SHARE MY WORLD ASSUMING WORD PRESS DOESN’T CRUMBLE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – 8-20-19

QUESTIONS:   

What would be your solution to the overpopulation of the earth?  Earth has finite resources and humanity seems to be breeding themselves to extinction.   Some countries have tried restricting the number of children a couple or a person can have, with little success.  So what other viable options are there for reducing the number of people? 

Let me start out by pointing out that I don’t have answers. I mostly have fears.

Although overpopulation is a major part of our problems of surviving on Earth — especially in places like China and India where over-population has been an issue for centuries — the even bigger problem is over-building and mindless destruction of our natural environment. Water and earth pollution, as well as the poisons we use to “protect” our vegetables and other plants.

The fundamental combination of ingredients we use to increase nutrients in the soil — nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — although they are essential to healthy plant growth, fertilizer needs to be used in moderation based on the rain for the region. More rain means the soil gets “washed.” In arid regions, such”fertilizers” are poison.

Weed poisons — Monsanto seems to make a lot of them — not only poison our water, but also kill the birds. A few years ago, we had robins nesting on our porch and all over the woods until one neighbor decided to use Monsanto weed poison.

The robins fell over dead in their nests. Baby robins were never born.

Dry lake at Manchaug

It was horrible and really depressing. Although a few robins have returned, they are relatively rare now instead of (as they used to be) the most common summertime bird.

Dried out Mumford River in Uxbridge

Nitrogen, a major part of fertilizer, is only viable in areas that get plenty of rain. Without the rain, the nitrogen builds up in the soil, sinks down and poisons the aquifer. It happened in Israel while I lived there. I worked at the part of the university which monitored the condition of the country’s air and water. Israel is a dry country with a climate much like Arizona. Our people went from one Kibbutz to the next Kibbutz warning all of them that continuing to use nitrogen-based fertilizer would poison the aquifer by 1985.

We were wrong.

It poisoned the aquifer in 1982. Now, there is no aquifer in the country. All the water comes in tankers from Turkey or from the Sea of Galilee (called “The Galil – pronounced “Ga-leel”). In an arid climate, rainy and dry years are normal events. One always prayers for normal rain, but droughts are part of the climate pattern and can last for years.

This is why part of the annual prayer cycle includes the autumnal prayers for rain. On a good year, there will be rain clouds by late October or early November. On a bad year, you may see very little rain at all and not until December. Considering that spring starts in January, that doesn’t leave much time for rain.

Empty dam at Manchaug

A few years ago, The Galil was more than 13 meters lower than normal and I don’t know how it’s doing now. I understand they have added desalinization plants that are helping, but the population of the country has more than doubled (tripled?) since I left in 1987.

FYI, a meter is one yard plus 3 inches, so 13 meters is just under 120 feet below normal. Boats that sank during the time of Jesus were showing up because the water was so low.

We don’t merely overpopulate the world. We misuse it. The combination is lethal, at least for mammals, of which we are one. Between our enthusiasm for killing anything we think looks good stuffed and hanging on a wall and the natural destruction that farming and housing cause … the rate of destruction of large mammals is insane and with our current idiotic president, getting worse day-by-day.

There really isn’t a lot of time left to fix the climate to make this world livable for the next generations. We aren’t waiting for climate change. It has arrived. And when you live in cities like New York and Boston which actually lie below sea level, a rise in sea levels won’t take long to swamp our shorelines. East and west coast cities are in imminent danger and the flooding in the midwest is catastrophic.

Whatever we SHOULD be doing to fix our climate? We aren’t doing it.

What’s invisible but you wish people could see?

Roaring Dam: Photo: Garry Armstrong – Behind the dam is a mountain of poisonous soil from the factories and mills that used the Blackstone to dump their pollution over the years. They can’t take down the dams because it would release the poisoned soil.

The poisons in the soil, air, and water.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

I think life is ridiculous, our government is idiotic, and an awful lot of our population is incredibly stupid. There’s no way I could pick out one part of that as the MOST ridiculous.

What are the unwritten rules of where you work? If you don’t work (retired or unemployed) what are the unwritten rules you live your life by?

Dogs eat first.

How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?

Pineapple is delicious on ham and I love fresh pineapple. It doesn’t belong on pizza. But other countries put even worse stuff on pizza like peas and corn. El yucko.

Toilet paper, over or under?

Over. Even the patent for the toilet paper roll shows it over, not under. The only reason for putting it underneath is that you have kittens who think unrolling the entire roll is tons of fun.

What’s the best type of cheese?

Remains of the feast

Cheese!

I’m torn between blue/Roquefort, strong cheddar, hard parmesan, and romano. But really, I just like cheese! Almost all cheese except whatever that yellow mushy stuff they call “American” cheese is. Whatever you call it, it ain’t cheese.

WHAT IS THAT SOUND IN THE BASEMENT?

We were watching “Father Brown” on Netflix and in the back of my head, I was hearing a grinding sort of sound. I could not identify it, but it was coming from the basement. I could barely hear it … but it was there. It isn’t the sound our boiler makes and it didn’t sound like the dehumidifier.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Odd sounds in the house always get me investigating. I can’t ignore them. 

