Category: Homewood at Plum Creek

Poison Hemlock Environmental Addendum

Now that I know what it is, I just can’t stop seeing more and more of this invader.  Poison Hemlock is all along Plum Creek down behind Town Hall.  It has spread and will continue to spread.

I also don’t think I have mentioned the other trees that have come down recently along Plum Creek.

Our Grounds Crew will need an army of additional workers and a big increase in their budget if they have any hope for keeping up with the environmental concerns here at Homewood at Plum Creek.

Poison Hemlock

 Even nasty invasive weeds can be pretty, viewed at a distance.  I noticed these growing in the area along Plum Creek.  Some of them are probably ten feet high.  I first thought they were Hogweed, but Seth informed me that they are Poison Hemlock.  It turns out that they are very similar.  Fortunately they are not in an area where our residents are likely to come into contact with them and the State of PA doesn’t require their removal.  Just don’t eat or handle them.

Fighting Nature is Costly

I counted at least 5 different families of Canada Geese feeding between my Villa and the pond yesterday.  Those were just the ones I could easily count from my back porch.  There were many more geese spread all around the pond.

The problem, a big problem, is that the geese are one of, if not the worst, source of the pollution and fertilization of the algae in the pond.  Thanks to the geese poop, we often can’t walk on the paths and sidewalks without getting it all over our shoes.  Also, don’t forget the potential health issues.  The pollution the geese bring to Homewood are one of the major causes of the algae on the pond.  This will cost Homewood a lot to get the pond dredged, and we will get to listen to the noise as they do it, and get to smell the mess as they clean it out.  This assumes that Homewood ever finds a cheap enough bidder to do the work.

Because Canada geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a statute that is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), it is illegal to kill, harass, harm, purchase, or sell Canada geese or to disturb their nests and eggs without a federal permit from the USFWS.

A way to help deter the geese is to create an environment that isn’t as friendly to them; but this is a “catch 22”.  Our residents want to see nice short mowed grass and not native plants, shrubs, and trees growing around the pond, nor the wildlife that they would bring.  Keeping it open around the pond encourages the geese to nest and feed in a safe environment; but, it costs us to pay to keep the grass cut, etc.  The geese love us and multiply.  Then we have to suffer the pollution consequences.  We have to pay to dredge the pond.  It is a vicious cycle that gets costlier and costlier as the years go by, and then the residents complain about the rising costs.

Homewood residents, in my opinion, would be better off if the ponds were converted to natural rain gardens.  By this, I mean to return an area around, and in, the pond to native plants and let them grow up naturally.  The plants would help filter the pollutants from the fertilized lawn areas and prevent them from getting into the pond.  The taller trees growing in the wet lands would also keep the open water areas cooler and shaded thus hindering the growth of algae.  The geese wouldn’t like this since they are then scared of the other wildlife (mink, foxes, raccoons, etc.) hidden among the plants and they wouldn’t be able to freely go from the water to the areas they prefer to graze on.  

And don’t forget the additional birds that the natural areas would support.


While searching for other photography ideas, I have kept up by practicing on flowers when they are available.  I have also been trying out the 16-50mm F2.8 Pentax lens as I ponder whether its silent use and other advantages outweigh its heavy weight or whether I would prefer using a few small prime lenses.

I’m hoping to stop practicing on flowers and work on other types of photography when I figure what that is, so expect some longer periods between posts.

Any Ideas?

There is no challenge in making flower pictures and they are quick to produce (not good since they don’t keep me busy).  As one photographer indicated to me when I asked him what he photographed, he said NOT flowers.  I also don’t like photographing flowers except for the fact that they are available and that I can manipulate them somewhat.  I don’t mind making them occasionally as filler material for my blog; but, I would rather have a longer term, themed project to work on. Something that is more purposeful and meaningful.

Do any of my viewers have any ideas as to what would make a good photo project for me?  Some of my limitations are:  I can’t show identifiable pictures of residents of Homewood, and I don’t want to travel far.  I would also like a project to be suitable for possibly printing in a zine or photo book.

Saturday Morning Walk

Don’t forget to click on any image and then cycle through them all in the larger galley view.

Just a few images as I used my Pentax prime 35mm macro lens.  It is a prefect lens for these kinds of images. Note that I used an aperture of 5.6 for all of these. That seems to give me just barely enough DoF.

Other Photographers at Homewood

 We have a display cabinet on the second floor next to the library where various residents have displayed their collections, etc.  This month it contains printed pictures taken by Jean Shoemaker.  I encourage residents to go by the cabinet and take a look, they are worth it.

I know we have some other residents who have been photographers in the past, and some are still taking pictures, but I haven’t seen their work other than for a few images in the Plum Line.  Maybe Jean’s pictures will encourage others to display their pictures.

I have my blog for displaying my pictures and I also take pictures for publication in the Plum Line.  I also have two books with pictures of Homewood folks in the library.  There is also at least one other book in the library which contains pictures made by residents involved in activities from past years.

Homewood can show pictures of residents involved in activities, etc. for internal uses; but, for privacy reasons I don’t show pictures of residents on my website.  My website has viewers worldwide and there are a growing number of countries and states (including Pennsylvania) which have restrictions on certain images which contain private visual information.