Tropical Storm Isaias has come and gone. For many, power has gone and come back again. Cleaning up the Topsmead property, DEEP has once again worked its magic, whisking away the many broken tree trunks and downed tree boughs and chipping the debris. Have you noticed their work on pruning the tree trunks and “weeding” the stone walls along Chase Road? Topsmead is looking so well manicured. Miss Edith would be proud!
And have you seen the new, black, iron railings installed around Miss Edith’s cottage? Not only do they expand accessibility by offering a helping hand for moving safely up and down the garden steps, but also they are elegant and tasteful. Thanks to Friends of Topsmead State Forest for the idea and to DEEP for their creation and installation.
And have you seen the glorious blooming going on in the gardens around the house and in the pollinator garden? Some certainly have. The other day, I chatted with a mother and her middle-school-aged daughter who had set up their easels in the enclosed garden and were painting pictures of the multi-hued scene of the flower beds with the stone wall and the Dove Cote in the background. The mother was working meticulously with her brush and oil paints to capture the red color and the tiny rectangular shapes of the Dove Cote’s bricks.
And have you noticed the bustling bird life thriving at Topsmead? Janet Blauvelt’s marvelous network of bluebird houses welcomed back their nesting families this summer, and Janet reports that the number of bluebird fledglings almost doubled from twenty-three last year to forty this year. Kudos to Janet and the bluebird house monitoring team of Gabriel Blauvelt, Renee Betar, and Judy and Stephen Grund. The bobolinks, who spend their summers nesting and breeding in the hayfields of Topsmead, are feeding up on insects in preparation for their long trip to South America for the winter. Keep your eyes open and see if you can catch a glimpse of the handsome males, yellow-headed and black-and-white tuxedo-backed, before they head south.
And have you seen and smelled and heard the hints of fall coming to Topsmead? Right now, the fields of Topsmead are getting their late summer haircut. With the baby bobolinks having fledged and no longer needing the protection of their field nests, hay mowing has commenced. The hay fields are being transformed from their summery hairdos of waving golden fronds to a motionless, close-clipped, almost Clint-Eastwood-like, make-my-day stubble. The fragrance of that fresh-mown hay permeates the air at the top of the mead. And if you stay late enough into the afternoon, as the sun starts heading down to the horizon, you may hear the buzzy, tell-tale song of the cicadas, harbingers of fall. Did you know that according to folklore, a frost is possible six weeks after that first song?
But fall isn’t here quite yet, so before it arrives, I invite you to share in the comment section below a sight or a sound or a smell that means Topsmead in summer for you.