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Rensselaer Plateau Weather

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lake or Pond?


The best, readily accessible, treatment of this question is the Environmental Fact Sheet Lake or Pond -- What is the Difference? put out by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. "From a regulatory viewpoint there is no distinction between a lake and a pond... From a naming convention there is no precise difference between a lake and pond, although waterbodies named "lakes" are generally larger and/or deeper than waterbodies named "ponds." From an ecological or limnological perspective, there is a difference between the two. The difference, however, is somewhat arbitrary and not consistent or precise." Most other sources I've checked concur that bodies of water 8 hectares (19.768 acres) or larger and where light cannot penetrate to the bottom should be classified as a lake. However, standards and opinions do vary.

Read More:
Lake (Wikipedia)
Lake or Pond??? (Maine Bureau of Land & Water Quality)
Pond (Wikipedia)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hemlock Disease

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Ovisacs

Hemlocks are beautiful. Eastern Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are abundant around throughout the Taconic Mountains. Without hemlocks, the Taconic Mountains would lose a lot of character. Yet native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a small, aphidlike insect that threatens the health and sustainability of eastern hemlock.  According to the USDA Forest Service, the hemlock woolly adelgid can attack all species of hemlock, but the eastern species are most vulnerable. The woolly adelgid feeds on stored starches that are critical to the tree's growth.

I haven't looked closely at our hemlocks yet, but I will certainly be doing so once it warms up. It may take 250 to 300 years for a hemlock to reach maturity and may live for 800 years or more -- that is unless attacked by a woolly adegid and left untreated, in which case expect it to die in less than 10 years!


So far, no sign of Emerald Ash Borers, in Rensselaer County but it's another threat to be cognizant of.

Read more:

Web Soil Survey


The United States Department of Agriculture maintains a really nice Web Soil Survey website.  You can zoom in on any land area -- right down to an acre or so -- and get detailed soil analysis information.  Analyzing the soil in around the lake area we live in convinced me of the need for a raised bed septic system.  The groundwater level is in the range of 18 to 24 inches, which is not conducive to a functional traditional septic system.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Area Public Libraries

Berlin Free Town Library

There are three public libraries in close proximity to where I live:
1. Grafton Community Library 
2. Petersburgh Public Library
3. Berlin  Free Town Library

These libraries have interesting histories.  The Grafton Community Library was started in 1945 largely through the efforts of critic/author Granville Hicks (author of Small Town a study of life in a small town based on Grafton).  When the Berlin Chess Club held their organizational meeting in 1894, the members also decided to start a library.