Archive for the ‘Revolutionary War’ Category
SALEM COUNTY’S BUCOLIC HISTORY - ALLOWAY CREEK cfe
NJ WILD readers know my favorite places to travel are the wild ones of New Jersey, –especially central and southern–, particularly near water, salt and fresh.
Often in quest of birds, rare yet plentiful.
You also know that the places I choose are havens on many levels.
However, I may not have emphasized enough that one can visit NJ WILD sites, even on major ‘Holidays’, without crowds.
Hancock House Historic Outbuilding - Revolutionary Site — cfe
If you pull up NJ WILD, it has a search feature. Write in ‘Brigantine’ or ‘Pine Barrens’; ‘Sourlands’ or Sandy Hook; Bull’s Island, the Delaware River, Island Beach, etc. You’ll be given a string of posts on their wild beauty, and directions are often part of the saga. For deepest solitude, plan birders’ hours — first light and last light.
In general, Take The Pretty Way, the back roads.
Salem Preserves — cfe
Tomorrow, a friend and I will launch her new Prius into Salem and Cumberland Counties. We’ll be treated to golden stretches of marshland; to shimmering rivers with splendid Indian names, such as the Manumuskin. We’ll ride on and laugh at the sound of Buckshutem Road. We’ll wonder, as you always must down there, where on earth will we eat? Of course, there’ll be the freshest of Jersey Fresh produce on weathered stands in front of farmhouses of other centuries. Of course, we’ll slide coins into Trust Boxes, as we settle agricultural jewels into our sustainability bags to take home.
We’ll see rare birds, especially eagles. Salem County held our only productive eagle nest during the grim DDT years, which my county (Somerset) is about to reinstitute, as it ‘adulticizes’ mosquitoes in the week ahead. Now, I am not kidding, in Salem and Cumberland Counties, we could see more eagles than we can count.
American Bald Eagle Floating - Brenda Jones
Osprey Claiming Nest, Brenda Jones
Cabbage Whites Nectaring — Brenda Jones
Especially ditto purple martins, but they had all left the Brigantine the last time I was there, weeks ahead of schedule. Theory is that our drought hinders the insect population to such a degree that martin migration is over. I’ll know tomorrow. If not, there could be hundreds of thousands of them, bending the marsh grasses, then darkening skies, along the Maurice River.
Alloway Creek, site of British Massacre of Colonial Soldiers, Salem County — cfe
Look up these sites, and find them for yourselves. There won’t be anyone else on most of the roads to the unknown, actually usually forgotten, Delaware Bay.
Salem County, Tranquillity Base cfe
Lake Oswego Peace — South of Chatsworth, Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Desperately seeking the wild, I’ve returned to my Edward Abbey collection, making my way through his work and others writing about this literary rebel, this self-proclaimed ‘desert rat’. It is essential right now that I live for awhile with ‘Cactus Ed’.
I need his crusty refusals of ‘growth and development’. I require his ecstasy in the face of cactus and rattlesnake. My healing leg ‘walks’ with Ed in these books — in his red rocks and among his cherished junipers, occasionally coming upon desert primrose, respecting the ever-present spider and viper.
But enough of this prickly Paradise. I have my own. And it’s in our state - in the spirit of Abbey, I defy myself to define Paradise, because mine is in New Jersey:
Lake Oswego Summer, South of Chatsworth, Pine Barrens (cfe)
shared with one attuned person or blessedly alone, sometimes with camera
there is sand, and/or marshland
Afloat, Lake Oswego — (cfe)
long silken grasses are kissed and rearranged by very varied tides
birds are ever present or possible: on the ground, in trees, ruffling the leaves, troubling the shrubs. Birds are overhead. They pierce tidal flats. Wings flat out, they harry and raptor. Some murmur, some croak. Everywhere I walk, there are whistlings, whisperings and rustlings. I am ever on the lookout for rails and bitterns, whether I ever find one or not. A bird is downing two snakes in the time it takes to type this (as did a great egret at ‘The Brigantine’ some years ago). A minuscule pied-billed grebe gulps a January frog, as happened a few weeks back.
Thistle Shimmer, Lake Batsto (cfe)
back roads get me to Paradise — hushed roads, where I am often the only car. Road edges are dusted with sugar sand. Forest understory (which must contain evergreen and the luminous black jack oak), switches from laurel to blueberry to fern to pine seedlings and oakthrusts, and back again.
New Jersey Paradise is especially defined by its people - who live by the seasons and the tides. The Abbey in me asserts, “not by the clock; and, by God, not by the Dow Jones Stock Index!”
the roads that lead to Carolyn’s Paradise must hold a beauty of their own, for at least 2/3 of the way. Pine Barrens and Salem and Cumberland County provide such aesthetic conduits, away from commerce, to wildest nature
Idyllic Batsto Lake, Pine Barrens (cfe)
roadways and destinations involve freshwater, saltwater, varying salinities, peatwater, whitewater, the stillness of the bays darkling streams wind alluringly back under the dark pines, tugging at the kayaker in me
the regions I am exploring involve bogs and fens, spongs, groves and copses
rare plants lurk right around the next bend — curly grass fern, swamp pink, carnivorous flowers who must lure insects for protein due to the strange ph of soils in Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise — sundew, pitcher plant — those ravenous ones… when least expecting it, I am to be knocked over by wild fragrance, such as sweet pepperbush, along the peatwaters of Lake Oswego south of Chatsworth rare lilies bloom in ditches as I drive goldenclub erupts behind a dam I would otherwise despise with Abbey - but it did create this ideal habitat for a plant I’d only known in the splendid nature books of Howard Boyd
Among the Rare Lilies, Brigantine Wildlife Refuge (cfe)
often in my wanderings to and through Paradise, I must come on mosses and lichens and occasional fungi. Although I long to devour each mushroom, this foraging remains virtual, ignorance being quite the barrier where these savories are concerned
Leeds Point - Hard-Shell and Soft-Shell Crabs cfe
quaint names are essential — alongside the back roads and out in front of farms, beside the waters:
“Troublesome Acres” “Heaven’s Way Farm” “Farrier” Dividing Creek “Bears, Bucks and Ducks” Shellpile Bivalve Caviar Ong’s Hat — some of these names go back generations and centuries, and only the locals may know how to find them, by a crumbling foundation or some domestic plant run wild in another kind of wilderness Applejack Hill’s name has been changed, for the tourists, to Apple Pie Hill — Abbey, are you listening? Applejack, of course, — talk about terroir!– was/is New Jersey Lightnin’ — each Piney tending his own still with attention, experience and a shotgun.
Sneak Boat Ready to Sneak - Leeds Point (cfe)
History must have happened in my Paradise — especially Native American and Revolutionary
Here a battle must have been fought and lost, such as the fiery Revolutionary fate of Chestnut Neck.
Here locals must have defied and overcome proud dazzlingly uniformed British, taking their ships and their stores inland from the coast, along the storied Mullica River - without which waters and watermen we would not have a nation today!
Clouds in the Water, Chatsworth Bogs (cfe)
Here salt hay must have been harvested by man and horse in the steamiest of seasons, and great whales tugged ashore and ‘tried’ for their various riches.
Here traitors must’ve conspired, smugglers rowed by night, bootleggers brought contraband ashore to sell and to imbibe.
