Haiku: Earth Day 2019, April 22, Monday, Earth Day

2017, November 27, Monday, Farrington Lake, Monroe sunset, etc 025

     2017, November — Farrington Lake in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

 

     On this day of Earth,

     our Mother Nature gave birth

     to our planet, Earth.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

 

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Notes from Garden and Afield in the Jersey Midlands; Week of 2019, April 14, or thereabout,

     From the Raritan River to the Mullica River,

from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean:  

In the garden, with nature, and at historic places.

***

     Forewarned:  I am on a  roll, here, about my “favorite” things running out of control in the outdoors — litter, callery pear trees, improper mulching (or even mulching at all)….

***

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     Farmers do not discard things, because one never knows when something can be put to use on the farm, either directly or retrofitted. Here, the Kiesler farm in Cranbury, Middlesex County.

***

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     Canada goose tangled in fishing tackle at “Jamesburg Lake” (Lake Manalapan) on the Jamesburg-Monroe boundary, Middlesex County.

     LITTER, No. 1:  Litter, one of the detrimental things I hate the most in the outdoors. The other day, I came across a Canada goose, “Branta canadensis,” tangled in fishing tackle at “Jamesburg Lake” (Lake Manalapan) at Thompson Park on the Jamesburg-Monroe boundary in Middlesex County. The goose seemed unhurt. I reported the situation to the Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation, but I wonder how feasible a fix is. The goose likely cannot be easily captured to be untangled.

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     The Jamesburg Lake Canada goose.

***

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    Litter, No. 2, This week’s balloon garbage:  A balloon trapped in a tree in Thompson Park, Middlesex County (first and second photos). A balloon in a tree in East Windsor (third photo). People, people, people, enough with the releasing of balloons!

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      ***

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     2011 Shad Fest banner in Lambertville, Hunterdon County.

     LAMBERTVILLE SHAD FEST:  For a fun time, consider the Shad Fest at Lambertville, Hunterdon County, on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28. It includes food, crafts, and entertainment, along with the theme being the annual swimming up the Delaware River of shad, “Alosa sapidissima,” to spawn. See https://delawarerivertowns.com/shad-festival/. See this video on YouTube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0y3ZbQ9Uxs.

***

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     Look around, callery pear trees are blooming in unmaintained open areas along roads. They are beautiful, but the callery pear is highly invasive. For example, it creates a thorny, almost impenetrable clutter. A Washington Post story on the history of the callery pear, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/how-we-turned-the-bradford-pear-into-a-monster/2018/09/14/f29c8f68-91b6-11e8-b769-e3fff17f0689_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.55ee18a7f6ad. Photographs are from East Windsor, Mercer County.

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***

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     The incorrect “volcano” method of mulching. Look at the mulch, which contains moisture and possibly fungus because of its thickness, touching the tree bark. Here, in East Windsor, Mercer County.

MULCHING:  This is the way we mulch improperly, mulch improperly, much improperly. This is the way we mulch improperly, so early in the morning. Or anytime of day. First, why mulch? Where do we have to add mulch in the forest? If you have vegetation that is established, you probably do not need mulch to keep it moist. Instead of mulching to guard a tree against a lawnmower, just be careful. If you must mulch, do not let mulch touch tree trunk or root, leaving a conduit to pass along disease to the vegetation. Also, the correct way is to mulch like a doughnut — that is, start mulching after there is no bark exposure and extend it to the end of the root ball or the tree’s drip line, whichever is farther. The result is a doughnut around the vegetation, with the vegetation trunk and exposed roots occupying the doughnut hole. So as not to keep the mulch too moist, making it attractive for fungus, only mulch 2 to 3 inches in depth. THE WRONG WAY IS TO CREATE A “VOLCANO.” But, again, save your money. Feel free to take all the money you save from not buying mulch and sending it to me; I will deposit some in my retirement account and invest the rest in stocks and bonds.

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     Another “volcano” mulching. This is an established tree — why mulch? Here, in East Windsor.

***

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     Horseradish cuts, possibly headed to be grated for horseradish sauce.

     THE FARMING LIFE:  This week, and for my second year overall, I horseradish farmed at the Kiesler farm in Cranbury, Middlesex County. Luckily, I missed the hard work of picking horseradish — about every 18 inches, look for the horseradish’s leaves, loosen the clump of dirt around it by yanking the plant or kicking it, shake off the dirt, pull off the leaves, and throw the rest of the horseradish into a bin pulled by a tractor. Instead, this week, farmer Warren Kiesler; retired teacher Wayne Lonabaugh, a farmhand; and I, another farmhand, washed the horseradish and packaged it for wholesale market. This was a busy horseradish week because of Passover and Easter

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     The washer rotates, cleaning horseradish roots of dirt and trim roots.

*** 

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     Skunk cabbage, “Symplocarpus foetidus,” is greening up, taking on a more tropical look as the weather warms. Here, in a wetlands in Monroe, Middlesex County.

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***

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      The cleanup of storm damage at Thompson Park, Middlesex County.

SEVERE STORM MOVES THROUGH:  After the storm with severe wind on the overnight of April 14-15, Sunday-Monday, the cleanup continued at Thompson Park, where Middlesex County Parks and Recreation reported about 60 trees down, bleacher damage at the fields in the dog park area, and windows broken in the state Forest Fire Service’s 65-foot-tall lookout tower. The storm blew through about 4:15 a.m., cutting a narrow path of damage. Alas, the fallen trees did not solve the problem for the lookout tower — trees growing tall and obstructing the view. The situation is at a stalemate between Middlesex County and the state. The state wants to cut down trees, opening up the view; Parks and Recreation says no, move or raise the tower instead; The state says that is too costly. Dueling New Jersey governments!

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     The storm-damaged window at the state Forest Fire Service tower in Thompson Park, Middlesex County.

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     Yet at my house, about 1-1/2 to 2 miles away, these houseplants put outside for watering were not even knocked off the bench.

***

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     The 65-foot-tall fire lookout tower at Thompson Park, Middlesex County.

