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.


CTHS volunteer director Sandy Wilmot fans some of the remaining tickets waiting to be sold before the September 10th 50/50 drawing of the Clifford Township Historical Society’s fundraising raffle.

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP — “We’re counting down the days until we draw the lucky winners’ tickets and announce their names,” said Sandy Wilmot, volunteer and director of the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS).

“CTHS has been selling 50/50 raffle tickets as a fundraiser this year. The drawing for the winners will be held at 3:00pm on Sunday September 10th at the Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm, and we’re inviting everyone to spend the afternoon with us to see the renovation progress that has been accomplished at the mill to date.” Yarns Cider Mill is located at 1520 St. Rt. 2014 in Clifford Township, and the nearby Hoover School and the Museum of Local History will also be open from 1:00pm-3:00pm to welcome visitors.

The innovative raffle is the first major fundraiser since CTHS was founded eleven years ago. “The plan has been to sell 1,000 tickets at $50 apiece, but we still have more tickets to sell before the drawing next month,” said Wilmot. “So, I’m making a public plea on behalf of CTHS for everyone’s help. We realize that a $50 ticket can be a big expense for most folks. But if families and friends, neighbors and co-workers get together to purchase just a single ticket, split the cost and send it to us, it will be easier on each individual and a huge help to us.”

Tickets are still available at more than 20 Clifford-area businesses that display the CTHS raffle poster, and will also be sold at Greenfield Power Equipment’s tent, across from the waterfowl building, at the Harford Fair August 20-26. Tickets are also available by contacting Wilmot at 570-679-2723 or; and they are printable from the CTHS website, “The folks who’ve helped us so far have been great. But we really need this final push to make our goal a reality,” Wilmot added.

As Wilmot explained, The Endless Mountain Heritage Region, which is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, made $12,000 available to CTHS for this year and next. “Since CTHS was founded in 2006, various grants have provided us with the wherewithal to work on our various projects. These grants, monetary donations, and the countless hours that our handful of volunteers continually donates to help match grants dollar for dollar have accomplished a lot through the years.

“And the generous donations of volunteer labor, materials, and dollars from CTHS members and friends don’t go unrecognized,” Wilmot emphasized, “for without them, CTHS wouldn’t exist, and we wouldn’t have accomplished all we’ve done to date. But right now, we still need more help.”
Since its founding, the goal of CTHS has been 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 group has established the Museum of Local History and its ever-growing indoor exhibits. It restored and enhanced the Hoover School, is creating the growing efforts of the new Children’s Garden and the new Agricultural Museum, and it is currently in the throes of restoring the Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm.

All cash prizes offered through the raffle are based on 1,000 tickets being sold, and while the winning amounts may vary, “up to $25,000 in 20 prizes is available to be won,” Wilmot added. “If all tickets are sold, the first prize is $10,000, with others ranging downward to $100 each. With only 1,000 tickets being sold, each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance of winning. The odds are really great, but the winnings will depend on the total number of tickets that are sold by the time of the drawing on September 10th. If you or someone you know hasn’t yet purchased a ticket to help CTHS, we hope you’ll consider doing so. All of our projects enhance and enrich our entire local area … we’re keeping history alive for future generations.”

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

Great Egret

This time of year, I try to keep an eye on this pond alongside the road. Depending upon the time of day, it is often covered with lily pads.

It’s not uncommon to see Blue Herons fishing for dinner in the early evening.

Earlier this week, instead of the more familiar blue grey plumage of the Heron, this brilliant white fellow stood patiently waiting for someone tasty to swim within the range of his lightening quick beak.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website reports:

The elegant Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland. Slightly smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill. Great Egrets were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, sparking conservation movements and some of the first laws to protect birds.