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    – Gardening: The hanging gardens of Chestnut Hill – Chestnut Hill Local - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Valerie and the great hanging garden of Chestnut Hill.

    By Stan Cutler

    According to legend, the king ofBabylon constructed a high-rise, irrigated garden to please his wife. She was aMedean (Persian) princess who missed the greenery of her hometown when she wasforced to move to her new husbands arid city between the Tigris and Euphrates.Archaeologists havent been able to find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one ofthe Seven Wonders of the ancient world, reportedly built around 600 BCE.

    Earthquakes, wars and naturalerosion may have obliterated the clay brick walls. The layout was described byGreek and Hebrew historians as three, four or five (descriptions vary) sets ofwalls, each smaller than the one below. There were trees and decorative gardensinside each enclosure. Hand-turned irrigation pumps pulled water from theEuphrates to a holding pond at the top. The edifice was covered with thegreenery of vining species that sent runners down the walls and by attachedcontainer plants. The effect was spectacular a green mountain rising in thesere landscape.

    My wife, Valerie, is not aprincess. She is a retired art teacher from Michigan and an avid gardener. I amnot a king. I am an ex-this-and-that from southwest Philly who providesgardening assistance when called upon. Valerie hangs plants on two low chainlink fences that separate our narrow backyard from our friendly neighbors oneither side. Our neighbors are also gardeners, convivially sharing opinions,encouragement, cuttings, tools and advice. Good fences do make for goodneighbors.

    We live in a twin house on HighlandAvenue. Lori lives in the house next door; Beth lives on the other side of theparty wall between our houses. In fair weather, all three of them are out theredoing their things. Their neighbors, two doors away from us on either side, arealso friendly gardeners. There are days when all five households are out back,calling to each other, extolling the wonders of their plants or cursing theweeds. There are gardeners up and down the block on both sides of the street.This is the heart of Chestnut Hills renowned Garden District. Our lots arejust big enough for experimentation, small enough to be manageable. People maynot be gardeners when they move in, but most become enthusiasts soon afterward.

    Chain link is the ideal fencing forgardeners. Solid wood fences block sun and air. The metal chain link fenceposts are sunk in cement, sturdy enough to support trellises, bird feeders,netting and contraptions of all sorts. For example, we clamped 2X4s verticallyto several posts, screwed brackets into the tops, and attached eight-foot pipesto the brackets. In springtime, when Valerie brings the houseplants outside,she hangs dozens of them on the pipes.

    Lori, as crazy as Valerie, has amagnificent garden. The pair of them collaborate on straw baskets hung from thetop of the fence near the houses, a shaded area. They go to nurseries, togetherand separately, and choose annuals to put in the baskets. This year, Lori hadgreat success with tuberous begonias.These are finicky plants that grow from tubers, thus the name. They do betterin containers than in the ground. Its difficult to get them to bloom becausethey dont do well in direct sun, chill, wind or poorly drained soil. But, ifyou give them proper conditions, their flowers are amazingly vibrant reds oryellows that look like luscious, thick-petaled roses. (I used to misspell themin my head as tube rose, wondering where the tubes were.)

    Valeries pride and joy are herorchids, which spend winters in her 7 X 12-foot greenhouse. She never, everallows one of her orchid pots to touch the ground. In the greenhouse, they areeither on the potting benches or hanging from the ceiling. She brings them outin springtime, setting them on plastic tables, suspending them from pipes laidin the crotches of the maple trees, or on shelves attached to the chain linkwith picture wire. Every October, after she sterilizes the greenhouse, shemoves them back inside. The orchids would not thrive if they couldnt hangoutside for half the year.

    The fences also serve the wildlife.The pipes along the tops of the fences are squirrel paths and songbird perches.Foxes, possums, cats, dogs and raccoons are too big to squeeze through thelinks. Baby rabbits, frogs, toads, snakes and chipmunks easily travel from yardto yard through the ground-level links. For the smaller creatures, the fencesoffer safety without confinement.

    I dont think folks in ChestnutHill would like to see chain link fences in front of houses; they are kind ofugly. But if youre thinking about installing a fence in your backyard, chainlink makes a lot of sense.

