Tag Archives: NATURE

Remembering the 2004 Christmas Ice Storm

I was going through a backup hard drive today and came across a file of photos (see video below) I’d taken during the major ice storm that shut down Northern Kentucky and much of Southern Ohio in 2004. I’m sure you all have stories to tell as does my family.

Like everyone, we lost power and it caught us unprepared. We had a generator but no gasoline or oil. So, we did as well as we could by the light of the propane insert in our woodstove. The wiser thing would have been to take the insert out and revert to burning wood. In no time we could have had it 80 degrees or better in the downstairs of the house. Instead, it was just above 40 degrees.

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Go West Young Man. Jiminy Cricket, No Thanks!

Maybe you saw a video on the news of the recent grasshopper invasion of Las Vegas (see below). Back in the 1960s, I had the fortune, good or otherwise, of experiencing such a thing in person. I can’t remember if it was grasshoppers or crickets but, as I learned later, such infestations are not uncommon in America’s West.

I was coming back to Ohio from California and had stopped for the night in a cheap motel in either Texas or Oklahoma. The entrance to my room had an actual screen door on it and when I had packed and was ready to leave I opened the main door and the screen door was alive with crawling insects. I literally held my breath long enough to run for the car and in doing so several hundred made it into the passenger compartment with me.

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You’re Gonna Need an Ocean, of Calamine Lotion

I recently posted on Facebook some photos of the area around our home. We live in thick woods surrounded by most plants and animals common to our area. That includes an abundance of poison ivy and other things that may make your skin itch.

One of the photos was of our wooden walk from the drive to the screened-in porch at the back of our home. Along the walk is a large tree with English Ivy growing up the trunk. Mixed in with the good stuff is a smattering of poison ivy and a plant named Virginia creeper. Some visitors to the posting seemed to not be able to identify the good from the nasty vegetation so I decided to do a little educating.

Continue reading You’re Gonna Need an Ocean, of Calamine Lotion

Poor Puerto Rico, Still!

Late last summer the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was struck by two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Along with the US Virgin Islands these American territories were devastated. The physical infrastructure and economies of these islands remain far from recovery.  NPR recently reported:

“Puerto Rico still has areas contending with terrible living conditions following Hurricane Maria and the lackluster response to the storm from the mainland United States. Even the deadly effects of the storm are far from over: With many still living without power or their lives otherwise disrupted, particularly elderly populations, the overall suicide rate in Puerto Rico increased 27 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 levels.”

These people are American citizens yet, in many ways our government has turned its back on them. Somehow America’s president appears to think that flying into the scene and tossing a few rolls of paper towels is all that’s needed. It gave him his photo opportunity.


It’s a desert, asshole!

sam kinnison screamI recently had reason to search for a quote from the comedian Sam Kinnison. When he was alive I didn’t much care for him because of his screaming delivery. He’s been dead since 1992 and now that we have the Internet and have access to his written words I’ve discovered that, damn he was funny.

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For the Birds

greenbirdA friend of mine is in the business (GreenBird) of providing products that help improve the habitat for our bird populations. I recently received this post from him with ideas about turning your property into a recognized bird sanctuary. We have been ardent bird feeders for decades allowing

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Our Bald Eagles

US 50 Eagles
Resting pair of bald eagles near Bainbridge, OH.

My wife and I were near Bainbridge this past week and spotted a pair of bald eagles perched in the top of a tree along Paint Creek. We’ve seen a single eagle in that area on several occasions but this was the first for a pair.

Today I sat in a meeting with representatives of the Army Corp of Engineers and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The topic of our area’s eagle population came up and it was reported we have three nesting pairs and a fourth that “may” be trying to nest.

Specific locations weren’t revealed but one pair is near Bourneville, another near Bainbridge, and the third at Rocky Fork Lake.

A truck driving friend of mine reported being along the upper Mississippi River and spotting a grouping of around seventy-five golden and bald eagles. Wouldn’t that be a traffic stopper?

Our Jaguarundi Sighting

On a recent drive to Miami, Florida we took a side trip to the Sebastian Inlet State Park area. For the past fifteen years I have Jaguarundi camped and fished in this area and have become pretty familiar with what to expect in the way of wildlife.

However, on this occasion, as we approached the park, a rather large black animal came out of a  shoreline cluster of grasses and quickly ran across the road, disappearing into a stand of dune grass. It wasn’t a house cat, fox, dog, or anything common. We all immediately concluded it was a panther or other large cat.

When we got to the park we stopped to report our sighting to a ranger. After we described what we’d seen the ranger said we had seen a jaguarundi. A wild cat found in Central and South America but that was often showing up in certain parts of Florida.

