I don’t know why but I keep hearing and noticing wrens around here this summer. Maybe they were common before and I just didn’t really notice them. I’m also noticing that I’m hearing a lot of cat birds singing which I don’t remember noticing as much before. The wrens though hare reminding me of going to Bonner’s with my grandparents. I spent many a warm or hot summer day outside playing there growing up and I don’t remember hearing many birds singing.
I have been thinking I might have been seeing a monarch flying around our milkweed plants n the patio but when I saw it I was either mowing the lawn or just didn’t have my monocular or phone to zoom in and see it. The lighting is pretty tricky for me out back with the trees and dark shadows contrasting with the bright sunshine so I find it hard to see them for now.
I walked into the garage for something this evening and saw movement out in the back yards. I looked more closely and realized the movement wasn’t a butterfly like I had hoped but it was something nice to see nonetheless. I always enjoy seeing wild animals and it’s even better to see them adapting to urban backyards. It doesn’t really matter what sort of animals they are. I love seeing anything from birds, to squirrels to rabbits to even the occasional skunk roaming around.
A couple of summers ago I collected a whole bag of seeds from our white swamp milkweed. Late winter I stuck them in the fridge for a month and then planted them in pots. It took them forever to sprout. I think it was a couple of months. I just stuck them outside to see if anything happened after nothing happened I had all but given up on it figuring I messed up or something until one day I noticed green sprouting.
Last evening I was waiting outside to go to Joy’s for supper and a drink and noticed something in the vacant lot across the street. I zoomed in with my phone to see that it was a groundhog sitting up. It’s not that uncommon to see them over there with all the vegetation to eat and the bank going down to the railroad tracks that I’m sure they have plenty of places to burrow into.
Temperature in the seventies with no real humidity here in late June. One can’t ask for a nicer day. We at supper then went for our evening walk. The temperature was very close to perfect and the sun felt warm. Along the way during a our walk we heard all of the typical birds singing. There seem to be lots of them this summer. Me being the nature and animal lover that I am I just love hearing them.
I was just getting ready head out to the garage when I heard a series of cracks. I looked out the window and at first I didn’t notice it but a large branch from our tree had split and fell. That kind of shot my nerves a bit as I had just been out there in just about that exact spot watering the milkweed and hibiscus that are on the patio.
It was a nice day today. A far different type of day than yesterday with the damp chilly feeling with the threat for rain and some light rain at times. That was the typical back door cold front type of day. As a matter of fact it feels warmer this evening than earlier today did but that goes along with the warm to hot weather forecast ahead for us. I knocked out an older street parking WOD today and finished that well above the goal rounds but I am pretty good at cycling the sandbag.
It’s always pretty cool to see the wildlife on our patio. Last summer we’d often see a chipmunk but I haven’t seen it this year. I wonder if one of the feral cats didn’t get it. This evening while we were lifting for our bro session first there were lots of maybe starlings? I didn’t get a good look at them to be sure but they were pretty big and black.
I have always felt the need to stop and look at a awesome shows nature gives is and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Lift is too short to not enjoy the free things. We were out for our evening walk and arrived near the train station with nearly perfect timing for both sunset and moon rise today. It’s pretty open up there so you can get a decent view of it.
A Mourning Dove On Our Hanging PlantHere is a photo of a mourning dove that was sitting on our old hanging plant right at the door. I walked into the garage while I was eating a hard boiled egg and heard a dove calling much more loudly than normal. You normally can barely hear them inside unless they’re close by but this one sounded like it was right there.
Molly just bitched at me saying I guess we won’t be going for a walk tonight because it’s raining. I looked outside and saw some blue to our north and said we’d be fine. I grabbed my tablet to come upstairs on the computer for a bit while we digest and relax a bit before going and noticed the sun was fully shining I thought I would go outside to see if there’s a rainbow because why not?
I walked out into the garage this afternoon as I was eating a sandwich and wanted to look outside while doing so when I noticed a bird flying back and forth out of the corner of my eyes. I took out my telescope to get a closer look and saw what was going on. Turns out this bird was gathering materials for a nest. It was actually kind of funny looking to see it pulling the old stem from the milkweed apart to get these little pieces.
