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Posts tagged “scott conservancy

Winter Waterfall

waterfall in the woods
waterfall in the woods

Waterfall Woods

A little bit of a waterfall along the lower trail in Kane Woods was ice free and a destination on a darkish day. The woods are very interesting on days like this, quiet, still. It’s a nice visit.

. . . . . . .

NewFSFBadge-1

I am adding this to this week’s “Five Sentence Fiction” with the keyword of “offering”.

I can hear a trickling sound, so loud in the quiet of the woods it seems to move about between the bare trees where honeysuckle and wildflowers had bloomed, now empty of leaves and flowers and berries it is full of detailed interest of branches and vines, and a light cover of snow. I follow the sound along the path down and down and down into the ravine and walk along the frozen slip of a waterway where I can hear it gurgling over the rocks and gravel under the ice. Tall trunks of trees rise straight up around me, and far above me their barren canopy of twigs melds with an unyielding overcast sky. In the dimming light I find at a bend in the little stream that a portion of ice has opened, offering a space for the water to flow freely if only for a short while, and the hushed gurgling becomes laughter as the water runs recklessly to the end of one rock and leaps off, and then another, splashing, without a care that it will soon slip under the ice again. On a brighter day it might have been the laughter of children, even of myself in these woods as a child, but in this quiet space the music is the moment.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

wildflowers
wildflowers

Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

Some flowers are spent, some are fully leafed and petalled and colorful. I posted a slide show to my “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed” collection, a hillside of wildflowers taken in warm evening sunlight at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township in early August a few years ago. The memory of these flowers warmed me in the cold snowy months of winter, and while I’ve used a few here and there in designing one thing or another I’ve never decided what to do with the collection.

Though I used my Pentax K10D, for the lens I used my favorite non-digital 35mm fixed-focus lens with the 1.5X converter which shortens the depth of field allowing me to focus on just one insect if I choose; this lens is probably 30 years old, but it never fails me. In this way, I can manage the foreground and background and simply focus on one object, and I can achieve those lovely random abstract effects with lighting and shapes.

A slide show, even without music, will have to do for now.

The flowers you see are echinacea or purple coneflower, and its rarer cousin yellow coneflower, wingstem, Virginia stickseed, fleabane, black-eyed susan, Queen Anne’s lace, catnip, goldenrod, ragweed, and curled dock. Some are in seed already, but they add their drama to the mix.

Please enjoy the show. You can click here to bring it up as a flash slideshow or visit “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed”, scroll down and choose Wildflowers for a Summer Evening, and be sure to take the time to enjoy a few others as well.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

echinacea with bee
echinacea with bee

Wildflowers of a summer evening.

Don’t be concerned about the shriveled petals on this echinacea—some flowers are spent, most are fully leafed and petalled and colorful. I’ve posted a new slide show to my “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed” collection, a hillside of wildflowers taken in warm evening sunlight at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township last July. The memory of these flowers warmed me in the cold snowy months of winter, and while I’ve used a few here and there in designing one thing or another I’ve never decided what to do with the collection.

Though I used my Pentax K10D, for the lens I used my favorite non-digital 35mm fixed-focus lens with the 1.5X converter which shortens the depth of field allowing me to focus on just one insect if I choose; this lens is probably 30 years old, but it never fails me. In this way, I can manage the foreground and background and simply focus on one object, and I can achieve those lovely random abstract effects with lighting and shapes.

A slide show, even without music, will have to do for now.

The flowers you see are echinacea or purple coneflower, and its rarer cousin yellow coneflower, wingstem, Virginia stickseed, fleabane, black-eyed susan, Queen Anne’s lace, catnip, goldenrod, ragweed, and curled dock. Some are in seed already, but they add their drama to the mix.

Please enjoy the show. Visit “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed”, scroll down and choose Wildflowers for a Summer Evening.


Taking the Measure of a Tree: 2010

    The Red Oak Tree lifts its craggy old arms to a gray winter sky.

The Red Oak Tree lifts its craggy old arms to a gray winter sky.

Of course there was no February 29 in 2010, but because the extra day is about time, I’m reposting two posts that are, more or less, about time.

So this tree may have been a sapling during the Revolutionary War, and witnessed the Whiskey Rebellion on one of the battlefields of that little uprising.

