walking along a ledge

10.19.22 ~ Sassacus Nature Preserve, Groton, Connecticut

Recently we were driving down a road less traveled (by us) and spotted a sign right next to an industrial business. Sassacus Nature Preserve? The parking lot was shared with the business, and behind a chain link fence were ladders and small dumpsters available to rent. It didn’t seem to be a very natural setting. We thought we saw a path off the parking lot and decided to come back for our next walk.

When we returned we found the trail and ascended to an elevation of about 100 feet and so began our walk across a ledge. On one side of the trail was a tall, long outcrop and on the other a steep slope down to a valley. It was cool looking down onto the tops of trees.

Sassacus (Massachusett: Sassakusu (fierce) (c. 1560 – June 1637) was born near present-day Groton, Connecticut. He was a Pequot sachem, and he became grand sachem after his father, sachem Tatobem was killed in 1632. The Mohegans led by sachem Uncas rebelled against domination by the Pequots. Sassacus and the Pequots were defeated by English colonists along with their Narragansett and Mohegan allies in the Pequot War. Sassacus fled to what he thought was safety among the Iroquois Mohawks in present-day New York, but they murdered him. They sent his head and hands to the Connecticut Colony as a symbolic offering of friendship.
~ Wikipedia

Notice in the picture below how the trail squeezed its way between two glacial erratics. There was no other way around unless we wanted to tumble down the hill to the left.

After about twenty minutes of walking we started to hear water rushing and then maybe five minutes later we could see a stream way down below so I used the zoom lens to get a picture.

At this point we turned around because the path was starting to look even more tricky to navigate. Retracing our steps we found that the sunlight now illuminated some colors deep in the woods.

October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
(The Seasons)

This large glacial erratic seemed to be precariously balanced…

For the remainder of the walk back I enjoyed finding sunlight on the fallen leaves, mosses and lichens.

Truly it has been said, that to a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the Infinite may be seen.
~ Thomas Henry Huxley
(The Major Prose of Thomas Henry Huxley)

a little beech sapling
moss surrounding the base of a tree
in a crevice of the outcrop
sapling at eye level growing out of the outcrop

It was an adventure finding this little nature preserve in the middle of town, surrounded by railroad tracks, streets, houses and a new elementary magnet school. And then coming home to learn about Sassacus and starting to picture his people living in these woods four hundred long years ago.

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.

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! 🍂 🍁 🍂

Aaron Newton Case & Laura Amanda Roberts

Tim’s 4th-great-grandfather, Aaron Newton Case, son of Aaron and Margaret (Meacham) Case, was born 24 January 1788 in Simsbury (Hartford) Connecticut, and died 14 February 1870 in Cambridge Junction (Lenawee) Michigan. He married, 26 November 1812 in Windsor (Hartford) Connecticut, Laura Amanda Roberts, who was born 17 November 1792 in Bloomfield (Hartford) Connecticut, and died there 15 November 1829, daughter of Lemuel and Roxey (Gillett) Roberts.

Aaron owned a farm in Simsbury [Bloomfield] until 1832, when he was about 44, and after Laura’s death, he moved to Windsor, Ohio where he purchased a new farm. The 1850 census has him living in Windsor with two of his grandsons, William N., age 3, and Martin E., age 0, and a 16-year-old named Robert Adkins. In 1860 he was living there with his son, Galusha, daughter-in-law, and their six sons. He lived there until 1867, when he was about 79, and then moved to Cambridge Township, Michigan. Apparently Aaron remained a widower for 40 years until his death. He lies buried in Cambridge Junction Cemetery. Laura lies buried in Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.


image credit: P Welch at Find a Grave
*
In
memory of
LAURA A, wife of
Aaron N. Case,
who died
Nov. 15, 1829
aged 38

Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Cemetery
Bloomfield, Connecticut


image credit: Jeannieology at Find a Grave
*
AARON N. CASE
DIED
FEB. 14, 1870
AGED 82 YRS.

