Although we were walking beside fascinating geological features and cliffs that rose as walls around us on our way to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park, I often found myself gazing at Roots.
Over the years park authorities have incorporated human-man structures to assist the population in experiencing the wonder of the park’s features. This bridge is actually a series of free-standing, unconnected concrete steps with small gaps in between. It reminded me of Robert Jordan’s concept of “the ways” in the Wheel of Time series where characters got on and traveled through the dark without clear guidance or expectation of destination. A lot of bad stuff could happen in the ways, especially if you encountered traveling trollocs. I’m just glad we were traveling here in the light of day.
We took the low road. It’s a long way up to the rim trail.
It’s difficult to convey the immensity of the surrounding landscape. I was Enchanted with the green mossy growth on the walls.
The ferns growing out of the base of a tree looked like someplace you might find magical forest dwellers living.
And of course, the Water Runs Through It. Largely because these geological features were created by water dissolving way the more soluble minerals leaving behind the hard structures, like in Ash Cave.
The cave itself does not look overly impressive from a distance. It appears as a dark horizontal crevice in the face of the cliff.
Another human-made structure helped us get to The Main Event.
Some people think that this profile of a face in the rock is the Old Man. Not so. The old man was a recluse named Richard Row who made this cave his home in the 1800s. The face in the rock looks like something out of the time of Cleopatra to me. Do you see it?
It was fun to watch fearless Arthur boldly go . . .
and even cross A Bridge Too Far. Nothing seemed to deter the little guy out there. He was, however, afraid to jump off the bed at the cabin. It was a wee bit too high for his liking.
Inside Old Man’s Cave Richard Row clearly had A Room with a View.
The green mossy rocks transform the landscape into a Paradise Lost.
Without a doubt this cave was big enough for a whole clan and their cavebears.
Tomorrow I’ll show you the brick house, or was that the rock house?
The trail to Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park was another easy one to travel although there were more steps than the Ash Cave lower trail. And we were actually walking on a dirt path instead of a concrete one for most of the way.
Interestingly enough, we were informed that there are actually no cedar trees in this park, although there are a lot of evergreens that I think were primarily hemlocks. Not sure where the name for Cedar Falls came from. An amateur botanist or two, no doubt.
But there is a nice trail of water creating reflective still pools and gurgling along the trail to or, I suppose more technically correct, from Cedar Falls.
Arthur was trying to figure out how to get a cool drink from his perch above the stream.
It’s a beautiful and serene place to walk.
Because of all the spring rain the falls were fully cascading. Mark remembered there was only a trickle here during our last visit several years ago.
Cedar Falls is a popular attraction at Hocking Hills, and even on a Monday in April we found several people there. New friends for Arthur.
I tried to get pictures of the water flowing smoothly, which you do by setting a slow shutter speed, which also creates blurred photos if you don’t have a tripod. Mine was in the car where it did me absolutely no good.
So I did the best I could. This is something I will work on later, with my tripod.
On the way back the trail ended at a crevice in stone. The children of a family of five who had already passed through were happy to tell us we could get through if we squeezed through the crevice, climbed down some boulders, and hopped across some stones in the creek.
Arthur missed the part about skipping across the stones, as evidenced by the lower half of each leg.
We saw this sign on the other side of the creek as we continued on our way.
You can see the remnants of what might have been a bridge in the rubble in the background.
No harm, no fowl.
Just two grown adults and a little white dog.
I know other people do it. I’ve seen dogs at beaches, at rest stops along the road, at state parks . . . Other people sometimes travel with their pets, so we decided to give it a try.
We found a pet-friendly cabin at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio and booked it for two nights. It was close enough, about a three hour drive, and we were only going for a short stay. I didn’t know what to expect from a cabin where pets that could be much larger, more prolific shredders, and less well-behaved than Arthur, if you can imagine that, were allowed. Maybe I would discover that I am in fact allergic to dogs and would fall into an interminable sneezing fit.
And we didn’t know exactly how Arthur would respond, and just how big of a pain it might be to attend to his necessary trips outdoors someplace where we couldn’t just let him out the door, go back to our sofa, and wait to see his little face in the door side lights when he was finished.
