Grand Views

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

Click me for the first post of this series, “Burgeoning Forest .”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Two Snags

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

I found these snags surrounded and, at a distance, hidden by the burgeoning Brock-Harvey forest preserve here in the Finger Lakes.

As with burgeon (see yesterday’s blog post), the word “snag” has a long history from a forested northern region of the planet, though it hales from Scandinavian languages rather than Old English and Old German. As a noun “snag” is something with a point and a body long enough to cause inconvenience, the point catching on anything handy. As a verb “snag” is to become inconvenienced by a projecting body.

In forestry, a snag is any trunk of a dead tree. Commonly, a tree top breaks off leaving a jagged point which possibly can become an inconvenience. For birds, an upright dead tree is a blessing, perfect for homemaking.

Fallen, the snag is still a snag and also a home first for fungus. When the work of the fungus is done, the resulting mound is perfect for growing new trees.

Click me for the next post from this forest preserve, “Grand Views.”

References
snag definitions are from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Burgeoning Forest

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve on an early May morning

There is a word to describe the first growth of spring, rare in a way as having grown within the English/French languages without roots from either Greek or Latin, wholly suitable to a forest people. The first growth of spring so impressive it has words of its own: burgeon.

Both as a noun, burgeon the bud itself, and a verb; to burgeon, as in to burst forth. Burgeoning: the process of the act itself.

Click me for another post from this forest preserve.

References
burgeon/burgeoning definitions from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve

first look

On September 14, 2013, the Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve was dedicated protecting 48 acrea of open meadow, transitional meadow, mixed hardwood forest, a special environmental protection zone and the Finger Lakes Trail.  Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve, and all land as far as the eye can see from there, was part of the Military Tract of Central New York, 28 townships given classical Greek and Roman names, each township 100 lots of 600 acres each, approved by the U.S. Congress 1799.  Here, the township was Ulysses, encompassing the southern end of Cayuga Lake and surrounding lands.  Thus, the city of Ithaca and Hector Street winding up from the valley passing below our home.

This land and several other military tracts were purchased by Samuel Harvey.  He then gave he lands to his sons including this farm to Silas Harvey, the great-great-great-great grandfather of Megan Barber who led the dedication ceremony of the forest preserve.  Megan’s great-grandmother Martha Harvey married Fred Bock and lived on this land used for dairy farming for over 150 years. 

The preserve exceeded my expectations for great upland views.

View from Shelter across the valley of Enfield Creek, the same that flows over Lucifer Falls of Treman State Park

Brock-Click me for another Brock-Harvey Forest Preserve post, “Burgeoning Forest.”

References

The background on the land was taken from a posting on the preserve and from Wikipedia, “Military Tract of Central New York.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Underground Railroad

Autumn Wonder

We have often travelled Lower Creek Road as an alternate route to visit my son and his family who live in Freeville, a village named for the activity of the Underground Railroad. After noticing this sign in passing for years, this week we stopped on a glorious autumn morning to capture it. I had packed the Sony Alpha 700 dslr for just such an opportunity.

Just off the road, under a maple tree in full autumn color (yellow), ground covered with fallen leaves (brown) on a fine early October morning, the sign reads, “New York, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, HOME OF WILLIAM HANFORD AND WIFE ALTHA C. TODD, WHO SHELTERED FUGITIVE SLAVES ON THE WAY TO CANADA AND FREEDOM, STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT 1932”. These dark blue background, bright yellow letter signed are found throughout this region and much appreciated.

An added plus for me is the acceptance of both photographs by Getty Istock. Click this link to view a selection of my Getty photography in and around Ithaca, New York.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Thin Crescent with McGraw Tower, Venus and Star

pre-dawn sky event

Here are two photographs taken about the same time, 6:30 am, October 18, 2017, companions to the photograph shared earlier this week.

The moon rises later each day, so these shots include a larger disk closer to Cornell University.  Both components, the crescent and earth-glow, were dimmer this morning.    In each photograph Jenny McGraw Tower is visible.

