Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Birdfeeder Bully

This pretty Blue Jay made frequent visits to our bird feeder during Sunday’s snow storm.

We had Finches, Juncos, Black-Capped Chickadees and Cardinals at our feeder but as the Blue Jays arrived the other birds would leave allowing the Jays unfettered access to the feed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Snow Flowers

Until I noticed these pretty little frozen flowers I had no intention of doing a flower shoot on this snowy February day!

I plan some of my outdoor shoots with a specific subject in mind. I will study the subject and plan my time to coincide with what I perceive to be the best lighting conditions. Frequently though my best shots are totally unplanned.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wanna go for a Dip?

These friends seem to be enjoying their swim despite the frigid temperatures

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Miracle of the Dawning

After checking the weather forecast on Friday evening I felt reasonably confident that Saturday morning would grace us with a gorgeous sunrise. I remember my Grandfather’s poem which goes “Red sky in morning, Sailors take warning”. A forecast with medium cloud cover and a storm within the next twenty four hours presents the ideal conditions.

I planned to meet the morning from a mountain overlook but did not take into account the road conditions. Upon leaving the asphalt I found the gravel road unplowed with about six inches of snow & sleet. While driving my 4X4 as fast as conditions would permit the sky began to take on beautiful hues assuring me that my trip was not to be in vain.

My Saturday shoots are usually solitary events but on this day my good friend Andy was along for the ride with camera in hand. With our temperatures in the single digits the snow and ice on the rocks took on the reddish glow of the sunrise.

As a person who spends a great deal of his life in a small windowless office, I treasure these fleeting moments spent viewing in awe……

The Miracle of the Dawning

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Chicken Coop

A few decades past it was worth ones time and effort to keep a small flock of chickens to provide the family with eggs and meat. With improvements in farming technology, cost savings derived from large scale production has driven the price of farm products to the point where the cost to produce a dozen eggs on a small scale is greater than the price found in your local supermarket.

Old chicken coops remain dotted across our countryside but few are as picturesque as this little prize I happened across on one of my early morning photo-shoots. My first thought upon noticing this little gem was “This is a Faye Photo!” If you are not already familiar with her wonderful photos of old buildings, check out the link to Faye’s Fotos.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Walking on The Water Pt.3

Once a common sight, swinging bridges are now quite rare in our area. I remember a number of them from my childhood. Built and maintained by our township road crew they were a vital link to civilization for the families who lived where only a low water fording afforded vehicle access to their home. This bridge is private and was erected by its owner to afford him easy hunting access to his mountain land.

The stream is held in suspension awaiting warmer temperatures before gravity can again move it along on its endless journey

Beautiful icicles contrast nicely with the green fern in the background

Here even the fast moving riffle has frozen over, preserving the ripples on the water

This post concludes the Walking on the Water Series
I hope you have enjoyed it. Soon winter will be past and only the memories and photographs will endure to remind us that on some days even we can

Walk on Water

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow & Sleet, Finally!

Our first significant winter storm began on Tuesday morning. It started in time to affect the morning commute

Penn Dot employees were busy plowing and salting the mountain roads. This storm began as snow then change to sleet and continued into Wednesday.

Schools closed early Tuesday and remained closed on Wednesday. We also experienced very heavy absenteeism at my place of employment. I was pleased to find that travel was not unduly difficult on my short 35 mile commute over two mountains.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Walking on the Water Pt.2

As I hiked the creek I found that I was not alone in my desire to walk on water

Deer found the walking somewhat difficult
Their tracks tell us of the danger of crossing slick ice on hard hooves

The Wild Turkeys faired much better with four long toes giving solid support

One Turkey stopped to flap his wings

A Fox trotted along the edge of the ice looking for his next meal

A little Cottontail Rabbit left this track to wish you all

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Walking on The Water

We have been experiencing an extended cold spell. Our daytime highs have rarely exceeded the freezing point with the lows dipping into the single digits for nearly two weeks. It no longer takes a miracle for mere mortals to walk on water.

I recently hiked a couple of miles of a local creek. This was an opportunity to photograph places familiar to me from a different perspective.

A beautiful ice formation hangs from a small cliff along the creek

Some open water remains in the fast flowing riffles

Ice sculptures such as these are formed in fast flowing water
when the stream level falls during freeze up

The white bark of a lone sycamore contrast beautifully with the deep blue sky

Saturday, February 10, 2007

One-Room Schools Pt. 3

Although this school has been closed for many years it remains in very good condition. Although not being used, apparently the present owners are not allowing it to fall into disrepair.

I was very much surprised when I looked through the window to see a room much as it was following the last day of school. Only the furniture and wood stove appear to have been removed.

Many of our one room schools are now being used for other purposes. This school continues to serve the community as the Thompson Township Municipal Building.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The School Teacher

Morton’s Point School
March 29th 1923
Granddad is the teacher in the rear

My Grandfather’s was a school teacher during the one-room school era.

Granddad would sometimes tell stories of his life as a country teacher. The teacher would be hired by the school board year by year. Ladies were only employed as long as they remained single. The job entailed much more than teaching the students. Cleaning the school, splitting firewood, firing the stove before and after school along with disciplining the students was all a part of this demanding job.

The teacher would be roomed near the school. The school board would provide these accommodations by contracting with a nearby family to provide a room and meals for the duration of the school term. It was common for teachers to only serve one or two years at a particular school before being moved on to another location.

I recall hearing Granddad reciting poems he used while teaching his students. Poems such as, Thirty days has November………., Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in morning sailors take warning, were used to teach useful lessons to his hardscrabble country students.

Needmore Normal School
Granddad has a small asterisk above his head

Becoming certified as a teacher was considerable different in those days. Following completion of the eighth grade the prospective teacher attended Normal School for the summer. Following this course they were then qualified to teach. They were also required to attend Normal School each summer during their teaching career. Granddad first attended Normal School at a local one room school and near the end of his teaching he attended State Normal School at what is now Shippensburg University.

Granddad left the teaching profession in the summer of 1927 to take up farming. With a wife and a new son it was time for him to settle down to live in one place with his family. Little did he know that teaching was about to undergo a revolution that would make combining family and teaching much easier.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The final bell has sounded. Class has been dismissed. All has fallen silent where students once gathered. The old school stands empty, faded and forlorn.

For many years the one room school house was a common sight across our county’s landscape. Rural schools were placed within walking distance of the pupils as they had little means for transporting the children. Change came slowly, but the advent of the school bus sounded the death knell for these quaint little institutions.

During the 1920’s larger schools began to be built in our area and by 1960 the last of the one room schools were closing. Advances in technology continually change our lives and the demise of the one room school is one more example.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I visited the Meadow Grounds Lake Saturday morning. It is a 204 acre manmade lake with an earthen dam maintained by the Pa Fish & Boat Commission. A small stream of water has been coming from the dam for the past several years. This past autumn Commission employees began lowering the lake in an attempt to find whether the dam is leaking or if it is a spring from the lake floor.

Some of the area the lake normally covers was woodland prior to the initial flooding in the 1960’s. The stumps of many of those trees still remain and are now exposed. The wave action has removed much of the soil from underneath the stumps leaving many of them standing on their roots.

This stump stands in stark contrast to the snow surrounding it

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Cold Winter Night

A light snow passed through our area this afternoon. The sky cleared as darkness fell revealing a full moon shining beautifully over the new fallen snow. It brought back memories from my youth.

My bedroom was in the second story of the old farm house. The room was unheated with an inside temperature nearly the same as outside. A thick pile of blankets and quilts made my bed very snug after the initial shock of getting in. My bedroom had a window with a view. On cold crisp moonlit nights I would sometimes lie in bed looking out upon the beautiful snowscape until sleep would overcome me. As I viewed the scene outside my home tonight these memories came flooding back

No, I wouldn’t trade the comforts of my modern home for that drafty cold farmhouse. I no longer have to dread the thought of bare feet on a freezing floor, putting on ice cold clothes in the morning, or worse still stepping barefooted into the small snowdrift on the floor after a windy night. I no longer dread those things but neither do I feel the exhilaration of rushing down the cold staircase to hover over the delicious warmth radiating from the wood stove while savoring the sensation of the heat penetrating to my very core.

I would not want to go back, but the memories are precious
I will always treasure them

Our past is what makes us the person we are today