How Fragile Our Water Is

October 29, 2009

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A single quart of oil spilled on the ground can seep in and pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. Pouring oil down a storm sewer is the same as pouring it directly into a stream or river. The time it takes to properly dispose of old oil and gasoline is small compared to the time and effort to clean up a spill.

EarthWorks has good ideas on where, how and why to carefully dispose  of used oils and gasoline.

Move Over Ma Bell

October 27, 2009

Okay, I am not sure that I would need this service but check out GoogleVoice. On the google blog you can read more about how to keep your existing phone number and still take advantage of neat features like call recording, call screening and getting text messages via email. You can subscribe to Google Voice with your existing mobile number OR with a Google number. Watch the youtubes to see all the bells and whistles. The catch? You have to be invited. Visit the site and request an invite.

via: Josh Spear, via: Gigaom.com

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When my friend Barb invited me to meet her in Beacon, NY to go to a modern art museum I sort of sneered and said that I’d love to see her and the museum was a good excuse. What I didn’t know was that sleepy Beacon, NY has turned itself into a hip mecca for art and artists. Metro North provides hourly train service from Grand Central to Beacon, it’s 1 hour and 25 minutes, following the scenic Hudson River north. A short and well-marked walk up the hill takes you to DIA:Beacon. The building housing the Riggio Gallery is an old Nabisco box factory, with hardwood floors, indirect lighting provided by original skylights and some windows. It would be a great place for a concert, dance or a roller rink. It is huge – 240,000 square feet of naturally lit exhibition space! And on the day we went, it was also pretty chilly, so dress accordingly and do NOT check your coat and wear your walking shoes.

Dia Art Foundation is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most influential contemporary art institutions. It was established in 1974.  “Dia” a Greek word meaning “through,” emphasizes the the foundation’s role of support for visionary artistic projects that might not otherwise be realized because of their scale or ambition.

“Dia’s founders, Heiner Friedrich and Philippa de Menil, wished to extend the boundaries of the traditional museum to respond to the needs of the generation of artists whose work matured and became prominent during the 1960s and 1970s. Ever since, Dia’s mission has been to commission, support, and present site-specific long-term installations and single-artists exhibitions to the public.”

There is a larger than a gymnasium room of Warhol’s-entitled Shadows, of course, it is 128 colorful variations of a shadow. Many of the installations are for me very intellectual, if that is a kind of art.

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Sol LeWitt has done his work directly on the wall– with colored pencils. Astonishing and mind-boggling time and effort went into the studies and I’m not sure what makes them art, except that they are onte wall of a museum. I suspect the journey of making the piece, its impermanence and the reaction of the viewer must be part of it.

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The most experiential ad satisfying installation is Richard Serra’s part of the permanent collection– can’t imagine how they even got these structure in there to being with…“What interests me is the opportunity for all of us to become something different from what we are, by constructing spaces that contribute something to the experience of who we are.” – Richard Serra.


My favorite:

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Zoe Leonard: You see I am here after all, 2008

It is a wall of  thousands postcards from the early 1900’s through the 1950’s, all depicting Niagara falls from several angles. Some are hand-tinted, others are photographs. They are grouped by view and it is fascinating to read some of the notes penned on the photo side of the cards, there are also postmarks and visible defects and wonderful differences between them.

So there you have it. Who knew? $10, $7 students and seniors.

Winter Hours:
November 13, 2009—April 12, 2010
Friday—Monday 11am-4pm
[closed Tuesday—Thursday]

It’s Time to Plant Garlic

October 11, 2009

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It is time to plant garlic for next July’s harvest right around now- mid- to late October. Today was a sunny and mild day and I decided this would be the day. Last year I planted in the freezing cold and did not want to repeat that scene. I don’t know what varieties I planted, though. A few different kinds but I’ll be guessing next summer- by the shape, color and taste.

Garlic is planted at  5 inches deep and 4 inches apart. When the ground starts to freeze in November I’ll mulch the bed with hay and also some compost to nourish the cloves through the winter. The sprouts will be among the first green to poke out next Spring and I am excited that the cloves are now in the ground.

Meanwhile, deer broke into my garden last night and ate carrot tops, all the beans and the bean leaves off the vines and some kale. I don’t know how they jumped the 7 foot fence, but I tightened the netting up again. Teresa suggested I put on a net roof, too. Will be up early to check, tomorrow.

The Carrots!

October 5, 2009

The Organic Carrots from my garden

The Organic Carrots from my garden

Yertle the Turtle

October 5, 2009

When I was growing up we had many pet turtles. Probably the most boring pet – turtles are not fuzzy, not affectionate, make no eye contact, no sound. But as my boys were growing up the turtle was idealized as mutant ninjas and the possibilities changed. Seriously, though, I have seen lone turtles while sailing and snorkeling in the caribbean. They are graceful, magnificent and lonely creatures with hard-wired sense of direction and purpose.

In this video (it starts slowly but has an exciting middle and end) we see a family of 111 baby loggerhead turtles hatching and making a beeline for the ocean. It’s the only time they are together. No turtle family reunions. They hit the ocean and they are off and on their own dining on small sea mammals and reportedly growing up to 800 lbs (364 kg) and 3.5 feet (1.1 m) long. Named for their disproportionately large head, they are also the state reptile of South Carolina. When they first are swept into the coean they paddle for days, then they float in the currents and eat what floats by. As they mature they are important consumers of sea grass- mowing it down and keeping it short.  Loggerheads reach sexual maturity at around 35 years of age. In the southeastern U.S., mating occurs in late March to early June and females lay eggs between late April and early September. Females lay three to five nests, and sometimes more, during a single nesting season. The eggs incubate approximately two months before hatching sometime between late June and mid-November.

Loggerheads are a protected species as they have been hunted and used for many purposes including meat, eggs and fat. An important contribution is played by the groups of humans who now volunteer to watch over the nest, to protect the eggs from predators both animal and human, to record and protect the hatching and the exodus of the babies to the ocean. You can find out about making volunteering your vacation at CharityGuide.com and through many other national and international organizations.

The Garden Update

October 3, 2009

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I love reading Hatsy Taylor’s weekly posts on her site Weeds and Wisdom. She always has something of interest through the seasons of her NW Connecticut gardens. This week she writes about not wanting to face the weeds in her flower garden. It is very reassuring that I’m not the only one not wanting to deal with the flower beds.

AND, I am happy to report that the deep mulching in the veggie garden this summer was a great success and I am not going to be facing a terrible time putting the garden to bed and planting vetch as a winter cover crop. The beans are still producing, kale is going gangbusters, and the carrots are magnificent! I am now thinking ahead to next summer, and what I’ll have to do to have bigger onions and actually thinking that in the next few weeks I’ll be planting garlic for next July!!! Woohoo. Making a few quarts of pesto with my own basil and garlic last week was a big thrill. Photos to come, soon.