November 19, 2009

Seasons Change

Well, Halloween might be past, but Nockamixon has been proudly represented by Ferndale resident Curt Herr, who was recently interviewed by CNN for this story about the history of vampires in popular culture.

Ferndale resident Curt Herr with a copy of a recent book he edited.

Curt is an associate professor of literature at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania who teaches gothic and Victorian fiction. He's also the new co-editor of the Journal of Dracula Studies, an academic journal published by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula.

Congratulations to Curt, whose star is on the rise. He gained major exposure at this summer's Tinicum Arts Festival, and I'm sure we'll hear more from him before too long.

Now, as the leaves have fallen away from the trees and temperatures are dropping, it won't be long before the current rain turns to snow and our thoughts turn to the holiday season. Along those lines, we recognize one of the area's best-kept secrets in unique and affordable holiday gift shopping.

Neighboring Haycock Historical Society celebrates its sixth annual Kringle Christmas Shoppe. Folks, if you haven't discovered this wonderful little opportunity to purchase exquisite gifts -- a juried collection of mostly handmade items produced by local artisans and authors -- I can't recommend highly enough that you give it a try this year!

After having moved for several years between generously donated society members' homes, the Kringle Shoppe has, for the past few years now, been held at the Latvian Baptist Church at 1142 Apple Road in Applebachsville. It's a quaint setting that lends the perfect down-home atmosphere to this old-fashioned community event.

For just three days each holiday season, shoppers in the know can choose from all these wonderful, quality items while being serenaded by live musical performers and enjoying treats from the hospitality kitchen. The Latvian influence accents this Society fundraiser perfectly. Latvian ladies, dressed in traditional native costumes, grace the hall. Visitors are offered Latvian holiday treats as well as a healthy sampling of traditional holiday fare.

When done shopping, top off the experience with a Belgian draft horse-pulled carriage ride through the quaint village of Applebachsville. The only thing that could make it more of an old Victorian-era excursion would be fat, white snowflakes drifting down as you ride along listening to the clip-clop of the horse's hooves and maybe singing a few Christmas carols.

Don't miss your chance this year: mark your calendars for December 4 from 1-8 PM; Dec. 5 from 10 AM -3 PM and Dec. 6 from 12:30-4:30 PM. It's a weekend jaunt you're sure to remember as you return home with lots of fun memories and a big dent in your gift shopping list.

One of the unique items you'll be able to find at the Kringle Shoppe is Haycock Township and Eddie Bauer: 1910 thru 1970, the new book by Haycock Township resident Pat DeWald. And no, it's not about that Eddie Bauer (I asked), but about the development of Haycock through the eyes of a lifelong township resident. Anyone with a penchant for local history or wanting to see a huge collection of interesting historical photos will want to get a copy of this 250-page book published by the Haycock Historical Society as a fundraiser. You can learn more if interested by emailing the author.

Pat DeWald's new book

And if you work up an appetite while you're out, remember that Donna Davis is now serving fast, filling dinners at Country Town on the 611 bend in Revere from 5-8 PM on Friday evenings. Choose from the regular sandwich menu or their dinner specials including new hot grill items. Enjoy your home-cooked fare in the Country Town Cafe or order to go.

Heading into Thanksgiving, you don't want to miss the Gallows Run Watershed Association's new exhibition, "Art for Conservation: Artists of the Gallows Run."  Showcasing the work of local artists featuring preserved properties in the watershed, this show's opening wine and hors d'oeuvres reception will be held from 5-8 PM this Sunday, November 22 at The Ferndale Inn. The opening will be preceded at 4:30 by a brief GRWA annual members meeting.

The show is sponsored by the Heritage Conservancy and funded by a grant from the Erwin J. and Gertrude K. Neusch Fund. 50% of the proceeds from sale of the original artworks will be donated to the GRWA to help fund outreach about the many issues challenging the health of the watershed. So stop by, indulge in some great food and drink by the always hospitable Karen Baron, and see some gorgeous images that will remind you of what we all have to be thankful for here in Nockamixon.

October 3, 2009


Well, Ferndale and surrounding communities, rejoice! On Thursday, the bridge rehab in front of the Ferndale Inn on Church Hill Road was FINALLY completed. Okay, don't everyone have a heart attack at once. Just breathe...that's right...okay. So now we can finally return to our normal traffic patterns (though it may be some time for those not from around here, since PennDOT, in its infinite wisdom, is taking its sweet natured time about removing all the detour signs...
But, till then, how about we all stop in for a drink or two, or a scrumptious dinner, to let Karen know we're aware she made it through that long, lonely haul. Okay?

