Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pretty Purple Finch

A pretty little Purple Finch poses for his portrait.

Most years we have snow by now but instead today I saw a few dandelions blooming! Our bird feeder has not drawn many visitors yet this winter. A little snow would quickly remedy the situation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hunting Collage

This is the collage I created of the Pennsylvania buck I harvested this fall. My brother captured the shot of him standing in the field previous to the hunting season. The background is old barn siding.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Heavy Metal on the Mountain

While walking in the Buchanan State Forest I came upon four of these interesting objects. From their appearance they may have supported the legs of a fire tower at some time in the past. Whatever their usages may have been I found it an interesting object to photograph.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Our Christmas Morning

The Mrs. and I spent a quiet Christmas morning together opening our presents. Chad made the morning complete with his phone call. Our quiet time will soon end for many family members will be arriving shortly for an evening of festivities

For all who may be wondering following my last post;


Friday, December 22, 2006

Reflections of Christmas Past

With Christmas just around the corner I must take a moment to reflect on Christmas past. We always had everything we needed growing up on our family farm but excess money was not one of our family luxuries. Each Christmas my brother and I would always find that “perfect present” to wish for, usually from the pages of the Sears or Montgomery Wards catalog. Christmas editions were quickly scooped up and swiftly became dog-eared. A little while later, circles drawn in pencil would appear around those items that we felt we could not live past Christmas without. With full knowledge that we could not possibly get everything hoped for, less than veiled hints would be dropped as to the order of importance of the marked items.

Since we spent our days in school, we would not be home when the packages arrived by US Mail. Many evenings after school were spent in activities of which Santa would not approve!

Dad and Granddad were school bus drivers and would arrive home between 5:30 and 6:00 while my brother and I would be home by 4:30. Mom and Grandma would be busy with the evening milking, giving brother and I chance for some quality snooping! Sometimes we would get lucky and find Santa’s stash. The excitement of seeing those boxes was overwhelming. The temptation to sneak a peek would become irresistible. Quickly a plan to explore the packages without leaving a clue would be formulated. We probably were not as good as we thought, although Mom and Dad never left it show, and neither did we! The challenge was to check everything out before the temptations were wrapped in pretty paper. Once wrapped they were as safe as if they had been put in Fort Knox for there was no way we could duplicate Mom’s wrapping job!

In 1962 the present I could no longer live without was a train set. I first found it in one of those delicious Christmas catalogs. I remember finding it hidden under Mom and Dad’s bed one evening. Now this was “Serious Temptation!” This was such an important present there was no way I could be satisfied with just a peek! Oh how carefully I would open the precious package, noting exactly how each part fit into its spot! I would fit the track together carefully and set the locomotive on it followed by the cars! What an amazing sight to behold! Oh how that little train would wiz around the track! A few minutes of pleasure then it would be time to carefully repack being careful to place each part in its place and finally closing the box!

Contrary to the admonishments of our parents “don’t snoop or you’ll ruin Christmas”. Snooping was just as much a part of Christmas as Christmas Morning! The anticipation, the checking all the popular hiding places, the looking for new places, the thrill of finding, and the Danger of getting caught were all very important elements of the Total Christmas Experience! And besides, when we Snooped Successfully, we knew that Christmas Morning would not be disappointing in the LEAST!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Did you snoop this year?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bull or No Bull

The calving season at our farm is in full swing with new calves being born nearly every day. A few years ago we had no herd bull for a few months. When we got the new bull he had a quite a back log of work to accomplish. This in effect put nearly all of our cows on the same schedule and since that time we have a caving season where most of our cows deliver within a few weeks.

This evening I caught up with my work of castrating the new bull calves. This must be done as steers typically bring a better price at market than bulls. We use the painless elastrator which uses a strong rubber band to cut off circulation to the unwanted part. The little guys show no ill effects from the procedure and are back to playing or sucking their mothers within a matter of seconds.

This is the contented Father checking out Dad on the Gator. He doesn’t seem to pay any attention to his new offspring and is more interested in whether Dad has a treat for him in the little white bucket!

He will have one more year on the farm before a new bull takes his place

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Tiny lichens cling tenaciously to the face of the rock. Slowly, ever so slowly they break down the rock face forming new soil.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Tribute to Aunt Mae

My Aunt Dorothy Mae passed away this past Tuesday. I will always remember what a quiet sweet lady she was. Mae was my mother’s big sister and they remained close through out their lives. When I was a child, Mae and her husband Paul would come to our farm for Sunday afternoon visits. While the adults sat around and talked I would frolic around with my cousins showing “the town kids” all the wonders of the farm. They were enjoyable days which would always end too soon.

