Connecticut Hill Retrospective

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Connecticut Hill Autumn

dramatic sky

Connecticut Hill from Harvey Hill Road on a late October afternoon. Newfield of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Click to view this series on Getty.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Autumn Fields, Finger Lakes

Hay Bales!!

The land opens up on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bench Sitting Nature Watch

a monarch in steady progress south

On a sunny autumn morning we set out, my soon to be three grandson Sam and I, to the Lime Hollow Nature Center near Cortland for an adventure.  For the first time I brought a newly purchased iPhone 7 instead of the usual slr camera.  The phone can be carried in a pocket and is simpler to us, to allow me to give full attention to Sam.

WillsSamuelJackBenchsitting20181014-1

At the start is a large, today sunlit, field with an “art trail.”  There are various anthropomorphic transformations on the trees and a very large sculpture of a blue face.  Here is a tree from another place near here, to give you an idea.

PumpkinFarmTreeFace2012

I do not point out the tree faces to Sam.  His Mom likes to say he enjoys being frightened and, when the blue face came into view, he turned back and said, “home.”  Sam was mildly anxious, so I carried him and tried to turn him up the trail away from the face.  He turned to keep an eye on it while I assured him it could not move.  This and a climb up a 230 foot hill were the only times he didn’t walk the half mile to a open grassy knoll with a bench.

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There we sat for 30 minutes, still and watching, Sam and I talked about our sightings:
1. The sunlit sky of clouds, from a milky blue towards the north to, overhead, a bright robins egg blue.
2. A circling hawk, shadow crossing over us.
3. One blue jay in a maple turning red, loudly calling over and over.
4. A little while after a second jay, landing in a tree turned yellow, drawn in and giving answer.
5. A monarch butterfly’s steady progress south. Such a strong gliding path.
6. A yellow butterfly who did not leave us, fluttering round and round.
7. Four honking Canadian geese flying north east, turned to check out a nearby pond, the returned to the original heading.
8. The sound of wind through the trees, listening to the sound made by each tree.
9. The late season golden rod, now dried gray.
10. A distant chittering red squirrel.
11. Distant peeper frogs in the swamps at the foot of the hill.

Sam did not want to leave the bench, eventually we headed on to the pond the geese checked out.

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I used the “panoramic” feature of the iPhone 7 for this shot. On the hill we were sheltered by trees and bushes from the steady northeast wind. Here, on a bench by the pond, that direction was open to the wind. The sun kept us warm. It was clear why the geese did not land, the water surface was deserted, filled only by rippling wind driven waves.

On our walk back we sat on a bench on the edge of the art trail field, the blue face out of sight. A woman, the only other person encountered, emerged from one of the trails cut from the brush, camera in hand. She was collecting images for a Cortland Historical Society publication and asked to take our photograph. “OK,”, I said and gave the story of living here for 25 years in the house on Fall Creek where my son’s family lives now. She replied, “My daughter is in San Francisco. We don’t know who will have our house when we are gone.”

Click me for “Celestial Geese with two haiku by Issa”.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

When is “moss” not moss?

Southern Gothic

We spotted this stuff within minutes of arriving at McKee Gardens for an afternoon visit with the grandchildren. Festooned above our heads from thick Oak branches, I could not resist pulling out the camera for this photograph to capture the flavor of Southern Gothic. Fortunately, our group included neither deeply flawed nor disturbing characters, though we can confess to a touch of eccentricity.

Spanish Moss produces inconspicuous flowers with tiny seeds. Spanish Moss also propagates from fragments of the fine leaves.

Spanish Moss is neither moss nor Spanish. Scientific name Tillandsia usneoides, this flowering plant is in the family Bromeliaceae that includes pineapple. Here we have two epiphytic bromelias sharing the trunk of a palm.

A rootless epiphyte native to the tropical / semi-tropical Americas, Spanish Moss has a preference for southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) because of their high rates of foliar mineral leaching (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus) that provides an abundant supply of nutrients to the epiphytic plant.