FIRE TOWERS OPEN TO PUBLIC:  Fire lookout towers operated by the state Forest Fire Service are open to the public when they are staffed. This time of year, the towers are staffed 9:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on fire-conducive days. The Jersey Midlands towers are listed here, https://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/fire/ws_firetowers_div_b.htm.

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     I visited a state Forest Fire Service fire tower and so can you. All you need to do is be able to climb up and down. I got this pinback button at the Jamesburg Tower in Thompson Park, Middlesex County.

***

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     The Jersey Midlands are on two geological regions:  the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont. The Coastal Plain, which is divided into the Outer and Inner, is generally flat. The Piedmont is rolling hills. Here, looking from the Inner Coastal Plain at the state Forest Fire Service Tower in Thompson Park, Middlesex County, to the Watchung Mountains on the Piedmont north of the Midlands. This is looking about 25 miles.

***

     THE SKY AFTER A STORM:  I was walking in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta, Middlesex County, on the afternoon of April 15, Monday, or as the overnight storm of April 14-15, Sunday-Monday, was clearing out. In different directions, the sky was different.

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     Looking north.

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     Looking east.

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     Looking south.

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     Looking west.

***

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     A ground hog, or woodchuck, in my backyard. As long as it stays on the lawn, that is OK. If it gets into my vegetable and fruit garden, we go to war.

     IN THE GARDEN AND YARD:  Outside, I have two garbage cans set up to hold water for watering the garden and houseplants. I keep the lids inverted, allowing them to accumulate water when it rains. Then, I simply dump the water into the can. On dry days, I keep them sealed, to discourage mosquito breeding. Otherwise, I just about finished fencing in my garden to keep out rabbits, “Sylvilagus floridanus,”and ground hogs, “Marmota monax.”

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     The garbage cans for holding rain water.

***

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     In the previous photograph, the two birds on the left are turkey vultures, “Cathartes aura,” while the three on the right are black vultures, “Coragyps atratus.” They were eating some kind of carcass on a farm in Cranbury, Middlesex County. “Turkey vultures have an excellent sense of smell, but black vultures aren’t nearly as accomplished sniffers,” according to Cornell University’s All About Birds website. “To find food they soar high in the sky and keep an eye on the lower-soaring turkey vultures. When a turkey vulture’s nose detects the delicious aroma of decaying flesh and descends on a carcass, the black vulture follows close behind. One on one at a carcass, black vultures lose out to the slightly larger turkey vulture. But flocks of black vultures can quickly take over a carcass and drive the more solitary turkey vultures away.” The following photo shows a black-headed black vulture and a red-headed turkey vulture.

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***

       ‘GARDEN WRITING’:  Last year, I taught “Garden Writing” courses at the Princeton Adult School and for Rutgers University Master Gardeners/Monmouth County. I am in the process of setting up courses for this summer. If you know of any party with an interest in setting up the course, have a person contact me. A class should have a minimum of about 10 students.

***

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     “Old Jersey,” an old truck once affiliated with the Pillar of Fire religious site in Franklin, Somerset County.

  ***

   OCEAN TEMPERATURE:  The Atlantic Ocean temperature on the Jersey Shore is about 54 to 55 degrees.

***

    SUNRISE AND SUNSET:  For the week of April 21, the sun will rise about 6:10 to 6:00 a.m. and set about 7:40 to 7:50 p.m. For the week of April 28, the sun will rise about 6 a.m. to 5:55 a.m. and set about 7:50 to 7:55 p.m.

***

    SKY PHOTOS:  This week’s photographs are from Middlesex County — Monroe and the boundary of Monroe and Jamesburg.

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     From my backyard in Monroe, Middlesex County, the clearing after the April 14-15, Sunday-Monday, overnight storm. 

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     Jamesburg Lake, Middlesex County.

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     Cranberry Bog in Monroe.

     ***

     NIGHT SKY:  Around the overnight of Monday-Tuesday, April 22-23, look for the Lyrid Meteor Shower. The full moon was on the overnight of April  18-19. So, the full Sprouting Grass Moon is waning. The next “no moon” is May 4. The next full moon, the Corn Planting Moon, is on the overnight of May 18-19. 

***

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     A male mallard, “Anas platyrhynchos,” swims in the foreground, while a great egret, “Ardea alba,” fishes in the background. Here, at a detention basin in Monroe.

***

    IN THE NEWS:

          — Wildfire threat in the Pine Barrens, https://nj1015.com/lawmakers-were-warned-a-huge-fire-could-hit-pinelands-then-one-did/. 

          — A profile of historic Old Tennent Church in Manalapan, Monmouth County, https://www.app.com/story/news/history/2019/04/18/old-tennent-church-battle-of-monmouth/3482697002/.

— Weather-related tsunamis on the East Coast, https://weather.com/news/weather/news/2019-04-16-noaa-research-east-coast-25-meteotsunamis-each-year.

          — Plastic pollution found in France’s remote Pyrenees Mountains, https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/airborne-microplastics-found-atop-france-s-remote-pyrenees-mountains.

          ***

   UPCOMING:

     — Around the overnight of 2019, April 22-23, Monday-Tuesday, the Lyrid Meteor Shower. 

     — 2019, April 27 and 28, Saturday and Sunday, Hunterdon County, Lambertville:  Shad Fest, https://delawarerivertowns.com/shad-festival/.

— 2019, May 9, Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m., Warren County, Oxford:  Landscape painter Richard Polinski will give a talk on plein air painting to the Warren County ARTS program, 11 Green Street. 

 — 2019, May 18, Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, Mercer County, Hightstown:  Bicycle Clinic at the First Presbyterian Church of Hightstown, 320 North Main Street. Free clinic with giveaways of helmets, lights, and reflectors.

     — 2019, July 18, Thursday, Atlantic County, Hammonton:  3rd Annual Pinelands Summer Short Course, https://www.stockton.edu/continuing-studies/pinelandsshortcourse.html.

