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April National Poetry Month – The Bridge of Flowers

Bridge of Flowers poems

Bridge of Flowers poems by Carol Purington

April is National Poetry Month and Carol Purington, Colrain’s noted haiku poet has donated a matted set of poems describing the Bridge of Flowers through its seasons. It is available by writing to bridgeofflowersmass@gmail.com.

Carol has written several books  of haiku describing life on a family farm, the essence of the seasons, the love of family, joy and  sorrow. Carol, and her friend Susan Todd also put together an anthology of poems, Morning Song: Poems for New Parents.

The matted sheet is $15 including postage, and the plain cream heavy paper sheet is $10 including postage. All sales go to benefit the Bridge of Flowers. This is a lovely souvenir of a visit to the Bridge, or gift to someone who loves the Bridge.

Bridge of Flowers

Arching
the Indian-old river
bridge of blossoms

From  the concrete
of a decades-dead trolley way
fragrance of violets

Azure above
the flowers above
the river-reflected bridge

Arc of geese</em
under frosted flowers
the river runs south

Star-still flakes
fall from the flower-less bridge
to the ice-still river

Double lane of daffodils
crossing  the flower way
into spring

Summer-green
floats out from under the arches
flower-bridge blooms

I am adding information about Carol written by Susan Todd, co-editor of Morning Song.

Carol Purington and Susan Todd

Carol Purington and Susan Todd

Before taking her 6th grade students to visit Carol for some Christmas Carol sing  “I told my students Carol’s story, trying for simplicity and clarity. She contracted polio when she was six years old, as she was starting first grade. The illness began at school with a severe headache and high fever. Within days she was left needing help to breathe, and paralyzed except for limited movement in her left arm and hand. She spent a couple of years in Boston area hospitals where her most memorable accomplishment was learning to read. Eventually she moved back to the big farmhouse where she had been born, the third of eleven children. She lives there still, surrounded by a large and caring family.

When I asked Carol how I should relate her disability for this account, she said I should think about how I had prepared my students for our visit. And this exchange is perhaps the perfect window into the mind and influence of this woman – her ability to soar beyond limitations with wisdom and perspective. When I have taken older visitors to meet her, I also add that her body is small, but you will quickly get used to that. And what you’ll really notice is how sophisticated and brilliant and scholarly and witty she is.

That day in January, coming into Carol’s room from the storm outside, I had such a sense of peace. This front parlor, with views looking to the hills and garden and an oversized bird feeder up against the window, has been her world for over fifty years. A mirror which can be tilted to different angles lets Carol see the changing landscape and the family in the next room. Standing in the room’s center was a massive iron lung (now replaced with a smaller fiberglass lung), for sleeping at night, with “J. H. Emerson “printed on the side. “H. Emerson!” I said when I first saw it. “I knew him.” My best friend from childhood moved to Andover, Massachusetts in 1953 so her father could work with Haven Emerson on the distribution of iron lungs. We all had a crush on Haven Emerson Jr. I told Carol the story and she said, “All these years I have wondered what the H. stands for. Now I know.”

Richard Wilbur – National Poetry Month

Morning Song: Poems edited by Susan Todd and Carol Purington

Morning Song: Poems for New Parents

Richard Wilbur (1921-2017) winner of Pulitzer Prizes for Things of This World (1956) and New and Collected Poems (1988),was named the second Poet Laureate of our country and won many awards and prizes. I knew Richard Wilbur had long lived in our corner of western Massachusetts, but I never expected to get a letter from him.  And for that I thank Carol Purington and Susan Todd who were longtime friends of his.

Carol and Susan were putting together Morning Song, an anthology of poems for new parents with section headings like Waiting, Newest Child, Green and Carefree, Lessons and more. Several of Wilbur’s poems were included in different sections. The poems chosen ranged from Sappho to contemporary poets like Wilbur. As I read the poems I can see the memories and hopes that we parents feel as we look in our children’s eyes as they grow.

One of Wilbur’s poems in Morning Song is The Writer.

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
from her shut door a commotion of typewriter keys
Like chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thoughts and its easy figure
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking.
And then she is at it again, with a bunched clamor
Of stokes, and again is silent.

——————-  and ends with

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

As the mother of three daughters (and two sons) I cannot think help thinking of the stronger wishes that arrive as they grow older. And older.

