Category Archives: Hill Dog Image

Common Periwinkle

Even more so than usual, any gaze cast on the neighborhood illuminates beauty.

Far across the valley, buds, impatient to leaf, nearly glow white, yellow, gold, rust, and every shade of green.

Light green conifer tips shed brown husks that had jacketed them since late Autumn.

Now pollen clouds puff from limbs like powder, like snow did this Winter when wind first picked up ending a snowfalls calm.

Nearby flowerbeds promise Peonies, explode with Periwinkle, begging the question “to where is venomous Myrtle running?”.

In between near and far, Lilacs range every purple shade of which they are capable.

Black Squirrel

Grey squirrels frequent the yard. It’s always nice to see their big fluffy tails. It’s not uncommon to see squirrels with near hairless tails especially in town, where they dine on lead wires or flashing. 

A couple of years ago, red squirrels chewed their way into the garden shed and wreaked havoc gnawing and nesting nearly everywhere!

This handsome fellow is the first black squirrel I’ve ever noticed in the yard. I hope that he is well behaved, and visits often!

Wikipedia reports:

The black squirrel occurs as a “melanistic” subgroup of both the eastern gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. Their habitat extends throughout the Midwestern United States, in some areas of the Northeastern United States, eastern Canada, and also in the United Kingdom. The overall population of black squirrels is small when compared to that of the gray squirrel. The black fur color can occur naturally as a mutation in populations of gray squirrels, but it is rare. The rarity of the black squirrel has caused many people to admire them, and the black squirrels enjoy great affection in some places as mascots. In several U.S. states, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom, black squirrels have been introduced into the wild in the hope of increasing their numbers.

Mid-winter

mid-winterThe past week has been a stretch of fine Winter weather. For some, a bit too blustery, cold and snowy.

And for some of us, just about perfect…

Several inches of natural snow are resting in the neighborhood. Seasonably warm, clear weather over the weekend and perfect snow conditions on the slopes of Elk Mountain and in the neighborhood woods is the perfect setup for enjoying the outdoors.

No plans? Wander over to Trail head at Rail-Trail Office in Union Dale, Pa  @ 1pm ,February 18th , Saturday and enjoy a Discovery Walk with Jim Kessler & Winter Bingo Details at http://www.nepa-rail-trails.org

One way or another, get out and enjoy the best combination of  weather and snow in years!

Grizzled Stillwater

grizzled_stillwater

Optimistic weather forecasts early in the week had me assuring dog that we’d be cross-country skiing on our trails in a couple of days.

Alas, we’ll both have to continue to remain hopeful for an agreeably seasonable February and beyond.

Instead of near a foot of snow, the recent nor’easter left the neighborhood glistening in a brilliant coating of ice.

This view from Skyline Drive in Union Dale shows the Stillwater Dam silvered against the grey hills just north of Forest City.

Will it grow?

will_it_grow

Coming home from a recent walk with dog, a glance to the side of the trail revealed this acorn suspended in the crook of a tree.

From its current posture, having accumulated some moisture from fallen snow, it looks like water would not be a problem. Sun will be able to reach it fine most of the day. However, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of nutrients to fuel its growth. 

A caprice of nature, or perhaps one of her studied experiments – being merely human, I can’t tell.  Odds are, this seed won’t result in a tree growing upon a tree.

I didn’t disturb it, just in case, ’cause you never know…

 

Closing Time

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The trails on Elk Mountain that fall along the northern shoulder of the mountain are not illuminated for night skiing, and so must be closed in the late afternoon by the ski patrol.

This time of year, closing time coincides with the sunset. Depending upon which side of the mountain a patroller is assigned for trail closing, the view may be of the shadowed valley to the east, or an expansive view of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York to the north west.

This view often presents when one can clearly see the details of distant rolling hills. Sometimes this view is best enjoyed by viewing the setting sun filtered through cold pines.