     — 2019, September 28, Saturday, Middlesex County, Monroe:  10th Annual Monroe Township Green Fair, 10 a.m. 3 p.m. at Monroe Township High School, 200 Schoolhouse Road. The fair is looking for green vendors. Information is available from Mihir Majmundar at mihir_majmundar@yahoo.com or Roopak Desai at roopakdesai@gmail.com.

***

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     In the early morning chill, the warmth of the wood stove felt good in one of the Kiesler farm outbuildings, where we washed and packed horseradish.

***

– Joseph Sapia
Farming in the Jersey Midlands
2019, April 21, Sunday,

 

     Joe Sapia, 62-years-old, is a lifelong resident of Monroe in South Middlesex County, where his maternal Onda-Poznanski-Gromena family settled about 1900. Educated by the Jesuits, he is a Pine Barrens woodsman, organic gardener, local historian, folk artist, writing teacher, and semi-retired newspaper reporter. He can be reached at SnuffTin@aol.com or P.O. Box 275, Helmetta, 08828.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

 

 

 

 

Notes from Garden and Afield in the Jersey Midlands; Week of 2019, April 7, or thereabout

From the Raritan River to the Mullica River,

from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean:

In the garden, with nature, and at historic places

***

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     Roger Dreyling, birder extraordinaire.

    BIRDING WITH ROGER DREYLING:  Roger Dreyling, birdwatcher extraordinaire of Monroe, Middlesex County, has been inviting me to bird with him for years. I would decline because I am a terrible birder — really, not having the patience of a birder — and because, if I go locally into the woods, I try to stay in the Pine Barrens area. Roger’s turf, on the other hand, is just outside the Pine Barrens. He regularly birds Thompson Park on the boundary of Monroe and Jamesburg. OK, OK, I had a great 5 or 6 hours with Roger. We observed about 30 bird species.

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     Wild turkeys, “Meleagris gallopavo.”

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     A great blue heron, “Ardea herodias.”

***

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     I love the folk artiness of homemade farm signs. Here, in Cranbury, Middlesex County.

***

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     Burpee-brand Super Snappy peas emerging in my garden.

     IN THE GARDEN:  I planted peas on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. This week, the plants are starting to poke through the soil. I expected them to poke through earlier. With nothing really to do in the garden at this time, I am hoping for clear, warm days to trim trees and shrubs, maybe even cut the lawn to tidy things up.

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     The Super Snappy peas.

***

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     A red-winged blackbird in a tree along “Jamesburg Lake” (Lake Manalapan) on the boundary of Jamesburg and Monroe in Middlesex County.

     RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS:  A beautiful sight of spring is male red-winged blackbirds, “Agelaius phoeniceus,” clinging to vegetation in wetlands, showing off their red shoulder patches, calling, “Cheh-reeeeeeeee.” “Among our most familiar birds, red-wings seem to sing their nasal songs in every marsh and wet field from coast to coast,” according to the Audubon, Guide to North American Birds website. Female red-wings are less flashy. “Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow,” according to Cornell University’s All About Birds website. I also observe them around my yard, either singing or feeding at the birdfeeder.

***

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     Farmland is being plowed, awaiting planting. Here, the Kiesler farm in Cranbury, Middlesex County. I worked a few days this week on this farm, trimming horseradish. 

***

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     Atlantic white cedars at Helmetta Pond, Middlesex County.

     ATLANTIC WHITE CEDARS:  Atlantic white cedar, “Chamaecyparis thyoides,” is a common evergreen in Pine Barrens wetlands. The tree’s native range is along the East Coast from New Hampshire to the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. The tree can grow up to 90 feet and have a spread of 20 feet, according to the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry. “AWC swamps filter and absorb
pollutants, protect stream banks from soil erosion, control and retain flood waters, and store water in drought,” according to Parks and Forestry. “Another notable feature of cedar swamps is that they provide habitat for many (wildlife) species.”

***

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     I love the “big sky” views along the Cranbury-Plainsboro border of Middlesex County. 

***

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     A painted turtle, “Chrysemys picta,” basking in Thompson Park, Middlesex County. Painters are active from April to September.

     TURTLES:  I follow Pine Barrens lore I heard years ago, the snapping turtle lays its eggs when mountain laurel, “Kalmia latifolia,” blooms. Mountain laurel should flower in late May and June. But I am seeing a lot of turtle movement on land being reported online. It seems early, although the reports could be turtles crawling onto land in wet areas and not leaving the wet areas, rather than traveling on land to lay eggs in dry areas.

***

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     Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx. Sitting on  113 acres along the Bronx River, the market collects food from growers in 49 states and 55 countries and distributes it to restaurants, stores, hotels, ships, and airlines, according to the market. 

***

     OCEAN TEMPERATURE:  The Atlantic Ocean temperature on the Jersey Shore is about 51 to 53 degrees.

***

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     Forsythia from my yard brightens the kitchen table. 

***

    SUNRISE AND SUNSET:  For the week of April 14, the sun will rise about 6:20 to 6:10 a.m. and set about 7:35 to 7:40 p.m. For the week of April 21, the sun will rise about 6:10 to 6:00 a.m. and set about 7:40 to 7:50 p.m.

***

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     The historic FitzRandolph Observatory, built in 1934, at Princeton University. See https://www.princeton.edu/~willman/observatory/main.html.

     NIGHT SKY:  The next full moon is on the overnight of April  18-19, Thursday-Friday:  the Sprouting Grass Moon. In April, look for the very bright planet Venus in the southeast during the early morning hours and to the lower right of Venus, the dimmer planet Mercury just above the horizon.

***

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     In the Pine Barrens around Helmetta, Middlesex County:  Helmetta Pond.

***

     IN THE NEWS:

  — Monmouth County, Belmar:  Pollution on the Shark River, Monmouth County, https://www.nj.com/news/2019/04/oh-poo-this-jersey-shore-beach-may-close-due-to-leaking-human-waste.html.

***

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     Rowers on Carnegie Lake on the boundary of Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.

***

    UPCOMING:

     — Around the overnights of 2019, April 22-23, Monday-Tuesday, the Lyrid Meteor Shower. 

