Stonecrop Gardens

On September 8, 2021 after the morning trip with Linnaean NY to Rockefeller SP ended we went with our friend Kathleen to Croton Point to possibly see birds and eat lunch. There where so many bees we ate in the car. After a brief stop at the Echo Canoe launch we decided to drive to Cold Springs, New York for coffee. After that we drove up to Stonecrop Gardens nearby STONECROP GARDENS – 81 Stonecrop Lane – Cold Spring New York 10516. It is a drop-dead gorgeous garden and well worth a visit. The view from the hills of the Hudson Highlands is magnificent.

Stonecrop, opened in 1992, began as a private garden. In 1958, Garden Conservancy founder Frank Cabot and his wife, Anne, built their home on sixty hilltop acres of fields and woods outside Cold Spring, New York. The land was a gift from Anne’s grandmother, Evelina Ball Perkins (more history at the website).

Rockefeller SP

On Wednesday, September 8, 2021, we went on a Linnaean NY field trip to Rockefeller State Park Preserve, thirty miles north of New York City. The preserve consists of forested hills and valleys surrounding pastoral fields. The property is the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall country estates of the John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Since 1983, the Rockefellers have donated over 1771 acres to New York State to safeguard these lands for the future. Managed by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Preserve is open to the public year-round, sunrise to sunset.

The 45 miles of crushed stone carriage roads designed to complement the landscape where laid out by John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Jr. in the first half of the 20th century. Combinations of trails lead through varied landscapes and past natural and historical features, such as Swan Lake, the Pocantico River with its wood and stone bridges, streams, colonial stone walls, and rock outcroppings. Maps are available to download and at the Preserve Office.

There are huge oak, tulip poplar, maple, and beech trees in the hardwood forest. Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers can be found deep in the woodlands. The forests, fields, streams, and wetlands support resident and migratory birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish and aquatic species, some of which are now uncommon in Westchester County. With 202 recorded species of birds the Preserve draws many birders. Environmental stewardship is underway to promote native biological diversity.

The Japanese Angelica is a food source for the migrating birds. This invasive species’ seeds are spread by the birds. We watched many birds feeding on the Angelica, such as Tennessee Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warblers and more.

Rockwood Hall built between 1886 and 1922 has views of the Hudson River and Palisade Cliffs. William Rockefeller’s estate was 1000 acres with a 202-room mansion, a working farm, and a landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While the house and buildings are now gone, massive rock walls around the site and extensive grassy fields with magnificent trees harken back to the heyday of the estate.

Little Island

Little Island is now open at 6 am on. It is nice to go there before the crowds.

There is a plastic camera glued to he road divide. I made a pattern out of the picture in Photoshop’s Library then adjusted it to fit over the image.

NYBG Scenes

6 of 6 of the New York Botanical Gardens. I know the frog isn’t a scene. I like frogs so I included it.

Day at Harriman

An all day trip to Harriman State Park (ny.gov), Orange County, New York on July 29th plus with stops at Iona Island and Greenbrook Sanctuary | Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey (njpalisades.org) in New Jersey on the way home.

We hiked along a trail by Stony Brook for a few miles. All along the trail was a bonanza crop of Fungi. I’ll be posting those tomorrow.

Art in Reykjavik

My last post on our Iceland trip to Iceland from July 13 to 23.

After dinner on July 22nd we went to find the car. For once I forgot to take a picture of its location before we left it. I wish I had. We couldn’t find it. We spent seven hours looking. Finally, I said, “That’s enough! We must go to the police and get some help because we’re leaving at 5:00 AM in the morning and it’s almost midnight.” We did so and two policewoman drove us around to search for the car. We still couldn’t find it so at about 3:00 AM they dropped us off at the hotel and we hastily packed. We laid down for a minute. At 5:00 AM there was a knock at the door. Lo and behold, the 2 lovely policewomen had found the car. They must have been looking for it all night. It had all my camera equipment in it, and I was so relieved, so was Marc. When we go home I wanted to praise them and the only way I found to do so was on Google Maps. I hope their CO reads it. Then I thanked the taxi driver who had come to pick us up. I wanted to pay him for his trouble and he declined the offer. My opinion of Icelanders increased another notch.

Greatly relieved, we drove off to the airport at 5:20 AM, dropped off the car, and then went to check in. Delta said we needed a COVID-19 test, which I had not been told was needed. We did not need the test to go to Iceland, so I didn’t think we needed one to come back. They told us we could get one at a nearby hotel, so we hired a taxi for about $150 and got the tests after waiting about an hour. The results didn’t arrive at the expected time by email, so I asked for help. When I called they said they had sent it to the wrong email address. We eventually got the results. During the flight I was so tired I did not care that the entertainment consoles did not work – again.