Crescent, McjGraw Tower, Regulus, Venus
The star is Regulus, the brightest in the constellation Leo, close below the moon.  I don’t know the star close to Venus.

Here the tower is slightly to the right of the crescent, the arch of Schoellkopf stadium further right.  Among the trees on left, is the baleful red glow of Bradford Hall.

Cresent, McGraw Tower, Regulus
Click for another view of McGraw Tower from my Online gallery.

The tower is outlined by the lights of Uris library, presumably filled with early rising students.

The light of Regulus (“small king”),  below and to the right, is a composite of four stars moving together through space.  The position of Regulus on the path in the sky of the moon, planets and asteroids (called the ecliptic) leads to the occultation of the star by the disks of the moon and, less regularly, the planets and asteroids.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Thin Crescent Bowl filled with Earthglow

pre-dawn sky event

A thin crescent bowl filled with earthglow floating above the dawn attended by Venus, Mars, Virgo.

Thin Crescent with Planets, Stars, Dawn

This was the view from Ithaca, New York at the start of dawn this morning of Tuesday, October 17, 2017.  Mars is next to the moon, the stars of the constellation Virgo scattered around, Venus is the bright object below.  We had a bright, clear sky not unusual for September and October.

Want more? Click the link for my Online Gallery

In the city, an arch of Schoellkopf Stadium on the Cornell University campus.  Cornell is on east hill.  We live on west hill, across the valley.  It is quiet on west hill, away from the students.

Earlier this week the crescent was in the constellation Leo where the bright limb occulted the bright star Regulus, to reappeared from behind the dark limb, a brilliant spectacle that happened after dawn for New York.  It was cloudy, as usual, on October 14.

When I woke, the moon was shining through the trees, still full of just turning leaves. The crescent turned, cup like, above the horizon, to cradle the dark orb glowing from the reflected light of our earth. I did not recognize Mars, the disk was less red than usual. Research revealed the moon had two planets in seeming attendance. I also learned that, when the horns point right the moon is waning, moving toward a new, or un-illuminated, moon. When the phase moved from new it is also a crescent with horns pointing left.

This morning was a fortunate gift, I had never contemplated the moon in quite this form before.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blessed Lights

9/11 Remembrance

I choose to remember September 11, 2001 with the IPhone 7 video of September sunlight shining through clear water, set to the music “Blessing.”

Click on thenWatch on YouTube to open a new tab and a better viewing experience.

The post header is sunlight shining through the clear water of Reavis
Creek, Superstition Wilderness, Arizona.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All rights Reserved

New Neighbors

Manufactured Home Installed Next Door, September 2017

When Pam and I made Westwood Knoll our home in 2011, to the north, across the street, was an empty wooded lot that has since been subdivided into three of the last home sites in Ithaca. This summer, the corner lot was razed of all its trees, the lovely mature cherry, sycamore, ash, maple reduced to stumps to be cut up and carted away. There was a positive in that the lot was overgrown and unsightly, but every spring the upper reaches were masses of blooms and young green leaves.

In a heavy rain on September 5th, 2017 the two parts, call them “modules”, were delivered, and then sat until September 7th to be assembled in one day. The process itself was interesting to witness and, while being otherwise occupied, I came out now and then to document the progress.

Here are my photographs. What do you think? Please leave comments.

