Thursday, January 31, 2013

What a difference a day makes

Staying warm

First Tracks

Rooted in

We went from fog and the 40's yesterday to wind gusts of 50 mph and the 20's today. Overnight a heavy rain with thunder changed to snow and we had about 2" on the ground this morning. At Cedar Run the creek levels rose quickly to nearly 8' from a 2' level yesterday. The levels are heading back down with the snow instead of rain.
I took a mile walk today as the sun peaked in an out and I didn't want to miss it having not seen the sun for days. I don't care for wind in my face so my picture looks like it is sub-zero. A couple Chickadees were all that braved the weather besides me. As I walked up the hill a mile several little snow devils popped up here and there to remind me of the wind's ability to swirl in marvelous ways. 
Doesn't look like we are in for much of an improvement in temperature for a while, but the snow did cover the ice up and I would imagine there will be a few people snowmobiling on the upper parts of the mountain. The snow came just in time to keep the south side of the hill facing our house from being uncovered as it had lost the majority of its snow yesterday.
Speck, the Chihuahua, is basically hiding out from the change of weather and Leo isn't all that crazy about it either. Seems most of the animals agree with them and are bedded down somewhere until the wind stops. Have a great Leetonia day and stay warm. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Foggy Days and muddy roads

Foggy Days

Well today is about the third foggy day in a row; add the rain and it makes for messy roads. We only got up to 40 today here but in town where there isn't any snow it is about 10 degrees warmer. Most the snow is melting off the South sides of the mountain except on tops, but the North sides are still holding a couple inches of ice and snow. It is still passable coming up from Cedar Run, but it is tricky and I am still recommending chains with you if you need them. 
The part of the road that is plowed on the south side of Cedar Mt is a muddy mess. I sunk as much as 3 inches into the slippery mess on the way up. Slow speed is the only thing that keeps you from swerving in the slick mud. Tomorrow it is supposed to get windy. So we can expect some power outages. I am glad I got my big walk in on Sunday, because now it is just plain messy and ugly out there. We have some chance of sun Saturday, but the temperatures will start dropping tomorrow and I am expect ice to take the place of the slushy snow and mud. So not much good weather news for anyone wanting to visit. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walk around the block

Forest Gun Club

Deer Experiment Area

Coming into Leetonia from South

Uprooted Oak

Oak Project ?


Coyote Tracks

Corner at Francias Leetonia 

Rock at Cushman View

Well, I walked around the block today it took 5 hours it is almost 12 miles. In all that distance I didn't see anything bigger than birds. 1 Raven, 3 Grouse and several Chickadees. There really wasn't that many tracks for deer in the entire loop. The pictures above aren't in the order I walked and are a few of the things I photographed.
For me some of the saddest things are the experiments the Forestry and Game are doing with the woods. The picture labeled, "Deer experiment area," can pretty much be described as a waste of money.  Several years back they did a "controlled burn," that got a little uncontrolled. Then they fenced it to keep the deer out. This was supposed to prove how much damage the deer do to the forest. Only all it proved was how much damage the controlled burn had done. A year later many of the large trees died from the burn so they let a logging company in to take them. Still they persisted with the fence a bit longer. Bears and deer got inside easily and their data if they really had any was useless. So they took the fence down last year.
The next experiment is going on further down the road. They logged everything out of a large area except a few select Oak trees that were supposed to reseed the area. It sounded logical, but they neglected to account for the effect the lack of trees would have on the ones left. The lonely oaks once buffeted from wind by their neighboring close trees now got the brunt of it and I counted easily a dozen uprooted. Also the lack of cover dries the ground out making it difficult for the oak seedlings to start. So far I don't see any new oaks. Maybe I need a better explanation of how this is supposed to work.
Our forest is out of balance. It is out of balance because of so much harvesting of pulp wood and it is out of balance in the composition of the animals. I am beginning to think managing the forest means: figure out the way to get the most money out of it and don't put anything back. If I am wrong about this please educate me and explain how this all is supposed to work.
Well, that is my political message for the day. On the brighter side the walk was very pleasant. The temps started cold at 10 degrees but it warmed up and walking was very nice. The distance proved about 2 miles more than my legs would have liked to have gone. When I reached downtown Leetonia, they wanted to stop. But since the bus was running slow, I had to push them forward. Walking in the snow even though it was packed takes a bit more effort than walking on dry land. I enjoyed my time in the woods and I would recommend a walk for anyone really wanting to see this area. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Even though Map says Sat...I did this on Sunday.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at A 11.45 mi Walk mapped on Sat Jan 26 2013 and more walks in Galeton, PA on MapMyWalk. Find walk

