July 2009 Archives

Again, from Assistant Superintendent, Dale Cronin, Concord Municipal Light Plant.

20677786.thb.jpgWe never said the ISO (Independent System Operator) was perfect!
They revised their load forecast last night and are now predicting the peak hour today will exceed yesterday's peak and occur between 3PM & 4PM.  Yesterday's peak was 22,304 megawatts and the ISO is predicting today's peak will be 22,450.
The ISO's current forecast calls for the load to drop off on Friday meaning today's hourly peak should be the highest for the month of July.  As for the highest peak hour for the summer, it might still in front of us if we have some typical ninety degree weather in August.
Therefore, any reductions you are able to make in your electrical consumption between 2PM and 5PM today will be very helpful and appreciated.
Possible measures you might take include turning up your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees, reducing unnecessary lighting, curtailing the use of electric dryers, washing machines, pool pumps or simply rescheduling their use either before or after the anticipated peak period.
Thanks again for your participation.

Alert: Summer Peak Hour Predicted for Wednesday

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21551835.thb.jpgFrom Dale Cronin, Assistant Superintendent of the Concord Municipal Light Plant. For more information about how the summer peak hour impacts our electric rate for an entire year, read here.

Based on current weather conditions and the most recent ISO (Independent System Operator) electricity forecast for tomorrow, there is a reasonable chance New England may hit the highest hourly peak so far this summer.
The forecast is for the peak hour to be from 4-5 PM on Wednesday so if you are able to reduce, reschedule or curtail your use of electricity between the hours of 2 PM and 5 PM you would be helping to reduce electricity costs to all Concord Light customers.
Between the hours of 2 & 5 PM tomorrow you might consider turning up your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees, curtailing the use of electricity such as dryers, washing machines, pool pumps or simply rescheduling their use either before or after the anticipated peak hours.
Thanks again for participating in our effort to reduce the summer electrical peak.

This Weekend: Much Ado About Shakespeare

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"The man that has no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treason, stratagems, and spoils, The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted: mark the music."
--Lorenzo, The Merchant of Venice

36938000.thb.jpgFor further information visit: www.concordshakespeare.org


"... water cools not love."
--Sonnet 154

7:00 - 9:00:  Opening Presentations & Conversation: Concord Free Public Library

I. Celebrating 400 years of 'SHAKES-SPEARES SONNETS' (1609) & Songs in Royal English Style!

* 'Hark, hark the lark', from Cymbeline   * Sonnet 65: 'Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea'  * 'Full fathom five': Ariel's song from The Tempest  * Sonnet 116: 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds'  * Launcelot Gobbo's monologue, from The Merchant of Venice  * 'Puck's dance', from Preludes Book 1 by Debussy

John Anderson, Trained in Speech & Drama at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland
Maren Stott, Eurythmist & Co-Director of the Eurythmy Training, Stourbridge, UK
Alan Stott, Pianist & Co-Director of the Eurythmy Training, Stourbridge, UK

Eurythmy is a performing art, which reveals the language of movement: "visible speech" and "visible singing."

II. Margaret's Wars, passages depicting successive stages of Margaret's career throughout the three Henry VI's and Richard III, as she takes on the archetypal roles of virgin, wife, mother, and crone, wise old woman.

Lida McGirr, Actress, Director, Playwright, Lover of the Bard.
36955590.thb.jpgSATURDAY  MORNING

"Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world
 world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story . . . ."
--Hamlet - 5.2: 350

Note: Saturday & Sunday's events are held at the Masonic Temple
on Monument Square in Concord Center, next door to the Colonial Inn

9:00 -10:30: Presentation & Conversation: An Uncommon Noble Tells All

Oxord's Seventeenth Earl talks with Lady Mary (Sydney) Wroth in 1604 about his life and what
he feared would be forgotten about himself, his queen, his family, his writings and his times.

Joseph Lippincott Eldredge, Architect, Author, Editor, Critic, Poet, Student of Shake-speare Authorship.

10:30 - 11:00:  Break

11:00-12:30: Presentation & Conversation: "Who Are You?"

