Scenes from the Rail Trail: October 12, 2014

Oh, it was a glorious day for a bike ride!

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Hey there, pokey fuzzy thingie.

I suited up and hit the rail trail a few days ago. It’s turning to fall now, and that means…well, of course it means that the leaves on the trees are turning spectacular shades of gold and red and orange. But it also means other plants are changing. Drying up, or exploding into fuzzies. Pulling out one last gasp of color. And in the meanwhile, all these plants are busy adding a deep, rich sense of texture to the trail. Call it nature’s Halloween decor, if you will.

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It’s a chuckle patch! (Magic Garden fans, you know what I’m talking about.)

Whether the colors are vibrant or subdued, they’re all a visual treat.

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Old Rattlebones the Milkweed Pod, that’s what this is.

It can look surprisingly like an oil painting.

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Pokeberries at the end of the season.

And there’s berries far out into the sky and the leafless trees. Kind of like looking at the Hubble Deep Field images. Only different.

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Billions and billions of berries… ~~Apologies to Carl Sagan~~

I never noticed how well black walnut pods match their nubbly leaves, but there you have it.

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Nature gets all matchy-match.

And then there’s a poof!

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I believe they call this the Santa plant. (Like I would know.)

And a pow!

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Like fireworks.

And a…uh…

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Admit it, these kind of look like Animal from Sesame Street.

The trees were in a full-spectrum onslaught of pretty.

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Turning, not one, not two, but THREE fall colors for your enjoyment!

And there were a few spokey-looking…I have no idea what these things are. But I sure do dig their style.

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For all I know they just released spores of alien dust and we are now all doomed. But they look cool, innit?

Even your basic, standard-issue corn is getting into the groovy-texture act (with a little help from a neighboring plant).

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Clearly, corn knows how to accessorize.

And a vast army of wilting sunflowers still manages to look stunning (though perhaps slightly dejected) in the afternoon sun.

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Sunflower post-mortem.

The thing is, pretty much no matter where you look on the rail trail you’ll see something that will catch your eye. It’s not hard to find something of interest, when you’re surrounded by this.

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Hello.

If you want to find out some more information about the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, you can visit them on the web here, find them on Facebook, or Twitter away. The BVRT is owned and operated by the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority and may be contacted via email bvrailtrail@bvrec.org or telephone 570-524-4774.

And to play you out, here’s local singer/songwriter KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner‘s ode to the BVRT, appropriately titled:

“Meet Me On The Rail Trail”.

See you there!

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Scenes from the Rail Trail: August 5, 2014

The weather in Lewisburg has been sublime the last few days. Cool. Not terribly humid. It’s been that beautiful sort of “makes you want to go outside and do something hearty and robust” weather, even if you’ve been working your tail off trying to get ready to teach your first Zumba class while brushing up on Silver Sneakers routines, and you really should take opportunities to sit or drive or relax because you’ve literally been dancing for three or four hours a day.

For the record? It takes a staggering shit-ton of work to get ready to teach a class at a gym, especially early on when all the routines are brand new. Never mind prepping for two different ones. Moving on.

One of these recent glorious mornings–Tuesday, if all y’all must know–I hit the ol’ Buffalo Valley Rail Trail and pedaled my way off to work for the best commute ever. It’s summer, so mostly everything is lush and green.

Everrrrrrything.

Everrrrrrything.

Far as they eye can see. This. Green green green. Fecund is, actually, the word that leaps to mind, and I’m fairly certain that that word has never readily leapt to my mind until now.

Do I sound jaded? Like, “oh, lorrrrrrrrrd, everything was all verdant and…yawn…greeeeeeen…“. If that’s the case, I apologize, because it’s pretty fantastic to ride through. I felt like I was in The Shire, or something. (LOTR nerds: represent!). While a prolonged tunnel of greenness doesn’t necessarily make for the most dramatic pictures, I did manage to click one or two… 🙂

Like this one, of a morning glory, complete with some kind of bug having its way with the flower.