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lost in Leetonia Cat

Cat looking in window

Cat on top six foot high fence
Finally, got a picture of the cat that was dumped on us. It decided a look into the window was in order. Lee thinks it wanted me to bring it out some more canned cat food. I have been giving it all it wants to eat of dry cat food, but since the weather went sub-zero, the SPCA site suggested giving canned food to feral cats during cold snaps. It still seems to be eating a lot of dry food, but since this is the first time it has made an attempt to look into the house, I am thinking she is right.
The cat is an extremely agile jumper. Easily perching on top of the six foot high dog fence.. I have had reports that the cat was seen in Leetonia for a while during the warmer months and up near a West Rim camp as well. But without regular food at these places it found some softies willing to give free handouts and a nice straw-lined box to keep it warm and dry for the winter.
Since Lee is allergic to cats this one could never come inside our house. My concern with outdoor cats is the number of small birds and other animals they kill as well as possible diseases un-vaccinated cats can get. Not the least which is rabies.  If it ever lets me touch it, it will definitely be getting a rabies and distemper shot.
For now the cat's biggest challenge will be staying alive with all the predators we have around. The worst being the Bobcats who are just as agile and quick as this small cat and won't think twice about turning it into a tasty snack.
So the cat won't get a name until it gets friendly for now it is just "Cat". I am hoping most of its diet will be mice around the house as I feel this is the least it can do for all the freebies it has been getting. Mountain Girl, logging out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cushman View Walk


Mouse tracks
 Yesterday, I walked to Cushman view and back a little over a 7 mile walk. I cut across on the pipeline to the road going to Cushman view. On it I noticed quite a few coyote tracks a few deer tracks, and several mouse tracks.
The mice are funny in the snow leaving these tiny trails and prints sometimes going under the snow to avoid becoming dinner. It is amazing to me how they survive the winter mostly unseen to the people who come up snowmobiling running quickly by any tracks.
I took a picture of the coyote tracks but for some reason they didn't show up in the snow too well, so you got the tracks even rarer to find up here in the winter...human tracks...which of course were made by me.
Leo had to stay home as the weather was a bit too harsh for him to make this long of a walk. There was a 12 mph wind that gusted higher at times making it sound like a large wave coming through the woods. Most of the time it is very quiet in the winter...there are only a few crows making any kind of noise as most the other animals save their energy for finding food and keeping from becoming food.
Once I got up to Cushman the sun was shining bright. It was a little past noon and the side of the
Homosapien tracks
hill was completely melted in the warm sun. I sat down against it and leaned back closing my eyes the sun felt warm even in 11 degrees. No wonder you can find many deer and turkey on the south side of hills taking advantage of any warmth they can.
You can see through the trees on the mountain this time of year to the snow on the ground. The entire
 area seems so different so transparent and light.
Road to Cushman
once the leaves are on the trees it becomes very dark and your ability to see through the trees stops.
On my way back I noticed logging trucks coming down the road to harvest the trees in the State Forest on the other side of my property. The logging road they follow goes around two sides of my property and they are logging right to the edge of it. They are taking out pulp wood so keep an eye open for them if you come in the road. It can be quit a surprise to meet a fully loaded truck on these narrow roads in the winter. According to the Forester they will be logging until April.
I am thinking about a big walk for Sunday around 

Cushman view
our block, which is about 12 miles. A lot depends on how much snow we get in next couple days, since much of the distance will be on unplowed roads. Walking in deep snow with heavy boots is nothing like walking in tennis shoes on dry roads in the summer. Every step takes a big effort and the going can be very slow if the snow is deep. So if it is more than a couple inches my plans may change. The walk should take about 6 hours so a packed lunch will also be involved.
This time of year you either embrace the weather and play in it or hibernate for the winter. Since hibernation has such bad effects on my weight and health, I must choose to embrace it. Besides who

Logging Truck
knows what I will see along the way. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.
Logging truck coming out of logging road

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Deep Freeze

The weather has gone through quite a change this last week. On Martin Luther King day it was a balmy 44 degrees. Now I have been waking up to negative temperatures. Since we skipped these kind of temperatures last year it seems even more harsh this year. This has caused my intake of firewood to go up. As you can see my back porch wood is nearly gone. We will be switching to the front porch which has more in it than the back porch.
For those of you interested, I fixed a box with straw for the feral cat who showed up and it seems to be making it through this bitter weather. I feel bad for it stuck outside when it is so bitterly cold. But it could be worse if it had landed anywhere else during this weather. It might not have the food or shelter I am providing for it. Still no sign that it wants to be at all friendly.
Scooter found a new home last week and I am missing him. Speck and Leo don't feel the same about him leaving and are enjoying not being bothered by him. The tension level is gone and it is much easier for the household in that sense. He is living in a household much different than here down in Williamsport. I called Sunday to see how he was doing and they couldn't say enough nice things about him. I will be checking in on him regularly to make sure he is being taken care of.
Reports of the road going from Cedar Run to Leetonia is that it is passable with 4-wheel drive vehicles. I would suggest having chains with you and staying to the middle of the road. Remember the deep ditches fill with snow and look like solid road until you drive on them and get stuck. Also my rule of thumb when meeting snowmobiles is to stop and let them go around you don't get close to the edge of road without checking it by getting out and physically inspecting it. Make sure you have warm clothes with you and you can walk for help.
For now we are keeping the fire going, bundling up and sitting a little closer to the fire. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


