Monday, September 29, 2008

New sign in Morris and more Fall color

Morris Fire Department got a couple new signs they look nice. The trees are getting more color by the day. I took a couple of pictures from the top of my hill. I would say we are at about 30 percent. I would expect 50% color by the weekend with the peak sometime the following week.

Mostly Maples and Cherry trees have changed. The oaks are starting here and there. The Larches are still green. Seems they are the last to go. The bears are starting to eat the apples. I noticed some applesauce piles on my walk today. This means if I want apple pie I need to make haste picking some for me before they eat them all.

The smell of leaves (not burning ones) is in the air and the sound of crunching as you walk is pleasant to the ears. The ferns are also changing yellow and then brown. Soon there will not be any reminder of the green blanket that covers the mountains with during the summer.

I am back working a small amount mostly supervising others and picking up materials. The day is still much longer than my back has a mind to feel good, but I am sure in a month or so it will be much better. I am limited to 30lbs of lifting so that leaves out several of my tools.

Mountain girl, Paula enjoying the view and logging out!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall in Cedar Run

This summer has been so dry I thought I would get a picture from the old train bridge just North of Cedar Run. It is now part of the rails to trails and is shown in the first picture.

The second picture shows the creek bed close to the bridge so dry you could walk across most of the creek. The third picture is looking downstream from the bridge and shows the poor water level continuing.

Last night we got our first decent rain in months, which gave some relief to the plants. I didn't notice much of an increase in the river level. I swear you could almost hear the sound of the trees slurping up the water as fast as it came down. I believe we got a couple inches of rain. Looks like a chance of rain during a couple days next week and that will continue to help things out.

Lee and I were also invited to Brad's house for dinner last night. He had his friends over: David to the far left, Walt, me, Lee and
Brad. Lee cooked a peach pie and some summer squash and the boys cooked up some nice chicken, a salad, and some mixed vegetables. We had a good time visiting and enjoyed the company.

The leaves by my estimate are about 20 percent changed. The next couple weeks will show the big display before the gray of winter. I always enjoy natures last good show.

Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall and Construction

Across from the house is this beautiful Cherry tree that has just turned red. I took a picture of it the other day when it wasn't raining. It started raining last night...thank goodness for we have had a long dry spell. I am going to try and get some more pictures of the trees changing to show you where our color is at. It varies quite a bit from one side of the mountain to the other.

Our peace and quiet was broken all week with road work on Leetonia Rd. They are putting down 6 more inches of gravel and doing work on the culvert in front of the house. The constant dump truck traffic is not a welcome sound in the mountains. The dogs however seem to enjoy visiting with the workers as they arrive each morning. The "vicious Pit Bull", is
ruining the mean reputation of all Pit Bulls by his eager noiseless greeting, followed by his insistence of being petted by all workers. To tell you the truth I have never owned a Pit Bull that was at all protective against people. They don't care much for other animals invading their turf, but they love people. Scooter is just as lovable and they both push each other away for a simple pat in the morning.

I always think it is so funny that people are scared of Leo the Pit Bull, who is the biggest baby in the world. But it is nice to have a dog that you don't have to worry about biting people and yet still has the same effect of keeping people who don't belong here from poking around.

If it don't rain all week they should be done with the road and that will be a welcome return to silence for the Mountain Girls. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First day of Fall

Today is my 200th post since I started this blog a little over a year ago. It is also the first day of Fall and as you can see the trees are starting to change a little. Looks like the apples will be ripe in the next week and I am looking forward to apple pie. We are down to a couple of hardy hummingbirds who still seem to be at the feeders. Lee is taking them down as they are emptied to pack away until next year. It is always sad to see them go.

Good news on the healing front. I got my brace off last Thursday!
The first couple days were rough. My back and stomach muscles are gone and without support for my back it gets tired fast. The doctor was confident I could rebuild the muscles with my exercises and said I should be back to 100% work by December. I am doing a few hours of work a day, but I get tired fast and am not allowed to lift more than 30lbs. The lack of exercise added about a pound a week so I also have some work in that area as well.

Scooter and Leo have been energized with the cooler weather and I have to say it is a relief not to be sweating so much. Too bad it wasn't like this when I had that hot brace on. I pretty much missed the summer of 08 and plan to be much more careful as to not miss anymore time.

