Walk With Me Wednesday


November arrived. It’s wet, cold and raw. There have been snow showers for two days.  The geese have passed through. Only a dozen stragglers spent last night on the pond.  A week ago we had a couple hundred each day.


Between snow showers, blue sky peeked through the clouds and the western sun lit the treetops on the edge of the pond; a gorgeous contrast to the gray days.


(I’m still trying to understand why the photos within the post aren’t sharp. If you tap on them, they enlarge and are in focus.  Very frustrating.)

Walk With Me Wednesday

or, more aptly titled, ‘Walking With Willy’.  
Most mornings, we’re out the door before 7:30. Willy races out to find whomever was walking on his deck during the night and I focus on keeping my second cup of coffee from spilling, as I follow him doing whatever he needs to do.  After the initial house inspection, we take off.  Walking with cats affords plenty of time to look around. Generally it is a slow business.  Lots of stopping and staring off into the weeds or woods.  If it hadn’t been for one of these 15 minute stops, I might have missed this cocoon that was hanging, quite literally, right before my eyes.  It is very well camouflaged. Just a mass of dead leaves.  At first, I thought the branch had broken and reached up to break it off.  As my hand closed around it, I felt a purposed shape and knew at once that it was a treasure.  I’ve found such things before, but always on the ground.  Could it be a Polyphemus Moth? Or Luna?  I’ll wait until the frost comes, them put in a safer spot, away from the edge of the driveway where the tractor or fuel truck will beat it with each passing this winter.

Slowly, I’m breaking out my scarves and sweaters.  I can’t remember another year where we haven’t had frost by October.  The leaves are nearing peak, proof that the shorter days make the difference.  It’s gorgeous, even with the weeks of unending mist and rain.  I read weather reports of sunny days to the south and wish that it could blow a brighter day up north before we are buried in the inches of soft moss that’s accumulating underfoot.  

748E0C90-EA8D-4FB5-B308-6102370E9B9AThe warm weather has given me reason to procrastinate where the gardens are concerned.  They should be put to bed. I’ve begun. Slowly.

Walk with me Wednesday

6211B03E-3524-4980-8C30-5DBC0E97CE41When there is snow on the ground, even a cloudy day can feel bright.  It is one of the things I love the most about winter.  A summer woods is dark, close and deep.  A winter woods is full of light.  It is a study of long strong shadows, dark and bright, drawn in light.

The past few weeks, we found ourselves near enough to the ocean to be able to take walks on the winter beach.  Some of the beaches we walked for the first time.  I find it hard to imagine that these long wild stretches have escaped me all these years.  There were magical days when the snow covered much of the beach and the ocean foam froze into a whipped cream edge to the sea.  Rocks wore crowns of ice.


On another day, we were caught in a snow storm, and watched the snow settle onto the sand and sea birds backs.  Last week, we walked by endless snow fences, placed to hold the sand back from its endless journey to somewhere else.


The birds tell me the back of winter has broken.  (The relentless howling wind that brought -4F temps this morning did little to reinforce that.) The calendar agrees.  We’ve taken to working on the wet, snowy or days too cold to manage. When the sun shines bright, I pack a lunch and we head out for an adventure. Winter will be gone before we know it.  You know what comes then?


Walk With Me Wednesday


This week brought me back to asphalt roads.  I rarely walk on hardtop.  It just isn’t comfortable and it usually means that I’ll be stepping aside for cars and pickups racing by. The week was so busy that if I hadn’t stepped out and walked from my doorstep, there would not have been any walks at all.  It is hunting season.  The beautiful dense woodlands behind me are off limits for the next few weeks.  It’s not all bad.  The loop I take goes by some very old stone walls flanked by even older trees.  This particular tree is nearly four feet in diameter.  I can’t say for certain, but I’d bet it is over 250 yrs old.  It is one of my favorites.  


I wonder where the biggest oldest tree in New England lives. It must be magnificent.  If you’re looking for a field trip, here’s a link to the tallest trees in each New England state.  Pack a picnic.



Walk With Me Wednesday

The Cabin


There were more than a few surprises when we bought our piece of land on this hill 30 some years ago.  The biggest was the pond.  It is hard to imagine that a nearly six acre pond could be hidden, but it was that overgrown.  The realtor that walked the land with us that first day, said he’d been told there was a pond somewhere but he hadn’t found it. But, that is another story.  At some point, and I can only think it must have been during the first summer that we camped on the land, we came across an old cabin. It sat under some of the oldest maples on the property, near the border where the woods meets a neighboring field.  It is magical spot.  My memory is unclear as to why I believe it was called ‘Sunset Cabin’.  The name would certainly be appropriate.  The sunset from the edge of the field is amazing.  It has a nearly 180 view of distant ranges.  We can see fireworks as far away as Montpelier and the top of Jay Peak, the Lowell’s, Camel’s Hump and I wish I knew what else.  Over the years, the cabin site became a destination hike, sort of in the same way the woodpecker’s mailbox tree, or a sign in the woods becomes something to build stories upon. There were a few standing walls and a bit of a collapsed roof that first year or so.  A worn table still stood in one of the two rooms.  Today, all that remains is the chimney.