Pidge and Denny Smith asked me to let y'all know that they're hosting a little "get to know ya" party at their house tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 4) at one o'clock for Bob Mensch, who won the state Senate seat recently vacated by Rob Wonderling. Yer all invited. Beer and munchies and Pidge promises not too much politics...

Ferndale author/editor Curt Herr, Kutztown University Professor

Hey, y'all should be proud of our Ferndale homeboy, Curt Herr, who's got two new books out. Watch the Herald for my upcoming articles about Ziska and Danesbury House. If anyone's a Gothic lit fan, this boy's tearin' up the pea patch in that genre. And tell him congrats when you see him again: he was recently asked to serve as Co-Editor of the JOURNAL OF DRACULA STUDIES, an academic journal of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. Pretty hefty credentials for a small-town guy who can often be seen just hangin' in the backyard... You go, Curt! And nice job, you guys, on the beautiful new flower beds in front of your house. Sure does add some color to the corner.

Another homey makin' some waves is Kintnersville's Louise Caughey. Louise has become a public insurance adjuster with Metro down in Bristol. If you've never heard of a public adjuster, don't be shy -- most folks haven't. But I guar-on-tee you'll wish you had next time you need to make an insurance claim. Find out before you need one how this kind of professional will fight on YOUR side to get you everything you deserve in your next claim. Anyone who wants to know more, contact me at community AT and I'll forward to you a one-page explanation of what these folks do. When I found out myself, I was floored. I will NEVER again file an insurance claim without doing it through a public adjuster.

You're probably aware by now that we have a supervisor race coming up in November. Nancy Alessi and Terry Fritz want to thank everyone who attended their barn dance last month. I hear they raised the roof along with some campaign funds with a foot-stompin', hand-clappin' good time. Near 80 folks showed up and do-si-do'ed with the best of them to a fantastic caller, and a good time was had by all.

Okay, I'm gonna end with a bit of shameless self-promo here: My book, "Devastation on the Delaware" about the 1955 record-holding flood, is down to its last 200 copies of the first edition. That means that by about Christmas, these books will become collector's items, because I'm not reprinting the first edition (which will have then sold 5,000 copies!). I will be offering it via print-on-demand until the new one, but those won't count as true first edition copies. I'll be working on a revised, updated edition to come out next August for the flood's 55th anniversary, but second editions are rarely collectibles.

So, if you wanna own a piece of local history to maybe hand down to your kids or up to a parent who lived through it, we're discounting these last remaining copies to $15 -- tax included -- until Christmas -- or until they run out. You can ONLY get this deal by finding us at Durham Community Day next Saturday, Oct. 10, catching me at one of my upcoming appearances, or contacting me directly via email at floodbook AT Give me your phone number and I'll call you to arrange a special sale. But when they're gone, they're gone, so don't wait.

Till next time...

September 11, 2009

Lots of News for Early September

Hey, Y'all -

Well, there's lots to cover, so we'll just get right to it.

First of all, I feel it's necessary to post this disturbing information that was passed on to me this afternoon by Kintnersville resident Sandy Weber:


This person is wanted in connection with several burglaries in the surrounding counties. DO NOT APPROACH as he may be armed with a stolen 9mm handgun. Last seen operating either a white Dodge work van with black ladder racks, PA registration YJE9654 or a dark blue colored 15 passenger window van with a primered hood and tinted windows, PA registration: GKD8838. Both vehicles are stolen.

(UPDATE: It is believed he is now driving a red Ford pickup with a white cap that was stolen from Durham Rd.) If either the person or vehicle is spotted, DO NOT APPROACH but contact PA State Police Dublin at 215-249-9191 or Dial 911.

Subject may have been involved in a motor vehicle accident on Coon Hollow Road in the township at 3AM on Friday, September 11, 2009, and fled the scene on foot.

UPDATE: Apparently this buy was apprehended late last night (9-1--09) and pulled a gun on the officers, who shot him to death. Here's the story. - Mary
Next, I want to acknowledge the passing of two area residents.
Here's Bill Nast's obituary, who left us last Friday:
William Nast, 89, formerly of Nockamixon Twp., died Friday, September 4, at Saucon Valley Manor in Hellertown.
He was born September 23, 1919 in Philadelphia, a son of the late Herman and Ottilie Minke Nast. From 1957 until his retirement in 1984, he worked as a machine operator for Penn Engineering & Mfg. Corp. in Danboro. Prior to that, he had worked for Roy Fair in Ferndale. He enjoyed hunting and was a member of the Revere/Ferndale Hunting Club. He loved gardening and was an avid Phillies fan.

