I was visiting the other day when someone acknowledged the strawberries tasted good, but suggested washing them with vinegar to ensure that if there was any insecticide on the berries, its “-cide” was rendered harmless.
There was a time when washing one’s food meant using water to remove the garden dirt. Vinegar was for making pickles and sauerkraut. Mom took the four of us kids to the Pick Your Own strawberry fields, where the farmer at the checkout table threatened to charge mom for the berries we kids had eaten while picking. Unfortunately, he had neglected to weigh us when we entered the field. Continue reading
What is it about a stone that commands a little boy to throw it in the nearest pond?
The two-year-old stood by the electric stream last night, picking up river-run stones from the dry part of the pond and tossing them into the pool at the bottom of the stream. Some missed and landed farther up, but they still were in the water, and that is what counted. I thought about telling him how much effort I’d expended to get them “just so,” but then I remembered:
Most of the effort had been to get the stones looking more or less natural where they lay – and what’s more natural than a young boy should throw them just to see the splash? Continue reading
Outside my studio window stands Mary Lou, a dogwood tree now in bloom, given my wife by her fellow nurses when her mom departed the planet. A colorful variety of feathered creatures bath in the stream, then fly up to preen themselves dry in Mary Lou’s outstretched arms.
At least one of the shrubs surrounding our house has become, or soon will, a nesting place for a robin family. I think it already has because when I approach a robin on any other side of the house, it flies away. But on the one side, it merely hops a few feet, in a more or less straight line, it’s back pointed to the evergreenery where I suspect it has taken up housekeeping. I take that behavior as an invitation to follow, knowing full well I’m being led away from the future baby bed. Continue reading
“It was 3,000 miles of rockin’ rollin’ highway, a million memories long and two lanes wide” – From the lyrics of “Old 30,” by C.W. McCall.
The Lincoln Highway turns 100 this year. Actually, it is about 3,400 miles, New York to San Francisco, and 28 of those miles are in Adams County, Pa., passing through Gettysburg, less than a mile from my home.
Former Adams County Commissioner Harry Stokes once told me the name reflected Gettysburg, and its downtown Wills House, in which the 16th president spent the night before delivering those few words the “world shall little note nor long remember.” Continue reading
There is a commercial on television that makes me chuckle every time I see it.
A guy comes on to tell us his doctor had long recommended taking a vitamin supplement every day. Not just any supplement, either. A particular brand.
Then along comes a survey that verifies the doctor’s recommendation. It shows that a vitamin supplement really helps maintain good health. Not just any supplement, either. A particular brand. The one made by the company that ran the survey. And the fellow on TV says that’s proof his doctor was right.
One cannot realistically expect a business to say someone else’s product is more beneficial to humans and other residents of the planet, so excuse me if I’m reserving judgment on what a local company says about it’s need to expand, and how the planned addition to its operation will not be harmful to flora, fauna and water down stream. It’s not that I don’t believe the company; just that I’d like to see some information from an independent expert or two.
Nuclear power is clean, government-regulated, and safe – until something goes wrong. In a 92-minute documentary titled “Atomic States of America,” co-directors Don Argot and Sheena M. Joyce trace the development of nuclear power – and what have turned out to be some of its attendant risks.
“The risk/reward is so different in nuclear power that one bad day at one facility can wipe out decades of good days at dozens of other facilities,” says David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and Senior Member of Union of Concerned Scientists.
“The hundred tons that’s in the typical core can generate power for millions of homes for two years,” he said. “It is a very enticing technology.” Continue reading on Rock The Capital …
(Originally published in Gettysburg Times, March 29, 2013)
Spring is coming. The ice is out on my favorite canoeing pond, though some mornings I wake expecting it to be back. Grady the Golden and I are ready to go exploring.
At a recent Sunday morning breakfast with friends, someone mentioned going fishing, and catching “sunnies” to bury under the corn seeds. I recall similar days, sitting on a big rock I’d waded to from the shore in front of my home, dangling my feet in the water and having clouds of Bluegill Sunfish – sunnies – nibble my toes and eat my worms.
Mother declined including the fish in the evening repast. Too many bones, she said. I think most critters, including us and fish, have about the same number of bones, but those had a paucity of flesh surrounding them.
I’d read in a book that Indians used the fish for fertilizer. Continue reading
In 2005, the Susquehanna River was listed by American Bassmaster magazine as one of the top five smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States. No longer.
Young smallmouth bass have, for the past several years, been displaying spots, lesions and decreasing populations – though the problem’s severity depends on who is describing it. Some sportsmen who earn their livings guiding and supplying fisher folk on the river acknowledge the bass are in substantial decline, and what once was a world class fishery is threatened, but insist the river remains a safe waterbody for recreation and sport fishing.