    Originally posted here:
    - Gardening: The hanging gardens of Chestnut Hill - Chestnut Hill Local

    Stein Mart Expected To Close All NJ Stores, Including Cherry Hill – Cherry Hill, NJ Patch - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    CHERRY HILL, NJ Bargain retailer Stein Mart announced its plans to shutter nearly 300 of its locations across the country on Wednesday, including the Cherry Hill store and all other New Jersey locations. The decision comes after the company previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    In a statement, the 112-year-old company cited changing consumer spending habits (exacerbated by the global pandemic) and a new economic landscape that fails to provide the business with "sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business."

    The chain stated its intentions to close a "significant portion, if not all" of its nationwide locations. While closing dates will likely vary by store, liquidation sales are set to begin immediately.

    The store in Cherry Hill is located in the Ellisburg Shopping Center, 1600 Kings Highway North, Suite 20. It also has stores in Holmdel, Ocean and Watchung.

    Stein Mart first opened its doors in 1908 as a department store in Mississippi before expanding to 30 states. The company employs over 8,000 people at nearly 300 locations.

    The discount retailer is not the first business to cave under the economic stress of the coronavirus pandemic: JCPenney, Men's Wearhouse, Pier 1 Imports, Sur La Table and Muji have all filed for bankruptcy as of late.

    Earlier this year, Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, announced that over 250 stores in North America would close permanently this year, including stores at The Grove in Shrewsbury.Tween retailer Justice's parent brand Ascena Retail Group has also announced plans to shutter hundreds of stores nationwide.

    With reporting from Nicole Rosenthal, Patch Staff .

    Originally posted here:
    Stein Mart Expected To Close All NJ Stores, Including Cherry Hill - Cherry Hill, NJ Patch

    New Bedford Whaling Museum turns its exhibitions Inside Out! – Fall River Herald News - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    NEW BEDFORD This summer, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is sharing samples of some of its gallery exhibitions, outside on its plaza at the corner of Johnny Cake Hill and William Street. The five-part series called "Inside Out!" runs through Oct. 15, with a new exhibition starting every two weeks. A curator talk is scheduled for each of the five exhibitions. "Inside Out!" is on display daily, Monday through Sunday, free of charge. The Whaling Museum galleries are open Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. Details are available at http://www.whalingmuseum.org.

    Photographs representing a sampling of the exhibition "Youth Voices for the Ocean" are on view through Aug. 19 as part of "Inside Out!" The exhibition features the student winners of the international Ocean Awareness Contest run by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs. The outdoor exhibition was curated by Robert Rocha, Director of Education and Science Programs at the Whaling Museum.

    Next up for Inside Out! is "A City of Immigrants: The Standard Times Collection," running Aug. 20 through Sept. 5. The Standard Times Collection of photographs captures turn-of-the-century communities and individuals in Greater New Bedford.

    Akeia de Barros Gomes, PhD, curator of Social History at the Whaling Museum, commented, New Bedford was, and is, a cosmopolitan city of incredible opportunity. Immigration shaped the landscape, culture, cuisine, and very character of the city. These captivating images from the Standard Times Collection help tell the stories of Polish, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Irish, Italian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Jewish, Greek, and other immigrant communities in the early 20th century.

    A virtual curator talk with de Barros Gomes takes place online on Aug 20, 6 to 7 p.m. The event is free, but advance registration is required. Information on how to register is at http://www.whalingmuseum.org.

    "A City of Immigrants: The Standard Times Collection" complements the Whaling Museums initiative Common Ground: A Community Mosaic, which is documenting the stories, memories, and lived experience of people and communities in Greater New Bedford. Both A City of Immigrants and Common Ground are curated by de Barros Gomes. Community members can contribute their own stories to the initiative at http://www.CommonGroundMosaic.com.

    "Inside Out! A Moment in Time," showcasing images from the Whaling Museums photo archives, runs Sept. 3 through Sept. 16 and is curated by Emma Rocha, curatorial assistant. Each image has characteristics that makes it identifiable as being from a specific time period. Viewers will be invited to guess the year each photograph was taken. A curator talk date will be announced in the near future as will the remaining two Inside Out exhibitions.

