On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

Our weather pattern last week had temperatures ranging from a low of 49° on Thursday July 16 to 90° on Sunday June 19. We had two major downpours for an additional 1.45 inches of rain and are only one inch below the 2014 level for this time in July. Our drought is over for now. My garden sunflowers grew at least a foot, maybe more last week. The squash plants are the most vigorous I have ever seen. Same with the beans.

I plant in rows with plenty of space for all the plants to flourish. I know where to step, but the abundance of foliage is truly amazing. I still need to thin the carrots and beets. Salad anyone? Four types of healthy leaf lettuce offer color and texture variations.

Hose Company No. One Bazaar

Our family went to the Mountaintop Hose Company No. One Bazaar on Sunday July 19. Carl Alber and his Sundance Band were strumming and singing country classics from one of my favorites Johnny Cash. Carl has had his band for more than 30 years. He is a retired Wright Township Police Chief.

The food stands were once again amazing and included pigs in the blanket, pulled pork, burgers and dogs, French fries and for dessert the classic bazaar favorite funnel cakes. I knew many of the volunteers working the food stands from the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. Many are simply “friends and family” of the fire company members.

Dave Hourigan told me he has chaired the bazaar for 33 years and has been the Fire Company president for 30. For Dave, his family, firemen and their family and friends running the bazaar is a lifetime commitment.

The Hose Company Bazaar hosted its popular live auction on Sunday night. I saw many pleased customers coming up from the auction floor in the hose company garage to stash their treasures before taking a stroll through the grounds.

One of my favorites is the Basket Tent. We see Sterling and John Dougherty every year selling the tickets that are deposited in Chinese auction style cans. Last year I won the complete boxed set of Breaking Bad, an AMC show that was very enlightening to me about how methamphetamine is manufactured and sold in the criminal world. This year there were some nice electronic blue tooth speakers, a FitBit, a Bullet, and lots of baskets with cash and lottery tickets.

I came home to write this column on Sunday night so I don’t know if I will get a call again this year.

Sick Bay

Charlie and Patrick Dicus came home sick from Boy Scout camp and after a doctor’s visit and medication from Urgent Care, they were sent to sick bay and could not attend the bazaar. Kate and Maggie Dicus have already had the sickness and they were raring to go to play games, eat ice cream, and have some bazaar supper.

The bazaars are delightful places to talk to neighbors or long lost friends. There are two more on the schedule.

Hobbie Carnival

The Hobbie Carnival is July 31, August 1st and 2nd. It is one of our favorites with lots of delicious homemade food and the richest hand dipped ice cream you’ve ever tasted. The Tractor Pull event starts on Saturday afternoon and goes on to midnight. We loved it last year. The National Tractor Pullers Association sets the rules for the sport, which is enjoyed nationwide.

St. Jude’s Picnic is the largest bazaar event of the year in Mountaintop. Mark your calendar for August 14, 15 and 16 for an amazing spread of ethnic and picnic food. My neighbor Therese Smith is making the Halushki this weekend. She says it ripens in the freezer and is better than fresh. Either way there is a lot to look forward to.

Coyote Siting

I continue to enjoy walking in the Gamelands near my house and have been seeing a variety of wildlife. There are lots of birds singing and plenty of mosquitos for them to eat. The Great Blue Heron in the Beautiful Swamp often stands on a stump and with luck you can see him take flight. Last week I saw a pack of coyotes streak across the trail some distance from me. I had an elevated view and counted at least 6 animals or more. They had pointed ears and at first I thought it might be mountain lions or wolves, but we don’t have wolves in Pennsylvania. One coyote got separated from the pack and took off straight down the trail. I had turned around at my 2-mile mark and was descending the trail and saw the lone coyote circle back and run across the trail to meet his brothers.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission coyotes are canine carnivores and on the whole, Pennsylvania coyotes tend to head in the other direction when they encounter people, or detect that people have entered their home range in the wild. Coyotes are predatory opportunists that prefer to acquire their meals with no more effort than necessary. They are the second largest predator in the state and weigh 30 to 50 pounds. They hunt rodents and larger animals including deer.

I was not afraid of the coyote pack I saw, but I was thrilled to see the animals in the wild.

90 Degrees and Golfing Even though the temperature was

forecast or 90 on Sunday, I played golf at Mount Laurel Golf Club with a good friend. We both had lots of water, but at the end of 18 holes, which we completed in 3 hours and 25 minutes, we were spent. I brought a lunch, which I could barely eat in the heat. Hydration is the most important thing in intense heat. I am happy to enjoy temperatures in the low 80’s or high 70’s.

Mountaintop had its first 90-degree day. I don’t need to play golf on every hot day, but at least once a year is good. We remember how the cold months were so miserable.