For anyone thinking of driving anywhere but the plowed roads be ready to sink into 4-6 inches of slush. I walked down to the Leetonia Cemetery this morning and met Glenn driving on the road. He decided to put on his chains even though he only had a half a mile to go because of all the sliding and spinning he was doing. I noticed someone had come up Leetonia road and turned onto Francias-Leetonia road so it is possible. Four-wheel drive with chains and good nerves are mandatory to make the trip. It is very foggy out from the change in temperature of the snow and warm air flowing over it. Tomorrow the temperatures may even make it to 60, unbelievable for January. Monday we are supposed to start making the change back down to more normal temperatures for this time of year and go from rain to snow. One positive thing is the warmer weather is keeping the firewood use to a minimum. I have been able to enjoy walking in the warmer temperatures. The deep snow is keeping me to mostly road walking as the heavy wet snow makes it much harder to walk in other areas.
For those of you who followed my previous post about the two young men getting stuck in Leetonia with a large box truck, I received an email from on of the boy's dad, thanking me and letting me know they made it home at 3:45 am after a sort nap he went to work again at 6 am. I would never be able to work after being up for 24 hours and napping for an hour, guess it pays to be young. I was glad to hear they made it back alright.
For anyone else driving up here be careful getting help isn't always so easy. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow and stuff

Snow Claw coming off roof
 Sometimes snow makes beautiful things and sometimes just causes big headaches. The first couple pictures were created by the snow gradually warming up and sliding forward off the steel roof of my garage. The snow extends a couple foot without breaking this morning as the below freezing temperature last night saved it from collapse. The second picture show the entire length of the slide. I expect the whole thing will fall off today as temperature rise well above the freezing mark and the weight will become too great to bear. You don't want to be standing under it when it goes as it usually comes off in one big swoosh.

Snow sliding off roof
The same snow that made this beautiful piece of snow art work gave a couple of guys a very long day. They come up to put a garage door on a barn not too far from here on Leetonia Road just the other side of the State Forest Boundary. They had started their day at 3 am, since they drove up from Lancaster area to do the work.

Things went pretty good for them until they finished and started to head home. They plugged the drive into the GPS and guess what the shortest route is....right through the State Forest. Around 2 pm they passed my house heading down the last mile of the plowed road in a 7 ton box truck. They
Truck stuck mess
rounded the corner and the snow got a bit deeper by the time they got to the first curve a 100 yards down the road they were in trouble. They came to a sliding ditch halt in front of Mick's old place.
They had spent about an hour and a half digging their truck out of the ditch when I decided to take my daily walk in that direction a walk I was surprised to see this huge truck now stuck in the middle of the road. They  planned to get it out and continue down the road.  I informed them this plan would not work as they would only get in worse snow and narrower steep and more dangerous roads, they realized they would have to turn around. .
Pine branch truck stuck mess continues

I continued the walk I planned for another 3/4 mile and turned around to walk home. Not to my surprise they were still struggling with one shovel. I offered to bring them back a shovel when I got home so they both could dig. It is about a half-hour walk from their truck to my house. So I loaded a shovel and drove it to the end of the plowed road and walked it to them.  Being young men they were determined they could get this truck out by themselves and had began shoveling tracks for the truck down the road.
I asked, "Are you going to shovel the entire road?"
The one guy replied, "Yes."
I looked at the fifty feet they had chipped and shoveled through in the last three hours and looked at the 1000 feet left and the clock at 4:30 PM and thought to myself, No way, it would be dark soon. I told them darkness would come soon and it would be difficult to see what they were doing. I didn't think they knew how dark it gets back here. The kind of dark you can't see your hand in front of your face dark. They continued to dig. I showed them how to use pine branches to help with the slipping under their tires. I call them back woods chains. I told them where I lived and to just drop the shovel in front of the house if they get out. Then I added it is about a half-hour walk. I told them I would come check on them by 7:30 to make sure they were okay if I didn't see them get out.

At 7:15 they were knocking at the door. I turned the light on to see two young men, wet, cold, tired, carrying a light and their water. One of them said, "You sure walked a long way, and it is really dark out there.  I just smiled in agreement, betting they were a bit more scared then they let on. We did some calling around and no one wanted to come pull them out. No one except Wayne Williams of Gaines Garage who said he was in New York and wouldn't be back until late. Since, I have kids a little older than these guys, my mothering instinct kicked in and I got them Hot chocolate and some hot chicken soup and had them sit by the fire to dry out a bit. They were so tired we both had to beg them to eat. 

