Connecticut Hill Retrospective

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Connecticut Hill Autumn

dramatic sky

Connecticut Hill from Harvey Hill Road on a late October afternoon. Newfield of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Autumn Fields, Finger Lakes

Hay Bales!!

The land opens up on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, east, V

Looking east

This the fifth and final of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position.

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The peak is named, in the English language, Slievenaglogh. It is so strange as it’s not English, being instead a transliteration of the Irish name “Sliabh na gCloch.” This is “Rock Mountain” translated literally. Slievenaglogh is carried to the townland, a long thin swath of land being the peak and associated ridge-line.

The rocks up there are called “gabbro,” a type of magma slowly cooled under ground. Slievenaglog, Slieve Foy across the valley, and the Morne mountains all formed within volcano magma chamber(s) of the Paleocene, 66 million years ago, a time associated with extensive volcanism and the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that gave rise to the current age.

Our younger cousin has been up there, optimistically we left it for a later trip.

Click for another interesting post and story from County Louth.

Here is a slide show of this landscape series.

A link with interesting reading on County Lo uth geology.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast, IV

View of Slieve Foy

This the fourth of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position.

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The distant ridge, Slieve Foy, is the site of a mythic battle from the epic “The Cattle Raid of Cooley” (Irish: Táin Bó Cúailnge).

Pam and I did a circuit of the island, returning to the home of my Mom’s first cousin. Our last full day on Ireland a cousin took us on the Tain Trail, over Maeve’s Gap of Slieve Foy and into Carlingford town.

Our route is partly visible to the right of the ridge, hidden in low clouds.

Click for another interesting post and story from the Cooley Peninsula.

Here is a slide show of this landscape series.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast, II & III

Rural Scenery

These are the second and third of a series of landscape photographs taken from this position. See the previous post for the first.

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I visited here early morning of the Monday Pam and I embarked on a trip around the island of Ireland.

Arrived the previous Saturday when, after some sites between Dublin airport and the Cooley Peninsula, we met my Mom’s first cousin who had invited us for a visit. We had a grand time meeting them.

The ruin in this view is on the slopes of the peak. Some of these ruins are former homes with the replacement nearby. This appears to be an abandoned farm.

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Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Slievenaglogh View, northeast I

It goes on and on and on

Slievenaglogh is the name of a peak on the Cooley Peninsula of County Louth, Ireland near to the birthplace of my Mom, Proleek, a few townlands to the west.

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On the northeast slope of Slievenaglogh peak (Irish: Sliabh na gCloch) on the road from Mullaghattin Townland to Riverstown.

Here we look northeast from the Slievenaglogh Townland, the valley between Slieve Foy and Slievenaglogh peaks.

The view includes Little River, Ballycoly Townland and Castletown River.

Adjacent is a sheep pasture with a farm ruin behind the yellow flowered gorse (whin bush, scientific name Ulex).

Slieve Foy is the far ridge lost in clouds. Early morning, late May 2014.

Click for an interesting post and story from the Cooley Peninsula.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bench Sitting Nature Watch

a monarch in steady progress south

On a sunny autumn morning we set out, my soon to be three grandson Sam and I, to the Lime Hollow Nature Center near Cortland for an adventure.  For the first time I brought a newly purchased iPhone 7 instead of the usual slr camera.  The phone can be carried in a pocket and is simpler to us, to allow me to give full attention to Sam.

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At the start is a large, today sunlit, field with an “art trail.”  There are various anthropomorphic transformations on the trees and a very large sculpture of a blue face.  Here is a tree from another place near here, to give you an idea.

PumpkinFarmTreeFace2012

I do not point out the tree faces to Sam.  His Mom likes to say he enjoys being frightened and, when the blue face came into view, he turned back and said, “home.”  Sam was mildly anxious, so I carried him and tried to turn him up the trail away from the face.  He turned to keep an eye on it while I assured him it could not move.  This and a climb up a 230 foot hill were the only times he didn’t walk the half mile to a open grassy knoll with a bench.

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There we sat for 30 minutes, still and watching, Sam and I talked about our sightings:
1. The sunlit sky of clouds, from a milky blue towards the north to, overhead, a bright robins egg blue.
2. A circling hawk, shadow crossing over us.
3. One blue jay in a maple turning red, loudly calling over and over.
4. A little while after a second jay, landing in a tree turned yellow, drawn in and giving answer.
5. A monarch butterfly’s steady progress south. Such a strong gliding path.
6. A yellow butterfly who did not leave us, fluttering round and round.
7. Four honking Canadian geese flying north east, turned to check out a nearby pond, the returned to the original heading.
8. The sound of wind through the trees, listening to the sound made by each tree.
9. The late season golden rod, now dried gray.
10. A distant chittering red squirrel.
11. Distant peeper frogs in the swamps at the foot of the hill.

Sam did not want to leave the bench, eventually we headed on to the pond the geese checked out.

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I used the “panoramic” feature of the iPhone 7 for this shot. On the hill we were sheltered by trees and bushes from the steady northeast wind. Here, on a bench by the pond, that direction was open to the wind. The sun kept us warm. It was clear why the geese did not land, the water surface was deserted, filled only by rippling wind driven waves.