Over the years the traditional identification of "William Shakespeare" with a gentleman from Stratford-upon-Avon has been extensively questioned.  Often the work draws upon intensely personal details of the writer and those about him, a potential source of embarrassment if the writer's identity were revealed.  Such could well be the case for the most prominent alternate identity of "William Shakespeare" - Edward de Vere. 
Richard Desper, retired scientist and independent scholar on the Shakespeare Authorship Question

12:30 - 2:30:  Lunch in Concord


"Sweets to the Sweet."
--Hamlet Act V, Scene 1

2:30 - 4:00: Presentation & Conversation: Shakespeare's Women: Why Do They Have to Die?"

In Hamlet, King Lear and Othello we witness the moving, tragic deaths of Ophelia, Cordelia, and Desdemona. Why do these young women have to die and the heroes outlive them in each play? Is there an inspirational archetype, which can increase our understanding of these events?

Robert Horner (Yale B.A.) has taught high school English and theatre for many years. He resides in the City of Brotherly Love and lectures on American literature and esoteric studies, as well as on the work of the Bard.

4:00-4:30: Break  

36936740.thb.jpg4:30-6:00: Performance & Conversation: Shakespeare's Treason
The True Story of King Henry IX, Last of the Tudors. A One-Man Show that dramatizes the veritable tale of the sonnets, beginning in 1601 with the Earl of Southampton's death sentence for seeking to overthrow the government, followed by his imprisonment in the Tower of London, until the death of Queen Elizabeth and succession of King James.
Hank Whittemore, Broadway Actor and Award-Winning Author and Screen Writer.

6:00-8:00: Dinner


 "All the world's a stage,_ And all the men and women merely players."
Jaques, As You Like It

8:00: Evening Fest & Open Stage into the Wee Hours: Music, Merriment, Verse, & Good Spirits

Friends and lovers of Shakespeare are invited step up and present their favorite sonnets, speeches, melodies, scenes from the plays, and related gems in celebration of the 400th anniversary of blessed bard's Genius.


The purest treasure mortal times afford, is spotless reputation:
That away, Men are but gilded loam and painted clay.
--Thomas Mowbray, Richard II

9:00 - 10:30: Presentation & Conversation: Richard II:  The Art and the Politics

Richard II gives us an opportunity to experience Shakespeare's awareness of what is at work in political intrigue in a form that can only compel awe at the play's combination of insight into
humanity and dramatic and poetic mastery.  Characters act upon suspicions or impulses aroused by what has been said and done by other characters in ways that, with no clear or intentional villain in sight, bear massive historical consequences for the destiny of the English people.

Charles Boyle, Author, Actor, and Director

Bill Boyle, Shakespeare Scholar, former Editor, "Shakespeare Matters", and Trustee, Shakespeare Oxford Society

John Stirling Walker is a poet and librettist whose collaboration with San Francisco composer David Conte has resulted in a number of choral-instrumental and stageworks.  As a co-founder of the Institute for Hypostatic Science and its related Brotherhood Project, he works to further the interests of the anthroposophical movement founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925.)

10:30 - 11:00: Break

11:00 - 12:30: Presentation & Conversation: "Shakespeare: The Monetary Backdrop"

36959846.thb-1.jpgThe virtually unrecognized thread of monetary history and the economic ferment of the Elizabethan era provide a backdrop against which the works and world of the celebrated English bard were played out. This culture-forging canon of literary masterpieces sounds with a moral timbre that is not merely utilitarian, but allegorical; altogether a temporal tale of the gods. Is this the elixir the canon holds for this "post-modern" era, soon to metamorphose (dare I "prophesy") into a post-commercial age?

Richard Kotlarz, Inquirer of the Economic/Social Order, especially as related to money, Minneapolis, Minnesota

12:30 - 2:30: Lunch in Concord


We are such stuff_ as dreams are made on;
And our little life _is rounded with a sleep.
--Prospero, The Tempest

2:30 - 5:00: Presentations, Performances & Conversation:

I. Three Shakespeare Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

David Conte asserts that Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Three Shakespeare Songs" represent a supreme achievement in the repertoire of twentieth-century choral composition. Moreover, the songs brilliantly fulfill the original pedagogical purpose: to provide a challenging and grateful work for choral singers, using texts of the highest literary and spiritual quality.  David Conte will illuminate how the unique character, color and structure of Shakespeare's language inform one composer's musical choices regarding melody, harmony, rhythm and meter, and form as expressed in these songs.

