picture, TD. I hope you can find it — I didn’t notice it until I got home and saw the picture enlarged on my laptop.
      Goldenrod and ragweed are not the same. Here is a good article illustrating the difference.
      Those apple and pear trees had been abandoned for maybe 100 years or more. They’ve been working to clear out the brush growing up around them and trying to identify what old-fashioned varieties these might have been. I was hoping to see prettier fruit but there was hardly any on the trees and none fallen on the ground, either. I wonder if the trees can be revived.

      1. Oh, yeah! Right dab in the middle that bee is!! Ha, that puzzle was fun.

        I read the link on differences. My mother used to tell me that I’m allergic to ragweed, but I really never took a good look at the plant. I suppose my sniffles bothered her, more than me. I know when I’m feeling allergies outside. And a misquote bite will swell up to the size of a dime, itch horrible for three days. I’m trying to remember to take an antihistamine when bitten several places, then I feel lousy drowsy. Ugh.

        I find the 100 year old antique orchid beautiful just as it is. Antiques have been a passion of mine.

        I must tell you that my street (new) neighbor has a great sense of humor for Halloween. Yesterday I drove by and there were two human size skeletons. One was climbing up a tree running away from a skeleton dog threatening to bite the human skeleton on its rear end. While the other life size skeleton was sitting leisurely in a lounge chair reading a halloween book. I has a great laugh. TODAY, the skeleton that was in the lounge chair is now doing the splits on a Yogo Mat! I stopped because I thought of you and was laughing so much!! I’m wondering what will be going on in her yard tomorrow! She has other humorous things going on too. And continues to change it more humorous each day. So fun to watch her entertain herself and the neighbors. Skeleton Yoga! So funny…

        1. My ragweed allergy used to lead to a sinus infection every year in September. It still bothers me, some days more than others, but not as badly as when I was younger. My mosquito bites sound similar to yours. I find a dab of cortisone cream helps them heal faster without having to resort to an antihistamine. Do you use a mosquito repellent when you’re outside? The orchard had an ancient feeling to it, almost like the energy I felt when visiting the ruins of the Acropolis in Greece. Your neighbor sounds like a fun person with a vivid imagination! It takes a good dose of creativity to think of a new scene for her skeletons every day. Skeleton yoga is hilarious. 🀣

          1. Yes, I have tried cortisone creams. I’m glad that gives relief for you. Recently, I’ve been trying extra strength Benadryl itch stopping cream that is a topical analgesic or the Benadryl itch cooling spray that states relief for mosquito bites. I still find myself scratching to the point of scabs, so then I place bandaids to protect my skin from my scratching episodes.

            I spray my yard and patio areas for mosquitoes. I use to use a spray repellent on my skin. When DEET was put into the sprays I stopped; DEET toxin being absorbed into my body was too much anxiety for me (silly thoughts perhaps).

            I prefer essential oils such as eucalyptus & spearmint or eucalyptus & lemon. For some reason unclear to me essential oils do not trigger anxiety for me. It is just best to avoid mosquito areas whenever possible.

          2. I took Benadryl pills for years for the ragweed but can’t do it anymore because it dries out my eyes, which is more annoying than the allergies. The mosquitos were so bad this year I was getting bitten when I opened the front door. Tim finally sprayed something out there. Any kind of spraying makes me nervous. DEET makes me nervous, too. Like you, I try to avoid mosquito areas!

    1. Thank you, Peggy. It always feels good to get out there and explore the natural world. Stuck inside because of rain now, but that’s okay, we still need more rain to make more of a dent in the drought.

      1. Glad you are getting rain. It has been close to a month since we got any rain. Arkansas is brown and the Fall colors will not be as beautiful this year.

        1. That’s a long time to go without rain. So sorry your fall colors won’t be very good. I have a feeling ours won’t be, either. Droughts are awful. πŸ‚

  5. Beautiful photos. I adore fall and walking outside. I’m fond of asters so seeing a pic of them with a bee is perfect. I’ve said it before, but you live in such an interesting part of the country. Love it

    1. Thank you, Ally! There’s something special about New England that keeps us here in spite of the mass exodus of friends and family to the southern parts of the country. The flow of the seasons is pretty special, and autumn especially. πŸ‚

    1. I’m so happy to know how much you appreciate my posts, Leelah, thank you! Nature photography is healing for me, too, and sharing what I see brings me so much pleasure. *hugs* πŸ‚

    1. Thank you, Robin. πŸ™‚ I did a double take when I spotted that concentration of fall color, it seemed a little surreal.

  6. To crisp days and phenomenal photography! My guy and I did something unheard of today. We canceled all of our plans and took the day off to walk in the woods and the surrounding parks. So beautiful after a few days of chilly rainy days.

    1. Thank you, Pam! πŸ™‚ Sometimes we just have to do that, abandon plans and go for a long long walk on an oh-so-perfect autumn day. I’m so happy for you and your guy and your beautiful day in the woods! That rainy spell was pretty gloomy but we did need it to make a good dent in the drought.