As for my letter from Wilbur, since I was now friends with his friends, I wrote and asked permission to use one poem that spoke of an experience we shared in my Commonweeder blog. He responded generously. You can read April 5, 1974 here.

Richard Wilbur is also known for his wit. I particularly enjoy the lyrics he wrote for Leonard Berstein’s operetta Candide, based on Voltaire’s 1758 novella that satirized the philosophies of the day. As the story comes to a close Candide and his love Cunegonde imagine a happy married life. Oh, Happy We

CANDIDE  –  Soon, when we feel we can afford it
We’ll build a modest little farm
CUNEGONDE  –  We’ll buy a yacht and live aboard it
Rolling in luxury and stylish charm
CANDIDE – Cows and chickens
CUNEGONDE – Social whirls
CANDIDE – Peas and cabbage
CUNEGONDE – Ropes of pearls
CANDIDE – Soon there’ll be little ones beside us;
We’ll have a sweet Westphalian home
CUNEGONDE – Somehow we’ll grow as rich as Midas;
We’ll live in Paris when we’re not in Rome

************************

CUNEGONDE – We’ll round the world enjoying high life
All bubbly pink champagne and gold
CANDIDE – We’ll lead a rustic and a shy life
Feeding the pigs and sweetly growing old

CUNEGONDE – Breast of peacock
CANDIDE – Apple pie
CUNEGONDE – I love marriage
CANDIDE – So do I

CUNEGONDE & CANDIDE
Oh, happy pair!
Oh, happy we!
It’s very rare
How we agree

Married life and children. Wilbur expressed the challenges and blessings of all.

National Poetry Month and the Culture Hour

Penny Candy by Jean Kerr

Penny Candy by Jean Kerr contains an essay, The Poet and the Peasants, the Peasants being Jean’s five sons and their forced introduction into the world of poetry.

All through April people will be celebrating National Poetry Month, giving gift books of poetry and attending poetry readings. However, I think National Poetry Month (instituted in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets) was created as a response to the lack of attention to poetry and its joys. Actually, we are surrounded by poetry in advertising jingles, popular songs (at least that used to be true) even when we are not aware.

Last week I started thinking about Great Moments of Poetry in my life. In high school, several eons ago, Miss Pierce made us memorize Wordsworth’s The World is Too Much With Us.  I still seem to be able to recite parts of this sonnet, but not quite all of it together. However, you should hear me crying out, “Great God! I’d rather be a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn. . . .have sight of Proteus rising from the seas; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn!”  I was in the dramatic society and remain a bit dramatic to this day. We had to memorize several poems of our own choosing but this was the only required poem. Even as a student I thought it was notable that as students living in a very wealthy town (Greenwich, Connecticut) our teacher might worry about the possibility of our laying  waste to our powers and always looking only at the bottom line.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
 When my children were young  I read an essay by Jean Kerr, wife of NYT drama critic Walter Kerr, titled The Poet and the Peasants. The Kerrs had six children, Christopher, twins Colin and John, Gilbert, Gregory, and Kitty who came along a bit later. One night Jean came into the den and turned on a light which went out. She turned on another light, which went out. In exasperation she muttered, “When I consider how my light is spent. . . .” and her husband wanted to know what poem that was from (Milton’s Sonnet on His Blindness).  Spousal horror and argument followed which ended as they thought about their five boys. Would they be able to identify a snippet of a famous poem when they heard it?

Thus was born weekly Culture Night which went through an evolving series of forms until it settled on requiring each boy to memorize a poem and recite it at Culture Night. The boys began with limericks. Not really what Jean had in mind. There was mumbling and dum-de-dumming rhythms. You can imagine the kind of encouragements Mom and Dad offered to achieve their goal. I give them high marks for not giving up the whole idea.

Culture Night, really Poetry Night, continued for years and the boys did get into it, even elucidating for their parents the meaning of a poem. Jean gives bits of poems that the boys recited with passion, roaring or weeping. She said you have not lived until a flamboyant 12 year old has leapt onto the coffee table and declaimed Alfred Noyes poem The Highwayman:

The Wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding –

   Riding – riding –

The highwayman came riding up to the old inn door.

And this flamboyant boy was also able to give tenderness to his reading of the love story of the highwayman and the innkeeper’s daughter. Alas, the story does not have a happy ending.