Young smallmouth are experiencing a seven percent mortality, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Director John Arway told attendees at a Susquehanna Summit last week in Lewisburg, “The big bass are still there – the problem is, the small bass aren’t there.” (Additional remarks by Arway in video at the end of this piece.)
(Originally published in Gettysburg Times, March 22, 2013)
Have you ever wondered what’s next in the soft drink line? A television commercial the other night had the answer.
Pepsi NEXT. With 60 percent less sugar – though less sugar than what, it didn’t say. Pepsi LAST, maybe?
I like carbonated water. I rarely drink sodas because a) I’m diabetic and b) I’m not sure what they use to replace sugar is better for me than the sugar it replaces. Your mileage may vary; I’m not preaching here. Still, it would be nice to now exactly what is in the stuff we eat and drink. We have gone a long time surviving on jokes such as, “I don’t eat anything I can’t pronounce,” but that’s not true, either. Trying to read the list of ingredients in, say, a loaf of bread can cause one’s eyes to tangle.
(Originally published in Gettysburg Times, March 15, 2013)
Wednesday, as I write these words, the Cyclorama – the circular enclosure that once housed a 359-foot wrap-around panoramic painting of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg – is nearly demolished. Housed in a circular building, the artwork created by French artist Paul Philippoteaux in the late 1800s, offered viewers a virtual feeling of the famous battle. (Click the pix for larger views before and after.)
The painting, which had lived in the distinctive building since 1962, has been restored and, in 2008, moved to a new home in the new Gettysburg National Military Park visitor center in 2008.
Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery & Delaware counties, told a gathering in the state capitol Tuesday morning his bill to require labeling of genetically engineered foods was about allowing consumers to make choices, not a statement about food safety.
“People in America demand information,” Leach said. “People don’t like being told, ‘You don’t need to know that; it’s OK.’” (Additional remarks by Leach in video at the end of this piece.) Continue reading
A bill that could require labeling genetically engineered foods sold in Pennsylvania is slated to be introduced in the state senate Tuesday morning. Several farmers, church leaders and consumer group representatives are scheduled to accompany Sen. Daylin Leach (D- Montgomery and Delaware counties) as he announces the bill on the capitol steps.
The bill would make Pennsylvania the first state to require GE labeling. Continue reading
(Originally published in Gettysburg Times, March 8, 2013)
When I awoke Wednesday, entirely too early for my morning breakfast with a friend, I found about four inches of the white stuff on the backyard picnic table, and still coming down. Already it was falling off the Jeep, leaving behind rivulets of melt. By noon, it was almost gone, mostly turned to water.
A nice “now you see it, now you don’t” springtime snowfall.
It put me in mind of the storm we had in mid-to-late March 1998. I’d only been in Gettysburg a couple weeks. Continue reading
I’m pretty sure Spring is not far. I base that prognostication not upon annotations on a calendar or the profundity of a rodent in conversation with a group of men in stovepipe hats – but upon a flock of at least 100 Robins in my back yard as I write these thoughts. First ones I’ve seen this year.
Grady and I have cabin fever. Grady is a Golden Retriever who’s been living here a few days more than 6 years, and who loves being in the woods at least as much as he loves stealing from a bag of Hershey Kisses left on the couch by an inattentive human.
My favorite canoeing pond was covered with ice the last time I was up there. Most of that ice should be gone now; Continue reading
When I was considerably younger, I would swim out in the middle of the lake at midnight or thereabouts, lie on my back in the water, and float there, nearly weightless, looking up at light from so far away some of it had been reflected from stars that had not existed for longer than humans have walked on this planet.
Stars are interesting. Our sun is a star. They are responsible for all the elements that comprise everything else, including us. Continue reading
Posted in Environment, Travel
Tagged asteroids, astronomy, coffee, coffee farming, distance, India, meteorites, meteors, neighbors, Pakistan, perspective, stars
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission reports its data collection funding has been cut, while more than 2,000 miles of waterways still suffering from mine drainage from coal mines abandoned nearly a century ago. And increasing numbers of smallmouth bass are being found cancerous and dying in the 100 miles of river below Sunbury, PA (near the Shamokin Dam).
Meanwhile, PA DEP Secretary Mike Krancer and PA Fish and Boat Commission head John Arway continue to spar over whether the river should be declared “impaired,” a declaration that would make the river eligible for federal funding to research the dying fish.
Continue reading on Rock The Capital …
Posted in Environment, Fishing, Water
Tagged fishing, impaired, lesions, PADEP, smallmouth bass, Suaquehanna River Basin Commission, Susquehanna River, water, wildlife