sunlight before first frost

10.16.22 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park

In our little corner of southern New England the fall colors don’t peak until late October and we don’t expect the first frost before the 22nd. That makes it difficult to give much of an autumn flavor to my Walktober post. But since we never got to the gardens at Harkness Memorial State Park this summer I decided to go with it and contribute a garden walk this year.

This is my third annual Walktober post with Robin over at breezes at dawn. 🍁 If you would like to see my previous Walktober posts please click here. 🌼

When we arrived at the park there was a huge flock of starlings making quite a racket, darting from tree to tree and to the water tower en masse. Tim estimated that there were hundreds of them.

The gardens surrounding the Eolia Mansion still had a summery feel to them with many flowers in full bloom and many buds making plans to blossom before the frost comes.

bug matching the center of the flower
view of Long Island Sound from one of the gardens

I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
(Anne of Avonlea)

10.16. 22 ~ Historic Jordan Village Green
Waterford, Connecticut

Heading for home, feeling vaguely disappointed about the lack of fall foliage, Tim spotted a bit of bright orange across the intersection as we were waiting at a traffic light. When the light changed we went for it and discovered Jordan Village Green, which belongs to the Waterford Historical Society.

And so we took another walk!

1740 Jordan Schoolhouse
Beebe-Phillips House

Most of the trees still had green leaves but there were enough trees turning to autumn colors to satisfy my cravings that day. 🙂

falling leaves gather
rusting spokes left motionless
an abiding tree

~ Barbara Rodgers
(By the Sea)

Margaret W. Stacy Memorial Barn
Ralph Madara Blacksmith Shop

The buildings were deserted, except for two blacksmiths we found busy at work in their forge. The man above was working on an axe head. They were pleased to show us their tools and creations. We were delighted to find the perfect holiday gift for someone on our list!

How smoothly nature’s vast machine whirs on with all the big and little cogs revolving in their places! Each seed and bird and flower and fly, in its apparently haphazard existence, plays its part in the output of the seasons.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist’s Year)

a rustic birdhouse on the corner of the schoolhouse
cirrocumulus clouds, forecasting the coming rain

Now that late October is arriving we have much more of this delightful season to enjoy! And a few more walks, too, between the rainy days.

43 thoughts on “sunlight before first frost”

  1. The photo of the blacksmith made me happy. Each time I see that those old-timers handymen/women still exist -SO comforting.
    And I did not know that you were a cancer-survivor, Barbara.May the log effects heal by your own compassion and love fro those areas. Bless them! I am convinced it helps

    1. It was comforting walking into that blacksmith shop, it felt like walking into the boat-building barn of a great-granduncle of mine, back when I was a child. Very pleasant memories, including the smell of it. Thank you for your kind words, Leelah. I’m told the radiation damage is permanent but I’m managing the symptoms better with diet, walking, meditation and yoga as time goes on.

    1. So happy to hear that you’re enjoying our fall colors as well as your own out there in the Midwest. I love the feeling of contentment they bring with them.

  2. What a wonderful post. I loved everyone of these photos. When your Fall colors peak – I know you will show us some spectacular photos. Great job Barbara.

    1. Thank you, Peggy! I’m so happy to know you’re enjoying the my pictures. 🙂 I hope I don’t miss the peak between timing our walks and possible rain events…

      1. We had a pretty Fall last year, but no rain this year – so the leaves turned brown and the wind blew them off the trees before Fall colors had a chance to appear.

        1. So sorry the drought ruined your fall colors this year! I’m starting to think our peak won’t be as dazzling as I’d like, we’ll see what happens after the rain comes Sunday and Monday…

  3. Thanks for taking us on your Walktober, Barbara — I enjoyed it very much. We don’t have much Fall color this early either, but I’m glad you showed us some. I like your Haiku, and the quote from Anne of Avonlea makes me want to re-read that delightful book!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! It’s been a while since a picture moved me to write some haiku. Since you love writing poetry I guessed you might be the one to notice it and you did. 🙂 I also loved “Anne of Avonlea” and enjoyed watching the mini-series on TV with my kids, too.

  4. “Simple little pleasures…like pearls slipping off a string”. I like that metaphor. So calm and easy, just like your walks with Tim, discovering beautiful creations by both nature and people. <3

    1. Thank you, Joanne. It’s those simple pleasures that make life worth living. There is always something new to discover when we look around. 🍁

  5. My favorite is the wagon wheel with your personal poem, Barbara! I absolutely did notice too. 😊 Second favorite is the white flower with the matching bug. At first my eyes told me that it had been hand drawn onto the photo. Yet when I zoom in it looks very much a real life bug!

