Nature, Uncategorized

Good news on the fashion weather front

 

Woolly Bears are of course the most reliable forecasters of the coming winter.

The broader the black band, the tougher the conditions will be.

So I was darn pleased to see this fellow, telling us it will be a really mild season.

I was thinking about what to call our little furry weather predictors.

I guess you could call them “palmists” because we like to gently pick them up, and hold them in our palms, to see them roll themselves into a ball like a tiny hedgehog.

But we couldn’t say “soothsayers,” because they never say anything.

They communicate their predictions by how they’re dressed.  Not such a crazy idea – if the weatherperson on TV appears in hipboots & sou’wester, it’s pretty easy to interpret, just like the woolly bears, so we might need a a word for this.

Someone predicting warm weather, by wearing stripes, you could go with SeersuckerSoothShow-er.

But HypothermiApparelAugur is too clunky, as is ClothClairvoyanGlacé. 

Snowsuit Sibyl isn’t too bad.

Meteorlogifashionista is my best effort, trips right off the tongue, doesn’t it.

Please let me know if you come up with something good!

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Buttermilk Falls

 

As you head south out of Ithaca, NY, there’s a stretch of highway that’s one of the main commercial drags in that little city.  It combines routes 96, 13, and 34 for a few miles, and it’s fairly hectic – – lots of banks, car dealerships, fast food, grocery stores, motels, etc.

And then you hit the city limits, and all that commercial stuff pretty much stops.  The Green Party – Socialist State of Ithaca is behind you — the Asian and vegan restaurants, peace signs and rainbow flags are gone, and the pro-NRA banners begin.  You’re now in the Southern Tier, and it’s shotgun racks, dollar stores, and Don’t Step On Me flags all the way to the Pennsylvania line.

But there’s a sweet spot, a DMZ between the two worlds, just as you leave Ithaca, and that’s two nice state parks — Buttermilk and Treman.

 

The same falls as the first shot, but much reduced flow of water.

 

Buttermilk is the first, named for the whitewater of a big falls (165′ tall), very close to the highway.

It’s impressive in the spring, or after periods of heavy rain, but I think it’s more interesting than beautiful. Instead of a vertical drop off a rock ledge, it’s a tiered cascade, pouring into a swimming area.

The curved slope of siltstone and shale is shaped a bit like a section of a domed roof, or maybe a big hoop skirt, and the creek just comes down it in a pretty uninventive way.

The water doesn’t really leap from the rock, and go for it, take the big plunge, it just slides over it.  Dutifully following the law of gravity, falling without any particular style, just like the rest of us.

If you or I were on that slope, we’d be sure to slide down it too, and we wouldn’t expect anyone to think that was very clever, would we.

 

 

It’s right off the highway, with picnic tables, a swimming area at the base of the falls, and playing fields close by, so it’s a bit busy.

I mean, it’s perfectly nice and has that pleasant bustle of people picnicking, dogs barking, kids happily hitting each other with sticks and rocks, etc. but combined with the rumble of motorcycles and trucks on the highway, the noise drowns out the water sounds.

 

Did I mention the stairs? There’s a lot of stairs.

 

 

 

 

So, why the heck am I talking about a spot that I’m not entirely keen on?  Because if you cross the creek, on a little iron bridge built in 1881, and follow the steep trail up the south side of the gorge, it’s fantastic.

There’s a whole series of smaller but wonderful falls.

The water is having a wonderful time, whizzing through high-spirited chutes, swirling in circular pools, dividing and rushing back together in playful angles, and you’re right next to it all, you can stick out a hand and feel the spray.

 

 

 

This is the view at the beginning of the glen.

 

 

 

The trail is rough and often slippery, but totally worth it.  Once you’re in the glen, ferns decorate every crack and ledge, overhead are maples, beeches, and hemlocks.   The highway noise disappears, and there’s just the sound of rushing water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get there early in the morning, or early evening, especially on a day when rain is threatening, and you’ll probably have the place pretty much to yourself, and can just soak up the quiet musical reverberations, and watch the acrobatics of the barn swallows, swooping and streaking through tight turns just above the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One rainy afternoon, I played with this shot on Photoshop, with a watercolor effect, and kind of liked it. What do you think? OK or annoying

 

 

per Steve’s suggestion, here’s a more heavily-edited version

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. May, Buttermilk Falls.

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Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. March, Fillmore Glen. Hemlock Varnish Shelf Fungus.

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Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. March, Fillmore Glen. Hemlock Varnish Shelf Fungus

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One of my grandmothers instilled in us a family custom, passed down from her parents, etc – – to celebrate the “first” of each summer arrival.

So, the first time you have any vegetable from the garden, for example, you’re allowed to make a wish.

When it’s fresh peas, or corn-on-the-cob, it’s also customary for me to wish for more.

These pictures are of the first cardinal fledgling I’ve seen this summer.  I really enjoy seeing cardinals, and certainly wish to see more.

The chick was sitting in a bush, looking a bit disgruntled, but she was the one who violated the stay-at-home order.

Apparently it’s quite common for young cardinals to attempt to fly prematurely.

No worries, the parents will continue GrubHub services, to feed the chick until it can fly.

Although I think it’s sunflower seeds, not actual grubs.

 

 

 

Birds, Nature, Uncategorized

First visitor of summer

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An old hayrake was abandoned so long ago, it’s now surrounded by mature trees. Well, pretty mature, some of them  were dropping acorns on my head while I took this picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Wesley Hill is a preserve south of Honeoye Lake, managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. I like the varied mix of trees – – maples, oaks, black walnuts, shagbark hickories, hemlocks, white pines, red pines.

 

 

 

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, NY, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. Wesley Hill, October.

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Finger Lakes, FLX, Nature, NY, Upstate New York

Rip Van Winkle Chair

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It will be a long time before we see anything green or blooming in the Northeast.

Winter is a good time to look for interesting stalks and seed pods in the snow.

Well, this plant is not native to New York, and I think, it’s more interesting than beautiful.

I’ve seen it, in gardens, roadsides and woods, all my life.

Wikipedia indicates that Lunaria annua is naturalized, but native to the Balkans and SW Asia.

In both Europe and Asia, the common names refer to money:  silver dollar plant, the Pope’s money, coins of Judas, etc.

We’ve always called it “honesty.”

In winter, the stalks resemble an abandoned optician’s shop, vandalized by the winter, with old wire-rimmed spectacles, gone cloudy, or missing lenses.

It’s a tough, almost shrubby plant, that needs no care, and produces nice purple flowers, and self-seeds reliably.

The seed pods are brownish, flat, and oval – -you can see one hanging on in the pictures, darkened by exposure.

But when the outer layers drop off, it’s the inner part of the seed pod that a lot of people like to gather – – almost pearly, like discs of translucent parchment or paper.

In the last shot above, the membrane is shredded by the winter weather.  (Tattered honesty, this is New York, after all)

I think the last shot looks a bit sinister, like a display for “Sweeney Todd, Eye Doctor”

If you gather it in the fall, when it’s good and dry, you can slip off the outer covers, scatter the seeds, and bring in the money.

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York, Winter

Walks Around The Finger Lakes. January. Honesty, a bit tattered.

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