I remember reading and memorizing part of The Highwayman in high school, but not the whole. The Kerr boys recited many poems I knew and read like bits of  A. E. Houseman’s “When I was young and twenty . .   .”  and  Robert Browning’s That’s my last Duchess on the wall,/Looking as if she were alive. . . which was a poem that chilled me as the Duke “… gave commands;/Then all smiles stopped together.”

I can never finish this essay without weeping. What can a mother do when two of her sons see into her heart when referring to and making connections to two poems,  Robert Burns’ John Anderson my jo, John, and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Spring and Fall, “Margaret, are you grieving over goldengrove unleaving . . .

This essay appears with several others in Penny Candy (1966) by Jean Kerr. Several copies of the book are available through the CWMARS Library catalog, along with other books by Jean Kerr, My copy is worn but I will not do without it.

Trees – For Beauty and Benefit

Trees in Central Park NYC

Trees in Central Park – an urban forest

Here in New England we can take trees for granted. Trees line our streets, our roads, and our highways. We do not have to work hard to find a woodland that invites us to stroll and enjoy a period of cool tranquility. The Japanese even have a word, Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing,’ for the practice of taking a walk in the woods for the health benefits it brings.

And yet, many of us are not familiar with the names of many trees, or the particular benefits any of them might give. When I lived in Heath I was surrounded by trees, but beyond being able to identify a maple, oak or beech tree, I was at a loss. Now that I live in town, and am thinking about what trees could be added to my street I have been paying attention to the specific forms of tree and leaf, and the benefits and needs of any particular tree species.

Central Park Trees and Lake

Central Park Woodland at edge of the Lake

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my husband and I visited friends in New York City. That Sunday in NY was sunny and breezy and the crowds that we joined in Olmstead’s Central Park were taking full advantage. People were strolling through this veritable forest and I am sure we were all gaining health benefits as we took pictures, took rides in horse drawn or bicycle cabs, or queued up for a rowboat to paddle around the tranquil lake. We did pay attention to the trees along the paths, many of which were helpfully labeled. I took particular note of an ancient beech tree with unique leaves.

There are other parks throughout the New York boroughs and it seems the essential element of any park is always a grove of trees. We can see that ourselves in the small Energy Park right in the center of town or the larger woodland of Highland Park.

On Monday, my brother and his wife took us for a tour of Princeton University where Beatrix Farrand created the landscaping plan beginning in 1912 and did not leave the job to others until 1934. It was a park-like aspect that she wanted to create because she said, “We all know that education is by no means a mere matter of books, and the aesthetic environment contributes as much to growth as facts assembled from a printed page.”

Trees at Princeton U.

Trees at Princeton University, a park-like effect

Farrand may have had a special soft spot for Princeton because it was there in January of 1913 that she met her husband, the distinguished visiting professor of history Max Farrand. I heard no stories of any romances she might have had until she met Farrand, but when Max’s sister-in-law heard rumors of a romance she took herself to the campus and watched the ‘bush woman’ directing her workers. Having made her observations she declared that “If that woman really wants Max, she’ll get him!” Readers, she married him before December was done.

Farrand was devoted to landscape gardening beginning in 1872 when she was only 20. She did study under the tutelage of Charles Sprague Sargent, founder of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, and was the sole female among the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects formed in 1899.

She might not have called herself a feminist, but when she was interviewed by a reporter from the New York Daily Tribune in 1900, her response to what must have been an obnoxious question about her work rates was “I have put myself through the same training and I look for the same rewards.”  We women are still fighting that particular battle, but Farrand was there before us.

Sycamore

Sycamore in front of my house

Over the course of her career Farrand designed more than 100 gardens including estate gardens like Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, which I visited earlier this year, as well as the White House, Yale University and many estate gardens in Maine. More locally, she designed the tree lined approach to The Mount which was built by her aunt, the novelist Edith Wharton, in 1901.

I will never plan a landscape or planting of trees on such a large scale, but on our urban plot of land I have new appreciation of the shade of a giant sycamore that was probably planted when the house was built around 1925. Later someone planted the deliciously fragrant Japanese lilac tree and I have the borrowed shade from my neighbor’s maple and oak trees. I have added two clumps of river birch and a small weeping cherry tree, and an assortment of native shrubs like viburnams because they please my eye, but I have been particularly mindful of their benefits to the insects and birds that come to my garden.