    About the New Bedford Whaling Museum

    The New Bedford Whaling Museum ignites learning through explorations of art, history, science and culture rooted in the stories of people, the region and an international seaport. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. The Museum is operating on reduced hours due to the corona virus pandemic. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. Admission is free for Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $19, seniors (65+) $17, students (19+) $12, child and youth $9. For more information visit http://www.whalingmuseum.org.

    See original here:
    New Bedford Whaling Museum turns its exhibitions Inside Out! - Fall River Herald News

    Congress must create commission on finances of states and localities | TheHill – The Hill - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Harry Truman famously kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office that said The Buck Stops Here. But last weekend, President Trump literally passed the buck to the states. His executive order on coronavirus relief forces the states to somehow find billions of dollars to fund unemployment benefits for jobless residents. It is the proverbial straw that may break the backs of the camels. In this case, the camels are the villages, towns, counties, and states suffering in the economic downturn amidst the pandemic.

    The media is consumed by the current debate between Republicans and Democrats for the level of the weekly unemployment benefits in the next stimulus bill. But the real and overlooked economic story here is not over $400 or $600 for weekly unemployment benefits. It is the $900 billion in revenue losses related to the coronavirus in state and local governments over the next two years. The number is both ruinous and lasting.

    State and local governments make up about 18 percent of gross domestic product and employ almost 22 million workers. You simply cannot prop up the nation by weakening one of its own legs. State and local governments also provide 80 percent of total spending on infrastructure at a time when Washington has effectively retreated from such key investments.

    After the Great Recession, state and local investments in infrastructure fell 18 percent, according to the Volcker Alliance. It said this lack of spending has already left behind almost $1 trillion in deferred maintenance of roads, bridges, mass transportation facilities, schools, water and sewer systems, and other infrastructure, a number that is likely to grow significantly in the absence of direct federal support. Think about this the next time your car rattles over some potholes or your train to work shows up late.

    This is not a Republican or a Democratic divide. Red states and blue states are reeling. The New York Times has cited the report by the Urban Institute that sales tax revenues were down 20 percent in the spring over the same period last year, according to data from 46 states. The $2 trillion stimulus deal in March had $150 billion for state and local governments.

    The bandage has been washed away by the fiscal hemorrhaging. House Democrats allocated almost $1 trillion in state aid in the legislation they approved in May. Senate Republicans have included no more aid in their proposal. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana proposed around $500 billion several months ago, and some House Democrats seem to be coalescing around that number for the next round of legislation.

    Meanwhile, instead of getting relief, governors in both parties got a bill for the extension of unemployment benefits. It is $4 billion in New York, more than $1 billion out in Kentucky, and $26 million weekly out in West Virginia. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said his state could pay, but it means taking money away from other areas of the budget.

    The state of the states is horrific. The impact on their budgets is structural and lasting. It may fundamentally reshape the fabric and infrastructure for all our communities. Without federal assistance, the Rust Belt will become even rustier, and our landscape will include 21st century ghost towns that can no longer afford to give or pay for services for their residents.

    That is why Congress should pass legislation to create a Commission on State and Local Government Finances that will diagnostically assess the problem and submit a report within six months on steps needed to solve it. Our governors, mayors, and experts must be recruited to serve. It may not be the sexiest topic. It may scintillate only municipal controllers and credit ratings analysts. But as Tip ONeill said, All politics is local.

    Steve Israel represented New York in Congress for 16 years and was the chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is now the director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. You can find him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael.

    Continued here:
    Congress must create commission on finances of states and localities | TheHill - The Hill

    Landscape is national highlight – Craven Herald - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

    Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

    He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

    To find out more details on any of the above visit his website, where2walk.co.uk

    SOME of the best limestone in the country can be found between Settle and Malham and the Settle Loop (officially a bridleway) passes through some of the best.

    From one of the two large car parks in the centre of Settle follow the road past the Co-op and in to Upper Settle and up a steep lane past the small wood.

    This is the steepest part of the day so head down and get it over with.