Bill was a member and former councilman of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Ferndale. He was an army veteran of WWII and was a life member of the Easton Moose Lodge.

He is survived by one son, Richard and his wife, Donna, of Quakertown; two granddaughters, Rebecca Shermer and her husband, Russell and Kate Nast and her fiance, Nate Knepper; one great grandson; one sister, Elenora Vanni, Doylestown.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, who died in March of this year. His funeral service was held Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 4 p.m. in St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Ferndale. Arrangements by the Robert W. Snyder Funeral Home, Riegelsville.

And here's the obituary for Dick DeGroot, member of a longtime Nockamixon family, who passed on the same day:

Richard J. de Groot of Erwinna, Pa. died Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, in his home. He was 74. He was born Aug. 22, 1934, in New York, N.Y., a son of the late Cornelius and Helena Slovacek de Groot. For 30 years, he owned and operated A Gourmet's Pantry in Erwinna. Prior to that, he had worked as the international advertising director for Gourmet Magazine in New York for 10 years.

Mr. de Groot was a wonderful host who loved to entertain and was a great cook. He also was an avid reader and enjoyed doing crossword puzzles. He was a peacetime U.S. Navy veteran, who served as a Russian expert. He was a graduate of Fordham University in New York.

He is survived by his partner of 42 years, Steve Knesz; one brother, Robert and his wife, Chris, of Revere; three sisters, Charlotte de Groot of Plumsteadville, Cory Whitehead and her husband, Ken, of Fenwick, Del., and Lillian Crum and her husband, Darryl, of Ferndale; his aunt, Josephine Karasek of Erwinna; and one niece and six nephews.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Doylestown Hospital Hospice, 875 Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18901. Robert W. Snyder Funeral Home, Riegelsville.

We'll miss Bill and Dick, and wish their spirits easy passage to the next spiritual plane.
On a happier note, we welcome a new arrival to our township. Vera's Country Cafe is now ensconced in the building formerly known as Judy's Friendly Garden at 4203 Durham Road (Rt. 412) in Ottsville. Stop by, have a bite to eat and welcome our new neighbors. You can call them at 610-847-8372.

Staying with the restaurant theme, Donna Davis says y'all should stop by on Friday evenings over at Country Town in Revere. She's now serving up a hot dinner from the grill between 5-8 PM. It should be a nice option for those not looking forward to having to whip something up at the end of a long, hard week. You don't need reservations, but indoor seating is somewhat limited. So after the weather turns cold, you'll want to get there early, or call in a take-out order. 610-847-6929.
For the artists in our midst, lots of happenings to pay attention to:

The Gallows Run Watershed Assn. is planning their big fundraiser of the year. On Sunday, Nov. 22, Palisades High School will host En Plein Air: Gallows Run Art for Conservation. Truly an event of the people, by the people and for the people, this exhibition promises to be something really different than we've seen before.

Local artists will be invited to capture a landscape or outdoor scene in our watershed, using their preferred medium. Under the GRWA's guidance, the Heritage Conservancy will reach out
to local artists regarding study sites within the watershed. The project will provide opportunities for local residents and students to experience our important natural resources while observing artists at work at these sites. A second opportunity to enjoy the work will be when they can view the finished results at this exhibition sponsored by the Conservancy.

In discussions with GRWA president Todd Stone of Kintnersville -- a professional painter in his own right -- Palisades High School art teacher Kathy Beck voiced a strong interest in hosting the event at the school’s art gallery. She felt this would provide the potential for secondary benefits to students through both education and art scholarships. The exhibit will be introduced via a reception hosted by the Heritage Conservancy. Opening remarks by Todd and a member of the Conservancy’s executive staff will be made, regarding the importance of conservation and the arts.

A portion of sales of the displayed art will benefit the Conservancy’s land conservation efforts in the Gallows Run Watershed, where a number of landowners are working with the Conservancy to protect the beauty and natural resources of their open space property for the benefit of future generations. In addition, there may be the opportunity to auction or raffle a local piece of
art for the school’s art scholarship program. Details are still being worked out.