Now when I think about what beneficial trees could be added to our street I think about redbuds that bloom so beautifully in the spring, or a stately red maple, or maybe a hawthorn with its bright red berries in the fall.

When I drive by the beautiful new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street I wonder what trees will be planted there. Right now the Center grounds look austere. Like any building it needs trees and other plants to create a welcoming and comfortable presence. Will there be an oak that will support 500 species of insects and birds and provide shady grandeur? Will there be majestic tulip poplars? Will there be red maples?

Until spring I’ll be dreaming of the new kinds of trees that may come into my neighborhood and the pleasure they will bring

Between the Rows   December 9, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Year of Happy Days

Our Christmas Tree 2015

We officially moved into our Greenfield house on October 24, 2015, just in time to stock up on bags of candy for the 100+ children – mostly very young children – who showed up in princess and ninja attire on Halloween. The celebrations had begun.

No longer could we go out into the field to cut  our own tree, but we were happy to shop at the open air market on Main Street and buy a beauty. This tree would take its place in our family history and be the first 21st century Greenfield tree. The ornaments were already filled with memories.

We send our best wishes for a happy holiday season to all – no matter when you are.

First Snowfall of the Year

First snowfall

First Snowfall of the year?

After a very mild autumn I woke up this morning to the first snowfall of the year. Or am I just jumping ahead into winter prematurely?  I have a whole month before Winter officially arrives.  We never know what the future will hold, weatherwise – or any other -wise.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – October 15, 2017

The Fairy Rose

The Fairy rose

This Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day arrives during a very mild October. We have had a very few fold nights with temperatures going below 40 degrees, but the daytime temperatures still reach well into the 70’s and even over 80 degrees. It has been fairly dry except for a couple of welcome rain we got as hurriane Nate touched us for a couple of days.  The Fairy rose will stand in the the sprinkling of other rose blossoms, Folksinger, Peach Coral Drift, Purple Rain and Red Knockout.

joe pye weed

Joe pye weed

We still have a few good pollinator plants blooming and filled with the buzzing of the bees – of all sorts. The bees have had to bend down a bit because when we have had rain it has come down hard and many of my plants are bent over – but it doesn’t seem to matter very much, except that you might notice my plants langour in my photos.

hydrangea

Limelight hydrangea

The hydrangeas are doing very well, and  showing their interest in providing a living fence between my garden and my neighbor’s driveway.

Firelight hydrangea

Firelight hydrangea

calamint

Calamint

We’ll run through the rest.

toad lilies

Toad lilies lying in the grass

Asters

Asters

Grandpa Ott

Grandpa Ott morning glory

Snake root

Snake root

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/wh_snakeroot.htm

Sheffield daisy

Sheffies – Sheffield daisy

The Sheffield daisy blooms very late in the fall.

nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

The nasturtiums show up all over the garden because I used them as a kind of temporary ground cover.  I love them because they are so cheerful.

red winterberry

Red winterberry

Though winterberries aren’t blooming at this time of the year, I had to show off my red winterberry and

Gold winterberry

Gold winterberry

my gold winterberry.

I thank Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day and making it possible to see the gardens in bloom all across our great land.

Pumpkins for Eating and Decorating

Pumpkins

Pumpkins for sale at Butynski Farm

Pumpkin Season is here!  Jack o’ lanterns seem as American as apple pie, but pumpkins, squash and gourds, along with tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize, and cocoa, are native to Central America and Mexico. Over time they migrated to North America and Europe. In fact, New World foods are essential to a large portion of the African population.

We don’t often think about the important nutritional value of pumpkins. Pumpkins are all about Cinderella’s coach, Jack ‘o lanterns and pumpkin pie. However, the many species of pumpkin are low in calories but are a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C. These all support vision, heart health, and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Even the seeds provide health benefits. When was the last time you added some nutritious pepitas to your salad? Happily pumpkins and squash are delicious so it is no hardship to fit pumpkins into your diet.

Pumpkin is the essential ingredient in pumpkin pie (of course) but the menu is much larger including pumpkin bread and pumpkin pastries, pumpkin ravioli, risotto and soup. We went to a party last year where they were serving pumpkin beer!

Pumpkin pie is a great dessert for the fall. It need not be kept just for Thanksgiving. I have bought canned pumpkin for my pies, but I have just been informed that most canned pumpkin is really squash. I guess I should read my labels better.

