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.
I often talk of two-lane roads and roadside creeks. They often can be found together, a good reason for which there is. Streams have been sources of food, pathways for travelers, and the most direct route from the pasture to the barn for millions of cows. Continue reading Silver lining
Muskrat in the afternoon
I was standing by the stream when I noticed a wake tracking along the far bank. The head surfaced, and it crossed the creek to the salad bar.
Searching for Marsh Creek
Marsh Creek was around long before David Pfoutz showed up. That was 1791, when the 22-year-old arrived in the area of Marsh and Little Marsh creeks.
He built a fulling mill – fulling being the last step in preparing wool fabric for making clothing – near the confluence of Little Marsh and Marsh creeks. It was one of three mills between the head of Little Marsh Creek and its intersection with Marsh Creek. Continue reading Searching for Marsh Creek
It’s a privilege
The legal description of the 50-acres of wooded shore front my parents owned noted a huge boulder at one edge and a brook at the other. The watercourse was called Smelt Brook because every spring the smelt – anchovy-size minnows used mostly for bait to catch larger fish – would run into it to spawn.
Fisherfolk from town would show up, as well, and that’s the crux of this tale. They would bring their beer and build small campfires next to the creek, and be sociable. The smelt ran at night when kids my age were supposed to be in bed, so dad and his long-handled, fine-webbed smelting net attended the party alone.
Wandering the river of my mind
There is an electric stream in my backyard, among the sumac trees and Black-Eyed Susans. It sounds remarkably like a natural stream, bubbling over rocks placed to offer the desired aural ambience. Continue reading Wandering the river of my mind
Race to inner space
SpaceX. Amazon. Virgin. NASA. All are organizations competing in humanity’s race to the stars. First the moon, then Mars, then …
The previous Space Race – the one that started with Pres. John F. Kennedy and ended with retirement of the space shuttle program, engendered interest in people who had previously no idea of traveling even across the next state, much less the next planet. Continue reading Race to inner space
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.
Boundaries and Buffers
You’re walking alongside the road, shooting pictures of birds returning from their winter sojourn, when a car pulls up and stops beside you. The passenger side window whines down and a face asks, “Where’s the battlefield?”
“You’re sitting in it,” is the only possible reply.
While the king tweets unsweetly
A few of us had a rather nice conversation on Facebook, of all places, the other evening. One could follow the discussion and read what each said and know which side each was on. We kept talking. The participants were respectful, though in agreement not so much.
Many of us are well acquainted with the “anonymous rant” some social media conversations take – someone, sometimes with an obviously assumed name, makes some oft-heard unsupported (and oft times unsupportable) statement about one presidential candidate or the other, a few people gang up with the first and for most observers it becomes a shouting match. When the shouting starts, the listening stops.
Seasonal weather finally is upon us, maybe. Temperatures should be in the 40 F range, and they’re often in the 60s, but last year this time they were in the 80s, so I suppose it is a bit more seasonal. The juncos, looking like flying preachers in their white shirts and dark gray capes, have returned. Nearly all the other “snowbirds” – what northerners who move south for the winter are called – have departed for what they hope are warmer climes.
What if Marsh Creek was in Flint or Uniontown
Marsh Creek, a short distance from my home, is bloated like a certain writer who has partaken overmuch of turkey and ice cream at a family dinner. Rain pours down on the tableau, filling the myriad tributaries that flow into the creek like an array of gravy and soup bowls, each adding ingredients they have collected from minor hills and valleys in the larger creek’s watershed.
Just over a week ago, a snowstorm laid a biodegradable covering across the scene. Now the rain melds it into the water that is its main ingredient, expanding the creek to a degree the spring and summer feeder streams will not.
Continue reading What if Marsh Creek was in Flint or Uniontown