Thoughts on unfreezing

No ice, just babies for Mrs Canada.We human mammals love water. We spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, presumedly plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it.

Those of us fortunate enough to gain housing close to a stream, lake or ocean often post signs around it announcing our success to neighbors who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.

Continue reading Thoughts on unfreezing

A matter of perspective

A herd of of Holsteins making milk under the dinner oak.First impressions often are as much reflections of our own perspective as of the person we are evaluating.

After 20 years in the Navy, I matriculated into the University of Maine at Farmington, where I learned stuff and met a nice young woman who lived on a dairy farm with a husband heavy into Holstein husbandry, three daughters of which one actually enjoyed working in the barn, and a son who, after making sure Mommy was watching, reveled in walking atop tall picket fences, figuratively and literally.

Continue reading A matter of perspective

‘Tis the (vernal) season

Future Frogs of Michaux begin life hatched from egg masses in a vernal pond.Rain beats against my bedroom walls like bacon sizzling on a stove for breakfast I am too comfortable to climb out of bed to prepare or even eat once I had.

It seems only a week ago the crocuses popped out of the mulch and leftover snow to welcome spring and the Persian New Year.

Continue reading ‘Tis the (vernal) season

Make plastics-makers responsible for their product

Bottle deposits encourage users to turn them in for recycling.Nine state legislatures are considering bills to make plastics manufacturers responsible for their products end-of-life.

Pennsylvania is not one of them. It should be.

The concept is not a new one. Battery makers must process their products when they no longer start our cars. We buy new tires for our chariot and pay to have the dealer dispose of them.

Continue reading Make plastics-makers responsible for their product

Take a trip and never leave the farm

A pharma pirate discovers she has copied a deadly creation.I read someplace that we humans do not actually invent or discover anything. Everything there is to be known, the thesis claims, is stored in our genetic code, waiting or us to stumble upon it.

One of my favorite books – a sextet, of which I actually read only three and a little bit – was the “Clan of the Cave Bear” series by Jean Auel. Officially called the “Earth’s Children” series, it was a strong tale that started with Ayla, a five-year-old Cro-Magnon girl, being orphaned in an earthquake, and subsequently taken in by a Neanderthal clan.

Continue reading Take a trip and never leave the farm

Promises and other tall tales

Long after the money has left, these pipeline and truck road scars will mark the forests over the Marcellus natural gas formation.More than a decade into the boondoggle that has been the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, residents of the 22 counties that have produced 90 percent of the treasure obtained from fracking Marcellus Shale find themselves with a paltry share of the proceeds bad water, overburdened roads, and carved-up state forests.

Continue reading Promises and other tall tales

Avian invasion

Standing in line for a look at the fixer-upper at the end of the fence.Bluebirds, starlings and sparrows line up atop the fence outside my window, anxiously jockeying to see who will take over the fixer-upper mounted atop the fence post at the far end. The starling tries to bully his way to head of the line, but will lose the contest, because he’s too big to get through the hole, but he’s sure making life miserable for the others.

Continue reading Avian invasion

No strangers

Here's looking at you.Funny how we remember some things and not others, especially parts of the same story. Like my first deer hunt. Dad and Mom hunted every year on Roy Stewart’s orchards, but that was adult sport; kids not invited.

Then one day Mom handed me her rifle and a bullet and sent me forth.

Continue reading No strangers

Just say “No, thanks”

Me and her sitting in a tree, K_I-S-S-I-N-G.There is nothing good about all the people who have died from the virus, many of them unnecessarily. And I do not know which is worse: discovering how long is takes to spool up vaccine production and delivery, or discovering we’d been lied to about how long it takes to spool up vaccine production and delivery.

Continue reading Just say “No, thanks”

Set it down, would ya, Jim

Searching for spring in the Silver maple knot.Sugaring-off when I was a kid was a sure sign of summer’s on the way. Nights below freezing and days in the low to mid 40s made the sap run in the sugar maple trees. In those days, we donned snowshoes and hiked from tree to tree, boring a half-inch hole in each trunk, hammering in the spile, then hanging a collection bucket from an attached hook.

Continue reading Set it down, would ya, Jim

Trading water

Beaver are only one species that relies on water for life.Some people claim the stock market is an indicator of the health of our economy. In truth, as indicated by the newsworthy reactions of the Big Investors to being outfoxed last week by what they call “Dumb Money,” it is a way for (mostly already) wealthy folks to shuffle money around giving the appearance of making more of it.

Continue reading Trading water

Have we become too old?

Storm clouds gathering over our home.I lost yesterday to the eye doctor, who put stuff in my eyes and it turns out the older I get, the more and longer lasting are the effects of things that didn’t bother me in a previous age.

When I should have been writing this column, I found my eyes  – which previously had quickly recovered – did not work. For many hours longer than my memory claims has normally been the case, my eyes refused to focus. There are few conditions more sleep-inducing than eyes which transmit light in patterns the brain proves incapable of organizing.

And then came the assault on the symbol of our government.

Continue reading Have we become too old?

Courthouses and churches

Not perfect, but also not for sale.Churches have steeples pointing to heaven. Take away any signs from in front of the building, and you still know it’s a church; you just don’t know, for certain, the denomination.

Courthouses often have a cupola of some sort atop their roof, with a clock announcing to passers-by the time to draw near and be heard. Without a sign, they might be confused with a library – not a far reach from their purpose as a repository of important information – but never would they be mistaken for, say, an entertainment center.

Continue reading Courthouses and churches

Making Christmas

A time of dreams and memories.Christmas, it has been said, is about the gifts we give. One of the great things about living in Adams County is not only so many generous people are willing to pitch in help when it’s needed, but the county still is small enough that we know most of them. At least, we know their names when we hear them, even if we have not actually met them.

Adams Countians have, for instance, contributed more than 80 winter coats and jackets as Christmas gifts to kids who would not otherwise have them.

Continue reading Making Christmas