Gardening – Garden To Table…Or Mouth

Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on

Operation Green Thumb continues. All be it a small harvest to date. It has been a tasty harvest. We have enjoyed lettuce and spinach greens, radishes, carrots, hot peppers, green and yellow beans, sweet pea pods, fingerling potatoes and cabbage.

Most recently we enjoyed a Sunday lunch of fried cabbage and bacon with a side of sauteed fingerling potatoes.

Fried cabbage with bacon and onion. The cabbage was cut from the stock one day earlier.
The head of cabbage in question from a week or two ago.

Fried cabbage is both easy and tasty. I like to think its pretty healthy too, but well, it is fried and there is the bacon so…

We started with 1/2 lb of chopped bacon bits and fried them until almost crispy, then chopped up 3/4 of white onion and sauteed in the bacon and its grease. Chopped cabbage was added, when the cabbage began to wilt we added 1 tsp Seasoned Salt, 1/4 tsp of Seasoned Pepper and 1/2 tsp of ground garlic. Cooked until the cabbage was al dente. Delicious.

Sauteed fingerling potatoes from our first 90 day bucket of French Fingerlings
Fingerlings fresh out of the bucket on day 90 of growing

Our side dish were these French Fingerling potatoes that we harvested earlier in the week. The recipe was similar to the fried cabbage and bacon dish. Why mess with a winning recipe?

We cleaned the potatoes and sliced them with a mandolin at the number 1 setting. (Shaved) Rinsed them with cold water. Heated a saute pan with avocado oil and 1/4 stick of organic salted butter. Added the shaved potatoes and the 1/4 onion left over from the cabbage dish. Season with 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, 1/8 tsp seasoned pepper and 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Saute for 5 minutes on medium hot heat, flip saute for an additional 5 minutes on medium heat. Equally delicious!

We have tomatoes that are beginning to ripen now. Mostly the Super Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes, but we have harvested the first two of 70 San Marzano tomatoes that are on the plants.

Ripe Super Sweet 100 tomatoes. We keep eating them faster than we can store them. What to do?
Sweet Pea Pods. We were harvesting them a couple of dozen every 3rd day or so, but they’ve slowed down to a dozen every 5 days or so. We eat them fresh off of the vine while working in the garden.

We’ve discovered something very fun, tasty and healthy. It’s referred to as Garden Candy. The pea pods and the cherry tomatoes do not make it into the house or storage. We tend to eat them right off of the plants while we do other garden or yard chores. The peas do not stand a chance, while there is usually 12 to 24 cherry tomatoes in a basket in our garage fridge at any given moment.

The Super Sweet Cherry plants should generate roughly 100 tomatoes per plant. We have 3. I’m estimating that number will come to fruition. It is difficult to know for sure because we keep eating them.

The bonus to all of this is a general knowledge that to date we are doing well. The cucumbers are coming on. There is zucchini beginning to form, the cauliflower is forming too.

And the potatoes. Potatoes should come in droves, well in buckets anyway. We will harvest the larger 5 gallon bucket of fingerling this coming weekend after 100 days of growth. Then 10 days later begin to harvest the Yukon Gold potatoes that mature in the 110 to 120 day time frame.

Our goal for this grand potato bucket experiment is to harvest buckets throughout the maturity range. 90 to 100 days for the fingerlings. 110 to 120 days for the Yukon Gold. If we are unhappy with the size of the spuds, we will harvest a bucket every week to see how much time is optimal.

Two of the four Yukon Gold Potato buckets. They mature in 110 to 120 days. In mid August…let the bounty of potatoes begin!

It should be fun. Is it geeky to think of the garden as fun? We are certainly showing our age. Good for us!

Gardening: This Spud’s For You

Two dozen or so Fingerling Potatoes grown in a 4 gallon water jug. Harvested on day 90.

On April 26, 2021 we published a blog post called “What’s In Your Bucket” that chronicled our attempt to grow Yukon Gold potatoes and Fingerling Potatoes in buckets. The planting was actually on April 24, but it took me two days to get around to writing the blog post.

Four each 5 gallon buckets and two each 4 gallon water jugs were used to plant Yukon Gold potatoes. The fingerlings were planted in one 4 gallon water jug and one 5 gallon bucket.