Hey bug, what'cha doing in there?

Hey bug, what’cha doing in there?

Or this, with the tops of the corn against the bright blue sky. Power lines stretching overhead gave a bit of an interesting perspective.

Sometimes, you just need to look...up.

Sometimes, you just need to look…up.

And, city folks, have you ever really looked at the roots of a corn stalk? No wonder they’re so easy to make horror movies about.

These are digging straight in to the bones of the Earth, it seems.

They’re like fingers, man, digging straight in.

I came upon this fuzzy thingie sticking out into the trail and really liked how it caught the light.

Remember making fake moustaches with these things?

Remember making fake moustaches with these things? You must pay the rent!

A tangle of pokeberry bushes… Wait, what? ***A*** tangle? These things are everywhere. The berries are inedible, and more than inedible, they’re poisony. The mature berries make great ink. Legend (i.e., Wikipedia) has it that the Declaration of Independence was written in pokeberry ink; the National Archives puts the kibosh on that tall tale (it was iron gall ink, which was apparently the ink of choice for centuries). But the bushes sure are pretty.

Poke. Poke poke poke.

Poke. Poke poke poke.

The pokeberry bushes intertwined with the delicately-flowered orange touch-me-not. I’ll have to go back and look to see if there’s a mature fruit capsule hanging there, because they apparently burst on contact, hence the name.

Kaboom.

Kaboom.

Then I found the leaf where bugs were making with the love. Avert the children’s eyes.

Bow chicka wow wow.

Bow chicka wow wow.

And remember, fecund? 

This is what that word means.

This is what that word means.

And finally…

A little bit of everything. Some sun, some sky, some green, a barn, a cow, and some early-turning leaves already sporting their fall color. Despite it being the height of summer, autumn is just around the corner.

Welcome to central PA.

Welcome to central PA, a little Nirvana on the Susquehanna.

See you on the Rail Trail!

Scenes from the Rail Trail: May 23, 2014

It’s spring! It’s spring! It’s almost summer-ish! It was a glorious weekend, one perfect for getting on the bike and heading off on the rail trail. Except for the pollen. That’s a different story.

I bring you this blog today in celebration of the official end of a long, cold winter and the return of spring and all its free-floating vegetal woe (does it matter if it’s a cold or allergies? My head still weighs a million pounds and I’m leaky). Not too much narrative today; I self-refer to “my head weighs a million pounds” and thus, today, me no like wordsing, is too hard-hard. So I will mostly shut up now; here are more scenes from the beautiful Buffalo Valley Rail Trail.

Technically, near the rail trail. But close enough for my purposes. Check out the crazy clouds and the sun star!

Technically, near the rail trail. But close enough for my purposes. Check out the crazy clouds and the sun star!

Some kind of dried something that looks cool.

Some kind of dried something that looks cool.

Pollen generator! Too bad they're cute and full of whimsy.

Pollen generator! Too bad they’re cute and full of whimsy.

ART SHOT!

OBLIGATORY ART SHOT!

Trees are just doing they thang everywhere.

Trees are just doing they thang everywhere.

Ohhh...poppies...poppies...

Ohhh…poppies…poppies…

I'm not sure if I've ever encountered a pink honeysuckle before.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever encountered a pink honeysuckle before.

Some kind of pretty little wildflower, adding its subtle prettiness to the trail.

Some kind of delicate little wildflower, adding its subtle prettiness to the trail.

Thanks, Nature, for framing this shot for me.

Thanks, Nature, for framing this shot for me.

If anyone can tell me why the tops of silos are painted sort of carnivalesque, I'm happy to learn.

If anyone can tell me why the tops of silos are painted in a sort of carnivalesque style, I’m happy to learn.

Allrighty then. Good to know.

Allrighty then. Good to know.

The birds were REALLY not cooperating with me this day. This semi-obscured woodpecker is the best bird pic I was able to get.

