Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home remodeling project. Where do things come from?

I am just finishing a home improvement project. We removed the old wallpaper from the upstairs hall. Then we painted and put in wainscoting. I noticed a web site on the railing and mop board, which is molded MDF. It is a product from Chile. Check out the Truchoice USA website here. Much of their wood is from radiata and loblolly plantations, for which Chile is famous. It's a nice product to work with. The wainscoting, by the way, was manufactured by Georgia Pacific, I assume in the USA. We are truly in a world market now. 

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas ornaments

Here are the latest fruits of my wife's crafting. Christmas ornaments! They look like something from Fabergee.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aerial Campus

Aerial Campus
Originally uploaded by University of Maine.

My alma mater, three times. The University of Maine on the Stillwater River in Orono, Maine.

Friday, December 17, 2010

BBC - Earth News - Poisoning drives vulture decline in Masai Mara, Kenya

BBC - Earth News - Poisoning drives vulture decline in Masai Mara, Kenya

It looks like these Kenyan vultures are not being poisoned on purpose, but accidentally as poisoned carcasses are left to eliminate predators. But the effect is the same. As the article points out, vultures are critical for the ecosystem.

When I lived in Burkina Faso we used to watch vultures circling the village. They flew incredibly high came down at the right time to feed. They always seemed to know what was going on. On days when the market was running they were especially numerous. It was cheap entertainment on a hot afternoon.

I hope the poisoning does stop so that the vultures can return to a normal number.

Monday, December 13, 2010

American Picker in PA

I'm watching American Picker, with the crew working their way through PA.  They are now at the Hotel Tidioute in Tidioute, PA. Tidioute is at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, near Titusville. It's cool to find the exact place on Google Maps!

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Watchung Reservation

Over Thanksgiving break I was visiting family near Summit New Jersey. After braving the Black Friday mobs for a few hours I took the opportunity to visit Watchung Reservation, a two-thousand acre park managed by Union County. Part of the park is crossed by Interstate 78.

The park has a mixture of hiking trails, horse riding trails, playgrounds, and other resources. In the late afternoon I hiked around Lake Surprise, a man-made narrow lake, about a mile long. Here are pictures of the lake, including the dam:

Follow this link for a tourist map of the park and other sources of information. I also made a map on Flickr of the lake site I visited.

From a natural resources management point of view it was fascinating to see some of the issues in this park. It gets very heavy use as it is completely surrounded by residential and commercial areas. I saw quite a few people enjoying the lake, even though it was a cold, cloudy day. There are a lot of wildlife resources. I saw swans, ducks, and canada geese in the lake. I know the area is full of deer, too.

I noticed that there are three wildlife crossings on Interstate 78 leading into the park. One of the sources I found mentioned the completion of 78 had been held up for a long time by the park until the State of New Jersey built these bridges. Apparently they haven't been successful. It does look odd seeing a forested bridge across the highway. 

I wondered, too how the park could be maintained in these difficult economic times. New Jersey is having more financial difficulties than other states. How can the county government find the resources to maintain the park. I hope they find a way to keep this important resource going.