    After the gradient reduces it is only half a mile to a lane on your left, signed with the Pennine Bidleway/Settle Loop. The steep hillside to your left is Sugar Loaf Hill (Rye Loaf is further on to your right.)

    Follow the farm track towards Stockdale Farm. This is sheep farming country, classical Dales with dry stone walls, exposed limestone scars and short cropped grasses.

    Ignore the track cutting in to the farm itself, continue on the higher track.

    The rocky track continues to climb until it reaches a high point passing through two gates. Carry on following the path as it descends towards another gate, Nappa Gate.

    Follow the route to Langscar Gate in a north easterly direction through some lovely exposed limestone. It is here that the views over Malham Tarn may entice you down but it is an awfully long way back if you choose this route!

    Keep the wall to your right initially and see if you can spot Nappa Cross and mine shaft just before it drops steeply east. Do not follow the wall but stick to the obvious path NE until it meets a further path heading west. This is the start of the return route.

    The path west initially climbs and then is relatively flat for three miles, it is a lonely spot with birds and sheep only breaking the silence. After three miles arrive at a gate, do not go through it but take the path to the left to a small stile and a path that heads south with steep land to your left.

    After 200 metres a sketchy path leads 100 metres uphill to Victoria Cave, well worth a detour.

    Discovered in 1837 the cave has been both a historians and archaeologists dream. Past discoveries have included bones from hippos, rhinos and elephants when the climate was much warmer, a brown bear when it was colder.

    Returning to the path next to the wall carry on south and through a stile where the land opens up. For a while. Drop down the path under Attermire Scar to a junction of paths at a gate. Take the right hand path through the gate and to a ladder stile (the ground can be wet here) before climbing alongside a wall to your left for 300 metres.

    To your right a path leads to Attermire Cave (great shelter for past travellers) but return to the main path until it reaches its high point at a gate.

    From here the views over Settle and Ribblesdale open up impressively, it is a fine spot.

    Keep heading east on a path dropping steeply towards Settle/Giggleswick until you come to a wall.

    Turn left, past a barn on your right, through a gate and into a lane taking you again steeply down in to the market town of Settle where the walk started.

    Fact File:

    Distance: Roughly 10.5 miles.

    Height to Climb: 500m (1,640 feet)

    Start: SD 818635. There are two car parks in Settle, one near the rugby ground, the other just to the west of the main square..

    Difficulty: Medium. All on good tracks (except the short detour to Victoria Cave) and with a steep start and final descent above Settle.

    Refreshments: Settle has a large choice of cafes, pubs and shops.

    Be Prepared:

    The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass.

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    Landscape is national highlight - Craven Herald

    Hayden Survey of 1875 meant dispossession of homeland to Native peoples – The Times-Independent - August 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Lots of place names in our region stem from the great efforts of North American western expansion and early exploration. Early Spanish trekkers Dominguez and Escalante may have been the most notable foreign trekkers to make routes and notes of the rugged and unknown West. But the real mapping, especially of the Four Corners area, was done by the Hayden Survey of 1875, a subsequent project to an earlier Hayden survey.

    The town of Hayden in west-central Colorado bears the name of Ferdinand V. Hayden, who led the survey. One can think that his efforts were centered there in the lush green meadows and alpine buttresses near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. But that was just one of his numerous stops. Many early explorers on that team, as perhaps a reward for their efforts, had a place named after them.

    This is true of the La Sal Mountains, especially its tallest peak, Mt. Peale. Albert C. Peale was one of many scientists who charted this territory, some of the last to be mapped in the lower 48 states. (The Henry Mountains west of us was the last range to be mapped.)

    Besides knowing very little about the terrain, white men didnt know much about the Native Americans who peopled the region. There were at times dangerous and deadly conflicts between Natives and newbies, some of which occurred on the eastern side of the La Sals, in the Two-mile area not far from Old La Sal and the route to what is now Buckeye Reservoir.

    A fascinating book by Robert S. McPherson and Susan Rhoades Neel titled, Mapping the Four Corners, Narrating the Hayden Survey of 1875, provides a peek at some of our favorite and familiar places, and what might have occurred there when white outsiders showed up.