The specific objectives of this project are to:
  • Promote and support land conservation efforts in the Gallows Run Watershed
  • Provide opportunities for local artists to interpret and showcase their artistic interpretation of local landscapes and places of conservation interest
  • Engage local residents, including school-age youth, in an educational activity that will dramatically demonstrate the need and value of land conservation through art
There are a few more details at the Conservancy's website. We'll be watching eagerly as plans unfold, and I'll keep you posted here.

Another bit of nearby art news is that John Mathieu, owner of the building located at 36 Bridge Street in Frenchtown, opened a gallery space there this past weekend. It is small, and beautifully done. The idea is for artists to rent it by the week ($500) or the month ($1500) for solo or group shows. No commissions, just the space in a great location (next door to the laundromat). His number is (609) 577-0418 if you're interested in participating.

Yet one more bit of art-related news: A woman named Erin Thomas is turning a building in Doylestown into a non-profit community art center -- sounds very cool. Please check out her website: She's talking workshops, exhibition space, a relaxed place to hang out, all sorts of things. Until Nockamixon gets a much-needed community center of its own, this wouldn't be a bad option.

And if you're not so much an artist yourself, but really love original work, then there's good news for you, too! My friend and former student, Peyton Petty, has opened her art studio, Bunker Hill, in Ottsville to the public for classes and exhibitions. It's a gorgeous space, either to work in or to shop for awesome Bucks County originals.

She's now busy planning her 2009 Annual Holiday Art Show, featuring original paintings, fine art photography, ceramics, furniture, birdhouses, books, cards and more by local artists Tim Yanka, Paula Chamlee, Don Simon, Jana Kolpen, Laura Womack, Reny Willoughby and Peyton herself. So, since we all need to shop more carefully this year, why not find some real values that contribute directly to the health of your neighbors and to the health of the arts in Bucks County?

Mark you calendars to visit the Holiday Show and Sale on Sat. Oct. 24 (11:00-5:00); Sun. Oct. 25 (11:00-5:00); or Sun. Nov.1 (11:00-4:00). You'll be glad you did!
And finally, because I like to be a positive person, I want to re-visit a topic I broached when I first launched this site a few years ago. I mentioned that I was disappointed in the lack of effort that had been expended in creating a truly informative, useful official website for Nockamixon Township. And I am pleased to say that I no longer feel this way.

In the intervening years, the site has come a long way toward being kept up to date and being made a thorough resource for information every resident needs. It even has a front-page link to our Emergency Management website for use during emergency activations.

So thanks, Nockamixon Supervisors, for allocating the resources to get this done! And citizens, avail yourselves of this resource! There's also a citizen-run site of interest you should check out.

Hope to see you all at Nockamixon Community Day, from 11 AM-5 PM on Saturday, September 19th. Bucks County Horse Park on Rt. 611 in Revere -- be there!

August 24, 2009

Barn Sale Continues...

Just a note to let y'all know that Darlene Kaminsky's Barn Sale to raise funds for her marathon will continue for the next few weekends, as long as the weather's nice. Official hours are 9am-3pm, but she's been staying as long as she has customers. I was there yesterday and she has some great items for sale. It's worth the trip anyway just to see their beautiful property at the corner of Chestnut Road and Ealer Hill Road in Kintnersville.

August 21, 2009

Kintnersville Resident Runs for a Cure

Hey! Here's an opportunity to do something good:

Darlene Kaminsky of Chestnut Hill Farm in Kintnersville is currently training for the Nike Women's Marathon, to be held October 18th in San Francisco. She'll be participating as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society "Team in Training" or TNT.

You might know Darlene as the Pie Lady who, with her partner Dave VonBing, frequently shows up to sell her yummy baked goods at local events. Or you may know her from her work with the Gallows Run Watershed Association. She's been invaluable in helping to keep member databases in good shape over the years, among other services.

In that community spirit of service, Darlene has been fundraising for the past few months, working toward a goal of $3900 to go toward this worthy event. She's planning a barn/bake sale for August 22nd on their property at 105 Chestnut Lane in Kintnersville.

Yes, that's tomorrow. And since the forecast is for nasty weather, you won't be able to do much outside anyway. Might as well spend some time in a nice, dry barn and pick up some goodies to help pass the wet weekend, and help put Darlene over the top in her goal!

Let's pull together to help our friend and neighbor achieve this milestone, and do us proud in representing our community in the City by the Bay!

