a mixed message

2.2.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
Groundhog Day
partly cloudy, occasional shadows
definite shadows

This morning we took our groundhogs, Basil & Oregano, to the botanical garden to introduce them to their new home. Sometimes they saw their shadows and sometimes they didn’t. Maybe there will be only three more weeks of winter?

lingering winter
no shadows
‘Old Blush’ Rose leaves
promising spring

I’ve decided to use the scene in the first picture for Karma’s “same location for all 4 seasons” photo hunt. Because Groundhog Day falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox I think I will make this into an 8 season effort, including May Day, First Harvest and Halloween, which fall between the other solstices and equinoxes. If you want to join in please see Karma’s instructions at the end of this post HERE at Karma’s When I Feel Like It Blog.

delicious ambiguity

5.24.23 ~ red-winged blackbird ~ Mystic, Connecticut

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking a moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
~ Gilda Radner
(It’s Always Something)

Our last day in Connecticut. Tomorrow we depart for North Carolina! The next time I post I will have changed the name of my blog from By the Sea to Inland Wanderings, unless of course, a different inspiration hits me between now and then.

roses by the sea

5.22.23 ~ Napatree Point

Only about 20 miles east of us the sea changes from the gentler waters of Long Island Sound to the open Atlantic Ocean with its bigger waves.

One last walk on the dunes and beach at Napatree Point…

first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean
we came to smell the beach roses and breathe in the salty air
Napatree Point, a 1.5 mile long curved peninsula
between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Narragansett Bay
beach roses nestled into a dip in the dune
Watch Hill Light
we came to hear the waves crashing

It was a very hazy day, the smoke particles in the air came all the way from the wildfires in Alberta, Canada. Sometimes the camera captured some blue in the sky and others times the sky came out very gray.

we came to hike across the dune trails

We heard this male yellow warbler sweetly singing before we finally spotted him flitting around the thickets on the dune, in the same area we saw a female back in September. It’s amazing to think that this little songbird spent the winter in Central America and has arrived here to breed.

“sweet sweet sweet I’m so sweet”

As we were walking along a robin came wandering down the dune path towards us. He would take a few steps, pause, look around, and then take a few more. We stood still and he kept coming closer, and closer and closer. After he checked us out, he turned around and started retracing his steps in the same manner. Curious little fellow.

American robin
beach pea
(thanks to Eliza for the identification)
harbor scene ~ I love that house!

When we got back to the parking lot these two herring gulls were having a spirited encounter. The one on the right kept making a long call and the one on the left kept jumping down into the water and bringing up globs of seaweed. The first one ignored the seaweed and kept repeating his long call.

we came to say a fond farewell

missing the lighthouses already

5.14.23 ~ New London Ledge Light
half a mile from Avery Point

One last walk at Avery Point…

Race Rock Light, eight miles away
from Avery Point
“Azucar” by Christopher Wynter
(Tim’s favorite sculpture)
common eider
New London Ledge Light
from the ledge in front of Branford House
in the garden on the ledge in front of Branford House
Avery Point Light
from the ledge in front of Branford House
two copper beeches on the Avery Point campus
one of the Cross Sound ferries
from New London, Connecticut to Orient Point, Long Island, New York
copper beech, gifts of healing energy for me
beautiful copper beech leaves
allium in the Cognitive Garden at Avery Point
daisy
lighthouse mosaic in the garden walkway

This brick path sculpture walk by the sea at Avery Point has been our go-to walk for many, many years. So close to home and so beautiful through all the seasons. It was the first place we walked after Tim’s heart attack and triple by-pass surgery. A place for healing and contemplation, especially to listen to the buoy bells and watch the sky when a storm was approaching. So many memories and changes through the years.

the light-footed goats

Addie, shedding her winter coat while eating some brush

One last visit with Julie’s goats… Another lovely, sunny, spring day.

an iris coming soon…
the goats have some gnomes in their yard

The goats were busy grazing and browsing, as goats do, and they were fun to watch. Brie even put on a little show. Julie though she might be pretending to be a dog…

Brie
being silly
“Whatcha doing, Brie?”

Some of my readers may remember Betsy, the little goat who had a rough start in her life. (see here for the story) I’m happy to report she has thrived with her new family and weighs as much, if not more, than she should now.

Betsy

I want to go about like the light-footed goats.
~ Johanna Spyri
(Heidi)

Crackers (hoping for a cracker!)

