From summer into fall, as weather allows, there are some glorious days to enjoy time outdoors— and so much to discover and appreciate across our 90-acre Homestead Village campus. Whether you walk, ride, or just take it all in from your terrace, natural beauty abounds. Here, some observations from fellow Homestead Village residents:
“I Like Gardening–It’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” Alice Sebold
I love being in Rader Park, gardening or just spending time there: following the changes in the sky, the silence except for birds, the stillness except for the occasional revving of a motorcycle far away, the creeping of the darkness.
There are the geese (just a few!) swimming down Brubaker Run with their goslings, and the intermittent piping up of spring flowers, on their own schedule.
I find joy in gardening, planting and growing: knowing that the yield will provide nourishment to others. There’s the pleasure of working with a good friend and finding companionship, as well as the peacefulness of being alone.
My favorite walk starts at the bridge (down behind the barn) where there’s a nice flower garden, and then walking the length of Brubaker Run. It’s a very wide grassy walkway, green, lush with a few surprises- flowers planted along the way. Stand on the bridge and very often you can see a heron.
I walk for the health benefits including exercise, as well as it being meditative and social. I vary my walks to include the paths around The Farmstead, the Rohrerstown neighborhood, and routes to and through the main campus and School Lane Hills. I enjoy the changes of the seasons, the variations in the sky, and the flora and fauna of the area. In addition, my walks are enhanced by birdsong, chimes, trains, and the voices of children playing.
Walking outdoors in Homestead Village
Beethoven, a famous composer, loved to walk in the woods to hear birds singing. While he walked, he listened to both the melody & rhythm and inserted them into some of his symphonies. For example, in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, you hear repeatedly the theme: three quick notes (same pitch), followed by one held note (lower pitch).
Listening to “bird conversations” can be exciting: each has its own theme. While we’re out walking, my daughter records the bird’s theme on her phone so that, later, we can look it up and identify it!
Sitting by a Window at Home
Monet, one of the famous French artists of the Impressionist Period, painted the same scene at many different times of the day. Sitting by a window of his home, he wanted to show how LIGHT at different times of the day changed the appearance of the picture.
Walking One Morning
While walking one morning, I looked up at the moving clouds in the sky. I thought,“I’ll move with the clouds while composing an easy piano song:”
Glide with the clouds as they cross the sky
Just as you reach high, they pass you by
Carole and I enjoy bird watching around The Farmstead campus and at our back yard bird feeders, bird bath, and bluebird house, identifying over 30 different bird species. We particularly enjoy watching and photographing the beautiful Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows that have both nested in our bird house as they go through the nest building, egg laying, hatchling, and fledging (babies leaving the nest) stages.
There are approximately 12-15 existing bluebird houses plus other types on the Farmstead campus. The app “Merlin” has been an excellent source of bird identification, their songs, and habits for us novices.
I think that each neighborhood has its own personal attractions that make the campus as a whole, beautiful. The lovely trees (giving much appreciated shade on a hot day!) of the Cottages are a delight that the newer campuses can only wish for. The Villas have a wonderful secluded feel with numerous little alcoves of houses interspersed with curving roads and again, trees! The apartments offer mini glimpses of personal gardens along with balconies that offer hanging baskets and beautiful potted plants. The Mews has its crown jewel of the pond and fountains which delight through every season, as well as the Gazebo area and the plantings along Mews Boulevard. Lastly, The Farmstead. Although the newest neighborhood, there are some lovely natural areas along the walking trail around the perimeter of the houses. Being the newbie, we are lacking the big trees of other locations, but the neighborhood is a great place to walk and greet folks.
I love bike riding– I’ve ridden almost all my life, and I’ve found [the main campus] to be a perfect place for it: fllat and no stop lights! I take a 30-minute ride, sometimes twice a day; I love being out on my bike, and it’s good exercise. I can take in everything around us, and I see whatever is happening. I enjoy the beauty of where we are; it’s so well taken care of. Another friend– she’s named Lois, too— often rides with me (she lives in the Cottages). We saw each other one day, by chance, both of us riding our bikes around campus, and we just decided it would be the thing to do!
We hope that these reflections may inspire you to continue to notice, appreciate and explore the natural beauty that’s all around us!