    The only signs of Autumn that I’m seeing here the monarch floating from north to south. And the two (evergreen type) oaks in my front yard are beginning to shed more often, but not enough to rake and producing no acorns yet.

    Surprise guests this autumn are the Rhyothemis triangularis, a type of dragonfly! There were a dozen swimming in the air this morning when the grass person was taking care of our backyard. The dragonfly looks purple with a viola flower shape back. I’ve never seen them until this week. Have you ever seen this type in your area?

    1. Thank you, TD, I’m so glad you enjoyed the little haiku. 🙂 And the bug matching the flower. 😉 It is interesting how different autumn can look in different parts of the country, which stands to reason because the trees and plants common in any area are different. We don’t have evergreen oaks up north here. I looked up the rhyothemis triangularis dragonfly, they look stunning with that deep bluish purple contrasting with the clear half of their wings. I have never seen one before, they seem to have come from Asia and are not native in America. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

  6. Barbara, I noticed Wednesday that there was a “pupa chrysalis” hanging underneath my fence rail and Friday I saw a second one. I didn’t know what they were, so I took a photo to look up on google maybe later.

    This Sunday morning I was sipping coffee on the back patio with my binoculars handy to watch birds. I thought I saw a Monarch butterfly in the same area as what I noticed Wednesday. So I walked over to it with my photo phone. And sure enough to was a Monarch butterfly but it didn’t fly away!

    This is how little I know (knew) about Monarch butterfly although I’ve been enjoying watching them float by from my north fence to the south for a few weeks.

    I stood there with Yorkie from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. taking photo and video and talking with Yorkie. Apparently I was watching a Monarch come out of the “pupa chrysalis” according to my google research afterwards!

    It took 30 minutes to slowly walk its way to the ground down a 10’ fence. It was very slow and didn’t mind us there. By the time it got to the ground it practiced its wings and seemed larger. It was so vividly bright colors. Then when it was ready it took off. Up up into the air, then over the fence! Off to Mexico! How did it know which way was Mexico with no other Monarch to follow!?! And what do they do there? My Autumn moment.

    What timing to see this happening before my eyes! Barbara, Have you ever seen this happening in life (other than pics)?

    1. What an exciting experience, TD!!! Thanks to my grandmother I have seen this miracle. She used to collect butterfly pupas on twigs out in the woods. My grandfather was a self-employed land surveyor and she often went with him on his projects. She would put the collected pupas on their twigs in glass aquariums in her garden and wait for them to emerge. She took pictures of them in the process. Sometimes we would be there visiting when this would happen. Sometimes she would even leave the dinner table to check on them. 😉 I’m so glad you got to have this wonderful autumn moment and got some pictures, too!

      1. Cool grandparents! I love the idea of collected pupas on their twigs in glass aquariums so much. And I’m very happy to know that you have seen the monarch magic. So far I’ve been lucky to watch three in my backyard this Autumn.

        1. Have you read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver? It’s about a young mother learning all about monarch butterflies, after seeing thousands of them on a walk in the woods by her home. She learns a lot about herself in the process. Forgive me if I’ve already mentioned it to you, my memory has been getting worse with wear and tear.

          1. You have not mentioned this book to me. I’m glad you did, Barbara. My curiosity is thinking it would be a good read for me. Perhaps in the Spring during Yorkie’s noon nap.

            I usually read suspense mystery stories. My favorite authors are Paula Hawkins, Ruth Ware and Ann Cleeves which I’ve read multiple books. I just started The Night Fire by Michael Connelly. I’ve never read any of his books. I found a hardback in one of my neighborhood leave one take one libraries. It was published October 2019 and on the front page I noticed three different people’s initials with the dates 11/19, 1/20 and 12/20. Interesting to me. So far it’s good!

          2. I have a friend who likes mysteries, too. She gave me Uncommon Clay by Margaret Maron but I’m not a fan of suspense or the solving of crimes. I read it because it had been years since I tried the genre but I found that it still wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m more into historical fiction. Interesting the different tastes people have in books. That’s great that you can find books you like in the leave one take one library.

  7. I liked this walk Barbara and I liked how you coined the phrase “Walktober” – clever! And speaking of you being clever, I like that you threw in a quotation by yourself in addition to the others. Reading the quote by L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Avonlea made me remember how much I enjoyed her Anne of Green Gables series. A fellow blogger did a post on L.M. Montgomery last year and it was very interesting.

