Bridges Sunday, Nov 29 2015 

I probably should have been an engineer…..Because, I find this to be really neat: a perfectly pedestrian bridge, but safe for a state legal tri-axle, though not rated since it is a private bridge.

Originally built….who knows when. My guess is late 1800’s based on the area’s history and the bridge construction: stone piers with a wooden bridge, and the type of piers used on that bridge in comparison to several others. One side patched with poured concrete in wooden framing before 1935 (based on a known photograph). It was then repatched in 1956 but kept the same semi-trapezoidal design of the original stone pier. You can see a little of the old stone, the pre-1935 patch, and above that the 1956 patch.

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The other side was a stone pier with no concrete in 1935. It was rebuilt with poured concrete following the 1955 Flood, nicely shown in this photograph. But, working on a slim budget, a section of the original masonry is now encased in the rectangular piers of the 1956 concrete work, which work has both board framing, for the lower sections, and plywood for the upper, as was common.

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Something of a fixer-upper, but it works!

Determination Saturday, Nov 28 2015 

As defined by one tree.  You will note the roots.  Best as I can figure, the house was abandoned and the tree sprouted while the ground floor and sills were still intact. The tree is outside the foundation wall proper, but the roots spread across the floor and traveled beyond the wall on the left.  When the floor collapsed, the roots were left spanning empty space.  All of the trees around this foundation show this behaviour, one may even mark the angle that the floorboards collapsed in at, and possibly so do some of these in this photograph. Trees growing on a ‘clean’ foundation should either turn hard back to soil or grow straight done and in the wall; they shouldn’t spread out like these. Somewhat creepy and very interesting!

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Forestry Friday, Nov 27 2015 

pondering thereof.  Having been on edge all yesterday (holidays and I do not get on or maybe it was being stuck in the office all day prior or…)

Anyway, I went and killed lots of barberry.  And then wandered about in the woods for most of the afternoon.  I love Connecticut and its land.  But, goodness….I’ve been on quite a bit of it one way or the other, and I really have to say that our chunk is one of the worst in terms of ecology.  Solid barberry, severely high graded fifty years ago, hemlock (dying), ash (dying), and tightly spaced red maple and black birch. The only regeneration is beech. I still love it.  But!

I know what my boss would say: ‘liquidate it’. He might be right.  From the Spring lot (a different issue) down, there are about a dozen good quality oaks and hickories that would be keepers, one nice, but small, pine stand, a few yellow or white birch for aesthetics and…..  Now the narrow strip between the lower road and the first break in the hill is good, a nice mix of beech, tulip, yellow birch, and hickory.*  But it wasn’t poorly managed either. So one would leave that.  It would keep the neighbors happy.

The worst thing about it? It is so bad that it might cost money to do it. The barberry is the real problem along with the deer.  Still, if one could tweak it so that in fifty years it would be a more diverse chunk of forest….

Sure one could wait out the death of the hemlock and ash, but that would be a no go zone till the snags came down, and the result would be uncertain at best and delayed a generation, meanwhile the barberry and, worse the burning bush, just might make a go of a mono-culture…with Lyme Disease.*

It is an interesting comparison to another family piece, not that far away, which reverted from pasture to forest at an earlier date.  That piece is a healthy and very diverse piece of forest; sufficiently high quality that the foresters who have seen it are of the opinion that leaving it alone is a good idea, with which I agree.   Interestingly, the hemlock in that area is doing better, less than half a mile away.*

The question is what is the driving cause for the disparity? Is it the later date and therefore the barberry? The soil? The previous work? That it was regrowing during a time period when the deer population was increasing? Interesting problem.

*That isn’t great, but in comparison!

*The correlation between Barberry, white footed mice, white tail deer, ticks, and Lyme Disease is remarkable in a perverse way.

*The topic of hemlock and what is going on with it in Connecticut is another whole book!

Happy Thanksgiving Thursday, Nov 26 2015 

A mild and quiet day, though I think I might go see if I can deal with some barberry along a stone wall….

For two of my readers, what a pity that this wasn’t the arrangement we sang on Tuesday. (A joint Thanksgiving service with several churches and a particularly painful arrangement of this hymn, at least for those of us who are Anglican by nature)

Utter self interest Wednesday, Nov 25 2015 

(I know, I try to keep politics, economics, and religion out of here lest I repeatedly annoy certain cohorts of my readership whom I love dearly and Really don’t want to annoy)

There is much I could write about tonight: land, love, work, stewardship, religion, sunsets over hills, the forest….but I do have to get through this weekend at the other work place, which teaches me still.

So, if you are shopping this weekend? Keep this in mind.

Question Monday, Nov 23 2015 

These November roads

When the moon rides high and cold

Beckon and call to the restless

The shadowed bars of the forest

Are gates on the way

Who has the key?

Not I.

Not fair! Friday, Nov 20 2015 

Had I gotten to the office a bit earlier, I might have hitched a ride up to see the big bull moose that was hanging out up the road a bit.  Interestingly, it was a different bull from the one that was seen about a week ago (no tags).  And, of course, clearly not the cow and calf that has been around either.

Apparently it was an unusually big one for this area.  In any event, whether I saw it or not, still neat!

Forgotten Road Thursday, Nov 19 2015 

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Summer Glories Past Tuesday, Nov 17 2015 

On days such as this, when the trees are bare, dark bones and sunset comes down hard and fast, the red blade of night.

Photographs such as this are a remarkable reminder of the passing seasons

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Christmas Cactus Sunday, Nov 15 2015 

At least they are consistent. I was flipping through photographs from last year, attempting to come up with something relevant*, and noted that I photographed them during the first two weeks of November last year, so they must have been at the height of their bloom then. This year, the same: all three younger ones are blooming like mad right. Two orange/gold and a multi (pink/white), which is actually two plants in one pot. Go figure. At least they’ll look good for some visitors this week.

It must be something about the timing of the blossom set, now is it by temperature or light I wonder?  And do I really want to force a plant? I don’t like doing that to them, somehow.



*I could write all day about church budgets, revisions to Episcopal Church structure, parliamentary rules of meeting, trains in the Farmington River valley, reservoirs, trees, or…I can pinch hit and publicly read complicated chunks of OT too!

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