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Tag: seasons

It lives!

It lives!

An ethereal blanket of translucent maroon — the color of shrubs in transition from the blah gray of the past few months to the green cloaking that soon will block the view of even large rocks more than about 50 feet distant — seems to flow like an incoming fog across the forest floor..

They don’t make winter like they used to

They don’t make winter like they used to

I have not yet pulled out our snowthrower. I am counting on the natural snow fence at the western side of the county to save me from enriching Exxon. I learned about snow fences as a kid. Farmers would stretch what looked like rows of slatted window blinds turned sideways across their roadside fields. Wind-driven snow would hit them and rise up, to be dropped on the other side, well before it reached the road.

We are not alone

We are not alone

It was like standing on the edge of a pool, watching the trees change color as a river of fog flowed over the far ridge, filling the valley in front of me, flowing up the slope to gently, silently wrap itself around me. The fog condensed on the leaves of pines and Scarlet oaks, collecting into drops that fell gently onto my shirtless shoulders. Trees shivered at the impending winter, shaking blizzards of expired summer raiment cascading to the soil….

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Getting warm(er)

Getting warm(er)

My best friend gave me an insulated vest for the days when I venture out into the winter air. Out my back window, most of the trees have taken the opposite approach, having shed their raiment and shut down their blood supplies to protect against the frigid winds of winter.

The colors are coming, the colors are coming

The colors are coming, the colors are coming

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.

Call us by our names

Call us by our names

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.

Pairing up

Pairing up

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.

Seasons

Seasons

It’s chilly outside. Colors are at peak — maybe a bit past, depending on where one looks. A damp cutting breeze is trimming leaves into great clouds of kaleidoscopic flakes onto earthen carpets where, except in the ‘burbs, they will become fertilizer for next years’ growth rings on the trees from which they fall. Red maples, yellow poplars. Across the pasture over which Pickett’s Charge took place, Little Round Top wears horizontal stripes where different species have chosen different growing…

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Mice in the kitchen

Mice in the kitchen

The mouse traps were empty when I slid out of bed to check. I’m glad. I know about disease vectors and the bother of the little critters nibbling into the sleeves of saltines crackers, leaving a carpet of tiny black pellets on the pantry shelf. But, really, they don’t eat much. I lived for awhile in a cabin in a wood. On a winter evening, we would watched a tiny critter appear on one side of the living room, scurry around…

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Changing seasons

Changing seasons

The end is near, the calendar says, though physical evidence offers some argument. Summer inexorably withdraws southward, following the Canada geese to their winter abode, but the lawn still needs periodic cutting. We returned from a two-week road trip to the sound of a cricket holding forth from among the stones. It was an unexpected sound for mid-October. Temperatures the past few days have been in the 80s that should be at least 20 degrees lower, breaking records for highs…

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Marking the Middle of Autumn

Marking the Middle of Autumn

Through the trees a couple of honks announced a gaggle of Canada geese approaching from the north. In less than a minute, maybe 20 individuals in a signature V floated just over the stand of oak trees, wings beating in almost perfect unison. They likely would land in a field of corn stubble, at least near a stream, if not in the pond across from the Mount St. Mary’s University campus a few miles down the road. For the past…

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Spring lives again on the pond

Spring lives again on the pond

It’s spring, and young men’s fancy turns to thoughts of attracting young women’s attention. One may be the best at what he does, but it’s of no consequence if first he doesn’t gain the attention of prospective suitors. Watching the spring show at the lake is all about the boys striving for attention. I was reminded last weekend of a certain young man of my brood who exhibited much the same activity when spring called boys and girls to doff…

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A cacophony of Spring

A cacophony of Spring

I, and my faithful companion Grady the Golden, wander along our favorite stream, among the vestiges of the Spring Transition. Water gurgles and splashes over stones and boulders into a pool where a pair of Mallards paddle lazily. In a few weeks, they will be leading a brood of youngsters.[pullquote]… an owl hoo-hoo-hoooos. I flatter myself to think he’s laughing at me …[/pullquote] Around another curve, a sextet of Canada geese hurry away. They are shy, sort of, like a…

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How cold was it back in B.C. (Before Cell)

How cold was it back in B.C. (Before Cell)

(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 3/7/2014) A friend told me this week it has been so cold where she lives, kids have been complaining their cell phone keypads have been freezing. They have had to wait until second period before the keys have thawed enough they can be used to text the youngster across the aisle to set a lunch meeting in the school cafeteria. Being without a working cell phone is rough, but I guess it is all relative….

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Ornithological shift change

Ornithological shift change

(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 2/14/2014) A few days ago, the first Eastern Bluebird of the season wandered into the yard. I watched as what I am pretty sure was a Tufted Titmouse sat on a branch and dug a peanut from its shell. I’ve been told robins have been seen in Littlestown.  It’s seasonal shift change in the bird kingdom.

Visions of snowstorms past

Visions of snowstorms past

(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…

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Idea: kids pick up lunch on the way to school

Idea: kids pick up lunch on the way to school

(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 10/18/2013) It’s nearly 7 a.m. The sun soon will come into view. Not long ago, I would sat on the back porch to read. Now I am glad the electronic paper on which I write has its own illumination. [pullquote]“Seven out of 10 people will live in a city by 2050,” Meaghan Parker, writer/editor at the Woodrow Wilson Center.[/pullquote] A school bus passes my home, right on time. It will stop in a hundred yards…

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Riding the Metro – a lesson in efficient cooling

Riding the Metro – a lesson in efficient cooling

I don’t know whether it’s global warming, climate change or as my spouse chooses to believe, the snow thrower we bought last year, when we thought more snowy winters to be in the offing. I pulled the machine out of the shed in October, when we had a pretty serious snow – for South-Central Pennsylvania. About eight inches of the white stuff blanketed the ground. I cleared the driveway and the extra parking space – and have not used the…

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