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
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 Road trip and new tech
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 Swamps are good
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 An honored genealogy
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 I’ve got pictures
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.
Continue reading A couple of heavy boards
Her grandma and I had our first date on Kass’ second
birthday. Wednesday evening, we celebrated her survival to legal age to consume
Continue reading Reaching for high places
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.
Continue reading The greatest show on Earth
‘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.
Continue reading PA needs a container deposit system
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.
Continue reading Consumers will pay
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
Continue reading Arctic jobs bill
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.
Continue reading Try pre-cycling
Andrew Wheeler, the new head of EPA, recently said he doesn’t
think we earthlings will have a problem with our home for another 50-75 years.
Continue reading R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Gizmo was a tiny Pekingese
with a striking resemblance to the mogwai – we call them gremlins – in the movie of the same name. That movie was how I learned the three important rules of gremlins:
Continue reading Sparrows on Mars?