It seems like just a few weeks ago it was still pretty chilly with snow on the ground and the threats of more of the white stuff in the forecast. We had to go pick a few things up and I waited in the car while Molly went into the store. They tend to have boxes everywhere and people everywhere so I decided I didn’t want to go in. While just looking around I noticed a patch of bulbs blooming near main street just to the side of where the car was parked.
We have been meaning to return to Conewago falls potholes when the area isn’t loaded with people so we could really explore the area and relax a bit. The other thing about last time is how it was pretty hot out. Today was a nice day so we decided to head over there. The river was a bit lower than last time per the Harrisburg gauge. When we got out there it was noticeably lower.
I was out from this morning watering the hibiscus and hanging plant when I noticed the milkweed. Once again I looked closely at it and really didn’t see any signs of caterpillars as it’s been this summer. I saw Monarchs visit the flowers and even lay eggs but nothing really seems to have come of it this year. There have been a couple of caterpillars that Molly noticed but I haven’t taken notice of any.
One of the things I love about geocaching is how it can take you places or show you things that you really haven’t noticed. The can even be practically in your backyard. While we’ve been to the Conewago falls potholes area several times in the past for geocaches it never worked out that we got there when the river was low enough to truly see it. We’d originally planned on caching elsewhere today with a nice hike but that didn’t work out this time so we decided to visit the earth cache up at the Conewago potholes since that would be a minimal hike.
We spotted a monarch butterfly today hanging out the rose bush that’s next to the milkweed. It didn’t seem to be bothering with the milkweed which seemed odd. I would keep flying up and circling then landing back on the rose. I went out to get a closer look at it and see if I couldn’t get it’s picture. It took a few tries since it seemingly didn’t want to sit still.
A couple of times in the past week or two I thought I had spotted a monarch flying around. Usually just out of the corner of my eye just flying past. Once that I can think of is when I was watering our hibiscus I thought I seen one fly out of the milkweed next to it. The other time was while mowing the lawn the other day I thought I saw one fly across next to me.
It’s been a couple of months now since I bought a new monitor. I ended up settling on a Dell P2418HT from B&H Photo B&H Photo is a great place to buy stuff online but that’s another topic for another day. I didn’t really need a new monitor but it was definitely something that would be helpful in many ways. The old Asus one had this odd ring thing in the back to keep it standing up so it was always titled.
our rose still has clusters of flowersThis is a photo of some red roses blooming on our rose bush. I looked out the front door this morning to see if we had any monarch butterflies flying around yet and the rose clusters caught my attention. The sun was hitting them just right that they were glowing super bright. I wanted to get a picture of it to post here but naturally my phone was dead and on the charger this morning.
I have been smelling honeysuckles for days now but didn’t see them. Turns out they must have been in the deep shadow in the trees the other evening when I went to see if I could find them. These always remind me of our house in Andalusia that had many trees in the large yard. Right outside my bedroom window was a holly tree. Honeysuckles grew on that tree so I’d smell them every spring.
We were walking out the door to the car and I thought I smelled flowers. I want to think honey suckles bit I didn’t see any where they typically grow. I could have sworn that’s what I was smelling but didn’t notice them. They could have been hidden in the shadows. My nose is also still a bit stuffy so it could be messing with my olfactory sense. It’s also under a constant state of irritation these days between the fire pit smoke and chain smoking next door neighbors.
I was picking up some fallen branches from the lawn to mow the lawn and out of the corner of my eye something reddish or orange shot through the edge of my peripheral vision. Again I saw it go back the opposite direction again out of the corner of my eye. It was in the vicinity of our potted milkweed plants on the patio It seems way to early since we haven’t seen them until August here during previous years.
Our rose bush normally blooms sometime around new years for what ever strange reason but it didn’t get to do that this year. It used to change colors when we first got it but it never really grew that well for us. We assumed it was just dead. One winter we had to have the yard dug up to fix the sewer. That was a shitty day. Thanks neighbor’s tree roots!