This is the only place on this property that I have seen a rock that red. The marble is scattered here and there. I have to believe that the builders brought them with them as something special.  I’ve decided to ask around for any old pictures.  This was a loved and special spot long before I got here.


Walk With Me Wednesday

It has been awhile, a very long while in fact, since I last wrote a post for a “Walk With Me Wednesday.  I’ve often thought of it and spent time on my walks composing posts in my head.  But, by the time I returned home, there was dinner to make, or questions to answer or any of the million things that pop up in a day to take you in any other direction than that in which you hoped to head.  But something happened last week.  My friend Carole decided to start writing ‘Walk With Me Wednesday‘ posts.  All week long I thought about how much fun it was to see where walks took my friends and that I have missed reading these shared posts.  Now, during this time when I rarely see anyone, or go anywhere with anyone, would be a perfect time to take you along.  Beside all of that,  I want to tag along on your adventures. 

Last week was golden.  In the hills, we go first to reds and bright oranges, then to bright yellows and golds and lastly to the burnished gold and bronze I walked through today.  This year has been spectacular.  I worried early on that the winds would take the leaves, and they did take quite a lot.  But, they left carpets of color everywhere.


This morning we woke to large wet flakes of snow.  Not the kind that sticks and stays but flakes dancing in the air, frosting the deck and icing the birdbath.  It was lovely while it lasted. There is little color left. The poplars, birch, aspen and cottonwoods are bare. After breakfast, I walked up the road to the edge of my neighbor’s field to admire the view. Only the tamarac and beech decorate the horizon. A few more nights in the 20s and another predicted in the teens.. with snow at the end of the week.. guess we’ll see what’s left next Wednesday.


Walk with me

..excerpt from September Birds 2020


Excerpt from September 2020

..on Geese

It is a glorious mid September day, bright blue cloudless skies and a distinct chill in the air.  There was a hard frost last night and today I wear a wool sweater.  Many geese have gathered on the pond.  Each of the past four days, we’ve counted 28. They came in three skeins and for the most part remain that way, only occasionally combining in groupings that are tentative and often ending with what appears to be an order from one alpha or another.  Groups or gaggles, gather on the shore providing endless entertainment for Willy the cat, and myself.  Willy waits patiently in the high grass until they come ashore and begin to settle.  A mad race towards them and they all squawk and race back into the pond.  He puffs up proudly and returns to his blind, watching and waiting for another turn.  Often, I see him sitting on the edge of the wooden raft as it floats to rope’s end with geese hissing and paddling around him, curious about a fluffy black creature with a tail like a goose neck, floating just above them.  If the breeze doesn’t push the raft back to shore, there will be a very wet cat.  Eventually the cat or geese become bored with the game.  The geese float away, talking in their soft whispery voices as they go.  An hour or so later I am at the work table in the window of my studio when I see a male goose cautiously walking out of the pond grasses toward me.  He watches, taking a careful step at a time.  Finally he decides that the coast is clear and signals, with a swivel of the neck and a bob of his head, to follow. One after another, a line of geese walk out of the high grass and onto the damn to feed.  He stands guard.  This particular neck swivel and bob, is something I’ve seen Canada geese use for years, though generally within a family setting.  I wonder if it is universal or if this goose was raised on this pond and this particular neck bob a version of local dialect.  A few minutes later, I shuffle some papers. The geese startle and with another neck circle, they are gone.

. . .

By the end of the month, the number of geese landing on the pond has grown to more than a hundred.  They fly in skeins of 30 or more, announcing their arrival to the equally loud honks of those already afloat.  It feels joyous, this gathering of geese.  Have they just now reunited after a summer apart?  There is much excited chatter.  I can’t believe it isn’t conversation. Are they planning a route, the next stop or sharing adventures? Sometimes, when they all call out at once, from one gigantic group on the pond, I think they are agreeing to something, a vote or rally cry, or when to take to the air once again.  Hip Hip!  As we begin our preparations for the cold months ahead, I think that they are not unhappy to move on to the next season, the next pond.

Friday’s Photo


An aside, having nothing at all to do with the photo..

An hour ago, I poured a cup of coffee and stood in front of the window gazing out at the pond. Overnight, it had begun to freeze.  The icy skin had progressed as far as the first island.  It is 21F.  Now, less than 60 minutes later, the ice has expanded to cover nearly all of the 6 acres that is my pond.  I am in awe.  

walk with me

Have you ever noticed that when you see something, like a particular model car, you begin seeing them everywhere? It happens with lots of things, like a song as an earworm. Colors can be like that, too.  Yesterday, while I was hanging around in the woods with Willy and Sam, I noticed a beautiful, iridescent feather on a bed of moss and lichen.



My kind of colors.  Believe me, this picture can barely do it justice.  After a bit more poking around, we walked up the hill and I went back to work.  The first batch of yarn on the table waiting for me to tag was this one.


image from www.flickr.com

See what I mean?


ps. I'm thinking it'll be this way with Stopover this weekend.  Anyone wearing one at the NETA SPA ? Thought so.