August 4, 2009

Sum Yum New To Try

Well, Noxers, if you haven't heard by now that we have a new ice cream place in town, you must be living under a rock over by the lake. But actually, if you WERE over there, you could hardly miss all the new traffic to the former location of Kate's General Store. That space is now occupied by OWowCow Creamery, a small-batch producer and server of some of the most awesome ice cream I've ever had the pleasure of eating. And apparently, I'm not the only one. If you become a member of the truly obsessed crowd, you can even follow them on Facebook and read about them on other blogs.

Not only is this ice cream awesome, it's served in a colorful, cheery store with just one freezer case (yes, really! Can you imagine not being overwhelmed, just impressed?) full of their handmade-with-real-fresh-ingredients-and-real-cream frozen confections! They even give you free sample spoons so you don't have to take a risk on a flavor you're not sure of. And don't expect the flavors to taste like something off the shelf. The peach tastes like...well, peach! And the three flavors of vanilla are to die for. So far, though, my favorite is the pistachio (good thing they don't make an emoticon for drooling, or you'd be seeing it here). And I haven't even TRIED the pudgie pies yet...

I'm hoping they're here to stay, not only because I like their product, but because I think a new business that can launch amidst a deepening recession and not only stay afloat but prosper can only be good for our community's economy. It generates income, tax revenue and jobs, all while supporting local vendors and keeping its customer base very, very happy. No, the pricing's not for everyone; but there's a lower-priced competitor right down the street for those who feel this stuff's too rich for them. That's the beauty of options.

So if you haven't taken the opportunity to get your wow on, get over to OWowCow. Check out the ice cream and give a warm Nockamixon welcome to our new neighbors. You'll thank me for giving you this kick in the butt, even if it IS a little bigger after your visit. (Hey, you can always join the Nockamixon Athletic Club to work it off!) Enjoy.

A Guest Blogger Shares Her Thoughts

Today's post is from someone I'm proud to call "friend" and "neighbor," Alana Balogh. Alana grew up here in Nockamixon, and I happen to live in what used to be her uncle's house. She was one of the first people to reach out and make us feel welcome when we moved here more than ten years ago (where does the time go?). And she reached out again after my last post with some thoughts of her own.

Alana has long been a community activist, and she has earned my respect. Though I may not agree 100% with everything she has to say, by and large we are in accord on the following topics. I think her comments are interesting and relevant, so wanted to share them with you here.
So, without further ado, here's what Alana has to say:


First, I would like to thank you for honoring Helen Nast and Lance Arbor in your post – two personal friends and active community members who will be missed.

After reading through the rest of your comments, I found myself thinking over and over about all the clichés we have all heard: Everything is connected. History repeats itself. The more things change, the more they remain the same. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

And my conclusion from all evidence is that we are now well into the Sixth Great Extinction. Like it or not, humans are part of it because respect for wisdom has been lost in the media blitz from the power of corporate profiteers. Keep in mind: oil, motor vehicles, corporations, greed and destruction. Let me explain, addressing each of your comments:

Helen and Lance were characters grown from struggle, challenges, perseverance and accomplishment. They were not funneled into mainstream ideology due to bombardment from the media. They remained independent thinkers and doers, true to themselves and what they each believed in. They were survivors from an agrarian era, when people learned real survival skills that were tied to individuals, not corporate profit.

Oil and gas exploration already happened here back in the 80s, right after The Beverly Hillbillies was a popular show on TV. Everybody thought they would get rich and bought into the farce back then, too. I still wonder how much influence the oil industry had over the timing and airing of that show and its "black gold, Texas Tea," in that state that has already been destroyed. Most did not realize then, as now, that the whole scheme is set-up to profit a few corporate heads and has little to nothing to do with benefiting those whose communities it will destroy, including our water source. Keep that point in mind for later.

Reading back over your previous post of September 27, 2007 – "Remember who took care of us before it was easy" – a few more thoughts came to mind regarding the clichés and your comment that
One thing that became immediately apparent was the lack of convenience stores and nearby gas stations. But I figured that was part of the price we paid for being able to live in a rural area. We might not have all the conveniences, but then neither did we have all the traffic, noise and pollution. But then, I poked around locally, and found that not only did we have quite a few little family-owned general stores, but we also had a plethora of wonderful little sandwich shops that would make any city jealous. We HAD the convenience stores -- they just didn't look like what I was used to seeing, so it took me a while to realize they were here.
I can remember what life was like here in our little villages before corporate America took over, based on the motor vehicle, oil, and maximum profit. There were "convenience stores" all over the place, called general stores. As you discovered, they didn't look like them because they were run by individual community members with their own character, not corporations that suck the life out of everything with an imprinted logo, and maximum profit as the end goal.

