Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Mr. Post-it Notes

Term-paper madness

In just three weeks Mannie can come out and play again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Landscape Revealed by Fire

Wednesday's prescribed burn of the Otto acreage along Branch Avenue left a "Landscape Turned Black",  though within two weeks you can bet it'll be green as a meadow again. Today I took a drive over there to take a look around, now that the smoke had cleared, so to speak.

Note the precise lines that indicate this was a prescribed burn and not a wildfire. A lot of planning and alert attention to detail must go into an operation like this.

I always love trekking burned-over areas to discover what lays hidden beneath the brush.

Things like:

rock ledges,

tiny, tiny spiderwebs (where was he hiding during the blaze?),

last year's snail shells,

deer antlers,

bones bleached by a couple of summers of sunlight,

unexpected points of view,

and a very precise deer crossing.

One must look quickly, as Spring is hard at work covering it up again.

The things I get to see on a daily basis, Just north of Sharpsburg.



Prescribed burn

At the risk of belaboring this point, which I know I've mentioned in the past...

I work with people who posess a degree of dedication, talent, and professionalism that is nothing short of awesome..

                           (more pictures from the sidelines soon)

Grateful for every day, just north of Sharpsburg.

Ranger Mannie

Friday, March 20, 2009

Appalachian Spring, Appalachian Trail

Celebrate the first day of Spring with me on the trail  (click here).

Always heading for higher ground,

Ranger Mannie

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back in the classroom, as Ranger Mannie

This entry sat dormant since last October, overtaken by events of the moment I guess. I just came upon it again and decided to post it. 

I was invited to an elementary school in Frederick County last Autumn to talk about the Battle of Antietam with an after school group.

Needless to say, we all stayed pretty engaged.

Even if I had to get right in to the faces of the "too cool for school" gals for awhile.  
Eventually, even they warmed up.

Like all teaching, you extend yourself, provoke them, make them question some assumptions, and something is likely to stick.

I love teaching...

every day.

Ranger Mannie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Something's in the air.

Snowdrops in the West Woods...

chives sprouting on the Roulette Lane...

more daylight streaming into the barns...

winter coats being shed...

me on the trails.   

Every where, 

every way,

every thing,

says   "spring".

Come see.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Burnside Bridge in 25 mm

Go here to see how I spent my weekend.

One of the things I saw that really floored me was Burnside Bridge rendered in 25mm scale. It was absolutely remarkable.

The size of this construction was remarkable as was the accuracy.  This diorama makes it pretty clear that the Rebels held a pretty commanding position from the heights on the Sharpsburg side of Antietam Creek.

The Union point of view very much as it appears in the historic Alexander Gardner photo from the same angle.

One of the 51sts is making its move.

The bridge is nearly perfect, save for an important detail, which I kept to myself, not wanting to appear to be a Mr. Smarty pantz, sharpshooting, know-it-all.

Confederates, from their vantage point above the bridge.

Little did these rebs realize that there would be a parking area here one day.

And little do they realize that General Rodman's men are about to appear to their right.

The Artist, John McConnell.

It was a fun event!

Ranger Mannie

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Check your crawl-spaces!

If you like artillery projectiles, check this one out:

What is History?

                                         (click on image to enlarge)

Thanks to Ranger John Nicholas.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Spring Round-up

Spring is near, the time when a young calf's fancy turns to thoughts of finding the weak spots in the fence.

Last week, coming into work, I stopped to shoo two big brown cows from the middle of the Boonsboro Pike. This morning, just a mile from the Brown cow breakout I encountered six Holsteins making their break for glory. And yesterday, a beautiful pre-spring day on the battlefield, I was poking around the Joseph Poffenberger Farm and saw what I thought was a black trash bag in the brush.

Closer inspection revealed that it wasn't a trashbag at all but a calf laying low hoping to run off and join the circus.

He cast me a wary eye as I radioed "Ranger on Patrol" for some problem solving expertise.

Ranger Rory showed up and slowly, slowly made his move.

Everyone likes being scratched behind the ears, and before you know it...

all's well that ends well as the calf ends up back inside the fence, probably plotting his next break.

Keep an eye out for battlefield bovines.

Ranger Mannie

Saturday, March 07, 2009

There were farmers here

When you explore the battlefield, look closely and you'll find evidence everywhere of hard work from an earlier era.  This was, is, and hopefully always will be a valley of farms and farmers. The farm families that are long gone left distinctive, and strangely beautiful, evidence behind.  

I remember how these used to squeal when pushing the big barn doors open when I was a kid in Michigan.

A long gone gate left behind an iron hinge.  One can just imagine the day it was pounded into a newly-hewn timber on what was to be a productive family farm visited one September day by an incredible calamity.

Where tractor parts are found in the nooks and crannies of a 20th century farm, the detritus of horse culture still form the sculpture of Antietam's farmscape.

There's always so much to discover at your National Park.

Ranger Mannie