My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!


Yellow Violet and Spring Beauty

Yellow Violet
Yellow Violet

Spring has been moving faster than I can keep up with. Today had my first of the year Spring Beauty and Yellow Violets.

Saint Green

colts foot
Colt’s Foot

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! Had my first of the year Colt’s Foot yesterday . . . . Almost green but more yellow!! Plants should be green soon!! CHEERS


Lycopodium obscurum

by Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

They are the elves’ Christmas trees
Grandfather would say
of Ground Pine and Cedar
Once in the sun I laid on snow
eye level to see colored lights and bulbs
the size of frozen dew drops

They are lycopodiums, he’d say
teaching me again to pronounce the name
because scientific words have the sounds of poetry


You’ve got it, he’d laugh
his hearty red face broadening behind his white beard
his abundant frame rollicking

When I return home for the holidays
I always walk back to our woods
think of Grandfather assuring a small boy
Yes,I’ll see that the elves have a happy Christmas

I am glad lie-ko-po-dee-um is evergreen


Allegany Nature Pilgrimage 2009

Old Growth Walk
Old Growth Walk (Photo by Patty)

Last weekend the 51st annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was held in Allegany State Park. This is my 14th year attending the pilgrimage and my 11th year as a trip leader. The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was started by Gilbert Burgeson (aka Gib) who traveled to Tennesee to visit their daughter. While in Tennessee he attended the Smokey Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage and said, “Why can’t we have a pilgrimage? Why not at Allegany Park?”! Over the past 51 years the organization still frequently has visitors from all over the United States, Canada and other Countries to attend the Pilgrimage weekend. (more…)

Nature Haiku – Bees

Queen Anns Lace

By Young Naturalist C

Black and yellow stripes
Buzzing around the flowers
Spreading the pollen

Nature Haiku – Dandelions


By Young Naturalist C

Bright dandelions
With time, turn to silken fluff
Little children’s friend

Nature Haikus – Flowers

bloodroot flower

By Young Naturalist C

Blooming everywhere
Beautifully sweet smelling
Where the green grass grows

Afternoon in France Brook

colts foot
Colt’s Foot

Woke up to the sound of the irregular drumming of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (CHECK)! I love waking up to first of the year birds without even getting out of bed! I continued the day with the Eastern Phoebe’s singing most everywhere I visited. I even had one vocalizing next to my little platform on the side of the house where they use to nest!! Maybe we will have some baby Phoebes this year?

Searching For [Wordless Wednesday]

Mourning Cloak
Mourning Cloak

These are a few things that I have not seen yet and I am still searching for . . . . but is only a matter of time till they appear!



Sunday’s Spring Flowers!

Relationships [Guest Post]

by Jennifer Schlick

What do these two plants have in common?

Beech Leaves in the Sun

Beech Drops


Rattlesnake Orchid

Downy Rattlesnake Orchid
Downy Rattlesnake Orchid

Last week I came across this sweet looking Orchid in Allegany State Park and just knew this was something special. Our first investigation made us believe it was the Checkered Rattlesnake Orchid but a few of the leaves on the plant and the flower alignment were off some . . . . just maybe this is a Dwarf Rattlesnake Orchid?? I sent an email to our State Park Botanist.

A Pink Lady Slipper’s Life

Pink Lady Slipper


Backpacking this Weekend

At the Lean-To During our August 2007 Trip

The three amigos are backpacking again along the North Country Trail this weekend. We have not decided if we are doing one night or two nights (will decide Saturday morning)!! I will update everyone with multiple photos once we return (don’t think I will have cellphone service here, so no blog posting while out on the trail this time)

Blood Root [Wordless Wednesday]

Bloodroot just out of the ground


Daisy and Owls

Ox-eye Daisy

and this isn’t climate change? This evening I almost stepped on this Daisy while checking my nets for Saw-whet Owls! Sure put a smile on my face once I found it . . . . I figured why not blog it and make everyone else smile! (so use your 🙂 smile face in the comments) (more…)

Visit by Nature Woman

Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian

Today Nature Woman (Pam) made a trip out to Allegany State Park to visit and do some hiking! Even though it was cold and cloudy outside . . . . we still had a fun day hiking through the park looking for many fall wildflowers to photograph. (more…)


Purple Headed Sneezeweed

Purple Headed Sneezeweed (all-time fave flower)

Yesterday I took a family that I have known for a very long time into the Big Basin area (old growth forest) of Allegany State Park. We had a wonderful time looking at the many old trees and then a few other unexpected treasures. We have an ongoing joke about how whenever I take them for a walk we somehow end up off trail and “sort of” get lost! I couldn’t let them down this year so everywhere we hiked “it was” off trail!! (more…)

A Day for Monarchs

monarch pair

a monarch pair doing . . . you know what they are doing!

Recently I have sought after changing my “custom header” to a new monarch picture! I have found it very hard to find that ideal snapshot due to the strange shape the header needs to be!! So, after work I was off to Red House Lake in search of some monarch butterflies!

My Morning Alarm Clock

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

When I lived in the city . . . . we typically had one, maybe two hummingbirds that regularly visited my feeder. Once I moved into a house in the woods; I quickly learned that the hummingbird feeders not only attract many hummingbirds but they also attract other critters (like bears). Three years ago I had a bear encounter that changed where I have placed my hummingbird feeder. Making the long story short; about 2am in the morning the bear destroyed the feeder, fell “threw” my screen window (was half into my house), broke the window frame and woke me up from a dead sleep. Now if I would like to feed the hummingbirds . . . . I need to place the feeder somewhere on the second floor (out of reach of the critters). The most convenient location was outside my bedroom window. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday Unusual Flowers

squaw root

Squaw Root – (Parasite on Oak Roots)


3 Picture Wordless Wednesday

red-winged blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird (more…)

Allegany Post by Others

Having some problems with the post I had planned! SORRY! So, here are a few other blog post that I have found that are related to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage that everyone should check out :

Biological Ramblings – You must see the amazing herps that he found here in Allegany!

A Passion for Nature – Jen had such a wonderful time that I rarely saw her!

Dragonfly Eye  – Jeremy is amazing with the Dragonflies! Just check out the Dflies he found! Hint (Common Sanddragon)

Life in the Bristolwood was a blog that I found via a google search!

Jeff  – How cool, found also in the google search and Jeff attended my Old Growth Walk!  Would have commented but not a my space member.

Bill of the Birds – who was our Saturday evening speaker! Heck, he’s BT3 what else can I say!

While you are catching up on the recent Allegany Nature Pilgrimage post, I will figure out what went wrong with the post I had planned!!  BTW:  Wednesday morning I am doing my rescheduled SWAT – MAPS banding that was canceled due to he rain on Monday.  Expect many more great up close banding photos!

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage

This weekend was the 49th annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage held here in Allegany State Park. This is my 12th year attending the pilgrimage and my 9th year as a trip leader. This year I was asked to lead two “Old Growth Forest Hikes” into the Big Basin area. I tried to show everyone a few different forest types so that everyone could have a better understanding of how an older growth forest operates. The two groups I took on the walk were wonderful and I had an opportunity to show the old growth forest to 67 different individuals.

Silk Moth Species (more…)