Cambridge Junction Cemetery
Cambridge Township, Michigan


Aaron & Laura were the parents of five children:

1. Luarana Amanda Case, born 9 February 1814 in Bloomfield, died 23 April 1883 in Glenville (Cuyahoga) Ohio. She married 16 July 1836, in Ashtabula (Ashtabula) Ohio, Pharis Wells Cook, who was born 8 March 1813 in East Granby (Hartford) Connecticut, and died 2 July 1882 in Glenville, son of Jesse and Chloë (Phelps) Cook. Laurana & Pharis were the parents of three children.

2. Galusha Aaron Case, born 24 November 1815 in Simsbury, died 29 June 1886 in Detroit (Wayne) Michigan. He married Susan Adeline Bedell, who was born c. 1822 in Schuyler (Herkimer) New York, and died 1 January 1897 in Detroit, daughter of William and Margaretha (Lepper) Bedell. Galusha & Susan were the parents of six sons.

3. Capt. Hermon Roberts Case (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather), born 10 April 1818 in Simsbury, died 17 February 1890 in (Lenawee) Michigan. He married (as his first wife) 28 December 1841, Mary Doty, who was born about 1820 in Euclid (Cuyahoga) Ohio, and died 16 March 1845 in East Cleveland (Cuyahoga) Ohio, daughter of Asa Doty. Hermon & Mary were the parents of a daughter. Hermon married (as his second wife), 5 March 1848, Paulina Elizabeth Minor (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandmother), who was born 2 April 1822 in Mendon (Monroe) New York, and died 9 March 1898 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, daughter of William and Naomi (Reniff) Minor. Hermon & Paulina were the parents of four children.

4. Hiram Newton Case, born 13 October 1822 in Connecticut, died 17 July 1901 in Orwell (Ashtabula) Ohio. He married 12 February 1846 in Ashtabula, Mary Amidon, who was born 12 March 1822 in Ashford (Windham) Connecticut, and died 23 February 1901 in Orwell, daughter of Henry and Clarissa (Roberts) Amidon. Hiram & Mary were the parents of four children.

5. Lemuel Hurley Case, born 4 July 1824 in Connecticut, died 1896. He married 19 November 1850 in (Ashtabula) Ohio, Mary Nye, who was born about 1823 in New York, and died 23 January 1909 in (Cook) Illinois, daughter of Abel and Mary (Stoyell) Nye. Lemuel & Mary were the parents of three children.

colonial flower garden

7.27.22 ~ Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

A gray catbird greeted us when we got to the Ebenezer Avery House at the bottom of the hill at Fort Griswold. The last time we visited was in January a year and a half ago. Of course there was nothing growing in the small garden at that time. But this time the air was filled with a pleasant fragrance that must have been some herb or flower I didn’t recognize.

We had a nice walk all around the fort and then it was a delightful surprise to find this little front yard garden surrounded by a picket fence. We lingered here for quite a while, enjoying the colors, smells and visiting butterflies. The flowers were in all stages of life, new ones blossoming right alongside the fading beauties. Please enjoy!

eastern tiger swallowtail
monarch

After we had our fill we made our way back up the hill and past the fort to our car. It was a good workout. 🙂

looking up the hill to the fort

I started to imagine what the people who were in this house during the Battle of Groton Heights might have witnessed from their vantage point that tragic day in 1781.

George Washington Verplanck & Ermina Huntley

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, George Washington Verplanck, son of Henry Abraham and Catherine Ann (McMullen) Verplanck, was born 25 March 1852 in (Eaton) Michigan, and died 28 February 1930 in Hanover (Jackson) Michigan. He married 20 July 1873 in Summit (Jackson) Michigan, Ermina “Mina” Huntley, who was born 4 November 1855 in Michigan, and died 30 December 1917 in Jackson (Jackson) Michigan, daughter of Loren Grant and Mary Jane (Fowler) Huntley.

George was a farmer, mason and bricklayer. Mina was a homemaker.

On 7 December 1903, after 30 years of marriage, Mina filed an application for divorce on the grounds of extreme cruelty. The case was not contested but was quickly withdrawn on 15 December 1903.