So I went downstairs to look around. Aside from realizing that we really are overrun by mice, the sound had stopped. I shrugged and went upstairs, pondering how the mice — which we used to have under control — went so crazy. I think it’s because no one lives downstairs now, so they’ve the run of the place. They are living here, but as far as food goes, they are “ordering out.”

Woods in winter – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Snow starting in early winter

Our Pest Control guy assured us they aren’t eating our food because you can follow the trail of acorns from the trees. Our oak trees could feed a world of squirrels. It turns out, they are already feeding a world of mice.

Living in the woods is wonderful and romantic. It’s also messy and invites many uninvited guests to drop by and stay awhile.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Today, we took Gibbs to the vet. It was his annual visit. He needed to be tested for heart worm, though I know he doesn’t have it. As we were driving home, I noticed all the little streams looked more like real rivers. Everything has overrun its banks.

The Mumford and Blackstone Rivers are full and the dams wide open. Even the usually shallow Whitins Pond is deep and wider than usual.

Manchaug Dam

That was when I realized what that sound was, the one I heard last night. It was a sound I had nearly forgotten because it has been years since I heard it.

It was the sump pump, pushing the water out of the sump under the house.

Flooding!

If we didn’t have a sump, a pump, and French drains, we would be up to our kneecaps in water downstairs. For the first time in more than a dozen years, we are facing the likelihood of flooding in the valley.

We are pretty well prepared for it because when we first moved here, we had some serious flooding issues. Before we even fixed the roof or put up siding, we were adding French drains across the entire front of the house, down the driveway and through the backyard into the woods. The sump and pump came about two years later and we haven’t had any flooding since.

Of course, if the water gets bad enough, nothing will stop it, but we don’t live on the edge of a river — though many people around here live very close to the river. We have a lot of rivers and tributaries and streams and ponds.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We are a major water source for all of Massachusetts as well as parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is the reason I get so worried when we go through long periods of drought or semi-drought. It isn’t just “our” well. We are all linked to the same underground waterways and rivers. The water belongs to everyone.

THE FUTILITY OF WORRYING ABOUT WATER

72-Trees-Canal-082216_61

The entire state of Massachusetts currently holds a status of extreme or severe drought. We’ve had less than 5 inches of rain here in central Massachusetts. Areas around Boston and northward into New Hampshire have had an inch less … around 3.75 inches. That’s very little water. Dangerously little water.

72-Dam-Mumford-MA-082516_012

If you’d like to see an interactive “drought map,” here is a LINK. Other states in New England are also dry, but as far as I can tell, Massachusetts is overall, the most dry, although there are areas of New Hampshire, Maine, and New York which are also very hard hit.

For inexplicable reasons, the river has more water in it than it did last year at this time. Maybe whoever controls the water locally decided to give our fish, fowl, and other wildlife a chance to survive. Last year, they had nowhere to nest, and pretty much no food in the dry ponds and rivers.

72-Reflection-Canal-082216_08

I love the river and I miss the birds. I haven’t seen a goose, a heron, a swan, or even a duck this entire summer. Not in the spring either. I suppose they have all — sensibly — flown away to places where they stand a better chance of survival.

72-Water-flowing-Mumford-MA-082516_045

Ironic, isn’t it? Half the country is drowning in floodwaters. The rest? We’re drying up. Burning up. As I see the first tropical storm of the year heading for Florida, I can’t help but hope it stays a mere storm and brings its precipitation up our way. We really, really need some water.

72-Mumford-GA-082516_048

There is, I might add, nothing more futile and frustrating than worrying about the lack of rain. You can’t do anything about it. Nothing. We have zero control over weather. Fretting about that over which we have no control is mind-destroying.

72-Reflection-Mumford-MA-082516_066

Nonetheless, I worry about the well. And the aquifer. I have nightmares about drought. Because if our well goes dry, we have no other water source. Neither do our neighbors.


AND THIS JUST IN (Literally, it just showed up in my email):


This is a message from the Uxbridge DPW. Due to the current drought conditions and health of our water supply, the Board of Selectmen voted to increase the water restrictions effective August 23, 2016 to a full ban on nonessential outdoor water usage. The ban on nonessential outdoor water usage are in addition to and supersede the prior restrictions that were recently enacted and will remain in effect until further notice. Examples of non-essential outdoor water uses include the following:

• Uses that are not required for health and safety reasons.
• Irrigation of lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems.
• Washing of vehicles other than by means of a commercial car wash, except as may be necessary for operator safety.
• Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks.
• The use of handheld hoses for watering vegetable or flower gardens, shrubbery and trees.
• Filling swimming pools.
Any person or entity who violates these restrictions will be fined according to General Bylaw Chapter 336 Water Conservation, Section 9. If using well water for irrigation, there must be signage indicating “well water in use” clearly visible from the street.

IT’S RAINING, NO WAIT, IT’S … NOT

72-Rain-080616_08

First came the roar of thunder.

