29 September 2012

Sweet Potatoes

This Spring we were shopping at the Dushore Agway store when we found several flats of sweet potatoes plants. We had never tried growing sweet potatoes before and thought we'd give them a try.

Sweet potatoes are more often grown in the southern states since they require a long/warm growing season. As it turned out, this was one of the warmest summers on record and a perfect year growing sweet potatoes.

With our weather turning cooler, we decided to see how our crop did. The first hill we dug had a monster 10 inch spud and several nice sized potatoes.

Here's a photo of the yield from five hills. We only planted five hills of potatoes this year, but plan to plant more next year. 

Our son Chuck, who lives in Iowa, also planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year and also had great results. 

The sweet potatoes also have nice flowers.

25 September 2012

Signs of Autumn

When the cooler nights of Autumn meet the warmer, moist air of the surrounding valleys the result is valleys full of fog. This early morning photo of our barn shows the early colors of the changing Autumn leaves and the morning valley fog.

23 September 2012

Signs of Autumn

The astronomical fall (Northern Hemisphere) began Saturday, September 22, and the first signs of Autumn are appearing. With the cooler days of Autumn, the  boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) start to leave the trees from where they were feeding to find protected areas for the winter.This group of bugs was located under the side door to our garage.
Although nymphs may be present in the fall, only fully grown adults survive the winter.

19 September 2012


The turkey sightings in the neighborhood are increasing as the turkeys get less timid. Earlier this year the turkeys would run for cover when they saw someone, but now they casually walk away and sometimes even pose for the camera.

I've been able to identify two different flocks of hens with poults. The one group spends most of its time on the east side of Joyce Road while the other flock prefers the west side of the road.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't see at least one of the flocks somewhere on our property.

Out for their daily walk and looking for a quick meal, these young birds should know their way around the neighborhood before winter (and hunting season).

17 September 2012

Young Buck

As the days of summer are getting shorter and the temperatures turn cooler, a young 4-point buck is grazing along the pipeline right-of-way near our cabin.

The young buck is busy fattening up for winter and the fall "Rut", breeding season.

Later in the afternoon the young buck joined up with a doe and fawns. This buck has been hanging around our cabin all summer and acted like "Uncle Buck", babysitting and playing with the fawns when they were young.

14 September 2012


A young Redtail Hawk continues to stay in the neighborhood and look for its next meal. I've seen this hawk several times and can get close enough for pictures.

12 September 2012


The turkey population in the neighborhood is looking better than it did this spring when very few turkeys were seen. The turkeys are less timid now and these turkeys were in the lawn at our barn while I was working in front of the barn.

I was able to walk from the barn to my truck, to get my camera, while the turkeys feed in the lawn 30 yards away. The turkeys continued to feed in the field next to our garden.

BTW - A bumper crop of tomatoes this year.

09 September 2012

Snapping Turtles

While working outside of our barn, preparing for a concrete project, I noticed some movement in the leaves next to a barn wall. The movement was caused by a baby snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

Unlike the adult Eastern Painter Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), which are easily handled, snapping turtles are noted for their nasty disposition when out of the water. The snapping turtle's highly mobile head and neck with powerful beak-like jaws have bitten many unlucky handlers.

Even baby snapping turtles are easily identified by their long tails and the rows of raised ridges on the top of their shell. Snapping turtles can live for over 30 years and weigh over 35 pounds.

08 September 2012

Fog, Clouds and Sunset

Yesterday was a beautiful day, weather-wise. That was yesterday and a cold front came through today bringing heavy rain, high winds and tornado warnings. By the late afternoon the rain had stopped and I took a drive to the cabin property to look for deer and watch the sunset.

From the cabin property I was able to look toward Wysox and see the fog filling the valley along Route 187.

Around 7:00PM the sky to the west started to clear as the Sun was starting to set. Since our cabin is on top of a hill I have a good view to the west to watch the Sun set, but for a short time today the clouds to the east were putting on a show.

The sky in the west turned colorful for a short time as the Sun finally set.

06 September 2012


While driving up Joyce Road, heading for our cabin, I noticed some movement at our barn. I stopped the truck and found a flock of turkeys checking out my old John Deere tractor.

After watching the turkeys at our barn, I continued to drive to our cabin and found another flock of turkeys at our cabin.

05 September 2012

Wildflower - Turtlehead

The White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is blooming at our pond.

This native wildflower is a member of the Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) has a preference for full or partial sun, with wet to moist conditions.

The two lipped tubular flowers are 1 to 1.5 inches long and are arranged in tight terminal clusters.

The two lipped flowers resemble the head of a turtle, hence the common name "Turtlehead". The flower shape is reflected in the scientific genus name, " chelone", which is derived from the Greek for tortoise.

The turtlehead is the primary plant that the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly will lay its eggs on, and several of these butterflies were found in this location this summer.

04 September 2012


As I was walking from our barn to my truck today I noticed a hawk in a tree next to the barn. The hawk remained in the tree and I was able to grab my camera from the truck and take a couple quick photos. The hawk contained to scan the area as I moved in closer for pictures. The hawk was on a low tree limb and I was able to get within 30 feet of the tree.

After a couple dozen photos the hawk took off and flew to a tree 20 yards behind me. Later in the afternoon the hawk had moved to another tree in the lawn and I was still able to get within 30-40 feet of the hawk.