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The ending week of February was much more like spring in northwestern Pennsylvania. Although in many areas nearby, people heard the frogs and toads chirping and singing, I didn’t here. And it will likely be another week or so following the brutal snow and wind of March. 

FrogWatch 2017 is already gearing up for its second season in northwestern Pennsylvania.. Sponsored by the Pymatuning Lab of Ecology (PLE) located in Linesville, the citizens-scientist program is a national effort to document the the frog and toad populations in wetland areas.

“We’ve already had one organizational meeting with volunteers which was held at the Woodcock Creek Nature Center in late February,” Christopher Davis, the assistant director at PLE said. “We’ll conduct a second training program for volunteers at the Ecology Lab on Monday March 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The volunteers will be trained how to recognize the calling sounds of various species of frogs and toads which inhabit the region’s waterways and wetlands.”

The PLE Lab is located at 13142 Hartstown Road in Linesville.

According to Davis, volunteers can choose any particular wetland they wish to monitor and are asked to visit the site at least two times a week throughout the breeding season from March through August. This is the second year for the program in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Zoo and the national FrogWatch program.

Volunteers have already been out listening for frogs and toads since the late February warm-up in the Linesville area near the Ohio border.

“I was amazed that we heard the northern leopard frogs and spring peepers and other species  during the last full week of February,” Davis said. “It’s highly unusual to hear them this early.”

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Thanks to Chris Davis who shared this photo of his young son taken on a warm February night Frog Watching.

According to Davis, there is a lack of data regarding the local frog and toad population in the region.

“The information collected by the volunteers will be entered into a database so that we can better understand and monitor the populations. The program is open to anyone who is interested on helping protect our native wildlife.”

Davis estimates that the region is home to nine or ten different species.

“We just don’t know for sure,” he said. “There could be more. The information is very important for us so we can better monitor the populations and take action when and where needed.”

This year will bring some additional ears to the program. According to Davis, he is piloting a new program with staff and students from two regional schools, the Conneaut Area Senior High School and Northwestern High School in Albion.

“We will be using bioacoustic recording devices with the  students to record all of the species in a particular area,” he said. “The students will be trained as FrogWatch volunteers, mastering the protocol and learning the calls of our local frogs and toads Students will come up with an aspect of the protocol they want to test. For example, is three minutes of listening enough time or perhaps it should be extended to six minutes. Students will use advanced software to visualize the recordings and rapidly identify what species are calling.”

If the pilot program is successful this year, Davis would like to extend an open invitation to any school which would like to participate.

The March 6 training session at the PLE Lab is free and open to anyone interested, there are no fees or prior registration required. However, Davis would like to know how many volunteers to expect. He can be reached at 814-720-6613 or email at chd47@pitt.edu

More information on the national FrogWatch can be found at https://www.aza.org/frogwatch

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Tomatoes, once a wild weed discovered just a few centuries ago, are one of the most popular vegetables today in countless home gardens. Discovered by early explorers in Central America during colonization, perhaps around 1520 or so, tomatoes have captivated and amazed  and fed a good portion of the world’s population ever since.

The tomato pictured above has no name except what I call it, Koyote  Brandywine. I have grown this variety for years and years. At the Spartansburg Community Fair one year, I met an Amish man and he won first place for his tomatoes. He told me his family has grown it for generations and gave me a couple to take home. He told me it was an heirloom Brandywine.

The tomatoes were delicious, the best I had ever eaten. I was fortunate enough to take and save some of the seeds to store for the next year. Ever since, it has been the most reliable tomato variety, ripening early and throughout the season. Perhaps, it seems strange to talk about tomatoes this late in the growing season, but it is the time to also save seeds. More towards the end of this post. First a couple basics.

Today, as in the past, there are no secret formulas or magic chants to growing a successful tomato harvest, just some basic tips. A tomato can be either determinate or indeterminate. Determinate means simply that most of the tomatoes of this variety ripen more or less at the same time. These varieties come in handy when a bumper crop is needed for preserving. Indeterminate simply means the variety will produce throughout the growing season. These varieties are great for fresh table use, sale, and if enough are planted, there are still plenty for preserving.

The second tomato tip to remember has more recent origins dating to 1949 when the W. Atlee Burpee company introduced the first hybrid tomato the, “Big Boy Hybrid”. This was the beginning of what could be dubbed the “tomato revolution”. Hundreds of new varieties have appeared ever since. A basic  hybrid is simply a cross between two tomato varieties; breeders select the best qualities of each. While there are many advantages to hybrids, the seeds will not grow true to the parent plant. The next generation will revert back to one or the other parent plant, or develop into a unique and unknown variety.

Before 1949, all tomatoes were, in general, heirlooms. Heirloom varieties which were grown year after year have same generally predictable results. They were grown for a variety of reasons: flavor, disease resistance, storage, preservation. The heirloom seeds could be saved; and it was a safe bet that the following year’s crop would be the same. The heirlooms, like many “wild plants” became adjusted to particular soil conditions and environmental conditions over the generations.

Saving the seed from your fav tomato plant is actually pretty easy. Besides the named Koyote Brandywine, I also grow a variety from Seed Savers Exchange called Striped Roman. It is a fantastic paste tomato. I also save those seeds every year. What’s really, really, important is to label the seeds from the get go so varieties don’t get mixed up.

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Usually I seed save the Koyote Brandywine Tomato first (it ripens earlier anyway), about the same time as when the garlic is ready to dig. Choose the best and scoop the seeds out. They will be encased in a gel. I usually have a pint jar, place the seeds and the surrounding gel in the jar and fill with water. Shake the jar whenever you think about it. In four days or so, all of the good tomato, seeds will have sunk to the bottom of the jar. Pour the liquid and the seeds into a screener and be sure to wash or rinse off the seeds under running water. Place the cleaned seeds on a glass plate to dry, avoid using paper towels, the seeds will stick to the paper and it’s a mess.

After a few days, the seeds should be dry. I place mine in a glass baby jar and then store in a cool dry spot until ready to plant in the spring. There are plenty of Websites which have much the same information which anyone can google search. But, if you discover an extraordinary tomato this harvest season, make sure it isn’t a hybrid and learn as much as possible from the grower. Start seed saving.

There are no hidden secrets to growing a great tomato harvest; just a few common sense steps based on plant knowledge; know your seed, know your soil, weed, mulch, stake and experiment with other techniques. Tomatoes, after all, are wild plants, and since 1520 or so they have surprised and captivated gardeners, some for a lifetime.

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Discover more and Explore, Koyote Hill

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August opens an important and colorful season as the goldenrods turn fields and roadside ditches brilliant yellow. The important goldenrods attract a huge variety of insects, including many honey bees and native bees; the nectar and pollen provides a winter food supply and for some. the last meals before winter arrives. While bees are common on the goldenrod flowers, the plant is important to a host of others, including moths and butterflies, flies, caterpillars, ambush bugs, lacewings and an assortment of beetles. One of the more popular insects to be seen around the goldenrod is the praying mantis. The Praying Mantis will lay eggs on the goldenrod so that when they hatch, the young will have plenty eat. Much the same is true with the Gall Fly. Gall Flies live entirely on the goldenrod plant and the female injects her eggs into the stem forming what is called the gall, a round ball seen on the stem. At times, woodpeckers can be seen on the gall, knocking though to get a meal of the developing larvae. There is even a unique crab spider called the Goldenrod Spider. While it is not harmful to humans, it does strike it’s prey, often much larger, with a powerful venom. The Goldenrod Spider does not make a web to catch it’s prey but rather waits in the yellow flowers for a meal. This spider is also unusual in that it can change it’s color, shifting back and forth between white and yellow.

Goldenrods and wild purple asters bloom during September and October and the display is the best, free flower show intown.

Goldenrods and wild purple asters bloom during September and October and the display is the best, free flower show intown.

There are over dozens of known species of goldenrod in North America which often bloom with the wild and regal purple asters. Together, along with other brilliant wildflowers in bloom, the display is one of the best, free flower shows available. While the vast majority of goldenrod flowers are shades yellows and golds, there is one species with white flowers,Solidago bicolor. Goldenrods are abundant throughout much of North America and Europe. While they are often blamed for fall allergies, it is most likely the ragweed, with a lighter, wind blown, pollen, which is the culprit. In folk medicine, the common goldenrod is most used to brew a tea. It is reputed to help urinary tract infections, kidney stones and to heal wounds. It’s Latin name, solidago, means to make whole,  or to strengthen. The Solidago Family actually rules the autumn months. In many regions of Appalachia, a tea brewed from the leaves, called “Blue Mountain Tea”, the tea is drank to alleviate exhaustion and to help treat cold and flu symptoms. The tea made from the leaves has a somewhat anise flavor. The medicinal aspects of the goldenrod were also known to many Native American peoples, some who called it sun medicine. The goldenrod flower has long been associated with good fortune in folklore. It was believed that wearing flower would result in meeting a true love the following day. Another folklore claims, that a baby bathed in goldenrod leaves would grow up to have a sunny disposition. Thomas Edison was thinking about more than a sunny disposition when he was experimenting with the plant. Edison believed the goldenrod could be a good source for domestic rubber. Edison, along with Henry Ford and Henry Firestone, tested 17,000 plants and found the goldenrod plant to be the best suited for home grown rubber production. The testing was done at the Edison Botanic Research Corporation located in Fort Myers, Florida. A crossbred goldenrod plant developed there grew to an amazing 12 feet tall and was believed to contain 12 percent rubber. Some test tires, made from rubber extracted from the goldenrod plant, were made for the Model T Fords. The goldenrod rubber project was discontinued when synthetic rubber was discovered. Those yellow fields in the late summer and early autumn countryside have a lot of history, both commercial and medicinal; they are vital to the environment, and provide one of the best flower show around.

More About August Happenings

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For Immediate Release

Tyler Built, an American company, located in Belsena Mills, PA, announced  the availability of a new, inovative and technological device, which will provide High Speed Internet Service to millions of underserved rural Americans as well as many people throughout the global community.

The small sized device (about the size of a match box), is inexpensive and the convenient installation of the device, will provide high speed internet access to virtually anywhere in the world

. “The driving force for this innovation is to provide persons of all ages access to the learning resources, educational resource, business opportunities and other vital tools needed by our society,” Jeffery Charles Tyler, the inventor, visionary and engineer at Tyler Built, said. “This technology greatly improves the total information that can be transmitted over small wires and other medium starting in the range of MHz to infinity. By itself and combined with other transmission devices, it will change the way the internet is accessed the way we know it today. “

Customer Impact Greatly Improved

Many students, businessmen and women, and other customers in rural USA are under-served with old “dial up” internet service or other expensive and somewhat unreliable services.

“I have spent eight years developing this inexpensive and easily installed device,” Tyler said. “This electronic/regenerator can accept any transmission signal, digital or analogue and repeat, reform, and regenerate that signal for long distance high speed communications. The device can be easily installed into existing telephone lines or other outside cabling

Jeffrey Tyler, Engineer, Visionary, Inventor

“Innovation that connects people with technologies”

Tyler BuiltSM

“Patent Pending” 62069889 Under 35 U.S.C. 111, 35 U.S.C. 371.

Skype: Tyler_Built

Doing what they said could not be done.

For More Information:

tyler_built@yahoo.com

VoIP: 813-523-0247

Cell: 727-262-1991

Penn State University EET

St Petersburg College

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Jeffrey C Tyler

Mobile: (727) 262-1991

Business: (813) 523-0247

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreytyler1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYIhaCYCYqE

More information and other good news for rural America Discover Koyote Hill

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The wet conditions in northwestern Pennsylvania over the last month have created some unique problems for home gardeners and commercial farmers. One of the more unknown problems is the lack of nectar and pollen for the bees. According to Kirk Johnson, the president of the Northwestern PA Beekeepers Asociation, the heavy rains are keeping the bees in their hives. When they are able to venture out, much of the pollen and nectar has been washed out of the flowers.

I am not so sure the pollen and nectar is missing from the Bee Plant or more commonly known as Borage. The star shaped, sky flowers open facing the ground, not facing towards the sky.  Borage is a very useful garden herb for many reasons. And high on the list is that it attracts bees, lots of bees.

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Bees are important in any backyard garden since they help increase pollination and eventually the home harvest. Borage is also useful in the kitchen and is a respected medicinal herb packed with many good vitamins and minerals.

The herb is hardy, carefree and re-seeds itself every spring. For more information on this important herb, Borage.

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The garlic scapes began to twist and turn at the end of June and soon became ready to cut and use in the kitchen. The scapes are the first garlic harvest following last year’s garlic planting. For more information and benefits of garlic scapes, click First Harvest.

Links:

Koyote Hill : A Grin and Bear it Growing Season

Wildflowers Life

Crawford County, PAWhat is Going On

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“Mother Nature is in charge,” Jan Woods (pictured above) kept repeating during a recent conversation. Days earlier she had won some notable ribbons for her maple syrup at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, January 5 – 12. Woods operates Hurry Hill Maple Farm and Museum in Edinboro.

“It seems as if we are tapping the trees earlier and earlier every year,” she said. “Last year was a very abbreviated sap run because the weather stayed above freezing during the night hours and the buds on the trees were swelling. At the Farm Show everyone I talked with had the same story, the 2012 season ended on March 12 because of the warm temperatures.”

Laura Dengler also produces maple syrup and maple products at her sugar shack, How Sweet It Is. Like Woods, she attended the State Farm Show and was impressed with the crowds this year.

“I was just amazed this year at the number of people who attended,” she said.

While Dengler didn’t win any ribbons this year, she was instrumental in helping the local Maple Producers Association win a first place for their maple exhibit.

“This was the second year in a row, we took first place,” she said.

Like Woods, Dengler said the sap appears to be running earlier and earlier every year. This year some trees in the region were tapped the week of the State Farm Show because of the spring-like weather conditions. However, since then Mother Nature returned with a vengeance with cold and snow.

The NW PA Maple Association will also sponsor an Open House Taste and Tour weekend March 16 and 17 this year. For a list of the participating sugar shacks, www.pamaple.org. The Edinboro Historical Society in conjunction with the Taste and Tour weekend will sponsor the Edinboro Maple Festival. It will be held at the Edinboro Fire Hall.

Support local agriculture, buy local.

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Great Maple Syrup Recipes:

Maple Raspberry Vinaigrettecontributed by Janet Woods, Hurry Hill Maple Farm

Hurry Hill Farm

11380 Fry Road

Edinboro, PA  16412

814-734-1358

hurryhill@velocity.net

The Recipe
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup red raspberry vinegar
½ tablespoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Store in the refrigerator.
When ready to use, let the mixture come to room temperature. Shake
well before using.
Wonderful on fresh green salad, garden leaf lettuce or cucumbers,
grape tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Maple Thanksgiving Yamscontributed by Laura Dengler – How Sweet It Is Sugar Shack

How Sweet It Is

19868 Greenleaf Dr.

Saegertown, PA  16433

814-763-2777

maplecandy@windstream.net

The Recipe
Layer one
6 cups of fresh yams cooked and mashed
1 cup of maple Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together and spread in baking dish.

Layer 2
1/2 cup of flour
1 cup of maple sugar
1 cup of pecans (optional)
1/2 stick of butter
Mix together and sprinkle on top of layer 1
Bake @ 350 for 35 minutes.

Links to other rural news:

Koyote Hill

Go Crawford

Subnivia

Brush Piles

Jack Wax – Maple Syrup Candy

 

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Two important events this week: we honor those killed and those still suffering from the September 11, 2001 attacks, their families, friends and loved ones. Tuesday is a day of reflection and pause.

 

On Thursday, September 13, the PA Supreme Court begins to hear arguments on the controversial PA Voter ID laws. The court is evenly divided between three Republicans and three Democrats. The current law could earse hundreds of thousands of votes in the upcoming November elections.

Why the law was actually adopted by the Pennsylvania Republicans in both the House and the Senate under the leadership of Gov. Tom Corbett is foggy and unclear;  it would appear there were political calculations involved. Read, GOP wants to help Romney.  Several other Republican states have also adopted the Voter Suppression laws.

For assistance in helping to understand the law call 866-Our-Vote or type the number in a google search engine. More information on the requirements, here.

A good background read on the constitutionality of the PA Voter Suppression Law from The Atlanti

Health Care Etch a Sketch

Blogs to Read

Koyote Hill

Crawford County News

The Republican National Convention ended this week. It was delayed for a day over concerns about Hurricane Issac, a storm which some Republican pundits, such as “run at the mouth” Rush Limbaugh,  blamed on Obama. It also featured a major speech by VP nominee Paul Ryan which was generally panned by nearly everyone for it’s lack of factual statements. Mitt Romney’s speech was, well, expected and boorish and lacking all sorts of detail (something like his tax returns).

Fact Check Romney’s convention speech.

Then, there was the peanut throwing incident. Peanuts were thrown at a CNN employee with the taunts that the peanuts were animal feed. The peanut throwers were removed from the convention hall but not identified (at least not yet). Perhaps someday one of them will write a for-profit book like the former Navy Seal who wrote a book about the raid which killed bin Laden. He’s in a lot of trouble with military officials, who may file charges.
Then, there was also 82 year old Clint Eastwood who famously now scolded an empty chair next to the podium. His performance was rather bizarre.
Their convention was also rocked by angry Ron Paul supporters some of whom stormed out of the convention hall in protest over rule changes in delegate selection.
But overall, the convention was rather ho-hum, boring and typical GOP. Sure they cheered and clapped, the balloons dropped and the band played. But it was a weak show for one of the major political groups in the world’s leading democracy.
I was going to vote for Obama before the convention and now I am convinced he is the best choice for the USA and the world. The democrats are going to have to try real hard to have a convention as lack luster and dumb as the GOP. Thoughts, comments viewpoints?

