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Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010


On Nature and Wildlife in a Small
Corner of Lancaster County, PA

Lancaster County.jpg

As always, for those of you who stop by here to read political commentary, you may want to skip this particular entry -- a brief personal diversion from discussing the sorry state of the nation/world. I would like to share a little nature/homestead update with those of you who are familiar with our new home and surroundings. More political commentary will follow in a week or so. :) ...

Rick and I have been living in our new home for about two and a half years now. Outside, we have been working, as time permits, on ‘building’ a lawn and several gardens, during the spring and summer months. One of the objectives in doing so has been to keep the area as ‘natural’ as possible. As a result, when we constructed our ‘water diversion project’ last year (a wall of sorts which we constructed in order to prevent water that runs down the side of our 200’-long driveway from flowing into our front yard), the stones that we used to do so are stones that we brought out from the woods, generally on a hand truck or our large wheel barrow.

front landscape 1a.jpg
click for larger pic

We also brought out buckets of much smaller stones to serve as a water ‘channel’ at the beginning of the diversion.

click for larger pic

We put in place, alongside the driveway, a life-size bronze horse sculpture entitled ‘The Yearling’, which was cast at an American foundry from a mold of the original sculpture, created during the Civil War era by P. J. MenĂ©. We also enclosed that in a low semi-circular stone wall.


This spring, we also began constructing a stone border between the garden areas and the woods – a Maginot Line of sorts, between forest and civilization. :) It is only one stone wide in most parts now, but will grow to be much wider as we discover more large stones, and muster the incentive to move them. :)


We are also in the process of planting evergreens on the side of the house, and constructing a semi-elliptical pathway (again made of stones – all flat-topped ones for this project -- hauled in from the woods) from our side door to the back yard. The trees we just planted on the perimeter of the pathway are young and immature (as are all of the plants in the gardens), but will grow to 10’-12’ over the next few years, and what appears to be patchy planting should fill in nicely.
click for larger pic

We have discovered, in doing all of this, that there is little more satisfying than working in the soil, and respecting nature. Watching projects take shape, and plants begin to grow and thrive, brings a unique and ‘natural’ kind of peace of mind that cannot be obtained any other way.




On a related note ... the wildlife we see year 'round in this part of the country is astounding -- from (many) deer, to wild turkeys, red and grey fox, coyotes, groundhogs, rabbits, opossums, squirrels, toads, turtles, chipmunks, and dozens of varieties of birds.

Deer 4 8-10-07_1.jpg

We erected a bluebird house in the backyard last autumn, and a male and female set up housekeeping there this spring. Neither of us had ever seen a bluebird before, and we became ecstatic upon first realizing that there was activity in the house. The pair has since hatched several young, who have left the nest. We are hoping that some or all of them return to nest again.


(This is the male bluebird atop the house during the nest building. Apologies for the grainy quality of the photo – it was taken through a screened window.)


We have a hummingbird feeder situated just beyond the front porch, and a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds visits the feeder dozens of times a day. I fill it with a cup of nectar (four parts water to one part sugar) once a week, and they drink it dry. They’re courageoous little critters, too. When they initially found the feeder, we were sitting on the porch bench, they flew in front of us, hovered not a foot from our faces, checking us out, and then, once they had decided we meant them no harm, they began to feed regularly. Yet, when someone unfamiliar sits on the porch, they will invariably check that new person out, via the aforementioned ‘hover procedure’, before feeding in his presence. :) Uncanny.

One of the miniature peach trees that we have in a front garden had maybe two dozen peaches on it a week ago. The following day, the number was cut in half, yet there were no peaches lying on the ground under the tree. That afternoon, I was able to snap a pic of the peach-thief, caught red-handed. :)


This is what we saw tonight as we opened the front door to take Bert for her evening walk. The three of us walked by, and the toad remained in place on the edge of the step. Brave amphibian he.


Two weeks ago, a box turtle dug a big hole in the shade under one of our larger garden plants and laid eggs, covering the nest with soil. The eggs should take several months to hatch, so I cannot stake up my plant for fear of piercing one of the underground eggs with a stake.

Just last week, a sparrow hatched five babies in a nest in the branches of a small evergreen near our front porch, so I cannot weed anywhere near that tree, for fear of frightening her as she flits from the woods to the nest feeding them.

Who says you need a mortgage crisis to have someone else take over your house and property? :)

And then there are the family dogs ... :)

Ernie for Photo Album 2a.jpg


Thanks for allowing me to share a small piece of 'our corner of the country' with you all. Back to political commentary shortly ...

~ joanie


3timesalady said...

I so enjoy your "diversions" Joanie. The pictures are lovely and so are your descriptions!

Carly Weaver said...

You two did a very good job on the water diversion wall. It looks like a pro did it.

My sister put up a bluebird house years ago. I know they have to be out in the open, at least a certain distance from any trees, and a certain height, etc. She had never seen a bluebird either, but within a month there were a pair there. That's hard to believe. How do they find the house????

Anonymous said...

You made a big mistake showing your little heaven on earth. Readers of this blog will be heading to Lancaster County in search of your oasis. It is just beautiful and I sure envy you.

smithy said...

You live in a beautiful spot Joanie, that's made even more beautiful by the hard work that you and Rick are doing.

john galt said...

You shouldn't be involved with politics or news at all. You should just lock yourselves away in your little hideaway and let the world crumble. It's hopeless anyway. That's what I'd do. ;)

charles fitzwater said...

Thanks for posting this. You have a beautiful place.

What breeds of dogs do you have?

Anonymous said...

Bluebirds are only found in the Americas- no other continent. Sparrows sometimes kill the adult bluebirds and steal their eggs. I'm glad that didn't happen to yours, especially since you have sparrows nesting nearby.

Max Shapiro said...

I really like the photos and stories. Thank you, Joanie.

kathymlynczak said...

I love the horse sculpture Joanie! And your tales of all of the wildlife, from deer to toads! You have a very beautiful place.

stonemason said...

Nicely put together, Joanie. You have done a great job on your place, and the animals seem to approve too. ;)

marcus aurelius said...

You could have had half a small freezer full of venison and all you shot was a photo? ;)

lori_gmeiner said...

Thank you for this, Joanie! You and Rick obviously appreciate "the finer things in life," as opposed to the ones you can buy with the almighty dollar. You live in a lovely area, full of wildlife and I love that you are using all the natural stones from your woods to do your constructing of pathways and walls.

Brad Zimmerman said...

You and Rick do nice work and you have a beautiful home site.

BTW, what breeds of dogs?

cw-patriot said...

Thanks, all, for the kind comments.


Our dog, Bert, is a Flat-Coated Retriever/Border Collie mix. Mandy's dog, Ernie, is an English Lab/? mix. And Dan's dog, Loki, is anybody's guess. :)

danthemangottschall said...

"And Dan's dog, Loki, is anybody's guess. :)"

He looks to be part pit bull, but mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback. I'm very familiar with both and I see alot of both in him. Pit bulls get a bad wrap. Without being trained to violence, they can be the gentlest, most faithful and affectionate pets. And Ridgebacks are loyal, affectionate and very sensitive.

Nice article, Joanie.

Anonymous said...


Ludwig said...

The horse looks garish in the middle of all that natural beauty.

cheryl gereau said...

Hmmmmm, Ludwig. That all you could find to say about J's descriptions and photos was a "garish" horse comment says more about you than about the horse.

By the way, being a neighbor, I've seen it. It's breathtaking.

carol musselman said...

The bluebirds' instincts are amazing. As you said, there can be none in an area for decades, and then when someone puts a bluebird house up, they appear!