The birds were REALLY not cooperating with me this day. This semi-obscured woodpecker is the best bird pic I was able to get.

And finally…

We begin with clouds, we end with clouds. I stopped taking pictures after this and got myself home before the rain.

We begin with clouds, we end with clouds. I stopped taking pictures after this and got myself home before the rain.

Scenes from the Rail Trail: April 20, 2014

It was a gorgeous day today–sun shining, birds singing, temperature finally warming–so my boyfriend and I decided to leave our long sleeves at home, get on our bikes and hit the Rail Trail. Since this was recreational riding and not my usual bike commute which by definition requires that I have to exit the trail and get to work, we went the entire length of the trail, a full twenty mile round trip. Woot!

I’m so glad I brought my camera.

The area is finally starting to wake up from winter. There’s still more brown and gray than green in lots of areas, but the grass is coming back up and buds are poking out. Flowers are blooming. Birds are back. And the light…oh, it’s strong and yummy. The light around here really can be extraordinary. When I would drive to the job that I hated (that shall remain nameless), I consoled myself that I would at least get to watch the pearly pink morning light play along the hillsides as I drove. Anything that keeps you from deciding to hit a telephone pole to prevent going to work, know what I mean? So glad I left that place. Moving on.

So. Today, along the Rail Trail. Here we go.

Hello, rolling hills of central PA.

Hello, rolling hills and old, gentle mountains of central PA.

You want barns and rustic-type buildings? I got barns and rustic-type buildings.

Serene, by the water. Sigh.

Serene, by the water. Sigh.

Here’s a squat little shed I always feast my eyes on when I ride past. I think it’s owned by the family that runs the local buggy repair shop. Buggy. Repair. Shop. Because that’s where I live.

I think they keep mini-Amish people in there.

Home to all manner of buggy parts, I suppose.

Meanwhile on the same property, someone is getting their greenhouses up and running. I love the ghostly fade of the flower pots under plastic.

Some body snatchers are being grown there, perhaps.

Suspicious. Think they’re growing some body snatchers in there? #aliens #knewit

And, cows, if you just go upstairs, all the food you could ever hope for will be yours.

HAY! HAY! HAY!   Ohhh, I crack myself up.

HAY! HAY! HAY!
Ohhh, I crack myself up. And, probably, only me.

And in a perfect blend of non-rustic and rustic…  I get a bizarre kick that it looks like the slide is sliding right into the buggy. Like, play nice, kids, or we’re sending you straight back to the 1800s, without supper!

Buggy, meet modern play set. Play set, meet buggy. Go.

Buggy, meet modern play set. Play set, meet buggy. Go warp time.

You can also see all kinds of birds. This banded fella is the ominously named killdeer. I felt relatively safe being around it, as there is nothing deer-like about me. By the looks of him he’s all small and delicate, but looks can be deceiving, no?

I LOVE MURDER (so long as what I murder is deer).

I LOVE MURDER (so long as what I murder is deer).

Today, I also saw the less ominous-sounding, amusingly named white-breasted nuthatch which, on some level, could be a euphemism for the house I grew up in (you know I love you, family, and please still invite me to things).

He's got to be hatching a nut somewhere near by.

He’s got to be hatching a nut somewhere near by.

Truth: if anyone asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing with my spare time, my answer wouldn’t have ventured anywhere near, “Riding a bike, photographing birds.” Damned weirdo life.

It’s a little bit like this.

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Which way do we go, George?

But man…the journey’s unexpected side paths are what keeps it all interesting.

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We go that-a-way.

And I often feel like no blog post of mine is complete without a moment of total nerdery, so…

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”    — JRR TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

Which is, of course, awesome. And not a shabby way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Scenes from the Rail Trail: April 2, 2014

Yesterday was the first day I was able to bike-commute this season (for the record, yours truly ain’t no cold-weather biker) and all I have to say is…YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  I enjoyed my ride to work (and home) so much I even dreamed happy dreams of it when I went to bed last night. That is a totally true story.