    The book quotes a variety of voices who tell of their experiences.

    The survey of 1875 included a team of cartographers, geologists and scientists who thought they would enjoy a summers revisit of the Four Corners following earlier mapping efforts. But, as the book tells, the voyagers found their trip to be more challenging than expected, as the review on the dust cover of the book explains. The travelers describe wrangling half-wild pack mules, trying to sleep in rain-soaked blankets, and making tea from muddy, alkaline water. Along the way, they encountered diverse peoples, evidence of prehistoric civilizations, and spectacular scenery, said the review.

    Everyone they met was not glad to see them: In southeastern Utah surveyors fought and escaped a band of Utes and Paiutes, who recognized that the survey meant dispossession from their homeland.

    The book is No. 83 in the American Exploration and Travel Series of books, published by University of Oklahoma Press.

    Haydens team was accompanied by early photographer William Henry Jackson, who chronicled on film some of the locales.

    Haydens trek has been described as an Anglo enterprise a scientific endeavor focused on geology, geographic description, cartographic accuracy, and even ethnography. But the search for economic potential was a significant underlying motive. Said the review, These pragmatic scientists were on the lookout for gold beneath every rock, grazing lands in every valley, and economic opportunity around each bend in the trail.

    Some say the Hayden survey shaped the American imagination in contradictory ways, solidifying the idea of progressand government funding of its pursuitwhile also revealing, via Jacksons photographs, a landscape with a beauty hitherto unknown and imagined, wrote the reviewer.

    Of the fractious altercations between Natives and the exploration team, there are several descriptions. A report in the New York Times dated Sept. 9, 1875 was called The Hayden Survey: What the Sierra La Sal Indians did for It. A number of voices tell harrowing tales of avoiding gunshots, hiding out in the sagebrush plane east of the south side of the La Sals or somewhat near there.

    The scouts animals were tired and thirsty, but the Anglo explorers knew they were easy targets for the natives holding watch from the forested foothills above. Wrote James Gardner in an Aug. 15, 1875 journal, No sooner had the rearguard passed the brow than the Indians commenced firing from behind it. He said two members of the Hayden party came very near being killed, bullets striking the ground close to them. Being in the advance I rode at once to the rear, recalled Gardner. The boys begged to be allowed to charge the Indians, but I considered it unadvisable, considering that they were protected by a hill and mounted on swift horses, and we on tired, slow mules, I therefore ordered the train forward in a trot to get out of range of the hill behind.

    An image of the Native Americans who might have been protecting their stand is in the H.S. Poley Collection stored at the Denver Public Librarys Western History Collection. It depicts a number of Ute warriors astride horses, examining their rifles. They were skilled trackers and implacable foes when operating in their homeland, according to the McPherson/Neal book. The image shows the Indians carrying Winchester rifles, which were favorites because of their magazine capacity of 15 rounds, their rapid-fire capability, and their maneuverability on horseback, read the book. Their maximum effective range, however, was only about 200 yards.

    Both sides set up round-the-clock guards to hold their spots. Even at 700 or 800 yards, not one of those valiant Indians would come out and shoot openly, wrote Hayden party member Cuthbert Mills in an Aug. 15, 1875 entry that was later published in the New York Times on Sept. 9, 1875. Pickets were placed at points about 50 to 75 yards distant from the barricade, and the reliefs arranged for the night.

    A.C. Peale told of the fortifications happening in the trekkers camp: We made a barricade of our cargo and our aparejos [packs saddles and rigging] with the mules on both sides. We then put out three pickets [guards stationed to keep watch]. I kept guard in camp. We had a lunch of bread and cold ham. The Indians kept firing until midnight.

    Peale said the guards were able to keep the opponents from advancing, but it wasnt without some chaos. Several times the mules got tangled up, wrote Peale, being in want of both feed and water. Once while we were out a shot struck Polly, the bell [lead] mare, above our heads and we tumbled into the barricade promiscuously. My foot got caught in a rope and I went in head first. None of the balls struck in the barricade, but went whizzing over our heads.

