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09 April, 2008

Ratz at The Cottage

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09 December, 2007

An Abstract View of The Gobble Gulch Gazette

An abstract (?) painting (acrylic on canvas ) offering us the artists view of The Gobble Gulch Gazette.

You might know the artist. We do.

Note: It might be worth noting that The Gobble Gulch Gazette was first distributed via e-mail although, only three or four editions were published in that format.

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01 December, 2007

And so I got this going for me...

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03 November, 2007

Y2k: A look back...

Most retrospectives of the year 2000 would focus on the computer failure that never occured. But here at The Gobble Gulch Gazette we'd rather remember the things that happened outside of the server room in 2000. Enjoy...

This is a photo of "Chippy" who took up residence just outside the backdoor of the cottage that year.

[the sign reads: "Chippy House No Snakes Allowed ]

Chippy is of course the generic name for whichever chipmunk has claimed the property as his own for the summer. But this particular "Chippy" was very comfortable around humans. Our neighbor Bill Dickie, spend considerable time feeding him peanuts by hand.

Ah...who can forget the "Summer Fun Guys" nearly every weekend at the cottage.

Here they are hanging out on our first boat just off the beach in Turkey Point.

[Left to Right: Anthony, Scott, Kenny, and Geoff]

Waking boarding off of Turkey Point, the summer of 2000.

"Summer Fun Guys" relaxing in front of the cottage at Turkey Point watching the cars and girls go by.

Late in the summer and the evenings started to get a bit cooler. Here are Natalie, Bill & Peg Dickie sitting out behind the cottage enjoying a reduction firing.

Sure it looks like a trash can but down at Gobble Gulch that is what we call a pottery kiln.

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Ever found an old stamp?

Sometimes you run across the neatest stuff in your own home. This canceled stamp has been kicking around loose in the house for a number of years.

Stamp Name: First Man on the Moon
Stamp Subject: Moon Landing
Date Issued: September 9, 1969

The stamp designed by Paul Calle was one of the last to be issued by the old U.S. Post Office Department before it was replaced by the U.S. Postal Service, an independent government agency, on July 1, 1970. Its story is unique.

[Excerpted from: http://www.unicover.com/OPUBACK7.HTM#sect2 ]

It was printed from a master die which Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin carried with them to the Moon on the lunar module Eagle.

It was the largest postage stamp the United States had issued up to that time. Its design was 1.80 by 1.05 inches, and its overall size was 1 61/64 by 1 15/64 inches, making it 50 percent larger than conventional U.S. commemoratives. (These so-called "jumbo" dimensions later were used for several commemorative stamps issued in the early 1970s.)

It wasn't until July 9, 1969, a week before Apollo 11 was launched, that Postmaster General Winton M. Blount disclosed plans for the stamp and attendant details. On that date, Blount announced that "Apollo 11 will mark America's first mail run to the Moon." In a public-relations masterstroke credited to Julian Scheer, NASA's assistant administrator for public affairs, Blount revealed that the astronauts would take with them the engraved die that later would be used to make the stamp's printing plates, along with a special "Moon letter" bearing a die proof of the stamp. The letter would be personally postmarked by Armstrong and Aldrin while they were on the Moon, Blount said.

But how could the designer Paul Calle be sure his picture, which had to be completed a month before the launch of Apollo 11, would be accurate?

NASA provided photographs or duplicates of all the equipment that would be involved in the landing, including a lunar module which Calle viewed at the plant of the manufacturer, the Grumman Corporation. In addition, Calle knew that Armstrong would put his left foot down first as he came off the module's own, padded "foot"; that was choreographed in advance.

What he didn't know - what no one knew - was whether the landing area would be solid or powdery, and, if it was the latter, how deep the module would sink. The artist took a chance and showed the module's tripod foot making a barely perceptible imprint. Fortunately, that turned out to be exactly what happened.

On July 20 1969, at 40 seconds after 4:17 p.m., Eastern Daylight time, the lunar module Eagle landed on the Moon, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin. Collins remained in the Columbia command module orbiting overhead.

As the world watched and listened via television and radio, Apollo 11 Commander Armstrong sent the good news from 235,000 miles away: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." (Listen to Armstrong's transmission here... )

Later that same day, at 20 seconds after 10:56 p.m. EDT, Armstrong descended a ladder, stepped off the lunar module's footed to the Moon's surface and radioed his famous message: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Aldrin later joined Armstrong on the Moon's surface. As it turned out, the two astronauts found themselves too busy with scientific and other duties to carry out the assignment of postmarking the "Moon letter." So the envelope and its die proof actually were given the "MOON LANDING/USA/JUL/20/1969" hand stamp during the return journey.

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17 October, 2007

Speaking of Green...

This past July - instead of staying at the Cottage and watching Live Earth in the air conditioning - we enjoyed an afternoon drive in the SUV to check out the Erie Shores Wind Farm in Port Burwell (99 megawatts).
If you haven’t seen these in person, they are pretty neat. I highly recommend you seek an opportunity to be on the ground close to an operating wind farm - very impressive.