Potato buckets and water jugs. Our first outdoor plants next to empty raised garden Beds A & B.

Today, 90 days later we harvested the first 4 gallon water jug containing French Fingerlings. Harvest time is estimated between 90 and 100 days. We chose to harvest the small container on the 90th day and will harvest the 5 gallon bucket on the 100th day.

We started with 3 chitted fingerling seeds that became a little more than two dozen harvested potatoes. Good odds.

90 day old French Fingerling potatoes in a 4 gallon water jug. There is a garbage bag wrapped around the jug to keep sunlight away from the fruit. Exposing them to sunlight risks them turning green and becoming poisonous.
The dump. The first potato we see is quite large for a fingerling. Watch the YouTube video and you will hear Beth gasp with delight as the potato is exposed after dumping. It’s quite cute.
R Dub picking through the soil looking for hidden treasures of potato!

Gardening – Succession Planting: Mid Summer

Raised Garden Beds A & B in mid morning shade. The cucumbers made it to the eaves first. Next question: Can I train them to grow sideways or back down the trellis?

It is mid July, mid summer…sigh… R Dub loves hot weather and summer. I will hate to see this one pass us by. But…

Now is the time to begin replacing harvested crops with mid summer loving plants. While looking at the raised garden beds this morning after watering I wondered internally how many plants need to be succeeded.

Here are some great veggies to plant in Mid Summer for Fall harvesting:

CropDays to maturityCold hardiness
Basil30-60Killed by frost
Beets50-60Survives high 20s
Bush Beans45-65Killed by frost
Broccoli50-70Survives light frost
Brussels sprouts90-100The hardiest – down to 20°
Cabbage50-90The hardiest – down to 20°
Cauliflower60-80Survives light frost
Cilantro60-70Survives light frost
Collard greens40-65The hardiest – down to 20°
GarlicHarvest the following JulyWinters over in ground
Green onion60-70Survives high 20s
Kale40-65The hardiest – down to 20°
Kohlrabi50-60Survives light frost
Leaf lettuce40-60Survives light frost
Mustard greens30-40Survives light frost
Peas70-80 (longer than if planted in spring)Survives high 20s
Radishes30-60Dig until soil freezes
Spinach35-45Survives light frost; may overwinter
Swiss chard40-60Survives light frost
Turnips50-60Survives light frost
Courtesy of the UMN Extension Office

We have already sown the following succession plants: Basil, Beets, Cilantro, and Swiss Chard. We are planning to add the following succession plants: Bush Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Peas, and Spinach.

Radishes and carrots was easy. They’ve been plucked from the ground and have left a nice empty spot to fill. However vining plants like beans and peas are a more difficult decision.

Beets have succeeded the carrots in Bed B. One row plants in late June and now a second row sown in mid July. There will be a 3 week stagger between harvest for these rows. Good in our book.
Last of the harvested baby carrots leaving room for one more row of beets. We chose short carrots because they are easier to grow. Hindsight, as they say is 20:20, next time full sized carrots. More juice from the squeeze will be our mantra going forward.
Swiss Chard has just germinated in Bed C where the radishes once were. We will be able to Cut and Come Again this beautiful plants for the remainder of the growing season. Extra credit for noticing that the San Marzano tomatoes are turning color.

We have one cabbage plant that is slightly larger than a softball at the moment. The decision will need to be made when it is roughly twice as big as it is now. Do we cut the head and let a smaller golf ball sized head follow it up or pull out the entire plant a sow another plant in it’s place for a late fall cabbage head. We will have a committee meeting this weekend to decide. In the mean time it’s time to start some cabbage and cauliflower seedlings inside just in case.

This cabbage has been growing fast with its companion parsley. Do we cut the head and regrow a small head behind it, or pull it and start another plant the will grow to full size late in the growing season?

As seen in the first photo of this post one of our cucumber plants has reached the bottom of the eaves. We will need to train the plant to either go sideways or back down the trellis netting. So far, all of the cucumbers are growing near the top of the trellis. R Dub will be harvesting from a ladder soon. Pray for me.

