Tag Archives: outdoors

So long, old friend

Grady the Golden RetrieverWe met Grady at a doctor’s office in February 2007. He was homeless, effusively friendly, and eager to see us. We invited him home. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

The day we met, the doctor took the stitches out from having surgically removed the collar that had grown into his neck. It was most of a year before he’d not make a puddle on the floor when someone new came to the door.

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Free range – good for kids, too

One of my favorite comic strip panels was from “Family Circus,” A single-panel series based on the life of author Bil Keane.

“Billy!” Mommy calls out. “Dinner’s ready.”

We hire police for our schools, our cars lock their doors for us, and neighbors who once looked out for our children now call police.

In a panel that occupied the top third of the newspaper page, Billy tracked from nearly next door, through several houses and mud puddles, picked up snakes and frogs, petted a neighbor’s dog, and performed numerous other procrastinations. Eventually, he arrived home.

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Birches are meant to be climbed, bent

“I should prefer to have some boy bend them, / As he went out and in …” Birches, by Robert Frost.

Better a boy than an ice storm should bend the birches. A girl could bend them, as well, if a girl is in the house, and requires exploratory forays into a nearby forest. To climb a really tall tree is to gain a sense of accomplishment not available to parents and other adults who are well advised to stick to the lower, thicker branches.

And to have Mom worried that you might fall is to have an opportunity to show her, “No, I won’t.” There is no finer feeling than to tell her you will not fall, and then prove it.

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Visions of snowstorms past

Winter at the lake(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 1/24/2014)

Winters of my youth I remember being way more snowy than those of more recent vintage. I mentioned to an old guy one day that as cold and snowy as it now seems, there was a time when by late October the snow would came up to my, uh, posterior.

He offered the possibility that my posterior was closer to the ground in those days – but I remember being 17 and one afternoon at the start of hunting season pushing my way downhill through the snow below Bates’ farm, hoping to flush a deer out of the pines at the edge of the pasture. Instead, I bagged a pair of Partridge for dinner.

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A new walking stick

A comfortable walking stick can make the trail a little easier.Peavine bought himself a new walking stick. A dandy specimen it is, too – a really nice five-section telescoping stick with a compass on top. Each section is accented with, in his case, a bright orange ring.

He bought it, he said, because it came in orange. It also is available in black, blue, green, purple, red, gold and titanium, but as long as we’ve been hanging around together, I’ve never known Peavine to go for those flashy colors. Besides, orange is a good color in the woods because deer can’t see it. Continue reading

Is all that bleepin’ really bleepin’ necessary?

The temp of the falling water suggested the name Chief Two-Navels BathtubA hunting buddy and I, when I was stationed in California, would make an annual trip to Los Padres National Forest, allegedly in pursuit of the elusive Mule deer. At some point in the couple-hour drive down from the San Francisco area, we would pick up supplies: a couple big buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a case of Shasta soda and a bottle of Roll-Aids.

Not exactly healthy living by today’s standards, though I suspect – or would like to believe – exercise offset some of the damage we did to our bodies, but we were young and immortal. Continue reading

State and national parks and forests: a great value for taxpayers’ dollars

A footpath through Michaus State ForestMichaux State Forest encompasses more than 87,000 acres of woodland, including a reservoir, several streams and a section of the Appalachian Trail.

The Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website still claims about 85,000 acres, but I think that does not include 2,500 acres purchased from Glatfelter’s paper company circa 2008 and donated to the state.

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What bird is this?

Walks along the lake shore, doesn't get his feet wet.Sometimes when you’re wandering or paddling around, you find something even the pros can’t identify. So here’s asking my loyal readers:

“What bird is this. It can be found at the central Pennsylvania canoeing lake about 15 miles from my home, walking along the shore, grabbing food from between rocks and logs, twigs and other such flotsam. I’ve never seen one actually get its feet wet.
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