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Friday, February 24, 2012

Cohoes Falls

I've always thought nearby Cohoes Falls was underappreciated by the residents of the Capital District who have this natural wonder in their backyard. I recommend taking a drive to the small park over the Falls at the end of Spring Street after several days of heavy rain or a rapid snow thaw to really witness things ripping. Click here for the map -- then click the "more" to the left of the map, then "Street View," then press down on your mouse's left button and continue to hold while moving your mouse to view the Falls and adjacent park.

Here's a really well done video on this treasure.

Over the Falls - Cohoes, NY

From the rise of morn till set of sun
I have seen the mighty Mohawk run,
Oh! I have thought, and thinking sighed
How like to thee, thou restless tide!
But urgent as the doom calls
Thy water to its destined falls,
And the last current cease to run!
Oh may my falls be as bright as thine!
May heavens forgiving rainbow shine
Upon the mist that circles me,
As soft as now it hangs over thee!
 Opening to  "Lines, Written at the Cohoes Falls of the Mohawk River"

1804 - Thomas Moore (Irish poet)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bennington Museum

75 Main St., Bennington
I visited the Bennington Museum yesterday and it is a gem. Everything I look for in a small museum -- nice permanent exhibits, interesting changing exhibits, and not so big it's exhausting and you leave before having covered it all. Among its holdings is the largest collection in the world of Grandma Moses paintings. You can find paintings of the Battle of Bennington,  the Bennington Pottery Gallery and a lot of artifacts from early Vermont.

The Lincoln Trilogy (The American Spirit), 1939
Clyde du Vernet Hunt (1861-1941)

Historic Vermont School Room Exhibit

A Selection of Hymns for Juvenile Delinquents

"Bug" Telegraph Key
(Part of The Bennington Musuem's Collection of Old Radio Gear)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Trees Are Important

Earlier this week, I had a posting on the Saratoga Tree Nursery and the kick-off of their seedling sale. That got me to thinking about the importance of trees -- something, sadly, our society doesn't seem to be doing enough of lately.
  • Trees clean the air, absorbing nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide and ground-level ozone.
  • Trees produce oxygen.
  • Trees store and "lock up" carbon dioxide, offsetting the accumulation of carbon, helping to mitigate climate change.
  • Trees shade and cool in hot weather -- unlike air-conditioning, saving energy.
  • Tree roots hold soil together, preventing erosion.
  • Forests provide homes to the world's terrestrial biodiversity.
  • Trees provide a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment.
  • Trees muffle noise in urban environments.
  • Trees provide food and have tremendous commercial value from medicine to energy to building materials.
  • Trees clean the soil of pollutants (phytoremediation).
  • Trees slow storm water runoff.
  • Trees act as windbreaks
  • And a whole lot more!
Additional Reading
Planet Releaf

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saratoga Tree Nursery Seedling Sale

Saratoga Tree Nursery

More than 50 species of trees and shrubs are now available to schools and public and private landowners at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery, DEC announced today. Click here for details.

Saratoga Tree Nursery video

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Apogee and Perigee of the Moon

Moon Over the Plateau 2/7/2012

The moon has been in the news lately. Newt wants to create a colony on the moon. Mitt wants to fire Newt for creating a colony on the moon. Trying to ignore this inane debate and pondering the beauty of the moon over the lake here on the Plateau got me to thinking about the size of the moon, and why it sometimes looks considerably larger than other times. So, some facts to store for small talk at your next party...

Apogee refers to when the moon is at its furthest point from the Earth, while Perigee refers to when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth.
Distance of the moon from the Earth:
Perigee = 221,463 miles
Average = 238,857 miles
Apogee = 251,968 miles

Gravitational pull on the Earth:
Perigee = greater, contributing to higher tides
Apogee = lesser, contributing to lower tides

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Taconic Lake Winter Symphony

I listened to another ice symphony all weekend and decided to record a bit of it. I recommend putting on your headphones and cranking up the volume for these clips.

The first clip is eight minutes long and was taken at pre-twilight on sunny Sunday, February 5, 2012. If you get impatient for some real action, slide it up to the 2:35 minute point. Toward the end of the clip you should also hear several large birds in the distance. On the bottom clip, you'll hear loud ice cracking right at the 4 second point at the beginning of this clip. Quite a difference in the two days: Saturday quite overcast and Sunday a beautiful blue sky.

 Pre-Twilight on Feb. 5, 2012

Pre-Twilight on Feb. 4, 2012