My last blog update was on June 21st – the first day of summer. And now we’re in August, and it feels like summer is over. One wonders how July slipped away (Answer: Summer camps mean long work hours and little time for much else.) and why it feels like Summer is over (Answer: The summer camp staff have left and the weather is oddly cool. More on that below.).

Nevertheless, I have collected some pictures and other tidbits since that last post, so here’s a look back.

Weather: late June

In the Laurel Highlands, June was washed away by rains. This was the waterfall on Jacob’s Creek on June 26th:

Jacob's Creek waterfall, June 26thIt hasn’t been that high since Sandy rolled through here last fall. Then the late-June wetness gave way to early July oppressiveness…

Weather: early July

Many of you in the eastern United States may remember the beastly weather about a month ago. This was the source of our discomfort:

Jetstream - July 3, 2013This jet stream map (from the California Regional Weather Server at San Francisco State University) shows a big ‘U’ shape in the center of the country. Winds swept down from Canada over the western states, made a U-turn through Texas, and then brought heat and humidity north from the Gulf of Mexico. From the perspective of those of us in western Pennsylvania, this pattern stayed in place for roughly ten days from June 28 until July 8. Ugh.

Weather: late July

But what a difference a month can make. Who would have thought that we could make it through the last week of July and first week of August without getting into the 80s? This was the forecast on July 24th:

Weather forecast, July 24thNow I’m looking ahead, and we still don’t have any 80s in the picture through August 10th. For someone who doesn’t really like summer all that much, this is great!


Animals

Of course, we always love the forest creatures around here. We’ll start with moths…

The cecropia, imperial, and sphinx moths caught my attention because they were big. And the rosy maple moth looks as if it were colored to indicate that it’s radioactive.

We’ve had two photo-ops with dragonflies. Middle Daughter snapped this awesome close-up of a green darner (I think) on her finger.

Green darnerAnd I captured this twelve-spotted skimmer in our backyard.

Twelve-spotted skimmerAnd then we’ve got a random assortment of other animals: Middle Daughter’s hissing cockroach molted; some baby phoebes showed up; a prionus beetle was looking for some wood to chew on; a crayfish wandered away from its stream; and our cat wanted to go back to school.


Plants

And what would this update be without throwing in some plants? Middle Daughter has been raising sunflowers for the Westmoreland County Fair.

The rhododendron bloomed…

Rhododendron blossomAnd the promise of green and red berries turn into the yumminess of blackberry pie. (Thanks, Ordinary Spouse!)


July fun

Not everything was work in July. We had a reunion with our small group from Illinois…

Small group…and another one with my father’s siblings and their families. The family reunion was followed by the traditional “It’s all downhill from here!” bike excursion on the Great Allegheny Passage. My father and his brothers start at Deal (essentially at the continental divide, so it really is all downhill) and ride to Cumberland. This is the second time I’ve tagged along.

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(The slideshow includes pictures of the Deal (“It’s all downhill from here!”) access point; the riders; me at the Mason-Dixon Line; my flat tire; Mile 0; and lunch at the Crabby Pig.)


Random pictures for grandparents

Since grandparents love pictures of their grandchildren, these are thrown in for fun.

(Middle Daughter spent a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house; underwater pictures of Oldest Daughter and Middle Daughter with MD’s camera; Youngest Daughter came home with quite the prize from the library.)


And so the sun sets on another summer at Laurelville. It’s time for a rest.

Sunset past the Dining Hall

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