David Conte, Professor of Composition, San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Recent performances and commissions include: a piece composed from President Obama's victory speech and performed at the inauguration; "Homecoming" in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., performed by Chanticleer at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City; and "Lincoln" commissioned for Concord's Bicentennial Celebration of Lincoln's birth.

36955576.thb.jpgII. Shakespeare in a Tarnhelm
The "tarnhelm" was the golden helmet in Wagner's Ring Cycle that allowed its wearer to assume any form or even become invisible; so it has been for several centuries with composers doning an inter-pretive tarnhelm to twist some of the great works of Shakespeare to assume a new form - along the way, some were so changed as to become nearly invisible. Luedloff explores the evolution of Shake-speare's work through the operatic form, including masterworks and rarely-performed and unknown works. Is the Shakespearean text illuminated or obscured by the element of song? How do character arcs differ in the transition to the operatic form? Discussion will include anecdotes of hits and misses throughout the centuries as composers try their hand at adapting the work of the Bard of Avon.

Brian Luedloff is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Opera Theatre for the University of Northern Colorado.  He has directed operas across the country and served on the staging staff of San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera, among others. He received his MFA in Directing from Boston University where he held a Directing Fellowship in the School of Theatre Arts and taught and directed in the Opera Institute."

This multi-faceted extraganza is sponsored by Debra's Natural Gourmet, Middlesex School, Nashoba-Brooks School, Dee Funeral Home, Barrett & Company, Verizon Wireless Explosion, Concord Provisions, Emerson Consulting Group, Inc., Concord Computer Consulting, Bank of America Country-Wide Home Loans, Concord Outfitters, Albright Art & Craft, Cambridge Savings Bank, Middlesex Savings Bank, Lex Insurance, Concord Funeral Home, Concord Optical, J.W. Adams Construction, Inc., Concord Toy Shop, Anonymous Donors. In Kind Contributors: Concord Free Public Library, Nashoba Brook Bakery, Crosby's Marketplace, Concord Bookshop, Budgeting Printing.

Images: Courtesy of Clipart.com

Henry Brant's Concord Symphony Available on CD

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51TGQ8WMN6L._SL500_AA280_.jpgThe executor of Henry Brant's estate, Kathy Wilkowski, writes us to update us on our September, 1998 article about the Concord Sonata and Concord Symphony by Charles Ives and Henry Brant respectively. For those readers who need to refresh their memories about this, Brant rewrote Ives' Concord Sonata, creating an entirely new -- yet referential -- work in the process.

Wilowski says, "You can order Henry Brant's transcription of Ives's Concord Sonata (Brant calls it: A Concord Symphony). A Concord Symphony is approximately 55 minutes in length, so the entire CD is devoted to it.  If you do a Google search on A Concord Symphony, you will find lots of reviews and information about it." She directs us to it at Amazon.com (click here). 

Only the movement entitled "Alcotts" is downloadable.  The movements "Emerson," "Hawthorne" and "Thoreau" complete the symphony, and you need to purchase the album in order to hear the piece in its entirety.
A reviewer on the Amazon.com page for this recording said: "There are, I'm sure, purists who will balk at the very notion of an orchestration of Charles Ives's piano masterwork, the Concord Sonata. But they really ought to give this version, a 30-year-long true labor of love by Henry Brant, a hearing in its brilliant orchestral garb...."

Music on the Lawn Presents Bill Staines

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rhr208.jpgThe Music on the Lawn series presents folk singer Bill Staines on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to picnic on the Concord Free Public Library Main Branch's front lawn and enjoy the concert.

Bill Staines is a tremendously talented singer/songwriter. The Associated Press says that "Staines is one of the best songwriters in folk music today, penning lyrics that evoke a sense of place and a generous spirit to go along with his pretty melodies."