Leed’s Point - Smugglers’ Haven - Living Fishing Port cfe
Here clammers still tug their rich provender onto deck and into seafood restaurants tethered to waterways, creaking boards hinting of sagas of old, as at Oyster Creek Inn at Leeds Point.
It helps that Leeds Point is the home of the Jersey Devil, whom I am still requesting to meet.
“Ready to Roll” cfe
Intriguing restaurants must be nearby. Farmers’ Markets must be open, and people must be selling the spring’s first asparagus, sliced from that meagre soil, at roadstands with a little box for the money for this treasure beyond price. Russo’s Market in Tabernacle must have its spicy applesauce apples outside in thick plastic bags, next to the honesty box, at the beginning of winter.
Only people who treasure timelessness and tranquillity need apply for such journeys.
A day in the Pines will require about 200 miles of driving, longer if we detour to Tuckerton, formerly Clamtown. Why Tuckerton? Because great and little blue and tri-colored herons may stud the grassy reaches, depending on the tide, as we tool along Seven Bridges Road. Because there’s a place along there, –out on a somewhat suspect roadway–, where one can stop for the freshest clams, unless one has wriggled them out personally, using one’s own toes. Because at the end of this road, (and HOW I LOVE Land’s Ends!), there used to be an island village, now sea-claimed. Here, in season, one can find the vivid oystercatchers in full breeding plumage, turning over the few rocks on the sandy approach to the bay.
Life of the Seasons and the Tides Leeds Point cfe
Because closer to town, one can happen to be there when evergreens are studded with black-crowned night herons, squawk-murmuring to one another as sun drops into autumnal waters.
Carolyn’s New Jersey Paradise has to include kayaking possibilities, for her physical therapist is promising ‘back in the craft’ by April. If so, there is above all the Wading River to paddle and many ‘liveries’ to make these delicate journeys possible. There is always the exquisite Barnegat Bay in Island Beach’s back reaches - those paddles used to be free, with naturalists leading us among the Sedge Islands. There a feast of shore birds includes black skimmers not only skimming, but doing their odd sand squiggle on their bellies, when it’s just too hot.
Black Skimmers in Flight, Brenda Jones
I deeply understand Cactus Ed’s passion for the sere landscape of Arches and Canyonlands. I relish, with him, the silence. I don’t have rock formations in my Paradise, nor the song of the canyon wren and the slither of sidewinder. His Paradise is red and pink and magenta and ochre and burnt sienna and irreplaceable.
Mine is mostly forest green, toasty oak, sometimes ruddy blueberry leaves, interspersed with limitless stretches of flooded cranberry bogs, throwing back the sunset. In the distance, there is salt tang. Close up, there is the sibilance of peatwater.
If Ed had known the Pine Barrens, –especially her crusty inhabitants–, I think he’d've approved. Maybe only if he found it before Arches and Canyonlands. He might’ve kayaked the Sedge Islands, and even boarded the restored oyster schooner down at Bivalve, and helped tug the sails into the sky while singing sea chanteys.
Revolutionary Massacre Site - Alloway Creek, Salem County — (cfe)
He’d probably hang out overnight, black flies and greenheads or no, on the sands of Reed’s Beach when it’s studded with courting, mating horseshoe crabs and whatever red knots and ruddy turnstones remain on our planet.
Bucolic Salem County, where Rebels Countered Redcoats and Prevailed cfe
Paradise — for Ed and for me — seems to require a dearth of humans. It need not be awash in critters, but there needs to be that ever-possibility. Even the new health of New Jersey oysters, “Cape May Salts.” Even the restoration of sturgeon to the Delaware River and elsewhere along this state of three coasts — once so enormous and plentiful that there is a mystery town still known as Caviar along the Delaware Bay.
An essential quality of Paradise, however, is that it cannot be explained.
So, inexplicably, I assert, New Jersey, especially South Jersey (and also Sandy Hook) holds varying versions of Paradise, all of them yours for the seeing. And none of them seasonally-dependent. Go for it!
Salem Preserved cfe
AND, ABOVE ALL, SEE THAT ALL VERSIONS OF NEW JERSEY PARADISE ARE PRESERVED!
Lest, like Thoreau, we find out we had not lived…
SEEKING CHRISTMAS IN NEW JERSEY
Little Caboose That Could, Bordentown, (from the Christmas of 2009)
With rain pelting down, highways clogged, people on either side of cash registers surly, I cannot help but ask, “But, where is Christmas?” One thing I have always known - Christmas is not at the malls. This time of year, we can change that spelling to ‘The Mauls’. I must go searching for Christmas, and right now, in NJ:
Baubles of Yesterday - Mystery Destination, NJ
I have searched for Christmas before: Married, with daughters, my Swiss husband and I would travel in quest of Christmas, seeking to evade the mercantile, to recapture sweet, even tender Christmases of his childhood and mine. Some of the most memorable:
Carolers in sleighs at Waterville Valley. Snow sifting down upon their down jackets. Swiss chocolates and quaint gilt-trimmed, native-Swiss-scened Christmas cards upon our pillows when we came in from Midnight Mass. Snow and sweetness everywhere.
Walking Aspen streets to the scent of woodsmoke, mountain stream singing that year’s carols outside our town condominium. Red and gold vintage popcorn wagon, spilling white kernels, while an ink-sky spilled the next day’s powder. In restaurants , firelight on copper, warmth in every welcome.
“Froeliche Weinachten!” – the (non-written) Swiss language wish for a blessed Christmas, mingling with “Au Guri” in Italian and Happy St. Stephen’s Day, (more important than New Year’s) in the Christmas-card town of Zermatt, [where Werner was right at home at last, but which he'd never visited until we found it in 1964.]
But this is New Jersey. Where do we go to find Christmas here? (Not to celebrate Christmas - that’s another story, to be told), but to feel it?
Where better than a town whose residents helped give us two Trenton and one Princeton victories for Christmas in 1776 and 1777, whose residents gave us and continued to nourish Independence?
My simple nearby answer - Bordentown. Where everything still breathes of long ago.
My Christmas recipe calls for a very large dose of history; an aura of peace; warmth of welcome; and sparkly diversions I find nowhere else. It is enhanced by vintage bookstores, and art galleries and purveyors of jewelry of other days. My Christmas always involves feasting, — easy, relaxed, memorable, casual or opulent, even reasonable, in Bordentown.
Bordentown’s Bon Appetit - The Storied Farnsworth House
In Bordentown, history peals forth like Christmas bells.
Bell of Bordentown
NJ Wild readers know, I crave above all Revolutionary history. Thomas Paine is the Revolutionary of choice in Bordentown. This is the only place anywhere in the world, in which the man whom the Founding Fathers credited with forging the Spirit of ‘76 ever owned property.
Thomas Paine Statue, High on a Bordentown Hill, where we lost a Revolutionary Battle
Rights of Man - Jefferson Credits This Book with The Spirit of ‘76
Patience Wright - Sculptress - Lived Here
America’s first sculptress, who took her 1700’s fame and sailed to London where she perpetuated her fame, increased her skill and success. Her son, Joseph, became a renowned painter. One Patience Wright sign suggests she may have been a spy… In which case, she, also, secured the rights of man.