Mina died from acute gastritis and acute angina pectoris. George died from burns when his clothing accidently caught fire while he was lighting a fire in a coal range.

photo by Deb Hayes-Wolfe (Ancestry.com)

Ermina & George lie buried in Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan. They were the parents of seven children:

1. William “Willie” Verplanck, born 20 November 1874 in Michigan, died 1 July 1908 in Blackman (Jackson) Michigan, age 33, of tuberculosis.

2. Inez Verplanck, born 25 December 1876 in Tekonsha (Calhoun) Michigan, died 2 August 1944 in LaGrange (Cook) Illinois. She married 14 April 1920 in Chicago (Cook) Illinois, Henry P. Halsted, who was born 20 March 1868 in Chicago, and died there 28 October 1926, son of Henry Smith and Anna (—) Halsted. Inez & Henry had no children.

3. Martha Janet “Mattie” Verplanck, born 13 January 1880 in Hanover, died in 1951. She married 31 December 1902 in Jackson, Charles John Myers, who was born 15 August 1879 in Grass Lake (Jackson) Michigan. Martha & Charles had no children.

4. George Ola Verplanck, born 10 May 1882 in Hanover, died in 1954. He married 15 April 1903 in Jackson, Beulah Wilson, who was born in August 1881 in Michigan, and died in 1967, daughter of James and Cora (—) Wilson. George & Beulah were the parents of four children.

5. Catherine Alta Verplanck (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 2 May 1885 in Hanover, died there 27 July 1941. She married (as her first husband) 20 June 1906 in Hanover, Marion Case Raven, who was born 18 October 1883 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, and died 4 December 1926 in Jackson, son of William Franklin and Elona Naomi (Case) Raven. Catherine & Marion were the parents of three children. Catherine married (as her second husband and as his second wife) 14 October 1931 in Jackson, Earl Edward Jewell, who was born 28 January 1893 in Three Rivers (St. Joseph) Michigan, and died there 6 June 1974, son of Elmer W. and Emilie Auguste (Hochstaedt) Jewell. Catherine & Earl had no children.

6. Ola M. Verplanck, (daughter) born 23 May 1888 in Hanover, died 23 July 1909 in Jackson, age 21.

7. Eldridge Verplanck, born 7 October 1890 in Jackson, 16 November 1918 in Quantico (Prince William) Virginia, age 28. Eldridge was a private in the US Marine Corps and died of influenza in the barracks during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Last Revised: 14 March 2022

invasion

Way before dawn this morning my sister and I found ourselves sitting together in the living room, shedding tears for Ukraine. Our father was the son of Ukrainian immigrants. We both have memories of him telling us about how Ukraine has been invaded over and over again throughout its history. Being little children most of what he was talking about didn’t mean much to us, but we often heard about Vikings, Mongols, Cossacks and Tatars, the Austro-Hungarian Army and Russia, Hitler and Stalin. His sense of ill-fated tragedy made a deep impression on us.

My grandfather left his pregnant wife and young daughter (Mary) in Luzhek Verkhniy, Ukraine to come to America in 1909. My grandmother left their daughter in Ukraine to be raised by Mary’s grandparents and came to America with her five-month-old son in 1910. They had six more children born in this country. Our aunt Mary finally came to America to live with her parents in 1926, at the age of 18. Most of her aunts and uncles who she grew up with came over at various times, too. Except for one who was “killed by Stalin,” presumably because he stayed.

Our hearts feel very heavy. I wonder if some sort of genetic memory is at work here. Took a peek at CNN and saw some people in Ukraine kneeling in a city square, praying. I had to turn it off. If you have any comments, please don’t make them political. My thoughts and prayers are for the Ukrainian people.

for all who enjoy them

12.3.21 ~ Pequot Woods, Groton, Connecticut

This was my first visit to this 140-acre park in our town, but Tim hiked here many years ago with one of his friends. The Pequots were the first people living here before the English colonized what is now the town of Groton and the village of Mystic.

The infamous Pequot Massacre occurred near here on May 26, 1637.