We decided to give the grocery store a shot today to see if it may be less busy than the weekend. We pulled in and parked and there in the middle of the Giant parking lot is a duck waddling around without a care in the world. I just had to take a picture of this. duck looking straight at me in the parking lot when I take his pictureThis picture contains a duck standing in the middle of the driving lane of a parking lot looking straight at me while I took his picture.
I haven’t yet had any like identifying what these are for sure but I really haven’t put a ton of effort into discovering it either. It’s really just a curiosity but I thought I’d share the picture of some spring positivist. Purple flowers across the streetIn this picture there is a plant with small four petaled purplish pink flowers that are blooming. They come up every year and every year I wonder what they are but then forget to look deeper into it.
Our pink swamp milkweed that we finally picked up last summer seems to be coming up again. We thought the original white one we got was the pink one but it was apparently mislabeled. It sucked that it wasn’t the one we got but the butterflies loved in none the less. We weren’t sure it was even going to come back up considering we didn’t buy it and plant it until August and the monarchs found it immediately.
Now that our bleeding hearts are fully blooming we know for sure they were a good choice for our shady front yard. The two smaller slower plants aren’t blooming yet but we had bought different kinds so maybe they’ll bloom later into the summer. Our bleeding hearts turned out niceOur bleeding hearts turned out nice. It looks like little green buds starting to emerge from the ground where the milkweed plants are too!
It was a very nice evening so I took the very short walk across the street to see what sort of flowers are blooming no. I noticed a few of the Daffodils are flowering. I always called them egg flowers when I was a little kid because of the yellow center and outside center makes it look like a perfectly cooked egg. Daffodil blooming at the curbThis picture shows a daffodil blooming.
I have posted before about the flowers along the street since the neighbor planted them. With all the negativity in the world and the not doing much of anything outside the house with the coronavirus happening at this time it sure is a nice break to see these flowers a few hundred feet away. He has all sorts of flowers planted so there is basically something in bloom at any time of the spring, summer of fall.
Our Bleeding Hearts Are beginning to bloomThis photo contains bleeding Hearts are beginning to bloom. The flowers are red and white. We’ve been wanting for a long time to come up with ideas for perennials to plant in our front yard that doesn’t get much sun. We’ve been planting annuals which grow but can be kind of a pain to have to find and plant what we want each year.
Trying to continue with the more positive posts with all of the bullshit going on right now. Maybe it could brighten someone’s day or something. Besides that I just like flowers. Yellow and white flowersThis is a picture showing some yellow and white flowers blooming. We were doing our typical once a week grocery store run when I noticed these flowers in the sun. They’re in an empty, unused lot of land.
Low ground level fog that was cool yet eerie a few weeks ago.This picture shows low fog rolling in along the ground during an early spring evening. With everything being so quiet the past couple of weeks I was reminded of this picture I took at a nearby park in early March. The skies had just cleared near sunset with ground fog suddenly appearing. I remember joking that it’s as if Stephen King and M.
It’s still March 30th and the trees along the street are blooming. Well technically they began blooming last week. They do smell good but they produce so much pollen that blows like dust everywhere and coats everything. I happened to notice the lower flowers today near the railroad tracks so I had to go grab a picture. A cluster of flowers on one of the trees across the street.This picture contains small pink and white flowers on trees.
Well Our Hibiscus plant that the squirrel ate last fall has been blooming a bit and slowly improving all winter. It’s bloomed off and on as the old buds continued to grow and is slowly regaining leaves. Over the past few weeks the growth has been speeding up and a whole new wave of buds appeared. Today it has 5 flowers in various stages of being open with a couple of more buds getting ready to open.
I’ve seen pictures of the nest in the past online but we just didn’t get over to the park those years. Today After supper the sun came out so I suggested Molly take her camera over and practice with it. Sure enough she was in the nest. Today was the first time I have ever actually seen an owl in the wild. I’ve rarely heard one growing up when we went to the mountains but never actually saw one.
