Sep 28 2009

Garden endings (and surprises!)

Natalie

Photo_092809_001

My neighbor, Leo, and I worked in the garden all afternoon.  My assignment was to clean out the blight-ridden tomatoes and bag all of the debris so there was no chance that the blight will return.  This morphed into a mad attack of the beds, digging up weeds and cutting down overgrown branches.  Shriveled squash vines–gone!  Overgrown herbs–gone!  Blackened zinnias–gone!  Deformed cucumbers–gone!  Leo was in charge of composting the plants.

In the midst of this cleaning frenzy, I came upon beautiful morning glories that had established themselves on the dead tomato vines.  Where did they come from?  I think I’ll let them grow a while longer. I know they are “bindweeds,” twining themselves on cultivated plants (in this case, quite dead plants), but they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  Why does Nature always present itself in such contrasts?


Sep 27 2009

Ken Burns’ National Park Series

Natalie

Since Noah and Emily have gone home, Roger and I are trying to get back to the normal routine of our household. It’s suddenly quiet, and we are missing our grandson and his mother.   This week’s “routine,” though, will be watching the National Parks series filmed by Ken Burns.  If you missed the first two hours, detailing the beginning of our national park history, you can watch it online at this link: 

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#642

We’re looking forward to the next installment tomorrow night on WETA at 8:00 p.m. 

old_faithful-lg

Here is an excerpt from John Muir’s essay, “The American Forests.”  Tonight, we learned a great deal about John Muir and his love of the wilderness.  Like many people, I’m sure, we’ll be headed to the library to read more.

“THE forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted. The whole continent was a garden, and from the beginning it seemed to be favored above all the other wild parks and gardens of the globe. To prepare the ground, it was rolled and sifted in seas with infinite loving deliberation and forethought, lifted into the light, submerged and warmed over and over again, pressed and crumpled into folds and ridges, mountains and hills, subsoiled with heaving volcanic fires, ploughed and ground and sculptured into scenery and soil with glaciers and rivers, — every feature growing and changing from beauty to beauty, higher and higher. And in the fullness of time it was planted in groves, and belts, and broad, exuberant, mantling forests, with the largest, most varied, most fruitful, and most beautiful trees in the world. Bright seas made its border with wave embroidery and icebergs; gray deserts were outspread in the middle of it, mossy tundras on the north, savannas on the south, and blooming prairies and plains; while lakes and rivers shone through all the vast forests and openings, and happy birds and beasts gave delightful animation. Everywhere, everywhere over all the blessed continent, there were beauty, and melody, and kindly, wholesome, foodful abundance.”


Sep 22 2009

Leo, Sir Septic

Natalie

Emily texted me early this morning that Leo, our neighbor, was outside with a tape measure.  Shortly after lunch, he called me to tell me that he had found the septic clean-out–just four inches from the enormous hole that we dug yesterday.  Today, we are thankful for our neighbor.  We tease him because he is always offering advice, but today, we are really glad he took care of the problem.


Sep 22 2009

Test Post From YouTube

Roger

Trying to get the video posting thing down.  If you can see anything at the link below, it is Natalie and the backhoe operator NOT finding the septic tank clean-out.  :-(


Sep 21 2009

Well Is Almost Well Again

Natalie

We’ve had a swamp in the back yard that looks a little like the opening of the Beverly Hillbillies when Jed Clampett discovers oil on his land.  This wasn’t oil–just water from a broken pipe.  Feezer is here, and we’re glad it’s getting fixed. 

Check out our first Flip camera video!


Sep 19 2009

Our Grandson

Natalie

Noah 9-09Look at the blog posts, and there’s a disruption in my posts for over a month.  What happened?  School started.  I began mentoring my student intern.  I began the Administrative Practicum, devoting even more hours to school.  C.J. started his senior year–more school. Roger drove Nicole to Syracuse to start school.  Emily started at the community college.  Ian entered his senior year at Towson. 

The only relief from alarm clocks, crummy breakfasts, homework and schoolwork is the addition of our beautiful new grandson, born at the end of August. We are looking forward to all of his firsts–the first smile (coming soon!) but NOT his first day of school.


Sep 19 2009

Me In My Tree Stand

rebetsky

Can you find my shadow?


Sep 19 2009

First Day’s Hunt

rebetsky

This is pretty bizarre, posting to the blog from a tree stand. Usually, I do compose observations in my head while I’m hunting – things I want to tell Natalie, or write down later. (Whoops, a doe just busted me. I stood up too fast, as soon as I saw her, instead of waiting for the right time. It always takes a bow hunt or two to get my hunting vibe back.) Anyhow…posting from a tree? Is this the “real time Web”? Maybe almost, if you’re reading this soon.

At 5 this morning, I was sitting on the front stoop putting my boots on, looked up, and there he was: Orion! The first I’ve seen him since winter. For me, he marks the hunting season, and there he was on my first day. Serendipity.

It’s chilly this morning. I have a light jacket on and I’m still cold. I won’t get much sun here. These early season woods are still dense with foliage. Seeing mostly squirrels, except for that doe…and a few other hunters. Good thing I got an early start. There were four other hunters in the parking area. I got in first.

We’ll see how this goes. More later.


Sep 13 2009

Is It Safe To Drink The Water?

Roger

Bottled water is stupidly expensive and environmentally irresponsible.  Most “city” water is supposed to be safe, but how do you know?  And what about those, like us, who are on a well?  We’ve had ours tested and supposedly it is fine.  I am going to test again with a home kit I picked up, just for peace of mind.  We use a lot of water — just ask CJ about our coffee drinking habits.

In the first eight years of this century, we in the United States seem to have lost a lot of ground in terms of environmental safeguards.  A recent report in the New York Times uncovers just how bad our water safety situation is.  Link here to their interactive map to see your local polluters:

Find out who’s polluting where you live: New York Times interactive

Fortunately, there’s nothing too close to us or too, too alarming.  I hope you, gentle reader, are as fortunate.

The interactive feature in the Times lets you zoom right in on your neighborhood.

The interactive feature in the Times lets you zoom right in on your neighborhood.