Two of the young cucumbers growing near the eaves at the top of the trellis. Glad we have dill ready to pluck for the canning that awaits us.

Herbs were sown in Bed A, B and C plus in a window sill planter a few weeks ago when the temps started to rise. (Rise by Wisconsin standards anyway.) The basil, dill will be used for canning. The cilantro will be used to make salsa. Rosemary and parsley for cooking.

Basil in Bed A. Probably needs to be thinned. Definitely needs to be pruned. We will need every leaf we can get for canning the San Marzano tomatoes.
Window Box Basil from an earlier video. The pruning worked, it is growing wider, which is good.
Cilantro in Bed A, it will be yummy in salsa!
Parsley has been happy and finding enough sun with its companion cabbage and cauliflower.

It is clear that the peas and beans are done climbing and have slowed down producing. Our next decision: Pull them and sow new seeds ore continue to harvest until completely bare?

Tomatoes at long last are ripening. I’m estimating roughly 200 cherry tomatoes and 70 San Marzano tomatoes. The beef stake will continue to grow fruit until the first hard frost, I’m not hazarding a harvest guess for those. (A couple dozen…maybe.)

Super Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes.
The first of the zucchinis.

Gardening: Cut and Come Again and Cut…

Lettuce cut and come again round two. Just 17 days after the first cut. With luck we should get at least 2 more cuts.
It took barely over 2 weeks to get this sweet lettuce up to cutting height.

The beauty of planting leafy produce is enjoying several regeneration harvests. Our basil produces tasty herb all year long. Almost as dependable for multiple harvests from one planting is lettuce.

In previous blog posts we talked about several early crops that were being harvested first. Radishes were first in and first out and first resown and now are ready to come out again. Once the second round of radishes are out, the succession crop will by Swiss Chard.

Spinach was next. Unfortunately it matured while we were on a 10 day vacation and had began to bolt by the time we returned home. We harvested the leaves, then pulled the plants. Beets are the succession plants where the spinach once grew.

Our peas, beans, and spicy peppers have all produced fruit as well, but there is much more to come from the peppers. The beans will produce much more too. Peas gave us a great first round and are now growing more flowers. Those peas are a sweet treat.

Ah, but lettuce. Lettuce is the succession plant for the lettuce. The term used for multiple harvesting of lettuce is Cut and Come Again. Cut the lettuce 1″ to 2″ above the ground and it will continue to grow. In a mere 17 days after the first cutting it came again and we cut it for the second time today.

For maximum crispness and sweetness it is recommended that lettuce be cut in the morning before the sun and heat wilts them a little.

If the remainder of the summer is mild, and if we do not get an early killer frost, we might get several cuts. That’s a lot of ‘ifs’. Typically one can plan for 4 cuts. We however, are eternal garden optimists.

Stay tuned!

Mates For Life – What is the Awareness?

This pigeon had a difficult time leaving the side of their dead partner last night. It did depart after the sun set, but the image haunted me most of the evening.

So I’m talking to Beth yesterday on the phone (yes we still use our communication devices to talk to each other) when the subject of weather came up. We are Mid westerners after all, so the subject had to come up at some point in the conversation.

She mentioned that there was heavy rain up north, and is it raining here? So I stepped outside of Door 4 at work to see if it is raining here…but instead I see the sight pictured above.

The bird laying down met an unknown to me untimely demise and its mate was standing guard over it. I watched for a while to observe what the live bird was planning to do.

On occasion the live bird would nudge the dead bird with its beak then back off sightly to watch.

I sent this photo to Beth who looked at it and informed me that they are pigeons and pigeons mate for life. We both felt sad for the living bird.

I checked in on the pair from time to time as the evening wore on. Eventually the live bird moved on.

When I returned to work today the carcass was still there, but has since been removed before beginning this post.

According to Wild Bird Watching; pigeons do indeed mate for life. However, there is a caveat. They mate for life as long as both birds are alive. If a pigeon loses a mate, especially a younger pigeon, they will usually find another mate.

According to Wild Bird Watching; “…the surviving bird will nearly always attempt to find a new mate. Some will find new mates in the same nesting season.