Bordentown’s Restorations are Stunning, Even When Trees are Bare
Cleaved Bonaparte Tree and Architectural Dig, Point Breeze
Strolling Bordentown’s brick sidewalks (I convince myself each brick came from the brickworks at the nearby Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh, where I love to hike and bird, especially after new snowfall.) Charles Lucien Bonaparte, –when he lived on the Bluffs above the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh–, discovered and named new species in the Marsh. He would send news of such creatures as the mourning dove, named for his wife, Zenaide, and the Cooper’s hawk to scientific colleagues all over Europe. His species discoveries, and who knows what from that consummate politician, his Uncle Joseph, traveled under sail, from the confluence of the Delaware River and the Crosswicks Creek, at Bordentown.
View of the Confluence of our Delaware River and the Crosswicks Creek
From Bordentown’s River Line Train Station
Here lived a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Frances Hopkinson, who also created the Great Seal of New Jersey, and his son, Joseph, who wrote Hail Columbia.
Frances and Joseph Hopkinson House
Here Clara Barton founded her free school, the tiny building still crowning a triangle of land not far from Jester’s Cafe.
Clara Barton’s School
Jester’s Cafe, a Warm Welcome In All Seasons
Warm Welcome of Summer
Venerable Bricks: Quaker Meeting House
Quaker Meeting House, with early Bordentown mural on side wall hidden here in shadow
Old Bordentown Mural near Quaker Meeting House
Nearby is the Point Breeze land on top of the Bordentown Bluffs, where Napoleon ordered his brother Joseph, former King of Spain and of Naples, to live but not to rule, because so convenient to Philadelphia, New York and Europe, under sail.
View from the Bonaparte Estate, Point Breeze
Next to the Farnsworth House is the impressive John Bull memorial, first steam engine in America, which pulled the legendary Camden and Amboy Railroad across Farnsworth Avenue — the railroad that carried Abraham Lincoln to his Inauguration and his grave. See what I mean about gliding through time’s veil?
Please, Santa? Bordentown for Christmas….
River Line Trenton Sign (Trenton is one stop north — through the Marsh)
This Way to Camden and Walt Whitman’s House
Historic D&R Canal Towpath, Haven of Beauty, Source of Water
A national organization just sent a bulletin of good news for our environment, all too scarce in MY book!
In fact, among all the ‘Talking Heads” to whose palaver I was subjected this week, I heard the word ‘environment’ but once, in a tragically dismissive tone.
Our Congressman, Rush Holt, is a friend of the environment without peer. As a naturalist and conservationist, I am profoundly relieved that he won this, his only narrow victory in all these terms.
While thankful to learn the news they conveyed, I felt compelled to write back to the national organization, alerting them to our Congressman Rush Holt’s ENVIRONMENTAL VIGILANCE in our state, in the Capitol. I share some of my response with NJ WILD readers.
As I bolded line after line in Rush’s web-page on environmental matters, –even I, loyal constituent so long as I have known this man–, learned ways in which our Rush Holt tends to Nature.
It is particularly significant that this former rocket scientist continues to instruct Washington to base environmental decisions upon sound science, not upon politics, not in reaction to special interest groups who continually despoil our land.
What I treasure about Rush is that he’s out there noticing what’s wrong, facing problems, solving problems, not merely reacting/vouchsafing sound bites, as do so many politicians…
Lavalette, New Jersey: Calm After Storm
You’ve read my anguished posts and my Packet article on the peril of birds in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. (from his web-site) Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
He weaves the young into his work: Holt is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
(from his web-site) On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee
For this alone, I’d have voted for Rush: Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
And this: Rep Holt is committed to the preservation of America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives.
And this: Rep. Holt does all in his power to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas.
When I think of Rush, I experience him as listener – need I remind how rare that quality is in politicians in our time?
Our Congressman is also known for his strong historic perspective, terrifically important in this, our most populated state, where not even the events without which we would not be/have a nation, do not effectively protect sites where these events transpired.
Rush remembers and dynamically teaches the remarkable truth: Ours is the state in which the highest percentage of successful Revolutionary War battles took place, –two in nearby Trenton and the significant one here in Princeton on January 3, 1777.
How many realize that that sacred battlefield could be developed even now by of all entities, the Institute for Advanced Studies?
Rush also knows that lands held open for historic purposes also protects and enhances life chances for native species.
History & Beauty - Historic Batsto Preserve
Pine Barrens of New Jersey - Former Iron Forge Town
His commitment to clean water is vital, as our Canal serves the water needs of millions. Rush is well aware that New Jersey is the ONLY state with THREE coastlines - Atlantic, Delaware Bay and Delaware River. He is determined to maintain these treasures at the highest level, not only because of tourism dollars, but due to their essentiality to humans and native species on all levels.
Rush remembers, reminds others, and acts. All that, and he writes personal thank you’s, even for my minuscule contributions.
From Congressman Rush Holt’s website page on Environment: http://holt.house.gov/ Issues - Environment:
John F. Kennedy said in March 1961, ‘It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.’” –
Rush Holt Rep. Rush Holt has stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and is committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. He supports efforts to clean up our air, land, and water, and to preserve open space.
A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, he is a leader in promoting environmentally sound alternative energy sources that do not harm our environment. For his work, Rep. Holt has earned a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and its State Assistance program, which provides matching funds to states and communities to preserve open spaces. Early in his career, he was able to restore the state-side grant portion of the program, and he has since fought to retain and increase funding for it.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Holt led a bipartisan coalition that helped secure $125 million for the LWCF and $25 million for the state-side grant portion. He is leading the effort to secure LWCF in the current Congress as well. The LWCF State Assistance program has aided local recreation projects in over 98% of all U.S. counties, including the preservation of over 73,000 acres of land in New Jersey alone. This is land that otherwise may have been developed for private use or otherwise rendered unusable. Due to the crucial work done by the LWCF, Rep. Holt has fought for full LWCF funding every year.
In July, Rep. Holt voted for and the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). In addition to fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill would raise operations standards on offshore drilling, making it safer for workers, as well as for our environment.
Northern Gannet at Cape May -
One of most devastated birds during and after BP Oil Catastrophe in Gulf
In light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the CLEAR Act adopts a provision written by Rep. Holt to hold oil companies accountable for the damage they inflict, should an accident occur. The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.
Black Skimmer Glory by Brenda Jones
Bird deeply endangered by oil in water - as it skims waves to feed on resident fish
Rep. Holt supports states’ rights to lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. He has supported legislation to allow states such New Jersey to create stronger regulations regarding vehicle emissions.
Rep. Holt strongly supports efforts to protect the Clean Water Act. He has cosponsored legislation that would reestablish the original intent of Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act, ensuring that it applies to all water of the United States.
He also supports efforts to fully fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Holt also is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
On his web-site, you can read Rep. Holt’s work on clean energy, including his efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Rep. Holt supports the “polluter pays” principle that the financial burden to clean up toxic pollution at Superfund sites should not fall on the backs of taxpayers. Congress created the Superfund in 1980 to clean up the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. Congress placed the financial onus for cleanups on polluting corporations. [This system worked as it was intended until 1995 when the 105th Congress let the Superfund revenue authority expire.]