        1. Even with the rain we are still in the moderate drought area of the state. But we’re making progress. Nothing but sunshine predicted for the coming week! 🌞

  7. I enjoyed joining you on your walk, and particularly admired the milkweed pods breaking open. Isn’t this a beautiful time to be out in nature? You still have lingering summer there. We’re more in the thralls of fall. And, oh yes, it snowed on our way to Marquette today.

    1. Sounds like winter is chafing at the bit out there! I hope it holds off a little longer so you can enjoy your autumn colors a few more days. This is indeed a beautiful season to be out in nature, there is so much to see and appreciate. Like milkweed pods doing their thing…

  8. What a gorgeous Autumn walk Barbara. So many little touches of color here and there, the asters, the goldenrod and I loved the red trees in the distance as well. Even the splotchy-looking pears were interesting to me. How exciting they found a century-old orchard and it will now be yours to explore – maybe next year? That is exactly how Fall should look.

    1. Thank you, Linda. According to a sign at the orchard there are about 200 trees and they were only discovered in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. They’ve done a lot of work since, clearing away the undergrowth. It will be interesting to see what ancestors of the heritage pear and apple breeds they discover. The original orchard is probably 300 years old, planted in colonial times.

      1. Interesting, so it will be like Heirloom Tomatoes, only on a larger scale. I visited the Henry & Clara Ford Estate today, hoping to see some pretty leaf colors, but found more flowers than leaf colors. When leaving, I saw they had put some new markers out – one for the large apple orchard. I’ve been there when the trees are in blossom in Spring – it’s very pretty. The apple orchard is not as old as yours though. They have a Weeping Beech Tree that I saw a marker for – I passed it by before, but saw the marker today. Sadly, they also had to put a sign that said “please do not go under the tree and please do not carve into it.”

        1. I’ve been seeing more flowers (and seed pods) than leaf colors, too, so far. We moved up from the very low to the low leaf color category this week. Should be getting to moderate around the 16th and peak around the 24th. Patience, patience! πŸ˜‰ (Past peak should be November 7th…)

          1. Barbara, I was off yesterday – my boss returned from two different cottage trips and leaves for Europe this weekend, so I asked for Monday off to enjoy the Fall colors. The leaf color predictions were modified to a week later than usual for us. But I spent most of the weekend on long treks to capture some of the colors and to immerse myself in the woods before the ugly weather sets in. . Tomorrow a 35 mph wind will likely rip the leaves from their branches.

          2. What great timing that turned out to be, getting the chance to immerse yourself in the woods and enjoy some fall color before the weather changes. Looks like that stormy weather will reach us here Thursday afternoon, which will help with the drought. Our local weatherman says the storm will take some of the leaves, but not all of them. Keeping my fingers crossed!

          3. We were supposed to have the stormy weather early evening tonight until 8:00 p.m., so I thought I might not get on Reader so I stayed in this morning. Rain was threatening by 9:00 a.m. anyway. We were to get 35 mph winds, so that may take a lot of those leaves. I have heard no rumbles or rain yet. Hope it passes us by.

          4. I hope the storm passed you by after all. It’s supposed to start here this afternoon and there’s talk of 40 mph and possible gale force winds. Husband and sister both have to go out tonight so I’ll light a candle, grab the flashlights and spend the evening worrying. Sigh…

          5. It ended up more in the northern suburbs Barbara although they predicted a statewide storm. They were predicting graupel too. I hope Tim and your sister are safe from going out this evening – fingers crossed also that you don’t lose power.

          6. Everyone made it home safely and without incident, and we didn’t lose power. I lit two candles and enjoyed a cozy, quiet evening. Glad to hear you were spared the worst, too. It’s still raining this morning and a cold front is on our doorstep.

          7. That’s good news Barbara. I’m glad with the cooler weather, the threat of a tornado or derecho is minimized somewhat. The only thing I like about Winter is the cozy and quiet times, especially on long weekends or holidays when I have enough time to curl up on the couch and indulge in a book. We are starting the weekend off with rain but okay after mid-day and on Sunday.

          8. Love curling up on the couch under a blanket with a good book and a cup of tea. πŸ™‚

          9. Winter has its redeeming qualities! I used to dread Winter due to ice/snow which I never have liked to drive in, but you don’t have that constant litany of things that need your attention outside so you can relax more.

          10. It sure does, as long as you don’t have anywhere to go during or right after a storm. When I was younger I used to enjoy getting up early to shovel the snow out and clean off the car for Tim before he left to work. I found it quiet, peaceful and refreshing. Not so much any more!

          11. I have been out after a big snowfall, especially on a Sunday morning – no cars rushing down the street and the snow makes the area almost soundproof. I almost hate to break the silence by scraping my shovel against the sidewalk. I live on the shady side of the street, so when we get freezing rain, it does not get sunny enough to melt the ice and it lingers for weeks in front of the garage, so I can’t pull the car out for fear of it sliding and hitting the porch or side of the garage. I can’t access the garage from the house, so it is an adventure going out to run the car every morning. The snowplow dumping the snow at the end of the driveway gets harder to take the older I get too.

