Orange Orb Weaver

Walking out to greet the UPS man, I almost stepped on this little critter. Reminded me of a pumpkin.

Wikipedia reports:

Araneus marmoreus, commonly called the marbled orb-weaver, is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneidae. It has a Holarctic distribution.

Araneus marmoreus is found throughout all of Canada to Alaska, the northern Rockies, from North Dakota to Texas, and then east to the Atlantic, as well as in Europe. It is one of the showiest orbweavers.

Walking Stick

From a distance, it looked at first like a piece of grass, or maybe pine needles that had blown against the wall and stuck.

Closer inspection revealed movement – it is a bug – a walking stick!

Wikipedia reports:

The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida or Phasmatoptera) are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects in Europe and Australasia; stick-bugs, walking sticks or bug sticks in the United States and Canada; or as phasmids, ghost insects or leaf insects (generally the family Phylliidae). The group’s name is derived from the Ancient Greek φάσμα phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom, referring to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Their natural camouflage makes them difficult for predators to detect, but many species have a secondary line of defence in the form of startle displays, spines or toxic secretions. The genus Phobaeticus includes the world’s longest insects.

Members of the order are found in all continents except Antarctica, but they are most abundant in the tropics and subtropics. They are herbivorous with many species living unobtrusively in the tree canopy. They have a hemimetabolous life cycle with three stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. Many phasmids are parthenogenic, and do not require fertilised eggs for female offspring to be produced. In hotter climates, they may breed all year round; in more temperate regions, the females lay eggs in the autumn before dying, and the new generation hatches out in the spring. Some species have wings and can disperse by flying, while others are more restricted.

Breakfast Buddies

On my way to make my morning tea, I glanced out the back door. There under the apple tree, a deer and rabbit enjoyed their breakfast of newly fallen apples. 

When I went to open the back slider to photograph them, I could see yet another buck breakfasting on the other side of the tree.

A buck, a buck, and a doe, or a buck, a buck and a buck? 

Before I could figure out, they noticed me and all were quickly gone to the rest of their morning.

CLIFFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY DRAWS WINNERS

Proudly holding her first-place winning ticket, Linda Parlanti (Rear, Left) of Clifford Township, shares her excitement with Sandy Wilmot, CTHS Director (Rear, Right), and (Bottom, L-R), Ruth Knighton, CTHS Treasurer, and Gloria Suraci Bilotta, owner of Yarns Cider Mill; Bilotta leased the mill property to CTHS in 2012 for $1 for 100 years.

 

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — “Our sincerest THANK YOU to EVERYONE who supported our most successful fundraiser ever,” said Sandy Wilmot, Director of the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS).  On Sunday September 10th, amid a crowd of visitors enjoying an early Fall afternoon, Wilmot drew the winning tickets in the 50/50 raffle held by the CTHS.  (The winners’ names are posted on their website, www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org.)

                “Donations were collected right up to the end, just prior to drawing the tickets,” Wilmot added.  “And the most amazing part is that $2,750 from several winning tickets has been graciously donated back to the Historical Society.  This support is so very much appreciated and will be put to good use!”

                Held inside the nearly 150-year old Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm in Clifford Township, the raffle drawing was the culmination of an innovative ten-month long major fundraiser.  With hundreds of tickets sold at $50 apiece, “raising funds like this wasn’t an easy job, but our community of friends and families came through for us,” said Wilmot.  “It’s exciting to know that our small group of volunteers can continue to move forward with many of our plans and programs to help keep local-area history alive.”

                Founded in 2006, the CTHS has endeavored to collect, document, and preserve the wealth of historical information and memorabilia relating to the early settlement of Clifford and the surrounding area.  Throughout the years, the CTHS has established the Museum of Local History and its ever-growing indoor exhibits.  It restored and enhanced the Hoover School, is continually collecting artifacts for the year-old Agricultural Museum located on the picnic grounds of the township’s fire company, seasonally grows the efforts of the newer Children’s Garden, and is currently in the throes of renovating the Cider Mill to working order. 

                “The community continues to give and help and support our program’s efforts,” Wilmot said.  “And these raffle funds have really helped us to continue matching the various grants made available to us through The Endless Mountain Heritage Region.  Funded by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, they made $12,000 available to us for this year and next.  Together with the funds raised through this raffle, prior grants, monetary donations, and the countless hours our handful of volunteers continually donates, we’re able to match grants dollar for dollar.”

To volunteer your time with the CTHS or make a donation to help fund its many projects, contact the group at 570-679-2723 or email peltz@nep.net

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Dragon tongue bean

Dragon tongue bean

Curiosity got the better of me earlier this summer, when I came across a small plastic envelope labelled “Pole beans” that had hid in a kitchen drawer for the better part of a decade.

Uncertain if they were still viable, on a whim, I planted them expecting flat green beans. I became pleasantly surprised as the seeds sprouted into dramatic Dragon tongue beans.

Wikipedia reports:

Dragon tongue bean is a flavorful, juicy bean whose seeds are encased in a buffed colorful pod with mottled burgundy patterns throughout the shell’s surface. The shelled beans are pale pistachio green in color, their size, petite, and their shape, ovate and slightly curved.

Dragon tongue bean can be harvested, picked and used for their pods as well as for their seeds like a green bean (snap bean) or allowed to mature into a shell bean for using their seeds only.

Climbing Nightshade

Climbing Nightshade

Wikipedia reports:

Solanum dulcamara, also known as climbing nightshade, bittersweet nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, felonwood, poisonberry, scarlet berry, snakeberry,… is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum, family Solanaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and widely naturalised elsewhere, including North America, where it is an invasive problem weed.

Solanum dulcamara has been valued by herbalists since ancient Greek times. In the Middle Ages the plant was thought to be effective against witchcraft, and was sometimes hung around the neck of cattle to protect them from the “evil eye”.

John Gerard’s Herball (1597) states that “the juice is good for those that have fallen from high places, and have been thereby bruised or beaten, for it is thought to dissolve blood congealed or cluttered anywhere in the intrals and to heale the hurt places.”

Sundial Eclipse

Sundial Eclipse

All of a sudden it seemed, the day of the eclipse arrived. Friends had shared plans to travel hundreds of miles to “the path of totality” to experience a total eclipse of the sun.

Monday morning, I realized that I was woefully unprepared. No welding goggles, no eclipse viewing glasses. I found paper plates in the cabinet, and experimented with different size pinholes.  At least I would see the eclipse’s shadow.

I had gone to the farm stand and picked up fresh vegetables to make a casserole, portion and freeze. Maybe leave some in the freezer long enough to have a taste of summer when things turn winterish.

I began cooking before noon. The clock drifted toward the time when the eclipse would peak. When time came, I went out to the patio where the sun dial happens to be, and observed the eclipse with my paper plates.  

Crescent shadows appeared on the paper plate as the moon obscured seventy-five percent of the sun, leaving it still too bright to look at without protection.

“Interesting and fun” I thought as I went inside to the kitchen, but not nearly as dramatic as the view from an area of totality. Everybody has a different eclipse experience, I guess.

As I turned back to cutting carrots I noticed all the holes in the colander and wondered what kind of a shadow it would cast.

I found that the colander shadow eclipsed the sundial,
a constellation of star shaped crescents cast by both moon and sun.

How much different can heaven be?