Others will forage for food through the breeding season, joining flocks in the fall. Still, others will help feed and raise the young of other pairs, but all will attempt to find a new mate at some time.”

There is solace in knowing that some creatures, like humans, will mourn their lost loves, yet have the instinct to continue on at some point. Some quicker than others.

Here’s the point where I digress a little. It’s my thing…

One thing that has been cemented in my mind the last 1 to 2 years; there is a human need to congregate and it is a deeply seeded need for most. The instinct can’t be held back for too long before we venture out to seek the company of others.

It appears that birds are designed the same way.

Gardening – Basil Pruning: Never Buy Basil Again

These 3 pots of basil started as one basil plant purchased just before Easter. All of these plants were cuttings from the first plant. After several prunings, the plants provide us with plenty of basil for Caprese salads. One of our favorite snacks. The rest of our green basil were started from seed.

We love fresh basil. For years we would buy a potted basil plant, put it outside in the sun, water it and pluck off larger leaves for food. Every year the plant would begin to falter, then die…not this year. Here’s how to never need to buy another basil plant again…

Basil is perhaps our favorite herb for cooking. We use oregano and cilantro too, but not nearly as often as we use fresh basil. In past years we have purchased basil plants at the local grocer and used the leaves until the plant dies. We never intended for the plants to die, but alas, they always did.

Herbs were one of the many plants that we committed to learn to grow during this 2021 year of operation green thumb. Up until this year, we’d killed almost every plant that we were responsible for.

So far this year, we’ve killed little. What has made the difference? YouTube. There is little you can’t learn from this social media. We’ve learned to fix lawn tractors, cook, and many other things by simply watching and taking notes from YouTube videos. Why should gardening be any different?

Why indeed! Thanks to watching and listening to several online gardening experts we jot down consistencies. One consistency in gardening is pruning plants to optimize output and the overall health of the plant. For basil, it seems, pruning is most important to sustain the plant.

Each stock stem will form three more smaller stems that resemble a Y with one more stem growing between them. Pruning the middle stem off will encourage the two remaining Y shaped stems to grow 3 more stems propagating the plants growth and survival. The result is a plant that continues to expand out instead of up.

Basil stem that needs to be pruned.
Sheering off the middle stem.
The ‘pruned’ basil stem ready to grow two more sets of three stems which will be pruned again to make our basil plant strong and wide and fruitful.
All of our fresh window box planter basil seedlings from the YouTube video pruned and ready to spread wider instead of taller.
Basil seedlings in our raised garden Bed A. They are not ready for pruning yet…but it will not be long.

Gardening – Summer Is Here: Now What?

Cabbage is progressing nicely, but the Cauliflower is lagging. R Dub will be disappointed if we do not get at least one nice cauliflower this season.

Operation Green Thumb has made it to official summer. We are roughly half way through the Zone 5 growing season. So how are the gardening newbies doing?

We’ve harvested radishes and planted a second round. One more new gardening term to add to our list. Succession Planting. We’ve harvested spinach and replaced them with beets. We’ve harvested lettuce in the Cut and Come Again method…and they are COMING AGAIN!

Lettuce ‘…Coming Again!”
Beets seeds were sown last week. 48 seeds 1″ apart have now been thinned out to 18 seedlings 3″ apart. 50 days to harvest.
THe second go around of radishes will soon be ready to pull. We are thinking Swiss Chard to replace the radishes.

Soon to be ready are carrots which should be ready to pull on July 7th. The package says 68 days and that is starting to look spot on.

3 rows of carrots have taken over the front of Beds A& B. The harvested spinach had no problem sharing sun with the carrots and neither will the beets that will be in long after we pull the carrots next week. However, the double row of carrots in Bed A overshadowed the bunch onions who really need more room to mature.

Also newly planted in Bed A is one of our herb gardens. Planted from left to right are Parsley, Dill, Oregano, Basil, Cilantro and Rosemary.

Herbs from top to bottom, left to right. Parsley, Dill, Oregano, Basil, Cilantro, and Rosemary.

