30 November 2015

PA Deer Season

Today is the start of the Pennsylvania (Rifle) deer season, which is somewhat a statewide holiday. For the past few days following Thanksgiving there has been an influx of "flatlanders" (non-locals) moving into the hunting camps.

This buck is being sequestered in an undisclosed location.

29 November 2015

Blue Heron

It's almost the end of November and ice is starting to form on the local ponds, but a Blue Heron is still hanging around the pond at our cabin.

25 November 2015

The Approach of Winter

After one of the warmest Novembers on record, we've had couple of cold mornings and ice is forming on Miner's Pond as some snowflakes fall. It looks like Winter will soon be here.

23 November 2015

Another Bear Attack

For the second time this Autumn a bear has attacked one of my apple trees. This time the bear didn't knock the tree over, but shook the apples out of the tree.

At first I thought the damage to the tree was done by a buck (deer), but this claw mark was 6 feet high. Saturday was the opening day of the PA bear season and the bears should think twice about leaving their calling-card in the neighborhood.

22 November 2015

Oyster mushrooms

I continue to add to my list of edible mushrooms that are found on our property. With help from our son Chuck on identifying mushrooms, I was able find some Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) at our cabin property.

Oyster mushrooms, sometimes referred to as Tree Mushrooms, were first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during World War I and are now some of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world.

20 November 2015


The weather for this November has been warmer than normal and enjoyable, so even a wet/drizzly day is bearable (for this time of year).

I was out doing some deer scouting on our property for the up-coming season and couldn't help but notice some bright red color in the otherwise dull forest. The red berries of the Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and European barberry (Berberis vulgaris) bushes were easy to find.

The barberry bushes had shed their leaves and not only were the bright red berries visible, but the sharp spines that protect the bushes were also visible.

17 November 2015

The "Rut"

It's the white-tailed deer's breeding season, known as the "rut". White-tailed bucks are more active and less cautious than usual during the "rut"

During the "rut", the bucks have one thing on their mind, find as many does as they can.

This buck was following a couple of doe and didn't pay too much attention to me.

The buck stood within 20 yards of me as I took photos.

16 November 2015

Creepy Crawlers

Millipedes live in dark, moist places, such as basements and under logs, but lately I've found several millipedes in Joyce Road and our driveway.

Millipedes are arthropods characterized by having two pairs of jointed legs on most body segments, except for first three segments, whereas centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment. Each double-legged segment of a millipede is a result of two single segments fused together as one. This millipede is missing some of its fronts legs, but it has extra legs that can fill in.

14 November 2015

Orange Jelly Fungus

Walking through the woods on a dark, cloudy day it's hard for the Orange Jelly Fungus (Dacrymyces palmatus) to hide. This bright orange fungus stands out from its dull surroundings.

Also known as Orange Witches’ Butter, the orange jelly appears on exposed wood of decaying conifer branches and logs. It can be found year round, especially after a soaking rain.

Orange jelly fungi are edible. They have no smell to them and they are flavorless. They add a distinctive texture to many culinary dishes (soups mostly).

Orange Jelly Fungus growing on the decaying outer layer of exposed wood of a pine log.

13 November 2015


When walking through a wooded area, it easy to notice the tall trees and overlook smaller plants, such as moss.

Common Hair-cap moss (Polytrichum commune)

Water drops on Hair-cap Moss sporophytes (spore capsules).

Tree Moss (Climacium americanum) gets its name from its tree shape.

Rhodobryum ontariense

12 November 2015


We've had a couple of damp/cloudy days this week and I took a walk through a wooded area on our property. Most of the leaves on the trees had fallen and I noticed several trees in one area were heavily encrusted with lichens. Lichens are commonly found as small surface patches on tree bark, but these lichens would totally cover branches.

One of the trees covered with lichens.

Lichens are a composite of a fungus and an organism, such as algae, capable of producing food by photosynthesis. The algae produces carbohydrates through photosynthesis which then serves as food for the fungus.

There are multiple types of lichens, such as Foliose lichens which take their name from the fact that they are vaguely similar to "foliage," or leaves.

A fruticose lichen is a 3-dimensional lichen, with a branching, bushy appearance, like a leafless shrub.

This "British Soldiers" Lichen (Cladonia cristatella) is a fruticose lichen that gets its name from its resemblance to the uniforms worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

10 November 2015

Morning Frost

While the Indian Summer weather has warmed the afternoons for the past week, we've had to endure some cold mornings with frost before the warmth.

Leaves of the periwinkle (Vinca minor) in our front lawn covered with frost.

A close-up view of the ice crystals on a periwinkle leaf.

09 November 2015


The PA small game hunting season is now open, but this grouse felt safe crossing the road, since hunting is not allowed on Sundays.

Unlike some pedestrians, this grouse waited at the edge of the road and looked both directions before crossing.

07 November 2015

Wildflower - Witch-hazel

November is noted for several events, but blooming of wildflowers is not high on the list. Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a small, deciduous tree that produces yellow flowers after most plants have shed their leaves.

The fruit is a hard woody capsule, which splits explosively at the apex at maturity one year after pollination, ejecting the two shiny black seeds.

Witch hazel extract is produced by boiling the stems of the shrub. The extract of the plant is used in the astringent.

06 November 2015


With the temperatures into the 70's this week, the day was topped off with a beautiful sunset.

04 November 2015

Indian Summer

We've had some unusual weather this fall. An early snow fall, drenching rain, killing frost, but now we have Indian summer. Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

I found these neighborhood deer taking advantage of the warm weather and catching a few rays of the warm sun.

Time for shade. It's too warm if you're wearing a fur coat.

Time to stock up for the next cold wave.

03 November 2015

Blue Heron

We've had some cold mornings but this blue heron is still hanging around the pond at our cabin.

01 November 2015

Bear Damage

Checking one of my game cameras this weekend I found a couple of photos of a bear that had been there the prior evening.

As I looked around the area near the game camera I noticed a small apple tree had been bent over.

This small apple tree was loaded with apples and the claw marks on the tree indicate the bear had pulled the tree over to get some apples.