Someone that used to live nearby planted lots of flowers in an empty lot a few years ago. I think he may have moved away since I didn’t see him taking care of the flowers at all last year where in the past he was always out there. The bulbs keep coming up and it’s a nice thing to see the flowers each year. Driving past their yesterday we noticed the flowers so I had to go check them out today.
It’s really been sort of surprising and interesting to watch how our Hibiscus plant is coming back again. A squirrel ate it bare right before we brought it save a few pieces of leaves and flower buds. It took a couple of months but those buds eventually opened and new smaller leaves appeared. There are still small leaves but they’re slowly getting bigger. The thing that has been surprising to me is that it keeps getting flower buds.
Last fall I moved our Hibiscus plant from the front yard to the patio to be nearer to the garage door to make it more convenient to bring in for the frosty nights. The first morning bringing it outside again I noticed some damage. I figured I banged it into the door frame carrying it and it lost those leaves. it got worse each day. Maybe it’s adjusting to less light and lower temperatures I thought.
I think of it every fall since I moved up here but it always surprises me how the leaves more less dull out in the fall on most trees. Growing up we’d always have the super bright oaks and maples and other large trees back in Bucks county. At the mountains there would be very bright maple and oak trees too along with the yellow birch trees and various colored shrubs.
Freshly emerged monarch butterfly drying itself on the hibiscus flower.Here is a picture of a monarch Butterfly on a large hibiscus flower. After we got home from geocaching today Molly looked out the window and saw a monarch sitting a hibiscus flower. She ended up roosting underneath of it over night and flew away this morning. We knew some caterpillars had wandered off because we saw them then the next day they were all gone.
We decided to go out to do a little geocaching today and it was just a strange day all around. We only ended up finding two caches but we saw the invasive spotted lantern fly at ground zero for the third attempt. We googled for an image and confirmed that it was one so killed it. Then we noticed more so we went back to parking where they happened to have an event going on so we thought there would probably be someone from the township or parks there.
Seems to be the theme of the year. Last year it was just rain every day and flooding but this year its been scattered thunderstorms and rainbows. September Second we had the typical passing storm of the year and sure enough timing and sun angle were right for another rainbow. Not only that but it was a double rainbow yet again. Fourth time this year that has happened. I don’t think I’ve seen four double rainbows in my life before this summer let alone in one few month period.
We had a pretty good thunderstorm this evening. It really poured for a little bit and I think there may have even been some small hail mixed in. Being late in the evening the sun was pretty low and stayed out while it poured. I figured there might be a rainbow so of course went outside to check for one. There was indeed one and it was a very bright one at that and then the second outer one.
Two monarch butterflies nectoring on our new pink swamp milkweed flowersThis is a picture that shows two monarchs butterflies nectoring on our new pink swamp milkweed. Our milkweed was eaten bare save a few new leaves the caterpillars hadn’t found yet. We happened to be at a hardware store picking up sand for our sandbag and saw there was still some stuff in the garden center so I suggested we go look for milkweed just in case they have any left.
We had scattered thunderstorms pop up today and while it didn’t rain much if at all here the storm was to our east and the sun was the right angle to give is a rainbow. I saw it out the window so I went to a nearby open area to see if I could see one. Sure enough there was not only one but a double rainbow. Another double rainbow over a field.
It was a decent day and we wanted some fresh air today so we opted to go out on the riverfront trail and grab a few caches. It was a pretty nice day though. Pretty much the whole time out there we kept seeing these butterflies flying all around. Butterfly on plant along the Northwest River TrailHere’s a picture of a reddish brown butterfly that we saw many of on the Northwest River Trail today.
Lately I’ve been thinking I want to hike back out to Wind cave and see what’s changed since we were last there for geocaching and a CITO. I had read of it before geocaching but we never got there until the cache was there. Actually I’ve been wanting to go back there since last summer but with all of last year’s rain we never made it. Wind Cave is not like the caves most people imagine with stalagmites and stalactites, it’s a tectonic cave which means it’s not formed by water dissolving rocks, instead it’s caused by faults.