Superfund still had funding until the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. Yet, the Bush Administration failed to request renewal of the Superfund taxes in any subsequent budget, resulting in the Superfund running dry. This has stalled cleanup efforts in Superfund sites throughout the country, including in Marlboro, NJ, which had waited for the clean up of the Imperial Oil Company site for more than 25 years, until finally receiving approximately $25 million for cleanup from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Rep. Holt continues to work to reinstate the Superfund tax on corporate polluters.
Rep. Holt has led the effort in Congress to preserve historic lands, as he believes that preserving historic spaces is essential to educating the current generations and future generations and about our rich cultural heritage. This year, he reintroduced the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation that would help preserve open spaces by authorizing additional funding to protect historic sites dating from these two wars.
Pre-Revolutionary Blue Mill, Blue Mill Pond, Walnford Village NJ
Additionally, in 2007 Rep. Holt secured $150,000 in federal funding for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which he helped to create in 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution highlights the role of New Jersey during the American Revolution and brings protection to many historic landmarks, including battlefields, lighthouses, mills, wells and the other Revolutionary War area sites in New Jersey. Crossroads of the American Revolution is headed by D&R Greenway Trustee Cate Litvack, who has become a friend and member of my Willing Hands Committee at the Land Trust, regularly arriving early for events to greet our guests.
Representing a state that is highly dependent on the ocean for its economy, tourism, and recreation, Rep. Holt is committed to ensuring that our coasts and oceans are clean.
Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
Where History and Waters Meet
Calling to Migrant Birds…
Cape May Light and Ocean Beach in Winter
Cape May Bird Observatory Photo
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the School Building Enhancement Act, legislation that would help schools implement energy saving measures to reduce their energy costs. Energy bills are the second-highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs, with the annual spending by schools on energy at $8 billion in 2007. Holt’s bill would authorize $6.4 billion over five years for school construction, including funding to help schools become more energy-efficient.
On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee.
WILD (literally! & SCENIC DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Holt has worked to preserve America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives. The bill preserves New Jersey’s heritage as one of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution by creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park and the Edison National Historic Park.
Rep. Holt has led efforts to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas, including: In 2007, Rep. Holt led an effort, with 86 of his colleagues, to urge the Secretary of the Interior to oppose increased snowmobile use – which can damage the air and land - in Yellowstone National Park.
In December 2007, Rep. Holt spearheaded a successful effort, with 57 other Members of Congress, asking the Obama administration to overturn a last-minute decision by the Bush administration to auction off pristine public land in Utah’s Wilderness to oil and gas companies.
In 2007, Rep. Holt successfully offered an amendment to the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act that would ensure that national parks are protected from the hazardous byproducts of hardrock metal mining.
Rep. Holt opposes proposals to drill for oil within sensitive environments like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that we should harm irreparably the nation’s remaining wilderness in order to produce oil that will not meet the demand for energy.
Rep. Holt believes it is important for the federal government to designate and protect critical habitats that are vital to the continued survival of endangered and threatened species.
He strongly supports allowing scientists - not politicians - to identify what is needed to enhance and de-list endangered species. Holt is working to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and has participated in a number of hearings on this issue as a senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Fox on Ice, Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Rep Holt believes that the humane treatment of animals is a mark of civilized society.Because of his efforts on behalf of animal rights, Rep. Holt was awarded an A+ from the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2008.
Rep. Holt has cosponsored legislation to prohibit the use of birds in animal fighting, to ban the riding of captive elephants in road shows, and to require wounded livestock to be humanely euthanized, rather than be left to suffer a slow and painful death.
Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
Rep. Holt has introduced the Fox-Penning Prohibition Act, legislation which would prohibit the transport of foxes and other animals for the purposes of “wildlife penning.” “Wildlife penning” is an inhumane treatment of animals by which they are put in fenced enclosures where wild animals are ripped apart by packs of dogs in competitive animal fights — they are torn apart by dogs in an escape-proof enclosure. “I have introduced legislation to stop this practice by outlawing the transport of animals for the purposes of fox penning.”
Salem County - Summer Central
NJ Wild Readers know that every so often, I need to run away from home. Not far. Still New Jersey.
You know, I take the dappled roads, to watery reaches, to peace and beauty, where traffic does not exist and there’s no such thing as road rage. Instead, peace surrounds me on all sides.
One of my favorite destinations is idyllic Salem County on the Delaware Bayshore. There, I ride alongside healthy crops, even the soybeans higher than my knees. In Salem County, my favorite signboards, the ones trumpeting PRESERVED FARMLAND are the norm, not the exception. On the Delaware Bayshore, I take every road that says NO OUTLET, because the outlet is the Bay. Or a marshland. Or a meadow. Or a swamp. Or a forest. Or a fisherman’s haven.
I wrote about the fishing haven, Fortescue, last week. Today, I’m lonely all over again for Salem county vistas and history.
Salem County Perfection
In Salem County, there doesn’t seem to have been any drought.
“Beneath the spreading XX Tree…” Salem County - No Drought Here!
In Salem County, peace reigns.
Salem County Peace –Alloway Creek
In Salem County, water is a constant companion.
Salem County - Alloway Souvenirs of Yesteryear
In Salem, history throbs at any crossing; above, alongside and below any bridge.
Hancock’s Bridge Pilings
Over this bridge rushed furious Redcoats, smarting from a recent defeat at a nearby bridge. Whipped into fury over having been conquered by our ragtag and bobtail army, they burst into the idyllic Quaker home of Mr. Hancock, slaughtering right and left, soldiers sleeping the sleep of the just after their recent victory. The Brits did not take kindly to being outsmarted by ordinary people fighting for liberty. Hancock House is open almost every day of the year, where Alicia, the Ranger, will tell the proud sad tale anew, and guests may walk from room to room and floor to floor, even on the Fourth of July, pondering what it takes to win through to freedom.
Hancock House’s Majestic Facade Belies Massacre…
Summer shadows bless Hancock House today, reminding us to pay any price, bear any burden to remain free of tyranny. In this house, the sleeping soldiers sacrificed that which our Founding Fathers were willing to barter for liberty - their lives, their fortunes - but not their sacred honor.
Hancock House - Where Summer Shadows now Whisper Peace
From this peaceful waterway, belligerent redcoats came.
Past an herb garden bearing these very varieties, soldiers rushed, bayonets at the ready.
Salem County Held Swedish Dwellings Such as This, Before the Advent of Quaker brickwork.
Quaker Brickwork Includes Initials of Mr. and Mrs. Hancock and 1734 Date
In Salem County, The Past Lives On
In Salem County, PRESERVED FARMLAND SIGNS Greet Travelers at Any Bend in the Road
Before or after watery wanderings and farmquests, I wend my way into beautiful downtown Salem, which is being courageously and assiduously restored by proud and determined residents.
Jewel in Salem’s Crown is the Salem Oak. Under this majestic tree, the founder of this town negotiated with and paid the Indians of the region for his land. This was unusual even then.
Now that we have lost the Mercer Oak, this may be the most famous tree in New Jersey. It has the shape ours once bore on Mercer Street, purportedly beneath whose boughs General Mercer, though bayoneted, conducted the Victory of Princeton.
To my eyes, the Salem Oak looks healthier today than the last time I was there. What do you think?
Salem Oak - New Jersey’s Most Famous Living Tree?