Better to keep the stay short and not take any chances on being stuck somewhere in a full-blown allergy attack, having to traipse outside in various states of dress in whatever conditions the weather decided to provide.
We made it to the cabin, and at that point I would say Arthur was only doing so-so, partly because of the car ride.
You see, Arthur made it pretty clear he did not want to ride in the back seat by himself. Usually when we go someplace either it is just he and I and he rides strapped into the front passenger seat with his harness, or it is a short trip for the three of us and I hold him in the passenger seat while Mark drives—not the safest way to go, but sometimes we bend the rules.
He clearly identifies himself as a lap dog.
Anyway, Arthur did not get off to a good start on his trial-run of traveling with us with all the crying, barking, and carrying on he did at first. But when I told him that if he kept it up he was going to fail his trial run and not be included in future trips, he calmed down, curled up, and silently sulked.
The second strike against him was when he immediately went out on the screened-in porch upon our arrival at the cabin and relieved himself. Sometimes I just don’t know what he is thinking.
Hocking Hills State Park is probably best known for Old Man’s Cave, but there are quite a few other interesting geological sites throughout the park. We started our visit at Ash Cave, which we noticed was a trail for the physically challenged. And you can see on the right, it is a paved path all the way to the cave’s falls. Mark and I were the most physically challenged people on the trail with my arthritic knees and Mark’s replacement parts.
Along the path we saw crevices and small caves like this one. My inner child yearned to run exploring, or play hide and seek, or live here for a while.
I don’t know if people actually did live here, but the cave got its name from the large amount of ashes that were found here left by native people or early settlers.
The path is at the bottom of a canyon with steep walls and was formed by water dissolving the softer minerals but leaving the harder rock.
I think Mark and Arthur are technically in Ash Cave here, which is more like an indented space beneath a large overhang.
The ground in the protected space is largely dry and composed of sand.
Overhead a streams runs along and drops over the edge of Ash Cave forming the falls that collects in a shallow pool.
You can walk completely behind the falls. It is a large space.
And in the late afternoon as the sun begins to lower to the earth, it shines through the water for a magical effect.
Arthur redeemed himself by proving what a good hiker he was, even if the trail was more like a sidewalk than a path.
Back at the cabin Arthur spent most of the time sleeping alternated with sniffing all around. I think he was trying to figure out just who was here before us. Hopefully whoever it was had better manners than Arthur.
I meant to throw these photos in yesterday, but the post got long, and my neck got tired, and you know how all that goes. So I’m going to try out a gallery or two. I’m not sure if I can put different galleries on the same page.
As you will see, our blooms right now consist of the daffodil and hyacinth bulbs, a few pansies we put on the deck, the Lenten Rose powerhorses that have done remarkably well this year, and the beginnings of the bleeding hearts. Those are one of my favorites. You’ll sweet woodruff near the bleeding hearts, it’s a pretty bright green color and will produce a lovely little white blossom.
This is a tiled-mosaic gallery. I had to delete a few pictures and add others to be somewhat satisfied. I don’t know if there is a way to choose exactly where the photos go, so it was trial and error. I would have liked to exchange the large deck picture with the smaller bleeding heart one. You might miss it altogether. If you find it I do hope you’ll click on it to see the bleeding hearts larger. They’re just coming out. Once you’ve clicked on a photo, you can scroll through them all if you want. And I could have used captions, but just got lazy.
The hyacinths are beautiful, but the best part is their fragrance. Arthur thinks so too.
This is a slide show I did with just two photos. I was a little slow at the start-up, but I think I’m really going to like the fairly new galleries at WordPress. Question answered. Yes I can put different galleries into the same post. This may not be news to you, but I am in a remedial blogging class over here.
Have you made it out of winter yet and into spring in your neck of the woods?
The day had finally arrived. Arthur was going to the groomers. “Let’s go, Arthur,” I said, “we’re going for a ride.”
“I’m not buying that ride stuff,” Arthur said. “The last time we went for a ride they shaved my leg, stuck a needle in it, made me throw up multiple times, and then kept me in a cage for three hours.“
“Come on, Arthur. You need a haircut.”
