Saturday, December 26, 2009

Looking back!

One aspect of "retirement" has been the time to focus on reading for the first time ever. The "V &V" (variety and volume) have been fun. I am currently reading $20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner. Below is my reading list for the past year...see any pattern?

Books Read, Author and Date
The World is Flat – Thomas Friedman 11/08
Hot, Flat, and Crowded – Thomas Friedman 12/08
Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson 12/08
This Republic of Suffering – Death & the Am. C. War 12/08
The Future of Life - E.O. Wilson 01/09
The Creation – E.O. Wilson 01/09
In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan 02/09
American Lion – Jon Meacham 02/09
Into the Wild – John Krauker 03/09
The Korean War; A View From the Rear – Grant W. Cole 03/09
Called to Question – Joan Chittister 04/09
The Lost City of Z – David Grann 04/09
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson 04/09
The Way of Ignorance and other Essays – Wendell Berry 05/09
Between a Rock and A Hard Place – Aron Ralston 05/09
Jesus, Interrupted – Bart D. Ehrman 06/09
First on Everest – Tom Holzel & Audrey Salkeld 06/09
Picking Cotton; Our Memoir of Injustice & Redemption
Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton & Erin Torneo 07/09
Down the Great Unknown, John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon – Edward Dolnick 07/09
The Greatest Generation – Tom Brokaw 07/09
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt 08/09
Why We Buy – Paco Underhill 08/09
Last Lion, the Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy – by the team at the Boston Globe and edited by Peter S. Canellos 08/09
The Third Chapter Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 years After 50
Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot 09/09
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization – Lester R. Brown 09/09
Born To Run – A hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall 10/09
The Ethics of Climate Change – James Garvey 10/09
Human Origins, what bones and genomes tell us about ourselves – Robert DeSalles & Ian Tattersall 10/09
The Healing of America – T.R. Reid 11/09
Places In-between – Rory Stuart 11/09
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Diamond, Jared 12/09
Earth: The Sequel - Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn 12/09

Friday, December 25, 2009

R x R Crossing ...Stop! Look! & Listen! ... a reflection.

Here the train is making the 24th or 25th Christmas lap around the tree.
It was Christmas Eve when I constructed the familar, crude wooden train in the unheated barn at the old Alloway homestead in 1976 or 1977 for Todd and Jason. I remember the discomfort of cold fingers and feet by the time I completed the train well after midnight. Two days ago Grandson Nolan and I were completing "rumbling" laps around the tree, a quarter century later on the resonating wooden floor.
Time moves on!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Greens!

Outside temperatures last evening were in the single digits as I harvested the above Swiss Chard from the passive green house for our evening meal. Very COOL, despite the cold!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who did this?

What do you see in the photo taken of our bathroom mirror?

Sue and I have notice this for the last three days. I think we were silently blaming each other. But why would either of us do such a thing? If it were the 1980 - 90's with the "kids" still here, then it would be easy to assess the blame. Yesterday, I finally asked Sue if she could explain the pranksterish sign.

Well this morning it dawned me that three days ago I had taken grandson Nolan into the bathroom and stood him on the counter top to look in the mirror at his chalk mustache. We had been drawing on the chalk board in the dinning room when I smugged a chalky mustache on Nolan. Apparently Nolan reached out and dragged his chalky fingers across the mirror, resulting in a smug looking very much like "Hi".

So who is the real prankster here?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Season Haiku

The other day I was searching for an original idea that I could use to make a homemade season greeting card. I decided it would be fun to try my hand at composing a haiku that would reflect the upcoming Christmas/New Year season.
If you would like to refresh your memory as to what a haiku is; then click on the link below:
Below is my haiku constructive effort.

Snow flying,
hungry cardinal watches our feeder.
... New Year Anticipation!

Did I meet the criteria?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recycling the Harvest Dinner Biodegradables

Members of the Park Presbyterian Chruch "Green Team" (Newark, NY)were interested in composting all biodegradable materials from the Harvest Dinnner fund raising event held on October 30th. I agreed to compost these biodegradable materials in one of my multiple compost piles. Below is a photo/video clip journal of what I did.

Three bags of food prep materials, paper products (napkins, table cloths, etc) and the actual food materials not consumed by patrons. I estimated this to be about 50 lbs of biodegradable waste.

A composting bin was constructed using four wooden pallets strapped together and a bed of yard leaves were placed at the bottom of the bin.

Non-biodegradable materials were separated from the biodegrables for comercial landfilling.
The leaves were soaked with water.

A layer of the biodegrable materials were scattered ontop of the leaves.

Here you see the first layer of biodegrables on a bed of leaves in the bin.

A video clip to illustrate the layering technique .