What a treat! And it's all for free. In case of rain, the concert will be held at the Hunt Gym on Stow Street. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Chasing "The Vole of Death"

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potatoesmunched.jpgVoledemort -- Vole de Mort... the Vole of Death.  In choosing this name for the arch villain in the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling reveals her understanding of the trials and tribulations of farmers and gardeners. Is it any wonder that this series is such a huge hit? The Vole of Death, indeed... strikes shivers right through you, doesn't it?

We came to better understand the destructive force of the common eastern vole, too, as we harvested part of our potato crop due to the appearance of late blight in some of the plants (an earlier post on this problem here).  At first, an entire row of plants were utterly wilted -- gnawed off just below the soil line it turns out.  And as we dug, we had very uneven results: a combination of numerous lovely potatoes, NO yield whatsoever, surprisingly small numbers of good-sized potatoes, and groups of potatoes with many bites taken out of them (see photo above). As we pulled the piled mulch back, there were tunnels and holes in the earth around the potatoes.

Voles are the villains here -- as distinct from moles, which are not to blame. Looking around online to learn more about voles, the first article I clicked on was highly informative, covering a great deal of exactly the type of information I wanted to know. Not pausing to read the byline, I saw about half-way down, "Every vole I see around our house in the woods of Concord..." Concord?!  Goodness, this gem was written by our own good townswoman, Susan Clark! (Find the full article here.)

Thumbnail image for 800px-Baby_meadow_vole.jpgThe true horror of the situation is this, and she states it unflinchingly: "Massachusetts Audubon estimates prime, natural vole territory supports more than 300 [voles] per acre!" Imagine our supplying them with scores of pounds of developing potatoes -- why, they're liable to scurry over to our place in droves! They'll buy all-expense-paid vacations to dine at our garden table.  What's a homo sapien to do?

Well, what is there one can do? Voles
are voracious eaters that must consume enormous amounts of plant food every day. They are active day and night year 'round -- and do they reproduce!  The Smithsonian Natural History Museum headily states that "Meadow Voles [Microtus pennsylvanicus, one of the two most common species here in Concord] have a remarkable reproductive output: they are the world's most prolific mammals. Females can breed when they are a month old and produce litters of 3-10 pups every three weeks for the rest of their lives. A captive female produced 17 litters in one year." Be. Still. My. Heart. 

What do we humans have on our side to help even the score? There are always cats, who love to catch voles. And we do have a house cat, but she thinks that live rodents are a form of passive entertainment to quietly watched from afar. Local owls, hawks, and others' kitties can take up some of the slack.

And don't forget that we have our wits to help us: our HUGE human brains -- with egos to match. Is there anything more sad and prideful than a human being trying to best an unending stream of insistent rodents?  We often see this battle engaged locally with squirrels -- think of how many new bird feeder designs have been created to try to defeat those little thieves, and you'll realize that due to the sheer number, adaptability and determination of a herds of rodents with tiny brains, we are no match for them. Oh, sure: we can make a dent in the population by trapping and killing them, but who are we fooling? I doubt we can hope for even as much as a downward blip in their numbers.

It's only the vole's mysterious population cycles which ebb and flow drastically over the years that will either give us relief, or even deeper pain. So, what first began as a premature potato harvest in response to the late blight, ended up claiming what was left for us by the voles, preventing further loses.  Perhaps this is be the best we can do right now.

Photos: Top - ©2009 Rich Stevenson, Local Color Images. Above right - courtesy WikiCommon

Local Potatoes (Tomatoes?) with Late Blight

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Symptom_potato_late_blight.jpgThe very wet, cool and cloudy June we just experienced produced ideal conditions for "late blight," the disease that spurred the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s.  This is a disease that occurs in our area every few years late in the season. But what's unusual about it this year is that it began appearing in June in some parts of the Northeast US.  It can infect both potato and tomato plants.

While there are implications of infection stemming from a mass grower in Alabama with plants sold nationwide in box-stores, it's possible that the local environmental conditions were what was needed for the spores to blossom into a problem here. The editor of this blog who gardens in Concord has found some of her potato plants are infected, and it's rapidly involving more and more individual plants.  Her tomato plants are doing fine so far. Drier, warmer weather might just slow it down... if anyone can arrange for some, please do! 

Are you experiencing late blight in your garden or farm fields in Concord? Let us know what you're doing in response or with an eye to prevention (email us).

