The watering Hole, Tuesday January 5th, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

The first stream restoration I was ever involved with took place on a dairy farm. A small three foot wide tributary carved through a dairy pasture, warmed and silted by the lack of vegetation along its course of 1700 feet of the property. We had no idea what to expect but the speed of the results were mid-boggling, and all we did was erect fencing and crossings to keep the cows out of the stream. Trout re-population was our goal, but they came last after many more restorations due to temperature issues upstream, but ducks, otters, water snakes and tons of aquatic insects appeared withing a couple of months. Seventeen years later, scientists are here to tell us that river restoration does not take generations, that the positive effects are speedier than first thought, and that they are inter-specific.. Hell, they could have just asked my Trout Unlimited chapter.

The tandem effects of restoration.

Cattle impacted stream segment.

One year later

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 28th, 2015: It’s Autumn, Isn’t It?

It’s week 3 of football season, baseball only has another week in the “regular” season, both of which are normal clues that we’re into fall. Normally, by the end of August, we have at least some trees starting to change their leaves as the first harbingers of the spectacular foliage show to come, but…

With a very few exceptions (certain vines, etc.), our tree-covered hillsides are as green as ever.

According to the official “I Love NY” foliage report,

“Hudson Valley foliage change will remain minimal this weekend, according to foliage spotters. Look for up to 25 percent change in Rockland County, where green still predominates, but some purple, orange and red leaves are beginning to emerge. Dutchess County spotters in Poughkeepsie expect 15 percent color change, with more bright yellow leaves coming into play. Spotters in Columbia, Westchester and Orange counties expect just about 10 percent color change this weekend.”

For some reason, Putnam County, where Wayne and I grew up, is never mentioned, even though there’s plenty of scenic and historic areas in Putnam. And Dutchess County, where we live now, has the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, the Walkway Over the Hudson.

So, where’s our fall foliage? I think I’ll blame Pat Robertson and the religious right for screwing with our seasons. Damned end-timers!

This is our daily Open Thread–whom do you want to blame for something?

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 20th, 2014: Goodbye, Indian Summer


river through The Great Swamp

river through The Great Swamp

On Friday, I wore shorts to work and went in with my hair still wet. The day was sunny and hit the low 70s. Today, I’m going into work wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a lightweight fleece jacket, as the weather is finally remembering that it’s fall.


Goodbye, Indian Summer – you’re welcome to visit any time…

This is our daily open thread – feel free to discuss whatever you want.

Sunday Roast: It’s finally acting like Fall


^^^Not my photo!^^^  I found it on  🙂

Over the last two days, it’s finally been acting like Fall around here.  Sure, the temps were lower — thank FSM! — but while the leaves had turned color, the leaves were sticking in the trees as if they were glued.

Yesterday, the temps dropped just low enough overnight to get the leaves falling in the wind.  Fall is not my favorite season, but there’s something relaxing about watching the leaves falling out of the English walnut trees outside my windows.  Ahhhh….

Oh yeah, and it’s my birthday today.  54 years old!  🙂

This is our daily open thread — what does Fall look like in your world?

The Earliest Nor’Easter EVER: Before and After

Two weeks ago, the Northeast was enjoying a fairly normal, if a bit rainy, autumn. Temperatures were mild and the foliage season went as usual, if somewhat dampened.


Then the earliest Nor’easter ever hit.


The storm reached our village around noon on Saturday, October 29th, starting with innocuous-looking, barely visible flakes. Despite the moisture of the ground, they began to stick pretty quickly: to the ground, to the trees, to the wires overhead. We lost power just about 4:00pm – luckily, I was able to immediately light the gas stove and, with enough daylight left for me to see in the kitchen, I threw together a lamb stew. While that was cooking, the destruction began outside. The first ‘victims’ were the bird-feeders, about 15 feet off the deck. Wayne managed to dig one out and hung it on the surviving shepherd’s hook.

When Tree Limbs Attack

When Tree Limbs Attack

When the long, windy night – filled with the sounds of snapping limbs, cascading snow, and the thudding and scraping of branches on the roof – was over, the house was surrounded by a forest of branches.



We were lucky: the roof was intact, the deck was unharmed, and no windows were broken. Unfortunately, there are thousands of homes and businesses without power even now. NYSEG and other utility trucks, along with local and NYSDOT highway crews, have been out in force all week, but there is still an incredible amount of tree damage and debris left to be cleared.

Update: Of course, the snow can transform a still-unfinished garden into something a bit more wondrous-looking:

Garden Gate

Sunday Roast, September 18th, 2011: Finally, Fall!

Jane's Maples

This past week, the temperatures here in the Northeast dropped from 80 degrees on Wednesday to 60 degrees on Thursday, ushering in today’s perfect early-autumn weather. Although only a few leaves have started turning or falling, soon our area’s foliage will be showing off its finest colors.

Abandoned section of Salinger

Trinity Pawling trees

Birch Reflections

All photos by Jane E. Schneider

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.