     — April 27 and 28, Saturday and Sunday, Hunterdon County, Lambertville:  Shad Fest, https://delawarerivertowns.com/shad-festival/.

— 2019, September 28, Saturday, Middlesex County, Monroe:  10th Annual Monroe Township Green Fair, 10 a.m. 3 p.m. at Monroe Township High School, 200 Schoolhouse Road. The fair is looking for green vendors. Information is available from Mihir Majmundar at mihir_majmundar@yahoo.com or Roopak Desai at roopakdesai@gmail.com.

***

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     Yes, it is Valhalla — where Helmetta Pond meets the Ditch and the fire-suppression ponds of the former George W. Helme Snuff Mill in Helmetta, Middlesex County.

***

   –– Joseph Sapia
Between Helmetta and Jamesburg, Middlesex County,
      2019, April 14, Sunday,

 

     Joe Sapia, 62-years-old, is a lifelong resident of Monroe in South Middlesex County, where his maternal Onda-Poznanski-Gromena family settled about 1900. Educated by the Jesuits, he is a Pine Barrens woodsman, organic gardener, local historian, and semi-retired newspaper reporter. He can be reached at SnuffTin@aol.com or P.O. Box 275, Helmetta, 08828.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

Notes from Garden and Afield in the Jersey Midlands; Week of 2019, March 31 to April 6,

From the Raritan River to the Mullica River,

from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean:

In the garden, with nature, and at historic places

***

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     A beautiful rainbow trout at “Jamesburg Lake” in Middlesex County.

     TROUT FISHING ‘OPENING DAY’:  New Jersey’s trout fishing “Opening Day” was Saturday, April 6. On that day, I surveryed anglers as a state Fish and Wildlife volunteer. I was at “Jamesburg Lake,” properly “Lake Manalapan” on the boundary of Jamesburg and Monroe in Middlesex County. County Parks and Recreation lists the lake as 30 acres, created by the damming of Manalapan Brook. Prior to Opening Day, NJ Fish and Wildlife released 610 rainbow trout, “Oncorhynchus mykiss,” into the lake. I interviewed about 50 anglers, who reported catching 65 rainbow trout of which 49 were kept, 7 released, and 9 unknown if kept or released. The 65 trout ranged in size from about 9 or 10 inches to about 18 inches. Anglers were allowed to keep 6 trout as long as each was 9 or more inches. Fish and Wildlife is to release 450 rainbows during each of the next three weeks. Trout fishing at the lake, which is not traditional trout water of clarity and coolness, should extend to about June. (I also volunteer for Middlesex County Parks and Recreation, so this surveying was a two for the price of one.)

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     Rainbow trout on a stringer at Jamesburg Lake. 

***

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     Canada geese, “Branta canadensis,” fly behind an osprey, “Pandion haliaetus,” who is carrying a fish in its mouth.

     OSPREY:  I watched an osprey, “Pandion haliaetus,” crash into Jamesburg Lake and grab a fish in its talons. The fish was likely one of the recently stocked rainbow trout. The osprey flew off, circling the lake, carrying the fish. “Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them,” according to Cornell University’s “All About Birds” website. The osprey was “seriously endangered by effects of pesticides in mid-20th century; since DDT and related pesticides were banned in 1972, ospreys have made a good comeback in many parts of North America,” according to the “Audubon, Guide to North American Birds.”

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     The osprey with the fish — likely a freshly stocked rainbow trout — in its talons. “When flying with prey, an osprey lines up its catch head first for less wind resistance,” according to Cornell University’s “All About Birds” website.

***

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     Jimmy Krajcsovics plows his farmland along Route 33 on the Monroe, Middlesex County-East Windsor, Mercer County boundary. This is a sign of spring. The Krajcsovics operate the Krackerjack farmstand on Route 33 in Millstone, Monmouth County. (Notice in the photograph a common problem in New Jersey — the abutting of farmland and development. Here, we have a third component — the protected nest of a bald eagle, “Haliaeetus leucocephalus.” In New Jersey, the bald eagle is listed as “endangered,” or in immediate danger, as a breeder.)

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     Another farm field in plow in Monroe Township, Middlesex County. This field in Monroe’s Applegarth section.

***

     DUKE FARMS EAGLE CAMERA:  For some entertainment, check out the live video feed of the bald eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, Somerset County. The eagles have two chicks in the nest. See https://www.dukefarms.org/making-an-impact/eagle-cam/. More information on Duke Farms, https://www.dukefarms.org/.

***

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     A tree swallow, “Tachycineta bicolor,” lands on a fishing pole of a trout fisherman at Jamesburg Lake in Middlesex County. “Tree Swallows are a familiar sight in summer fields and wetlands across northern North America,” according to Cornell University’s “All About Birds” website. “They chase after flying insects with acrobatic twists and turns, their steely blue-green feathers flashing in the sunlight.”

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     The tree swallow on the fishing pole.

***

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     Cranbury Brook, looking downstream in Cranbury, Middlesex County.

     CRANBURY BROOK:  The brook has its headwaters in Millstone, Monmouth County, near Route 33. It, then, flows northwest and west, draining into the Millstone River near Grovers Mill on the boundary of West Windsor, Mercer County, and Plainsboro, Middlesex County. The brook drains about 14,200 acres, or 22 square miles, according to “Characterization and Assessment of the Cranbury Brook Watershed,” published in 2007 by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Bodies of water, caused by human-made dams on Cranbury Brook, include Brainerd Lake (“Cranbury Lake”) and Mill Pond in Plainsboro, both in Middlesex County. Cranbury Brook and Millstone River are part of the Raritan River-Bay watershed.

***

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     Another sign of spring — trees budding in the wetlands. Here, in Cranbury. (Look at that really blue sky, a sign the air was dry.)

***

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 006

     This construction site in Monroe, Middlesex County, is on the Inner Coastal Plain. The Inner Coastal Plain is represented by gravelly dark soil (foreground). So, that fill dirt in the pile was not from the Inner Coastal Plain. It is Piedmont red shale (a closer look of the red shale in the second photograph).

