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Category: Water

Profits over science mark SCOTUS decision

Profits over science mark SCOTUS decision

Wetlands— those swampy areas we sometimes encounter as we wander through our forests and other undeveloped acres—may seem like wasted land, but they are hard at work reducing flood risk during heavy rain events and filtering to provide safe drinking water for plants and other critters, including us humans.

Snowthrower chronicles

Snowthrower chronicles

A couple of us were sitting around swapping tales of winter and keeping our coffee from getting cold. We all had seen snowy mornings, though not lately. Our first snowfall of the year had left about an inch on the ground. The resident Keeper of Order In the Home gave her permission to not even shovel.

Planet warning

Planet warning

My trusty navigator and I took a drive last weekend, to Cincinnati, my son and the Cincinnati Bengals. Our drive took us across miles of unseasonably barren farmland virtually devoid of snow. I’ve been making the trip for decades. I don’t recall any year in mid-February when there was so much brown ground.

Happy 2022 to our fellow space travelers

Happy 2022 to our fellow space travelers

In the past three years, maybe four, I haven’t burned a tank of snowthrower gas. One of those years I never even took the thing out. “You should feel lucky then, haha,” my nephew wrote in a chat. Nope. He is young enough to think clearing snow is a chore. I used to love clearing our driveway late at night, just me and the machine’s headlight and a stream of snow.

3-D printers and fireflies

3-D printers and fireflies

I am sitting on the back deck, watching eight squirrels cavort around the grass and through the flower beds, trees and roof. A few House Sparrows arrive looking for breakfast, as do a pair of Mourning Doves and another of Northern Cardinals.

Make room for Ellie

Make room for Ellie

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.

What I’ve learned about dogs

What I’ve learned about dogs

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.

Party time on Marsh Creek

Party time on Marsh Creek

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…

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Where’s the water?

Where’s the water?

When I was young, finding water was fairly easy. An old farmer would take a forked apple branch, some of the younger fellows used a wire coat hanger bent into the requisite “Y,” and head out to the area one proposed digging a well. It was called “dowsing.” Holding the branch by the short legs, the long end poking out in front, the dowser would begin to walk around. Eventually, the tip of the divining rod would dip toward the…

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Play in it to preserve it

Play in it to preserve it

I often tout the idea of getting the kids down to the swimming hole. Let them splash in the creek, and watch the fish and turtles that live in the water and on the shores. Let them flip over rocks and identify some of the larva. One of the ways biologists determine the quality of water is to check for macroinvertebrates such as May and Stone fly larvae. If the water is too polluted for human consumption, it also will…

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States’ Rights an unsettling question

States’ Rights an unsettling question

While many of us have been quibbling over the details of our Distracter-in-Chief’s latest tweet – or more recently, his sudden lack of early morning digital shouts to his public – most of us are, for various reasons, not paying much attention to some of the more important edicts he has, with less fanfare, issued and will continue to issue. It’s not that what he is doing is secret; too many of us are simply not paying attention. When Scott…

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Finishing the job

Finishing the job

At the tender age of about 10, I got my first lesson on the subject of cleaning up after oneself. We’d gone to visit Gramma and Grampa in Watertown, Mass., a little way out of Boston. I always liked visiting their home, a really old-fashioned place with a parlor – a small room off the living room, home to a couple of rocking chairs no one actually sat in. In fact, the big set of double French doors to the…

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It’s getting hot out there

It’s getting hot out there

TThree Black Vultures showed up in the backyard Tuesday and headed for our stream. They were not looking for food; they craved water. They hover over us every day; that was the first time any of them landed so near our house. Drinking water is in short supply in many wild places. We are in a time of year when water levels often are low, but Marsh Creek, in places where it normally only is low, is nearly dry. I…

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A beautiful time for a drive or a walk

A beautiful time for a drive or a walk

Beside a road off Pa. Route 34, somewhere north of Gettysburg, Don Yost and John Deere team up to pull a chisel plow through a field of corn stubble. Last year was no-till for the field, and the crop was corn. No-till means the ground is left unturned, the roots of the previous crop keep the hillside from flowing to the bottom in heavy rains, and new seed poked into the earth with a tool made for the task.

What white teeth you have!

What white teeth you have!

I am diabetic. It’s no big deal, relative to the millions of other folks making Big Pharma rich with sales of antidotes to the sugar-water guzzling ways of our early years. I would go to bed with a bowl of corn chips, a bowl of salsa, a Pepsi in a Big Gulp cup, and television. Now I take, among a small smorgasbord of medications, metformin, a.k.a. Glucophage. It’s one of the mainstays of the diabetes treatment industry.

Where is winter?

Where is winter?

The flock of mallards launched from the creek, reminding me that a bright orange vest might be a good safety idea during deer season, but not so great if one is trying to slip up on the ducks. Indeed, most birds have excellent eyesight. They require it. Unlike ground-locked critters that can lie low and wait to spot something moving, birds are the movers, and sometimes quite fast. If they are going to eat – or at least not be…

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A wish for our children

A wish for our children

The ad for a big-screen television shows a picture of a still, blue lake. A canoe is pulled up on its shore. In the background, a stand of pine trees of indeterminate species frames one side, a fall-colored mountain range the other. You can almost hear the loons calling each other across the water, as they have done for thousands of years, maybe longer.