          12. Oh my, snowplows dumping the snow at the end of my parents’ driveway was the bane of their existence while I was growing up. Always it seemed, just after they finished shoveling out the long dirt driveway. My sister and I used to build opposing snow forts on either side of the end of the driveway. Memories…

          13. Oh yes, nothing riles me up like that and one year, the snow plow dumped snow at the end of the driveway overnight and we got freezing rain. No Prestone Heat or melting crystals got rid of that mound of icy snow and I didn’t get out of the driveway for two months. I tagged along with my neighbor Marge for some grocery items (perishables, as I get my pantry items ahead of time). That sounds like nice memories – you should write about them sometime Barbara. I can remember building a snow fort in the front yard with my next-door/best friend, Linda Crosby.

          14. Two months! Seems like the city should have done something about that… Thank goodness you had Marge to help you out. It’s no wonder you dread winter so much. But I guess living on the shady side of the street would have advantages in the summer. It must make things a little cooler in your front yard.

          15. I e-mailed the City’s DPS Barbara and they said “we can’t come and shovel out every home where we dump snow.” And, I do all my own snow, but I’ve been outside with a big snowfall on a weekend, with men using snowblowers and they don’t come help at the end of the driveway. A family down the street went around on Christmas one year and shoveled in the middle of the night as a good-will gesture. They were the parents and two teenage girls and they shoveled everyone out by hand. Yes, it is cooler in the front yard in Summer. I do dread Winter. I’ve heard mixed reports – some say it will be brutal, some say wetter than usual (rain/freezing rain) due to La Nina. I am going to enjoy this last nice weekend with 74-degree temps, after our rain and snow flurries we had Monday through Thursday.

          16. It’s a wonderful thing when neighbors see a need and lend a helping hand! Sometimes we would pay teenagers who came around looking for work to shovel out our car. I was so cold last winter I’m starting to be anxious about this coming winter. I used to be able to warm up better when I was younger and had some meat on my bones… Enjoy your warm weekend!

          17. Teenagers used to go around looking to shovel for money. When I was a teenager I raked leaves and shoveled snow – the going rate was not much at that time. They don’t come around now, even if they have the day off from school due to a large snowfall/snow emergency situation. My first car was a VW Beetle. My parents bought it when I started college. If it rained or snowed, it wouldn’t start and if it was just plain cold, the heat was non-existent until I pulled into the driveway. Back then it was short dresses/skirts too, so shorter coats … how did we do it Barbara? I was a waitress at the diner and wore a short uniform as it was the style. I’d go out at 6:30 to brush off the car or scrape ice. If it snowed a lot my boss would pick me up – the diner was not very far away.

            It was just gorgeous out today. I gave the car a run and returned to Sterling State Park, a new venue for me that I visited three weeks ago, but had not seen the entire park.
            I had not been there since I was about 11 or 12 years old. It was a 60-mile round trip drive in the country, just beautiful. The hiking trail I was on today was six miles and went around a big marsh (90% of which was completely dried up). So it was not very picturesque and I thought I’d never reach the end of the loop – whew! I will not last long tonight. All I saw critter-wise was one squirrel and five or six swans paddling around the part that had water. They took off all at once. Our warm weather (it got to 74 today) is here through Tuesday night – hope you got the same sunny, warm weather.

          18. My grandparents had a VW Beetle when we were little kids. I always thought it was so cute, it was a little white one. (Their last name was White so it was often their color choice for cars.) I managed to skirt around the minidress trend by wearing jeans all the time, our high school allowed that. The few times I did wear a dress I liked to wear those popular thick knitted tights with it for warmth. It still takes some cars too long to warm up. Our current carhas seat warmers which I use all the time now and wonder how I lived without that luxury before. Too bad your uniform was so short, so unrealistic in the winter. It never made sense to me to be bundled up on top and almost naked on the bottom…

            So glad you had a gorgeous day! Our Saturday was fantastic but it rained yesterday and is supposed to rain for the next three days. I’m happy for the needed rain but wonder what leaves will be left to see when it’s over. Six miles is a very long loop, well done, my friend!

          19. The earliest VW Beetles were such workhorses. My father had a gray one and then my VW Beetle was the opposite of reliable – that’s for sure. My father took it over, I got a Pacer and it was not much better, especially with the stalling issues.

            I also like the heated seats and wonder how I lived without them and sure could have used warm seats in that short uniform dress in the Winter.

            Pants were only allowed in middle school one day a year and we had to pay a fee to wear them and that went to a fund to buy bagels I think, a special treat for us. You just reached in a box and grabbed one – no butter, or cream cheese, just a plain bagel. We were still excited about that,

            It was absolutely gorgeous Saturday through today and an all-day rain tomorrow. We will get a quarter inch of rain – don’t think it will help much but we have rain coming in next week for two or three days.

            Thank you Barbara. My six-mile treks wear me out and I get heavy eyes in the evening. πŸ™‚

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