harvest the forest

logging.1
Click on any picture for a larger view.

Our neighbors, Ed and Betty, are having their trees harvested by a local logging company. It has been amazing to see how much wood was cut down and hauled away over the past three weeks.

logging.2Truck load after truck load of pine and ash logs, some of them impressively large, went off to the mill. logging.4The hillside is mostly bare now except for crushed branches and some small trees. It would make a decent ski slope.


 

We are thinking of asking the loggers if they might take trees on our side but we don’t want a clear-cut. logging.3

Ed’s land will grow back quickly with saplings and blackberry bushes, good for whitetail deer.


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Monday we encountered a minor disaster. Just as Jeanne and I were leaving the house to go shopping in Burlington our phone rang with news from the marina that the plastic tarps covering our sailboat had blown apart. The marina is about sixty-five miles away and was right on our way. We got there at noon, in blowing snow with the temperature just above zero to find Walkabout half uncovered with the shredded tarps flapping in the wind. I tied up what I could of the flailing ends and figured that I could order new tarps and properly cover the boat up a few days later.

Then I turned to leave.

“Bob”, my wife cried, “there’s something terribly wrong with the car!”

Out from under our Ford poured a hot stream of red fluid. I could see it was coming from the transmission and so much was on the ground that there couldn’t be much left in it. Knowing there was little chance of success I put the car in gear.

Nope, no go. We were stranded.

But we know the folks in the marina very well and they were helpful and sympathetic. In the warmth of the marina’s shop we checked around on their computer for a towing company and within two hours a flatbed truck came from Rutland and hauled us home.

Home safe and sound. It was then that I discovered a big puddle of red ATF on the garage floor and a thin trail down the driveway. It had been leaking for sixty-five miles! If I had only spotted it our misadventure could have been avoided.

Since then we (sold) that car and are looking for another. It was old and the cost of repair was more than the car was worth – but losing it still stings.

Lucky for us our boat needed attention or we could have been lost in the middle of nowhere!

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The temperature, as I mentioned, dropped below zero and we tried this little trick for fun.

5below

If you throw a cupful of hot water into the air it will freeze before hitting the ground. Why the water has to be hot I don’t know but it does.snowmaking

rpk

 

Two-O-One-Six! I wonder how long it will take for that number to sink in?

Winter arrived in Ira last week with a wet snowfall that soon turned to sleet and misty freezing rain making a solid white crust all around. window_crWith the previous month of unseasonably warm days the ground had not had a chance to freeze so it’s surprising that the snow didn’t melt. Jeanne took her Ford Explorer out to the store and couldn’t make it back up the driveway through the slick slush, so we left it halfway up our road and only got it back in the garage last night after enough road dirt was exposed by two sunny days. The car may stay put from now ’til spring.

Thursday I had a chance to visit with my granddaughter. We went ice-skating in the afternoon and topped it off with cups of hot chocolate. Maria is becoming a fine young lady and I’m so very pleased. Her brother Christian, now in his senior year of high-school, told me that he’s been accepted at one college and has applied at two others. He wants to have a medical career, and I think he will.

At the Spartan Arena, Rutland, VT

Being a grandfather has its rewards.


Speaking of medicine…

DNA, etc.A_B_Z_DNA_balls

Of late, manipulation of the genetic code contained in the elegant structure of DNA has produced changes in plants, animals and, imminently, humans that marketeers claim “enhance” the subject organism. Some food crops have been re-engineered or genetically modified to be resistant to pests and disease, to have more yield. Faster maturing GMO animals and fish are coming to market. All beneficial things we are told. People are having their individual genetic make-up mapped and analyzed for possible proclivities like cancer or organ weaknesses. It all sounds wonderful. Patent attorneys are reaping great rewards protecting new discoveries in genetics for their research company clients. Patenting lifeforms. It’s a huge, new market.

I wouldn’t venture a guess as to whether this is good or ultimately not, but like many who appreciate all that science has given mankind, I do harbor a measure of skepticism. After all, there are plenty of glaring examples of well intentioned scientific study gone bad after the sale: Weapons of Mass Destruction, cigarettes, gas fracking, transfats, to recall a few.

Is there a substantial difference between enumerating the biological code in DNA and like chromosomal substances, and fully understanding the chain of events that follow its manipulation? What will these keys unlock, beyond the immediate result, when modifying an organism that natural evolution meticulously produced? Produced within the context of untold environmental variables over eons of time.

It seems to this layman that somebody has found a mysterious secret codebook lying on the sidewalk and now is hard at work tumbling combinations and vigorously selling his concoctions meanwhile claiming all side effects have been found and eliminated. I don’t regard my thinking as Luddite, but I believe a fast march to profits is dangerous, ultimately to everyone. Like all pots of gold – those that find them always wish the pot was bigger.

http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/

http://www.uic.edu/classes/phys/phys461/phys450/ANJUM04/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/314824-list-of-foods-containing-gmos/

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Genetic+modification

rpk