Started from seed and soon to be transplanted to four gallon containers is sweet corn. Harvest for the sweet corn should be in late September beating the first frost by 2 or 3 weeks…we hope…

Sweet corn seedlings that will be transferred to containers. Looks like at least 5 seedlings each of Super Sweet Corn and Candy Corn. The containers will be clustered together to encourage better pollination. Stay tuned!

What else can be harvested? Peas and beans have some produce ready. We picked about two dozen peas last Sunday for a small family get together that went over very well. Beans we can pick a few this weekend for our Independence Day feast!

Sweet pea pods ready to eaten.
Green beans ready to be picked.

We have two rosemary plants that survived the first round of indoor seeds. This herb is known for poor germination. One plant is in a pot, pictured below. One in Bed A which may have been a tactical error. Rosemary does not transfer well from a bed to a container…according to the experts…whoever they are…

Snap sweet peas, green beans and yetwax beans.
Potted rosemary plant. It is just 6″ tall and with TLC should get to be 2 feet tall and one foot wide. Wish us luck. Herbs are difficult in zone 5.
A 1″ rosemary plant in Bed A, perhaps it will take off after the carrots are pulled. “Experts” say it will not survive a container transplant in fall and it will definitely not survive a Wisconsin winter. We will see. We are not giving up.

Peppers are a large portion of our container garden. We have one container each or Sweet Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Jalapeno, and Pepperoncini. Plus two containers each of Beaver Dam Pepper and Tabasco Pepper.

How are they doing? There are plenty of fruit on the Pepperoncini, Jalapeno and Beaver Dam plants. To date nothing on the Tabasco or the sweet bell type peppers.

Pepperoncini Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers

All of the tomato plants whether in Bed C or in a container are bearing fruit. None have turned red yet, but it shouldn’t be too long.

Three Big Boy tomatoes in the foreground with one purple basil companion plant in the background. Basil in bloom will attract pollinators.

Disappointments…so far…

Strawberry. not one strawberry plant emerged.

Cucumber, the vine is half way up the net trellis and should reach the roof top, but there are only flowers and no fruit so far.

The cucumber plants are racing to the top of the trellis and should reach the roof soon…but alas no fruit yet…just flowers.

Zucchini, lots of male blooms, but female blooms have been elusive…so far. It is possible that one female bloom is on one plant. Stay tuned…

Travel – Yellowstone Adventure: Final Thoughts

These smiles may not have been the reason for organizing this vacation in Yellowstone, but they sure were a reward. Knowing that our efforts and time were well received is priceless.

The final installment of my 7 part blog about our Yellowstone adventure is focused on people. For Beth and I it was our second trip to the area in as many years. We spent 3 days in the park in July 2020 and knew that there was more to see.

Two of our girls live in the Bay Area of California. The last time I saw Riane was dad’s funeral in October, which was a blur. She flew in and out quickly, and there was too much planning to do to spend much time with her. Before that, I do not remember. Between travel restrictions and work schedules I’m pretty sure we lost at least a year or more.

In addition, my mother had not taken a real vacation in at least a decade. She was up for a week away from home with the family.

Anyway…as usual…I digress.

Beth and I researched, compared schedules and executed a vacation plan that could’ve included up to 9 people. Beth and I, Riane and her guy, Maddy and her guy, my mom and Beth’s parents. The final attendees were Beth, R Dub, Maddy, Riane, Ri’s guy Mike, and my mom.

This would be the first time that Ri’s guy Mike would be seen by Beth, mom, Maddy and me. This would be the first time that my mom would see Maddy. Six nights in one VRBO with people that had spent little or no time together prior. How did that work out? Very well, we were pleased.

Beth and I kept calling the adventure a ‘trip’ while the kids thought we should refer to it as a ‘vacation.’ What’s the difference one might ask? Beth and I frequently call anything we do together that is out of the ordinary an adventure. Let’s look at the definitions, shall we?

Vacation – an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

Trip – an act of going to a place and returning; a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure.

Adventure – an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

I think that it is safe to say that all three definitions fit the occasion. We were on an extended period of leisure and recreation, we all went to a place and returned home, and there was plenty of both excitement and some danger in our activities.

You may be wondering about the danger. My first installment of this blog series highlighted an unwanted greeter at our front door. A young rattle snake that Riane relocated to the horse pasture across the road from our VRBO. Video to follow.