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 010.JPG

***

    ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL:  The Princeton Environmental Film Festival runs to Sunday, April 14, and, then, re-opens for one day April 27. Beginning in 2007, the Princeton Environmental Film Festival is one of those fantastic local events that may fly below the radar of many. It is a week-long film festival focusing on the environment. Look for arthouse movies that this may be your only chance to see. I try to attend every year, hopefully seeing multiple movies. See https://princetonlibrary.org/peff/.

***

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 025

     George Nikitiades standing near a fallen tree with its huge root pan in a wet area in Cranbury. The tree is a suspected victim of the winds of 2012’s “Superstorm Sandy.”

     ‘SUPERSTORM SANDY’ TREES:  George Nikitiades of Cranbury and I were exploring farmland, forest, and waterway in his hometown and we came across some trees in a wetlands that had fallen. It is not unusual to see trees in wet areas that have fallen, their large root pans intact. Basically, these tall trees become susceptible to wind because their root systems are shallow, not providing a solid anchor. Unusual about these trees was they had fallen toward the west — meaning they were likely victims of 2012’s “Superstorm Sandy,” which caused plenty of wind damage in South Middlesex County. I suspect these were victims of Sandy because Sandy’s winds were out of the east. Normally, winds are out of the west.

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 027

     Another tree that is likely a victim of “Superstorm Sandy.”

***

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 089

     George Nikitiades with a dead beaver we found floating in Cranbury Brook. 

     BEAVER:  In the late 1980s, the state Department of Environmental Protection had no current record of beaver, “Castor canadensis,” living in Middlesex County. By the mid-1990s or so, there were signs of them and probably by about 2000, they were pretty common. This week, George Nikitiades of Cranbury and I found a dead female beaver floating in Cranbury Brook. I pulled it out of the waterway, but we saw no sign of what it died from.

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 084

     A beaver cut along Cranbury Brook.

***

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 059

     The light green substance on this tree is lichen, a symbiotic relationship between fungus and alga. The fungus provides structure, while the alga provides the color. Lichen is an indicator of fresh air. Here, at Thompson Park in Middlesex County.

***

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 073.JPG

     This week’s nonpoint source pollution is at Jamesburg Lake.

     NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION:  Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) “generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage or hydrologic modification,” according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. “NPS pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.”

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 075.JPG

     The Jamesburg Lake nonpoint source pollution. The brown residue on the containers is silt, indicating it has been floating for awhile, either from its likely source in stormwater or from Manalapan Brook whose damming forms the lake.

***

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 006.JPG

     A chicakadee on my clothesline in Monroe, Middlesex County. This is likely a Carolina chickadee, “Poecile carolinensis.” The Jersey Midlands are where the Carolina and the very similar black-capped chickadee, “Poecile atricapillus,” meet — maybe using the Raritan River as a boundary with black caps to the north and Carolinas to the south. On this boundary, there could be hybrids. Here, we are in South Middlesex County, so this is likely a Carolina.

***

    UPCOMING:

     — To 2019, April 14 and, then, April 27, Mercer County, Princeton:  The Princeton Environmental Film Festival, https://princetonlibrary.org/peff/.

     — Around the overnights of 2019, April 22-23, Monday-Tuesday, the Lyrid Meteor Shower. 

     — April 27 and 28, Saturday and Sunday, Hunterdon County, Lambertville:  Shad Fest, https://delawarerivertowns.com/shad-festival/.

***

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 141

     Living in harmony in my backyard:  various species of birds share their sunflower hearts, which I buy, with the squirrels, “Sciurus carolinensis.”

***

    NIGHT SKY:  The next full moon is on the overnight of April  18-19, Thursday-Friday:  the Sprouting Grass Moon. In April, look for the very bright planet Venus in the southeast during the early morning hours and to the lower right of Venus, the dimmer planet Mercury just above the horizon.

***

     SKY VIEWS:  This week’s sky views are from Monroe and Helmetta, both in Middlesex County.

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 001

     From my backyard in Monroe, Middlesex County.

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 012

     Helmetta Pond in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta in Middlesex County.

***

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 066

    An automated irrigation system waters spinach on the Patterson farm in Cranbury, Middlesex County.

***

     IN THE NEWS:  

     — Jackson Township in Ocean County hopes to buy historic Rova Farms site, http://www.centraljersey.com/news/tri_town_news/stories/jackson-council-purchases-land-at-rova-farms-for-preservation-as/article_9456ab59-fd85-5077-87a3-38ff79d44046.html.

    — Famous Washington, D.C., cherry trees, now blossoming,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/04/03/weather-is-beautiful-cherry-blossoms-are-peak-its-time-go-outside/?utm_term=.abccd76c4c13.

***

2019, April 3, Wednesday, eagle, etc 012.JPG

     These daffodils in Millstone, Monmouth County, apparently are growing where a homestead once stood. 

***

2019, April 6, Saturday, Trout Fishing at Jamesburg Lake, 020

     A scene from Monroe, Middlesex County. Really, it was this week.

***

     –– Joseph Sapia
In the Jersey Midlands
        2019, April 11, Thursday,

 

     Joe Sapia, 62-years-old, is a lifelong resident of Monroe in South Middlesex County, where his maternal Onda-Poznanski-Gromena family settled about 1900. Educated by the Jesuits, he is a Pine Barrens woodsman, organic gardener, local historian, and semi-retired newspaper reporter. He can be reached at SnuffTin@aol.com or P.O. Box 275, Helmetta, 08828.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

Notes from Garden and Afield in the Jersey Midlands; Week of 2019, March 24 to March 30,

From the Raritan River to the Mullica River,

from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean:

In the garden, with nature, and at historic places

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 005

     The new addition to my living room — a chain-saw carved tundra swan, “Cygnus columbianus,” New Jersey’s only native swan. They winter in the Jersey Midlands, then return to their breeding grounds of the Arctic tundra. It also is known as a “whistling swan.” “A characteristic whistling in their wings led (explorer) Meriwether Lewis to call them ‘whistling swans,'” according to Cornell University’s All About Birds website. The carving is by David R. Crawford of Egg Harbor, Atlantic County; His business is weatherwoodcreations.weebly.com.