Some recent news stories on the subject:

Boston Globe: Late blight is striking tomatoes and potatoes

Farm and Dairy: How to know if your garden is infected with late blight

Photo: Courtesy Wiki Commons

Monument Square Traffic Reconfigured

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Locals and Visitors -- please note that the traffic pattern around Monument Square has been altered. New signage has been added which you need to pay attention to.  In one location, drivers now have to yield where they previously had the right of way, and in another location the opposite is true.

Those of us who travel through Monument Square frequently know that there's one intersection that is a mite tricky.  Visitors who don't know any better (and we get 1 million of them annually, so this is no small matter) will blow right through there without a fare-thee-well despite conspicuous "Yield" signs facing in their direction. 

This is because the rotary around Monument Square is really TWO rotaries, not one -- one around the flagpole, and the other around the rest of the square.  Two rotaries kissing one another... joined at the hip... intimately entwined -- all of which sounds much nicer than it actually is. 

Because what it is is downright confusing and dangerous.  While drivers already in a rotary normally have the right of way, where the two rotaries intersect SOMEONE is going to have to yield the right-of-way or it's going to get messy.  It used to be that drivers continuing around the flagpole to go straight onto Main Street used to yield to cars going toward Lexington Road.  However, as of this past Monday this has been switched and is now the opposite: drivers traveling past Monument Hall toward Lexington Street now have to yield to cars going straight onto Main Street as they travel around the flag pole. 

Got that, right? Sure you do.

roundabout.jpgThere's all kinds of new signage pointing out the ins and outs around that rotary. We are amused to see signs that say "Round About" everywhere. "Round About"? When did we start using that terminology in Massachusetts? "Rotary" is what we say, and if it confuses others, so be it: it's full of local character. But there we are: we have a "Round About" now.

We have been traveling and thinking about this traffic problem for many, many years.  Of course, others have, too, especially the Concord Police, who have made this change on a trial basis in order to increase public safety. We've all seen near and full-on accidents at that intersection.  Trying to do SOMETHING to increase safety in Monument Square makes a lot of sense.  But will switching the right of way there achieve the goal? Or is it just transferring the confusion and danger to an equally confusing and dangerous configuration? No matter who yields to whom, all the yielders will feel that it's irregular and unexpected to do so. It will never feel natural to drivers who are used to navigating rotaries.. uh, er... round abouts.

We think -- though we could be wrong -- that the only way to eliminate the problem is to break the embrace between the two rotaries... to make it all ONE rotary, instead of two round abouts that intersect. Why not close off the street that passes between the two rotaries, going between the flagpole and the square? Make everyone go around the entire rotary instead of some folks -- the actual cause of the trouble in this scenario -- cutting through at the point of the "kiss".  Sure, it would be a pain in the butt, but at least it would make the traffic pattern unequivocal and clear: there would be no spot where healthy rotary behavior would not be appropriate.

Nonetheless, we wish the best for the outcome of this trial. It's not a bad idea to make us all pay a lot more attention as we travel through Monument Square... just make sure you're reading the signs and taking extra care as you motor on through.

Map: Courtesy Google Map Search. Photo: Courtesy Clipart.com.

Good Sleep and Good Rest, USNS Concord

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Editor's Note: We received this email yesterday from the Officer-In-Charge of the USNS Concord.  To read all the articles and blog posts we've published about this ship, go here.

Good Day All,
I'm sending this to let all know USNS CONCORD has reached Pearl Harbor and will be going through her decommissioning over the next 5-6 weeks.

There has been some discussion regarding CONCORD memorabilia.  The ship will be sending the bell and builders brass plate to the Navy Historical Society.  Per Susan Melow [of Naval Sealift Command], the Minute Man Statue is being shipped to her in Norfolk, VA and the piece of the original North Bridge is being shipped to Ms. Ruth Lauer [of the Town of Concord].

I will be detaching the ship tomorrow and in closing, I'd like to offer my sincerest appreciation for the support and hospitality shown by countless individuals from the town of Concord to the Officers and Crew of USNS CONCORD during her 40+ years of service.  Thank you.