The finished pile, to which I have added more alternating layers of leaves & horsemanure as the pile has settled over the past week.
The pit core temperature reading (F) on November 8th. Composting started on November 1st.

The compost pile 7 on November 8th.

Here is a brief video clip of active composting piles in my back yard.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just Plain ...!

Can you suggest a caption for this photo?
I have been picking up blackwalnuts (Juglans nigra) over the past few days from the yard.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Compost Mole

Yesterday was a cloudy and cool day to work outside, so I decided to burn a few calories to generate some body heat by cleaning up the garden; screening the 2008 compost pile; closing the recently turned 2009 compost heap; and to begin the over wintering (2009-10) compost heap.
Below is a photo/video sequence of the events.
2008 heap (left) 2009 heap (right)
Sceening the 2008 heap to produce a finished compost.
Screening allows me to remove:
  1. nonbiodegradable materials

  2. return larger biodegradable materials to the overwinter (2010) for further decomposition
Tomato, zucchinni vines along with other garden clean up waste "greens" are spread on the 0ver wintering heap.
Large, biodegradible materials from the screened 2008 pile were spread across the "greens" onto the over winter heap.
A layer of horse manure was spread ontop the screenings.

Screened compost is shoveled onto the finished compost pile.
The finished compost will be held over the winter and used to amend garden soil and side dress summer plantings next spring and summer.
The recently turned 2009 compost pile will heat up, decompose and be turned again over the next few months to speed up decomposition.
The compost piles are covered with an overwintering layer of straw. Finished compost (left pile) Composting pile (2009 - foreground pile)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Opps! more day hike!

While down loading the official application for the Finger Lakes Branch Trail End-To-End Award, I noticed that the Queen Catherine Finger Lakes trail loop, was a required loop. Somehow or somewhere I had read that any branch trail under 10 miles was not required.
...Anyways - I decided to hike The Queen Catherine Marsh and Montour Falls Historic Loops today (Tuesday - September 29, 2009). Both maps are in my Finger Lakes Trail Map Binder and both are an easy day hike with no backpack. The trails are relativily flat and pass through interesting woods; marshes; by several historic markers and into several glens. The 14 mile hike took a little over 4 hours.

To see a map of the hiking route, click on the link below.

When the page opens,
  1. Click on "My Maps" and then:
  2. Click on the Queen Catherine Marsh and Montour Falls Historic Loops listed on the left side of the web page.
A few photos taken along the way are chronologically arranged below.

Two young, naive deer along the Catherine Valley trail. Hunting season begins in a matter of days!

Montour Falls

Sullivan Trail markers; indicate the 1779 location where the Seneca Indians were driven westward to their Bristish allies in the Fort Niagara area by Revolutionary War American troops first venturing into the Finger Lakes.

Eagle Creek Falls in the Havana Glen Park. This would make a nice, family day trip!

The pedestrian bridge is out, so off came the hiking boots to ford the Diversion Channel east of Montour Falls.

A short video clip of the Catherine Creek Wildlife Management Area

Back at the south end of Seneca lake - End of the Trails!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Backpacking the Conservation Trail finishes The Finger Lakes Trail System

Trekking Northward!

Once again my son Todd dropped me off at the trail head of the Conservation Trail near West Valley, NY; late in the afternoon of my 63rd birthday [9/10/09] as he traveled back to Pennsylvannia.
You can see the 119 mile trail by clicking on the link below and then clicking on My Maps and then clicking again on The Conservation Trail.,-77.644501&spn=0.469589,0.88028&z=10&msid=104585491248441541983.00046d32da0deeeaf38c2
September 10 - 15, 2009

Below is a sequence of photos taken as I backpacked north to Niagara Falls. The starting elevation (2000 ft) and topography (hilly) decreased as I worked my way northward to the flatter lake plains, before heading west and again north to the trail's end at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls NY.
With the completion of this solo backpack, I have completed the main East-West Finger Lakes Trail and ALL of the Branch Trails associated with the Finger Lakes Trail System in less than a year ... a total of 840 miles.

Fording a stream First signs of autumn. The Holland Ravines with their extensive ladders & steps
Crossing pipe lines in a "sugar bush"

The topography "flattens"
The trail now follows flat "rails to trails" and parkways
Flat and monotonous!
The Niagara River Walk towards the south bridge to Grand Island
Crossing the bouncy, noisey bridge (I-190) to Grand Island
Bivouac at Beaver Island State Park
Getting a early start!
On the Parkway north to the North bridge off Grand IslandView towards Niagara Fall from the high point on the noisey, North Grand Island Bridge
...still flat and monotonous!
The End: Straddling the International border on the Rainbow Bridge