The hardest part for me in my quest to get to work along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail is in the actual moving forward. Not because I have problems riding my bike but rather, because it is so damn pretty. I have a hard time not hopping off my bike every ten feet to take another picture and look at another gorgeous eyeload full of central PA scenery. Everything was fresh and muddily, wetly new. Some flowers were out, and some bushes and such were still in their gray and bare winter tatters, with the occasional bud peeking out from under things. With that in mind, less talky! More looky! Welcome to Scenes from the Rail Trail–2014!

This guy was there to greet me almost as soon as I got on the trail. Could be vaguely creepy…cue the spooky organ music in my head!

Welcome. Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Welcome. Mwah ha ha ha ha!

How about a little winter aconite (or eranthis, if you prefer?) to brighten up your early spring ride?

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Hey there, one of the first blossoms of spring. Lookin’ good!

Meanwhile, down the road a piece…

Did they photoshop their farm into the landscape just to make sure it looked photogenically perfect, before building?

Did they photoshop their farm into the landscape just to make sure it looked photogenically perfect, before building?

See what I mean about wanting to stop every ten feet? I’m telling you, this is with considerable “I have to get to work” restraint exercised.

Soon-to-be parents get ready with a snug new mud nest.

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Welcome home, kid.

While fences do make good neighbors, they also make for interesting shadows when the light is right.

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I’m not really sure why this stretch of fence is here, except to provide for fun photo ops. Thanks, random fence builder people!

Thanks to everyone who responded to a previous post (and on Facebook), I now know that this is an exploded milkweed pod. Which looks golden and awesome, glinting in the morning sun.

Is that Medusa's face I see..?  Whew! Nope, just the weird milkweed husk.

Is that Medusa’s face I see..? Whew! Nope, just the weird milkweed husk.

And finally…we begin with birds, we end with birds. Robin Redbreast is ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Damn paparazzi.

Damn paparazzi.

So yay! A return to warmer weather and fun on the Trail! Can’t wait to see what else there is to see there.

Travel Theme: Wood

“Wood” is the travel theme Ailsa has bestowed upon us this week at Where’s My Backpack?, and that’s just fine.  Of course, I don’t really know how much “travel” there is in my theme since I chose photos I took locally, but hey…you could travel to the bucolic splendor of central PA to feast your eyes, no?  🙂  I’ve been in the car too much, right now I’m interested in staying put.  With that being said, here is my “wood” theme.  Mostly trees.

Like these ones.  Last spring George and I took a walk around Milton State Park.  The air was crisp and fresh and bright green buds were starting to come out on the trees.  (Which, for the record, is my favorite shade of green, but that’s another blog entirely.)  I stepped inside a cluster of beautiful old trees, looked straight up and saw…

Here's looking up yer old...growth...wooded areas...

Here’s looking up yer old…growth…wooded areas…

During a day driving around with my camera in my lap, I noticed this old, charmingly unkempt wooden fence, with one slat of wood warping away from the rest.

No matter what you do, wood has a mind of its own.

No matter what you do, some wood has a mind of its own.

My town has a groovy little rail trail that cuts through a bunch of rustic, scenic farmsteads.  (It helps that I’m surrounded by land that is generally rustic and scenic.)  This gorgeous wooden barn that looks like it’s straight out of a movie set is along said rail trail.  I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to ride again so I can feast my eyes upon it in real life.  Until then, the photo will do.

P.S. Those black walnut thingies really hurt when they fall and whack you in the arm.

Warning: Those black walnut thingies hurt when they fall and whack you in the arm.

And to you cold-weather riders who insist I won’t have to wait until it’s warm to ride the trail again:  No.  But thank you.  But no.

