Monday, February 14, 2011
Balmy Day, Brief Outing
Nearly 50 today and windy. The breezes felt almost balmy. I could have spent the whole day outdoors, but I had things to do at home. A great place to go for a brief outing is the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, just a few miles from my home, so that's where I went just to stretch my legs and breathe deep lungfuls of that springlike air. There are lots of trails to choose from at WWPP -- through deep woods or across meadows or along streams and ponds -- and all of those trails are so hard-packed now, you hardly even need snowshoes. (I did wear my snowshoes, though, to avoid post-holing the trails, and also to allow myself a little off-trail exploration.)
I was startled to discover this structure looming up in the woods -- a fire tower that wasn't here the last time I came by late last fall.
I stopped by the park's headquarters to ask the park's new director, Margo Olson, about that fire tower, and she told me it had only recently been erected. Originally built in 1924 for the protection of Luther Forest, a pine plantation in Malta, the tower had to be removed to make way for a huge electronic chip plant now being built in the middle of Luther Forest. The owner of the tower donated it to the Wilton park, where, after refurbishing and repairs, it was erected this past December. For the time being, it is fenced off and surrounded by No Trespassing signs to discourage climbers from falling to their deaths from ice-covered steps. I think the park staff are trying to come up with a plan that will allow limited and supervised access to the tower at minimal risk to all concerned.
Well, it's certainly an interesting and historic structure, but I wonder how it will contribute to the ecological purposes of Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, a 2300-acre sandplain preserve dedicated to restoring the habitat of the endangered Karner Blue butterfly. At present, the WWPP hosts the most intact populations of Karner Blues in New York State. When the Wild Lupine blooms next spring, I hope to return to the park to see this tiny blue butterfly in its happy home.
As for me, I had to hurry back to my happy home to make a Valentine's Day treat for my sweetheart. We've been together now 50 years (48 as husband and wife), and I expect we'll have many more years together because my husband is very careful about his health. He won't eat butter but he will eat olive oil, so I made him these olive oil tortas, a Spanish pastry that is crisp and thin and not very sweet and my husband just loves them. And so do I.
Happy Valentine's Day, my dear readers. It's always a good thing to celebrate love.