Friday, September 23, 2005

Gorgeous Day

White Memorial
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
A photo just can't describe what a beautiful day we had on Thursday, September 22nd, in Litchfield County, CT. The weather was dry, cloudless and in the seventies. Just being outside made you feel good.

I went to the White Memorial Foundation, a 4600 acre wildlife preserve around Bantam Lake. There's a wetland called Little Pond with a boardwalk. It was a slow birdwatching day, at least in the afternoon when I went out, but the walk was glorious. I did see a great blue heron perched in a tree, a northern mockingbird, a black-throated green warbler and a hawk (likely a female red-tail) that flew right across the path at a mere five feet off the ground.

As you can see, very few of the trees had started to turn although noticeably more are turning today than yesterday. But fall is on the way. This wooly bear caterpillar was my first of the season.

Nicholas enjoyed watching some birds at home.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Averill Farms

Averill Farms
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
It's apple season in Connecticut. This means visiting Averill Farms in Washington, CT, each week. Averill has been around since 1746. They have some heirloom trees that produce very rare apples. They have all the usual ones--Macs and Macouns and Romes, etc. But they have some unusual varieties too like Harcross. Each week as the fruit ripens, there are different varieties available.

I buy pie apples--tart and firm (just like me!) and make sauce out of any extras. I've decided that a mix of apples works best--Greenings, Harcross and Gravenstein this last time. I don't pick my own since they have plenty of good choices at the farmstand.

The farm is sometimes a good place for birdwatching. Bluebirds frequent the orchard. They eat insects and, according to one of the Averills, even though they eat a few apples, they save more fruit than they eat so the orchard is dotted with bluebird boxes.

It's tough to make a living growing and selling fruit so I really appreciate what these folks have done for the last 259 years.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fog in the Valley

Fog in the Valley
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
Took this photo on my way to NJ from Kent. Below this cloud is the valley and a pond. Beyond the fence is a mowed field that is often inhabited by wild turkeys, the bird that Ben Franklin thought should be our national bird. And just down the road are black cows with white stripes down their backs. Since I don't know what type of cows they are, I call them "skunk cows" because that's what they resemble.

Tune in for fall colors which are just beginning to show.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Is He Wily?

Coyote I
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
I was enjoying a lovely day in Kent. Nicholas and I were sitting in the screen porch when he suddenly became alert and moved to the screen in the center. I looked up and saw this coyote up near the pool. Grabbed the camera and went up that way and got this shot of him near the fence.

This is allegedly a young coyote and he apparently had been hit by a car. One of his hind legs was injured, but he has made a pretty good recovery. He can move swiftly and quietly. He hangs around Kent Hollow because there are crab apples, small game, roadkill and the occasional kielbasa courtesy of Walter next door.

Here's the same coyote in my front yard. He (or is it "she") thought he was going to take a nap in my front yard, but when I came out with my camera, he trotted away.

Coyote III

One more good reason for the cat to stay indoors. Here he is watching the feeders and looking out for "our" coyote. BTW since finding out that roadrunners eat hummingbirds, all my sympathy has been with the Coyote.

Nick through the Screen

Friday, September 02, 2005

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis
Originally uploaded by PhoebeJ.
I arrived at the store early the other day to find that two praying mantises were gracing the front of my store. This one was on the window and another was on the masonry below.

This guys are big! They are also vicious if you're an insect or the mantis's mate. But they do eat a lot of insects which is generally good and they are interesting to look at.

You never know what you're going to see if you keep your eyes open! Twenty minutes after I arrived the mantises left.