Every year, our local historical society organizes Rural Heritage Days (at least, I think it’s thanks to the UCHS; I’m happy to learn otherwise).  It’s interactive and completely family-oriented and you can learn how to twine rope and make things like lead shot.  You can also watch a man with a steam-powered lathe carve wooden table and chair legs.  I don’t know why, put I’m particularly enamored of the wood chips along his arm.

I know!  Weirdly cool, right?

I know! Weirdly cool, right?

Finally…Not that I’m dreaming of spring or anything as the cold weather has settled on central PA, but in downtown Lewisburg, one resident has a glorious magnolia tree.  It’s huge.  It sprawls across the entire yard.  And it’s one more reason that springtime in this town is extraordinary.  Flowering trees are among my favorite things but this?  Goes beyond the pale of any flowering tree I’ve ever seen.

This?  Is ALL.  One.  Tree system.

This? Is ALL. One. Tree system.

There’s my travel photos.  See you ’round town in the springtime!  🙂  Enjoy the other bloggers at Ailsa’s place.

Scenes from the Rail Trail: October 20, 2013

In the interests of full disclosure, this particular post looks beyond the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, mainly because I rode my bike elsewhere, and so, elsewhere is from whence the pictures came.  While the Rail Trail is great–and I mean great, I love that I get to commute to work that way–it’s still just one route, and as I am getting more confident on my bike I’m looking for different paths to ride, different sights to see.  Still within the greater Lewisburg area, of course, because I haven’t yet reached the point where I’m all, “Honey, let’s get a bike rack for the car, hit the road and pedal our way around new and exotic lands.”

Never say never.  But I’m just not there yet.

Anyway.

This past Sunday was beeee-yooo-tiful.  A little chillier than I’ve ridden in before, perhaps, but gorgeous and sunny.  George and I hopped on our bikes and were out into the world.

A hilly world.

We live in the middle of lots and lots of hills.

Like this one.

This was a long, loooong climb.

This was a long, loooong climb.

Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t want a nap as soon as I got to the top of this hill.  But then I was rewarded.  I got to feast my eyes on this

Corn. Who knew?

Corn. Who knew?

And this

Pheasant Ridge Road. Looking all...ridgey.

Pheasant Ridge Road. Looking all…ridgey.

And I got to meet this li’l guy.

Does anyone else see this and immediately cycle through all the grasshopper's lines from "A Bug's Life"? Or is it just me?

Does anyone else see this and immediately cycle through all the grasshopper’s lines from “A Bug’s Life”? Or is it just me?

Down the road a piece, we came across this

Set designers were hard at work that day, giving me photo-ops.

Set designers were hard at work that day, giving me photo-ops.

And this

Cornflowers + willow + pond = totally scenic spot for a rest.

Cornflowers + willow + pond = totally scenic spot for a rest.

Before going here

Ever forward!

Ever forward!

And back to the Rail Trail.

Which had its own set of beauteous charms. Like this…furry…white…whatsitsface plant.

I have no idea what this is called. Anybody? Anyone?

I have no idea what this is called. Anybody? Anyone?

I don’t know what it is but I sure think it’s pretty!

This is my favorite corn field along the Rail Trail.  Don’t know why.  Just love to feast my eyes upon it.

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It’s so picturesque but yet, it’s begging for a horror movie to be made in it, no?

And then

Fuzzy thingies!

Fuzzy thingies!

Or

Ooh, menacing clouds!

Ooh, gloomy clouds!

And then there’s…ummmmm…

I have no idea what these are.

I have no idea what these are.

In all seriousness, if anyone wants to school me on what plant is what, I’m happy to learn.

And finally…

A picture of a few late-season black walnuts, hanging on to their tree.  The Green-Hulled Menace of the Rail Trail.  Because really, when they fall from their branches and whack you right on the arm, they frigging hurt.

I want to wrap this tree in caution tape. But that would ruin the photo. :)

I want to wrap this tree in caution tape. But that would ruin the photo. 🙂

Yes, it’s true.  I really like it here.

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