Category Archives: Outdoors

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

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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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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What I’ve learned about dogs

Grady the Golden tastes the running water.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.

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Party time on Marsh Creek

Common merganser wonders ...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.

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Pairing up

It's your turn to grab dinner.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.

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Who will care for the deer?

A foggy morning on the mountain, watching cars go by.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.

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