What goes up…


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Just as “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”, it’s said that “you can lead a cow up stairs, but it’s afraid to walk down stairs, and so, never will”. I know of one neighbor who often keeps new calves in her dining room the first few days of their lives without mishap, but no steps or ups and downs are involved there.

“A crane or tractor, and sometimes, a bullet.” was the grim response when I asked how the situation was resolved if some prankster actually succeeded in leading a cow up a flight of stairs. So, it’s probably best that the anecdote not be tested.

Passing by the huddle of girls above reminded me of this peculiarity of the bovine mind. For many minutes, the cows remained frozen along the bank. The calves, who blindly followed their elders, found themselves stranded half way up the slope when standing room ran out at the top.

One could almost imagine their thoughts:

“I know we must have gotten up here somehow because we are up here now. I think we were eating a nice patch of grass when all of a sudden we were up here, but I just can’t remember right now….”

“If only, oh, if only, if just one of us could figure out how to get down, we could all figure it out, and we’d be saved !”

I’m not sure whether it was memory, intelligence, or perhaps the fluttering of a nearby butterfly that drew one of the girl’s attention to another nearby patch of green along the top of the bank that spread out to the meadow below.

Whether by intelligence, or observation, one brave bossy stepped toward that grass patch that gently led down the slope. The herd followed and was saved from being stranded forever on the dirt bank.

Oh Happy Day!

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Jerusalem artichoke

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These  Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, appear every Summer about now.  Though the mercury continues to toy with 90F, siting these blooms cools me right off.

Bright yellow seems to mark the zenith of the Summer. From here on out, there will be more yellow flowers, then goldenrods, then oak, butternut, and aspen leaves will admit to the onset of Autumn.

Though continuing to enjoy these Dog Days while keeping an eye out for Sirius and the Pleides, mind continues to drift to Winter.

Now, walking outside one almost feels the hot moisture in the air pressing on one’s chest. All it takes is a short walk past the refrigerator, opening the freezer door, and a deep inhalation to remind us of how Winter feels.

In a few more months, a big breath out the open back door will afford the same sensation.

 

Rose of Sharon

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The last week of July finished with day after day after day of 90+ degree weather.

The Rose of Sharon has become prominent; the tall yellow sunflowers as well.

These colors are harbingers of change. The days now are around the same length as they were in April. Each one shorter; each one closer to ski season.

Meanwhile, wander over to Forest City Friday the 5th, and Saturday the 6th for “Old Home Dayz” celebration, even if you’re not from around here.

Wear a smile, say hello to as many folks as you can, and experience why so many of us so enjoy living here on the hill,  ‘far from the madding crowd’, near a city ‘so named being settled in heavy forests’.

 

Mushroom

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www.shroomery.org reports the following:

Amanita muscaria var. guessowii

Region: Eastern/northeastern North America. From northeast Canada, as far south as the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and as far west as the great plains (Michigan is the furthest west point where the subspecies has been collected).

Habitat: Mycorrhizal primarily with conifers, but can also occur with some deciduous trees.

Characteristic Features
Volval material is cream-colored
The cap ranges from orange to yellow-orange, much paler than with typical var. flavivolvata, even in young specimens

This eastern North American species is often mis-named as Amanita muscaria var. formosa, and not without good reason. It is essentially a formosa-like variant of the North American clade of the muscaria group.

DNA studies have not yet shown that all guessowii are descended from a single ancestor, and its possible that the yellow cap is simply a common polymorhism in eastern fly agarics. Therefor it’s possible that the term var. guessowii will become obsolete, and the mushroom will simply be known as the yellow form of Amanita amerimuscaria. If it can be demonstrated that this variety is monophyletic (descends from a single ancestor), then it would likely be renamed to Amanita amerimuscaria var. guessowii.

 

 

 

 

Wildflowers in Dundaff

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Just south of Dundaff corners, this array of wildflowers brightens the right side of the road. The South Knob of Elk Mountain stands sentinel.

In “The History of Dundaff”, the author,  Margaret Strom notes: “Why, there was a Dundaff before there was a Carbondale or Scranton…. The first white man to make Dundaff his home… was Benjamin Bucklin. Another source indicates that one Melaina Mills, was the first white child born in Dundaff. She was born November 19, 1798. Bucklin began to clear land in 1799, but it was not until the summer of 1803 that he brought his family. He became the first permanent resident, and apparently build the first dwelling, a log house.”

A portion of an advertisement pamphlet included in “The History of Dundaff” lists Fern Hall as opening to the public on June 1, 1900, with the following description:

“FERN HALL is a new hotel of comparatively moderate size, capable of accomodating about 100 people, and no great number will be received at any time. It is situated in the Southeastern corner of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, 2000 feet above the sea level, on a spur of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain, and is about 200 yards from the shore of Crystal Lake.”

 

 

Playdate

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These young mothers tend their fawns under mid-summer afternoon skies.

Just born, these babies are not much bigger than Dog, and not nearly as old and wise.

Still unacquainted with the dangers of roads and humans, it’s best they stay with mother for a while yet.

Party On The Patio at Stone Bridge

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Sailor’s delight – looks like perfect weather for the Rail-Trails 25th Anniversary celebration Saturday the 25th!

Crimson Tears played last night on the Stone Bridge Patio – world class musicians that have been prominent in the neighborhood in one lineup or another for decades.

These guys are no typical cover band – they take liberties with classic rock favorites, and sound like the original band playing creative variations of their work.

It’s easy to get so caught up with their musicianship one could ignore their surroundings….

And then, a glance over the shoulder reveals a particularly dramatic sunset.

The night stayed warm and comfortable till well after sunset. Agreeable conversation with friends and family, laughter and stories from ski seasons past mingled with soft chords and clear vocals into one melody floating through the East Branch Valley.

Temperatures will nudge 90 for the next couple of days under cloudless skies. Makes one want to cherish and taste the beauty of each and every day, knowing that each sunset comes a little earlier, brings us one day closer to skiing….

 

How much different can heaven be?