The creeks are the lowest I've seen in a long time. It seems we have missed all the big rains. The creek along our house is dry and you can walk across Pine Creek almost anywhere. There is no rain in sight for a week so relief is not close. Enjoy the first Fall view and have a great Leetonia day. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September Moon

After a violent night of wind storms and loss of power today. The moon rose over the mountains. A full moon up here is amazing. It is like someone turned on a large streetlamp outside. You can walk anywhere without a flashlight and see amazingly well.

On a night without a moon you best have a flashlight. I have had to walk long distances twice without light and it wasn't easy. The first time it was from my neighbor's house a mere quarter mile away. I had talked longer then the sun wanted to stay up and was rewarded with a shuffle home. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face or tell were the road was. My son was with me at the time and we both slide our feet down the gravel road and reached in front of us hoping not to feel anything furry. It wasn't until we were within a hundred feet of the house light that we could see a thing.

The second time happened to me in the winter about 3 years ago. After becoming stuck in the snow for the 6th time. I decided to walk home and get the snowmobile to bring the groceries home. Our car had driven fine on the road when it was below freezing but the warmer temps had made it break through the crust to the 12 or more inches of snow and hang up. I knew it would refreeze tomorrow and come out easier(and it did). But neglecting to have a flashlight in the car gave me a three mile walk in the dark with my dog, whom I only felt brush me now and then(at least I hope that was him). The snow on the road reflected just enough I could see it. That was a one long cold walk in wet clothes. No moon that night.

To me seeing the moon gives me comfort and hope. And when the world around you seems to fall apart, I hope it gives you comfort as well. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flowers of the forest

It seems this time of year as we know leaves will fall and flowers fade. Each late blooming flower becomes even more special. I noticed this flower along the edge of the road as I walked and looked it up. It is called, "Closed Gentian", which explains why the flowers don't open up. I kept thinking it might open at night, but this is all it offers.

Although, I will say the blue is very deep and quite a contrast to the surrounding green. The herb book says the roots of Gentian are used as bitters to aid in digestion. The roots are dug up in the fall dried and used in a tincture.

There isn't a plant around here that doesn't have a purpose, but knowing which to use for what can be a tricky proposition for the beginner and mistakes can be fatal. Like mistaking the honeysuckle berry for elderberries will end your herbal career. So much of this knowledge has been lost to our grandparents and elders who understood what to eat and what not to eat. There is a lady in Mansfield, who literally fed her family for years off what she could find in the forest. She didn't do this as an experiment, but out of need to eat and was quite successful. I wonder how long I could go if I could only eat plant things I found in the woods? It is definitely food for thought. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September pictures

Just thought I would share a few fun pictures I took today. As you can see Scooter has gotten much bigger than Leo. They love taking a walk with me even though they can go anytime. They only go when I take them.
The next picture is some pretty blue flowers. Sorry I don't have the name right now. Guess I should have looked it up before I posted. And the last picture is one I take quite regularly from the top of our hill.

The view down the valley towards Leetonia and Cedar Run. There are a few trees changing colors, but as you can see not many. It just finished raining as I went up to the top and it feels cool. It is supposed to be dry tomorrow, but only in the lower 60's. After being in the 80's that will feel cool. If this were after winter 60's would be sweltering. Enjoy the view and have a great Leetonia day. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Red Rock Memories by Elaine Nissley

Elaine and John Nissley sitting on the porch at Red Rock.

This is not a story about a big fancy lodge with all the amenities of home, nor is it a story about a self-made summer cottage. This is a story about a simple cabin in North Central Pennsylvania with a 50-year wealth of memories, and more in the making!

How it all began:

When I was just a toddler, back in the early 50’s, my father became a member of Red Rock Hunting Club. Over the past 50 plus years “Red Rock” has become a vacation haven for now the fourth generation.

There were 10 men in the original Hunting Club. For almost 50 years the club was made up of the same 10 men. As most hunting clubs did, they would all go to camp the first week of buck season. They hired a cook who made them a huge camp breakfast before dawn to fuel them up for a big day in the woods hunting for that trophy buck. They carried a bag lunch, packed by the cook and when they returned to camp at the end of the day, there was a wonderful huge, hot meal waiting for them! There was one rule: no women at camp during hunting season! The men wanted to be able to walk around in their long johns, or less, if they wanted to! Smaller groups of the club would go to camp for bear, turkey and doe season.