***

2019, March 30, Saturday, Eyeglass Rx, etc 020

     Ma’s crocuses in bloom in my front yard.

     FLOWERING SIGNS OF SPRING:  Ma (Sophie Onda Sapia) may be gone since 1995, but her flowers still bloom in the yard. This week, her blue-purple crocuses. Also blooming in my yard are yellow forsythia. And yellow daffodils are blooming all around.

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 055.JPG

     Daffodils blooming at the old Orchard in Helmetta, Middlesex County.

***

2019, April 1, Monday, Cranbury farms, 099

     This week’s plantings in the garden.

     IN THE GARDEN:  I took advantage of a very warm Saturday, March 30, and got some early spring crops planted in the garden:  Burpee brand Short ‘N Sweet Carrot, Salad Bowl Lettuce, Baby’s Leaf Hybrid Spinach, Bistro Corn Salad, and Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot. Peas were already planted. The next planting date is May 20 to June 1, depending how warm it gets, for the summer crop.

***

    2019, March 24, Sunday, 065

     Another sign of spring is snow fencing coming down along roadways, allowing farmers to plow their fields. The fencing is used to control snow from drifting onto roadways. The wind hits the fence or goes around it, losing its force and dumping a drift — actually downwind of the fence, toward the road.  So, there has to be a gap between the fencing and the road; Otherwise, the drifting could build up on the road.

***

2019, March 27, Wednesday, Helmetta Woods fire, 049

     The Wednesday, March 27, wildfire on the Monroe-East Brunswick boundary in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta in Middlesex County.

      SPRING FOREST FIRE SEASON:  Some of us saw or smelled a lot of smoke this week because of the wildfire at Penn State Forest in the main Pine Barrens. Near my South Middlesex County home, we had a small fire — 2 to 3 acres of wildfire, with another 19 to 20 acres of back-burning, for a total of 22 acres — on the Monroe-East Brunswick boundary in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta. So, just a reminder March 15 to May 15 is normally the spring wildfire season in the Pines, because of high winds, low humidity, leaves accumulated on the ground, and, with new leaves yet to cover trees, no shade, allowing direct sunlight to hit and warm the ground. These seasonal conditions combine with the Pine Barrens already being a fire-susceptible ecosystem of well-drained, sandy soil with dry, dense, and highly flammable vegetation. This vegetation includes pitch and short-leaf pines, mountain laurel, blueberry/huckleberry, and vegetative litter such as pine needles and oak leaves. Fire-lookout towers operated by the state Forest Fire Service are staffed 9:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on fire-conducive days during this period. When staffed, the public is invited to visit, but you should be able to climb up and climb down.

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 081.JPG

     The Pine Barrens around Helmetta woods, after the fire was put out.

***

2019, March 30, Saturday, Eyeglass Rx, etc 023

     These guys were causing quite a chirping racket in and around this oak, genus “Quercus,” in my backyard. They are house finches, “Haemorhous mexicanus.” From the All About Birds website, “The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (‘Hollywood finches’). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years. The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals. House Finches were introduced to Oahu from San Francisco sometime before 1870. They had become abundant on all the major Hawaiian Islands by 1901.”

***

2019, March 24, Sunday, 042.JPG

     Black vultures eat a dead deer along a roadway in Cranbury, Middlesex County.

     SCAVENGERS:  I came across black vultures, “Coragyps atratus,” eating a dead deer, “Odocoileus virginianus,” on roadway in Cranbury, Middlesex County. I never recall seeing a black vulture until the 1990s in the Jersey Midlands. But they are a southern species that has been moving north. “Whereas turkey vultures (“Cathartes aura”) are lanky birds with teetering flight, black vultures are compact birds with broad wings, short tails, and powerful wingbeats,” according to All About Birds. “The two species often associate: the black vulture makes up for its poor sense of smell by following turkey vultures to carcasses.” “Aggressive black vultures often drive turkey vultures away from food,” according to Audubon, Guide to North American Birds. “…They also have a distinctive flight style, giving a few deep, rapid wingbeats and then snapping their wings out wide a little like a baseball umpire signaling ‘Safe,'” according to All About Birds.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 137.JPG

     Skunk cabbage, “Symplocarpus foetidus,” in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta in Middlesex County. It is an interesting plant. If there was still snow in the wetlands, the area around the plant would be melted. Skunk cabbage generates heat. Here, the hood, or spathe, surrounds the flower cluster. The plant is smelly, attracting pollinators that like rotting meat. Regarding the scientific name, the genus name refers to a type of plant, but species name means smelly. I think of “fetid corpse” when I see the scientific name. In the spring, the plant gets a tropical look. I like both phases, a really cool plant.

***

2019, March 24, Sunday, 058

     On New Jersey’s generally flat Coastal Plain, there are few, if any, natural bodies of water. Most, if not all, are human-made, created by damming waterways. Here, along the Hightstown-East Windsor boundary in Mercer County, is another example — at the Meadow Lakes community.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 060.JPG

     This week’s balloon litter is from along the Ditch canal in Helmetta, Middlesex County. The Ditch connects Shekiro’s Pond and Helmetta Pond in the local Pine Barrens. Float those balloons outside, but where to they come down?

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 062

 ***

     OCEAN TEMPERATURE:  The Atlantic Ocean temperature on the Jersey Shore is about 47 to 48 degrees.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 018.JPG

     A deer in a Monroe section of Thompson Park, Middlesex County.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 025.JPG

     Sunrise at “Jamesburg Lake” (Lake Manalapan) on the Jamesburg-Monroe boundary, Middlesex County.

     SUNRISE AND SUNSET:  For the week of March 31, the sun will rise about 6:45 to 6:35 a.m. and set about 7:20 to 7:25 p.m. For the week of April 7, the sun will rise about 6:30 to 6:20 a.m. and set about 7:25 to 7:35 p.m.

