Sunday, January 29, 2017

4 September 2016 A Path Less Traveled

We used the long holiday weekend as an opportunity to travel to Elk County and hunt a few lightly visited caches. They were so lightly visit that a couple had not been found in over 2 years. We spotted a few butterfly and some orchid leaves on the way. An artesian well was the subject of a few of the cache titles. We visited the well on the way there and back.

Rocks along the way.

It was over two years since these were found. We were happy to be their first visitors in a long time.

The artesian well had a casing the extended six to eight inches above the ground. The flow was slow but steady enough to leave the surrounding rocks wet and the ground quite muddy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

3 September 2016 Surprise Finds in EWNR

Our only geocache find of the day was at the midpoint of a walk in the Erie National Wildlife Refuge. We tried this cache much earlier in the year, but only needed a few feet on the severely iced boardwalk to realize Phineas was too energetic to make the walk without risking serious injury. I had hoped for an earlier return than late summer to see what spring wildflowers might be present, but the finds on our walk made our timing a fortunate event.

I had hoped the conditions were right to see turtlehead, and we did. I was hoping to see nodding lady's tresses, which we didn't, but we were treated to multiple clusters of closed gentian and some lettuce in prime blossom.

The boardwalk ended in a nice view of French Creek.

While we enjoyed the view, Phineas buried his head in the water bowl for a long drink.

We spent the late afternoon walking an old railroad grade through the ANF. The grade used to be a wildflower paradise but recently has struggled with invasives and neglect. For the past two summers the forest service has been working to upgrade the old bed in places where run-off had caused damage and worked to push back the surging multi-flora rose. I was concerned the work might have upset the fragile existence of the turtlehead, great blue lobelia, and sunflowers that used to grow along the trail. Many of the flowers appear to have made it through the work.

We capped our walk with one of the seasons few sightings of square stemmed monkey flower.

Friday, January 20, 2017

2 September 2016 Fair Day

There's something assuring about having a few rituals. Going to the Geauga County Fair is one of them. Seeing the animals. Watching the retrievers. Visiting with friends. Waiting for a winner in the horse pull. If I'm lucky. winning Ali a prize in Skee Ball.

An old retriever goes out to do the same trick. I guess ritual is important for them too.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

1 September 2016 Praying Mantis

I was walking down the stairs at my office and spotted a praying mantis on the window. When I was young and lived in the city, I would these a few times each summer. Now I see them once every few years. This one stayed on the window of the offices for a long time.

Friday, January 13, 2017

22 August 2016 Sunny Lake

While Ali does all the hard work of organizing and managing the work at our home, my only real task is to get out to the office and stay there until the work is done. Not getting out before the workers arrives means they need to stop what they are doing and let me out of the drive. I haven't been so successful at that, but this morning I was. My reward was arriving at Sunny Lake on my commute just as the sun was rising over the tree line and mist was still on the water.

I was also treated to a red-tail hawk perched on a light post looking for an early morning meal.

At lunch I decided to head back to Sunny Lake and walk the two-mile loop trail. I'm used to spotting a heron here, but was not expecting to see a solitary sandpiper along the shore. Considering it is still summer this is a rarer sighting in Ohio.


The last half of my walk yielded a bluebird in a dead tree and a song sparrow in a pine at the edge of the woods.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

21 August 2016 Taking a Break

We've been planning for some time to have the exterior of our 1850's home restored. Last year Ali had contractors correct a build issue with a section of the foundation. This year was the big, long haul with windows, doors, siding, rebuilt porches, and a rebuilt, corrected addition. My activity has been limited to some yard work and landscaping to assist the crews and keeping out of way, but Ali's been dealing with three to four groups on site at a time working basically 360 degrees around the house. It's life in a fishbowl. Today was a day to take a break. After a pleasant walk at a Lake Metropark to find a new cache, we headed to Holden for more walking in the gardens.

Oh No! They have sacrificed a geocache container to build a bat box! ;)

It looks like the base of a 50 cal.

Monday, January 09, 2017

19 August 2016 Chocolate Zucchini Bread

It's been five months since my commuting time doubled. I went from two peaceful thirty-minute rides along a river to two hour-long trips of congestion, construction, and slow drivers. For years, the short commute had somewhat offset the significant number of days I spend away from home. This hasn't been the happiest transition of my life.

My old office was at a run-down site, but offered a half-dozen places nearby where I could get a good lunch if I chose to venture out. My new office is wonderful, but I now consider myself lucky to have at least one choice for eating thanks to a newly opened restaurant that offers take-out in a portion which meets my rather modest appetite.

The area around the new office used to be dotted with farms. As we continue to destroy our farmland to build more homes and business parks, those farms have all but disappeared. I hoped to be able to locate one remaining hold-out where fresh corn might give me something to look forward to as a detour from my commute. I found that oasis this evening. The corn wasn't up to par, but the rest of the vegetables on offer were very tasty. The chocolate zucchini bread was just a pleasant topping.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

11 August 2016 Changing Weather

I took a lunchtime walk around our new facility to see what might be blooming. Lunch time was blue skies and fluffy clouds. It was also a new-to-me flower.

I've seen just about all our area has to offer with wildflowers so I expected this was an invasive weed. I had found hibiscus trionum or Venice mallow, and it is a pest. Too bad it is still being sold on Ebay.

Within a couple hours, the blue sky was gone,

and replaced by a summer storm.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

10 August 2016 Killdeer

Killdeer are usually very territorial and put on a frantic dance whenever humans are present. This one was standing in the unsuccessful lawn attempt near the parking lot of my office. Rather than protesting and moving about this one stood quietly and gave an easy chance at an image.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

7 August 2015 SGL 263

We walked along the Allegheny River to look for ducks before heading west. One our way home, we stopped for a second walk at PA Game Lands 263. The numerous ponds created within the area for wildlife management make this a nice walk while looking for nature.