But during the spring, summer and early fall, when there was no hunting season, Red Rock became our vacation haven! We were a dairy farming family, and getting away from the farm for a break was no easy task. But Daddy and Mother made it a priority to take us to our favorite and only vacation spot several times a year.

Red Rock is remotely located in Tioga County, Elk Township, just on the West Side of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It sits at the foot of Red Rock Mountain; four miles back a single lane gravel road, which parallels Cedar Run, as it flows toward and into Pine Creek, at the village of Cedar Run. A mountain rises on each side of the narrow valley. Stargazing is spectacular at the cabin, as there is no light pollution. One must look straight up to see the stars, as there is no horizon because of the mountains.

I have fond memories from my childhood of the 4-hour drive to Red Rock. The close we got, the more excited we became! When we first started going to Red Rock, we traveled on a gravel road the whole way North from Jersey Shore, about an hour’s drive. If it wasn’t on a Sunday, Daddy would treat us all to ice cream cones at Jersey Shore Creamery where it cost a nickel a dip. My favorite flavor was teaberry. It was what I considered a “mountain” ice cream because we didn’t get that kind back home. As we drove the last five miles back toward the cabin, we would always sing all five verses of “ She’ll be comin’ round the mountain”, with lots of turns and several hair pin curves on that narrow mountain road.

As we came across the third bridge, we four siblings kept our eyes peeled to see which one of us would first spy the cabin sitting among the pines along the creek.

There, at Red Rock, many memories were made in the creek called “Cedar Run”, which runs in an arch just a stones throw behind our cabin. We fell asleep at night, and woke up in the morning to the sound of water rushing over the rounded rocks of many sizes in the creek bed. And during the day, we spent hours catching minnows, or damming up the creek and splashing and swimming in its cold mountain water. It is where we kept our watermelon cold until the time we were ready to eat it! The men drove their cars into a shallow spot and there washed off the red dust from the mountain roads. We skipped stones across the deeper waters, seeing which one of us could make the stone skip the most. And the mothers would sit on the porch and watch us play, warning us to stay out of the tall grasses where the Rattlesnakes could hide. When we weren’t playing in the creek, we would hike the mountain roads, catch toads and Red-F salamanders, or watch the birds. My first fishing experience was in the creek behind the cabin. My fishing rod was a long thins branch off a tree, to which a string was attached, with a worm dangling off the end of a safety pin at the end of the string. As we grew bigger and wanted deeper waters in which to swim, we walked down the road to the swimming hole. Our meals were always special times! Cabin favorites were bacon & eggs for breakfast and ham, beans and potatoes, all cooked in one large pot, for supper. Mother also bought those little individual cereal boxes to take to the mountains. That was quite a treat when I was a child! It tried our teachings not to be selfish, when it came time to decide who got which cereal box! But at the mountains, whatever mother made was delicious! Somehow the food tasted better there! In the evening we would go deer spotting, with one of the adults hanging out the window of a slow moving car, holding a powerful spot light, Yes, Rd Rock was truly a place of childhood memories. That was the 50’s and 60’s.

Then during the 70’s and 80’s as I sat on the porch with my mother and sisters, watching our children and my nieces & nephews enjoy all the same things in the creek as we had a generation earlier, I felt a ‘dejavue’ coming on. It was like my mind was playing tricks on me. What had happened? Hadn’t it just been me and my siblings down there in Cedar Run, splashing and building dams in the creek? What had happened to the past 20 years?

Now, during the past several years, I again needed a reality check. Now I am sitting on the porch with my daughter, watching my grandchildren who are spending hours in the creek!

But more often than sitting and watching them, she and I get down there in the water with them, joining in the fun! What a wealth of memories they are creating, just as the two generations before them! The same simple summer pleasures, just decades later, bringing the same joy and delight!

In the past few years, the original 10 members have been giving up their memberships, and my husband and I were blessed to be able to become official members. Prior to this, we always needed to go to Red Rock with my parents, as the by-laws state that a member must always be there. Red Rock has again become a haven for my husband and myself, as well as our children and grandchildren. The cabin is too small for all of our six children and their families to go at once, but is a perfect place to take just one family at a time with us. It is great for our relationships to spend such quality time relaxing together and building relationships one on one.

Red Rock isn’t fancy. Our “running water” is a hose attached to an old retired fire hydrant placed along the creek, about 20 feet off the porch, with the other end of the hose in a spring near the top of the mountain. We carry the water into the cabin in 3-gallon buckets.

