My New Favorite Park

For the last week and a half I’ve visited a small park in town.  The park starts level by the road but quickly drops off to a small rolling river below.

I’ve gotten in the habit of getting a bacon, egg and cheese and stopping at the park to eat my breakfast.  It’s on the way to where I’m working.

My breakfast nook. 

The path entering the park.

The real treat comes at the bottom of the hill when you get to the river.  It’s a great place to collect your thoughts.

If you look through the crystal clear water you can see the ledge beneath.  There’s no mud, just coarse sand below.

Looking up the river you can see the hemlocks that flank it.  What a peaceful place.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

The old foundation of some sort of building.  It’s been a long time since that building served any purpose.  

It’s neat how this maple tree grows even though the dirt washed away around its roots.  I wouldn’t be surprised if something lives under that tree.

This yellow birch started life growing between two boulders and continues to thrive.

If you live in Newtown, CT you can find the park about a half mile up from where 34 meets 110.  You have to look hard or you’ll miss the little parking lot.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to the river.

Here’s an article about the Halfway River Open Space.

How to Create a Curved Stepping Stone Path

This week I finished installing a stepping stone path.

This stepping stone path is unique for a couple of reasons.

First, it provides a much-needed way to move through the garden.  There’s no way to cross the garden without it.

Second, the stepping stone path gently curves to add interest.  The path curves left to make room for a future PG Hydrangea on the right.

I’m looking forward to filming the garden when completed.

How to create a Curved Stepping Stone Path

Landscape Before work Begins
When I started there was no way to get through the bed.  The plants were randomly planted with no sense of purpose.
Laying out the Stepping Stone Path
The white line is where the stepping stone path will be.
Stepping Stone Path Completed
It took me a day to select, deliver and roughly place the stepping stones.  It took a day and a half to install them. The work usually goes faster.  I chose some odd-shaped and large stones. I’m very pleased with the results.
Laying out Stepping Stone Path
Placing the stones is a two-step process.  First I roughly place the stones.  Next I put an X in the middle with a grease crayon and space them 26.5″ on center. The first and last stone go 13.25″ from the edge of the bed. The beginning and end never work out perfectly. I spread the difference between the last few.
Completed Stepping Stone Path
Set stepping stones 2-3″ high so they aren’t covered by mulch.  Nothing is more annoying than covering your freshly placed stepping stones.
View of the Lake and Stepping Stone Path
I’ve been working on a lake the last couple weeks and enjoying some incredible views.  The mulch in this bed is pure Hemlock Bark.  My favorite.

A while back I filmed how I install stepping stones.  While I’ve gotten better at producing videos the way I lay stepping stones hasn’t changed a bit.

Jack Frost Exceedingly Bad Day

Yesterday we had snow, then rain, then ice and then snow again.  When I woke this morning it was a frigid 26 degrees.

You’d think I’d be used to spring snow.  I’ve lived in southern New England all my life where the weather is anything but predictable.

I’m not.

Every time Jack Frost lays waste to the landscape I’m surprised.  Yesterday Jack was having an exceedingly bad day.

While the pictures below show plants at their worst I assure you they’ll be fine.  In a few day they’ll look as good as when it was in the sixties last week.

Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) sent to Hell
Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) thrives in weather like this. In a few days you won’t know the plant was under half an inch of ice and snow.
Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) on Ice
Can you can see the layer of ice on this Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis)?
Pansy (Viola sp.) Covered in Ice
This pansy is in for a rough couple weeks. Most of the foliage will turn brown and die.  Growth deep inside the plant will survive.  It’s going to take time.  I should have brought the plant inside BEFORE the cold weather arrived.
Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) Laid to Waste
These poor Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) were laid out on the lawn. I can’t say the flowers will look as good as they did before the snow. However, they will right themselves and shine again in a few days.
Mr. Science Guy how does water run and freeze at the same time?
Icy on the Outside Warm on the Inside
The first thing I did this morning was get wood to build a fire. The twine holding the tarp is surrounded by thick ice.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Old-Fashioned Craftsmanship

After a day of office work I decided to take Theo for a walk.

It was a beautiful evening.  The temperature was around 68 and the sun was shining.  I admit I wasn’t in the mood for a walk.  Too much office time drains my energy.

After 45 minutes of walking I had a choice.

Continue straight and be home in 15 minutes or take the dirt road to the right and add an hour and a half to my walk.

I chose the road less traveled.

I love dirt roads.  I love old houses.  I love walking through the forest.  I love walking in the rain?

This dirt road was right where I wanted to be.

As Theo and I headed down the road a shower started with the low rumble of thunder.

I didn’t mind.  The rain was warm.

While walking I saw some old-fashioned craftsmanship.

Stone Wall with Arch for Water
The arch through this stone wall gives the stream a stylish way through.
Close-up of Stream Through Wall
The stream running through the stone wall.  The job could have been done easier plenty of ways.  None would have looked better.
Stone Wall Built on Boulder
Here the masons used a large boulder to support the wall over the stream. I like how the masons tied the large stone into the wall.
New England Stone Wall Rebuilt
A rebuilt new england farm wall.  Modern stone walls often have wide mortar joints and randomly cut stones for quick construction.
Stone Fence Posts
There’s more to the story of this fence than stone posts and cedar rails. I’m sure that fence had different rails when it was originally built.
Sugar Maple and Stone Fence Posts
Notice how the maple tree engulfed the stone fence post. I wonder if that Sugar Maple was planted to shade the house.

Theo and I left for our walk a little before six and returned a little after eight.  We feel refreshed and renewed albeit a little damp.