tipping rock

2.24.21 ~ Hewitt Farm, North Stonington, Connecticut

Because of the winter storms we hadn’t had a real walk in the woods in over a month. “Get out there!” my favorite TV weatherman advised on Wednesday morning. We opened the door and the birds were singing and it felt like a spring day at 45°F (7°C). Most of the snow had melted. So we headed out to a new park for us, the Hewitt Farm in North Stonington.

This 104-acre park and recreation area was purchased by the Town of North Stonington in 2008 for the enjoyment of its residents and visitors to the region. The property consists of forests, fields, wetlands and streams; more than a mile of hiking trails, including the town’s Bicentennial Trail; the Shunock River; 3.5-acre Lower Hewitt Pond and dam; and several structures. The dam originally provided water-power to John Dean Gallup’s woolen mill located nearby.
~ Hewitt Farm Trail Map

a preview of the bigger rock to come

We took the Bicentennial Trail. It felt so good to be outside with a just a sweatshirt and no gloves needed! We walked for an hour and a half, up a hill to Tipping Rock, a huge glacier erratic that didn’t disappoint. From the top of the hill we could see the wooded landscape 360° all around us. But there was also lots to see along the way.

moss texture
another glacial erratic with a different energy
interesting root formation

For most of us knowledge comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

perhaps the largest burl we’ve encountered

Not sure how long the trail would be we were thinking of turning back but then we saw the sign. So we pressed on up the hill…

first glimpse (telephoto lens)
what? could that be a ladder?
yes, indeed
no, we do not “do” ladders!
photo by Tim

After much oohing and aahing we headed back down the hill. It was a lot easier and faster than climbing up, but we still paused to see a lot of nature’s delights.

pincushion moss, I think
another interesting root formation

About half way down we heard the delighful sounds of excited children approaching. Two mothers with two babies and four little ones between them were coming up the trail so we took our usual six-feet-off-the-trail position as they passed. We exchanged pleasant greetings. They were wondering about the ladder…

remnants of autumn and winter

We were so happy to be out and about, as much as is possible, during the pandemic. Tim got his first shot on the 17th. Next one scheduled for March 17. My age group opens up on Monday but it may take a while to get an appointment because there are a lot more people in my age group than there are in Tim’s.

the comfort of a poem

image credit: pixabay

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

~ Mary Oliver
(Mysteries, Yes)

even the smallest thing

2.19.21 ~ white-throated sparrow, Birch Plain Creek

One can only hide from the cold for so long. One’s mind needs to be outdoors! One’s spirit needs simple things. It snowed most of the day on Thursday and Friday and when I woke up at 4 a.m. Saturday morning there were still flurries dancing around. We went for a walk in the scattered snow showers on Friday, with about five inches of the white stuff on the ground. Not wanting to drive anywhere, we walked in the woods and along the creek behind our condo complex.

I spotted a new bird, for me, a white-throated sparrow! She was not cooperating about posing very much but I was happy to get the above picture. One musn’t be greedy. I wonder what she was eating.

left over from a city-wide Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt
mourning dove

A mourning dove landed on a branch and eyed me. I thanked her for letting me see the coloring under her tail. Another new thing for me to see. And then she knocked some snow off the branch — yes dear little dove, I did see you do that. 😉

mourning dove knocking snow off the branch
waiting for spring

The creek was mostly frozen over. Tim spotted three gulls out on the ice. Two waiting for an opportunity and one devouring a fish. One always wonders who stole it from who…

great black-backed gull, first winter
it looks cold out there on the ice
winter survival

How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing —
each stone, blossom, child —
is held in place. …

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)

somebody’s tracks
Birch Plain Creek

My mood improved 100% by the time we returned home. Pretty flurries just continued floating through the sky all morning and afternoon, until dark, still there every time I looked up from my book. I have finished reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden and have started on The Girl in the Tower, the second book in the Winternight trilogy. Perfect books for winter.

