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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.


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.


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.


Koyote Hill : A Grin and Bear it Growing Season

Wildflowers Life

Crawford County, PAWhat is Going On



The Trout Lily

The small trout lilies started to bloom in the woodland areas of northwestern Pennsylvania the last week of April, 2013. Their blossoms are a sure sign of spring and warmer weather ( plants know more than the late winter groundhog). These amazing, perennial  native plants also can be used in those shady and wet spots around the house. For some more insights into these woodland plants, Trout Lily.



The same week that the trout lily emerge, so did the woodland leeks, or ramps. Leeks have many uses in the kitchen and add a certain zest to many foods such as ham, potato soup, and chopped with hot dogs or sausage or in a salad. The wild leeks are nothing like the domesticated, garden or supermarket varieties. More information, Leeks.


For some of the springtime events in Crawford County in northwestern Pennsylvania, GoCrawford

Learn about a Forest Conference by the Foundation for Sustainable Forest – Property Management

The Union City Dam is a well kept Secret


So much for an early spring as once predicted, but spring has finally arrived !



“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, 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.


Great Maple Syrup Recipes:

Maple Raspberry Vinaigrettecontributed by Janet Woods, Hurry Hill Maple Farm

Hurry Hill Farm

11380 Fry Road

Edinboro, PA  16412


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


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


Brush Piles

Jack Wax – Maple Syrup Candy



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

Anyone who wants to contribute more than just the comment section, can send text to 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:

Why Koyote? – From: KoyoteHill..stop by for a visit.

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:


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.
Read More

The Future Lies in the Ice Age
Ice Age Woolly Mammoths were quite common throughout North America and new research and theories into their extinction might hold valuable clues for the future of mankind and the planet.
Read More

PA250002Halloween with the Lily Family

October is the month to plant garlic in many northern and cooler regions. It is one of the most important crops, and one of the most ancient crops ever cultivated, for the home backyard gardener. It certainly adds a zing to many meals and snacks and it’s plain healthy. Homegrown garlic is like homegrown tomatoes, the taste is far superior.

The ancient world was familiar with garlic from China to Egypt. In North America, so were the First Peoples. The Algonquin Nation had a name for garlic, “chicagaoua” which grew along the shorelines of Lake Michigan. Eventually, it became the name for a settlement in the early days, Chicago.

History aside, all the current evidence from hundreds of research studies points towards the age old wisdom that the herb is just plain and simply, healthy. It is widely believed garlic improves overall heart health, contains anti-bacterial and and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is flavorful, healthy and it is also easy to grow.

Garlic bulbs are readily available from numerous online gardening Websites. In almost all regions, garlic can be purchased from local farms and roadside stands. Local garlic is already adapted to the general weather and soil conditions of your neighborhood or region.

Supermarket garlic is usually shipped from California which supplies 90 percent of the US market. It is generally the “soft neck” variety which is more conducive to commercial growing conditions. China also does a brisk garlic trade; 75 percent of the world’s garlic originates in China.

Garlic planted in October, or even into November depending on the weather, will be some of the first green to appear in the spring after the snows melt. Then on April 19, with the garlic growing for taste and health, you can celebrate National Garlic Day. Besides, the vampires and all sorts of other nasty things will stay away if the garlic is planted before Halloween.


Asparagus is another healthy vegetable which is flavorful, easy to grow, and can save some money in the kitchen. October is a great time to get an asparagus bed ready for the spring planting.

Asparagus is a perennial which can produce for decades. Since asparagus can be around for a long time, it is important to get the soil area for the asparagus in top notch condition before it is planted in the spring.

Asparagus does best in full sun, well drained, loamy soil, with sufficient compost. Asparagus roots can be planted about as early as the soil can be worked in the spring. Seeds can be started indoors and placed in the new asparagus area when the danger of a heavy killing frost has past in the spring.

Asparagus is a spring vegetable but the harvest season can be extended to last well into summer, more information on extended season can be found here. Plan on about twenty plants per person for fresh eating and later storage for table use later.

Because asparagus can be harvested throughout the summer and for decades, it is a smart choice for the home vegetable gardener. It is easy to grow and is not bothered much by any pests.

The Lily Family

Both garlic and asparagus are members of a huge family of plant, the Lily Family. Other members include: onions, shallots, yams, lilies, yucca, aloe,tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Steelhead Journey in Lake Erie
Steelhead fishing is an exciting sport for many anglers during the colder autumn months when the fish journey back to the Lake Erie tributaries.