“I don’t know why you say that.“
Four hours later Arthur returns home with his new haircut.
“Dang. They put a scarf on me again. And they didn’t fix the place on my leg where they shaved me. I look like a half-baked poodle.“
“You’re so clean, and nice and soft, Arthur.”
“I wonder if I can lick this perfume off.“
“Arthur, look at me so I can take your picture.”
“Really? Haven’t you done enough for one day?“
“Maybe I can rub this off,“
“or roll it off.“
“If I can just push a little harder.“
“Yes. I think this is working.“
“Hey, did somebody say ‘squirrel’?“
“Arthur, watch me.”
“Nope. I’m not. I’m not going to look at you.“
“I’m going to hang my head in shame until my hair grows back.“
“This is as good as it gets.”
I should have known better. I plead innocent by virtue of a grief-induced foggy mind. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
Over the past weeks since both my parents died, my siblings and I have made a valiant effort to clean-up, clear-out, and distribute the possessions that remained, bizarrely, after my parents departed. It’s one of the strangest things about this whole experience. The things they bought, used, loved, kept, didn’t know what to do with, are all still here, without them.
Anyway, in what seems like an endless series of trips home, from the house they lived in that was left behind, I brought home boxes of photos, books, china, memorabilia, and so forth that either I couldn’t part with, or thought that my parents would have wanted kept. I realize my parents’ wishes in this matter are dubious at this point, at best, but the mind and heart does strange things when facing the absoluteness of death of a loved one or two.
Mark and I brought home the bird feeders we had given my dad for Christmas a year or two ago. And while we were in the garage, with the tools and fishing poles that my father also left behind, we went ahead and took the bird seed containers as well, including the one that contained peanuts in the shell for a little wire snowman feeder.
This morning I saw the birds checking out our empty feeders and I decided I would feed them the peanuts. In my exuberance to feed the birds, I remembered the little squirrels who are hungry, and threw a couple of handfuls of the peanuts on the ground in the garden. Arthur, who was accompanying me in my works of generosity for nature’s creatures, immediately snagged a peanut and ran off with it.
At first I was worried, confusing peanuts for chocolate momentarily and trying to remember if Arthur was allergic to peanuts. By the time he returned to grab a second peanut, having devoured the first one shell and all, I realized that if Arthur could eat peanut-butter, which he can, he should be able to eat peanuts.
Then a nagging thought occurred to me, how old were those peanuts anyway? And the old girl scout song, Found a Peanut, in which someone finds a peanut, cracks it open, finds it is rotten, eats it anyway, and ends up getting sick and then dying, from decades ago came back to haunt me. By now Arthur has returned for at least a third, and possibly fourth peanut.
I crack one open. It is moldy.
I grab all the peanuts I can find on the ground and throw them away. I empty the bird feeder of peanuts.
I think Arthur’s stomach will reject the moldy peanuts he ate if they are a problem and he will likely throw up.
But he’s just a little dog.
So I call the vet.
Three hours and $94 later, I pick Arthur back up from the animal hospital where his system has been chemically purged, then chemically calmed down again. Except for a shaved area on his right front leg that they used for the IV, Arthur does not seem any worse for the wear.
But his long-overdue haircut scheduled for tomorrow will have to wait.
What kind of responsible pet owner would deliberately traumatize the little guy two days in a row?
I was excited when Mark surprised me with an Audubon BirdCam for Christmas. Now I could see what was going on outside when I wasn’t watching.
As you may know, beginning December 2, the months of December and January were difficult months for me as I tried to help manage our parents’ illnesses and moves to other living facilities. I was gone a lot, stopping home for brief pit stops, a change of clothes, a good night’s sleep. Under normal circumstances, given an exciting gift like the BirdCam, I would have immediately rushed outside and set it up. But these weren’t normal circumstances, so you’ll understand that I didn’t get my BirdCam set up outside until January 3rd.