We filled them in on a few local stories and around 10:30 PM, Wayne showed up with the tow truck. It wasn't until 11:45 PM and $500 later the truck was back on the road and they had another three hours of driving to get home. I am sure they woke up this afternoon stiff and sore and in a few days will probably have a great survival story from the woods of Leetonia.

Meanwhile for anyone trying to come up keep in mind the weather will be warm which means slushy snow and difficult if not impossible travel conditions. Four-wheel drive and chains are mandatory, along with a shovel and the ability to walk for help. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday is beautiful

Dozer at logging road

Top of Cedar Mt at snowmobile crossing

Gasline Snowmobile crossing

Monday's are the days most people have gone home so I thought it was safe to walk up on Leetonia Road to the top where the pipeline crosses. There were a couple straggler snowmobilers still out but for the most part it was quiet, sunny and beautiful.
There is a Bulldozer up above us parked at the logging road. He has plowed the snow out for the loggers, but I have yet to see them cutting anything behind us. They are taking out mostly pulp wood and according to the Forester will be working until April. It is always a bit nerve wracking to meet a logging truck on snowy roads so I am not anxious for them to start.
So far the weather has been mild and is expected to warm up over the next few days above freezing. Hopefully, we won't get the rain they promised a few days ago as that would make a horrible mess. You can see in the last two photos where the snowmobilers cross Leetonia Road on the pipeline trail. A place you definitely want to slow down and make sure one isn't flying over the top before you run your car through. Although, I haven't had any close calls there hitting a snowmobiler with my car is one of my worst nightmares.
The snow has packed down to 4 to 6 inches in the places where there has been car or snowmobile traffic. However, it is still a bit tricky anywhere it isn't plowed for a car and I don't recommend trying it without chains and nerves of steel. Also, make sure you have the ability to walk for help if you get stuck.
Time for a bit of a rest after my four mile walk. But I always feel so good after being out in the fresh air. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Snowmobile Weekend



If you get this post by email you have to go to http:// to see the video.

Well it was a busy weekend for snowmobilers there was a constant hum of machines running up and down the roads through the forest. Barry stopped by and bought the cargo sled so all of my snowmobile stuff is gone. I have mixed emotions about it cause now I am limited to where I can walk, or ski during the winter to see things, but with the lack of snow the last two winters it is for the best.
I talked to the guys at Sunlite camp and they said one of them had come up from Cedar Run it took them 2 hours of misery to go the 7 miles. So at this time I am sticking to my recommendation of not driving a vehicle up from Cedar Run unless you are the adventurous type that doesn't mind getting stuck a few times. By the end of the week it looks like it will warm up and rain so it is anyone's guess as to what shape the roads will be in for next weekend. 

Scooter and I took a walk up to the "Triplets" and back recording the snowmobiles racing toward us. He is such a good dog by himself and it makes me sad I have to find him a new home. So if any of you know of someone who would take good care of him let me know. For now he and I are getting in some winter walking and cross-country skiing while the snow is good. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 starts cold and snowy

Add caption
Cargo Sled
Snow pile over firewood
Seems like everyday it has snowed a little during the past week. The result is a quickly disappearing firewood pile under the mounds of snow and less and less places to push the snow out of the way. It has also gotten colder with temps in the teens at night and highs in the mid 20's.

This is the year we are also saying goodbye to our snowmobile. We have put 3000 miles on it during our 11 winters in Leetonia, most of which were done during the first five years when our road wasn't plowed. It has hauled in more than its share of groceries, and building materials for jobs I did during the winter months. I am also selling the cargo sled if anyone is interested in that. Now that our road is plowed we haven't used the snowmobile at all the last two years.  The insurance company changed our insurance on it from $25 to $90 this year and that sealed the deal. We have never liked just riding around with it and used it primarily to get the things we needed to live back here. I will always remember it fondly when I think of my learning curve running it. The many times I flipped it or got stuck thinking I could drive it places it wouldn't go. The scary trips down roads that iced over and the late night trips to Cedar Run Inn to work. Once I learned its limitations it never failed us and owes us nothing as we bid it farewell.
Now that the snowmobile has been sold, I am sure we will get a lot of snow the rest of the year, cause isn't that just how life rolls. We had decided it was time to start clearing things out of our lives we don't use. It is easy to accumulate of lot of extra things and space to store them is very limited here. So 2013 is a time to go lean and smarter for the Mountain girls.
The dumped off cat is still hanging around eating the food I put out. It doesn't let us see it much and is quick to run at any noise. A response that might save it from some of the predators roaming around. I have seen quite a few bobcat tracks in the area and that is probably a small cat's biggest threat. Hope everyone has a great 2013. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.