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A tree grows in Greenfield, I hope!

For several years now, Greenfield resident Ron Dudley has been working to evaluate the status of the village’s tree population and tree canopytake action to restore or improve the tree canopies that once lined our streets. To be honest, not much has come from his efforts.

The central problems include economic resources and public apathy. Trees can be expensive and not everyone sees value in planting a few in their back yards or along their curbs. On the other hand I live in a deep forest and everyday see the benefits. Besides the beauty it is always much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Our trees have saved us unknown amounts on utilities while bringing us great joy.

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Snakes in the grass

A friend posted a photo on Facebook of a snake she’d found in her yard. She didn’t know exactly what it was but I quickly identified it as

A ball of mating garter snakes.
A ball of mating garter snakes.

a common garter snake. Garter snakes are something I have some personal experience with.

In my youth in the 1950s I and my friends always assembled a zoo in the summer. We kept frogs, snakes, turtles and whatever we came across while running around people’s back yards or the creek. Our menagerie always included several garter snakes and at least one black rat snake.

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The West and Water

I grew up in Southern Ohio, I spent some summers in South Carolina, and during my time in the Navy I was stationed along the East Coast colorado green river mapof the United States, mainly in Rhode Island. Common to all was an abundance of water Turning on one’s water faucet and having cool clear H2O flow forth isn’t much of a concern.

In 1964 I packed up my 1960  Chevrolet  Biscayne and headed for California. Someplace in Oklahoma water became an issue and the green fields and forest of the East turned into parched, treeless, grasslands.

West of Flagstaff, AZ I stopped for gas and was advised to buy a burlap water bag to hang on the hood ornament in case I had trouble crossing the desert. In Needles. CA I was, for the first time in my life, asked to pay for a drink of water. I filled the gas tank and walked into the adjoining restaurant and asked for a glass of water. The waitress sat it down and said, “Ten cents please.” With a shocked look on my face I asked why and was told they had no wells and all water had to be hauled in by tanker truck.

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Fishing Hole?

paint creek dti to felson pk
Paint Creek between SR 28 & Felson Pk.

When I was a kid in the 1950s Paint Creek was our video game or Internet chat room. We’d sit on the banks, fish, and talk about things face to face. Our favorite part of the creek was from the Mill Dam to Red Bridge near the sewage treatment plant.

Lots of things have changed since then with one being the water level between the DT&I trestle and Felson Park is much lower today. Back then there was a small stone dam near the park that raised the level so enough water was impounded to meet the needs of the village’s electric power plant.

This resulted in the banks being less steep and more easily accessible and possibly better fishing. Fishing was a major draw to that area and a principal source of recreation. I’d like to see some of that come back but I think it may need some research and thought.

Several years ago I asked the Army Corps of Engineers about replacing the dam and raising the water level. While they didn’t say it couldn’t be done they did mention something about hell freezing over.

That leaves us with a creek that may be too shallow for fishing and banks too high for many people. So, what I want to know is, how’s the fishing? Have any of you fished the stretch between the SR 28 bridge and the area around Felson Park? Could a wooden structure (fishing pier) be constructed near the beginning of the bicycle path for handicapped and others to fish from? Building such would need cleaning away some of the growth and all this would be in a flood plain and require the consent of the Corps of Engineers.

I’d certainly appreciate some reader input about this since it’s been years since I fished for frequented that area. Seems like it is a resource that should be better developed.

Greenfield native develops new flower

Hull's SparkyGeorge Hull, a graduate of McClain High School and at time a professor of landscape design at Arizona State University. I recently came across an article from The State Press about a new flower George produced and brought to market. He has offered to provide G3 with some seeds for their community garden project but I’m not sure they will do well in our climate. I’ll have to check.

Click HERE for details.


A canopy of green beauty

I’ve spoken before about returning to Greenfield when I was in the Navy or living in California. The two things I always longed to see was the city building’s clock tower as I approached town and the tree-lined streets upon entering. At that time both Washington and Jefferson Streets were lined with mature trees that formed a beautiful green canopy of shade for all to enjoy. That came to an abrupt end with the arrival of a blight back in the early 70s that wiped out the maples trees. Since that time little has been done to restore that beauty and I think it is about time to get started.

Ron Dudley and the village government have formed a Tree Commission to address the problem and I know a plan exists. However, a major planting of trees is not an inexpensive undertaking. Greening Greater Greenfield has agreed to replace some of the trees around the city building and I was shocked at the cost of a single semi-mature tree suitable for the setting.

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