Feb 27, 2009


Temperatures in the 50s for several days have reawakened the world. A male red-winged blackbird was calling this morning. A thunderstorm rolled through with at least one clap of thunder that rattled windows and shook the house. A great blue heron was feeding in Canoe Creek right beside the house. The morning was filled with bird song - a Carolina wren, a bluebird, and white-breasted nuthatches. The fields are still brown, but the ground has thawed enough that the morning drive to work produced no less than 11 deer out in the fields grazing for roots and shoots. It will be cold again in a few days, but for now we will enjoy the break.

Feb 23, 2009


After an extended absence, I've returned to the blogosphere and I hope to regularly post events and happenings from Red House and the local area. The winter has been cold. Colder than usual I believe. I'm happy to be sitting in my red chair with the wood burner emanating heat from its red and orange coals and occasional tongues of flame. If I can keep the fire going, the furnace doesn't turn on and the house - even furthest from the wood burner - will hold a temperature of around 60 degrees when outside temperatures are in the 20s.

The cold temperatures and work have kept me away from my passions of birding and wildlife watching, but I squeeze in a few minutes daily walking between classes or passing from the car to the grocery store. One and maybe two snowy owls have been overwintering in Cambria County near Patton. They (or it) has also shown up near Ebensburg and between Eckenrode Mills and Chest Springs. Pine siskins have been steady visitors to bird feeders, including mine at Red House, since December. While I have yet to see them, white-winged crossbills are popping up everywhere in Pennsylvania. In spite of the cold and the irruption of Canadian visitors, spring is creeping in. Wednesday, February 12th saw the first red-winged blackbirds and grackles at Canoe Creek State Park. Dead skunks are populating our roads, indicating the mating urge is upon them, in spite of the weather. And the days grow longer. Today, I was outside at 5:45 PM standing and watching gray snow clouds move slowly from the west towards us in Altoona and daylight was still with us. I'm thankful for the longer days and the gradual warming of the year. I hope it comes sooner than later, but there is nothing I can do about it so I'll just enjoy cold while it is here.