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Friday, February 3, 2017

New York State Seedling Sale

Go Green!

New York State's Saratoga Tree Nursery has kicked off their annual tree and shrub seedling sale. Click here for details.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Frozen Lakes and Star Wars


Click here for a terrific PBS piece, and video, called "Why Does A Frozen Lake Sound Lke A Star Wars Blaster?"

Living on a lake, I've long been fascinated by the phenomenon.  Click here for a post on the subject from last year, "Taconic Lake Symphony" and click here for another one I did in 2012, "Moonlight and Ice Noise on Taconic Lake."


Friday, December 23, 2016

RPA Does it Again


The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA), under the leadership of Jim Bonesteel, has done it again, Quoting their Facebook post this morning, "Yesterday RPA acquired 927 acres of working forest with support from The Conservation Fund and NYS DEC. A bargain sale from the Gundrum family has allowed us to conserve one of the most ecologically significant parcels on the Plateau. This parcel will eventually almost double the size of the Pittstown State Forest. It is now open to the public for hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, hunting and fishing."

Click here for the full news release.

This is fabulous news for the Plateau.  Thank you to all involved in making it happen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bird Feeder Field Test

Below, is a video of a field test of our new Woodlink Absolute Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder (Model 7533).  Overall it  passed, although the rascal did get a nip of seed when he was hanging upside down. Since I put up this feeder, I've noticed the little buggers stay away from my car.  I'd rather have them bottom-feeding bird seeds than chomping on my engine cables like they once did to the tune of a $300+ repair!

Stay with it, since it gets interesting toward the end.

Field Test (video)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Bird Feeder


I just installed this new bird feeder that I'm very happy with.  It's a Woodlink Absolute Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7533.  It's big and it's relatively heavy, so I picked out a thick hemlock branch, that was hanging low with this week's heavy snow, climbed up my 12-foot step ladder, and tied a strong pulley -- a chrome, 1-1/2" swivel pulley -- I picked up at Ace Hardware -- around the branch.  For rope, I used 3/16" black Dacron Polyester rope. This is terrific rope to have on hand.  I buy it on eBay in 500' spools for about $40 since I'm a morse code amateur radio operator and I use it to support wire dipole antennas up in the canopy of our hemlocks.  This rope will resist the moisture, ultraviolet radiation and wind pressures we experience here on the Plateau.  It's great for using with boats, tarps, and many other applications.

Swivel Pulley off hemlock branch
The bird feeder can be raised to a height of about 15 feet -- high enough to protect it from any stray Chicago bears.  They say 10-12 feet is high enough, so that's added insurance (see Do Bears Eat Rigid 2" PVC?). We now store the seed in several 6-gallon galvanized trash cans we picked up at Home Depot and store these cans in a walk-in closet in the center.  The bird feeder is squirrel resistant, but they can't get to it now anyway.  They're content to bottom-feed off the droppings on the ground.  With the rope through the pulley, one end is tied to a Nite Ize dual-spring, size 3 s-biner.  These are nice for a lot of applications.  They're essentially s-hooks with spring-action "doors."  I put the other end of the rope through a zinc-plated eyehook attached to the tree.

Eyehook at base of hemlock


VIDEO of Chickadees enjoying the new feeder

This feeder also comes with sections that comprise a 5-foot pole, along with mounting hardware.