You might not know there were gas pumps in front of the Revere store, even more convenient for you than Turkey Hill, regarding miles traveled to get there from your house! The general store had everything, including exotic spices from far off lands, all the staples, penny candy and toys for children. I know, because I purchased them all, right there. At Christmas time, Santa Claus was upstairs sitting by a fully decorated tree to hand out candy canes to all the children. And the children of the proprietor, with other neighborhood children, came by in the early evening to sing Christmas carols around the neighborhood.

Should I be prepared to serve hot cocoa to the children of the owners of the Turkey Hill Corporation this Christmas? Does anyone know who they are? I suppose some corporate research could reveal who owns the chain. I know their children will not appear in my yard to serenade me at Christmas. "It takes a village to raise a child…" There's another cliché to think about.

My mother and I did all of my grandmother's grocery shopping at the Revere general store by pulling a two-wheeled, tall wire basket shopping cart like you see people use in the city. We pulled it along Beaver Run Rd. and down Rt. 611, with no worry of being run over. If you did see a car, more than likely, you knew the person and they slowed down to keep you safe and even waved hello.

Yes, they had everything grandmother needed at the Revere general store. If you couldn't pay that day for whatever reason, Neil DeGroot would reach above the old-time cash register and pull out a slip of paper with your name on it so you could pay next time you came in. And, he didn't have to ask your name.

Have we really gained convenience at Turkey Hill, or are the greedy corporate profiteers just making people think that by using the misnomer of "convenience store," so they can suck every dime out of what was once a real community with their poor quality, crappy Chinese products and food that would double as "clean-fill" if you checked the nutritional value. Talk about cancer!

May Lance rest in peace, having watched what was left of his heritage stolen right from under him. I'm sure Helen would have a few things to say about it, too. "Suck" is your appropriate choice word, Mary. [Statement about a local developer removed here to protect me from being hit with a libel suit - Mary]

Severe storm approaches over fields behind Trauger Farm
on Nockamixon Road in July

Let's move on to the weather; the hail, wicked storms, tornadoes and – yes, that gorilla in the room that nobody wants to point to – global climate change. It is a fact. All scientific evidence shows it is happening and humans are speeding it up at an alarming rate because of the way we live and our overpopulation of the planet constantly demanding more. It doesn't matter if you choose to believe it or not: You are already part of it, and the Sixth Great Extinction is well underway.

You can choose to label me as paranoid, a nut case, an alarmist, a doomsayer... or you could do your own research and see what you find. Here's a place to start. As humans demand more and more energy and keep burning fossil fuels, the planet's oceans keep heating up from processes I won't go into here. Bottom line is that heat has to get released somehow, just like a pot on a stove. Eventually, it boils and lets off steam. In very simple terms, the unusual and violent weather is the planet releasing built-up energy that has increased substantially by humans burning fossil fuels – namely oil – in one form or another, including coal.

Let's get back to oil. Did you know there once was public transportation available right in front of the Revere store? Yup, that's where the trolley tracks ran, all the way north to Easton and south to Bristol. I don't remember those tracks, but my father and grandmother did, and they rode those trolleys, too. Before that, there was a stagecoach. The horses didn't use oil, either. That was before everybody had at least 3 vehicles in their driveway that burn gas, which comes from oil, which feeds the pockets of the greedy profiteers.

Talk about convenience! Imagine the money you'd save on car insurance, repairs, inspections, emissions testing – and gas and oil – if all you had to do was get on the trolley to get to a bigger town, or city. And let's not forget bicycles, and walking like my parents and I did...when you still could, without the constant worry of being run over. Now, we need more gas to get to the gym to work out.

How about that tomato and potato blight? Expect a lot more of that as the weather changes. Plants can't migrate to accommodate their conditional needs as the weather changes. There will be more and more problems growing food. In nature, there is always change and always will be. [But when it happens naturally] it is very gradual, allowing all living things to adjust most of the time. The exceptions are the 5 previous major extinctions, during which nearly all living things disappeared from the planet in the form they were in.

Welcome to 2009 and the 6th Great Extinction! The difference is, we have historical and scientific record to understand this one. It's about oil and greed, speeding us to our own demise.