    Mills told of similar uncalm: It was certainly not a pleasant night we spent. The unanimous opinion of those who knew most about Indian methods of fighting was that the band was an advanced guard thrown out to delay us till reinforcements should come up, and that at daylight the worst attack might be looked for that dusk being their favorite hour for surprises. They would probably be quiet for the night, preparing for the morning, wrote Mills.

    This story will be continued next week, telling of how the explorers made it out with their hides intact or did they?

    Continued here:
    Hayden Survey of 1875 meant dispossession of homeland to Native peoples - The Times-Independent

    A look at how the June 1st Tornado changed the landscape of western Massachusetts 9 years later – WWLP.com - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) June 1st, 2011 is a day many western Massachusetts residents will never forget. An EF3 tornado with winds of up to 160 mph carved a path of destruction 38 miles long from Westfield to Charlton.

    The Munger Hill and Shaker Heights neighborhoods in Westfield were some of the areas that were first hit by the tornado. Fallen trees and power lines made some roads impassable and part of the roof was ripped off the Munger Hill Elementary School.

    Nobody could even get through the neighborhood, the trees were everywhere. I did have friends that were still at school, their car got spun around in the air, it was terrifying, said Bethany Liquori of Westfield.

    Well It was mostly the tops of the trees, we did have a couple that uprooted. We lost 32 trees in our yard and it was very scary. The power lines were all down, said Carrie Salzer of Westfield.

    You can see from SkyView22 that the school has been repaired but there are a lot fewer trees in the neighborhoods than there used to be.

    The tornado then intensified as it moved through West Springfield and across the Connecticut River even passing directly over the Memorial Bridge.

    In the Island Pond Road area of Springfield a lot of the trees are gone but most of the homes have been rebuilt or repaired.

    The steeple on the First Church of Monson that was toppled by the tornado has been rebuilt at a cost of around $2.4 million dollars.

    Homes that were completely destroyed in the area of Stewart Ave and Heritage Lane in Monson have also been rebuilt but the hillside still shows the scars of the tornados path.

    Nearly 10,000 acres of woodlands were destroyed by the June 1st Tornado.

    Read the original here:
    A look at how the June 1st Tornado changed the landscape of western Massachusetts 9 years later - WWLP.com

    On the front steps | News, Sports, Jobs – Minot Daily News - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    There are certain June mornings here on the prairie that remind us why we chose to live here. We awoke this morning with a faint breeze from the northwest and the promise of rain and so sat on the front steps of the ranch house, enjoying a hot mug of coffee and taking in a free avian chorus.

    Framed by ponds on three sides, the yard forms a natural palette, if not an amphitheater, for the vocals on this open prairie. Let the music begin!

    A true ornithologist could have closed their eyes and quickly documented the number of bird species participating; we make do with a dog-eared Audubon bird guide and years of applied observation. It starts around 4:30 am, the squeaks of flycatchers in the half-dark, the coo of doves, chirp of robins, and the chatter and buzz of swallows and blackbirds.

    English sparrows scold all others and mix with the winnowing sound of snipe swooping high overhead in their courtship displays.

    Now add the honk of Canada geese, wigeon whistles, soft gadwall quacks, and the patter of Ruddy Duck drakes as they rapidly slap bill to chest in their breeding display.

    Missing this morning is the warble of meadowlarks, although they are happy to offer solos once you leave the yard and travel any distance. The scaup and their raspy call are noticeably absent, along with the hard quack of mallard hens, still tending their nests.

    Rooster pheasants call from distant hills and mix with the faint clatter and wheeze of our ancient pump-jack below the house as it labors to raise well-water from the depths for our Juneberries. A bittern is nearby, adding his own pump-a-lunk call.

    The most accomplished vocalists may be the sooty and understated coot, which possess a repertoire of sounds more at home in a jungle rather than here in Prairie Pothole country. They call to each other across the yard.

    A musky fragrance of sage and lilacs competes with the sweetness of chokecherry and hawthorn blossoms but the resulting perfume cries out Spring! And now the black dog barks at a wide-bottomed mule deer at the edge of the yard and chases it up the driveway and over a hill before trotting back dutifully as if mule deer were the largest threat facing us these days.

