It was a gorgeous autumn day when Janet and her mom came to see us in our new digs. The visit included a late afternoon walk in the botanical garden where we encountered a new life bird for my list! My first life bird located in North Carolina.
It can be tricky to glimpse a Brown Thrasher in a tangled mass of shrubbery, and once you do you may wonder how such a boldly patterned, gangly bird could stay so hidden. Brown Thrashers wear a somewhat severe expression thanks to their heavy, slightly downcurved bill and staring yellow eyes, and they are the only thrasher species east of Texas. Brown Thrashers are exuberant singers, with one of the largest repertoires of any North American songbird. ~ All About Birds webpage
Autumn is still peaking here and there are still many touches of summer lingering. I’ve come to the conclusion that fall comes much later here and has a different feeling than New England’s, yet is very pretty in its own way. And it lasts a lot longer, with not all the trees changing at once, or so it seems to me.
Loblolly pine bark provides a nice contrast to golden autumn hues…
The challenge of life, as I see it, is to find the beauty where we are, in the circumstances we’re in, and to focus not on what’s missing, but on what we have. When we’re awake and present in the moment, not lost in the trance of storylines, we may find that the traffic jam, the office, the crowded shopping mall, the toilet, the temple and the forest are all equally holy, equally worthy of devotion (or loving attention). Everything is sacred. ~ Joan Tollifson (Facebook, December 10, 2021)
Here’s to finding the beauty where we are and to finding new birds and to sharing experiences with friends.
On Friday, Janet, Liz and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at a Lady Slippers Walk & Picnic at the Peace Sanctuary in Mystic, Connecticut. Our guide was Maggie Jones, executive director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Before we began our walk in the woods, Maggie gave us a little history of the 45-acre sanctuary property.
The Universal Peace Union had been founded in Providence in 1866 by a group of reformers whose belief in nonviolence after years of bloody warfare led them to a broad critique of American imperialism, U.S. immigration and Native American policies. The local branch had formed among Rogerene Quakers around Ledyard, and the first national meetings took place in private homes there. As the number of members grew, including large numbers of women, the annual meeting moved to a larger venue in Mystic. By the 1880s and 1890s, the gathering attracted as many as ten thousand attendees. In 1890, the organization purchased land from Silas Burrows and the Fish family on a hill overlooking the river on the northwestern side of town. Meetings then took place at this open and undeveloped spot, attracting such speakers as reformer Lucretia Mott and author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” Julia Ward Howe. ~ Leigh Fought (A History of Mystic, Connecticut: From Pequot Village to Tourist Town)
When peace became less popular around the start of World War II, the land was purchased by explorer, naturalist, cartographer and writer, Mary Jobe Akeley (1886-1966), who turned it into a summer nature camp for girls. Camp Mystic was very popular and attended by girls from across the nation. Renowned explorers often visited the camp and shared stories of their experiences with the girls. Sadly, during the Great Depression the camp was closed.
After her death in 1966, the Mary L. Jobe Akeley Trust & Peace Sanctuary was established and the property is now looked after by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. In the month of May nearly 400 native pink lady slippers, also called pink moccasin flowers, can be found blooming in the woods on the property.
Lady slippers are part of the orchid family and are native to Connecticut. They love the acid soil found in the woods, and need a certain fungus found there in order to survive. They grow 6 to 15 inches tall and the flowers are about 3 inches long. They can often be found growing in decaying logs. I used to see them occasionally when I played in the woods near the swamp where I grew up, so it was a treat to see so many of them in one day!
The pink lady slipper has been the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island since 1947, and the state wildflower of New Hampshire since 1991.
Our walk was mostly uphill and when we reached the top we were treated to an outdoor picnic buffet in a lovely woodland garden. I had stinging nettle soup for the first time, and another soup made with wild leeks.
Ebb & Flo, a brother/sister faerie team live in this riverside home made of driftwood. These faeries control the tide waters of the Lieutenant River. Every six hours, Ebb is busy pulling the salty waters into the marsh and then it’s Flo’s turn to push them back out into the Sound again. This keeps the water always in motion and the marsh a dynamic and beautiful ecosystem for birds, fish, insects, and more. The many shades of green keep the painters busy mixing their vibrant and sunny hues. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Today I baked spaghetti squash for the first time, and served it with a grass-fed ground beef marinara sauce. Mr. Logic thought it tasted good, and so did I! And so the paleo culinary adventure continues…
Zoë and Scarby, sweet little carnivores, are on a grain-free diet, too, and seem pleased with it for the most part, as pleased as cats will allow themselves to admit.
