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 →
There is an electric stream in my backyard, among the sumac trees and Black-Eyed Susans. It sounds remarkably like a natural stream, bubbling over rocks placed to offer the desired aural ambience. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
Ahere’s life in the backyard, just waiting for someone to notice. I found a couple of Japanese beetles one morning, being real friendly with each other on a cluster of flowers decorating the butterfly bush.
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 →
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.
‘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.
There is something about the color of the trees after a heavy
rain, like a master painter had poured an extra ration of pigment onto the
canvas. There is a marked richness and intensity to the forest that wants to enfold
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.
When many of us think of the woolly mammoth, I’m guessing we think of Queen Latifah, or at least the voice she gave to Ellie the woolly mammoth in the “Ice Age” movie franchise. For the record, the ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and so did Ellie and her mate, Manny.
One thing I’ve learned about dogs is, “don’t buy one.” The only dog to ever live with me that I paid for didn’t stay long.
Actually, I think someone stole him to hunt deer – you could
use dogs in Virginia when I lived there. I bet he didn’t object when the
dognapper promised a life in the woods. In a way, I don’t blame him.
Below and in front of the porch rail, the surface of Marsh
Creek is smooth like a 200-year-old farmhouse window pane, smoothly rippled as
the flow wanders and eddies its way to lower elevations. Reflections of creekside
oaks and sycamores decorate the translucent surface of the flow, itself browned
from nearby mountains’ muddied runoff – poor man’s fertilizer, some farmers call
it –in rounded jaggies across the stream. A short way up the creek, mated Red-tailed
hawks and a few Bald eagles prepare for their new families.
Across the glassine stage at the foot of the hill there pass
pairs of Canada Geese, a few mallards and their current loves – Canada geese
mate for life, mallards for convenience – and a clan of mergansers.
Red-tailed hawks are
warming to togetherness, indicating, more accurately than that four-legged
critter from Punxsutawney, that the weather also is soon to warm. Of course,
most Red-tailed hawks do not have television cameras staring at them to record
whether they see their shadow while swooping down on an unsuspecting breakfast.
It snowed last night. We had some snow – in November, I
think – that caused me to drag out the snowthrower. Since then, the machine has
been gathering dust in the garage, with still almost a half tank of last winter’s
gasoline in the tank.
My column writing career officially began in 1974, on Adak Island, in the middle of the Aleutian Chain about four hours from Anchorage in a fairly fast turboprop aircraft.
I wrote about mostly outdoorsy issues and about wandering around the tundra in the company of a Bald Eagle named J Edgar, who in turn got his name from one of my favorite Mason Williams ballads. J Edgar and I lived in a hollow log on the back side of the island, which was a puzzlement to many readers because there were no trees large enough to be hollow to be found on the island.