Author Archives: John

The reason peaches ripen in summer

Summer also is a time for outdoor farm markets.There’s a reason peaches ripen in summer.

Winter is too cold to eat them outdoors, which is assuredly the best place to sample them when they’re slurpy ripe. Each bite dribbles down the chin and stains the shirt with sugar-laden syrup.

Those suede-clad yellow and orange orbs are best sampled outdoors where a person can bend slightly forward, allowing the excess to drip on the ground, sweetening the day for ants and other creatures we would rather not invite into our abode. (They will come in anyway, come winter, but mostly they’ll remain invisible.) Continue reading

Race to inner space

A potential future marine biologist gets the feel of stream gravel up close and personal.SpaceX. Amazon. Virgin. NASA. All are organizations competing in humanity’s race to the stars. First the moon, then Mars, then …

The previous Space Race – the one that started with Pres. John F. Kennedy and ended with retirement of the space shuttle program, engendered interest in people who had previously no idea of traveling even across the next state, much less the next planet. Continue reading

Creeks can be excellent swimming holes

A Marsh Creek crawdad sits for a portrait.California was home for three years in the early 1970s and one of my favorite places was Los Padres National Forest. What made it particularly great was a stream about a quarter-mile from the camping area we used. The stream cut through the rocks, revealing about a 20-foot drop from the clifftop to the water, and what seemed like about the same below the surface. At least, I never hit bottom. Continue reading

Road trip and new tech

There are interesting things to see when one looks around.Driving the 500 miles to my son’s home is almost half the fun of visiting. I enjoy driving, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike west of Breezewood is beautiful road – long uphills and down, plenty of curves and vistas where one can look across the mountains rounded from eons of wind and rain wearing them down. They say those mountains once were taller than the Alps. Which makes me wonder: Continue reading

Swamps are good

Wetlands are nature's filtration systems.Most of us know them as yucky places that’ll suck your feet off if you go wading there. Lots of really neat creatures live there, though maybe it’s best to stay in the boat, or at least on the high, relatively dry, ground, when one goes exploring. Along with bullfrogs and, maybe, Ivory Billed woodpeckers, there exist, in some of the larger examples, rare turtles and alligators. Continue reading

An honored genealogy

The tiny bee is probably a columnist, pollinating the garden's discussion.The news should be about the facts. There is no room for opinion. So say many news consumers, many of whom are dedicated watchers of Fox and MSNBC.

I attended a conference last weekend in Buffalo, NY, with a bunch of columnists to learn stuff about our changing craft, and to mingle some. Along the way, several awards were presented. Continue reading

I’ve got pictures

Grabbing bugs from the local maple.Somehow, the forest seems to have a much richer appearance this year than normal, like a photograph shot with color saturation selected to Vivid. A friend suggested it’s because of all the rain we have been experiencing. If this keeps up, apples peaches and other fruit should be larger and juicer than normal, as well. Continue reading

A couple of heavy boards

Like a tide that only rises, the Atlantic Ocean is claiming beachfront humans one thought they owned.Water. We human mammals – those of us born without fins, anyway – spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it. We pay a premium for housing as close to it as we can to a stream, lake or ocean and post signs around it announcing our success to those who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.

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The greatest show on Earth

Families of Canada geese gather in a village to raise their offspring.I finally photographed my first Osprey. He came up from a creek, across the corn field where I stood trying to grab some pictures of Red-winged Blackbirds.

I wonder what he thought of the stranger standing alongside the road. He had seen humans, sometimes walking, sometimes driving a tractor, carving rows in the soil.

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PA needs a container deposit system

Hard to believe the bottle was heavier hauled out than hauled in.‘Tis the season, for bicycle riding for some of us. I’ve hauled mine down from its hook in the garage. The wheels still are round and seem to stay that way under the weight of Yours Truly. Now to put some miles on it, as my medical person has been recommending. I walk quite a bit, or maybe it just seems that way.

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Consumers will pay

Produce is about to become more expensive -- from taxes.In the late 1960s, I was aware that some very expensive, at legitimate U.S. market prices, flight training books were available for almost nothing from China. The books had been copied and reproduced in violation of copyright laws. A few guys had bought the books, and it was obvious they were cheap copies, not the professionally printed versions that were legitimately produced and sold by Jeppesen, a world leader in flight instruction manuals and books.

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Try pre-cycling

All sort of critters, including us, drink this water.I eat red grapes the way some people eat Hershey Kisses, or jelly beans. One at a time, sometimes two, by the handful. Green grapes, not so much.

Earlier this spring, the grocery store was selling large plastic bags full of red grapes for, well, an affordable price. The price was proclaimed in large black letters; one had to squint a bit to see whether it was a bag or a pound. 

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