The Foundation
The foundation installation took a week to construct. It started with, literally, blocks of styrofoam held together with plastic and assembled by hand, like a child’s block set. There is an 8 inch gap in between filled with concrete. There was NO rebar used. bolts were inserted for attaching the modules.
How Module Two  was Hauled
Module Two was delivered on wheels and moved into position by this semi.
Module Two, the house next door
Module Two will eventually face the opposite direction. That will be the rear door. This is our swimming pool, I use garden hoses to siphon excess rainwater.
Construction Worker??
Most of the workers were dressed like this, casually, no protection for feet or head. We were concerned with this. No one was injured this day, as far as we know.
Another Construction Worker
The worker is standing on a board on which the crane wheels will rest.
Crane Boom End and Hooks
Crane Boom End with hooks in transport configuration. These are attached to the modules for positioning over and lowering onto the foundation.
A supervisor
This fellow arrived to take pictures from that smart phone.
Tracked Loader
A versatile tracked loader used throughout the foundation construction and module installation.
Worker and Hooks
A worker prepares the hooks for use. No head protection was a concern to us.
Support Blocks
Yellow blocks of metal used to support the crane.. A railing of Module One is above the truck, to left.
Hooks Prepared for Use
The red hook is ready.
Hooks ready to go.
The hooks hang free, ready to use.
Module One
This is where Module One was dumped on the side of the road on September 5th, two days before installation.
Module One and Construction Worker
We are looking here over the edge of our patio and landscaped yard to the site of module one, pre-installation, a worker approaching.
Module Two
The first step was to extricate module two from the mud and haul it up the street. A construction worker foreground, the boom of crane beyond.
Positioning Module Two
The semi backed Module Two into position, the crane boom and hooks loom.
The Company Responsible
The workers were considerate of our lawn. There was minimal damage. The modules installed this day looks nothing like this image.
Module Two Attached and Ready
From here Module Two will be lifted onto the foundation.
Workers Prepare Foundation.
Workers prepare foundation to receive Module Two while the unit is readied.
Module Two Lifted.
I see only the black hook is in use.
Another View of Module Two
Another View of Module Two with worker. That is the bottom of our driveway.
Module One with Construction Materials
Module One was delivered with construction materials inside.
Module One with Carrier and workers.
The porch and entry door of Module One with worker and rope. The worker needs to negotiate the carrier.
Pulling Module One Around
A 180 degree turn orients Module One to Module Two. The porch overhangs the foundation.

Positioning module one over foundation.

Worker Stands in Module Two
A worker observes from the interior of Module Two. Here is a closer view of the wire harness.

Final positioning of the module to form a whole structure.

Finished.
The roof panels are here lifted to a peak. The shingles and such in place for installation. These are the materials delivered inside Module One.

Update: since this post was first published September 2017 the original owners moved to the southern USA after selling the property at an inflated price to a young Cornell professor.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Smoke Tree, late June

Three species of the genus Cotinus, commonly called “Smoke Tree,”in the family Anacardiaceae exist in North America, Europe and Asia. Ours is more like a shrub with numerous, long branches. Flowers with profuse filaments in clusters resembling whiffs of smoke. Here we see the flower filaments, interspersed with small drupes, each containing a single seed.

The post header, and these photographs were made from the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon Lens EF 50mm f/1.2L USM stabilized with a Manfrotto 468ZMZ tripod with hydrostatic head. Late afternoons, evenings the tree is shaded by a hemlock hedge (line of trees running north/south) this is the shade here. This Canonn dslr excels in color rendition. The flower masses are a burgundy wine color, the leaves have a purple tinge. I do not directly fertilize, as the plant is said to do best with unfertile soil though the surrounding cedars do get fertilizer stakes.

Eight AM a following morning I followed up with a handheld session using a Sony DSLR-Alpha700, Sony Lens DT 18-200 mm F3.5-6.5. Took these two shots with a lower ISO and tweaked the images in Lightroom, reducing the exposure. The flower smoky effect is well captured, the color in bright sunlight is not as wine-like as in shade.

By the time I proceeded to macros, a morning breeze kicked up, handled by upping the ISO to 3200 for a faster shutter speed to stop the movement. The bright sun helped with this.

Fertilized flowers develop into fruit stalks with radiating filaments, the yellow dots are the drupes (fleshy bodies surrounding a single seed). Fresh leaves are purple, turning to dark green with age. The leaves are as unusual as the flowers: aromatic, simple and round on long stalks. Autumn, the leaves turn a stunning bright red-orange, a scarlet shade. In winter some stalks die off, new growth appears from the roots in spring.

References

“The Botanical Garden Vol 1 Trees and Shrubs”, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, Buffalo NY, 2000, p 361

Wikipedia, “Smoke Tree”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved