Viola Biflora:  The Yellow Wood Violet
Viola Biflora: The Yellow Wood Violet

We try – at least once a weekend – to walk the entire perimeter of the property. While it’s rare that we’re not breaking a sweat doing some chore or another, we like to take this long walk for two reasons:

1.To be sure we’re getting enough aerobic exercise.

2.To be sure that we lift our heads up from “the task at hand” to notice the changing seasons around us.

That said, we missed last weekend’s walk for a variety of reasons. So we were anxious to get around this weekend. Things change so rapidly this time of year, and we were very much looking forward to catching the first, and showiest wild flowers of the season – those that grow along the forest line at the back of the Beekman property.

The two most notable are the Trout Lily and the Trillium. They are fairly rare – the Trillium is considered rare enough that it is illegal to pick in New York State.  We were surprised to encounter them last year on one of our first walks after buying the Beekman, so were looking forward to seeing our “first anniversary” Trilliums and Trout Lilies.

But since this blog is about learning, and not always succeeding, we have to admit that our search was in vain. We were too late. The flowers had come and gone. But no walk is really in vain, and we’ll post some pictures to prove it. And we’ll also post some pictures of last year’s Trillium and Trout Lilies at the end of this blog so you can see what we missed.

So perhaps the biggest lesson of the weekend was that we should never miss a weekend walk.

The Heron Pond in the Lower Field at The Beekman Farm
The Heron Pond in the Lower Field at The Beekman Farm

This pond got its name last year when a Gray Heron (and we presume, its mate) nested on its banks. This year, however, we’ll have to settle for a pair of Canadian Geese, who built a nest at the bottom of this ancient willow tree. Whomever was watching the nest wasn’t very thrilled with our approach, so we turned around quickly. Here he (she?) is by the trunk:

A Blue Heron makes a home at The Beekman Farm
A Blue Heron makes a home at The Beekman Farm

Continuing across the field toward the wood:

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At the edge of the woodline is an area we call “Dow Beekman’s Campsite.“ In reality, we have no idea whether or not this was the campsite of the grandson of Judge William Beekman himself (who built The Beekman Mansion in 1802.) But we have a newspaper clipping about Dow Beekman – who was also a judge – dated around the same time as the date on a Mason Jar we found at this “campsite.”

It could just as likely be an ancient dump as a campsite, since the entire ground is littered with antique bottles and jars. But we still haven’t figured out why someone would dig a well at a dump site. There is a finished cistern that we’ve covered so that no one falls in.

What’s lovely about this spot is that the bottles and jars can only be spotted at this time of year. Soon they are overgrown with wild blackberry brambles. We don’t collect them from their resting place and bring them home- although we are tempted to – because we like “discovering” them over and over again. And if they’ve survived there for this long, then that’s where they are meant to be :

One of the many treasures at the old campsite
One of the many treasures at the old campsite

Continuing along the woodline, we reach the “Maple Circle,” which is a peculiar, perfectly circular outcropping of Maple saplings.  Our plan is to cut down a few of the saplings in the middle and place a small table there for picnics and dinners.  (the fact that is smack dab in the middle of “Coyote Run” hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm – much.)

Once we were halfway up “Lookout Hill” we knew that we had missed the Trout Lilies and Trilliums.  There were plenty of leaves for both, but no blossoms.

Trout Lily
Trout Lily

The Trout Lily gets its name from its leaves, which are mottled with brown spots so that it looks like the skin of a Brown Trout.  You can see the likeness in this picture from last year:

And here is a picture of the Burgandy Trillium from last year
And here is a picture of the Burgandy Trillium from last year

*sigh*

Next year we promise not to miss a single weekend walk.

(Please don’t forget to send us a picture from your ”weekend walk.” We’d love to see and post what’s happening in your season.)

by Josh and Brent

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