I imagine if I live here long enough, and pay better attention than I have been for the past quarter century, I might be able to discern why some Summers produce such an abundance of apple, pear, grape, and berries.

Some say that it’s nature’s way to provide for, and prepare the beings in the neighborhood for an impending strong Winter. Others say that the amount of Summer fruit is determined by the previous Spring.

This past Spring was fairly gentle – buds did not have to suffer much freezing; no strong storms blew blooms from the trees.

We’ll keep an eye on what happens this Autumn and Winter. Meanwhile, it’s time to gently tug on the raspberries – if they release easily from the plant, it’s time they were eaten.

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe
Indian Pipe

A recent walk on the cross-country ski trail led through Narnia-like woods abundant with fern, Indian Pipe, fungus; sunlit meadow is thick with clover, grass, and Queen Anne’s Lace.

Not quite three weeks past the solstice, already harbingers present: this morning was an Autumn morning – humidity free, clear, temperatures dipped into the 40’s before dawn. Abundances of apple and pear draw our thoughts toward harvest time.

Dog and I will walk the trail more often now, with focused intent: we’ll start to clear the path of downed branches that when half-buried in snow could deflect and twist a ski or paw, and twigs of thorns that could snag a trouser or ear.

Temperatures in the high eighties are in the immediate forecast; the Clifford picnic is next week.

From here on out, those of us who have been around here for more than a few summers know that hot, sultry, Summer days will become less and less common. Hoodies will be needed in the evenings. The grass will grow less thickly.

It’s the time of season when neighbor Penny inhales the evening, and noting the subtlety of it’s terroir, says: “The air is now changed, yet still familiar…. yes, it tastes like Frontier Days”.


Samuel L. “Roxy” Rothafel


The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, together with Forest City Borough, and the Forest City Area Historical Society invite you to attend the dedication of an official State Marker commemorating the accomplishments of Samuel L. “Roxy” Rothafel on Thursday, July 30th at 6 PM.

The marker will be unveiled at 600 Main Street, Forest City, the location of the Family Theater, opened in 1908 by Roxy, who went on to open many Roxy Theaters, create the Rockettes, and open Radio City Music Hall in 1932.

The Honorary Exhibit, ‘From Forest City to Radio City, a Tribute to Roxy Rothafel’ will be on display all day Thursday and Friday at the Historical Society. There will be a showing of the 1987 Forest City ‘Follies’ and old time movies throughout the day.

A reception at the Historical Society will follow the dedication. For more information on the Old Home Dayz activities, visit our website: www.forestcityareahistoricalsociety.org .




CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA – To some people, old farm equipment and machinery often become unusual lawn ornaments. To others, these oddities of times past merely become pieces of unused and dying junk that is left to rust in the rain. But to many of the folks in Clifford Township, old farm machinery has suddenly found a new home and a new use as these wonderful old treasures help recall bits and pieces of the township’s rich history.

With grateful thanks to George (Buster) Spedding of Clifford Township, countless items of antique farm equipment will soon have a permanent home in the township’s new Agricultural Museum. Spedding is a fourth generation farmer in Clifford Township, and his old farm equipment has seen a great deal of use through the years. But rather than just discard what he no longer uses, Spedding has offered to display some of this equipment to develop a local AG Museum to help teach others about this area’s wonderful farming heritage. A number of other farmers throughout the region with old equipment stored in their barns have also offered their unused farm items for display. Not surprisingly, pieces of machinery like this have some great stories to tell, as to how and why and when each was used.

To help share these stories and educate others about the lives of farmers throughout the area, the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) has teamed up with the Clifford Township Volunteer Fire Company to develop a permanent display of some of the township’s farm machinery like Spedding’s and many of the other long-time farmers. The firemen have given the CTHS the old dance hall building on their picnic grounds to house some of this equipment and develop an AG Museum that folks can visit.

“The historical society has literally outgrown its museum space at the community center,” said Alan Fortuner, President of the Clifford Township Fire Company. “Between our two groups, there’s a lot of deep-rooted history and pride in what we all do. So helping the Historical Society by giving them some space for their new AG Museum is a win-win for us both. It’s also a great way to help continue to maintain the township’s local history for future generations.”

“We’re thrilled to have the space at the picnic grounds,” said Sandy Wilmot, President of the CTHS. “But without the support of Adams Cable Service who provided the financial backing to make this project possible, we wouldn’t be where are today with this new museum. Additionally, local volunteers Robert Kilmer and Ray Swingle of Clifford Township provided the bulk of the building materials to move forward with this new project.

