Topsmead in July was certainly splendid. Many folks were out and about enjoying Miss Edith Morton Chase’s generous gift to the people of Connecticut. Early one morning as I was walking from Miss Edith’s Cotswold cottage along the dirt road towards the four corners and heading out to the hay fields, I saw a woman walking seemingly randomly among the huge pine trees that line the dirt road. When I got closer, she volunteered that she was looking for a bluebird. Each morning, she said, she liked to start her day with a bluebird, and she always found one at Topsmead.
One crisp, rain-washed July afternoon, as I was on my way through the hayfields’ mowed paths out to the butterfly garden, I met a father walking towards me with a youngster in a stroller that had very muddy wheels. After agreeing to the beauty of the day, he added that the heavy rain of the night before had made for some challenging stroller pushing. “A bit muddier back that way,” he said. That same rain has kept the butterfly garden so well hydrated that its many and varied blooms have been sending out the most gorgeous, colorful invitations to practically all of the pollinators in the Northwest Hills.
Late one afternoon, I came upon two men with pallets and brushes in hand, one sitting in front of his wooden painting easel and one standing in front of his, but both bringing the Topsmead landscape alive on their canvases. The weather sure has been perfect for painting en plein air!
Now that August has arrived, the Topsmead bobolinks are on the move from their summer breeding hayfields to their winter habitat in South America with stopovers in South Carolina and the Gulf States to rest and fatten up on rice and grains. Using the earth’s magnetic fields and the stars to find their way, these one ounce songbirds migrate over 12,000 miles round trip and may even fly up to 1,100 mile in one day. Bon voyage and fly safe, intrepid travelers!