    From the rustic wagon wheels to the blacksmith shop, you have captured that vintage feel here in this post. How nice to see the flowers blooming so vibrantly this late in the year plus a bug as well. I saw a Cabbage White butterfly and a yellow butterfly flitting around on my walk on Sunday.

    Lucky for you that Tim spotted a colorful tree so you could get your “fix” of more colorful trees than the few you saw on the part 1 of your walk. Sorry you won’t get the usual vibrant colors this year thanks to the weather. Our peak was just last week and now the leaves are either brown and hanging on for dear life or on the ground.

    1. I can’t take any credit for coining the word Walktober. I first heard it used years ago by The Last Green Valley, a National Heritage Corridor, “the last swath of dark night sky in the coastal sprawl between Boston and Washington DC.” They’ve been holding this annual event for 32 years now! I’m glad you enjoyed my haiku and the quotes. We usually watch a movie after Thanksgiving dinner, maybe we’ll make it one of the Anne of Green Gables series this year. 😉 We were so delighted to find the blacksmiths working in their shop, it was interesting talking to them for a little while. And in such a lovely New England autumn setting. A perfect day.

      1. I didn’t realize that until after I wrote this comment and went over to check out the blogsite … I subscribed to this site and commented that I was usually behind. I wish I could contribute this year, but definitely will next year. I’ve taken some pretty reflections shots and colorful leaves, but will have to go thru them one walk at a time, on the compact digital card first, then the DSLR card later. I’ve jammed myself up by taking so many walks and getting overwhelmed by things to do outside/inside and at WordPress. Time management will be easier once the snow flies (though I don’t want that).

        I don’t have TV as I cancelled my cable in 2010, but I have Comcast/Peacock (free) and can stream movies and some TV using Amazon Prime. When I watched seven seasons of “Mad Men” (which I enjoyed as I worked in an ad agency right after college), I committed myself to every Friday night and seeing two hours of that show. I’d do my WP comments, then close out and go to Amazon to watch that show. I have to do that again. I would like to watch the Yellowstone series (4 years) maybe the beginning of the new year, but in January Season Three of “All Creatures Great and Small” on PBS will resume (I stream those episodes Sunday nights and they are one hour long for just six or seven weeks, then the season is done).

        I think this has been a wonderful Autumn and I’ve been lucky to have so many weekend days where it’s been so gorgeous. I liked the vintage blacksmith shop and birdhouse – all lending to a perfect post on a beautiful Autumn day.

  8. How did I miss “Walktober” being an event? I just visited Robin’s blog and wish I had posted some treks taken in October to share, but I would love to join in next year and have followed Robin (which is just what I need as behind as I am in Reader now). I meant to mention in saying how I liked the rustic items in your post that that rustic birdhouse really caught my eye as well.

    1. I hope you do join in Walktober next year! 🙂 Maybe I’ll check out the birdhouse in the spring to see if anyone is using it. 😉

      1. I certainly plan to Barbara. When I was at Sterling State Park last weekend and also the first Saturday in October, they had a lot of Tree Swallow birdhouses – all vacant but I’ll bet I saw 40-50 in my six-mile hike. I took some pictures of them and may make one post about them – all empty now as those birds migrated back in early Fall. We are already looking forward to Spring – that’s the spirit. Our heavy fog this morning is like fog in Spring, like pea soup out there.

        1. I love “All Creatures Great and Small” and wish the season could be a little longer! But it’s something special to look forward to after the holidays. It’s nice having different things to anticipate as the wheel of the seasons goes around.

          1. I liked the books and the original movie or series from years ago too. I have gotten a few e-mails from PBS Masterpiece previewing what will happen in the upcoming season. I sit here, Sunday nights, with the local PBS site queued up to watch it in case I’d lose the link at the last minute. I wish it had more episodes too.

  9. Thank you so much for joining in, Barbara. The flowers are gorgeous and the Jordan Village Green photos were such a treat (and a bonus!). 🙂

  10. How wonderful you got two walks in, Barbara. No wonder you are not disappointed, these fall foliage fotos are fabulous! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Thanks for taking me along; I much enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you, Dale! And I enjoyed your delightful alliteration. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and joining me for these two autumn walks. 🍁

    1. What a great description of that lovely color, Jo, rosy orange! I love it. Autumn is an extra special season, at least in my book. 😉 🍂

  11. The gardens really did look summery still, but that spot you found on the way home was definitely into autumn and very pretty. Enjoy the rest of the colour this season!

    1. Thank you, Cathy! We’re enjoying our peak and trying to make the most of it between the rainy days. It’s interesting how long summer lingers into the fall these days.

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