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!