“Oh, wow,” I said. “Maybe we’re going to get some rain, finally!”

“It certainly is dark enough,” Garry said.

72-Rain-080616_05

The dogs decided they needed to be on the love seat with us because they are very brave about many things, but thunder worries them. Those titans bowling in the clouds means you never know if a giant bowling ball will fall from above.

72-Rain-080616_04

Then, the sky opened up. For maybe 10 minutes, it poured. Exactly as the weather people on TV were announcing “heavy thunder squalls are passing over southeast Worcester county,” the sun came out.

72-Rain-080616_07

Not exactly, the extended drenching rain we hoped for, but it’s got to be raining somewhere. Maybe, through the magic of a connected aquifer — and our very deep well — water from wherever it is raining will seep through an intricate network of channels in the rocks to keep our well full enough to continue serving water

OCTOBER’S MONTHLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CHANGING SEASONS 10

Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons -10

Bob and I went to the dam today.

72-New-Mumford-Dam-100615_009

I wanted to show him where the beauty spots are, though eventually I’m sure he will discover his own favorites. For now, I’m enjoying playing tour guide.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

I also knew this challenge was coming up, so I took pictures with a mind to showing the changing seasons in our small town and nearby.

It’s autumn. It ought to be full-bore glorious trees of scarlet and gold. More like a rich pastel. The colors are stronger along the river, as they always are, but elsewhere, they are not the vivid display we expect in New England.

72-Deck-October-5-Fuchsia_18

Most people think the lack of color is the result of our continuing drought. It has gone on for at least five years. Even though we get a lot of snow in the winter, it’s barely enough to keep the rivers from completely drying up. Barely enough to keep the aquifer alive so we will have water in our wells and thus in our homes.

72-New-Mumford-Dam-100615_012

Drought is a frightening thing. Scary for people, lethal for the wildlife. I haven’t seen a duck, swan, or goose since early spring. Today, there was a turtle sunning himself on a rock in the river. Usually, a turtle would be a common sight, but even the turtles have been rare this spring and summer.

72-BW-Main-Street-Uxbridge-100615_010

The rivers have been so low, it’s hard to imagine there are enough fish to support a single family of herons.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615-Two_020

The drought is not merely local. It’s national. International. The climate is changing. Our world is changing and we seem to be unable to do anything to help it or ourselves.

Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his gallery. Absolutely take a look. Amazing photography.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 24: WHERE’S AUTUMN?

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 24
7 octoBER 2015: where’s autumn?

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. September is gone and we’re an entire week into October. It ought to be glorious by now. Gold, red, glowing.

Not exactly. It’s pretty. Colorful, in a half-hearted way. Pastel compared to the last few years.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615_Two-018

The money shot for the week is the snapping turtle we met at the dam on the Mumford. He was sunning himself — a fine day on which to do it. The sun was brilliant. It was hard to see exactly what picture I was taking with so much reflection and refraction. Clouds make picture-taking easier.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615-Two_045

72-Turtle-Muimford-Dam-100615_027

The leaves are changing, just not as much as one would expect. Autumn is — so far — somewhat missing-in-action. However, if nights get chillier, there’s a chance we’ll get that cold snap which brings the color up.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615-Two_066

The river is very low. At least there was some water in it today. The last time Garry and I were at the dam, the bottom was up on much of the Mumford and most of the dam was dry. Today, there was water flowing.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615_Two-005

The river is very shallow, no more than an inch or two deep and I didn’t see any fish. No herons or ducks. Too shallow for birds to swim. With no fish, nothing for long-legged waders to eat.

72-Mumford-Dam-100615-Two_026

I hope we haven’t seen the last of the rain. There’s a terrible irony in the dreadful flooding down south while we are drying up, just a few hundred miles north.

And then, there’s California.


Should you decide to accept this “challenge,” you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture. Make something up using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world. Play if you like, but if not, hope you have a great day! And maybe, a little rain.

EARLY AUTUMN BY THE RIVER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

The first thing we noticed today was the lack of color. Mostly, the trees are still green. By this time last year, color was bursting on the maple trees.

72-Aldrich Creek-GAR_074

Usually, the trees along waterways change color first. Not only first, but also brightest. So we went down to the creek in Harrisville, right across the Rhode Island border. There was a bit more color there than elsewhere, but not a lot.

The next thing we noticed was river bottom. Ground where we had never seen it before. The level of the creek is low. You could not put a boat in the water from the ramp. If you somehow managed to get something into the creek, there isn’t enough water to keep you off the mud.

The drought we are not officially having is worrisome. The entire region is “abnormally dry,” but our little corner of the region is drier still.

72-Aldrich Creek-GAR_004

We had no rain at all during August. Almost none in July. Just a day or two in June. Two rain days in late May. That’s very little precipitation for an area that’s a regional watershed.

72-Aldrich Creek-GAR_010

We haven’t seen ducks, geese, or swans, nor even a heron. Not since early May.

Maybe the Red Sox will close their season with a 7-game winning streak to finish at .500.  And maybe it will rain next week.