If you're interested in visiting some blogs that are truly Green try these;
The Lazy Environmentalist

The Green Skeptic

Cleantech Blog

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30 September, 2007

The Daisy Tree

2007 visited upon our family two terrible losses.

In April, Carole's Mom, Daisy Evans passed away. Then, later in the summer one of the Willow trees at the cottage was destroyed by a violent storm.

On Friday, our cottage neighbor Phil Dickie planted a new Linden tree that will be known in our family as, "The Daisy Tree".

Here are some photographs of our new tree.

Look everyone - we have shade again!!!!!!

At the far left you can just see the stump of the Silver Willow that was lost. Our little Linden will be an excellent shade tree but, he'll have quite a way to go before he matches the shade power of his predecessor.

Way bigger than you'd get from the Home Depot Garden Centre!!

Our little Linden will be protected by his big brother - hopefully for a couple of more years at least.

For years to come our family will enjoy the shade under the cool canopy of the Daisy Tree.

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September: The Best Month to Cottage

Over the years September has proven itself the best cottage month of the season. Here is why:
  • All of the beach squatters have removed Turkey Point from the weeked to-do list.
  • The water is still warm enough for a swim.
  • The waterfront is not lined with stinky boats and gasoline smell.
  • During the day - shorts and sunshine.
  • During the night - blankets and fires.
Here are a couple of photographs taken this weekend to illustrate the point.

The thermometer on the shady side of the barn late afternoon on Saturday says that it is okay to wear shorts and a t-shirt.

As you can see from the photograph below - not only have the weekend beach goers left us alone.....

So have the Purple Martins. Their summer residence has been lowered for cleaning and winter storage.

For some people the boating season is over and the slings have been pulled out of the water.

Here is a couple of photographs of garden varieties in bloom at this time of year.

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23 September, 2007

Kyoto: effectively saving the lives of polar bears?

From the Project Syndicate site:

"Let’s imagine that every country in the world – including the United States and Australia – were to sign the Kyoto Protocol and cut its CO2 emissions for the rest of this century. Looking at the best-studied polar bear population of 1,000 bears, in the West Hudson Bay, how many polar bears would we save in a year? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?

Actually, we would save less than one-tenth of a polar bear.

If we really do care about saving polar bears, we could do something much simpler and more effective: ban hunting them. Each year, 49 bears are shot in the West Hudson Bay alone. So why don’t we stop killing 49 bears a year before we commit trillions of dollars to do hundreds of times less good? " Read the full post here...

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01 September, 2007

Hummingbird meets Cat

On Saturday morning you will often find the cat soaking up the sun on the windowsill. You also may find a Hummingbird (or, two) at the feeder.

This amazing photograph of the Hummingbird checking out the cat was quietly taken by Carole.

In this one the Hummingbird is back at the feeder having decided the cat isn't competing for sugar water.

Quick Hummingbird Feeding Tip:

[adapted from - The Hummingbird Society ]

Sugar, whether from a flower or a feeder, is essential for a hummingbird's diet. It provides the quick fuel for flight that it needs during waking hours; it is not "junk food." Human metabolism is not comparable to hummingbird metabolism! Hummingbirds rely on insects and tiny spiders to provide protein for their diet, since neither flowers not sugar-water mixtures will provide it.

Tests have shown that hummingbirds prefer sucrose in flower nectar over other sugars such as fructose and glucose, so your feeder, with the proper ratio of ingredients, becomes a good approximation to the flowers hummers like best.

FORMULA: 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. The water should not be distilled. The sugar should be white table sugar, not turbinado sugar, brown sugar, or other forms. Use no artificial colors (red dye does NOT help attract hummingbirds) or other additives. Never use honey or artificial sweeteners, for to do so may kill the birds.

PREPARATION: The ingredients can be mixed using cold water. Experience has shown that mixtures do not go bad as quickly if the water is boiled, and the sugar added to it. Do not continue to boil the mixture, as it will turn to syrup. Unused portions of a mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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31 August, 2007

Good morning!

nuf said....

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02 August, 2007

Slope 190 Coal Mine, Scranton PA.

The name Scranton Pennyslvania may not exactly spring to mind as a tourist destination. But like many cities and towns, it has does have its charm and interesting stops. I highly recommend the Lackawanna County Coal mine tour. The tour includes an underground visit in the Slope 190 Mine approximately 300ft. underground.

The 190 Slope follows the Clark Bed into the valley and was a working mine until sometime in the 1960's .

The illustration (above) shows the Clark Bed running between strata or layers of rock. This picture (below) offers you my view from between those layers of rock!

This is a picture taken from the top of a shaker chute. Gravity is a mining a tool.

This is the final coal face at the time this mine was taken out of production.

An amazing tour. Obviously being cool, damp, dark, and nearly 300ft underground makes an impression on you. Our guide was a young man heading off to College in the fall. He grew up in the area has worked in coal mines previously and his stories invoked a great deal of empathy in me for coal miners.

