Friday, April 30, 2010
I was taking some garden pictures, a neighbor passed and stopped to talk about his squirrels digging in his vegetable patch. Then this truck pulled up -knowing instantly what was about to happen. The ensuing traffic jam and noise, brought everyone out of their homes like those scenes in movies when the giant alien ship descends over the city. What's happening? Trees, my friends, trees.
First, break up the sidewalk. I was happy to see that they were using two full squares, about 4 x 8 feet for the tree pits. Especially after seeing the presentation on this at the BBG a month ago. Our soil underneath the concrete sidewalk was relatively soft and dark -I was surprised. My landlord was upset about the cracking of the sidewalk (which was already cracked), but I suppose about the lifting and cracking to come as well. If you are getting sidewalk trees and/or redoing your sidewalk, see Dr. Bassuk's presentation.
The crowd cleared as the trucks moved on. The trees are tall, which pleases me as I am not much for low-limbed trees on the sidewalks. They appeared in good health, with no scars on the trunks. The tops were rather tangled though and stuck in their roped position. I'll need a ladder to untangle them.
I was concerned that they would leave the metal cage on - but they clipped the upper portion, leaving the lower portion intact. Burlap and twine was cut, lower portion intact.
Then the compost truck came, filling all the holes with about two cubic yards of soil and adding some rather stenchy cedar bark to top the pits off.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The masses were really appealing, and they floated in a way like masses of poppies on long stems. Nearby the old Borough Hall there were very long-stemmed whites with very long petals and pointy tips -very sexy tulips. They are all closed for the wet and cloudy weather and that affect is why I found them so appealing, as well as the saturated daubs of color floating above the greens. I might say that never before have I enjoyed simple tulips so much.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Turns out, these hills are the batteries. This is Battery 113. This entry is large enough for a truck to drive into. Check out the writing on the wall.
Its says "Closed To Public." Ha! No kidding. Do not enter? It's solid concrete. Would be cool if you could go inside though. On the opposite side, holes and filled holes.
The thicket. I have memories of playing in these as a kid. It is hot in there. Despite the 60 degree temps, it felt more like 90 on the thicket trail -no cool breezes make it in. The trail is a hardpack mixture of clay and white sand and follows the Paumanok Path.
A few days ago I emailed letters filled with my thoughts on the expansion of gas drilling in NYS to all my NYS elected representatives (find links to yours here). So far I have had an email exchange with Assemblyman James Brennan, who sponsored this bill in the NYS legislature. The summary:
It's a deal with the devil, this "economic benefit." It has little to no long term benefits. In fact, it might even hurt in the long run. Of course, there are the tax gains for the state and local coffers in the short term, and the niche economic benefits for the operations and support business that revolve around gas extraction and delivery. At least until the wells are all used up. Then what? So, really -how many jobs are we talking about for upstaters? Give me a number and make sure those are not positions to be filled by those coming from other states where these practices and skill sets are more common.
Of course, read Rita McConnell, spokesperson for the industry. She'll tell you a different story. I discovered and suffered her misdirection on one NY Times article comment board. In her post Money, Its a Gas she tells us why NYers and Philadelphians are against Marcellus Shale gas drilling expansion. Incidentally her blog name, "Flowback," is an oilfield term: "The process of allowing fluids to flow from the well following a treatment, either in preparation for a subsequent phase of treatment or in preparation for cleanup and returning the well to production." Dangerously close to "Blowback," which of course means unintended negative consequences.
And now, in this continual flow of google searches, Times arcticles, and thoughts, I have one more to add: If I were an upstate county landholder and I chose not to sign leases with the gas companies, yet any one or all of my neighbors did, then where would me and my freedom be? Surrounded by gas wells where soil, air, and water care little for our funny geo-political boundaries. Stuck in a gas field, maybe not able to sell or move -slave to the dollar that everyone is capable of being bought with. Including me, so one must be strong and convincing.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
- Ninety percent of our water comes from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds.
- It is virtually unfiltered.
- If it was filtered, it wouldn't be filtered for the chemicals used in fracking.
- The Safe Drinking Water Act or Clean Water Act DOES NOT cover oil and gas drilling or production. Repeat it to your self. It's true.
- Hundreds of chemicals are used in the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process.
- About 500 are known to the public, hundreds more are a mystery (proprietary) to the public.
- These chemicals are injected under extremely high pressure into the ground or are used around the well pad and retainment ponds.
- The gas wells will collectively use billions of gallons of water for drilling and pumping operations. They simply pump the water from local streams and rivers into tanker trucks.
- The waste cocktail, known as "brine" because it is saltier than sea water, is usually left to evaporate and/or dumped at local municipal sewage plants never designed for much more than the municipal waste stream.
- DEC tests show extremely high radioactivity in the NYS fracking brine and sludge.
- One way or the other this water-chemical cocktail will migrate into the water table and our water supply.
Will you wash your soiled hands with diesel fuel, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, or sodium hydroxide?
- Write Governor Paterson -here's the link.
- Use this handy dandy link to find your state senator, assemblyperson, and U.S. House Rep.
- Then email your assemblyperson after finding their email here.
- Find your state senator and write them here.
- And, after all that, write Pete Grannis, Commisioner of the NYS DEC -you guessed it -here.
- Landlord in Williamsburg Brooklyn, circa 1994: "get those tomato plants off my roof!"
- Landlord in Portland, Oregon, circa 1995: "You must rip out this garden before you vacate"
- Landlord in San Miguel, NM: actually my neighbor always complained to him about the garden, and I had to hear about it.
- Current landlord, "You can do it as long as I don't have to take care of it."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
This is tulip Angelique. It's been droughty and over warm and it shows. Other years, Angelique came up in late April, this year, the first week of April. This is also the time I do some transplanting. Cool days and nights and generous rains make for good survival rates with little to think about. But this year, not so much. I transplanted quite a few things over to the side yard. The heat-induced super growth has led them to transpire much quicker.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This is poor man's patio, one week later. I went to my corner hardware store and bought their cheapest ($4.99) bucket of gray, unsanded indoor/outdoor grout. In a bucket, I mixed some sand with the grout (which is basically portland cement). Then I shoved the mixture into all the gaps around the stones, pushing it into all the open spaces formed from a week of settling sand.
Brunnera macrophylla, or false forget-me-not or Siberian bugloss, variegated. This was barely hanging on underneath the old vegetable planters. It'll probably come back quite vigorously next year.