We spent much of our time in the park walking about. The possibility of a close encounter with wildlife was real. Our guide Mike always has a canister of Bear Spray at his side in case we accidentally bumped into a bear. The kids went on hiking trails 5 of the 6 days we were there. Mike let them borrow a canister of bear spray while we were there.

Finally, Yellowstone sits upon a giant active volcano. That is why there are so many thermal features in the park. The last large eruption of greater than a magnitude 8, which is the highest on the scale, was 70,000 years ago. There are geological experts that believe the volcano is overdue to erupt again. Being anywhere close when this happens would be a quick and historical way to leave this earth…

Be it an adventure, a vacation or just a trip. Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces and feeling their excitement every time wildlife was encountered was all the reward these parents could’ve hoped for.

Plus, we got mom away from the house that she’s spent the majority of her time in for the entire pandemic and quite honestly before. I know the trip was physically tiring for her, but she really did rise to the occasion and kept going with us all the way through. I hope she enjoyed the time away as much as we did.

Here’s a photo gallery focusing on the people in our travel group.

Smore’s around the camp fire.
Mom at the lower Yellowstone River Falls
Maddy and Ri at the Grand Prismatic
R Dub soaking his tired and hot feet in the icy coolness of the Yellowstone River.
Maddy recording this Old Faithful eruption.
Mom relaxing on the back deck of the VRBO.
Our tour guide Mike from Yellowstone Wonders with the kids after spying some Big Horn sheep. Look how happy they are to have seen some great wildlife right before we left the park.
Maddy taking a photo of Ri and Mike at the Grand Prismatic overlook.
R Dub, Maddy and tour guide Mike. Mike and I looking at wolves through the Spot Scopes. Maddy with field glasses.
Beth trying on some antlers that the VRBO owners have with a pile of bones in the back yard.
Mom with the filed glasses looking for mountain goats.
Beth from our 2020 trip pretending that these sticks were antlers. I’m glad she found the real deal in 2021!
Maddy’s turn with the Spot Scope.
R Dub at the Grand Prismatic 2020.
Beth at the Grand Prismatic 2020. Showing off her Manitowoc Minute garb!
Mike lassoed Ri on the front porch of our VRBO.
Beth sneaking a Selfie with R Dub.
R Dub at the Roosevelt Arch pedestrian entry in 2020.
Beth and R Dub at the Continental Divide. Water runs in opposite directions from this location.
The 45th Parallel. One fourth of world is north of here and 3/4s are south.
Our VRBO boasts one of the original cabins located at the Teddy Roosevelt Lodge. None of us stayed in it. No insulation, the 30 degree nights would’ve been a little uncomfortable…

Travel – Yellowstone Adventure Part 6: Then and Now – 1872 to 1956 to 2021

Yellowstone Circa 1956. It was common then for traffic to be stopped by begging Black Bears. The bear management team was formed in 1960 to stop this from happening. Humans being attacked by bears doubled in the 50s. If cars stop in the road for bears now, rangers arrive soon to move people along or fine them.
Yellowstone circa June 2021. There are still bears on the road, but they no longer beg for food at the cars, they simply cross the road and keep foraging on the other side. We were the only vehicle that stopped for this bear. Luckily there was a pull out just beyond where he crossed.

The photos in this blog post are a comparison to our recent visits to Yellowstone in 2021 and 2020 compared to pictures from 1956. Beth is the unofficial visual historian of the family. She salvaged hundreds of photos, film footage, audio and video tape from the family estate in early 2020 when Allen and Helen sold their home of 50 plus years. The 1956 photos were from a vacation that Helen took when she was 20 years old.

I have also included a YouTube video at the bottom of the post that illustrates how things were in the park in the 1950s.

Visitors WALKING on the thermal features at Mammoth Hot Springs! That would land you in jail today.
Mammoth Hot Springs today. Boardwalks with hand rails and warning signs keep visitors off of the features. Occasionally a new Hot Spring develops under the the board walks and they need to be moved.
Mountain goats (2 adults and one kid) getting in on the begging action in 1956. Today you need to bring a high powered Spot Scope to see them way up on the cliffs. Cliffs where they naturally belong.
Maddy saw these Big Horn sheep as we were leaving the park for the final time. This photo was taken by Riane with a high powered zoom lens on her camera.