***:

     COMBAT LIGHT POLLUTION:  Turn off the outside lights, let children and the rest of us experience the night sky. Sunday, March 31, to Saturday, April 6, is International Dark Sky Week, https://www.darksky.org/dark-sky-week-2019/.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 012.JPG

     A half-moon over my backyard.

     NIGHT SKY:  The next full moon is on the overnight of April  18-19, Thursday-Friday:  the Sprouting Grass Moon. In April, look for the very bright planet Venus in the southeast during the early morning hours and to the lower right of Venus, the dimmer planet Mercury just above the horizon.

***

2019, March 28, Thursday, H Woods fire, LR swan, 038

     Canada geese, “Branta canadensis,” landing on the lake “smoke” at Jamesburg Lake,” Middlesex County. The “smoke” is the vapor caused by colder air and warmer water. The air temperature was about 25 degrees.

***

     BOOKS:  I just finished reading Delia Owens’s novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing.” I loved it. It is part mystery, romance, outdoors writing, written in a literary style that is easy to understand. The story takes place in coastal North Carolina, centering around the “Marsh Girl.” Think about picking it up and finding a back-bay hideout on at the Jersey Shore to read it. See https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/books/review/where-the-crawdads-sing-delia-owens-best-seller.html. 

   ***

     UPCOMING:

     — March 31, Sunday, to April 6, Saturday, International Dark Sky Week. See https://www.darksky.org/dark-sky-week-2019/.

     — April 6, Saturday, “Opening  Day” of the New Jersey trout fishing season. I will be at “Jamesburg Lake” (Lake Manalapan) in Middlesex County, surveying anglers as a volunteer for NJ Fish and Wildlife.

     — Around the overnights of April 22-23, Monday-Tuesday, the Lyrid Meteor Shower. 

***

2019, March 30, Saturday, Eyeglass Rx, etc 010.JPG

      A mourning dove, “Zenaida macroura,” perched in a pitch pine, “Pinus rigida,” the common tree of the New Jersey Pine Barrens in my backyard. Some people think this is a beautiful bird. Me, nah. It has a small, baldish head on a body that appears to be too big. I do like its mournful coo during warm weather. “Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments,” according to the All About Birds website. “When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying.”

***

Keep an eye open, there is a lot to see out there,

   — Joseph Sapia
      Still walking the woods, but getting the garden going in South Middlesex County
2
019, March 31, Sunday

 

     Joe Sapia, 62-years-old, is a lifelong resident of Monroe in South Middlesex County, where his maternal Onda-Poznanski-Gromena family settled about 1900. Educated by the Jesuits, he is a Pine Barrens woodsman, organic gardener, local historian, and semi-retired newspaper reporter. He can be reached at SnuffTin@aol.com or P.O. Box 275, Helmetta, 08828.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

Notes from Garden and Afield in the Jersey Midlands; 2019, March 17 to March 23, or thereabout,

From the Raritan River to the Mullica River,

from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean

***

2019, March 24, Sunday, 002

     These deer, “Odocoileus virgiansis,” look me over as they grazed near the Delaware River in Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania — across from Burlington County, New Jersey. The three are probably a doe and her offspring from a year or two ago.

*** 

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 066

     After a control burn at a Manalapan section of Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Monmouth County. The state Forest Fire Service performs control burns to knock down vegetative fuel to discourage wildfire. In New Jersey, the spring wildfire season generally runs March 15 to May 15 because of high winds, low humidity, leaves accumulated on the ground, and, with new leaves yet to cover trees, no shade, allowing direct sunlight to hit and warm the ground.   

 

***

2019, March 20, Wednesday, Eagle Nest, etc 027.JPG

     The state Forest Fire Service’s Jamesburg Tower at a Monroe section of Thompson Park, Middlesex County. This tower is a short one, only about 65-feet-tall. But it sits on ground about 150 feet above sea level and looks into the Raritan Basin. There are nice views of New York City, the Watchung Mountains, the Piedmont hills above Princeton, the cuesta geologic formation of hills, and even the Kingda Ka roller coaster at the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park.

VISIT A FIRE-LOOKOUT TOWER:  The state Forest Fire Service fire-lookout towers are staffed during the daytime when conditions call for a wildfire threat. During the fire seasons, such as the current spring wildfire season, we can expect the towers to be staffed on a regular basis. They are now open to visitors when staffed from 9:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Just remember, you are expected to be able to climb up and down.  The towers in or around he Jersey Midlands are Apple Pie Hill, Bass River, Batsto, Cedar Bridge, Lakewood, Lebanon, and Medford.

2019, March 18, Monday, Eagles, Mon County MGs, etc 001.JPG

     This is the circa 1863 Chestnut Hill Cemetery at East Brunswick, Middlesex County, looking into the Raritan Basin. Up until the early to middle 1960s, what is now the Jamesburg Tower stood in this area.

***
2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 103.JPG

     This is kind of a bit of Jerseyana:  iron ore pebble stone that looks like a slice of pizza. It was found in Old Tennent Cemetery in Manalapan, Monmouth County.

***

     THIS WEEK’S BALLOON LITTER:  Balloons filled with helium are fun to watch floating away. But I constantly see them afield:

2019, March 18, Monday, Eagles, Mon County MGs, etc 059

     This balloon was caught in vegetation in the Prospect Plains section of Monroe, Middlesex County.

2019, March 20, Wednesday, Eagle Nest, etc 004

     This balloon litter is stuck in a tree between the Applegarth and Wyckoff’s Mills sections of Monroe, Middlesex County.

***

     THIS WEEK’S NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION:  Photo 1 is a beverage bottle accumulating at a storm drain — at Monroe, Middlesex County. Fortunately the storm drain has a guard on it and the bottle cannot get into the drainage. Photo 2 shows litter that got into the drainage — here on the Millstone River floodplain on the boundary of Cranbury and Monroe in Middlesex County and East Windsor in Mercer County.

