We visited my parents’ graves at Logan Valley Cemetery, located across from the high school. A cousin I haven’t seen in decades had left flowers at my dad’s grave. His flag holder for veterans still has a metal medallion. The newer medallions are plastic thanks to theft. Once upon a time I was young enough to find it shocking someone would steal the flag holder from a veteran’s grave.
In Sinking Valley, this little mare and her young’un attract customers to Hilltop Farm. There’s also a wee donkey.
On to Whipple Dam State Park, which was new to me. It’s yet another part of our legacy from the Civilian Conservation Corps. As it was Labor Day and central Pennsylvania isn’t rich with beaches, a college-age crowd had gathered at Whipple Dam’s postage stamp of sand to play volleyball and stand in the relatively shallow water. Despite the crowd, the surrounding woods gave the lake and beach an isolated feeling that reminded me of Pewit’s Nest in Wisconsin.
We’d passed the road to Shaver Creek Environmental Center and stopped on the way back. The buildings were closed for the holiday, so we relaxed on the deck’s Adirondack chairs. I kept hoping to hear a creek.
On the way to the park, V. spotted a plant she thought might be teaberry (ICE CREAM!). According to the folks of iNaturalist, it’s partridgeberry. Pretty, but perhaps not as weirdly tasty as teaberry. If you can’t get teaberry ice cream, try Clark’s teaberry gum. You won’t thank me, I think. It’s an acquired taste, associated with childhood 50 years ago.
My journeys on the Capitol Limited and Pennsylvanian were uneventful. The Capitol Limited arrived in Pittsburgh 40 to 50 minutes before the Pennsylvanian left, so it was a little close — but no Greyhound this time. I got my eastbound trip around Horseshoe Curve, although by looking to the inside I missed the derailed center beams on the outside – on both sides. (There were two derailments at the Curve this summer.)
I arrived in plenty of time to go on an outing to load up on spring water at Elk Run near Tyrone. Many, many bald-faced hornets were feasting on the plants by the stream.
We also stopped at a farm in Sinking Valley to pick up what turned out to be the last corn on the cob of the season and later shuck it for an evening “mountain pie/hotdog cookout and corn boil.” I wish I’d taken a photo of my ham and cheese mountain pie. Delish.
I’m behind in keeping up my personal account of summer 2019, so here’s a common green darner to tide me over. They were swarming at Perennial Garden today, where one posed for me despite the winds whipping the plants to pieces and photos into blurs.
I told J this Will County Forest Preserve District program at Monee Reservoir sounded crunchy; I don’t think he quite got it.
I met him at the University Park Metra station, which is not that far north from Monee. For me, it was brutally sunny and hot, but at least I made it through the first part of the program. I had to pass on the second half, a jaunt to another bridge that wasn’t even that far away. At the first, the kids found enough dragonfly and damselfly larvae and other pond critters to keep them engaged for an hour or more, and I wandered off to see what was on the other side (dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, one elusive Hemaris thysbe moth).
Despite my dropping out partway through, the leader was kind enough to give us ice cream sandwiches. He spent a lot of time answering my questions and showing me illustrative photos. By the time we left the building, where the air conditioning had failed a couple of days earlier, clouds had gathered and the temperature had dropped.
Monee’s not a big town but we found a great cheese and fruit plate, beer, and a light dinner at Labas Latte & Vino. And so back to reality . . . but at least I don’t have to live on 300 mosquitoes an hour.