Across the road, travelers may refresh themselves at the Salem Oak Diner. Even though it has some exotic red-leafed tree on the cover that bears no resemblance to any oak of any species or era. Even though it has red white and blue flags over it now, to urge people to come there.
Under New Management
They never USED to need to urge us. I found out the reason for the changes — why there’s no longer a grilled corn muffin on the menu. Why the motherly and venerable waitresses who know their way around what used to be a unique menu are no longer there. Change comes to Salem County. The first owner was ill, and sold it to a long-time waitress. She kept the old spirit, the heart of the town, the place where all the locals gathered and the many lawyers of the region knew they could come for reliable meals in the middle of complex cases. The waitress sold it to what the Germans call ‘auslanders’, what Cape Codders call “people from away.” Why that should change it, I don’t know. But it did. The food’s ok. The spirit of Salem, however, is no longer palpable inside. There are few enough restaurants in the region, that you might as well stop there if you’re feeling a bit ‘peckish.’
But no longer will the people at the next table plunk down a bottle of ketchup as a poet friend and I finished ordering our food. “For breakfast?!”, we queried. “Oh, you’re not from around here…”, they realized. In other words you didn’t either grow the tomatoes or pack them when Heinz reigned above Salem fields….
They Still Have the Weekly Specialty - Made by a PA. Dutch Cook - one day a week!
We’re Not Only the Garden State - Where the Diner Capitol
The Salem Oak Diner IS real…
But Salem is also known for preservation of its vital farms — Learn from them!
When ‘the world is too much with me,’ when especially the 21st Century is too much with me, NJ WILD readers know I have to head out.
Hunterdon County Barn and Clssic Truck cfe
So last Friday became my “Reading-the-Farms” Day. Throughout bucolic Hunterdon County, farm signs began to delight as roads began to rise, as I headed west toward the river:
“Windcrossing.” “Windtryst.” “Windfall.” “Sonbob.” “Stonehedge.” In and out of these signs are others that bring great joy: That gold and black icon that means Tractor Crossing. Thank the Lord and New Jersey preservationists that there are still tractors. “Saws Sharpened.” “Farrier.” “Saddlery.” “For Sale by Owner — Bit of Heaven.”
My favorite, right outside of Hopewell, is always “Featherbed Lane - No Outlet.” It was so named because colonials tied bits of quilts (featherbeds in those days) tightly to horses’ hooves to hush them as these heroes rode these roads to protests in the time of King George III. Here both Hart and Stockton were pursued, sometimes eluding pursuers, although Stockton’s capture led to dire torturing from which he never recovered. Hart is buried in the Hopewell churchyard I just passed.
Featherbed Lane has stories to tell, not only of the Revolution, but also of migrating Sourlands songbirds. Known by birders as passerines, these winged creatures are tended as nestlings and as travelers by the legendary Hannah Suthers. “No Outlet” is misleading - for the road Hannah often monitors on horseback leads to great beauty in the landscape, as well as during spring and fall songbird migrations.
Carolina Wren, by Brenda Jones
I head either due west or due south to re-fill the well, my well, in our New Jersey. My spirit level which can be taken down too far by oiled birds, the leadership gap, ever-forecast storms which never materialize, cracks in the yard outside my new apartment looking like Kansas cornfields in August, general indifference to the crisis in the Gulf, in our environment, developers, bulldozers - well, you know all this…
Friday, therefore, became Farm-Quest day. I headed out early, into Hopewell, up Greenwood avenue, past the Sourland Mountain Preserve, to the red barn with the black and white Holsteins, where I turn left to get to my beloved Delaware. NJ WILD readers know she has just been named the most endangered river in America because gas well drillers are hoodwinking unwary property owners all up and down the Delaware watershed, wherever Marcellus shale holds so-called natural gas. In order to get AT that gas, ‘frakting’ has to take place. ‘Frakting’ the chemicals of which process poison wells and sickens families who sold gas right on their land to those convincing drillers. Have you heard this song before? Do you know that the drillers are still insisting “Frakting is safe.” Remember that BP gave us a number of 5000 for oil leakage in the profoundly globally important Gulf. The ruiners are the measurers, over and over and over.
Brenda Jones’ dawn-peaceful, pristine Delaware, which measurers, drillers, would profane:
So, I needed to escape this century. I required silvered blue siloes rising into baby-blanket-blue skies. I needed wind-stirred grasses, still dew-damp, reflecting morning light. I needed stone house after stone house, all resembling and one BEING one of George Washington’s headquarters in the 1700s. I needed that dear New Jersey winery to be nestled by a stream along a curve with a quirky old bridge - not to stop there, just that it BE there. Grapes ripening. Nature prevailing.
I needed those increasingly rolling hills, as Delaware’s surround became ever more riverine. I had to have every single one of those pouf clouds, the kind children draw in kindergarten and first grade, alongside lollipop trees of impossible green. Except, yesterday, westering toward the Delaware, everything was indeed impossible green of first slender Crayola boxes and kindergarten simplicity and trust.
I required burgeoning crops. Though I was startled, since it is only June, to be absolutely dwarfed by corn on both sides of the road. One crop looked as though it had tasselled out already. Whatever happened to “knee high by the Fourth of July?”
I’m ever so slightly able to rejoice in patriotic songs again now, now that fascism seems to have receded in our land, that flags are Old Glory again, no longer banners of insularity and revenge. So “Amber waves of grain” came to me pleasingly, as my car purred between broad swathes of fully ripened wheat. Frankly, that grain was beyond amber - all the way to toast.
Summer Wildflowers, Essential to Cabbage White Butterflies, by Brenda Jones
I needed summer-new wildflowers. I didn’t really want them to be this early, because of global warming and all. Yet, my heart leapt up at every bonnie blue burst of chicory; each airy disc of Queen Anne’s lace; the sturdy, determinedly sunny spurts of first brown-eyed Susans.
Chicory by Anne Zeman
Delaware’s generous signature was everywhere, as the rounded shoulders of her neighboring hills welcomed, then compelled me to her shores. The skies, the very air itself hold sparkle and a scintillation when Delaware is near.
A hearty breakfast at Meils in Stockton fortified me for two brief shopping errands. The Stockton Farmers’ Market, with a handful of purveyors is tucked in at the back entrance on a Friday. It’s cool and dark as a cave in there. Crossing the threshold conveys an air of secrecy and blessing. There is the sense that only those truly determined to shop with (o.k., MAD for!) local farmers come tiptoeing between saucy flowers at entry. Inside, the cognoscenti know they will be rewarded by exuberant produce, freshest eggs, the savory gold tomme cheese aged three full months in a cave, in New Jersey!; fat hearty cookies; hefty cuts of home-raised meats; succulent quiches and handmade soaps and tiles.
Vibrant Indoor Produce, Stockton Farm Market Fridays cfe
Garden State Produce, Indoor Stockton Farm Market Friday cfe
Highland Cattle, raised by Highland Farm Market, Sold at Stockton Farm Market cfe
En route home, I stopped at Maresca’s, that old-world, personable butcher shop just around the bend from the Sergeantsville covered bridge. I stock up on their sweet/smoky tender yet sustaining bacon ( which I’d enjoyed at Meil’s). I asked if he could cut me some filets an odd way so that they can be thick enough to be rare inside, but not overwhelming for one person. Delight was Emil’s response, as he checked and measured until he had exactly the number, shape and size that I wanted, one for tonight, the rest to freeze. I added their sublime lemon pound cake and a few almond cookies like soft biscotti. All that food made there or cut there, sold by those who bring it to market, in the shadow of mysterious white conical flowers that look like heaven for bees — my total was $23. I thought they forgot to add in the sweets. Quite the contrary - he gave me all the rest of that delicate filet — I may do boeuf tartare as my reward for surviving inner and outer challenges of the week just past.