The trouble with trees is that they can’t talk, though they’ve seen so much where they stand when we humans think they can’t understand what we are saying; even a younger tree has stories to tell, I’m sure, but those elders can talk about centuries.

This particular Red Oak tree is on the Scott Conservancy’s Kane’s Woods property which was once part of the estate of John Neville, aide to President Washington and on the government’s side in the Whiskey Rebellion. Neville’s mansion, Bower Hill, located about a quarter mile from where this tree stands, was burned during the uprising by soldier-farmers who disagreed with the government.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Whiskey Rebellion, aside from Shay’s rebellion it was the first major civil, then martial, action by the citizens and government of the new country. In order to to pay off the national debt incurred by the Revolutionary War, President Washington and his Treasurer Alexander Hamilton decided to impose a tax in 1791, choosing carriages and alcohol.

While I’m sure many an individual enjoyed a glass at the end of the day, and alcohol was also used for many medicinal purposes from medicine to extracting oils and essences from fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, and for preserving foodstuffs for winter consumption, grain alcohol was also made as the most convenient way to use up, store and ship extra grain produced on the farm. Alcohol was the most marketable item a farmer produced since selling produce and fresh meat was nearly impossible considering the isolation and difficulty of traveling in those days, and preserved foods and meats could only be sold in one season. Nearly every farm produced some alcohol to be used in home remedies and food preservation, and because actual cash was a scarce commodity in those early days it was also used for barter, and it could also be shipped and sold at any time of the year.

I’m not sure about the carriages tax, but the whiskey tax was on the makers of whiskey based on their volume, 9 cents on the gallon for small makers and 6 cents for large distillers or a flat tax based on their previous year’s volume, which clearly favored the larger distillers; incidentally, President Washington was a large distiller. Because most small farmers made it for personal use and barter this was a hardship since no money changed hands for a portion of the whiskey they produced, and for the other portion it was often the only income to a small farmer for an entire year.

By 1794 farmers had gone from civil disobedience to armed conflict numbering almost 13,000 and began terrorizing the tax collectors, judges and federal officials, including major landowners known to be friendly with President Washington. Neville was one of these, but he had two houses and simply sent his family down the hill to “Woodville” when the protesters arrived.

BACK TO THE TREE…one of Scott Conservancy’s members had estimated the tree at about 170 years by using an equation of the tree’s circumference and its height, but an accurate height couldn’t be obtained, and the closest guess was about 70 feet.

They called in the DCNR and the forestry expert measured the tree’s diameter, 52″ and circumference, 14′, more accurately, and later used an instrument to triangulate the tree’s height at about 82 feet.

The core sampling was difficult to obtain in a tight-grained Red Oak, partly because most trees that old have lost their heartwood to rot or inhabitants, as this one did. But the 8 inches that did come out showed about five inches of tight grain, and while it’s difficult to tell when the wood is fresh and wet, apparently about 56 years could be counted just in that little sample. The age guess has increased to about 225 years.

Red Oak trees are naturally occurring in this part of Pennsylvania, but they are also the sort of tree people would plant as a permanent marker—a property border, for instance, or to mark the spot of a momentous occasion. This was no doubt cleared farmland when this distinguished tree began reaching its young limbs toward the sky from the rocky soil of this steep slope, and perhaps it marked the corner of a pasture, or the edge of a piece of land someday deeded to a son, or perhaps to commemorate the survival of a young union of states.

As for the Whiskey Tax, it was abolished in 1802, never having been adequately collected, but it also had the effect of pushing the production of whiskey outside the union of 13 states into Kentucky and Tennessee, whose residents also discovered that excess corn was probably better for making whiskey, and the rest is history of another sort.

You can read more about the Scott Conservancy and find links to information about the Whiskey Rebellion on the Scott Conservancy’s website.


Bonfire

close-up of fire

Bonfire

What a wonderful picnic get-together last night with the Scott Conservancy on the Kane’s Woods property, lots of food, a bonfire, perfect weather thanks to Jane, whose grant for a perfect evening was apparently approved. Difficult decision which photo do I post tomorrow—wildflowers? sunset? bonfire? moonrise? This of the bonfire was the one that caught my eye.

Photographing fire can be like photographing any other element that moves, such as waves, or rain or snow, but fire has the added attraction of being less than opaque.  A fast enough shutter speed will capture the flames without too much blur, but leave out all the other details. The trick is to focus on a fixed object that has  a little bit of light on it and the rest usually meters and falls into place.

