June 2011 Archives

"Twister Sister Project": Concord and Wilbraham, MA

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By Mari Weinberg, West Concord

On June 1st , 2011 Wilbraham, MA. was hit by two tornadoes. At this time, the biggest thing is the needed help for the clean up effort ie: fresh volunteers to help the folks in Wilbraham. It means a lot to them!  Not to mention that someone out there cares!   The Twister Sister Towns project between Concord and Wilbraham is gaining momentum thanks to the many efforts of Concordians.

Water bottles, clothing, and toiletry donations were super the first 2 weeks, but now the residents are facing major expenses. They are working on rebuilding what's left of their homes.  For example: most insurance companies are only giving each homeowner $500  per home for all tree work.  One resident's yard just got grazed by this tornado; and is looking at a $6,000 quote just to remove broken trees, branches, and some trees still standing that are terribly damaged and dangerous. The destruction of so many trees has become one of the biggest expenses in the tornado relief program.

As we all understand; dealing with the damage is going to take several stages, and right
now we're focusing on the following: JOIN in: HELP OUT on Saturday, JULY 2.

We are still looking for some high school student to come along & video it for the CCHS community...to be broadcast over CCTV (double community credits promised by the principal)... and adults who have chain saws & want to come along & help! We've got a sampling of the whole community coming...Families from the school community... the religious community... adult Concordians... students...

Richie Bus Lines has donated a bus to take Concordians to and from Wilbraham on Saturday. Contact info: Peter Badalamant (principal of CCHS) ASAP: Pbadalament@colonial.net

All financial donations -- every dollar -- is welcome! Checks can be made out to Wilbraham Tornado Victim Relief Fund and sent to Monson Savings Bank, 146 Main Street, Monson, MA 01057.

Shitake Mushroom Log Update

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About three years ago, we inoculated over a dozen oak logs with shitake mushroom spawn.  Since then, we've had indifferent (though always beautiful and delicious) output. 

I knew we weren't managing the hydration of these logs correctly, but honestly: 4-foot long oak logs, some over 1' in diameter, are just too unwieldy to manage often or well.  Some are upwards of 120 lbs, even poorly hydrated! And 4-foot is also unwieldy in that we didn't have any vessel that could soak a 4-foot log fully.

Our mushroom pal, Andy, took a few of these logs home and soaked them for four days.  They fruited like mad!  Which just confirmed that hydration was the problem. 

We used a 3' high barrel full of water, soaked one log for 2 days, flipped it over to get the dry end soaked, and after a day pulled it out and stood it upright on one end in a shady place.  Lo and behold: this morning it looked in part like this (more mushrooms were on the other side of the log).


Preview for Expedition Impossible Online Now

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This video just became available this afternoon. This show includes Concordian Rob Robillard.  Premiere will take place Thursday, June 23, 9 pm eastern on ABC.

32 Pounds of Worms!

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eisenia_photo.jpgI had been looking on and off for a year or so for a local source for red wiggler worms (Eisenia foetida). You know: the type of worm that is used in vermiculture and worm composting.  Unlike the common earthworm we have here, these are perfect for concentrated nutrient environments. Along the way, I found others in Concord who were looking for the same -- with an equal lack of results.

Google didn't help -- the closest source was 200 miles away; hardly local. Eventually, I did end up searching in a variety of online marketplaces and found Ray from Arlington, an environmental chemist who had been studying and growing these worms for some time now. Ray has a passion and knowledge that we were really fortunate to tap into.

By "we," I mean the 20 local households who joined this group buy, totaling 32 pounds of mature worms, newly hatched worms, eggs, castings, and beneficial bacteria personally delivered to us in 64 half-pound packages. Ray was kind enough to stay for over an hour of questions, offering enough information that we felt comfortable to get going and trouble-shooting simple problems.

240px-Redwiggler1.jpgJust some amazing things we learned:

  • Cardboard takes about a year to compost, but the worms would eat it in about 10 days
  • Worm-casting compost tea is a natural pesticide, actually building the immune system of the plant so it can repel insects naturally
  • Worm bins and castings -- run well -- should have no smell
  • These worms can be very briefly frozen and defrosted -- his experiments have extended only to 48 hours frozen
Who knew there was such a need for composting worms in Concord? Who knew we would find such a marvelous source? We will likely do another group buy sometime in the near future.  I will post that  -- as well as Ray's in-process website when it is mounted in the new few weeks.

CCHS Building Project, June 15

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The next information session about the CCHS building project will take place at the High School, 7:00 p.m., June 15, 2011.  See www.cchsbuilding.org and www.committee4cchs.org for more info about this project.


July 7-10, The Thoreau Society's 70th Annual Gathering

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Henry David Thoreau's Environmental Ethos: Then and Now

thoreau.jpegCommunity-wide celebration of world-renowned author Henry David Thoreau. Presentations, guided tours, period music, nature walks, and workshops related to Concord, Thoreau, and the environment. Emerson Society Panel; concert by Dillon Bustin and Jacqueline Schwab, of PBS; Laura Dassow Walls on Thoreau's biography; Thoreau Institute dinner; Thoreau Birth House tour; panel discussion at Orchard House; Concord Art Association exhibit. Events at multiple sites.

Advance registration suggested at www.thoreausociety.org or 978-369-5310.

Maybe Palin WAS Right About Revere?

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Historical research and re-enactment at its finest!  See the startling evidence beginning around 4:00.

Buttrick Garden Social, Sunday, June 12

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211133_128337433911950_7549032_n.jpgFirst Annual Buttrick Mansion Garden Social
Sunday, June 12 · 11:00am - 3:30pm
North Bridge Visitor Center Buttrick Garden
174 Liberty Street

Enjoy the view of the Concord River from the Overlook in the beautiful Buttrick Gardens. Meet the experts who guided the rehabilitation and maintenance of the gardens. View historic plans, iris and peonies in full bloom, and light refreshments. The U.S.A.F Band of Liberty, Clarinet Quartet will be performing from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Hosted by the Minute Man National Historical Park and the Friends of Minute Man National Park.

The Next Step for West Concord is Tonight

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71731834.thb.jpgRemember we said last month that West Concord's preservation is not yet in hand? And that the next step would be to advocate for and steward the proper setting up of a West Concord Advisory Committee? 

Well, here we are at the early stages of that next step, when the West Concord Task Force presents to the Board of Selectmen tonight, June 6 (see the BOS's agenda here). The presentation will include a progress report of WCTF accomplishments over the last 2+ years, as well as a recommendation that the Board of Selectmen appoint a West Concord Advisory Committee. 

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m at the Town House.

Concord's 2010 US Census Data

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Wow! Look at the US census data as given to us by Zipskinny.com!

More Sarah Palin & Concord

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CNN Columnist recommends Sarah Palin visit Walden Pond among 3 other locations in MA on her visit: My Take: More places Palin should visit on bus tour

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

Just What Kind of "Tea" Do They Serve at Their "Party"?

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