On our walk back we sat on a bench on the edge of the art trail field, the blue face out of sight. A woman, the only other person encountered, emerged from one of the trails cut from the brush, camera in hand. She was collecting images for a Cortland Historical Society publication and asked to take our photograph. “OK,”, I said and gave the story of living here for 25 years in the house on Fall Creek where my son’s family lives now. She replied, “My daughter is in San Francisco. We don’t know who will have our house when we are gone.”

Click me for “Celestial Geese with two haiku by Issa”.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Peter’s Mesa Sunrise/Sunset

Can You Find the Eye of the Needle?

I was a member of an expedition to Peter’s Mesa March 2008, a place central to Superstition Wilderness treasure legends. This is a sunset view, looking south, southwest. Light raking across the desolation and Miner’s Needle creates a fascinating spectacle. Ancient volcanism, apparent throughout the Superstition Wilderness, is here seen in the texture, form and type of rock as well as the mineral deposits. Miner’s Needle, like Weaver’s Needle (not seen in this view), are eroded volcanic summits. Look closely for the “eye” of Miner’s Needle, easier seen in the cropped heading photograph. To this day, hopeful prospectors search for gold nuggets.

There is one form of volcanism present today as an eerie rumble or hiss, similar to an enormous distant jet engine heard now and then during our two days on the mesa, louder and closer than an overhead plane could produce. The view includes many notable Sonoran Desert plants. Many young Saguaro cactus are in the form of green poles. Catching the dramatic light, on the ridge is a tall single flower of an Agave, known as the “Century Plant” it flowers once in a long life and dies.

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Peters Mesa is named after “Old Pete” Gottfried Petrasch, father of Hermann and Rhiney Petrasch. Old Pete worked for Jim Bark for awhile in the 1890s doing odd jobs. Irregular employment gave Pete and Sons time to s searched for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the years following the death of the source of the legend, the “Dutchman” Jacob Waltz. The Petrasches were one of the first groups to search for the mine, and gold in general. They covered almost the entire Superstition range in their combined searches.

On our first day on the mesa, we came across the remains of one of these camps, on the top of Squaw Canyon, a deplorable junk pile discarded by searchers, presumably disappointed, too lazy to cart it out. That March, we were lucky to find the remnants of winter rains in the form of a meager trickle at the bottom of a shallow draw off Peter’s Mesa trail up from La Barge canyon. We had a good time of it until the trip was cut short by a storm front and torrential rains. We were back in Apache Junction before they hit.


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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Visit to Proleek Dolmen

Romance of Stones

I have an update to my post “Proleek, Grandfather McCardle’s home” where we explored the site of the boyhood home of my grandfather, Peter McCardle, on great grandfather James McCardle’s Proleek farm. April 2018 an email arrived from the brother of the owner of the house across the road.  He recognized the property from the blog photography and reached out to introduce himself and share information. His own genealogical research suggested we shared a great aunt.  We now work together to define this connection.

Our tour of Ireland was bookended by a visit to the farm site and, located little more than a kilometer away, a 5,000+ year old portal tomb, the last site Pam and I visited. We parked at the hotel / golf course built around the monuments.  There is no fee to visit the site, number 476 on the list of Republic of Ireland National Monuments (Irish: Séadchomhartha Náisiúnta), protected at the level of guardianship by the National Monuments Act of 1930.  The townland is named after the dolmen.  The anglicized “Proleek” is derived from the Irish for “bruising rock”, as in a millstone. The grave is attributed in folklore to the resting place of the Scotch Giant, Para Buidhe More Mahac Seoidin, who came to challenge Fin Mac Coole.  

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Ballymascanlon House Hotel is on the R173, on the left heading from the M1 towards Jenkinstown.  Path to the monument is marked here and there and requires attention.  It helps to understand the general location of the monument on the property.  The parking lot and hotel are on the southern end, the monument is on the north end.

The path leads through the hotel grounds….

….and golf course…

…and you first encounter the megalithic Gallery Grave of a type named “wedge shaped.”

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The 22 foot long tomb gallery supported stories of a giant burial. Pam poses for a sense of scale.

These are the only ancient monuments in Ireland were a stray golf ball may be encountered.

A short way ahead is the dolmen, or portal tomb. The informational placard is in English and Gaelic.  There is an illustration of the stones covered with earth with a stone façade.

Some describe the formation as a giant mushroom with warts. The posting feature image is of the same aspect as the next photograph, with me for scale.

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We are surrounded on three sides by the golf course.  The “entrance” to the tomb, through the two upright portal stones, faces northwest toward Slieve Gullion, a mountain with its own Neolithic burial site next to a lake on the summit.  The mountain and the flat land, such as Proleek township, feature in the story of how the Irish hero Cú Chulainn came by his name.  To learn more, click this link for “On the Tain Way” the first of my posting that includes some stories of the hero.

The fifth hole.

We had a beautiful day, so I took time to capture all aspects.  The hedge is the northern property border.

The “warts” are stones. There is a local saying that success in placing three stones on top will give a wish or lead to marriage within the year.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved