Despite a hefty backlog of projects awaiting their time to shine on the blog, I think we should pause and look at some pretty pictures of flowers. How can we say good-bye to spring without doing that? Here are some photos of the outside in May and June.
Looking at these from the end of June makes me realize how much changes from the beginning of May until now. May is a flower explosion around here, which is very welcome after the long, grey winter.
June had some surprises in store. Look what I found in our fenced-in garden.
This month’s outside photography post is coming to you a little earlier than usual because…I still don’t have pictures of my latest sewing project. Sigh. Due to various factors, the pants have needed a few repairs already, and that’s held things up. Hopefully all will be ready soon! I do, however, have pictures of an interesting hike I went on with my family recently.
The North Shore of Massachusetts is filled with all sorts of cool nooks and crannies where you can hike, walk, and explore. Each town has spaces large and small, and it’s easy to live in the area for a long time and still find new places you have never seen. Last weekend, my family and I decided to check out Dogtown in Gloucester.
Dogtown, originally known as The Commons and founded in 1693, was once an inland settlement in Gloucester. The story is that since many of the women who lived there kept dogs around for protection while their husbands were off fighting in the Revolutionary War, the settlement became known as Dogtown. Over time, residents moved more toward the coast and, eventually, Dogtown was abandoned. The woods grew up where the settlement had been, and now it is filled with trails, both wide and narrow, that you can explore. You can still find numbered cellar holes from the old houses, as well as about three dozen rocks that were carved with various sayings during the Great Depression. These rocks, today known as Babson Boulders, were commissioned by Roger Babson, founder of Babson College, in order to provide work for Finnish quarry workers who needed income during the Great Depression. (All this information comes from the Essex National Heritage Area website. Read more here.)
We wanted to stick to some easier trails and check out some of the carved rocks, so we chose to walk Dogtown Road and the Babson Boulder Trail (you can find some trail maps on the Historic Ipswich website here). Dogtown Road is a broad, unpaved road that is easy to walk. We completely missed the initial turn for the Babson Boulder Trail, but since our route was a big loop, it didn’t really matter–we just did the walk in the opposite direction of what we had planned. This turned out to be a great thing because after walking awhile through beautiful woods, it became a treasure hunt as we started to spot some of the carved rocks. Once we turned onto the Babson Boulder Trail near Dogtown Square, the path became a more narrow woods path, rather than a wide road.
We found about a dozen of the rocks, including a few that didn’t really have sayings, so much, but were still fun to find (Moraine, D.T. Sq., and To Rockport, which I don’t have a good picture of).
We also decided to see if we could find mushrooms in every color of the rainbow, and we almost managed it! We found them in every color except blue, although our purple one looks a little blue in these pictures.
It was a beautiful walk, but it did take a little longer than we had anticipated. We’re not the fastest walkers, but my husband had estimated it would take us about 40 minutes. It was more like two hours. Oops. I thought it was fun, but we did get a little hangry by the end, and it was a bit long for the kids, even though it wasn’t hard walking. No regrets on going, though! And I would definitely explore more in that area. There were a lot of Babson Boulders we never found, and we didn’t really try to find the numbered cellar holes, although we passed a few, so there’s always that, too.
If you decide to check out Dogtown, make sure to bring a map and maybe a compass–there’s lots to explore.
I can’t believe it’s already the end of September! I’m both really sad to see summer go (warm weather! fun outdoor adventures!), but am also excited for the cooler weather of fall and all the beauty of the changing leaves. Summer is dreamy in this part of Massachusetts, but fall seems to have been tailor-made for New England. Here are some pictures of the last bits and pieces of summer. Enjoy!
Are you familiar with foxglove AKA spotted touch-me-not? It’s a really beautiful plant. The “touch-me-not” part of its common name comes from the seed pods. You can see one on the left–it’s green and skinny. If you squeeze one lightly, it springs open, shooting the seeds out! It doesn’t shoot them out hard enough to hurt, just to scatter them around. Check it out.
There are three little seeds, although I don’t know if that’s always the case. The seed pod goes from straight, to all curled up after springing open. Here’s one more picture with the different sides of the seed pod separated out.
See the little curly-q’s? Isn’t that interesting?
The shape of these goldenrod buds is so cool! I keep stopping to look at them!
I really hope you had a good summer. I’ll be back soon, hopefully, to share my last summer sewing projects with you–I managed to squeeze a few in. They were so much fun to make–and even more fun to wear!
Hi, everyone! It’s warming up here, and the flowers are really out, so this edition of “Outside in May” is, unsurprisingly, mostly flowers! I’m so happy to see them coming back. Sit back and enjoy some pictures of the great outdoors.
Spring moves pretty slowly in New England, but it really is here, and with it comes the flowers. Blue skies may be fickle and fleeting, but you can tell everything is coming back to life. It’s so exciting. This month, I went on a field trip (two, actually) to Tip Top Tulips in Ipswich, MA, a place where you can ‘tip-toe through the tulips’ and pick your own bouquet!
I was pretty excited to discover this place. Tip Top Tulips is new this year and has two fields. There is a small field with no entry fee where tulips are $1 a stem. You can keep the bulbs if they come up when you pick the flowers or not–your choice. They may not grow next year, but I kept ours. We’ll put them in the garden in the fall and see what happens.
My kids and I checked this out last week. It was a fun way to pick a bouquet. I gave each of them a budget and turned them loose. The farmers were very helpful and friendly, and we had a great time.
There is also a large tulip field in a different part of Ipswich where admission is $10. Tickets can be purchased on their website. Tulips are also $1 per stem here and you can keep the bulbs if you like.
On Thursday, I went back with a friend to check out the large field. We spent over an hour walking through trying to pick out our favorite flowers.
My plans to only pick five dissolved and I came away with twice as many.
There were some really interesting tulip varieties.
My friend and I had a great time. We sort of forgot to catch up because we spent all of our time exclaiming over the tulips. It was such a nice pick-me-up during COVID, you know? I’m not sure how long they will be open, but if you are near Ipswich and you like tulips, it’s a fun outdoor activity, whether you choose the large or small field.
Sounds like there are plans for a sunflower field in August and a dahlia field in the fall. Fun!
I love, love, love bright and vibrant colors, but I have to say–I find this fall palette that nature puts on to be so beautiful. Even among the brown grasses and leaves on gray days, there is so much variation and beauty. But don’t worry–there are still a few sunny and bright pictures in here, too. Enjoy!