July Full Moon

July Full Moon - Buck Moon
July Full Moon – Buck Moon

Earthsky.org reports:

“The first full moon of July falls on July 2 at 2:20 Universal Time (July 1 at 10:20 p.m. EDT, 9:20 p.m. CDT, 8:20 p.m. MDT pr 7:20 p.m. PDT). Although the full moon occurs at the same instant worldwide, our clocks read differently according to our local time zones.

The second July full moon will fall on July 31 at 10:43 Universal Time (5:43 a.m. CDT in the central U.S.). This second full moon is the Blue Moon.

July 2015 has two full moons. That’s somewhat unusual. Most months only have one. But in cycles of 19 years, or 228 calendar months, seven to eight calendar months will always have two full moons. In other words, there’s a month with two full moons every two to three years. When it happens, the second one is popularly called a Blue Moon.”

Almanac.com continues:

“July is the month of the Full Buck Moon. Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.”




While driving through Clifford this week, a woman with several parcels in her arms was checking traffic looking to cross the highway. Not being in much of a hurry to complete my errands, I slowed quite a distance before her, made eye contact, flashed my lights, and she crossed safely.

As I proceeded, I recognized her as a long time friend and Main Street Clifford business person. Yielding pedestrians the right of way is an often ignored law; within this context it is a small courtesy, but one that brought a smile to both of us.

Later that evening, while having dinner at Chet’s Place, an extended family came through the door led by a young father holding a bassinet in front of himself. He walked with obvious care as he meandered his way from the door to the dinner table, proudly introducing his new son to the few patrons.

“Wow! That’s a really new baby!” I remarked.

“Seven weeks.” replied his father.

The boy was sleeping quietly; his face placid, his new fingers graceful and perfect resting on his chest. He was beautiful.

Soon the boy’s grandmother came over with a big smile and said “Thanks for not running me over today!”

“You’re welcome – thanks for sharing your beautiful grandson! I didn’t even know that was you at first crossing the road. I guess I did a nice thing for someone even though I didn’t think that I knew them! ”

We laughed, and she began saying how much she loved being a grandmother. How the child was still so young that all you could really do is hold him, and tell him stories. She then recounted how her daughter had begun telling the boy nursery rhymes that she herself had heard from her mother and grandmother.

“I don’t think that you can love or hold a child too much, particularly at this age. Generally, society nowadays doesn’t seem to put as much importance on physical bonding with their infants as in older times, or as do folks in other parts of the world even today. Many families here don’t see their children much during the day – they are forced to put their children in daycare to allow both parents to work so they can make ends meet.  Think of the mothers in third world countries who wear their infants on their bodies swaddled in sarongs, or ancient folks like the Native Americans who carried their children close to them in papooses.”

Though not having first hand experience with children, I agreed, noting that some philosophies posit that abundant love and affection, particularly until the child is four or five, can have dramatic, positive effects on a person, making them more compassionate as adults, more effective as a community member.

This conversation caused me to recognize one of the most wonderful parts of living on The Hill: more people are literally more grounded than you’ll find in many other places.

Some of the folks who grew up around here and are now grandparents had parents that schooled in one-room school houses without electricity. Horsepower from horses was more common than horsepower from automobiles. They were familiar with, submitted to, and lived in harmony with the rhythms of day and night, the weather, the seasons. They either farmed, or worked in some capacity to support the farming community. They were expert observers of the weather and the phases of the moon. They functioned as a community as if their life depended upon it, because it did.

Nowadays, a bad week in the office can cause a lot of stress. A hundred years ago, a bad week in the fields could cause a crop to fail. A failed crop meant no food for the Winter. No food for the Winter meant no Spring. Simple.

Neighbors may or may not have been fond of each other, yet if one needed help, everyone showed up. They helped each other unconditionally knowing that, for the community to survive there was no time to be petty or proud. The critical challenges weren’t between individuals; they were between the community and nature.

Just as those nursery rhymes have been passed down generation to generation in folks that live around here, so have many of the values of a functional farming community. There is an integrity, an authenticity to the ethics adhered to by folks who lived and worked very close to the ground, to nature.

They saw first-hand that it was impossible for an individual to survive alone in nature without community, and they behaved so.

It was not a lifestyle choice – it is a lifestyle necessity.


Late Spring Late Day

Late Spring Late Day
Late Spring Late Day

Most of us consider the start of the Summer to be Memorial day – the stars say Summer begins this year June 21, 2015 at 12:38 p.m. EDT.