Birch Plain Creek

on the existence of atoms

“Young Girl Seated” by Amedeo Modigliani

It troubled me as once I was —
For I was once a Child —
Concluding how an Atom — fell —
And yet the Heavens — held —

The Heavens weighed the most — by far —
Yet Blue — and solid — stood —
Without a Bolt — that I could prove —
Would Giants — understand?

Life set me larger — problems —
Some I shall keep — to solve
Till Algebra is easier —
Or simpler proved — above —

Then — too — be comprehended —
What sorer — puzzled me —
Why Heaven did not break away —
And tumble — Blue — on me —

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #516)

Elijah Rodgers & Zipporah Ann Horton

Elijah Rodgers (1834-1925) & Zipporah Ann Horton (1838-1920)
of Guysborough, Nova Scotia & Provincetown, Massachusetts

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, Elijah Rodgers, son of Jacob and Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers, was born 4 October 1834 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 19 June 1925 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 15 December 1863 in Toby Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, Zipporah Ann Horton, who was born 22 February 1838 in Cook’s Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 6 March 1920 in Provincetown, daughter of Charles and Eliza (—) Horton.

Elijah was a fisherman and Zipporah was a homemaker. In the spring of 1873 Elijah may have been part of the rescue efforts to assist the passengers of the shipwrecked RMS Atlantic, which ran onto rocks off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Quite remarkably, Zipporah was 50 years old when she gave birth to her last child. A couple of years later, about 1891, the couple and their younger children emigrated from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod, joining Elijah’s younger brother Neadom, who had arrived in Provincetown many years earlier, in 1858, and their oldest son George, who had joined his uncle Neadom in 1883. Elijah & Zipporah resided at 72B Commercial Street in Provincetown.

In the summer of 1911, Elijah & Zipporah survived a deadly heatwave that killed more than 2,000 people in the northeastern states.

Elijah & Zipporah lie buried together, along with their son Charles, and with their daughter-in-law Adelaide (Williams) Rodgers, wife of their son Neadom, in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown. Elijah died of heart disease.

Gifford Cemetery, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Elijah & Zipporah were the parents of eight children, all born in Guysborough:

i. Alice Rodgers, born about 1864, died 2 July 1870, age 6. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Guysborough, next to her grandmother, Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers.

ii. George Lincoln Rodgers (Tim’s great-grandfather), born 1 January 1865, died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) 18 February 1891 in Provincetown, his first cousin, Mary Jane Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 10 July 1916 in Somerville (Middlesex) Massachusetts, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers. George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son. George married (as his second wife) about 1918, Mary Etta (Cushing) Simmons, who was born about 1867, and died 21 January 1938, daughter of John Walter and Deborah (Sampson) Cushing and widow of Mark L. Simmons. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

iii. Harvey Rodgers, born 24 November 1872, died 16 November 1952 in Port Madison (Kitsap) Washington. He married 24 November 1914 in Seattle (King) Washington, Bertha Nyman, who was born in 1874 in California, and died 31 May 1945 in Seabold (Kitsap) Washington, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (O’Rourke) Nyman. Harvey & Bertha had no children.

iv. Charles Edward Rodgers, born 12 November 1873, died 6 May 1893 in Provincetown, age 19.

v. Neadom Oscar Rodgers, born 20 January 1876, died in 1953 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 8 October 1908 in Provincetown, Adelaide Williams, who was born there 20 September 1875, and died there 24 October 1918, daughter of John & Marian (Campbell) Williams. Addie died of pneumonia, probably a victim of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Neadom & Addie were the parents of a son. Neadom married (as his second wife and as her second husband) 11 December 1923 in Wellfleet (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his brother’s widow, Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley, and widow of William Rodgers. Neadom & Lil had no children.

vi. William Rodgers, born in December 1878, died 13 January 1920 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 24 January 1900 in Provincetown, Lizzie Ellsworth Newcomb, who was born there 5 November 1883, and died before 1906, daughter of John O. and Christina (McKinnon) Newcomb. William & Lizzie were the parents of a son. William married (as his second wife and as her first husband) Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley. William & Lil were the parents of two daughters.

