I walked the Hoffman Evergreen Preserve today in preparation for this month’s Pancake Breakfast Walk. The weather report is changing its mind about a storm, maybe some rain Friday night, but walkable on Saturday. Check the sidebar if you’re interested in hitting the Pancake Breakfast for details.
There’s plenty of parking at the Hoffman Evergreen Preserve so if you want to just meet there, here are the directions. Take the Gold Star Highway, Route 184 to route 201, turn North. If coming from Groton, that’s a left, from the 184 rotary it’s a right. The preserve is 1.4 miles from route 184.
If you haven’t hiked with me before please read the side bars and the About page for safety information and the hike guidelines. You also should read the Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability requirement.
Too perfect a day not to get out and log some steps in the neighborhood. Clear blue sky, temp in the 50° range with a light breeze, I couldn’t resist!
But, it was nearly turn around and go home. Hadn’t gone 5 yards before the first nip bottle showed up, then the next, and another one, 8 of them before I’d gone 50 feet. It wasn’t anything new, I’ve walked and cleaned this stretch of road for years. The numbers seem to be higher lately but there’s always a lot in this stretch. I’m pretty much 2 nips from the corner package store. Why 2 nips? Because on Earth Day I also do a long stretch between here and the package store and about half way between my house and the package store is always another concentration of nip bottles.
Today though is about a walk around the small development that has almost no traffic other than residents coming and going. Two laps are good for 10,000 steps if you circle the cul-de-sacs 2 or 3 times.
Despite narrow, curvy road with no sidewalks, make it safely into the development and start the walk.
There are signs of spring all around, that’s a little worrying because it’s still so early in the year. A couple days of hard freeze will kill buds and mean no apricots, peaches… 2017 and 2018 were like that.
Looking now for early emerging plants like skunk cabbage, mullein, and others are on my mind because we also did the same thing yesterday. I taught a Korean Natural Farming class on gathering and using local ingredients for Fermented Plant Juice extracts to feed our early plants, crops. These little flowers, and some trees adorned with sap buckets, are signs of encouragement.
Walking is always a great time to think, mull things, order, plan your day, if you’re walking alone. If you have company it’s a time to catch up, chat, or just enjoy the day together.
Hoping you know, or can find, a small and safe walk near you. One you can step out your door and just start walking.
I walk as much to see what is around me as to count steps or to wander for a specific purpose.
Lately I’ve been looking for early plants, those that have the ability to defy the weather and show up when they want to, grow quickly, and stand up to a little late winter.
So, this Saturday, February 22nd, I’m teaching a class on Korean Natural Farming (KNF) practices that is already filled to capacity. But, the walk I’ll lead after the class is open to anyone who is interested in exploring the types of locations and plants used. Be at Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center, 162 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT 06355 at 11:00 a.m. for the walk.
This quest is spurred on by what some might consider a current phase in gardening or farming. There are a lot of sites where you can learn about Korean Natural Farming. Some of them are excellent – what I’ll be striving for here – and some simply parrot what others have said.
One critical term that keeps recurring when you talk about KNF is the word: indigenous, as in indigenous microorganisms. The micro-biologics that play an immensely important role in plant heath, growth, and nutrients. If this sounds like new age science, it is not.
Dr. Han-Kyu Cho brought these ancient practices, and some of the scientific validation of them, to today’s growing number of gardeners and farmers looking for better, sustainable growing practices. As more research is done and validated (Elaine Ingham, John Kempf, Jeff Lowenfels, Bionutrient Food Assoc., etc.) the importance of regenerating the fertility of our soil becomes more and more compelling.
The down side to this change in growing practices is that as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What exists now, is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth.” (Bible, New English Translation). Dr. Franklin H. King, a former Assistant Chief of Bureau of Soils at the Department of Agriculture, spent 9 months (February – October) in 1909, observing farming practices in China, Korea, and Japan. His book, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, outlined the need, and methods, to replenish the fertility of the soil. Dr. Liberty H. Bailey in the preface to King’s book strongly stated the case for renewing soil fertility.
And now, 110 years later we’re finally getting around to it, using Korean Natural Farming practices adapted to our local biome.
Come join me on the walk… And bring your questions, Saturday, February 22, 11:00 a.m. at Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center, 162 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT 06355
Don’t let the moving time dismay you. When I’m on the Pike Preserve trails I constantly stop look, listen… It’s a nature walk and the nature, regardless of the season grabs me.
While there are few hikers or walkers on these trails there are several stables that take advantage of the contingent trails. It does help to keep the inner trails well trodden and identifiable year round. The entry and exit trails for walkers and hikers are well blazed but you need to keep a check on them since these trails meander frequently.
Two unique features that keep children of all ages interested are the ‘Castle Rocks’ at the Northwest turn around and the spring pool at the Northeast side trail.
It wasn’t necessarily a good day for a walk, but it was a good walk. Small group with just 3 of us but that made for a faster walk and some conversation, catching up, along the way.
Weather was that icier feeling of being colder that you get on foggy days on the water. We were close enough to catch that same affect on the cove side trails. Some iced over puddles and shattered then ice coatings where the puddles were very shallow.
But the weather wasn’t bad enough to discourage a couple of clammers out in the water gathering Super Bowl appetizers.
And, as I “promised” in the early post about the walk, the lone Loon was on Mumford Cove. A single one working the northern most section of the cove.
Already looking forward to the next Pancake Breakfast Walk at the Hoffman Evergreen Preserve on March 7.
There’s a backside to every story. There’s a backside to walking at Bluff Point State Park that also has a contemplative side, a connection to Haley Farm State Park in Noank, and a loony side.
But, what always draws me to the backside of Bluff Point in the winter are the loons that winter over in the cove. It’s one place where I can almost always find a loon or two floating and working the cove. Occasionally I’ve caught one on the edge of beach and watched its awkward scramble back to the safety of the water.
It’s not a sunning beach, mostly shells and gravel. It can be a “treasure” beach, especially for the young and young at heart. Shells, interesting stones, horseshoe crab shells… The things that spark a world of imagination – and often fill a child’s pockets (or bucket).
If you’d like to explore the backside of Bluff Point you can join me on Saturday, February 1st. (See the side bar ”Upcoming Walks and Hikes”.) or you can also use this link to Bluff Point Eastern Trail in AllTrails.com and explore on your own.