When we “gotta go”, we make a visit out to “Aunt Sally”, the tried and true comfort station, who has been bringing relief to 4 generations of Red Rockers. Although she is quite old, she has had a face-lift several years’ back, at the request of the DCNR. Black-eyed Susans adorn her n the outside and a heater at seat level makes our winter visits tolerable.

The three outside walls of the cabin kitchen are lined with windows, which enables us to enjoy the beautiful Cedar Run Creek while we enjoy our meals, which still taste better there! In the living room we can build a fire in the fireplace to ward off the chill on an autumn evening. Only curtains provide visual privacy in one bedroom with three double beds. Those curtains are not very good sound barriers, so a snoring sleeper can be enjoyed by all! And old transistor radio sits on the fireplace mantel. If we get tired of the quiet, we can turn on the radio, wait 30 seconds until it warms up, and listen to one of two hazy stations, Christian or Country.

Until this summer, there was no telephone. (And there is no cell phone coverage.) Just last month one was installed. What a luxury! Or is it? When that phone rings, somehow the long-standing serene ambiance of the cabin is broken. But it is comforting addition, to know that in case of an emergency, help is only a phone call away. Back in 1984, when my parents had all their grandchildren at Red Rock, my nephew fell 40 plus feet off Red Rock Mountain into the creek behind the cabin. The 4 boy cousins, then early teens, had climbed up Red Rock Run, Which runs into Cedar Run just behind the cabin, and were swinging on saplings up there on the edge of the mountain, Jim, 13 at the time, looked to see if his brother was watching him swing, and missed the tree, plunging down the straight rocky mountainside, landing in the creek, It was over an hour before he got to the hospital in Wellsboro. There he was diagnosed with a fractured skull in four places. He was taken by ambulance to Williamsport Hospital where he spent a few days recovering. He had a quiet summer that year, as his activities were very limited, but he did fully recover. That was the last time my parents took the grandchildren without their parents! They didn’t want to take the responsibility for rambunctious boys after that.

My husband and I are no longer dairy farmers(we milked cows for 17 years) but we still run a thriving Bed and Breakfast business (our 23rd year). Getting away is a bit easier than it was when I was a child. The drive is now only 3 hours and 15 minutes, and it is paved road until the last four miles. It is a perfect place to retreat to when we have a day or two free of guests. When we want to make longer visits to Red Rock, all we need to do it plan in advance and cross those dates of our B&B reservation book.

We also love to take our children and grandchildren! The place is alive with activity! It is so much fun, but forget about relaxing! The porch sitting is regularly interrupted with childhood chatter; the drives are very enjoyable but not as leisurely. And when the grandchildren leave, we feel like we need a day to relax before coming home to the busy routine of life.

We still are making memories at Red Rock. The last four miles is still a single lane gravel road with the same turns and hairpin curves as 50 years ago. Our grandchildren are not singing, “She’ll be comin’ around the mountain when she come,” as they keep their eyes peeled for the cabin sitting among the pines along the creek called “Cedar Run,” which runs in an arch just a stones throw behind our cabin. We still fall asleep at night, and wake up in the morning to the sound of the water rushing over the rounded rocks of many sizes in the creek bed. We still spend hours damming up the creek and splashing and swimming in its cold mountain water with the grandchildren.

The men no longer drive their cars into the creek to wash off the red dust from the mountain roads. Mother Nature has hanged the creek bank over the year which makes that not possible. We still skip stones across the deeper waters, seeing which one can make the stone skip the most. We still warn the grandchildren to stay out of the tall grasses where the Rattlesnakes could hide. We still sit on the porch and watch the birds at the feeder. In the evening we go deer spotting, Instead of going after dark with a spot light, we go at duck, when we can see them grazing for their bedtime snack. Another favorite activity no, which we did not enjoy in former generations, is biking on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. What fun for three generations to go biking together! It is one thing we really enjoy! And the scenery there along Pine Creek is pristine! Jersey Shore Creamery is no longer there, but we not get our ice cream treats at a quaint little store in the charming village of Cedar Run. Everyone of all ages loves a trip there! Now my favorite flavor is Panda paws! It is what I consider a “mountain” ice cream, because we don’t get that kind back home. And the nickel a dip ice cream has now inflated to $1.25 a dip! Yes, Red Rock is truly a place of memories! It is still a vacation haven, where my body is refreshed and my soul is renewed. To me, it truly is “God’s Country.”