All the best,
CDR Mark P. Dibble

Concord Shakespeare Festival

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153642.thb.jpgCelebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Publication of the Sonnets.

Concord Shakespeare Festival
July 31 - August 2, 2009
Concord Free Public Library & Masonic Temple
Concord, Massachusetts

Through music, performances, presentations, and discussion, we will be making much ado about the blessed Bard, his "Genius", and its significance for our day and age, during the 400th anniversary celebration.

The festival is being organized by local Shakespearian friends. There is no set fee for the program. Rather, contributions -- as your fortunes allow -- permit the organizers to cover their costs and look ahead to their next annual Concord Shakespeare Festival.

Bring your own tribute for their "Host" to their Saturday evening open stage and festive eve devoted to music, merriment, verse, and good spirits!

There is no set fee for the program. Rather, contributions, as your fortunes allow, will allow us to cover our costs and look ahead to the Third Annual Concord Shakespeare Festival.

For details visit: www.concordshakespeare.org -- download the program here: http://www.concordshakespeare.org/program.doc.

39201379.thb.jpgOur area has developed some recent notoriety: in June, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma released a report on the 100 most-wasteful Federal stimulus projects in the country. Expansion at Hanscom Civilian Airport is listed as the THIRD MOST WASTEFUL in New England. (link to that report here: http://coburn.senate.gov/public/_files/100StimulusProjects_ASecondOpinion.pdf )


The historic communities of Concord, Lexington, Lincoln and Bedford, MA, State and Congressional officials, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Save Our Heritage Advisory Board (which includes David McCullough, Ken Burns, Douglas Brinkley, and Don Henley) have long called for no expansion of infrastructure at Hanscom Airport in the effort to keep this luxury private and corporate facility from further degrading the National Landmarks it abuts and overflies.

14538159.thb.jpgHere are some of the highlights -- or rather, low points of the Federal Aviation Authority's (FAA's) plan for Hanscom:

• The FAA is directing $3 million in Federal Stimulus Funds for improvements in support of private luxury aircraft at Hanscom Civilian Airport, MA.

• These stimulus funds will help promote the largest corporate jet expansion at Hanscom in recent decades.

• In so doing, they will negatively impact --
• Thoreau's Walden Pond and Walden Woods, cradle of the American Environmental Movement  - Home of the American Literary Renaissance (Homes of Alcott, Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne)

• Minute Man Park, Walden, and surrounding area, named to the list of  America's 11th Most Endangered Historic Places in 2003 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, due to the negative impact of the increasing air and vehicular traffic generated by adjacent Hanscom Field civilian airport has had on this nationally and internationally beloved icons.

graveyes.jpeg• The FAA has directed the $3 Million in Federal Stimulus Funds to Massport's Hanscom Civilian Airport over repeated objections from Governor Patrick, and our State and Congressional elected officials, and all four of the abutting towns (Bedford, Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln)

• Massport has applied for an additional $7 M in stimulus funds

• The stimulus-funded projects will trigger and facilitate the doubling of hangar space for corporate jets, expanding the capacity of the short runway for landing larger planes over the historic area.

In other words, with taxpayers' stimulus funds, our national historic resources will be degraded by the FAA and MassPort as they partner in the following four ways:

1. EAST RAMP: Build-out of East Ramp of Hanscom Airport with 8 new hangars for corporate jets, resulting in 400,000 square feet of new hangar space (equivalent to a building housing about 8 football fields).
2. HANGAR 24 SITE: Demolish historic Hangar 24 (see this article on its amazing history: http://www.concordma.com/magazine/autumn07/hangar24.html) and replace it with a large new service facility (FBO) for corporate jets and above ground fuel tank (also opposed by repeatedly by our State and Congressional legislators, and all four abutting towns)
3. TAXIWAYS: Use $10 million of "shovel-ready" federal stimulus funds, (distributed through the FAA) for taxiway upgrades and infrastructure improvements for corporate jets.

37838340.thb.jpg4. BEDFORD's TREES: Clear 410 trees on 6.1 acres of the Bedford's Jordan Conservation Land (which is flight path of Runway 23) to facilitate increased aviation traffic and larger planes on the short runway.
Our historic communities are engaged in actions to reduce carbon emissions causing climate change. Congressman Ed Markey (sponsor of the House Energy Bill) represents the Historic Lexington district and has signed a letter requesting that NO stimulus funding be directed to Hanscom Airport.

