Category Archives: Hill Dog Image

First Snow Lichen

First snow this week settled on lawn and between lichen covered blue stone. Not much off rain with some sleet mixed in, the indifferent coating comprised of meager barely ripe flakes as is common this time of season.

Fat wet snowflakes sometimes describe the same pattern as lichen when they land on stone. 

Lichens it turns out, are two animals in one.

Wikipedia reports:
A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a mutualistic relationship. The combined lichen has properties different from those of its component organisms…

Birch

This birch, too close to neighbor hemlock, grows leaning, finds sun where it can. This wet pale October shows little more color than this birch scar.

Maple splashes yellow here and faraway there. Squalls alternate sun, blue and wet across the sky. Playful youngsters now, they’ll mature as real cold sets, getting running starts from west of Erie.

Almost snow today, cold to soon come. Any last colors will present, dry and fall as seasons deepen.

October Morning Geese

While enjoying the temperature and clarity of a fine October morning, the distinctive honking of geese punctuated an otherwise calm mist rising from the valley.

After what seemed like minutes, the gaggle revealed itself. Flying at a considerable altitude, these birds were not commuting across the neighborhood; they were on their way with intent.

From the back of the yard, a doe snorts,  flashes buff from the tall grass, comes to attention, ears poised, eyes intent, gauging me as friend or threat.

The shadow crossing the sun and yard pulls my eyes up as a tree top turkey vulture pulses wings toward unobstructed sky.

Colors seep slowly stronger, gilding leaves and hills, on this fine October morning.

 

 

 

Woodchuck with Apple

For this being and it’s ilk, frequenting my backyard used to be a risky and dangerous behaviour – one with potentially fatal consequences.

A couple of decades ago, dog became frenzied, straining, nearly choking herself on her run every time a woodchuck came out of it’s hole under the outhouse. This went on for many days.

After several mornings of hunt and hide, I and my trusty .22 Browning lever action dispatched one of this critter’s ancestors on the very spot he now enjoys an apple.

Every once in a while over the past few weeks, for the first time in years, I’ve been enjoying target practice with that .22.

I first looked through the open sites of that rifle around a half century ago. As my time with it accumulated, I became able to shoot far away paper targets, woodchucks and rabbits at will. Killed them all.

My backyard’s last dog has been gone for over a year. The woodchuck doesn’t really bother me that much. The way he eats apples, kind of reminds me of how a racoon handles food.

This summer, I’ve been reliably killing already chipped coffee cups and paper plates from well over one hundred feet; shooting as well as I can remember.

When hands and eyes were younger, I’d align the sites on the target, take a breath, hold still and pull the trigger.

Now, I align the sites on the target, try not to move, wait until the sites drift across the target and shoot.

Though they have many times before, lately, those sites never drift across woodchucks, racoons, or rabbits.

Fawn

It seems that there’s quite a population of fawn late this summer. A slow auto ride along neighborhood roads just around dusk reveals several doe and fawn within a mile or so.

For everyone’s benefit, all auto rides this time of year that time of day should be slow.

Earlier this week more than a dozen dragonflies swarmed the backyard. How many can you spot in the photo below?

White Geese

Meeting to allow substance abuse recovery center in Herrick Township
June 4 @ 7:00 pm
Herrick Township supervisors and the public will meet to discuss a change of use application allowing a substance abuse recovery center to operate on the current Stone Bridge Inn and Restaurant property. Monday June 4 7PM Township building

 

Unlike their cousins the snow geese who pass over in very early spring on their way back north and rarely rest in the neighborhood,  this couple floats around a local pond most of the time.

Wikipedia reports:

In Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the greylag goose Anser anser. In eastern Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the swan goose Anser cygnoides; these are commonly known as Chinese geese.

Both have been widely introduced in more recent times, and modern flocks in both areas (and elsewhere, such as Australia and North America) may consist of either species or hybrids between them.

Chinese geese may be readily distinguished from European geese by the large knob at the base of the bill, though hybrids may exhibit every degree of variation between the two species.