Machamoodus State Park

30 03 2018

 

Machimoodus 1

And so we start.

Machimoodus 4

Pileated woodpecker holes

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We heard peepers… spring IS coming!

Machimoodus 2

Beautiful scenic overlook of Salmon Cove… kayaking soon…

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Empty sunflower seeds and a small hinge in the base of the tree… a mystery

Wrasslin Cats 2

Yummy lunch at Two Wrasslin’ Cats, East Haddam, CT

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George D Seymour State Park

28 03 2018

Seymour SP 1

From the DEEP site: George Dudley Seymour was a man of vision. In 1883, at the age of 24, he began his law career in New Haven. His great success as a patent attorney provided him with the wealth necessary to fulfill his desire of land preservation in many areas of the state. In addition to the acquisition of this 334 acre park which bears his name, Seymour and his foundation acquired all or part of seven other state parks: Beaver Brook, Becket Hill, Bigelow Hollow, Hurd, Millers Pond, Platt Hill, and Stoddard Hill state parks and the Nathan Hale State Forest.

This park location in Seymour’s name was once the estate of George, Henry and Thomas Clark. Their Clark Cutaway Harrow Company in Higganum successfully produced cider presses, disk harrows, hay spreaders, plows, carriage jacks and other necessities of the day in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Their wealth enabled them to purchase the land and build their family estate at this location along the Connecticut River. The estate was called Clarkhurst for their own surname, and -hurst, meaning a wooded piece of rising ground.  Here along the floodplain their comfortable lives played out and their agricultural tools were tested.

Over the years Henry purchased the property from his brothers, but with his passing in 1914 the mansion and many buildings began their decline.  Deeded to his daughter in 1921, she attempted the maintenance of the property through the development of a golf course and other recreational facilities. But by the depression years of the 1930s, overgrowth and structural collapse had sealed its fate.  In 1942 the land was acquired by Mrs. Marion Guthrie who, though she attempted its quick sale ultimately held it until 1960.  Gladly the George Dudley Seymour Foundation provided the $60,000 necessary and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association was able to purchase the land for the state.

It is interesting to note that native grasses across the state have been altered or replaced over time as a result of various land uses. But here on these floodplain soils, grass species that date from the 1600s or earlier can be found. These grasses predate European colonization and represent a time only the Native peoples were witness to. These and other grasslands within the park provide an excellent location for bird watching. In the spring of some years the DEEP manages this habitat with mowing and through controlled burns.

Wrasslin Cats 1

We lunched at Two Wrasslin’ Cats, East Haddam. Good food, great ethics, home to Saturday vigils and various marches.





2018 April A to Z Blog Challenge

19 03 2018

For the seventh year, I will be participating in the April A to Z Blog Challenge (I encourage you to check it out, if you’ve never seen it). My overarching theme is A Good Life and this year’s focus is on Stretches: a daily post with a stretch to contribute towards a Good Life. Stretches are an extension or expansion of our current life, a way to explore new opportunities or make small changes to our perspective. Something that takes a little c-h-ourage (envision the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz). It may turn out to be fun or not, but you’re glad you tried it.

Sign up there to follow these posts and get a dose of daily ideas emailed directly to you for the month of April.

Beth Lapin's A to Z Blog 2018

For the seventh year, I will be participating in the April A to Z Blog Challenge (I encourage you to check it out, if you’ve never seen it). My overarching theme is A Good Life and this year’s focus is on Stretches: a daily post with a stretch to contribute towards a Good Life. Stretches are an extension or expansion of our current life, a way to explore new opportunities or make small changes to our perspective.  Something that takes a little c-h-ourage (envision the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz). It may turn out to be fun or not, but you’re glad you tried it.

[In the spirit of providing daily commentary, I’m adding digraphs, those two letters that unite to consistently form a single sound, to my A to Z posts.]

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The Big Reveal! and Farm River State Park

13 03 2018

Cherry and I met last week to figure out our next adventure. After considering several options, we decided to go with: ta-da, ta-da—

CT DEEP’s 2018 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge!!

Designed to promote hiking in Connecticut’s State Park and Forests, this year’s list includes fourteen “lesser known trails.”

So we started with Farm River State Park

Here are our mandatory shots for  verifying our visitation at this site:

 

Check out the great views and sundial in this small “pocket park.”

 

After the short hike, we went to Gutiz, a local Ecuadarian Restaurant. Excellent food and interesting atmosphere.

 

Hope you’ll keep up with us as we travel around CT to view these lesser known areas.





Crescent Lake, Southington and Plainville Friendly’s

2 03 2018

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Fourth time’s the charm! Due to weather and health issues, we’ve had to postpone our FINAL visit to Friendly’s for weeks. Finally, today we are ready to head out. And it’s a nice day, in the 50s and sunny. Cherry arrives with Spring in her hands – a lovely bouquet for me!

IMG_4511Since our last meeting, Cherry has lost her cat to a rare heart condition and we acknowledge the loss of Willa. Then we take the half hour drive to Crescent Lake. A bit breezy when we arrive at 10:30, we choose the shortest trail around the lake, about two miles, which provides lovely views. I talk about recent experiences where I felt very centered and clear; Cherry says that happens to her when she’s in nature and realizes how interconnected we are with all living things.

Some of the path is water-logged but there are enough protruding roots and strategically placed logs to make it though. Cherry tests her waterproof boots at times, but I know mine won’t stay dry and balance myself along whatever rises above the water. Cherry says she is finally winding down some family financial responsibilities and will be relieved when they’re finished.

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Along the eastern edge of the pond, we find duck boxes with metal baffles to keep raccoons out (I assume). On the northern shore, facing the sun we spotted a turtle who quickly dove into the water when it heard our approach. A welcomed sign of Spring! I am pleased to report that I passed my wildlife rehab test and am working on the next step to become certified, which involves putting in 40 volunteer hours with mentors.

IMG_4517We return to the car around noon and drive the quick trip to the Plainville Friendly’s. Our last one! We splurge with the 1,260-calorie chicken BBQ with bacon, but substitute apple sauce for the fries. Our waitress Penny teases us due to almost identical orders. “I bet you two just met,” she quips.

As we enjoy our sandwiches (and I set aside half for later), I mention that I’ve been going to the exercise classes at the local community center for the past few months, when the weather had made it more difficult to get outside. Cherry is excited that the person she nominated for a local community award has been selected!

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When it’s time to order dessert, I ask about February’s special flavor, Cherry Jubilee, but Penny says it’s gone. Moments later, she returns. “I lied. I found some in the back of the freezer!” What a treat! It is probably the best ice cream flavor I’ve ever had: moist, sweet cherries, rich dark chocolate chunks… yum. We raise our sundaes to toast the end of our Friendly’s quest.

Cherry confides in Penny about our project; our waitress says she moved back to Connecticut to raise her son where there were cone-head sundaes! Penny’s image of childhood was incomplete without them!

On our way home, we stop at the Cromwell Friendly’s, where this whole project started almost three years ago. Cherry has been working with the manager, Sean, to set up a celebration date in April. It looks like that’s falling into place. He shared some sad news that the Milford Friendly’s had closed since we have been there. But so far, the rest seem to be going strong. And so are we; stay tuned for our next hiking project!