Written by Elaine Nissley during the summer of 2004

If any of you have camp memories written up and/or old photos of the Leetonia are let me know. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Meal at Red Rock

I was honored to be invited to dinner at Red Rock yesterday by Elaine and John Nissley. We had baked potato, meat loaf, a vinegar tomato salad followed by ice cream with peaches. The three of us sat at a long table that looked used to having a larger number of people for dinner. Elaine told me to look at how many table cloths there were on the table numbering around six. It appeared when the camp needed a new table cloth they just covered over the old one. As Elaine looked at the different colored table cloths I could see her being transported to the memories of different times at the camp.

We talked about the history of the area, some fact, some speculation. Where is the wild man's cave? Where exactly is the Indian Post Office? Elaine showed me an old map with indications of both on it. So there may be a hike in it for me to look for the wild man's cave on a cooler day.

Now you are probably wondering why the only picture of the camp is this water heater? Being a carpenter, plumber, electrician and all-around handy-woman, I found this interesting. And by the time we finished talking it was too dark to get outside pictures. I couldn't find a date on the water heater, my guess is sometime in the 50's or early 60's, since there wasn't power up here before then. The camp has no running water, but this heater allows you to fill it with buckets from above and then draw the hot water out from below. It heats the water with an electric coil. The camp water comes from a spring on the other side of Cedar Run Creek high atop the mountain giving it enough pressure to flow into the kitchen sink on its own.

The other option is to go out to a free flowing end of the pipe and draw the water into buckets to haul inside. The camp is also equipped with a nice outhouse. What more could you ask? Elaine has a nice account of her experiences at camp, which I will copy and post later, but for now thanks to the Nissleys for a nice dinner and conversation. Mountain girl, Paula logging out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Road signs of the past

Here are a few more pictures from the Red Rock Camp on area roads. The first picture from left to right is Clair Amand, Eugen(Gene) Garber, and Frank Amand on Leetonia Rd. The sign describing the narrowness of the bridge pretty much explains the width of the entire road. You can see how the road drops off from where they are standing not a fun trip in the snow and ice. This picture was taken in Nov of 1947.

The next picture is Gene at a road intersection wearing a cowboy hat. This picture was taken in Aug of 1948. Seems they had better road marker signs then we have today. Sometimes it is necessary to put up our own signs to get people to find us. A combination of flags and signs usually works well. The only problem with this is everyone does it so it isn't uncommon to see plastic ribbons on trees almost every mile coming up the road marking something or another. The loggers use them, the hunters use them and camp owners makes for a little confusion at best.

The one good thing is that a couple of years ago the State started 911 marking back here. So for the first time we have a real address instead of a plot number. This has made it easier to tell people which place yours is once they get close. However, too many people rely on mapquest and GPS which may or may not get you here. It has been known to take people around the other side of the mountain and that detour can cost you 20 miles. As most of you know our "blocks" are entire mountains and going around them is a big trip not something you want to do on a low tank of gas.

Last night was a beautiful star-lite night and today promises to be another great day maybe a little on the warm side in the 80's, but dry and blue skies. Have a great Leetonia Day! Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Labor Day Photos

Some new construction is happening in Leetonia with a nice new shed behind the old Ottman Camp.

Jessie McRee, Elliott Garr, Michael Terinoni, Kenny, and Vinnie Marzollo, hang out on the Ostrander porch. The camp was full of musical instruments and it appears everyone was enjoying the great weather we had for the weekend. The camp although small was filled with the comfort of relaxing on a summer day in Leetonia.

Inside the camp is the old cook stove that has been there as long as
Vance Ostrander can remember. It was hot and cooking corn bread while I was there. The warm stove left a comforting feel to the crisp morning.

Petites were also up and plan to stay to the end of this week and enjoy the camp after the masses leave from the Labor Day weekend. It is back to work this morning as I am supervising someone completing a job for me today. I will be so glad when I am able to do my own work again. It is hard to be a bystander.

I got word my daughter-in-law's father died this morning after a long bout with cancer. It never seems like the ones we love stick around long enough and I had a warning from my son not to plan to exit this earth soon. So with that command I remain to write a little more about Leetonia and do what so many have done before me here...take one day at a time. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.