I’ve actually photographed Kane’s Woods at other events and just when I visit to hike. You can use the following links to Wildflowers of a Summer Evening, taken at the 2010 picnic, Home Sweet Home also taken last year, and a winter post called Taking the Measure of a Tree, and especially a photo that links to a short video I took of water gurgling in the stream in the spring, A Walk in the Woods. Also explore slideshows on this site in special slideshows under Local Nature Walks.

I also have a few other photos of bonfires at events at conservation areas, Bonfire at Twilight at Wingfield Pines as we gathered to skate on a snowy night, and Sparks at a similar event at an earlier year.


Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

echinacea

Echinacea in the Evening Sun

I’ve posted a new slide show to my “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed” collection, a hillside of wildflowers taken in warm evening sunlight at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township last July. The memory of these flowers warmed me in the cold snowy months of winter, and while I’ve used a few here and there in designing one thing or another I’ve never decided what to do with the collection.

Though I used my Pentax K10D, for the lens I used my favorite non-digital 35mm fixed-focus lens with the 1.5X converter which shortens the depth of field allowing me to focus on just one insect if I choose; this lens is probably 30 years old, but it never fails me. In this way, I can manage the foreground and background and simply focus on one object, and I can achieve those lovely random abstract effects with lighting and shapes.

A slide show, even without music, will have to do for now.

The flowers you see are echinacea or purple coneflower, and it’s rarer cousin yellow coneflower, wingstem, Virginia stickseed, fleabane, black-eyed susan, Queen Anne’s lace, catnip, goldenrod, ragweed, and curled dock. Some are in seed already, but they add their drama to the mix.

Any of these images is available as a print or as a digital file you may use for design. I will be printing a set of greeting cards or at least note cards from them soon as well.

Please enjoy the show. Visit “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed”, scroll down and choose Wildflowers for a Summer Evening.


A Walk in the Woods

unnamed tributary at kane woods

Three minutes listening to the stream gurgle and birds sing.

I spent a few hours on a springtime trail cleanup at Kane Woods Conservation Area in Scott Township near where I live.

Let me correct that. I intended to volunteer for trail clean up, but I ended up running barefoot along the cool packed dirt of the trails, climbing in and out of the trickling stream, planning future art outings and taking photos of the woods in nearly full leaf on a warm, sunny Spring afternoon.

This led to my first attempt at making a little video using my tiny digital camera which has this feature. The sound of the water rippling by in the unnamed stream that runs from top to bottom of the property, the birds in the woods, the light sound of the breezes, all inspired me to try something I’d been intending: place my digital camera on a nice rock in the middle of the stream, turn it on to “videotape”, and film a scene that I was enjoying immensely and wanted to share with others, hence “Peaceful Sights and Sounds“. There’s no plot, no other action than the stream moving and the tree branches swaying. It’s posted on my website since I can’t post video on this blog yet.

Being off in the woods and fields is my restorative, just walking on the earth up and down hills, letting the varieties of colors and shapes and shadows and light slip past my gaze as I walk. Photographing and painting it allows me to stop and deeply study and enjoy a chosen spot, then share it with others in whatever work I bring back.

Click here to go to the video, or if it won’t bring up your default player through this blog, visit my website for a direct link.

The Kane Woods Conservation Area is a place I’ve known since I was a child, before it was conserved and trails were established, but my lifetime of visiting and that of others is what inspired Scott Conservancy to consider the site worth working for.

I wrote about my memories at the Kane Woods Conservation Area for the Scott Conservancy newsletter last summer in “Sweet and Sour for Summer“, describing the similarities and differences between raspberry and poison ivy leaves in early spring so that visitors to the site could distinguish them and avoid their first dose of poison ivy. When I was growing up a pony lived at the beginning of the trail who got very regular visits from me and the biggest thrill was that I got to ride that pony about twice each year.

My brother accompanied me on this Sunday clean up effort, and as we passed the foundation of the barn where Pepper had lived, he asked, “Didn’t Pepper used to live here?” I wasn’t even aware he knew about Pepper! Forty years later, it was a memory we could share that we never knew we had in common.

Enjoy your three minutes of an afternoon in the woods.