Scarby is still giving Zoë a wide berth, and hissing occasionally to remind Zoë about how things stand between them. She spends her evenings close to Tim on the couch, purring loudly. We’re being patient and encouraging with her.
Zoë provides us with morning entertainment – playing with and pouncing on pony-tail elastics, preferring them to all other toys. And she talks to us all the time. 🙂 My little shadow.
Wabi Sabi is a tree faerie dedicated to sharing his love and respect for trees. He inspires the artists to see the greatness of the variety of trees on the property. His house is in a Japanese maple nestled in this leafy bush. It is the ideal setting for him to watch over the magnificent trees surrounding Miss Florence’s boardinghouse. From his home he can easily fly to inspect a spruce, elm, pine, or walnut tree. If he ventures farther afield, he can console the weeping willow, take a walk along the beech branch, or even pine away at the top of the evergreens. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
The power of imagination makes us infinite. ~ John Muir (John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir)
Remember back in July, when Tim & I started to discuss adopting a couple of cats? (Two Cats in the Yard?)
Remember back in October when I started posting pictures of all the little fairy dwellings in the Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum? I found a couple more that I never got around to posting… (Windwood Faeriegrounds)
Remember back in November when my sister-in-law Fran’s feral cat, Zoë, decided to make friends with me? (Second Day of Christmas)
Well, back in November, it would seem that Zoë was sensing a shift in energy, somehow knowing that changes were afoot. As it turns out her family is moving from Virginia to Germany this month, and Zoë and her sister needed a new home. So they arrived here to live with us last weekend and they are slowly settling in. They don’t feel at home here yet – who could blame them after a long car ride and leaving the only home they’ve ever known – but when they do feel a little more comfortable I will take some pictures. Zoë is very affectionate and talkative, purring when petted, but her sister, Scarby, is still hiding under the stairs in the basement, only coming out to eat and use the litter pan. It looks like it will take her longer to warm up to the idea of living here.
Florence Flightingale is a faerie specializing in wing repair. Fireflies are the first-responders to the soft hush of the sunset’s glow – brightening the way for summertime fun – and even twilight painting. But what happens when a firefly scorches a wing-tip? It’s Flightingale to the rescue for all sorts of wing injuries: burned, torn, or just plain worn. Indeed, this boulder’s shoulder is a welcomed sight when fluttering troubles strike for beetles, bees, birds, and butterflies. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Warren, a wee faerie of farming, lives in this house with his wife Elvina and children Lily and Eldon. The house was built by his grandfather with stones cleared from the farmland more than 100 years ago. Raised on the farm, Warren and his family continue the age-old traditions of working the land, growing vegetables, and tending the orchard. Elvina bakes pies using the enormous apples that grow in Miss Florence’s orchard. Although great for the delicious vegetables and fruit, the gardens and the orchard are favored painting locations for the artists as well. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Kit and his Family of Dragons live in these fireplace hearths and small buildings situated within this majestic beech. Known for their benevolence and magic, these dragon faeries guard and bless hearths and supply firewood in exchange for having a home. Built of stone and surrounded by trees, these castles are the year-round homes for dragon faeries that inspire artists to include sun-baked beech trees and brilliantly burning fireplaces in their paintings. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Lief Falldownsoon is the king of the leaf fairies and is in charge of the legions of leaves that cover the trees. Busy all summer helping the leaves turn sunlight into food for the trees, Lief and his kin at Branch Ranch, enjoy the fall the best when the leaves can all start to rest. Although the green leaves inspire the landscape artists all summer, Lief knows that the real show happens when they begin to change color, turning from green to red, yellow, or gold before leaping into the blue sky for the twisty, twirly, gusty, blusty, ride to the ground. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Queen Moonstone and her sprites live in Water Pearl Palace built in the twisted roots of the giant sycamore tree. During the day they guard this mystical gateway to other worlds, but gather every evening to dance among the great boughs of the tree and along the rippling stream celebrating creativity. Within the many nooks and crannies of the subterranean palace, the sprites leave tokens found during their nightly travels. Visit on a full moon and witness their grand party when they assist all who seek their help. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
Every leaf speaks bliss to me Fluttering from the autumn tree. ~ Emily Brontë (The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë)
People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less. I doubt if you would have believed it all yourself if you hadn’t seen some of it. ~ George MacDonald (The Princess & The Goblin)