In England, June 24, is considered Midsummer Day; the next week or so is known to be a particularly good time to experience first hand the magic of the season; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” of one’s own.

These types of dreams are more common here on The Hill then most other places. All you have to do is set aside some quiet time to observe nature: watch a flower grow, water flow, the sun set, the moon rise, clouds form and resolve, or the stars spin around Polaris.

Cherish the feeling that will arise in your chest, the sensation that we are indeed a part of, not separate from, everything around us.

Years ago at twilight on a hot, thick aired, syrupy evening near the summer solstice,  I sat quietly and watched through hooded eyes, the forest some ways away.

From the border described by the meeting of the meadow and the woods, vague in the dusk, I heard a sound like a drop of water splashing into a shallow pool.

“Puck…, Puck…, Puck…”

It was just the sort of evening that provokes woodland nymphs and fairies to abound.

I then remembered the name of the mischievous sprite
in Shakespeare’s play “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” –
“Puck” aka “Robin Goodfellow”.

At the end of the play Puck suggests to us that our experiences during this admittedly magical time of year may indeed be all in our mind:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,”






Wikipedia reports:

The peony is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40.

Most are herbaceous perennial plants1.6–4.9 ft tall, but some resemble trees 4.9–9.8 ft tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves and large, often fragrant, flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.

Dames Rockets


The Dames Rockets above echo the white apple and purple lilac blossoms that became prominent and faded a week or so ago.

The Honey Locust trees remain in full bloom. Walking in the yard under these trees when the wind is calm awakens one to the constant, low, soft buzzing sound of bees enjoying the blossoms.

The Mountain View Garden Club will hold its 11th annual Plant Exchange & Marketplace on Sunday, June 7 at the Clifford Twp Fire Company picnic grounds.  Why not stop by and enjoy the sight and color of more civilized, though no less beautiful, plants and blossoms.


Thanks to Judith Marsh for this edit:

Hi Steve, I have to tell you that the flowers are not Phlox. They are “Dames Rockets”, great name, huh. Phlox don’t come till later in the season, late summer. The Phlox have 5 petals while the “Dames have 4. They are easily confusing because they are so much alike.

Be a Woofstock Sponsor!

true_friends_sponsor_letter Woofstock 2015 Sponsor Form_color

WOOFSTOCK will be a day of celebration consisting of numerous live bands, quality vendors, delicious food, raffle baskets, and more. It promises to be a day of fun for everyone including their canine companions. We invite you to be a part of this celebration benefiting our vital non-profit organization by becoming a much valued sponsor. As a sponsor you will be helping us keep our doors open for the many desperate animals in need today and in the days to come.

Sponsorship Benefits:
$2500 and above: Sponsor’s commemorative plaque will be prominently displayed at shelter lobby.
$1000 and above: Sponsor will receive a specially designed commemorative plaque.
$500 and above: Sponsor Name will appear on Woofstock T-Shirts.
$250 and above: Sponsor Name will be included on a Thank You banner that will be prominently displayed at the shelter and at our Woofstock celebration.
All sponsors will be listed in our Event Program that will be distributed prior to and at our Woofstock 2015 event!
Please fill out completely and mail with payment to the address below:

True Friends Animal Welfare Center
16332 SR 706
Montrose, PA 18801
Deadline: Friday, June 12, 2015

Please contact Dory Browning with questions or concerns at 570-396-6011

Star Wind


A star sourced wind blew through the stable,
busting open doors, scattering all the mares
to the corners of the night storm, leaving me forever.

In the morning, a strange chestnut mare ambled into the pasture,
Inquisitive, dipping her head, snorting, ears up, eyes bright.
Gorgeous, high strung, misused, good hearted, wild minded.

She shook her head, from a distance, I caught a glimpse,
the moment the sun flared her mane auburn,
like it does a hummingbird’s throat red .

Red-winged Blackbird


From www.allaboutbirds.org:

One of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored, the Red-winged Blackbird is a familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.

Last Taste of Winter


Earlier this week, a hike up the Tioga trail on Elk Mountain gave us a chance to taste the past Winter one last time.

A few snow patches remained on the trail, melting quickly, turning the trail below to nice, cool, watery mud.

The border between Winter snow, and Spring mud presented a perfect place to lap a few licks of the last of the snow, while soothing belly and paws heated up by the exertion of hiking  uphill.