Lavender Farm in Bloom cfe
Somewhere near Hopewell, I remembered a sign for fresh lavender, $3 a bunch. Sure enough, there it was, in a broad flat delicate basket that would have been carried by one of Monet’s willowy models, in flowing white gossamer, stiff/floppy hat, blue ribbons at the waist. Wading through poppies. Instead, lavender bunches lay in waiting right by the side of the road, wrapped in crinkly paper. I put my $10 bill (nothing smaller) in their unlocked box and closed it. I drove on home with the sweet tang of true French lavender, for which I always long since my life in Provence, suffusing my modern American car.
Through the grainfields. Back through the black-green Sourlands woods. Over the back roads. Home.
Leaving one bunch of lavender in the car (forever!), bearing the other two into my bedroom, I realized, my entire journey had been “Outlet”.
Twenty-five miles each way. Timelessness. Time-travel. To a world where the far-sighted, such as D&R Greenway Land Trust, but not limited to us, are preserving the Garden State.
The Garden State - Farm Near Hopewell, by Anne Zeman
Tasha O’Neill upon Waln’s Mill Bridge
Bucolic Porch, Waln Mansion, Historic Walnford
Fleeting sun recently lured photographer, Tasha O’Neill, and me to Walnford Mill and Village. To the blue mill, not on the floss, but upon the Crosswicks (Creek). To the once bustling village on the other side of Allentown where a pacifist Philadelphia Quaker built his colonial empire, before our Revolutionary War.
Mr. Waln’s Mill is bright blue now, what Southerners and those of Celtic and Druidic persuasion call ‘haint blue’, (haunt blue), meant to keep evil spirits away. Named to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic places, Richard Waln’s far-stretching farmlands preside at the banks of the Crosswicks, down which farm produce was ferried toward Bordentown’s confluence with the Delaware River, then to Europe and even Asia.
The Mill Race, Crosswicks Creek, Walnford
About a half hour’s drive east, this scene of peace holds gifts of history, architecture and nature. Strolling past the farm buildings and under spreading chestnut (yes!) and sycamore trees refreshes, as though we’d driven to Sturbridge or Williamsburg.
Barn Windows, Late Light, Walnford
For someone from Michigan (which became a state in 1837), entering Richard Waln’s 1773 mansion, –and the site of the 1734 gristmill, rebuilt 1872’s fire–, is a pearl of great price.
Evening Shadows, Walnford Stable
Mercer County residents (where I’ve resided mostly since 1968) can become insular. “Monmouth County…,” people hesitate, as I rave about Walnford, “doesn’t that have something to do with a race track?” Yes, indeed, in Freehold itself. Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold, is a Monmouth County Park. Yes, sleek horses of Lexington-calibre graze behind impeccable dark fences on all sides. The horse-and-carriage road that once ran right past that bucolic porch above still exists, bearing only fallen chestnuts last week, not of the imprints of vanished horseshoes.
Old Carriage Road, Walnford
Here is my Walnford article for the Packet Publications, –from the good old days when newspapers had space and paper for travel coverage–, to lure you to follow in Tasha’s and my foot(e)steps.
[These are my photographs - that of a tourist. Tasha's of course, will be fine art.] Walnford triggers creativity…
Tasha O’Neill at Work, Walnford
Historic Walnford Mill and Village
78 Walnford Road, Allentown, New Jersey, 609-259-6275
Every day is a history festival at Walnford mill and village, just east of Allentown, in Monmouth County. To walk through Walnford’s double-corn-crib entry into those expansive grounds is to inhabit other centuries. In the 1770’s, Walnford was launched by a very successful Quaker merchant. Manor, mill and outbuildings have since been impeccably restored. Edward and Joanne Mullen, –owners of Fairwinds Farm, a thoroughbred breeding center–, saw to it that this agrarian treasure was named to New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, before donating Walnford to Monmouth County in 1985.
Tranquillity Base, Walnford: “the creek whispers…”
The site’s most startling feature is the color of its grist mill: called ‘haint blue’ in the American South. Residents of Devon, Cornwall and Brittany still choose this tone to repel evil spirits. This paint choice was no designer whim. It exactly matches a still visible periwinkle swipe on an upper mill wall, where a mid-19th century painter cleaned his brush. He was completing the 1873 replacement of the previous grist mill, which had burned.
‘Haint Blue’ Grist Mill, Walnford
Walnford’s stately home reminds visitors what ‘mansion’ really means. One is welcome to use a rocking chair upon its broad front porch, examine currents tiptoeing along the shimmering water. Crosswicks Creek once connected Walnford to Bordentown’s tidal Delaware, then Philadelphia and the world.
The creek now winks sleepily beyond rippled original windowpanes. No structural changes have been made since the 1700’s, (except to add heat light and plumbing.) This jewel in the crown of the Monmouth County Park system, if not the entire state of New Jersey, charges neither admission nor parking fee. The simplest route is 539 east of Allentown, then right on Walnford Road. (Web-site directions are currently contorted by detour.) Site interpreters are on post each day from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. On weekends, the wild blue mill grinds corn.
This refuge has been preserved through State and Monmouth County Farmland Preservation Programs. Timelessness is the order of the day, partly due to its setting in the 1098-acre regional Crosswicks Creek Park. Ironically, the watercourse itself ended two centuries of water-borne commerce and the use of the mill. In the late 19th century, severe silting gradually hampered, then stopped navigation and mill wheels throughout inland New Jersey.
Last Greens of Summer, Walnford
Walnford is impeccably tended, excluding disorder, dust and rust. Ice house and smoke house are clean as a whistle. The potting shed looks utilized. A generous photographic record speaks history in a building to the north of the corn crib. The former dairy barn is used for teaching. Picnic tables beyond counting await under towering trees.
Towering Sycamore, Walnford
The gravel apron before Walnford’s 1879 carriage house is raked to Zen-garden standards. Inside shadows gradually reveal a commanding carriage, drawn even in early days by the region’s highest stepping steeds. Horses of differing spirits were chosen for different excursions.
Horsewoman Sarah Waln’s journal reads: “A fine ride – The $1000 horse, Empire, — fastest trotter and one of the gayest horses that has been in Freehold this winter.” Behind the imposing sled, draped with a thick and vivid carriage robe, rests a gleaming sidesaddle, –pommel polished by the sure hand of Sarah in her hurtling rides. Tack hanging on paddock partitions is burnished and elaborately tooled, marrying beauty and practicality, as has Walnford itself since its founding.