vii. Edna Elizabeth Rodgers, born 5 November 1884, died 15 October 1967 in Provincetown. She married 22 November 1904 in Provincetown, Samuel Thomas Rich, who was born there 6 September 1882, and died 2 August 1979 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, son of Caleb and Julia Ann (Freeman) Rich. Edna & Samuel had no children.

vii. Osela Charles Rodgers, born 20 June 1888, died 20 June 1968 in Philadelphia (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania. He married 22 August 1917 in Portland (Cumberland) Maine, Sylvia Frymire, who was born 8 July 1894 in Williamsport (Lycoming) Pennsylvania, and died in January 1983 in Bethlehem (Northampton) Pennsylvania. Osela & Sylvia were the parents of a son.

cabin fever countermeasure

2.9.21 ~ solitary birch, Birch Plain Creek

I bundled up and braved the cold again. We decided to stay in our neighborhood for a walk in the snow. It’s been snowing a lot so far this month, and sticking around for a few days. I took fewer pictures this time out in order to keep my fingers tucked into my thinsulate gloves. We drive by this gorgeous birch tree often, but since it’s wedged between a busy road and a creek it never feels safe enough to park, get out of the car, and get a picture. So I finally walked down and got one after living here for 27 years!

red-bellied woodpecker

We heard this woodpecker calling and looked way up in the trees and at last spotted him. Not sure what he was up to but it was fun to see another being out in the frigid weather. I’ve always loved walking in the snow but it must be that getting older is making me much more sensitive to the cold. I’m torn between wanting to get out there and not wanting to feel frozen!

It was the kind of snow that brought children running out their doors, made them turn their faces skyward, and spin in circles with their arms outstretched.
~ Eowyn Ivey
(The Snow Child)

Birch Plain Creek, snow covered ice

This folding chair (below) has been sitting by the creek for years, but I’ve never seen anyone sitting on it. Sometimes it gets knocked over but most of the time we find it upright, ready and waiting for someone…

The bare trees are that smoky-lavender, gray and withdrawn. … I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.
~ Sylvia Plath
(The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)

One last picture before the camera battery died… Time to get back indoors! After we came inside it started snowing again. 💙

snow bunting

snow bunting by Georg Wietschorke (pixabay)

When winter storms sweep across the land these birds blow in like true snowflakes and settle down on wind-blown hillsides and benchlands to feed upon the weed stalks that rise above the snow. They are usually found in large flocks which start up from the ground, as one bird, at the slightest noise.
~ Chester A. Reed
(Carroll County Times, February 9, 2014)

I’ve never seen a snow bunting — yet. People in my area have been posting pictures of them on Facebook so I’m hoping my luck will change. (Last year I spotted quite a few birds I had never noticed before.) The nonbreeding female (above) is especially pretty. They are larger than sparrows but smaller than robins…

high tide with storm surge

2.1.21 ~ my dwarf river birch during the snowstorm
from my kitchen window

So, on Monday we got 10 inches of snow before it turned to sleet. Snow is fun, sleet is not. On Tuesday, Groundhog Day, we drove down to the beach around noon but didn’t stay too long. The gale was lingering with a storm surge at high tide and the wind was still howling. There were no shadows, therefore, according to tradition, spring will come early. Yay!

2.2.21 ~ young great black-backed gull, Eastern Point

It turned out to be a nice day for photographing gulls. 🙂 They love to pose.

another young great black-backed gull
which side is better?
a friendly ring-billed gull came over when I asked him to
he turned to listen to me talking to him
very high tide ~ waves past the lifeguard chairs
churning sea
storm surge almost higher than the breakwater

After marveling at the high water we drove up the road along the Thames River.

flooded marsh across the street from the beach
brant in Thames River
a pair of mallards very intent on something tasty in the flooded grass
they never lifted their heads and my fingers were freezing
another mallard landed nearby in the snow to investigate

And then we left, shivering but still happy to have gotten out for a short while! I didn’t see the song sparrows but then again, I didn’t wade through the soggy grass to get to their thicket. I hope they’re all right. The water was almost up to their home. It’s amazing how birds survive the storms.