Sunday, June 23, 2013

Colorful Walk

Multifloria Rose

Leo and Speck sitting in Mountain Laurel

Robins Plantain

Eastern Red Columbine

Cooling off
This is the time of year for flowers, color and a bit of heat. The Mountain Laurel is peaking this weekend, although not as good as other years will probably be around for another week or two. The Multifloria Rose, which I hate because of its ability to take over everything and make passage difficult, does smell good and adds a white blanket to the area. It serves to provide cover for the grouse, turkey and rabbits, keeping them safe from predators.
The Robin's plantain is about 16" to 24" inches high and varies in color from white to the violet fringed one I took a picture of above. I guess Speck didn't want to be left out of that picture and manage to be there at the right time. 
The last flower above is the Eastern Red Columbine and is very pretty its flowers are falling fast and I doubt you will see any more of these after this weekend. They aren't as plentiful as some of the other flowers but their red color is an eye catcher. 
On my walk this morning at 7:30 am it was already humid and getting hot. A bear was laying in the shade at the neighbors camp eating some handouts and didn't seem to be bothered by us passing on the road. I kept an eye on the dogs and made sure they didn't notice the bear. Speck the Chihuahua would have probably been the most aggressive about its appearance. Leo hasn't had good luck with bears in the past and doesn't care for them much either. 
By the time we finish 4 miles of walking Leo is exhausted and often jumps into the cold creek and lays down into it. He knows how to cool off fast. Speck has no interest in water especially cold water.
Keep an eye out for fawns they aren't as experienced with the road and are walking around quite a bit lately. Seems like we are moving into warm and wet weather for the coming week. Enjoy the summer. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Porti-Potty for No Where

Porta-Potti at Pipeline

Dead brush

Opposite side of road from dead brush

Leaf eaten by caterpillars

Oak tree with leaves gone
First with the good news. Thanks to Bill Rhodes who reported seeing Snaggle Nose at the BonneyView Camp we now know he made it through the Winter and hunting season. This makes the bear at least seven years old. I am guessing he was probably 3 or 4 when he was first in a fight with another bear, which caused his face-deforming injury in 2009.
Now on to the first picture. It seems the people working on the pipeline project can't be too far from a porti-potty even when they are in the middle of the woods. I think this is extremely funny since, loggers have been working these mountains for centuries without a single such luxury. They placed it at the middle of one of my daily hike routines. At first I thought, "How nice I can use it instead of the side of the road." But as luck would have it since the appearance of the facility the urge to go before returning home has left me. 

The next strange thing is just next to the top, an area of brush seems to be dead in a large area just on one side of road. As you can see from the next picture, which was taken exactly opposite from the area what the underbrush should look like. This makes me wonder if they have sprayed it for some reason. Although, I haven't found another area like that along the pipeline or road. Just seems weird.

Last two pictures show a leaf on the road eaten by caterpillars and what the bare oak trees still look like in a few areas. The caterpillars are going after more than the oaks as you can tell from the leaf. They sure can do a lot of damage for such a small insect. 

We have had a couple of cold mornings with clear skies at night the heat leaves fast. This morning I awoke to 39 degrees. That is pretty cold for June 20th. I didn't catch yesterday morning's low but they are saying it was a record. Of course for the weekend we are supposed to get back into the 90's yuck, so much for the nice moderate weather. Our feral cat is back for a visit. He must be an expert at avoiding Bobcats and Coyotes to stay alive in this woods. At least now since his vaccinations he can't bring any diseases back with him. Well off to the city of Wellsboro to work. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mountain Laurel time

Speck near some Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel Festival Wellsboro
The Mountain Laurel is a bit disappointing this year. It is seems slow to blossom and a lot scarcer than last year. I got Speck to pose a bit unwillingly next to some blossoms this morning which are just opening. Last year at this time everything was blooming a week earlier. I think the late cold weather combined with the on and off hot spells must have had some effect on the blooms.
I noticed the oak trees are being attacked by caterpillars and many half eaten leaves were littering my morning walk. The oak trees also took a hit with the late hard frost and now as they try to recover are being chewed up. I guess life for a plant isn't always easy.
Wellsboro had its annual Mountain Laurel Festival and it seemed to have a good turnout. People put their chairs out along the road for the parade up to 3 days ahead. I have to admit I have never seen the parade, but it must be popular to risk losing a lawn chair over. Lee and I tend to stay away from events that draw crowds and traffic. Guess living in the woods has lowered our resistance to noise and crowding.
We have had a lot of rain pushing Pine Creek up near 3 feet a few days ago and keeping it at a nice kayak and tubing level of 2.5 today. Once the creek drops below 2 feet you have to carry a canoe through some spots and lift your rear to keep from being bumped by rocks when tubing.  Low water gives a new meaning to having your "Hiney in the Piney". 
I have a couple requests from readers who come up: If you have seen "Snaggle Nose," this year let me know. If you have a current picture of him I will post it. Also our feral cat got neutered and shots this week. He doesn't stay with us for more than half the week and we are curious about where he goes. If you see him at your camp let us know. He has gotten quite friendly with us and is letting us pet him, hence why he got shots. I didn't want to risk him getting rabies or anything that would spread to us or our dogs. He didn't seem too upset about the operation and was coming up to us shortly after looking for food and attention. Since it takes about a month for his hormone levels to drop I am not expecting it to stop his wandering for a while. Hopefully, nothing will eat him now that we made a small investment in his health. I put links to pictures of both animals and the Pine Creek levels for your information. Enjoy your week where ever you are. We will continue our journey, lost in Leetonia. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rhododendrons and Rattlesnakes

House in Gaines





Morris Rattlesnake Box

Rattlesnake head

Rattlesnake head from top of tube

Lee's annual Pet a Rattlesnake
This is a little bit of a catch up post for the last couple weeks. The Rhododendrons are so pretty around this area, I had to capture some of them for you. Our acid soil makes them bigger than I see anywhere else some as high as the first story on a house. The beautiful old Victorian houses in Wellsboro look picture card perfect surrounding by the blooming bushes. Their wilder cousins the Mountain Laurel is starting to bud and I am guessing will open up and be nice for the Laurel fest this coming weekend.
This weekend is of course the rattlesnake festival in Morris. We go every year so we can eat things off our normal diet and see the snakes. Today the weather was a bit on the cool side so their were only a few snakes by 2 pm when we were there.  But it was enough for Lee to get in her annual petting of a rattlesnake. What you can't see in the picture is "Speck", the Chihuahua was in her other hand and not at all impressed by the large buzzing reptile. The view from the top of the tube show the head, the eyes are film covered because this yellow timber rattler was in the process of shedding its skin.
The contest is catch and release at the spot they were captured. The only indignity the snakes face is being micro-chipped and petted by a hundred people. They often capture the same snake again in following years and by weighing them and measuring them it lets them track how much they have grown. Rattlesnakes are protected in this area and not allowed to be killed. All the snake catchers must get a permit from Fish and Game to catch rattlesnakes for the festival. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.