The best pumpkins for pie have familiar names like the New England Pie Pumpkin, but less familiar are Baby Pam, Long Island Cheese, Long Pie Pumpkin, Baby Bear, Ghost Rider and Spookie.

The first thing to remember about pumpkins and winter squash is that pumpkins, and winter squash are long season fruits and need a long warm season, Many gardeners use floating row covers or sturdier plastic over hoops early in the season to protect them from the weather as well as cucumber beetles or other pests. They also need a rich soil with lots of organic matter to help retain moisture, a pH of 6 to 6.8 as well as a lot of sun and a lot of room. Their vines can run amuck in the garden.

The All America Selections Cinderella pumpkin is also known as the Rouge Vif d’Etampes because of its color and shape resembling Cinderella’s coach. It will send out 10 foot vines and the fruits can weigh up to 20 pounds. Sorcerer pumpkin, another AAS winner, is similar in size with similar vines, but a deeper, dark orange color.

There are bush varieties like Gold Nugget Squash which looks exactly like a pumpkin. This All America Selections squash can produce up to ten fruits per plant weighing about one or one and a half pounds.

Over the past few years ghostly white pumpkins have come on the scene. There are a number of varieties. Baby Boo is a miniature white pumpkin that might especially appeal to children. Flat White Boer Ford is bone white and its flattened shape is similar to the Cinderella pumpkin. It will reach 30 pounds is a good pumpkin for cooking. Lumina will grow to 20 pounds and is a smooth round squash that is good for carving and also good to eat. It is notable that these white pumpkins often need some shade to keep them from turning yellow.

The white Pumpkin Super Moon is an AAS winner. It can reach up to 50 pounds and was chosen by AAS for its disease resistance, vigorous growth, early fruit development and flavor.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom seeds offer large selections of very unusual pumpkins like Galeux d’Eysines which is a pale pink and covered with rough ‘warts.’ It grows on a long vine and will weigh about 15 pounds. It can be a stunning decoration, or it can be eaten in stews and soups.

Giant Pumpkin

Giant Pumpkin – 1st prize winner grown by Sue Chadwick

Pumpkins provide a lot of fun in many ways including growing a giant pumpkin. I once attended a Giant Pumpkin club meeting and learned all about the trading in giant pumpkin seeds, and how to pamper plants over the spring and summer with shelters from the cold or wind, how to arrange proper watering and fertilizing. They also talked about various pumpkin events. I was enchanted by the idea of a pumpkin race. Contestants hollowed out pumpkins large enough to sit in, and then raced each other across a pond! I always think of that race when I admire the giant pumpkins at the Franklin County Fair.

I’m planning on some fun with a pumpkin too, but it doesn’t involve a pond. I bought a pie pumpkin at the Greenfield Farmers Market and I’m ready to make my first pumpkin pie from scratch – beginning with cooking the pumpkin. I’ve been told to cut the pumpkin in half, cut off the stem, scoop out all the seeds and scrape away any fibers. Then lay the pumpkin halves cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. It’s wise to test by inserting a paring knife here and there to make sure it is cooked through. Then remove it from the oven and let it cool for an hour. Scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh, put it in the food processor and process for two or three minutes until there is a smooth puree. The puree can be refrigerated for five days or so, or kept in the freezer for three months. Bon appétit.

.Between the Rows   October 7, 2017

Dreaming of trees

American sycamores

American sycamores on both side of the street

Since moving to Greenfield we seem unable to get through a day, or night, without thinking and dreaming about trees. When we bought our house, which was surrounded by nothing more than lawn, our attention was taken by the giant American sycamore on the tree belt in front of our house. I called an acquaintance, Dennis Ryan, who is a retired arborist and professor at the University of Massachusetts. I described our tree which we believed was a sycamore, but were not sure. He asked if it shed lots of bark as well as leaves. I gritted my teeth and said yes, it was always shedding bark. American sycamore it is, not a London plane tree which has a similar and handsome mottled bark.

The only other tree in front of our house is a lilac tree. This Japanese lilac tree is a true syringa. When it bloomed after we took possession of our house in  June 2015 we were thrilled with the large white panicled blossoms that were so fragrant they perfumed our who yard. It took a little research to discover its name, but I soon began to notice that a number of Japanese lilac trees are being planted in town. It doesn’t seem to be on many lists of recommended town trees but I think it should be. It grows to about 25 feet tall, with a similar spread and blooms through June in our region.

