Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An October Day Walk in the Woods

On a recent walk in the woods behind my house I discovered some interesting sights, some of which confirming my belief that a walk in the woods can be very educational if one looks closely at what they see. More on that as we progress through this post.

One of the first things on this particular walk that grabbed my attention was this construction on the side of a tree stump.

Nature @ Work
I call it "Nature @ Work because it continues to be added to, and remodeled. Kinda reminds me of a stack of pancakes. Well, maybe that's a stretch.

The next picture worthy sighting was this burst of yellow....

As I continued on my venture I came across a tattered tail feather of a wild turkey. Than another. And another. A pattern was developing. What had I stumbled upon? Well, after backing up and surveying the area, I figured out I had come across the scene of an attack by a predator of some kind. At this point I pondered who the hunter was... coyote or fox came to mind. There was a large number of tail and wing feathers scattered about in the area. I didn't see any breast feathers at all. Did this attack result in a successful kill?


Turkey foot..

The last photo confirmed the attack produced a meal for the hunter.

The educational value learned on this walk is this:

In the wild, life ends so life can continue. 
That's the way it is.






Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Arch Tree of Forty Maples Picnic Area

There is a place nestled in Pennsylvania, where Cameron and Potter Counties border that is called Sinnemahoning State Park. It is a wonderful place for hiking, fishing, and sight seeing. There is also a picnic area that is called Forty Maples Picnic Area. I can remember 50 plus years ago having picnics here with my family. More recently, 20 years ago I made memories with my Uncle John fishing the Geo. B. Stevenson Dam with the Loons, Eagles, etc. keeping us company. I also have cherished memories of time spent here with my wife a few years ago. Fishing and cruising around looking for wildlife. It's a great place to spent quality time with someone you love and I recommend the area to everyone. 
One of my memories of the area is a brief stop at "The Arch Tree".

The Arch Tree
 It is difficult to see in these photographs, but one can actually slide their hand under the point on the right side of this beautiful living tree.

Go explore.. with someone you love and make a memory.

You'll never regret it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Could Have Been A Pretty Stinky Ordeal

Here are a pair of visitors I was blessed to have an encounter with a summer or two ago. They spent a couple of weeks in our area and when in our yard they pretty much had their way unabated. I can't tell you if they are male or female, as I wasn't going to get any closer than I did to get this pictures. Enjoy....


Skunks may have a reputation as being quite smelly occasionally, but one cannot deny that they do have a flare for beauty. In short, they are beautiful if you can get past the smell.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Speaking of Wildlife...Summer of 2011 had some.

It all started in late spring....

Tom Turkey and some of his girls...

Mr & Mrs Eastern Bluebird

The male Oriole and Rose-breasted Grosbeak enjoying some "Welch's Grape Jelly"

The Catbird really liked the Jelly also.

The American Goldfinches were busy, too.

Mr Indigo Bunting stopped by for a visit also.
Taking his lady out for breakfast...lots of sweet Jelly.

A Merganser pair enjoy Wyncoop Creek. 
My winged friends are really really cool...and always welcome here at the resort...

Summer 2011...Part 2: The Sept. Flood at the Resort.

What was going to be a birthday party for our 2 eldest granddaughters turned out having to be postponed due to Tropical Storm Irene's torrential rains that devastated the entire East Coast. We, here in Chemung, NY, were not able to escape the high waters and creek flooding that resulted. We did not, luckily, have any property damage but we did have flooding and a back yard full of debris. The grounds were saturated to the point that no outdoor social gathering could be safely permitted. Nearby towns and cities fared far worse than we however, with many many homes destroyed to the point of total loss. Some families lost everything. We had water approach the edge of the house but none entered or caused any damage. Our discomfort was purely debris from upstream that settled in the yard when the rains stopped and the creek reseeded back to within its banks. I had a few days of clean-up to do but nothing compared to what some good friends had in towns nearby. We were lucky. Here are a few pics from our yard the night of and day after the high water flood.

Common Merganser enjoying the surf...?



