The Dollars and Sense Wednesday, Feb 24 2016 

of wetlands since hard numbers seem to be how the world runs, a broad overview:

Running to the Sea Friday, Aug 3 2012 

I grew up reading Holling Clancy Holling’s spectacular books that detailed the story, both natural and man-made, of the great rivers of North America and of the sea.  The influence of those books was greater than I realized. 

Writing a comment on a local paper today about the Maple Hollow (also known as Stub Hollow) brook made me think.  I know that the water on this hill will flow down to the hollow, past Stoney Lonesome pond, past Brad’s pond, past Gray’s pond.  There in the floodplain swamp of red maple it will join the Nepaug River, then the Farmington River, then the Connecticut River, and then at last the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic, shining grey beyond the sand dunes. 

Of course, most of it will probably be diverted from the Nepaug reservoir to serve as drinking water for Hartford and the surrounding towns.  But still, knowing the water’s course gives me a connection to something indescribably beautiful.

On Fireflies II Saturday, Jun 9 2012 

Last night was cool with a rising wind, but the fireflies were still glorious.  It was interesting to observe them from the second story, looking out over the hayfield.  They tended to cluster around several of the younger trees, especially the persistently ill chestnut, to the point where you could see the outline of the tree when they flashed in sync.  This is not surprising.  The chestnut is always a buggy tree, at least judging by the worm-eating birds that flock to it.  However, they also clustered around the young ash, which also stands in the field on a fence-line.  A few had staked out the fence itself, a little string of stationary lights all at the same height.

They also drifted down out of the big magnolia and, to a lesser extent, the big hemlock.  Stars in the dark.

What is that purple thing in the tree? Friday, May 25 2012 

Most people driving around Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York have probably seen a bright purple box, about two feet tall, hanging in a tree, usually about thirty feet up.  If they are very observant they will have noticed that the box is usually hung in an ash tree, preferably one in decline.  What are they?

The boxes are traps for the Emerald Ash Borer, a nasty beetle that hitched a ride from China to the Midwest some years back.  This bug has been inexorably making its way east across North America.  It eats, and kills, ash trees at a good clip.  Since ash is a valuable lumber tree, critical wildlife habitat, and makes up the majority of forests in many regions….this is cause for concern. 

The traps are not designed to catch all of them.  Nor will they attract them from more than about a hundred feet away, so they Will Not lure them into an area that doesn’t have them.  They are merely there to allow the USDA, USFS, DEP, UCONN*, and others to track the bug’s progress so as to learn what slows it down and what doesn’t.  Last year there were about 950 traps in Connecticut, on a square kilometer grid system.  This year there are about 450, over more of the state but not in all areas.*  So far, the emerald ash borer hasn’t been found in the state…yet.

What does this have to do with Esperanza?  Well, we are an ideal location for the trap, so for the second year there is one in the hedgerow; may it remain just as empty as last year’s!

*and other alphabet agencies and universities

*Finding an ash tree in the middle of a city was apparently hard, it was also hard to convince the majority of private citizens to allow someone from the government on to their property, it was equally impossible to convince the government body in charge of nuclear power plants, dams, and other bits of infrastructure to allow another government body access…

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