My last memory of Aunt Mae is of a day my wife and I visited her and Uncle Jr. We were working on collecting our “Family Genealogy in Pictures”. They had an old portrait of their father and his brother taken in the early 1900’s which I photographed to add to our collection. Mae and Jr. spent the afternoon telling us stories about their childhood. It was a most enjoyable afternoon spent with two lovely people.

This photograph of Mae and Paul was taken somewhere in the mid 1940’s when my mothers family was enjoying a picnic. The photographs from this day make up the majority of the pictures in our collection of their side of the family from the earlier years.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Winter Morning

We have been experiencing an unseasonable warm period of late Indian Summer here in South Central Pennsylvania with the daily highs reaching nearly 60 degrees so I reached back into my archives from December 2005 for this image.

The temperature on this December morning was in the low single digits and everything was covered with a heavy frost.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

Evergreen trees are beautiful all decked out in lights and ornaments but the beauty God has endowed them with can hardly be improved upon.

A pine bow hangs in the fog, decorated with droplets of dew.

Two pine cones nestled in the shade.

The browns of the pine cone meld with the greens of the needles and the blues of the sky

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Common Mullen Cont.

The stately Mullen, considered a weed by many, stands with its flower spike erect. It has been used as a medicinal plant in the past for the treatment of many ailments. Native Americans are reported to have used its large leaves as bandages.

This photo show a large group of first year plants with a few second year plants mixed in.

As is frequently said, Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder. While many see the Mullen as a noxious weed I see it as one more beautiful plant in this wondrous creation that we have the privilege to spend our few years in.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Common Mullen

The Mullen stands alone in a field. It’s pretty yellow flowers are long past, the leaves which once were a greenish gray are now brown. Where flowers once bloomed, now only dry husk remain. This Mullen has served its purpose; the seeds of a new generation have been spread.

The Common Mullen is an interesting plant. It is a biennial, the first year it grows only leaves, then flowers and dies the following year. I have learned of a study began in 1879 where seeds were placed in jars of sand and buried. They are dug up and a few planted every twenty years. The Mullen seed is one of the few varieties that continue to germinate well over a century after having been collected.

Before we grab the hoe to remove the next Mullen we find in our garden, perhaps we should stop to consider that just maybe the plant that produced this seed grew in the days of our Great Grandparents or before!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unique Greetings

My wife feels that sending cards is her ministry. Get-Well, Sympathy, Birthday, Anniversary, Thinking of You, and Encouragement are created and sent on nearly a daily basis. Of course with Christmas in the offing, her card shop is in overdrive producing Christmas cards with our personal touch.

We use Greeting Card Factory Deluxe by Nova Development along with our photographs to create unique cards. Our Christmas card features a country church surrounded by snow with wreaths hanging on the doors. I captured this image last year following an early snowfall.

This church is special to us as six generations of my family have attended worship here and the cemetery holds members from four of those generations.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Our Neighbors Home

Our next door neighbor’s home was built around 1908. The architecture you see here is typical of the more upscale farm houses in our area at that time. The original design was meant to house two families. This was the home of the folks featured in my August 16th post “Family Photos. I took this photo in 1976.

The farm has been in the same family for well over one hundred years now. Gerald and Virginia are the current owners and are the third generation to have lived in it. The house has been remodeled and still retains all of the charm and beauty of the country farm house.

I enjoy living beside such a picturesque home, but the best part is not the house,
but rather what good neighbors Gerald and Virginia are.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Our Life in Pictures

While I love to capture the moment, my wife’s passion is to organize and preserve it. Her driving passion is scrapbooking. We review my digital photo files regularly and pick which photos make the grade to be included in her record of our lives. Along with the photos she writes notes telling our life’s story, the good and the bad, so that we can look back and reflect.

Her ultimate goal is to create a record that future generations can page through and come to an understanding of who we were.

Monday, December 04, 2006


This pair of Mallards is content with each others company. As the male grooms his feathers the female keeps ever vigilant for danger.

The animal kingdom is not that different from ours as a couple must always work together and be ever watchful to protect that which is important to them.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Black Eyed Junco

With winter nearly upon us our summer birds have left and the winter residents are now present. This little Junco posed nicely last evening as my brother and I were watching over an area to protect the deer from unlawful hunters.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fire in the Mountains

Our sky is like unto a canvas with the painter continually expressing his moods. From bright sunny days to dull drab gray, from clear blue to fluffy white clouds to flaming as if one were looking into a celestial furnace.
On this particular evening the colors were particularly intense