Japanese syringa

Japanese lilac tree in mid June

roadside maple trees

Roadside maple trees

We got those beauties with the house, but we wanted trees for the back garden as well. The first concern is to plant the right tree in the right spot. Our choice was river birch because it loves wet soil. River birch has exfoliating bark, a clumping habit, and will grow to 40-70 feet. It has grown well and is now about 20 feet tall. We liked it so much we planted another in the same bed.

Trees are an important part of our domestic landscapes, providing shade and interesting form and color to delight our eyes as it dances in the wind or changes color from delicate greens in the spring and brilliant color in the fall. While there is no denying the aesthetic delight of trees, there are the services that trees provide. They clean our air, provide oxygen, cool our cities, create barriers for unattractive views, muffle the sound of busy streets, and provide food for insects and birds that eat the insects, as well as a dozen other benefits.

Trees are important to the streetscapes of our town. Greenfield has tree wardens who can work with residents who want trees on their street. In addition, Greening Greenfield is a community organization designed to increase the sustainability of our town. One element of their goal is to increase the number of trees lining our streets.

Like all of us, trees have a lifetime. Once there were giant elms marching up and down Main Street providing beauty, shade and a sense of stability. Then Dutch elm disease hit Greenfield’s Main Street, and elms all over the country. There are ongoing efforts to replace the street trees in Greenfield. I’m sure we have all seen young trees planted by the town on the tree strip or on the front lawns of residences with their watering bags.

My neighbor Wendy Sibbison and I are interested in getting more trees on our street. When Sibbison was on the town council 20 years ago she was instrumental in getting a number of trees planted on our street, but some of them have died. Other trees on the street are simply old and failing. We met with the town tree wardens, Paul Ratskevitz and Mike Duclos, and they gave us a list of the trees that the town usually plants. They explained that residents can request a tree, or trees for their street and their name will be put on a waiting list. There is not a lot of money for street trees in the town budget so it is hard to say how long residents will have to wait. It is also possible for a resident to buy a street tree themselves and the town will plant it, and maintain it for a year with a water bag. In that case it is possible that the tree will be planted much more quickly.

Sibbison pointed out that the trees on our street are planted on residents’ lawns where the tree roots are less constricted and there is less stress from road salt. Paul Raskevitz said they prefer planting trees on lawns for that very reason. In fact Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) Chapter 87, Section 7, specifically allows towns and cities to plant trees within 20 feet of the public right of way. These trees are considered to be ‘public shade trees’. Aside from the benefit to the tree, planting on a lawn lessens the problems of hitting public utility lines under the tree strip, or the power lines above it.

Between the Rows   September 30, 2017

Not All The Essentials for the Apocalypse

What are the essentials for an apocalypse?

The New York Times listed essentials for the apocalypse in the September 24, 2017 issue. I did note  that these are essentials as deemed so by a certain affluent group of Americans.

Author Alex Williams lists 13 things to have on hand in case worse comes to worst, what with daily threats from North Korea – and our own White House.

essentials for the apocalypse

Silver (mostly) essentials for the apocalypse

Is money one of  the essentials for the apocalypse? At first glance it seems reasonable that you might want to put in a stock of silver – and in nickels, dimes and quarters “because silver coins come in small enough denominations to barter for a loaf of bread or a socket wrench.” Of course, there is an assumption that someone will be around with extra loaves of bread or socket wrenches.

Stocking your own food seems sensible since you can also include your favorites libations. Are you a Scotch person or a bourbon afficianado? I thought a really great essential was rabbits, that are not fussy about what they eat, and will make up to 50 babies a year. Rabbits are very nutritious.

These affluent survivalists could also get numchucks or brass knuckles or the “100 Deadly Skills” book written by Clint Emerson, a former Navy SEAL. A folding kayak can fit in a closet, JetPacks that will carry you away may soon be commercially available.

With all these valuable resources, only one of  which mentions food – those rabbits – I can’t help thinking of a different apocalypse – climate warming which will change the foods that can be grown and where they can be grown. I also see an unmentioned danger to seeds.

The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide failsafe protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters.’

However, this past winter’s unparalleled warm temperatures caused melting of the permafrost which went into the seed vault. Fortunately, none of the seeds were affected. This time.

Clearly there are many events that can get survivalists scurrying for something that will save them, but I wonder how many unforeseen and unintended consequences are waiting for us.