Many changes have taken place inside of the Yellowstone area over the years. Management has changed hands a few times, and the methods of management have evolve as well.

In 1872 the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act established Yellowstone as the first National Park on Earth. The purpose of establishing Yellowstone as the world’s first national park was to set the park aside as a public pleasuring ground to share the wonders and preserve and protect the scenery, cultural heritage, wildlife, geologic and ecological systems and processes in their natural condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

In 1886 the US Army arrives to be the administrator over the park. The US Army would be chartered with this task until 1918 when it turned over administration to the National Park Service which had been established two years earlier.

In 1934 the National Park Service Director prohibits the killing of predatory animals in the park.

In 1948 the park is visited by over 1 million people. Today the annual visitors top 4 million worldwide guests.

In the 1950s people became enthralled with the park and annual visitation numbers swelled.

Part of the draw was Yellowstone’s wildlife. Visitors would throw food from their vehicles to draw wildlife in resulting in a closer look at nature. However, one of the unintended consequences was the wildlife beginning to approach humans for food instead of obeying their instinct to stay away from humans.

Many animals, especially the black bear became a nuisance and a danger to humans and themselves as well. Something needed to be done.

In 1960 the park began to manage the black bear population in an effort to reduce the number of bear to human injuries and property damage resulting from black bears searching for food in dwellings, camp sites and automobiles. The goal was to reintroduce bears that migrated to human areas back to their natural habitat.

In 1970 the Bear Management plan expands to close open pit dumps that were used to feed black bears, essentially forcing the animals to return to the wild and not rely on human intervention to eat.

In 1988 a law was enacted to protect the thermal features in the park from geothermal projects just outside of the park. That summer was also the last large scale forest fire in the park burning almost 800,000 acres of land.

In 1995 gray wolves were introduced into the park.

The following YouTube video shows the park in the 1950s. Note the black bears begging at visiting cars. One other large difference. Fisherman’s bridge was full of fisherman in this footage with no fishing license required. Today it is illegal to fish from Fisherman’s Bridge…

Travel – Yellowstone Adventure Part 5: Wildlife – Fowl

Photo by Skyler Ewing on
Mother Osprey on the top right of this nest feeding her chicks. This photo was obtained through the lens of a Spot Scope provided by Mike at Yellowstone Wonders. The photo above is a great shot of an Osprey providing a freshly caught fish to its young. We did spy an Osprey pulling a fish from the Yellowstone River.

Granted when most people think of Yellowstone National Park they rarely think birds. But that didn’t stop our girls Maddy and Riane, plus Ri’s guy Mike from focusing on the plethora of fowl that they spotted while we toured with Mike from Yellowstone Wonders.

Riane and Beth following an Osprey with field glasses with the backdrop of the Lower Falls.
Maddy and Mike bird watching at the Lower Falls lookout.
Maddy gave up her field glasses to Beth to see the Osprey flying through The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Cowbird confusing this horse for a cow. Cowbirds hitch a ride atop horses, cows and bison for the purpose of eating flying insects and ticks that invade the four legged creatures.
Difficult to see, but these are Blue Heron nests high atop dead trees along the Yellowstone River.
A Sandhill Crane couple with their chicks following along behind them. This photo was taken at Hayden Valley.
Tree Swallow
Part of Riane’s occupation as a Wildlife Rehab major at Lees McCrae College was caring for and educating others about this Red Tail Hawk. May Wildlife Rehab Center on the campus of Lees McCrae rehabilitated not only birds of prey, but birds of all types and species plus many mammals from various rodents like squirrel and predators like Bobcat. This photo not only explains her interest in fowl, but her lack of fear for the Rattle Snake that she wrangled in part one of this series about Yellowstone.
Riane’s occupation now is whelping and caring for puppies and their mothers at Guide Dogs For The Blind in San Rafael, California. If you want to know more about Guide Dogs For The Blind there is a great film about them on NetFlix called “Pick Of The Litter.”