My apologies to Chai because I don’t seem to have gotten a picture of her! 🐐

Such a pleasant midday visit with the charming goat gals and then a great family history chat with Julie afterwards. I was delighted to see that Julie has a loose leaf ring binder system for storing her genealogy records that is similar to mine. I think she is the only person I know who loves collecting ancestors as much as I do.

one morning in two lovely spring gardens

Edgerton & Stengel Memorial Wildflower Garden
5.7.23 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum

One last walk with Janet in Connecticut… (There may be walks together in North Carolina in our future…) It was a lovely, sunny, spring day. So many blossoms!!!

golden ragwort
wild azalea
large-flowered bellwort (aka merrybells)
roseshell azalea
wild columbine (aka red columbine)
mayapple
bluets
eastern redbud
dwarf crested iris
Virginia bluebells
path into a rock garden
purple trillium
nodding trillium
yellow birch (aka swamp birch)
great white trillium
fern forest
Solomon’s seal
toadshade (aka toad trillium)
gray catbird singing for us
Caroline Black Garden
5.7.23 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum

After enjoying the wildflower garden we crossed the college campus and visited another garden, this one of ornamental trees and shrubs from around the world.

huge copper beech in the background
Janet noticed this bat lying motionless on a rock
blossoms reflected in water pool
unfurling
Janet looking into a garden “room”

You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Under the bare trees the wildflowers bloom so thick you can’t walk without stepping on them. The pastures turn green and the leaves come.
~ Wendell Berry
(Hannah Coulter: A Novel)

magnificent copper beech
stunning copper beech leaves
copper beech bark
looking up into the copper beach
eastern tiger swallowtail
dandelion seed caught on a flower stigma

I will miss my adventures with Janet, sharing with each other all the little details we notice along the way.

serene and honey sweet

“May Morn” by John Henry Twachtman

Another dawn — serene and honey sweet. At such times, it seems to me that dawn is nine-tenths of the day. Staying up late at night has a sameness about it; but every dawn is different. And this is the dawn of May — May, the month that is never long enough. This is May the first as the first of May should be. … On such a day as this, it is enough to spend the hours soaking in the sunshine, breathing slowly, sensing to the full all the perfumes of spring. It is enough to delight in the varied shades of green, in the forms of trees and the colors of flowers. On such a day, all our moments out-of-doors are lived in quiet pleasure.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist’s Year)

hatchlings!

4.28.23 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
papa goose standing guard over his new family

It was our lucky day — we got to see the Canada goose hatchlings still in their nest! However, papa goose was standing guard right where I usually stand to take pictures of mama goose on her nest. He never budged — what a vigilant, protective papa. I had to make do and find a different spot to zoom in from for my pictures.

three of the four
the fourth one seems a little bigger than the others
eastern painted turtle
Duck Pond

If you look closely in the above picture, all the way on the left papa goose is standing there keeping an eye on the whole pond and his family. All the way on the right mama goose and the goslings are on the little rock island.

On our way over to the nature center we happened to see the Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre being moved to a different dock in the preservation shipyard at Mystic Seaport. Tim parked the car illegally so I could hop out and cross the street and capture it, probably the last time we will see it. Most of the time it is covered in marine shrink wrap so this was a real treat!

Draken Harald Hårfagre on the Mystic River

The Draken Harald Hårfagre first came to Mystic in 2016, if I remember correctly, and it’s been exciting to me having it here for so long. Even though its home port is Haugesund, Norway the crew seems to have made Mystic its home away from home. Its website says it’s the world’s largest viking ship sailing in modern times. Official website.

any day now

4.26.23 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
mama goose still sitting on her rock island nest
hairy woodpecker
skunk cabbages are getting huge
swamp near the pond
more skunk cabbage

Many young leaves are dotting the trees now, spray and foliage both showing. The woods are quite green; the rapidity with which the leaves unfold between sunrise and sunset, or during the night, is truly wonderful!
~ Susan Fenimore Cooper
(Rural Hours)

it’s feeling much more like spring, even it it is still chilly
red maple seeds
the essence of springtime
crabapple tree

We got our second covid bivalent booster on the 25th, recommended to those of us over 65. This will make me feel a little safer traveling to North Carolina and being around more people in the coming months. We had our first bivalent booster back in September. I wonder if we’ll be getting one every six months from now on…