1 Here was the beautiful early morning view from my porch overlooking the south paddock. The stillness was so captivating.
2 During summer, I love hanging staghorn ferns on my covered porch overlooking the farm. This staghorn is from the genus Platycerium - with fronds that resemble antlers. The small, hairy plant on the left is Spanish moss, another kind of epiphyte, which absorbs water and nutrients from the air.
3 Weeping willows, Salix babylonica, are fast growing trees and can easily grow 10-feet per year. They're very adaptive, but do prefer growing near ponds, streams and lakes. These trees are doing excellently at my farm.
4 This is the top of my lower hayfield. In the tree line, I recently planted a row of Scotch pines, Pinus sylvestris.
Beyond this field is the reservoir.
5 The woodland carriage roads were still a bit dark at 5:30am, but also very tranquil.
6 Here were more of the woodlands as the sun came up.
7 I went up to the far end of my farm to see my woodland cottage surrounded by all these beautiful ferns.
8 This is the North Maple paddock, and the run-in shed for the horses. A run-in shed is typically a three sided structure with an open front that provides farm animals with temporary shelter from bad weather. Of course, the siding on this run-in is painted Bedford gray.
9 This carriage road had more weeping willows on both sides. On the right was the North Maple paddock. The morning sun was already heating up - it was the beginning of a very warm and humid day in the Northeast.
11 The beans, and greens looked lush and healthy.
12 And so did the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower! I can't wait until the first harvest.
13 On the other side of the vegetable garden are the onions and potatoes. On the far right are the tomato plants staked up and ready to support those vines of juicy tomatoes.
14 The onions, leaks and potatoes were growing strong. Through the fence, my home could be seen in the distance, and my stable was on the right.
15 We've had a good amount of rain here at my farm in the last couple of weeks, which has helped plant growth; however, it's also encouraged those pesky weeds, so everyone on the farm knows to look out for weeds and pull them when necessary.
16 This is my crop of ornamental and drying corn. It is growing splendidly. This corn's maturity date ranges anywhere from 80 to 120 days, depending on the variety. The corn is then left on the stalk to dry unit the husks turn brown.
17 In this garden were the okra, artichoke and more tomato crops. This area was planted a bit later, but the plants are also doing very, very well.
18 Here's a look at my hydrangeas across from the chicken coops. Behind these hydrangeas is the Laura Plimpton Maple Woodland.
19 As I was standing outside the stable offices, I saw a little glimpse of the balloon headed in my direction. Michael Blum, who is a very passionate balloonist, was piloting, with Linda Vankooy, his passenger.
20 The balloon was visible, but still a fair distance away. At this point, it was probably just over the reservoir.
21 A hot air balloon travels as fast as the wind blows; however, balloonists typically want to fly when winds are between three miles and eight miles per hour on the ground.
22 Here is a beautiful little pond tucked away in a back corner of my farm.
23 On the edge of the pond is my ice pond house. I like to use it as a warming hut for friends, family and especially my grandchildren, when we are outside in winter and need a break from the cold.
24 While visiting the pond, I spotted this handsome little frog.
25 This view of my stable down the Boxwood Allee is one of the most popular for photographs, in every season.
26 Here is a view of the apple trees in the south paddock.
27 I took this from the lower terrace parterre outside my kitchen looking at the upper terrace parterre in front of my covered porch. And, looking up, not a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful summer day.
28 These beautiful lilies added a pop of color out on the terrace.
29 There's the balloon - it looks pretty massive from this standpoint on the ground. Balloons go up and down depending on the wind, and the direction in which the balloon is headed.
30 Here is what it looked like from up in the balloon's basket.
31 The glare of the sun was challenging, but the views were amazing. The equipment in the basket was the altimeter, which measure the altitude in feet above sea level. It also indicated the speed at which the balloon was moving up or down, measured in feet per minute.
32 As the balloon neared my farm, it passed over other neighborhoods, and other trees and properties. Here was the balloon as it flew over a dead tree in a field of live ones - it was a pretty interesting photo.
33 The balloon ascended a bit. It is hard to tell how large a hot air balloon is, but a typical sport balloon ranges in size from 65-thousand to 105-thousand cubic feet in volume and stands about 80-feet tall and 50-feet wide.
34 A balloon has no forward propulsion system, so its speed is determined purely by that of the wind. They can go thousands of feet into the air, but tend to fly from about 500 to up to two-thousand feet above the ground.
35 Here is a view from the balloon as it floated toward my farm. It's a beautiful image of the reservoir and the clouds just above it.
36 The views from the balloon looked spectacular. It was such a clear, clear day. Michael, the piloting balloonist, realized the winds would not allow him to comfortably land on my farm, but he did land safely nearby.
37 Balloons never take off and land in the same place, so a "chase" crew is always on the ground following the balloon by car. On this day, Michael's chase chief was John Farity.
38 Once they landed safely on the ground, Michael, Linda and John joined me for breakfast. Here is the balloon basket of the loaded onto the trailer.