Posts Tagged ‘outing’

Bang, She Was Special

Everyone called her “Bang.” Apparently she broke several bats, playing baseball when she was young. She was my Girl Scout leader through high school.

Spring wildflower hikes were one of her favorite activities. She knew exactly where certain flowers grew and when to visit them.

I got married, moved away for six years and then returned to Harrisburg. Her husband passed away during that time. They had no children.

I was a Girl Scout leader for eight years until both my girls graduated high school. By then Bang was housebound with emphysema. Friends brought her food and ran errands for her. She wouldn’t let me. I was her entertainment — I’d hike alone or with my kids, and then fill her in on all the details. She relived her experiences through mine. Many of the places were ones she’d told me about.

Her health continued to deteriorate. She wanted one more outing. It had been years since she’d hiked. My husband drove us. (I definitely wanted a man along on that trip.) We topped the hill where the road deteriorated and became an adventure. Ron stopped at the top so Bang could take in the view of the wooded hills, down across the low part, over a small bridge and start up a rugged hill.

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Bang sat on the edge of her seat. Ron drove slow so she could see everything. The woods were all leafed out. He pulled up into camp and parked the blazer facing south. Her eyes were so big. She was transported to a place of her own.

I walked off. Ron did too. I returned two or three times with a flower to show her up close. So, virtually, she was alone in nature with her thoughts. We were probably only there fifteen minutes until we had to get her home. We were seven miles from her house.

I can still see the sheer joy on her face. Those few minutes transported her into nature, and her nature “friends” came to see her.

She passed away about a month after our outing.

These were a few of her favorite wildflowers.

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 Jack-in-the-pulpit

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Celandine poppy

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Virginia bluebells

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Twayblade orchid

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Shooting stars

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Purple trilliums

A Two-Encounter Outing … Then More

The ice on the driveway finally melted enough I could get out safely.

So, what did Buffy and I do? We headed for a short outing at Stone Face.

“Is that a turkey?” was my repeating thought when I saw something dark in a big corn field. When I see turkeys in that field, there’s usually 15-20 of them.

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As I got closer, I could tell it was a raccoon. I stopped the truck, left the motor running, opened the door and took pictures.

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It kept feeding, totally unaware of me. The cold wind had me slowly in and out of the truck. The raccoon didn’t see me until I put the truck in reverse and backed toward a place where I could turn around. It took off at high speed toward the woods “way back yonder.”

 The final road to Stone Face was shaded and too icy to drive. I backed up to turn around again. As I approached the road where I planned to turn right, the road going up a small incline …. I saw an animal crossing the road. At first glance it looked similar to the partial albino otter I had in the yard last year. I got the truck stopped. The animal — a dingy blond, bushy tail, and its underside all black (not the tail) ….. a skunk! It disappeared into the thick of things before I could get a picture. Its fur was bushy, longish, backlit by the sun, and looked poofed by the wind.

I wish you could see the mental picture I filed in my memory of the encounter!

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This brought up another raccoon memory from way back when. Luckily, I made it out in one piece. I was standing/drawing in the woods, not far from a gravel road. Then I heard movement behind me … 4 young raccoons, walking in a straight line right towards me. Behind them came the mother, who was rooting around for food. None had spotted me. I moved, not wanting the adult to get too close.

She made an alarm noise. The young darted up the nearest young trees. She ran into the tall grasses. The young had no fear of me and were quite curious. They stayed where they were. She called to them. They stayed put. She kept calling, and they finally ran over to  her.

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Two days ago, Buffy and I went on the drive above. We made the same trip today. It was nice to have most of the ice melted. Cloudy weather’s no reason to stay home, especially after so much ice confinement.

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We headed for Stone Face again, this time on the highway and  then through the corn fields on a blacktop road. Geese flew all around. Large flocks were coming our direction from the north and east. They practically blackened the fields in places, and their honking increased.

We’ve had a lack of sunshine for a few days. I do apologize for the quality of all these pictures. I took them from a stopped truck. That it was still running, didn’t help much.

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And then …. and then… 37 “white pillows” off in a cornfield … swans. I was then on more ice than I wanted to be. I made one stop after another trying to get the best view.

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The road was mostly ice because of being shaded by woods along the south side of it. I eased up to turn around on the Stone Face road, and ended up going on up to the creek. Temperature was below freezing, and no sunlight left most of the ground in the woods with more slippery ice than uncovered leaves. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

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And then … on the way home … wild turkeys fed in a corn field. There were 20-30 of them. I didn’t count. They were scattered out and not close to the road.

Now you see why we make this drive often. It provides a short outing when I feel the need for one. Buffy’s always willing too.

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Both my sons automatically call me when they see something they know I’d want to see. This morning it was bald eagles. I immediately suited up and was out the door. My first thought (which I’m sure came from them), “Put the petal to the metal.” I stayed within the speed limit. Keith said there were two in the field and one circling to land.

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One eagle was fine with me. The morning was overcast, and the eagle was a ways out in the field. I never shut the engine off in a situation like this, because it usually alerts the subject to my presence and shortens the encounter. I eased the truck up when the eagle was bent over feeding.

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Oh my, what a good 4 days in terms of wildlife. The only thing I missed was a coyote (which I rarely see anyway).

There’s my excuse for another loop drive!

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Ended up I didn’t make another loop drive. This morning Buffy and I were on our way home from an outing, when I heard a distinctive bird call — sandhill cranes!

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They flew in a large formation and were gone in no time. Then behind me, came more calling. Another group headed our way. With their distance and height, I couldn’t see if they were on the camera display or not. I just aimed, tried to focus and took as many pictures as I could.

Now, yes, I’m sure this time …  this is the end of this blog!

Say What?

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Even with my bionic hearing, I couldn’t hear the conversation between these two water spirits.

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I also saw a total of eight bald eagles on our outing.

That’s how you know you’re having a good day!

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Happy Holidays to all!