As you can see, we had some water.. It dampened our spirits but we were able to come out of it ok. Even now, a month or so later, the ground is still somewhat sloshy to walk on in many parts of the yard. Of course the continuous rain we've had is not helping the ground to dry out any. I have been in-touch with the powers that be in County Government and they have assured me that between them and FEMA, the creek will be put back to where it's suppose to be. Looking forward to that happening.....soon.

Summer 2011...Part 1: Long, but Too Short

The Summer of 2011 will go down as one of the busiest, hectic, non stop summers that I can ever remember. And except for being able to see the few cords of firewood stacked so nice in my backyard, I feel most times like I didn't get anything accomplished. 

Weather wise, the Summer of 2011 was pitiful. Rain, heat, cool, rain, heat, and floods kept us all alert to what was being forecast-ed by the weather folks who are suppose to keep the public accurately informed. Our family swimming pool water temperature fluctuation was really different this year also. After a rainy wet spring, with the water temps staying in the low 70's, we did get a dry warm spell and the water temp "soared" to the mid 80's. The family was finally able to enjoy the pool for a while. I even set up the "kiddie" pool. 

Kiddie pool for non swimmers when no adults are in big pool.

My eldest 2 granddaughters in the "warmer" pool.

This Green Heron even dropped in for a visit.

Sadness hit us in mid July with the passing of our great family dog Samson. Personally, he was the best dog I ever was privy to call my own. Sam and I had a bond that is hard to describe. Our bond started the day I first laid eyes on him. He was 7 weeks old. He was laying on the floor behind the toilet in our spare bathroom. My wife (bless her) called me at work and told me we had a water leak in the bathroom and I should come home right away. The "leak" was this beautiful sleepy beast that penetrated my life like no animal had ever done before. It was instantaneous. Bonded. There never was, over the next 14 years, any doubt to anyone, whose dog Sam was. We were attached at the hip. I couldn't go from my chair to the bathroom or the refrigerator without his escort. He was always with me... and I loved it.


R.I.P. Sam

With Sam's passing the house and yard became completely different. My "shadow" was gone. My sidekick gone. Sure, my feline pets, Boots and Rascal, were still under foot, but it's just not the same. It's a completely different species and the bonding is so very different. I never was a cat lovin kinda guy until my wife decided we needed "one" after we retired. We ended up with "two" kitties. Brothers Boots and Rascal. Yeah, I got attached to them too.
Rascal & Boots

King "Rascal"

Prince "Boots"

Rascal is laid back, leave me alone, when I want petted, I'll come to you and is huge. His brother Boots is completely different. He was born with a deformed left rear foot (paw). He has learned to get around really good with his minor handicap. He has settled down a lot after initially being a neurotic. He'd run and hide at the least little noise. Not so much any more. You will normally find him laying on my computer desk. Spoiled? Not a chance, well yeah they are.........

Roe (my wonderful wife) and I had talked about not getting any more dogs."It would be easier" to go away for a weekend without having to get a dog sitter. The cats would be fine. Food and litter box set for a weekend was no big deal. Ok by me. A few weeks after Sam passed, I "caught" her visiting a "Lab Kennel" on line. When I confronted her as to what was she looking at, she responded, "I miss Sammy". Obviously, I did too. I suggested she find us another yellow lab. A few days later we were making a 2 hour trip to pick out "Botar".

Now Bo is no Sam, but he does have the makings to be a good dog. I think. Bo was born in a barn and lived there for the 1st 6 weeks of his life. He didn't have much human interaction and was surrounded by large "noisy" farm machinery. That has made him very shy around anything that makes noise. Lawn mowers, vacuum sweepers, blenders, 4 wheelers, even our vehicles....he wants no part of them and runs away from them. Yes this is good in that he will not go anywhere near the road or driveway when a vehicle approaches, but, to my deep disappointment, he wants no part of going with me "in the truck". BUMMER. I'm working on that problem. I want my dog to go with me in the truck.

4 months old..."Botar"
He is growing like a weed and is a great lookin lab. He loves it outdoors and is great with the grandkids. He's not happy about all the birds that land in "his" yard, but has been encouraged to accept them. They were here before him and will continue to be here with or without his permission.

Next up: The Flood of Sept. 2011