Capt. John Mason led English, Mohegan, and Narragansett warriors in an attack on the main fortified Pequot village on the site of modern-day Mystic, Connecticut. The Pequot were surprised but quickly mounted a spirited defense that almost led to an English defeat. Realizing that he could not defeat the Pequot in the close quarters of the palisade, Mason ordered their wigwams set afire; some 400 Pequot men, women, and children were burned alive or slaughtered when they tried to escape.
~ Encyclopædia Britannica

There have been archaeological digs conducted in this park, unearthing musket balls and arrowheads. But there are no memorials here to tell the terrible story.

trailhead

After the English took over, this land was cleared for farming, and today there are plenty of stone walls remaining from those days, before farms were abandoned and many people went out west. The woods came back. Now we have hiking trails, wildlife viewing and an abandoned farm pond.

rough map carved in wood
the things this glacial erratic must have witnessed…

We gauge what we think is possible by what we know from experience, and our acceptance of scientific insights, in particular, is incremental, gained one experience at a time.
~ Bernd Heinrich
(Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival)

lots of stone walls
beech marcescence
interesting composition
shelf mushroom overlooking farm pond
colonial stone slab bridge
princess pine, first sighting since January
hummocks in the man-made farm pond
pair of mallards

It was a partly cloudy day, very cold, 41°F/5°C, with a feels-like temperature of 33°F/1°C, due to a moderate wind from the northwest. We had a nice conversation about cameras with the man in the next picture. He was trying to get a picture of the mallards, too, and wondered about my telescopic lens. His mother has a camera like mine and he’s considering getting one, too.

rescued greyhound bundled up for the cold
the uneven terrain
birdhouse in the middle of the farm pond
another delightful princess pine encounter

As far as coronavirus pandemic statistics go, I’ve decided to chronicle Connecticut’s positivity rate to make my tracking simpler. Looks like we’re headed into yet another surge. On the day of this walk our positivity rate jumped to 6.32%, the highest it’s been since last January.

oldest steam-powered cider mill

After our walk and leaf peeping last Friday we stopped at one of Tim’s (and son Nate’s!) favorite places for some freshly pressed apple cider. I can’t believe I’ve never created a post about this local treasure. Maybe because it’s so popular and crowded on the weekends but now that we’re retired we have the luxury of visiting during the week when there are fewer people around and a better chance to get unobstructed photos.

11.5.21 ~ Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark
(American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

Family-owned and operated since 1881, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a piece of living history. Every September 1st, we open our doors and sell sweet cider, hard cider, wine, cider donuts, and many local goods. We craft our sweet cider and hard ciders the same way that generations before us perfected. Enjoy cider-making demonstrations, wine and hard cider tastings, and our renowned cider donuts while making your own new traditions
~ B. F. Clyde’s Cider Mill website

side view

Although cider was produced on individual farms for private use, the centrally located mill became popular for farmers who would sell surplus apples to the mill and bring back the juice to ferment into hard cider. In 1881 Benjamin Clyde began pressing his apples at local mills and soon rented his own press. In 1897 he purchased the mill and installed the screw press (No. 2) from Boomer & Boschert of Syracuse. Boomer and Boschert also supplied the apple grater, apple elevator, and cider pump, as well as the plans for the building.
~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website

temporary cider storage, then it gets pumped to the company store

Although cider making has changed little over the centuries, this mill featured a sophisticated method of grinding and a press capable of applying pressure at three speeds. Using all steel construction, it was considered the finest screw cider press ever made. The cider mill at B.F. Clyde’s also represents one of the final screw presses. In the 20th century, the hydraulic press came into widespread use.
~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website

apple delivery
on the weekends you can get hard cider
in the cellar under the cider press
company store
company store greeter
gift shop
directing wine tasters to the gift shop

We went down another scenic road on our way home and enjoyed many more fall colors. We happened to notice a cemetery with open gates and drove in, finding some spectacular views of the Mystic River. We’ll have to go back some day to explore. But I was getting hungry and ready to go home. Before we left I spotted a squirrel eating on top of a headstone. A perfect ending to a great outing.

11.5.21 ~ Saint Patrick Cemetery