    There is a weight here, of the landscape, and of the knowledge that other people sat on this same spot, listening to these same birds, over many generations.

    There is also an undeniable sense of comfort, with world events intruding only via elective electronic media. Comfort too in knowing the sounds and rhythms of this landscape have continued for centuries, and sometimes millenniums, without regard to disease or human conflict and sufferingand knowing they will continue for centuries longer.

    It is a lot to ponder on this windless morning, on the front steps, with a hot mug of coffee.

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    On the front steps | News, Sports, Jobs - Minot Daily News

    The Peaceable Kingdom Mural: From the young, a gift to Dorchester – Dorchester Reporter - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The year we are marking the 150th anniversary of Dorchesters annexation by the City of Boston. In ten years, we will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of Dorchesters founding. The history of Dorchester goes back far beyond pedestrians trudging up and down the towns hills on the way to and from work and school.

    A school on the top of one of those hills named the Boston International High School Newcomers Academy (BINcA) was set up in 2011. Before that it was the Frank V. Thompson Elementary School, built in 1922. Old maps of Ashmont Valley show that nothing was ever built on this hill except this 98-year-old school building.

    Ashmont Valley had been farmland, a fine topography for cultivation by Puritan and Yankee farmers as well as the original inhabitants who had lived here for millennia. The native people had touched deep reserves of history as they stood where we stand, under the same sun and moon that shine down on us. The native people blended into nature and lived among animals in harmony with the land throughout all the seasons.

    BINcA student-artists are plying those same ideas now as they paint a mural about nature nature-ing. The name of the mural is The Peaceable Kingdom. It represents a scene in which numerous animals are crowding an expansive landscape while living in total harmony.

    The human form has no place in the design, but footprints will be added in the foreground at the very end. These footprints will represent the viewer and also guide him or her into the center of this picture of paradise.

    Large scale collaborative art projects evolve slowly, much like gardens that need lots of time to spread out and fill in. Artists are the gardeners who do the watering, pull out the weeds, and dream about which seeds to plant next.

    Working at their desks, students made drawings from photographs of animals. The finished drawings were then painted in full color. When satisfied, the students enlarged their drawing on the mural and painted the animal again. It went that way for every animal on the mural, which is why it has taken two years to complete.

    A big lion is the focal point of the mural, put there because it is the school mascot. A year later, a little lamb was added on the same spot. The striking contrast of scale between these two creatures catches the eye and suggests something that happens to reflect our current situation.

    In like a lion, out like a lambhas to do with defrosting March weather and also with bright shining stars. Every March, the Leo constellation (lion) is followed by the Capricornus constellation (lamb). This March, COVID-19 swept across the world and stopped us in our tracks. Now we are ready to begin healing. The proverb brings to mind that the limitation of moving like a lion is only overcome by following the lamb.

    Above, Rachelle Tavares works on the mural.

    Somebody smart once said, Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Dorchester people have experienced close quarters with all kinds for so long that we have learned how to never stop trying to make things better. One of the most important things we do is working together to empower young people because they are our future.

    BINcA is the only Boston public school with 100 percent immigrant students. The Peaceable Kingdom Mural Project has brought together a great and diverse team of young people to communicate with one voice in sending a message about integrity, equality, simplicity, community, stewardship of the Earth, and peace.

    Working to paint this mural has given BINcA students an opportunity to help improve the quality of life in Dorchester. And now these same young people are ready for more. They are listening for a positive response, which will build their confidence and strengthen their resolve to step up and serve as role models in our community.

    The mural has community support and is ready for installation in a public place. A proposal is currently under review by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Temporary Youth Mural Program. It was submitted by the Peaceable Kingdom Mural Committee and includes letters of endorsement from elected officials and local civic groups. The proposed location for the mural is the Ts Ashmont Station.

    The mural could be installed above the platform for the inbound trains, where it would be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people who pass through the station every day. Imagine the reaction of student families, friends, and neighbors when they encounter this beautiful work of art. The impact that this would have is pure gold the use of art to revitalize community and contribute positively to our sense of place. (It also would give one more good reason for riders to be thankful for the MBTA.)