Except for the misplaced car and COVID-19 test issue at the end our tour of Iceland was wonderful. And even though Guide to Iceland didn’t provide realistic distances and times in their itinerary I would use them again because the places we stayed at and the restaurants they booked for us where all top quality.

The Icelandic culture is vibrant and evolving and often incorporates things from the past. There are many art galleries and artists in Iceland. To combat graffiti murals were commissioned around town. These artworks that are respected and not marred by graffiti.

Icelandic art, music, and literature is exceptional. Myths, runes, and symbols are part of the cultural history of Iceland. I bought a couple of coasters with the Helm of Awe on them The Helm of Awe (norse-mythology.org). The geothermal company has a logo that looks mythological. Some wear clothing that gives a nod to their Viking heritage. I noticed a few young men in the streets wearing Viking looking leather garb with bare limbs. It was too cold for us to wear summer clothing like the locals do.

The Sagas are still read and loved. There are streets named after some of the characters. We ate dinner at the Café Loki. I wanted to eat dinner at the better quality Rok but it was fully booked, both are near Hallgimskirkja. I was entertained during the meal by a tour guide instructing his clients all about the Saga of Loki depicted in the the mural. He also talked about the strange Icelandic foods and many other things. I had a free floorshow. See Loki – Wikipedia and Loki the Icelandic god of Mischief (asgard.scot) for details about Loki.

Icelandic music is unique. Music of Iceland – Wikipedia. Here are a few pieces that I found interesting:

  1. Eivør Pálsdóttir: Tròdlabùndin (Trøllabundin) a modern folk song. Faroese Eivør Pálsdóttir performs her own song “Tròdlabùndin” (from the album “Trøllabundin” 2005) at an outdoor concert with Vamp on the mountain farm Stigen in Aurland, 10/08/2013. The setting is the Stigen Farm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 2005, and it is located by the Aurlandsfjord.

2. Heilung | LIFA – Krigsgaldr very modern with ancient tones. Love the costumes.

Remember, that we all are brothers
All people, beasts, trees and stone and wind
We all descend from the one great being
That was always there
Before people lived and named it
Before the first seed sprouted

3. Wardruna and Aurora – Helvegen reminds me of some of the music the Vikings TV series. Very epic.

The Way to Hel

I sought the songs
I sent the songs
when the deepest well
offered drops so mighty
of Valfather’s pledge

I know it all, Odin
where you hid your eye

Who will sing me
in the death-sleep sling me
when I walk the road to Hel
and the tracks I tread
are cold, so cold

Early or in fading day
still the raven knows if I fall

When you stand by the gate of Hel
and when you must tear loose
follow you I shall
across the bridge of Gjöll with my song

You become free from the bonds that bind you
You are free from the bonds that bound you

4. Wardruna – Lyfjaberg (Healing-mountain)  

Healing-mountain

Saddle your soul and let it ride
With blind eyes, you’ll surely find the way
Draw your breath in – let your thoughts fly
Let it out slowly – on winds you’ll bide

The spindle spins, the thoughts entwine revolving sight
The enchantment song lures the soul from its shape
Out through the door, through the cobweb-veil
Out borne on bare feet, a heavy burden


Out in your innermost, a steep trail ahead
High upon Healing-Peak, nine maidens await

At the first stop where paths cross, you pause
Leave clothes behind and all you own
Where you are heading, they’ll be of no use
The burden lightens, but heavy is the trail ahead

At the second stop where paths cross, you pause
Leave time behind, and weighty thoughts
Where you are headed, they’ll be of no use
The burden lightens, but heavy is the trail ahead

At the third stop where paths cross, you pause
Leave fears behind, let fall all masks
Where you are headed, they’ll be of no use
The burden lightens, but heavy is the trail ahead

Naked at the top, the mountain knows you
North waves an eagle-wing, the wind it draws
The shadow-women dance about you
They sing for you, chanting powerful runes

Wounds and sickness
Of marrow and blood
Of meat and bone
Of flesh and skin
into weather and wind you fade


I summon you into the mountain blue
Where neither sun nor moonshine can reach you
I summon you into the forest where no one dwells
and out to the sea where no man rows
Deep beneath an earthbound stone
out of harm’s way
Run through the rivers
and roll with the ocean tides

Into weather and wind you fade
Neither sun nor moonshine can reach you
Sink in the sea where no man rows
Run through the rivers
and roll with the ocean tides

Healing-mountain stands for eternity
It comforts the sick and the sore
Each and every one who assails that rock
Will find their lifelong ailment cured

Leave it behind on Healing-Peak
Where the rivers and streams
dance northwards and down
That mountain mends all those who climb