2019, March 20, Wednesday, Eagle Nest, etc 020.JPG

2019, March 22, Friday, 024

***

2019, March 18, Monday, Eagles, Mon County MGs, etc 033.JPG

     This Freehold Township, Monmouth County, garden, belonging to the Rutger’s University Master Gardeners, looks bare now. But wait. This roughly 50-foot by 50-foot garden has produced as much as 3,348 pounds of food, all donated to the needy since 2006. A tip of the hat to the 2013 Master Gardeners, who hold the record for the 3,348 pounds. Even its low yield of 1,400 pounds, in the garden’s early days of 2007, is quite a haul.

2019, March 18, Monday, Eagles, Mon County MGs, etc 041.JPG

     “Farmer Tom” Lang, a long-time volunteer with the Monmouth County Master Gardeners, does some pre-season work at the garden. Tom lives in Ocean Township, Monmouth County.

***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 027.JPG

     The historic Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery at Squirrel Town in Freehold Township, Monmouth County.

     SQUIRREL TOWN:  At Squirrel Town — basically Old Monmouth Road and Ilene Way off Route 522 in Freehold Township, Monmouth County — sits a historic cemetery, the mid-1800s-early 1900s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery. The cemetery has the graves of black Union soldiers of the Civil War, or the United States Colored Troops. The cemetery overlooks Weamaconk Creek, which is dammed in nearby Englishtown, forming Lake Weamaconk (“Englishtown Lake”). Again, there are few, if any, natural bodies of water on the New Jersey’s generally flat Coastal Plain; Most, if not all, of the lakes or bigger ponds are human-made, created by damming waterways.

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 033

     A gravestone with the marking U. S. C. T., referring to a black Civil War soldier of the United States Colored Troops.

***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 111.JPG

     This is the remnant of a dam on Manalapan Brook on the boundary of Spotswood and Monroe in Middlesex County. When this dam last fulfilled its function of holding back the brook, perhaps in the 1920s, it created Lake Marguerite.

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 110.JPG

***

2019, March 20, Wednesday, Eagle Nest, etc 012.JPG

     The first photograph shows the Millstone River midweek on the boundary of Cranbury and Monroe, Middlesex  County, and East Windsor, Mercer County. The second photograph shows the same area later in the week, after 1.63 inches of rain fell (as recorded about 10 miles away in New Brunswick).

2019, March 22, Friday, 016.JPG

***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 047.JPG

    Beech trees, “Fagus grandifolia,” are easily identifiable this time of year because their leaves linger, appearing to light up the woods as burning candles (top photograph). Other names for the tree are “Autograph Tree” because its smooth bark is a popular target of graffiti lovers and “Elephant Foot” because it looks like an elephant foot at the ground (bottom photo). These trees were in Freehold Township, Monmouth County.

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 043.JPG

     ***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 057.JPG

     A tree swallow, “Tachycineta bicolor,” perches on a tree at a Manalapan section of Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Monmouth County. “They chase after flying insects with acrobatic twists and turns, their steely blue-green feathers flashing in the sunlight,” according to Cornell University’s All About Birds website. 

***

2019, March 18, Monday, Eagles, Mon County MGs, etc 043

     Two adult bald eagles, one perched on the nest to the left, one perched in a tree to the right, at the Upper Millstone River nest on the boundary of Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties. This is the nest were I am one of two volunteer observers for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. We do not know what is going on, the birds are still not sitting on an egg. Last year, this nest had an egg in it around February 1. We are hoping, there is still some time, perhaps up to April 15 or so. In New Jersey, the bald eagle, “”Haliaeetus leucocephalus,” is considered “endangered” as a breeder, meaning it is in immediate danger as a nesting bird.

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 001.JPG

     An eagle flies to the Upper Millstone River nest.

***

2017, March 16, Saturday, 025.JPG

The peas that were planted in my garden on St. Patrick Day.

     PEAS ON ST. PADDY DAY:  St. Patrick Day was March 17, Sunday, and, honoring a gardening tradition, I planted peas. It was the first crop of my 2019 garden. So, my garden is officially underway.

***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 089.JPG

     A wide-open view at a Manalapan section of Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Monmouth County. The park is the site of the 1778, June, Battle of Monmouth, in which George Washington’s American forces attacked the back end of the British train, which was retreating from Philadelphia to New York. While not necessarily a victory for the Americans, it gave them a boost of confidence to go on and win the Revolutionary War.

***

2019, March 19, Tuesday, Eagles, Monmouth Battlefield, etc 116.JPG

     This tree, along Manalapan Brook in Spotswood, Middlesex County, may be dead, but it is providing for the living. The tree is filled holes created by a woodpecker or woodpeckers, searching for insects that thrive on the dead tree.

***

    OCEAN TEMPERATURE:  The Atlantic Ocean temperature on the Jersey Shore is about 44 to 46 degrees.

***

      SUNRISE AND SUNSET:  For the week of March 24, the sun will rise about 6:55 to 6:45 a.m. and set about 7:15 to 7:20 p.m.

***

2019, March 24, Sunday, 055

     In the Jersey heartland. Cow statues in a field on the boundary of Hightstown and East Windsor, Mercer County.

***

     Keep an eye open on your travels. There is a lot to see out there,

— Joseph Sapia
   From the heart in the New Jersey heartland
   2019, March 24, Sunday,

     Joe Sapia, 62-years-old, is a lifelong resident of the Jersey Midlands, specifically in  South Middlesex County, where his maternal family settled around 1900. Educated by the Jesuits, he is a Pine Barrens woodsman, organic gardener, local historian, and semi-retired newspaper reporter. He can be reached at SnuffTin@aol.com.

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

Poem: March 2019, March 25, Monday,

2019, March 24, Sunday, 065

     Snow fencing has come down for the season in East Windsor in Mercer County, New Jersey.

March,

the month,

retains the cold

of a Jersey winter. 

But it welcomes the warmth

of spring. Summer, too.

March, somewhat fickle.

But undefinable?

Nah.

 

Copyright 2019 by Joseph Sapia

 

Style:  1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 4-, 3-, 2-, 1-word progression.