Under normal circumstances, I would have been checking the BirdCam for new photos daily. As it was, I left it up outside and didn’t give it a second thought until February 11th, when I went out to retrieve the stunning photos of birds that I was sure my new BirdCam had recorded in my absence.
I thought I’d share my first results using the BirdCam with you in the slide show below.
One thing you will notice right away is that the BirdCam did an excellent job of recording Mark, in various states of dress, filling the bird feeders throughout the weeks. You might also notice he was accompanied by Arthur at times who kept watch. You can see other wildlife, even an occasional bird or two, the best shots being of the squirrel that attempted to sneak its way up the pole. And you undoubtedly noticed the fine up close shot the BirdCam got of my red purse when I retrieved the photos.
Here is a cropped and enlarged photo of what may be a hawk in flight—the pride and joy of my first attempt with the BirdCam.
Clearly, the BirdCam is not idiot-proof and I suspect I could profit from taking a close look at the instruction manual.
However, if I ever need to see what Mark is up to outside, I have the equipment to do it.
I first noticed one from inside my house as I looked out the window. I thought it was a piece of trash in the yard, a small white balled-up piece of paper perhaps. I ignored it, hoping it would leave the same way it came, maybe on a gust of wind.
Then earlier this week when I was trying to photograph the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds of the trees that are coloring our view in a 360 degree theatre sort of way, I noticed more than one little white blot on our now overgrown grass and realized they were rather large mushrooms.
I discarded my immediate concern for a little white dog who frequents the yard as I quickly remembered the little creature is a picky eater and won’t even eat his dog food unless I am in the kitchen with him.
I feel fairly certain he never snacks on anything that grows outside. And why should he when he has a bag full of diced cooked chicken in the freezer?
Once my fear of poison sprouting from the yard subsided, my thoughts turned more scientific. Why do I have mushrooms in my yard? I wondered. So I googled that exact question and got quite a few hits. I went with the one from Scotts.com because I think they know a lot about yards. According to Scotts.com you can blame the occurrence of mushrooms on “the right mix of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and organic material in the soil.”
“Mushrooms are fungi, or rather, the reproductive part of fungi that live in the soil. Most of the time, the fungi just stay hidden, breaking down organic material. But, when conditions are right, they burst forth, like desert flowers blooming after a rain. Mushrooms spread spores into the air and then go away when the sun comes out or the soil dries up,” Scotts.com
If you’re so inclined, you can try to reduce the eruption of mushrooms by decreasing the shade in problem areas, increasing the ground drainage, removing old tree stumps, and promptly removing pet waste.
I found a picture of our mushrooms at AmericanMushrooms.com. They are called the Shaggy Mane mushroom, are very common, and reportedly have a really nice flavor. I haven’t tried them. I still firmly adhere to the rule that if you don’t know for sure what something is, don’t eat it.
Some people intentionally grow mushrooms. If you want to know how, you might find Julia’s post from last year at Wordsxo, Mushrooms in the Middle, informative and entertaining.
Of course, I don’t need to go to all the bother that Julia details in her post. I’ve got a little white animal apparently spreading more than enough organic matter throughout the yard to sprout all the Shaggy Mane mushrooms we could possibly desire—another reason I’m not ever likely to eat these mushrooms.
There’s wild animals in those them flowers.
The wind is brisk. It chills the early May morning air and bends the tall grasses bordering dense fields of lavender clover.
Ducks are slow to wake
at water’s edge.
But the geese are ready to start the day.
A little house sparrow already hunts for food.
And an American Coot is out on the water.
Nature’s garden paints a picture in lavenders, white, and yellows.
A robin turns her head to watch me pass.
Another finds a worm.
While red-winged blackbirds
guard the fields
from tops of trees
A juvenile learns his trade.
High in the sky birds chases a hawk
Eventually driving it to the ground.
The wind flips leaves on a young oak tree, bends the reeds, and ripples the water.
Geese with their goslings head for the water.
A robin scavenges a dried, stiff worm from the walk, keeping her eyes on the little white dog
who merely watches.
The man and the dog both stand and watch.
The dog-walker making it possible for me to share this walk with you.
Photos taken at the Voice of America Park – Butler County, Ohio