The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Tag: wildlife

Squandering our kids’ inheritance

Another piece of the planet gives its life.We stood and talked for a bit one afternoon, me standing next to her sitting on her lawnmower, chatting about the old farmhouse and the adjacent hayfield and railroad tracks. The land had been in her family several generations.

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They may not speak our language

Common Loon on its nestI’ve lived many places and left bits of me in several of them. One of my favorite memories is swimming with the loons on hot summer midnights in Maine.

Common Loons have existed unchanged since the first ones flew over the planet and under its water. According to the fossil record, they existed as a distinct species more than 30 million years ago, and with that kind of seniority, they think they own wherever they land.

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An extraordinary queendom

Maple seeds in the grassA friend used to say the trees caused the wind to blow, like when you wave one of those Japanese hand fans. “Whenever you feel the wind, you look and see the trees are moving,” he said in an offering of proof. He wasn’t all that far-fetched.

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Do we wait for the river to die to call it ill?

Two men fishing below the Harrisburg bridges.The Susquehanna River Basin Commission reports its data collection funding has been cut, while more than 2,000 miles of waterways still suffering from mine drainage from coal mines abandoned nearly a century ago. And increasing numbers of smallmouth bass are being found cancerous and dying in the 100 miles of river below Sunbury, PA (near the Shamokin Dam).

Meanwhile, PA DEP Secretary Mike Krancer and PA Fish and Boat Commission head John Arway continue to spar over whether the river should be declared “impaired,” a declaration that would make the river eligible for federal funding to research the dying fish.

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DCNR on its way to being DR

Truck-bearing roads, pipelines and drilling pad clearings slice and dice their way across Loyalsock State ForestA bill in the Pennsylvania legislature has conservationists on high alert. House Bill 2224, some fear, will open the way to sale of public lands without the normal path through the courts. All they would have to do is declare the “parks, squares or similar uses and public buildings … no longer necessary or practicable.”

Which appears to many to be what Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Marcellus, declared his award winning state park system director, John Norbeck. It seems Norbeck’s “no drilling in the state parks” crashed into the “drill everywhere” juggernaut, and the people of the Commonwealth lost.

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“Seen any deer?”

I let him eat, and he let me shoot.A few years ago, a friend and I took a week in Colorado, driving through the back roads of the Rockies, generally following one of our favorite country music artists – and premiere writer of environmental songs – on what we termed “The Ultimate San Juan Oddysey.” The trip took us above the tree line, to long defunct silver mines, historic avalanche sites, Silverton (via the Durango and Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad), and Black Bear Road, (“You don’t have to be crazy to drive this here road, but it helps.”).

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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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Look what I found (and what I didn’t)

A catbird chick, without even many feathers, sits on a bicycle chain, apparently pondering whether to reach the pedalsSometimes you just know something. You can’t prove it, but you know it’s true.

Thus it was with a catbird (at least I think it’s a catbird) in our front yard. Somewhere in the shrubs is a nest. I know that because Mama bird flitters around and squawks and tries to convince me the nest is where it ain’t, so I’ll not detect where it is.

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It’s the powder

A grey squirrel contemplates how he will gain access to a pair of bird feeders

One of the nice things about my home workspace is when I’m at my keyboard I can look out the window at the new double-arm bird feeder pole.

And at the squirrel who hasn’t yet figured out how to raid the seed supply.

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