For Massport and the FAA to embark on a huge expansion of this airport for corporate jets, the largest single point source emitter of carbon dioxide, and the most polluting form of travel, is unacceptable and must be stopped.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have both been personally briefed on this issue.  Signing and returning this petition from anywhere in the country would help strengthen the message that stimulus money is meant to build up our nation, not tear it down.

Tanks A Lot!

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fronttank7.2.09.jpgOh, those crazy kids -- what have they done now?  Well, they've single-handedly brought back the 2-silo farm in Concord, haven't they? This used to be a common arrangement: a barn with two silos.  The last one was at Triangle Farm on Spencer Brook Road, but at least one (if not both) of the silos were torn down in the past couple of years. Happily, the magnificent barn remains... but I digress...

It began with a friend from the Concord Discussion List noticing an ad on Craig's List for the sale of two used 850 gallon water tanks. "Honey," I said. "We really don't need two 850 gallon used water tanks, do we?" "Of course we do!" my husband said. "Let's buy them immediately!" 

Having increased our garden four-fold over last year, but neglecting to increase our rainwater holding capacity, I capitulated.  But 1700 gallons of water? 6' wide by 10' tall? Mon Dieu!

Well, we bought them all right.  The seller delivered them on a Saturday, depositing them on our front lawn.  The astonished rubbernecking by passersby got so bad, we had to move them to the side yard lest our neighbors incur auto accidents as they innocently drove by, not expecting such objects to be in our front yard.

They were FILTHY. They had been used to hold well water in a car wash, and they both had algae and hard water scale inside, plus on the outside the accumulated exhaust deposits from 10 zillion cars as they were washed. It took Rich four hours to pressure wash them inside and out.   

backtank7.2.09.jpgIt turned out these babies weren't 6'x10' -- they weren't even 850 gallons each.  They were 4'x10.5', and just about 1000 gallons each!  All good news, except that the clearance under our eaves was just a hair over 10', which required the tanks to be recessed over a half-foot below grade to place them at the most convenient spots to gather rainwater.

This Wednesday -- and with no little effort, aided by some kind neighbors -- we lifted the last second onto its feet, the first one having been placed the day before. Thus the 2-silo farm was established!  Rich attached them to our gutters, and the filling began.  By twilight on Thursday, we had collected over 1000 gallons from the roof of our 20'x50' house (the rain gauge below right shows approximately the precipitation during this roughly 24-hour period).  This was in addition to the 550 gallons we had on hand already in the two 275-gallon rain barrels we took on last year -- also repurposed tanks.

raingauge7.2.09.jpgWe now have a total of 2550 gallons in rain water holding capacity, which sounds like a huge amount, and it sounds like that should be more than we will ever need in an entire season. But let's pause a moment and think how much space it would take to capture and store one year's worth of rain as it falls upon our 1000-square-foot roof.  I happened to stumble upon this page discussing how to calculate rainwater storage space, and son of a gun: though it's from California, it happens to use our EXACT conditions in its example.  Forty-two inches of annual rainfall (the Boston area average) on a 1000 square foot roof! Assuming an 80% efficiency rate, our little abode collects 21,000 gallons of rain water per year! Which is closing in on 10-fold more than our current storage capacity -- we would have to empty and refill all four of our tanks ten times a  year in order to capture all that we can. 

While I don't think we should consider our current system to be a shortfall, it does give one pause to think just how much precipitation falls upon such a relatively tiny roof in Concord and could be harnessed for landscape and garden watering.  And why should we care, anyway?

While fresh water could one of our most renewable resources, it is becoming increasingly scarce.  Efficiency and management of water resources and is going to be one of the most important issues in the decades to come.  Here is an article from MSNBC about this issue that's nearly two years old, yet still on-target today: Crisis feared as US water supplies dry up -- Government projects at least 36 states will face shortages within 5 years (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21494919/). Establishing a rainwater collection infrastructure for our outdoor needs is an integral part of our experiment in sustainability.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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