My two volume “go to” resource for plants and trees had sparse information about Spanish Moss and no wonder as it is a burden on trees, though not parasitic, and so more a pest than a decorative element to cherish. Surprisingly, Spanish Moss was purposely introduced to Hawaii where it is now known as “Pele’s Hair” after their fire goddess.

Click me for a dinosaur video from McKee Gardens.

Reference: wikipedia “Spanish Moss”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Brief Happy Movie on the Solstice

a gorge walk

Walking around Taughannock Falls New York State Park on the solstice of 2019 starting from the Black Diamond trail head on Jackson Road, down the South Rim trail, up the North Rim Trail. We had a great deal of rain this week and the water filled the falls the full channel width.

The header photograph is a waterfall of Fillmore Glen, also in the Finger Lakes.

For a full screen view, click on the UTube icon, lower right of the video panel. The resolution is not very good so I also posted the source videos.

The movie is from the following videos and photos from my IPhone. The quality is better than the compilation video. I uploaded the following videos directly to WordPress. I was not able to get the “full view” icon to work on my browser. Enjoy

View of the upper gorge, above the falls, from the South Rim
View into the gorge from the South Rim
Distant view of Taughannock Falls from the South Rim
Click on any of the photographs for a larger view.
The stair down from the gorge South Rim
View of the forest of the South Rim
The stairs up to the North Rim of the gorge
View of the forest of the North Rim

A turkey vulture soars by towards the end of the following.

View of gorge from the North Rim
View into the gorge from the North Rim
Taughannock Falls and “Ant People” from the overlook
Taughannock Falls from the North Rim
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Waterfall Walk

Travelling light, using the IPhone 7during a 4 mile walk on the Gorge and South Rim Trails of Robert H. Treman New York State Park, Finger Lakes Region near Ithaca, New York. A few waterfalls and sights along the way. Distance is from the “Health” app on my phone.

A pool is formed beneath this waterfall by a dam, removed each fall and yet to be placed. Summertime, the water is deliciously cool. It is great fun swimming to the waterfall base and inching along under the spray. This view is the reward for the first climb up from the gorge floor, the South Rim Trail.

The first Foam Flower…..

This flower grew just off this section of the trail.

A few hundred feet further along, the Foam Flowers were crowded in clumps. The scientific name, Tiarella cordifolia, is from the heart shaped leaves (cordifolia). Each flower forms a crown like seed, thus “tiarella” from the French.

Click me for more information on this plant.

Here I approached the high point of this section of the South Rim Trail. I look forward to summer and Purple Flowering Raspberry, the featured photograph (header) of this post.

Click me to learn more about the Purple Flowering Raspberry from my Fine Art Photography Gallery

I caught sigh to this Jack-In-The-Pulpit on the descent to the gorge. Click me for a better photograph of this plant.

An enchanted place just off the trail.

I spotted this Creeping Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) with a single red berry on my return trip via the Gorge Trail.

Click me for the another Enfield Glen post, “A Summer Flower and Waterfalls.
Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Tower of Glass reprise

A selection of photographs from our January 2019 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

I found three more photographs of “Tower…”

Tower is on permanent load from Frabel Art Foundation. In the late 1970s, glass sculptor Hans Godo Frabel created a small series of abstract sculptures of spheres connected to rods, forming unique clear shapes that render a beautiful play with light. This piece, entitled Tower, is a larger version of Frabel’s 1979 Tower of Babel.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, “Triceratops, one of the last.

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Tower of Glass

A selection of photographs from our January 2019 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Tower is on permanent load from Frabel Art Foundation. In the late 1970s, glass sculptor Hans Godo Frabel created a small series of abstract sculptures of spheres connected to rods, forming unique clear shapes that render a beautiful play with light. This piece, entitled Tower, is a larger version of Frabel’s 1979 Tower of Babel.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Memorial Mushroom

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

In Memory of Elsebeth (1889-1996) and Waldo Sexton (1885-1967) from their family (2018). This is a replica of one created in the original McKee Jungle Gardens, circa 1953. The original Giant Mushroom still stands in what is now Vista Gardens, approximately 1/3 mjile northeast of this spot.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved