Silently, steadily I waited for my passerine friends to return to their snacking, my seat becoming damp and chilled. My neck ached and the lens wobbled, so I lowered my Nikon, fortunately. For in that unguarded moment my eye was caught by the imperceptible movement among the vines beneath the siskin snack shop. Stealthily I resumed my photographer’s yoga pose, a teeny-tiny path framed in my viewfinder. AH! From the the oak leaf-blanketed vinca emerged a soft gray cylindrical body, with barely a trace of eye or ear. This pink limbed critter has probably been living among the rocks at lawn’s edge all summer. It is only now, as I notice all of fall’s colors, that my mole lends her colors to my landscape palette.
Autumn heralds color changes; we all anticipate the breathtaking beauty of deciduous maples, oaks and aspen. If we are observant, we will also notice the rich colors birds sport after their fall molts. Adding to the seasonal surprise is the variation in the birds visiting our lawns and feeders. Here I captured my most recent irruption: Pine Siskins!
CONTESTANT NUMBER THREE: This year I noticed some spectacular color among the ever-green needles of the White Pines. Interior shards of gold, the old needles clung in brilliant contrast to the forest colored new growth. Just days later the needles dropped, carpeting the ground in tawny pine tags.
John Pierson Minor was born in 1791 in Middlesex, New Jersey, the eldest child of Abia and Margaret Pierson (Pearson) Minor. The couple moved their family to the wilds of Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1796, and there John Pierson grew up and prospered.
A veteran of the War of 1812 he began his family in 1816 with Hannah McClelland. They had two boys, Abia and Robert, before she died. John P. then married Isabella McClelland and together they had Hannah, Mary Ann, Margaret, Rebecca, Samuel Pierson, Francis Marion, Isabelle, Sarah Ellen, and Frances Caroline. John P. Minor was a cattle drover, a farmer, a dry goods store entrepenuer, and in his later years a cattle dealer. Recognizing the land as the asset of his century, John P. purchased hundreds of acres around his home farm in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in addition to hundreds of acres in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Much of this land was passed on to his offspring; the rest was sold as seemed prudent. John P. was a Democrat throughout the Civil War, supporting the reunion of the country but opposing the abolition of slavery. He lived out his later years in the home of his middle son, Francis Marion and Mary Jane Gwynn Minor with their children, John Pierson, Olfred, Sarah Priscilla and baby Robert (b. 1869). He died at home in 1874.
This portrait of my great-great-great-grandfather was taken near the end of his life by Greene County photographer, Thomas W. Rogers of Public Square, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
As spring struggles to break winter’s grasp, I find myself spending far too much time wiping dog paws and mopping floors.
Mutter, mutter, mutter.
Occasionally I take a hike up my stairs and stop in admiration: defying the swirling snowflakes, a Mourning Dove takes its turn sitting the nest, incubating the first brood of the year in my gutter. I can’t mutter anymore. Nope, got to stop my fussing at nature and model these gray bundles of hope. Just what eggs have I been incubating this year? Are any close to hatching?
1) The readings for my Civil War course are close to completion; within the week I will listen to the last two lectures . I have any number of questions popping into my head that will stimulate some very interesting family history interpretations–just in time for the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War observances. It’s gonna be a good four years, folks.
2) I have steadily made my way through the treasure trove of the Minor Papers. Can’t say I am close to finishing the annotation and storage project, but I have seen the bottom of more than one pile. Progress is a good thing!
3) I have been on one field trip–Washington, DC!!!! YAY! And thoroughly enjoyed the Civil War exhibit at the National Archives and the tour of Robert E. Lee’s estate which overlooks Arlington National Cemetery. Both visits supplemented my Civil War study while getting me out in the Cherry Blossom Festival. THAT is my idea of a successful field trip!
So, though I feel the residual of winter blahs I have to admit to some eternal tug of hope right now. Spring will come with its blossoms and mud, with its fledglings and song. And I will have taken some good steps toward hatching my own plans and goals.