“The old dance hall was originally built years ago with a spring floor,” Wilmot explained. “The floor joists are likened to coiled car springs or an old spring mattress – the floor gives with the weight placed upon it, so some of the larger equipment we’ll move into the hall will be easily accommodated. Jerry Lewandowski is one of our many workers, and he has generously agreed to help us with the major reconstruction work to turn the dance hall into our new AG Museum. We’ve also salvaged old barn walls to rebuild the museum doors and make the hall’s interior look more realistic for the displays.”

Throughout the years, the life and labors of a farmer have gone from manual to horse-driven to motorized. Generations ago, it might take an entire day to work a mere half-acre by hand or with a single horse. Today, dozens of acres can be worked with the newer mechanized equipment. Back in the old days, many farmers worked their land until they died. And with many large farming families, everyone had their own chores to do, each often requiring a particular piece of equipment. Much of the equipment that will eventually find its way into the AG Museum will be from the ‘30s and ‘40s, with some items going back to the early 1900s.

We’ll have some larger items like a single-horse plow and cultivator,” continued Wilmot, “and we’ll have smaller tools like a dog-tread mill, a bone grinder, a fanning mill, and corn sheller. Before the reapers and binders, farmers used a grain cradle to manually cut and gather their hay. There will be a wide variety of items that were used by multi-generations.” To help describe these interesting and unique pieces of antique machinery, the CTHS will prepare permanent storyboards to accommodate each item on display.

“There’s not a lot of monetary value in most of this old equipment, and there’s minimal decorative value in most pieces too,” said Wilmot. “But from an educational standpoint, it’s irreplaceable and very valuable. Together with the Clifford Township Fire Company, we’re working together to continue to preserve our township’s rich history.”

On July 23-25, the Clifford Township Volunteer Fire company will host its 67th Annual Fireman’s Picnic, located on Rt. 106 in Clifford Township (evening events will begin at 5:00pm). The CTHS will open the doors to the new AG Museum at that time, displaying the first of its continually growing collection.

The CTHS invites anyone with items and information of local and/or regional area historical significance to contact them at 570-679-2723, or on their newly designed website, www:cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. Known locally as “the little society that does big things,” the CTHS directors believe that their group’s supporters and volunteers are the backbone of its organization. They are grateful to everyone for their time, talents, and donations. Without each one, the CTHS would not be able to preserve this region’s history.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.



www.WebMD.com reports:

Honeysuckle is a plant that is sometimes called “woodbine.” The flower, seed, and leaves are used for medicine. Be careful not to confuse honeysuckle with other plants that are also known as woodbine, such as American ivy, gelsemium, and Clematis virginiana.

Honeysuckle is used for digestive disorders including pain and swelling (inflammation) of the small intestine (enteritis) and dysentery; upper respiratory tract infections including colds, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia; other viral andbacterial infections; swelling of the brain (encephalitis); fever; boils; and sores. Honeysuckle is also used for urinary disorders, headache, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Some people use it to promote sweating, as a laxative, to counteract poisoning, and for birth control.

Honeysuckle is sometimes applied to the skin for inflammation and itching, and to kill germs.

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,”




Home for Sale


378 Great Bend Turnpike, Pleasant Mount, PA 18453
6 Bedrooms – 3 bathrooms

Large, beautiful home has 5 bedrooms & 2 baths upstairs with a family room. The downstairs has a bedroom with a woodstove and a bath, kitchen, dining room, utility room and living room with a woodstove. You can create your own Bed & Breakfast with this many rooms!! Basement is unfinished stone foundation. There is a full attic with stairs.

Also included in this sale is a small rental cottage that has 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and living room/kitchen combined. All new windows in it with vinyl siding. Currently rented.

There is also a 1400 sq ft convenient mart/restaurant included. It has parking for 30 cars, gas pumps, 1 tank leaded, 2000 gallon, 1 unleaded 2000 gallons all on 1 acre. Includes tables, chairs, stools, stoves, ovens, refrigerator…everything you need to get started. The business could be sold separately from the house and rental cottage.

This home can be made into a bed and breakfast and has the potential for substantial income. The restaurant/convenient mart was very busy and profitable before it closed in 2008 due to the death of the owner.

It is a very rural area and a safe place to raise a family. Across the road is a community center and a library.  Close to Elk Mountain Ski Area, State Game Lands for fishing and boating, snowmobile trails, Rails to Trails for hiking, biking and walking and right next to a small park with benches and a monument where the annual 4th of July parade is.

$285,000 for entire lot
$165,000 for house
$150,000 for commercial – store/restaurant/gas pumps

– contact person, email, telephone
Sandra Sheerin –  sandrasheerin@gmail.com

Additional information is available on Zillow – link is here for anything else you need:


abh_P1010957 abh_P1010953 abh_P1010966 abh_P1010960 abh_P1010958 abh_P1010961 abh_IMG-20141226

How much different can heaven be?