Walnford Cattle Barn
The handsome Quaker-built manor, begun in 1773, remained in the Waln family for five generations, –over 250 years. Grace and balance prevail, in rooms retaining their original floor plans and floor boards. Honeyed random-width pine is downcurved with wear before each fireplace, evoking centuries of foot traffic bearing logs. Square dark hand-made bricks may have been shipped to Walnford from the Trenton Marsh, –not far away, also at the hem of Crosswicks Creek. Gleaming iron firebacks reveal German mottoes, reminding that the original inhabitants were loyal to the crown, proud of Hessian soldiers, who are also honored in striding andirons.
Slide Down My Cellar Door, Walnford Manor
Monmouth County’s largest home at the time of the Revolution, Walnford had been constructed as the country retreat for the merchant’s family. Richard Waln soon used his rural property as a production source. Flour ground at the mill, feed grown in far-reaching fields, cloth spun from wool of Walnford flocks, pork in the form of smoked hams and bacon, traveled to the Bordentown confluence of the Crosswicks and Delaware. These vital stores were then shipped to the family wharf in Philadelphia and on to Spain, Portugal, Asia and the Caribbean.
As a Quaker, Richard Waln took no part in the slave trade, being one of the first to speak out against it evils. When the Colonies rose in rebellion against George III, Richard’s loyalty to the crown impelled the family to cross the Atlantic, far from the mill village which would ultimately employ and house fifty people. Some conclude that the 1770’s move up-creek was triggered by Richard’s determination to remove his wife and six children from Philadelphia, hotbed of revolutionary fervor, as Tom Paine was writing incendiary pamphlets in nearby Bordentown.
Poison Ivy, Midas-touched, Walnford
The manor’s broad front hall was planned for commerce. Guests who ‘passed muster’ might have been invited to tea in the front parlor. The honored few would have been guests in generous bedrooms, to which visitors are now guided up a staircase made for lordly descents. Portraits of Waln matriarchs and patriarchs grace grey-white walls. One painting, of the first Sarah’s husband, ‘goes missing’. It has not been reproduced. All china and porcelain was actually used by the family. Stately original wallpaper has been matched and installed.
After the war, Richard’s son, Nicholas, would purchase five nearby farms, increasing landholdings to over 1300 acres. In the 1800’s, lumber would come to Wanlford’s new saw mill. Soon, however, changes in milling and farming practices would bring hard times to the agrarian village. Sarah Waln and her daughter Sarah Waln Hendrickson could crisply manage the family homestead; but neither could reverse Walnford’s declining fortunes. Childless, since her husband had died after seventeen months of marriage, not even Sarah’s prodigious energy could turn economic tides. In a controversial bequest reminiscent of that of certain local families in the 20th Century, Sarah left Walnford to farm manager, John Wilson, in lieu of unpaid wages. Richard Waln Meirs and his wife, Anne, then purchased the family farm from John Wilson, who remained working on the estate until the early 1915 or so. Nowhere in Walnford literature is it mentioned that John Wilson was black.
At Walnford, except for corn-grinding demonstrations, silence, not commerce, now reigns. The mill presides with queenliness above its gentle mill race. Cricket songs vie with kingfisher rattle. The creek whispers beyond its scrim of ignited leaves and autumn asters. We could have stepped into a Constable painting, lacking only the cow in the water. The mill’s unused water gate, gaping at the mill race, reminds of the Tower of London.
“reminds of the Tower of London”
Every 21st-Century weekend, the blue mill springs to life, filling the air with thunderous sound, and the mill’s cavernous spaces with golden cornmeal dust. In the mill Historic Walnford cornmeal is available for $1 per bag, sporting a handsome mill wheel icon. The honor system serves as cashier. As we purchased ours, the almost forgotten sound of a sudden summer rain thudded along the mill roof, splashed along rigorously swept floors. We picked up membership forms for SPOOM – The Society for the Preservation of Old Mills: www.spoom.org — $21.00.
River Birch Speaks, Beside the Crosswicks
Invitation to Paddle
Perfection was our constant companion in Clinton, New Jersey, last Sunday. My little camera, a Canon A560, is a literal point-and-shoot. With fellow poet, Betty Lies, that simple description accurately describes how easy it was to take pictures. Clinton is a storybook North Jersey town on the bucolic Raritan River, yet many of its residents commute to New York.
A Tale of Two Bridges
When I showed this picture to Bill Rawlyk, a Hunterdon County resident, he was quick to tell me this town has won a preservation award for the care with which the pale bridge has been restored. Since we both work at D&R Greenway Land Trust to preserve New Jersey land, water and history, Bill’s bridge story cheers us in our own quests. The whole town is a tribute to far-sighted, conservation-minded citizens.
Clinton’s Red Mill By the Waterfall
The perfection of air, light and water in this scene belies tornado warnings. Back home, we learned of two funnels announced near Clinton, –in Hunterdon County–, within an hour of our mid-afternoon departure.
Former Mill transformed into Hunterdon Art Museum
Another Preservation Happy Ending - this mill is now the multi-faceted Hunterdon Art Museum. Three floors, alive with history, are dedicated to the work of lively, living artists of our region.
For years, Betty and I have journeyed to Clinton, to perform Hot Poems by Cool Women for Valentine’s Day at the Hunterdon. This day, poetry was far from our minds, as three challenging exhibits greeted us at entry.
Most thought-provoking is Marion Held’s Material Traces. A New York Times review puzzled over Held’s juxtapositions of hard and soft, optimistic with pessimistic, flotsam with jetsam, junkyard crib piled with dark pods standing for promise. Held’s work is neither easy to describe nor to dismiss. There is a hint of bones, cheek-by-jowl with a sheer garment before an antique sewing machine. The dress had been stitched by hand. Working our way around that room was a merry exercise in problem-solving.
Barbara Schulman’s Entrances & Passages: Mixed Media Textiles combines quilting, embroidery and, of all things, razor blades, Exacto knife blades and scissored credit cards, in intricate designs layered with meaning. Hunterdon curators have not only exhibited courage but also eloquence in bringing this work to their audience, in interpreting these evocative challenges.
Up & Coming: New Printmakers Make Their Mark fill the mill’s walls with graphic work of artists recently granted their MFAs by a broad range of universites near and dear to us all. We were treated to exceptional auditory and visual stimulation. Gauntlets were flung. Questions were asked and sometimes answered.
Pardon the pun: At the Hunterdon, that day, for those print artists, “Everything was grist to their mill.”
Leaves Collect Where Grains Were Ground - Clinton Milwheel
Walking back and forth over bridges, we discovered this millwheel of other days. Ahead were earnest Revolutionary re-enactors. That would explain the cannon blast that startled as we parked near the museum. In the 21st Century, a fee is required to stroll with revolutionaries. That day, we wanted only the real. However, those women in thick voluminous skirts and aprons, men in tricornered hats shouldering heavy muskets, remain vivid. Especially their reflections in the limpid Raritan.
Great Egret, Red Boat, Between the Clinton Mills
Some Clinton merchants still observe the Sabbath. This boat was not in use because the boat rental place was Sunday-closed. That great egret was right at home, visible from both bridges. In other words, it fed in waters adjacent to Clinton’s busy Main Street sidewalks, luring strollets to riverside restaurants and variegated shops.
Here I go again - time travel. When I first moved to Princeton, downtown was closed on Sundays. The hardware store (Urken’s). The meat market (Hill’s). Needless to say, anything to do with wine and liquor. We didn’t question then. I had forgotten this custom. Interesting to realize that somewhere, sometimes, mercantile operations keep holy the Sabbath.