Some Issues to Think About

Some people I am familiar with insist that Obama is a socialist and/or a Marxist. Yet, these Republican Tea Party folk can not define what constitutes a socialist or a Marxist. Why use words which cannot be defined or even refined? These same folks also insist that the American Civil War was more about states rights and not so much slavery. They will then proceed to bash the Democratic Party for it’s support of the Klan 100 years ago. Here’s a few points to think about.

Abe Lincoln – A Socialist and a Republican

Republicans and the Klan Today

White Supremacist Stampede

 

Leave a comment or express a viewpoint. Just keep it adult and mature and Thanks. Visit KoyoteHill for some non-political news and have a great Labor Day weekend.

Welcome and feel free to join in the discussion. Mature adult and intelligent comments questions will be posted, others will be blocked.

The intention here is for a free, independent discussion on the political discussion of our day. We can all learn from each other’s insights, visions and experiences. The discussion are wide open, on whatever topic from Marxism and Socialism to the 1% or local PA news or Erie County Government. (just no abusive behavior, name calling and other dumb stuff)

This blog is linked to koyotehill@blogspot.com

Anyone who wants to contribute more than just the comment section, can send text to spinksgreg@gmail.com We just need to keep it @ 400 words or so.

Here goes –

Climate Change

As most of us already know, the Republican Party’s National Convention is about to open in Tampa. It seems almost certain that Hurricane Issac will likely disrupt the big party and that has been the focus of the news reports. Unfortunately, those in Haiti and other poor islands will be somewhat forgotten with all the attention on the GOP and Tampa.

Romney, who will soon be the official nominee of the GOP along with Paul Ryan, recently revealed an energy policy which is centered on more fossil fuels, more drilling in our coastal areas and land surfaces. Big oil companies do not have the best reputation when it comes to the environment. Where are the controls?

Besides, a vast majority of scientists claim that the use of fossil fuels is directly related to climate change/global warming. The energy plan,as proposed by Romney/Ryan, appears to disregard alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. Personally, I think it’s a backward step and a pat on the back for Big Oil and Gas.

The USA has been under a severe drought ever since spring and experienced the hottest July ever.  The drought could very possibly effect food prices, the environment and the quality of our lives and the lives of those to follow us. It should be noted that, while locally we had the heat, we also had the rains, which helped the local corn and soybean crops.

Locally, last winter was almost non-existent. Hardly, a person can recall such a timid winter; ask any maple sugar producer. The season was earlier than ever and was short lived because of the balmy temperatures.  Wonder about this upcoming winter.

What do you think, fact or fairy tale. or somewhere in between?

Some of the sources used: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/mitt-romney-energy-plan_n_1826681.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012

http://news.yahoo.com/romney-reveals-energy-policy-doesnt-mention-climate-change-215404921.html

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/23/159926765/romney-energy-plan-touts-oil-gas-coal-production

Why Koyote? – From: KoyoteHill..stop by for a visit. koyotehill@blogspot.com

Coyotes were important animals in Native American folklore: “In Native American folklore, the coyote is a “trickster” character who participated in the creation of the world and gave names to many of the other creatures and things of the earth. Sometimes the Coyote character was so mischievous and involved in his own trickery that he would trick himself. According to Trickster myths, this is why there are so many mistakes in the way things are in the world (Sams 89). In the Native way of thinking, Coyote medicine is in the world to teach us to laugh at ourselves and not take things too seriously. There are thousands of stories about Coyote, the Trickster.

“Coyote is playful and fun loving and is usually found to the South on the Medicine Wheel. A Navajo friend says he watched a Coyote suddenly jump up in the air for no apparent purpose except for the fun of it and then continue on the previous path across the desert. Coyote reminds us to bring the happy childlike quality into our adult lives.” from:http://www.sedonaexperiences.com/AnimalSymbolism.htm

 

About seven years, I got a dog, the best I have ever owned and called him “Yahataw” – it is the Lakota Sioux word for Coyote. Yaw, for short, brings “happy childlike quality into our adult lives” and teaches us “to laugh at ourselves and not take things to seriously”.

It has been a fun summer and catching frogs is always a fun pass time and listening to the local coyotes yelp. Sometimes it is really important to be a child again, enjoy our world and laugh at yourself. Thanks, koyote.

 

 

 

Jack Wax: The Real Sign of Spring
Jack wax is one of the popular maple syrup candies which will be made throughout northwestern Pennsylvania as winter begins to wane; it is a sure sign of approaching spring weather.
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