Two summers ago Molly had read about butterfly weed to attract butterflies. We Just couldn’t find it anywhere but managed to find swamp milkweed That was supposed to be pink but ended up being white but it didn’t matter in the end. Until I we picked up the milkweed I had forgotten that it was something I had always wanted to plant after reading about monarch butterflies in elementary school.
Although our swamp milkweed did not do well this year and between aphids and some sort of (i believe) fungus it dies off early and didn’t support many caterpillars butterflies visited every day multiple times a day to lay eggs. In July we could see that something was eating the leaves but never spotted caterpillars until a bit later. Finally, we spotted this one that has obviously been around for a while because it’s pretty big.
It’s always cool to find unexpected wildlife living where you least expect it to be. Today was one of those time. We were unrolling the hose to use it to water the plants and also clean up the old leaves and seeds from the corner where it is. There was a toad sitting underneath of it. It was pretty well camouflaged with the leaf and seed litter that gathers in the corner from the wind.
We’ve been spending a lot of time outside in the evenings. Usually partaking in an adult beverage to unwind and relax because why not? It’s nice to enjoy the outside air rather than sitting in front of a TV. It seems like every evening, well technically in the morning too, we see rabbits hopping around the yards eating the grass. They unfortunately enjoy munching on our garden too. As you can see from the below picture the neighbor is too lazy to mow their lawn but that doesn’t effect me so I don’t give a shit what they do.
We spent the spring looking for butterfly weed last year. First we checked at Hostetters in Mount Joy but they didn’t have any yet. We found ourselves at Stauffers later for other plants and decided to check there. We found swamp milkweed instead so gave it a try. I grew well and did attract monarchs. It turned out to be white instead of the pink it was marked as but it was okay.
Last fall I gathered tons of milkweed sees from the pods as they dried out thinking it was worth a shot to try to propagate more plants from seeds because we had a few people ask us about where to get the flower that attracts the butterflies. I had no idea if the seeds were mature enough to harvest or anything like that but I got a baggy of seeds to try it out.
Continuing with the uploading some old pictures that I found.. I had stumbled on a web page or something about this area years ago but it didn’t seem like there was a legal way to access it back then. Fast forward to now after lots of work they have built the Northwest Lancaster River trail. The trail is a true asset to the area and it is great to see it get so much use.
I came across pictures while updating a hard drive and remembered this hike clearly. Some time ago. Probably 10 years ago we decided to go for a longer hike and geocaching. We were into that at the time and time allowed us to do it more than it does now. On this day we’d decided to go after one that was one we’ve wanted to get for years but never thought we’d be able to do the hike since it was something like 4 or 5 miles each way and when we started geocaching .
One of the first things we saw when we got to the trail itself was this small spring. February 17, 2003 brought I nice major snowstorm to the area. It was my first one since moving here to Mount Joy. The storm was known as the Presidents' Day Storm The thing I remember most about it is how cold it stayed. It started snowing and just seemed like it kept on going.
I’ve come across some old pictures while cleaning up old stuff on my hard drive in preparation for a hard drive upgrade so I thought I’d share some pictures and what I remember about the hike. Of course a geocache originally brought us here but it’s definitely well worth a visit for just the hike. We say we’re going to go back and hike it again every fall but it just never happens for various reasons.
I found an old picture from Swatara falls in my pictures. Swatara falls is a nice 25 or so foot waterfall nestled away in the coal region of Pennsylvania. We discovered it through geocaching back when we first started. It’s quick drive up 81 for us and just off the highway. I’ve been wanting to return to the waterfall but we just can’t seem to make it happen. The hike out to it isn’t bad at all.
Today was a first for me. It was the first time I’ve seen a live cicada that I can remember. I’m sure I saw them as a kid but don’t remember it. I certainly remember finding the molted skins all over the place but haven’t seen one live. We just happened to spot something large and green on a tree today and upon further inspection it was this cicada that was in the process of crawling out of it’s old skin.
Our milkweed has lived up to it’s hopes now. While we have not noticed any butterflies they’ve obviously been here. The other day was the first time that we had noticed any caterpillars. They’re brightly colored and all but surprisingly difficult to spot sometimes. Once you spot one you can’t help but notice more. I don’t know for sure how many we have on our milkweed plant but there are lots of them.
