One weekend a few years ago, a friend needed some brush cut behind his house and I had a gas-powered weedwacker that needed exercise. I three-bladed through two-inch vines like a scythe through a hay field, working up a sweat scattering poison ivy chips all over that part of York County. Continue reading Of Kudzu and poison ivy
Christmas brought me a book store gift card, and I had half of one left over from last year, and now I’ve got three new books and $4 remaining on one gift card. The young woman who tallied my purchase said I could use the money in the snack bar. She didn’t mention, but I’m pretty certain, there is about enough on the card for one cup of coffee. Continue reading Neighborhoods and straight lines
This is the time of year for taking stock of experiences and places, and for celebrating having survived some of the riskier events.
Such as the time we left a four-engine airplane lying beside the runway halfway home from a U.S. Navy deployment to the Philippines. Continue reading A thrilling ride, and it ain’t over
Time, and age, comes on, and things change. Continue reading Coming of age
Some 66 million years ago, the last of the giant dinosaurs ended their 160-million-year reign as the giantist wanderers on the planet. But never fear; their bones became permanently encased in the future crust of the aforementioned cosmic sphere, waiting for future young archeologists to dig them up. Continue reading Bending birches among the dinosaurs
Like the Redcoats of an earlier era, I thought I’d outrun them. Fortunately, I was wrong.
I went north for a couple weeks, and came home with fall at crescendo behind me, not yet visible in front. As I look out now to the South Mountains, it almost has caught up.
Time travel at its finest. Continue reading The colors are coming, the colors are coming
Wandering in the woods is good for walkers, and likely good for people who know walkers. Numerous studies over the past several years have credited time spent among the trees as soothing for mental injuries of rush hour traffic and high pressure deadlines. Continue reading Wild mushrooms and youth afield
I often compare where I live now to where I was raised. Both places are rural, mostly agricultural, and growing, which is not all a good thing, but on balance, better than some alternatives.
On the other hand, a friend used to maintain that he was glad for cities and the people who lived in them. There are things he likes that can only be produced in cities, and he was glad he could go fetch those things and return home. Continue reading And the best pie is
A Herring seagull is standing on the porch rail. We have named him for Oliver Twist, who famously went to the headmaster, bowl in hand, and said,
“Please, sir. I want some more.” Continue reading Fox responsible for seagull population decline
At 6:30, more or less, each morning, the eastern horizon becomes a strata of pink and orange as the sun glows, then rises over the peninsula that defines the eastern boundary of Muscongus Bay. Within an hour, Ol’ Sol has risen midway from the horizon, turned the thin cloud stratus a translucent oyster white, and burned a widening path like a celestial version of the earth-bound lobster boats that leave their wakes across the bay. Continue reading Sunrise on Muscongus Bay
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – from “My First Summer in the Sierra” by John Muir.
We often treat waste and recycling as issues distinct from the items contained within the packaging. Especially the plastic bubble that allows us to see the product, and is such a bother to remove when we get it home.
I bought a package of stainless steel straws the other day. They came, with a brush to clean them, in a plastic shrink-wrap I needed a sharp knife to cut open. The plastic, devoid of a recycling label, went in the trash. When we buy something, we also pay for the non-recycleable packaging we toss in our trash. In afterthought, I reckoned I should have left the waste at the store. Continue reading It’s not only the turtles …
Summer is nearly done, according to the calendar, the sun and the flowers no longer surrounding my abode. The Resident Decorator has busily been removing weeds and dead stems.
Trees are beginning to give up their leaves – their annual purpose accomplished, oxygen replenished, shade given, water cooled to provide comfortable abode for trout and minnows – to carpet the earth with next spring’s mulch. Continue reading Call us by our names
Marsh Creek was around long before David Pfoutz showed up. That was 1791, when the 22-year-old arrived in the area of Marsh and Little Marsh creeks.
He built a fulling mill – fulling being the last step in preparing wool fabric for making clothing – near the confluence of Little Marsh and Marsh creeks. It was one of three mills between the head of Little Marsh Creek and its intersection with Marsh Creek. Continue reading Searching for Marsh Creek
My first notice of the Red-tailed hawk was when it came out of nowhere and perched in a tree at the edge of a farm pasture. I got the camera on it and grabbed one shot before it launched to the far side of the field, to perch atop a fence post at least 100 yards away from where I sat.
After a short time, the raptor relaunched and sailed, a foot or so off the ground to another post; it quickly dove from the post and glided low over the grass, talons extended, in what turned out to be a failed attempt at dinner and then, obviously frustrated, flew to an adjoining pasture. I know the feeling of knowing whatever I’m seeking isn’t going to be found where I’m looking. Continue reading Patience, Grasshopper
The legal description of the 50-acres of wooded shore front my parents owned noted a huge boulder at one edge and a brook at the other. The watercourse was called Smelt Brook because every spring the smelt – anchovy-size minnows used mostly for bait to catch larger fish – would run into it to spawn.
Fisherfolk from town would show up, as well, and that’s the crux of this tale. They would bring their beer and build small campfires next to the creek, and be sociable. The smelt ran at night when kids my age were supposed to be in bed, so dad and his long-handled, fine-webbed smelting net attended the party alone.
Continue reading It’s a privilege
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 The reason peaches ripen in summer
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 Wandering the river of my mind
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 Race to inner space
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 Creeks can be excellent swimming holes
There’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.
Continue reading Wild critters underfoot