Betty and I keep our holy Sabbaths on aesthetic and/or natural excursions. This one, –her idea–, was born as pilgrimage to Ken Lockwood Gorge outside High Bridge and Califon. In earlier NJ WILD posts, you have read my effusions over that Colorado-like pristine trout stream. Rock-and-fern-walled, rock-studded, it seems a thousand miles away from corporate America. Its shimmer of water is, –you’ll never believe it–, the North Branch of the Raritan. Fishermen on its banks exult, “Took fifty trout here the night before.” We have watched their rituals:
Arc de Triomphe: Ray’s Trout Encounter
Ken Lockwood Gorge by Tasha O’Neill
A year ago, Tasha O’Neill and I watched this trout encounter from start to finish in the Gorge. Last Sunday, although Betty and I have both been there many times, we never found it. Official but unexplained and un-signed River Road closings made access impossible. There was noplace to park at either end, no way for non-locals to enter. Surely a coterie of trout fishermen out there could give us the Lockwood key. Instead, we strolled and photographed the town too good to be true.
Paddlers’ Idyll, Egret Haven — Clinton, New Jersey
“Glory be to God for Dappled Things…”
This could as well be titled, “Come, my friends, tis not too late to seek an older world…”
Jasmine, one of New Jersey’s Lakota Wolves
consummate greeter and protector in her own preserve…
I have my own theory about the reasons for Palin’s abrupt departure. Had she remained in office, something will come to light so that she would share the fate of the previous governor of Illinois. We shall see.
Defenders of Wildlife feels it is the searchlight which they persistently/insistently shine upon Palin’s slaughters, which has hounded her from office. We shall see.
See UPDATE from Defenders of Wildlife on July 31, particularly thanking our enlightened Congressman Rush Holt, ever our partner in preserving and protecting nature.
As I always urge NJ WILD readers, use those hot links; write those senators and representatives; send in those letters to editors to save nature at all costs.
We are here to be stewards, not despoilers.
Ours is a representative government. Never forget that, in recent years, our historic rights and freedoms were nearly obliterated.
The Palin Effect is a lingering symptom of the disease called tyranny, to fight which evil our Founding Fathers and Mothers pledged their “lives, their fortunes and sacred honor.”
For their sakes, for our own, and especially for those who come after, we must use this freedom of speech to retain and even enhance America’s founding principles.
Vigilance is in order. Your voice is essential.
Join, support and answer hot links for advocacy groups: local and national chapters of Sierra, Audubon, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, and the like. Buttress your local non-profits, –such as D&R Greenway Land Trust, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Friends of Princeton (or Montgomery or West Windsor) OPEN SPACE, Kingston Greenways, and others.
What set America apart, before the Revolution, was our wild stretches, our untrammeled lands. Edward Abbey knew that a tyrant, –from within or without–, could destroy our liberty by closing parks.
Whether national or state, county or town, in wild spaces people discover their true selves, their full selves.
In the open, with NATURE, people recharge, restore and THINK. All of which our government, –federal and many complicit states–, steadily/deliberately discouraged over recent years.
Reclaim your voice, your parks, defend your creatures.
No matter why Palin leaves, support those who defend our wild places.
Remember: “All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” [Edmund Burke]
Your wild advocate, Carolyn
Niki Richardson who cherishes, even feeds the Lakota Wolves, sends this news on the heels of NJ WILD’s post re Jasmine and her brethren:
UPDATE July 31 from Defenders of Wildlife:
In the two days since I last wrote you…
Even with this phenomenal momentum, we’re in for a tough fight in the days and weeks ahead. Fortunately, we have some great allies in our efforts to save wolves and other wildlife from aerial gunning — allies like your representative, Rep. Rush Holt , and you.
to captialize on this amazing momentum and build even more vital support for the PAW Act.
Today, representatives are headed to their home districts for the August congressional recess, and senators will return home at the end of next week. But even while Congress is out of session, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund will continue our fight to end Alaska’s awful aerial wolf-killing programs and prevent this terrible practice from spreading to other states.
This from Defenders of Wildlife earlier in July - which triggered this post:
Dear Carolyn,Today, Congressman George Miller (CA) will re-introduce the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act — federal legislation to end Alaska’s barbaric aerial wolf-killing programs and prevent the slaughter from spreading to other states. And, for the first time ever, the bill will also be introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), joined by Senator Ben Cardin (MD).Just three days ago, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blasted Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund’s efforts to save wolves in her resignation speech.
With your help, we’ve put aerial gunning in the national spotlight and built momentum to stop it. Now we need your support to seize this moment and fight to end these awful wolf-killing programs…
Thanks to your efforts, the PAW Act already has more than 90 original cosponsors in the House of Representatives! To educate Members of Congress and their staff, this week we’re launching a powerful new ad using a photograph from the March aerial wolf slaughter of 84 wolves near the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve — gruesome evidence of the brutality of Alaska’s aerial wolf-killing programs.
Just wanted to make sure you are aware that Senator Feinstein and Rep. Miller introduced the PAW Act yesterday to stop aerial hunting. The act is S.1971 The Protect America’s Wildlife Act. Info is on Defenders website.
July Fourth Flag and Bog Iron at Batsto
by Carolyn Foote Edelmann
Fourth of July resonates with me long before and long after the actual date. It is such a privilege to live in New Jersey, where, experts insist, 75% of the significant battles of the Revolution took place.
Starting with, of course, the two battles of Trenton and the one battle of Princeton, as 1776 turned into 1777, — our first real victories.
Many modern histories reveal that the vaunted “Spirit of ‘76″ is highly overrated: not only regular citizens, but the very soldiers, wanted this whole mess over so they could go back to farms, harvests and families. And who could blame our ‘ragtag and bobtail army’, shoeless in snow; subsisting on shad and fatback, dodging bullets and Hessians.
It was a near thing, war in the 1770’s. By no means everyone trusted General Washington to put everything right. In-depth biographies of our Founding Fathers reveal that the General and his cohorts, –especially John, Tom and Ben–, felt that the flickering spirit of Revolution might well have been extinguished, were it not for Thomas Paine of nearby Bordentown.
I spent this early July morning wandering pre-Revolutionary Bordentown with fellow poet, Betty Lies, cameras in hand. That’ll be another story. A highlight of each history quest along those crooked red brick sidewalks is the corner where Thomas Paine owned the only house of his life. There and in nearby taverns, he joined fiery Revolutionary discussions. In that simple dwelling on that quiet corner, Paine penned diatribes and polemics that stiffened the spines of colonists against the tyrannical George.
Another Bordentown highlight is finding Tom Paine’s statue, at the end of a leafy street, near a handsome overlook of the confluence of the Crosswicks Creek with the expansive, history-rich Delaware River. In Tom’s bronze hand is one of his seminal books. On the bronze ‘ground’, –its title in raised letters, open flat to elements–, rests “The Rights of Man.” Without this man’s pen and courage, without those pages, we might not have a country.
Also, as I write repeatedly, without bog iron from New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, –which coalesces over time in tannic waters–, having been rowed to Pinelands forges to be catalyzed into ‘pig iron’ for wagon wheels and cannon balls, we might well be British subjects to this day. Read the rest of this entry »