When I was a kid I had a venus fly trap and thought it was the coolest thing. The whole idea that plants could even be carnivorous was really neat to me. I’ve always been interested in thinks that are different from the norm. I got more carnivorous plants years later. If I’d have to guess I’d say that was 15 years ago or so. It came with 6 plants in a little plastic green house type of thing.
We were away at Cape May New Jersey again and were really enjoying ourselves with a chance to relax and all that stuff. We spent so long not being able to really go away that it’s awesome to get the chance to go down the shore now. Of course we spend the day on the beach with me spending much time in the water but in the evening we walk around town for supper and adult beverages and just to explore.
For the past several days we have been hearing this odd banging noise on our windows but haven’t been able to figure out what was going on. It wasn’t loud enough to be concerning but we were definitely interested to figure out what was causing this unusual noise. I’d hear it in the morning and just figure it was maybe something outside, you know kids playing or something like that.
Yesterday we returned to a local alpaca farm for their annual open house. It’s actually a cool, free, thing to do for the kids and the animals themselves are pretty interesting. We did it a few years ago too but at that time I had a shitty camera on my phone at that time. The alpacas are pretty interesting. It’s funny watching them run and play. Their thick fur makes them look so much bigger than they are so they seem to be too fat and out of proportion to be able to run.
A robin pecking at the ground after a light snowfallHere is a photo of a robin standing in the snow pecking at the ground for food. I happened to look out the back door and noticed a few robins hopping around in the fresh snowfall that accumulated in the back yard this morning. It’s kind of funny how little things such as this can bring back memories of people or places.
I am making more posts from our trip to the mountains as I come across some unique stuff. The weather that week was very hot and humid. It was even hot up in Potter County so I can’t imagine what it was like here at home. During that week we had a cold front move through and some nasty storms popped up ahead of it. This one here was a really fast moving and awesome looking storm.
I thought this was worth noting since this area is not exactly geologically active. I just heard on the news that Dillsburg, PA had another minor earthquake Sunday. They just had one a few weeks ago. No damage or anything like that. Quakes are just unusual in that area. When you think about it though, there has to be some unknown faults underground from when the Appalachian mountains were formed.
Last weekend we visited Bushkill falls in northeastern Pennsylvania. Our trip began on an ugly looking day in which it looked like it could rain at any minute. It was a bit of a later start than I would have liked but that happens some times. It’s only about a 2½ hours drive from here. When we arrived the sun came out and pretty much stayed out the whole time. That’s something we haven’t seen a lot of this spring.
Tomorrow morning there will be a total lunar eclipse. It will begin at 3:52 am and become a total eclipse at 5:52 am. The moon will turn red. We won’t have the best view here because it’s so close to moon set but still it’s pretty cool that it will be the second eclipse this year.
We went to a geo event at Blue Marsh today. It was actually pretty interesting getting some information of how search and rescue works and hearing about Middle Creek Search and Rescue. You have to really appreciate the work they do. It was really interesting seeing how the k9s do their work. Of course after the very interesting presentations we wandered off to find some geocaches. It was really a nice area to explore and we’ll absolutely have to return to Blue Marsh some day.
Last night on the news they were talking about Gypsy moths in York county.. I had forgotten all about them until I saw that. It reminded me of when I was a kid at the mountains near Hazleton when they were bad one year. That was interesting that year. Even though it was summer everything looked like winter because there were no leaves left on anything. with in a week or so they had eaten everything green.
We hid a cache at Chickies Rock county park a few days ago. Knowing where it is we can see the location from the overlook trail so we decided to stop in and go out to the overlook and see if any cachers were there. We ran into iBrew. It was nice to see him. We then headed out to the overlook to watch the sun set. Here’s a picture.
Molly has been wanting to use her camera and I remembered hearing about the snow geese at Middle Creek on the news the night before so I asked her if she wanted to go check it out. There just happened to be a new cache on the way so we got a FTF on the way. The game commission estimates 180,000 of them have been there. I’ve never seen so many birds on one place.