Images & recipes © Christine Mercer-Vernon unless noted otherwise. Please play nice when sharing and give proper credit and link backs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Please don't eat the mushrooms.

It's that time of year when our yard becomes a mushroom sanctuary.

I have a thing for mushrooms. Not eating them, they taste like fungus to me, and not in a good way, but for photographing, drawing and painting them, most definitely.

Here's a small sampling of the mushrooms growing in our yard and just how pretty decay can be.

All images © christine mercer-vernon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The year of the butterfly...

I swear this is the year of the butterfly for us.

We've never found so many caterpillars before.

Last Monday I made my HIIT class go outside to run. Returning back to the fitness room we climb a flight of outside steps and go back in through an emergency exit, right there on the rusted metal railing was hanging this little ( about 3/4" long ) chrysalis…

A few days later, after teaching, I decided we would bring it home, where we attached it to one of our old chrysalis sticks.

I couldn't figure out what it was so we just decided to wait it out.

Yesterday morning, while I was packing to come home from yet another girls weekend, I got a frantic call from the jelly bean for the location of our wire hermit crab/butterfly detainee cage.

Apparently, this little chrysalis had emerged and the butterfly was flying around the kitchen window.

My poor HE, I forgot to tell him we had a chrysalis waiting to eclose.  And considering he knew I'd want to see and identify it, he patiently and careful captured it.

Turns out we had a beautiful Common Buckeye. Read more about them HERE and HERE.

Gorgeous little butterfly!

We see them often, but rarely can get close as they flutter away very quickly.

When we released it, it flew right up and sat on our roof for a very long time.

Pretty fun way to end a great weekend.

I've a few more days of frantic workload to catch up on then more relaxed times are ahead.

I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random things: whoa nelly

It's crazy-dreary here.

As much as we don't need any more rain, I'd take some to knock a few commitments out of my schedule.

I'm currently in lockdown insane work mode. Been working on a crazy fast turn book project of 25 chapters of art that morphed into two more projects of art to accompany the main project. It's all on a as fast as humanely possible turn around to meet a printer date.

I've been working 24/7 for weeks, but the end is near. I've some lovely posts and recipes to get up once things wrap up.

but first I'm headed out of town for a quickie weekend away with the girls to decompress!

I can't wait!

School pick up line is moving gotta get the jelly bean....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Poor Pennsylvania...

Wild fires are raging in Texas.

Human error caused power outages in California.


But here in North and South Central Pennsylvania, we've been ravaged by rain, flash floods and river flooding.

While Wilkes-Barre and Pittston are getting the bulk of the national news coverage, the damage is more widespread.

from a farm at the bottom of our hill

Locally, we were pretty lucky. York mostly dealt with flash flooding from small creeks and streams, albeit the most extensive flash flooding I have ever seen in the is area. The damage and debris from the flash floods is still overwhelming as I drive through areas I see daily.

Here's Emig Park (photos from a previous visit are here), at the bottom of our hill that the Jelly Bean and I were just at on Friday and spend a lot of time at:

Bridge Before
Bridge After
Playground Before
Playground After

Two miles from our house, down the hill, right alongside a very small branch of Kreutz Creek (and by small, I mean it's usually a trickle), sits a small Mobile Home Park. With heavy rains they experience slight swelling from the creek, that usually fills a small field in front.

As I drove by the other day, I was saddened to see that over half the park is gone.  Gone, as in, their mobile homes were completely destroyed and all that was left behind was the foundations.

The road is narrow as was filled with vehicles and people standing and staring in disbelief. I cried for them. It's a very sad situation. I refuse to photograph situations like these, although there was a photographer that did, I will not post those photos nor a link to them.

Points along the Susquehanna River are flooded now. Front Street and low lying sections of Harrisburg are full of water. It's very sad.

The river here is a mere 15 minute drive from our house, yesterday the Jelly Bean and I visited Sam Lewis park to get a high view of the swelling river.

click for larger view
It was muddy and churning and moving fast, but too far for my little camera to photograph well.

As sad as I am for my local community, upstate is in far worse condition. My two sisters, stepbrother and wife, and many, many friends are dealing with collapsed bridges and roads, houses and cabins that were completely destroyed, as well as homes with significant losses and damage.

It's heartbreaking to see the photos they are posting.

My sister, who lives in S. Williamsport, whose job had her out assessing roads and bridge conditions at the height of the flooding sent these photos.

SR 180 Westbound by On Ramp, yes that is a ramp

Slabtown Bridge

sagging bridge, up near Williamsport
collapsed roadway, up near Williamsport

up near Williamsport
My other sister sent these photos of my nieces paternal grandfather's house and nearby road. Heartbreakingly, everything washed out of the house, but miraculously, his son's ashes, were found still within the house.

Orangeville, PA
R487 over Fishing Creek in Orangeville
Standing on the Bridge… what's left of the road
Sullivan County has been hit just as hard, which is where I lived from age 10. I'm waiting on some photos to post from that area. Travel up there is difficult with so many damaged roads and bridges.

Keep in mind, that I am posting these photos so that people can be aware of the damage and hardship that is being faced upstate.

Even locally, the damage in areas along creeks and the river is extensive, and sadly, there has been loss of life from the flash floods.

This has been a very difficult blow to many Pennsylvanians. The clean and up and recovery is going to be long and extensive.

Please keep them in your thoughts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've never seen anything like this.

The insane amount of rain that has been falling here is overwhelming.

It started last weekend with hurricane Irene drenching our area.

This week it's remnants of Lee (Katia is offshore) and who knows what else.

It's been this weird stream of precipitation flowing directly over us and areas north.

The flooding is severe.  They're saying rivers are going to crest at levels comparable to the levels this area saw from Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

Yesterday, I made it home from taking the jelly bean to the doctors as roads were flooding.

This was my last obstacle a half mile from home at 10:30 am.

As the day went on, Kreutz Creek, which winds it's way all over around us burst from it's banks and started flooding all the roads below our house. Lucky we live up a big hill on one side of a small valley.

Here's some photos, but you can see better one's here. All these are roads I take to the jelly beans school. So thankful she was home yesterday.

photo credit:  unknown
This photo above is the intersection I get gas at regularly and is just a few miles from home.

Schools are cancelled.

We have just a few snow days built into the schedule, and they will most likely be used this week.

Everything is very surreal.

But even more devastating than our flooding here, is the water levels in Dushore and other small towns in Sullivan County (located upstate PA, where many of my friends still reside).

[update: Sullivan County is in a state of emergency and the National Guard is there doing rescues. Many of my friends have been displaced from their homes.]

We moved to Dushore when I was 10 and my sisters were born and raised there. My mother still owns the house we grew up in, although she doesn't currently live up there.

It's heartbreaking to see the photos come in and recognize the places I know so well, but can barely recognize with all the water.

photo credit: brittany serafini 
photo credit: brittany serafini
photo credit: unknown

photo credit: brittany serafini
photo credit: brittany serafini

Hillsgrove, PA  photo credit: unknown 

Sonestown, PA  photo credit: unknown
My sister lives in Benton, PA, also upstate and posted these photos as the town flooded yesterday.

photo credit: stephanie mercer

photo credit: stephanie mercer

photo credit: stephanie mercer
There's been water rescues and evacuations in low lying areas and our area is preparing for more flooding.

This is crazy.

I've never seen anything like this.

I'm sad for those directly affected by the flooding.


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