I can't possibly bring those stories to life on a blog. However, I can recommend a book that does an excellent job of introducing the coal miner and their families. Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti has fantastic pictures and great narrative. If you are ever at the cottage, grab it off the shelf and curl up on the comfy couch. It is a quick read and very informative.

Lastly, here is a web tour of the Lackawanna Coal mine: http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00461/coaltour.htm

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01 August, 2007

The White House or, bust!

Part of the "Stars and Stripes" bus tour of Washingon DC is 4 hours of "free range" at the National Mall. Of course there is plenty to see at the National Mall but, what visit to Washington DC would be complete without a visit to the White House. Here are a couple of points about walking from the middle of the National Mall to the White House in the month of August;
  1. The walking distance is approximately a mile and a half.
  2. Washington DC enjoyed the hottest August on record.
  3. A mile and a half cab ride back to the National Mall costs $10.
Another point worth noting is that on a tourist map, the White House seems to be just a block away. But you should know that the block is The Department of the Treasury. Never underestimate the size of the Treasury Department. Phew!

So we made it to the White House and found the walkway on the southside blocked off by security people who suggested that we try the Pennsylvania Avenue vantage point. Off we go to the north side of the White House. But before we can get any photographs here - the security teams shooed everyone away. The three photographs below are all we managed on our hike to the White House from the National Mall.

We suppose the reason for security moving everyone away was due to Gordon Brown's visit.

I'm sure we'll never know. But I do know that I'm never going back to the White House - at least on foot.

The security people - as you would imagine - have very scarey guns at the ready. If you peer closely at the left side of the image you'll see what I mean.

This last photo was taken across Pennsylvania Avenue after everyone was asked to leave. We snapped this picture and hopped into a Cab to get back to the Smithsonian for the rest of our "free range" time.

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The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C., was built to honor 16th President Abraham Lincoln. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin.

The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech(see video of that speech here...), delivered on August 28, 1963, during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Beneath these words, “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” - the 16th President of the United States—the Great Emancipator and preserver of the nation during the Civil War—sits immortalized in marble. As an enduring symbol of Freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.

On the south wall you will find the Gettysburg Address.

When Lincoln said, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best, hope of earth,” the fate of liberty hung in the balance for Russia, Germany, and America itself...
Full story from City Journal is here....

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The Marine Corps War Memorial

The very first stop for us on our bus tour of Washington, DC was, The Marine Corps War Memorial.

The memorial stands as a symbol of United States esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps.

While the statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775.

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30 July, 2007

The Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg

[excerpted from: Gettysburg National Military Park ] -

To properly bury the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg, the "Soldiers Cemetery" was established on the battleground near the center of the Union line. The brainchild of concerned Gettysburg citizens, the project began soon after the close of the battle as rains and wind wore away the soil from the shallow graves that dotted the battlefield. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin supported the project and funds were provided by the commonwealth to purchase ground on Cemetery Hill. Some of the money was also used to pay Samuel Weaver and his laborers for the grisly task of removing Union dead from inadequate grave sites that covered the battlefield and hospital sites. The many southern dead would remain on the field until the 1870's, when they were removed to cemeteries in the south.

The work of the cemetery committee was not yet complete by the time of the formal dedication on November 19, 1863. It was during the dedication ceremony, which was attended by approximately 10,000 citizens, that President Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech, the "Gettysburg Address".

Here is a link to the only known photograph taken of President Lincoln at Gettysburg that day: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/gadd/images/platform.jpg

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.

On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
- from the Bivouac of the Dead
by Theordore O'Hara

The markers of unknown soldiers from the battle of Gettysburg.

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29 July, 2007

A Message Across Time

After checking into the hotel early Sunday evening, a reconnoiter of the Gettysburg battlefield was in order. While, driving along West Confederate Avenue, along the crest of Seminary Ridge you encounter hundreds of stone monuments that mark the deployment and movements for the various units engaged in the three day battle.

At the base of this particular monument you see a small memorial.

Closer examination reveals this touching message seemingly from across time...

P.S. - Point Lookout prision was the Union's version of Andersonville. Both were extraordinarily horrible places. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,000 POW's died at Point Lookout. While, over 12,000 POW's died while being held at Andersonville and the commander was tried & executed for war crimes.

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Lee's Shattered Army

These are artillery batteries from Longstreet's Corps near where on July 3, 1863 General Robert E. Lee rode out to rally the surviors of Pickett's charge.

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A Walking Tour of Harrisburg

The downtown area of Harrisburg has an interest blend of old and new buildings. Art Deco banks and colonial lobbyist offices. Here is a brief tour in pictures.

John Harris, the founder of Harrisburg.

Harrisburg was an important stop along the Underground Railroad.

The squished building behind the Ford Taurus is interesting.

Some guy on a horse.

Info on Guy on Horse...
The capital dome...

The Susquehanna river seen from the capital steps....

Phew...Iafter all that walking. Time to prepare the picnic lunch!

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