If every person does absolutely everything he or she can to demand less energy, burn less fuel, and change the way we all live, perhaps there is a chance we can buy some time. I guess we'll find out.

In the meantime, keep a path cleared to your cellar, just in case one of those tornado warnings turns out to be the real deal.

August 1, 2009

Guess It's Time to Revive This Thing.

Well, I was kind of chagrined when I stopped by to see I last posted here two years ago. My, how time flies when you're running two businesses!

But anyway, things have changed SO much in Nockamixon Township since that last post. One of the stores I wrote about has since gone out of business. We've had LOTS more new development. Gas and oil drillers have been given the go-ahead to start blowing toxic fracking fluid into our ground (just hoping it won't pollute our groundwater in the process) so they can suck out bazillions of dollars in energy profits. And sucks is the right word here, in more ways than one.

So, it's probably a good idea to once again start drawing people's attention to their immediate surroundings. Heaven knows what other items of interest may come along.

Right now, there are several things I can think of:

We recently lost at least two longtime community members, both of whom I believe it's fair to call "characters," in the best sense of that word.

Helen Nast
, who grew up here and lived here all her life, was a fixture at township meetings, where she frequently crocheted, knitted or occupied her hands with some other crafty activity while she engaged her brain in the political goings-on of our ever-interesting municipal government. Helen was involved in so many aspects of our community I don't have room here to cover, but the three that I'll always remember were her constant advocacy for the Union Cemetery on Church Hill Road; her ongoing involvement with her graduating class activities at Palisades High School; and her recent seat on the board of the Nockamixon Historic Commission, which I was proud to serve on with her. I'll forever remember our first meeting after Helen passed: chairman John MacFarland acknowledged our loss and we all left her usual chair at the table empty out of respect and remembrance. Only in a small town like ours.

Very recently, we also lost Lance Arbor. I only got to know Lance maybe a year ago, but he was known far and wide for his embrace of his ancestral Native American culture and way of life. He was also a passionate advocate for open space and other environmental concerns. He was never one to be retiring, and his outspoken ways annoyed as many folks as it gained him friends. I happen to admire that kind of person. I'm just sorry I didn't get to know him sooner. He's not the kind of guy who comes along every day.

We've also gained a number of new stores in the last year or so, and some farmers' markets. But there's another local writer who's covering those better than I would, so I encourage you to visit Rose Strong's blog, Morsels and More, to read all about those. She's got a great little blog.

Another topic of interest this year is the weather. Well, okay...if you know me, you know that's ALWAYS a topic of interest for me. But seriously, this year the summer got here late because we had so much cold, rainy weather for so long this spring. Now that's hot, rainy weather.

Tomato blight

Our lawn has never looked so good, but that's about all that's benefiting from the constant wetness. All through the northeast US, gardeners and farmers are lamenting tomato and potato blight caused by the damp conditions.

Hail that fell as nickel-to-ping pong ball size piled up against our garage on July 25th.

And we've had some real doozy thunderstorms lately, including one last weekend that brought what the Weather Service says were straight line winds of 75 mph. (I disagree -- I think it was a funnel, because no other kind of wind pattern pelts three faces of a person's house for sustained periods over several minutes. But I digress...)

Post-storm cell phone pic shows a classic supercell cloud structure headed east to terrorize NJ and NY.

It dumped a load of hail and the cloud formation I was able to see after it had passed was textbook classic supercell. It tore down many trees that stranded motorists in downtown Ferndale for two hours until pathways were cut by homeowners, and knocked out power to some residents here and in Bridgeton Township until midday on Monday. The storm went on to be tornado warned over Frenchtown, NJ and on up into New York City. It's only the second direct hit of severe weather here in the township, but we've had loads of it all around us for at least three weeks now.

So, as we head into the dog days of August, who knows what Mom Nature is cooking up for us? I just know she IS cooking, as we continue to languish in the upper 80s to mid-90s. I love summer, and I even love the heat. But mixed with the relentless humidity, it's getting to be a bit much even for me. I keep hoping the next storm will break the soup, but it just keeps feeling more like a sauna every day.

Nockamixon Emergency Management display at a recent Community Day celebration

Meanwhile, fellow Nox neighbors, enjoy what you can of the rest of the summer. Later this month we head into county fair season, and next month is Nockamixon Community Day, followed by similar celebrations in Springfield and Durham townships. Hope to see y'all there!