    The Peaceable Kingdom mural is a collaboration by art teacher James Hobin and students at Boston International High School Newcomers Academy.

    See more here:
    The Peaceable Kingdom Mural: From the young, a gift to Dorchester - Dorchester Reporter

    Sponsored: Real Estate Confidential: Summer with a pool and air conditioning – Martha’s Vineyard Times - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Real Estate Confidential is a bi-weekly chit-chat about new listings, sales, or other insider info on the Marthas Vineyard Real Estate market, presented by Fred Roven, owner/broker of Marthas Vineyard Buyer Agents. It appears every other Friday in The Minute.

    In just one day, the entire Island feels like the season has finally arrived. The sky cleared and brought with it an Island in full bloom. And, what a surprise, when I found all boats full for a quick weekday roundtrip! This is going to be my first trip off-Island in almost three months and the planning feels like an entirely new experience. There will be many experiences moving forward from a pandemic; some I cannot even imagine.

    The past few years have seen an increase in Islanders purchasing, oftentimes, their first homes. The only thing that might explain it is more concern about what the future holds rather than particularly low prices or low interest rates. This year feels different in so many ways. Next week I move on from ZOOM house tours to physically taking buyers through homes and I have no idea what to expect in terms of the physical showing.

    So many phone calls coming in from buyers who have never even been to Marthas Vineyard and are a bit taken aback when we begin to discuss what they can buy with their dollars. There are many others who have been thinking about a move to Marthas Vineyard for years and are ready to act. More and more buyers are looking for homes with in-ground swimming pools and as summers warm, homes with central air conditioning. With summer quickly approaching, taking a look at some of those homes was an easy choice.

    Located in a quiet neighborhood on the edge of Edgartown Village, 27 South Street is an elegant colonial compound. The home is sited on nearly an acre and features indoor-outdoor options including a screened porch and a private, open-air living/dining area with outdoor fireplace and pergola, overlooking a beautiful 20 x 30-foot gunite pool. The beautifully outfitted chefs kitchen features high-end commercial appliances (SubZero, Wolf, and Bosch). The property rounds out with a carriage house featuring a guest bedroom suite with full bath. This conveniently located home has easy access to Edgartown Village for shopping and dining, beaches, the bicycle path and more.

    Heading up-Island from Vineyard Haven to Lamberts Cove, it would be difficult to miss the expansive lawns and stone walls of Tashmoo Farm at 31 Lamberts Cove Road. The Farm, originally built before the Revolutionary War, has been meticulously and tastefully restored to preserve the historic character and grandeur. The recently built pool house is accessible to both the Har-Tru tennis courts and the Gunite pool and includes a well-equipped grill area and wet bar, a changing room and full bath. The title includes access to Lake Tashmoo and the association dock.

    The new home on East Pasture Road provides some of the best forever protected water views on the Island, deeded Menemsha Pond access via a walking path, a heated Gunite pool, and the privacy and protection of abutting conservation land. Only the finest craftsmanship and materials were used to construct this contemporary styled, open floor plan home. Walking the rolling landscape on paths passing through stone walls, lead you to the detached guest suite and on to the pool, pool house and outdoor kitchen. Seller currently has two moorings on the pond and ownership gives you Philbin Beach on the south shore and dog-friendly Lobsterville beach on the north shore.

    If a 4,000 square foot home on eight acres with a swimming pool is for you, the spacious contemporary cape at 20 Flint Hill Road is perfect. The great room off the kitchen has a vaulted ceiling and fireplace, adding spaciousness and casualness to the formal home. The property includes a 20 x 40 gunite pool that fits organically into the landscape with easy access from all areas of the home. With its excellent rental history, this property can provide a great investment or a wonderful year-round Vineyard family home.

    Click here for more homes with in-ground swimming pools and central air conditioning

    For more Real Estate Confidentials click here.

    See the original post here:
    Sponsored: Real Estate Confidential: Summer with a pool and air conditioning - Martha's Vineyard Times

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