Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
|North Cemetery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts|
© W. Hersee
(Worcester, MA) Cemetery educators, The Gravestone Girls, whose mission is to “Keep Our Dead Alive”, will be presenting a virtual tour, called “Welcome to the Graveyard”, centered on Sturbridge’s three local cemeteries at the Sturbridge Town Hall, Wednesday, October 19st at 7pm. As guests of The Joshua Hyde Public Library, The Gravestone Girls’ 90 minute presentation is built on photographs recently taken in these special and interesting burying places around Sturbridge, which was incorporated in 1738, and charts the evolution of cemeteries and gravestones from the colonial era into the 21st century.
This is a popular program that has been given around the New England area by The Gravestone Girls for the past ten years. The group regularly works with libraries, historical societies and genealogical groups, among others, to teach about “the art, symbolism and history of these living history museums located on everyone’s mainstreets and backyards” says Ms. Sullivan, one in the group of three cemetery enthusiasts. She further added “Almost everyone is interested in these peaceful and beautiful spaces, but may be hesitant to say so to others. Our presentation lets you know you’re not the only one. Come see what we do, we fill the room every time!”
For a detailed calendar of this and other Gravestone Girls’ events please visit www.GravestoneGirls.com Further information can also be found at the library at 306 Main Street. The address of the Town Hall where the event will be held is 308 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA.
The Gravestone Girls not only provide interesting historical cemetery presentations, they also create beautiful and unusual sculpted art pieces using the primitive art from the faces of original New England gravestones as well as teach gravestone rubbing classes and lead cemetery tours. Their gravestone art is shown regularly at art and craft festivals. Often commissioned for documentation and fundraising projects utilizing special aspects of important cemeteries and gravestones, they have executed these public and private projects for clients nationwide. The evening’s presentation will include a variety of gravestone castings from their 100+ image collection, as well as the opportunity to purchase these lovely art pieces.
Contact Information: Brenda Sullivan
Company Name: The Gravestone Girls
Address: 16 Schussler Road, Worcester, MA 01609
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
|Wetland beside Long Pond on Champeaux Road in Fiskdale.|
Thursday, September 15, 2011
From a silly oversight, to making it right in our lifetime is truly amazing.
Selectman Thomas Creamer Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Volunteers needed for Tornado cleanups and trail building projects.
Sturbridge: The Regional Grand Trunk Trail Committee in partnership with the Grand Trunk trailblazers and Opacum land Trust have announced area National Public Lands Day (NPLD) with work projects to be held on Saturday, Sept 24th from 8:30 am to noon and a special trail building training program in the afternoon. Work projects include a focused tornado clean up for the waters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers East Brimfield Lake and 2.8 miles of the Grand trunk trail in Brimfield as well as trail building projects in Sturbridge and Southbridge. A special trail building training program will be held on Saturday afternoon at Opacum Woods in Sturbridge. The specific project areas and registration information are:
Brimfield: Clearing trails of downed trees and debris along 2.8 miles of the Grand Trunk Trail. Meet at the Five Bridge Rd trail head parking lot at 8:30 for registration. Crews will be dispatched from that location with chainsaws, brush chippers and trash bags to clear the trail of woody debris and trash. Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes, bring work gloves and a water bottle. A Pizza Lunch will be provided to all volunteers at noon. For further information contact Park Ranger Tom Chamberland at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org
East Brimfield Lake: Boats and canoes are needed to patrol the lake and shoreline to remove debris blown in by the tornado. Volunteers are also need to help unload the boats into the dumpster. Meet at the East Brimfield Reservoir Boat Ramp located on the South side of US RT 20 on the Brimfield/Sturbridge Town Line, across the street from Velvet Green Gardens. If you can donate the use of your boat/canoe please make sure to bring appropriate PFD’s. Volunteers need to wear shoes you can get wet, bring work gloves and a water bottle. Pre-registration is requested by calling 508-347-3705 or emailing Park Ranger Tom Chamberland at Thomas.email@example.com. Onsite registration begins at 8:30 am. A Pizza Lunch will be provided to all volunteers at noon. A boat/canoe washing station will be set up at the East Brimfield Dam, 24 Riverview Ave after the event.
Sturbridge: Two projects are being set up by the Trail committee; work on spreading the fine gravel surface on the Arbutus park trail on the Leadmine Mt Property and building a 150’ bog bridge for the Stafford Turnpike trail on the Heins Farm Conservation lands. For the Arbutus park work small tractors, and wheel barrows are needed, as well as volunteers to clean up the trails of small tree debris from the tornado, for the Bog Bridge a few volunteers with carpentry skills are needed and general laborers to help lay out the wood planks and sleepers. Registration for both projects will take place at the Heins Farm Trail head parking lot, 197 Leadmine Rd at 8:30 AM, bring work gloves and a water bottle, a pizza lunch will be served at noon. Pre-registration is requested by calling 508-347-6340 or emailing Randy Redetzke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Opacum Woods in Sturbridge, on Saturday Afternoon from 1:30 to 4 PM all trail enthusiasts are invited to join Scott Linnenburger, the Sturbridge Trail Committee and members of Opacum Land Trust in a unique single track trail build training program. Scott Linnenburger is a professional trail builder with over 15 years of trail building experience from all over the country. Scott has been hired by the Town to develop at town wide master plan of trails and as a part of the educational outreach of this master plan process is conducting this trail building exercise. Scott will cover the how, what and why of building sustainable single track trails which are the most favored trails of cross country hiker and Mt Bike enthusiasts. A special thanks to the trustees of Opacum for allowing this training to go forward. Meet at the Opacum Woods trail head. To get to Opacum Woods, take New Boston Road from Route 20 in Sturbridge, just east of the 131 intersection. Take your fourth right into The Preserve subdivision, and then your second left on to Old Brook Circle. The Trailhead is at the end of the cul-de-sac. The program starts at 1:30 PM, please wear sturdy shoes, and bring work gloves and a water bottle. For more information contact either Randy Redetzke or Tom Chamberland.
Monday, September 12, 2011
|An iPhone photograph of two deer families in a meadow at dusk.|
Last evening, after a great birthday dinner for Jennifer, and after the house had become quiet again, Mary and I took a drive. We drove into Holland, and then started heading north towards Brimfield. Suddenly, at the corner of Holland Road, and Five Bridges Road Mary yelled, "Stop! Stop!". There, in the field to our right, were six white-tail deer. A couple of fawns, half the size of two large males, and two does. Just grazing in the field, a couple of families out for the evening. Seems, like we weren't the only ones out enjoying the air last evening.
The two little ones pranced, and ran about the field, and all around the older deer. Mary handed me her phone to grab some pictures.
The full moon was just then appearing over the tree tops. The sun was breathing its last light of the day onto the meadow. The scene was beautiful, so filled with life.
After a few minutes, one of the females raised her tail, exposing the brilliant white underside, and started to skip towards the tree line, the two little ones were still leaping about until another female joined the first near the edge of the woods. The fawns spotted the alarm signal of the raised white tail, and joined their mothers. The two males, stayed behind watching us as they had been doing all along. The wind may have shifted a bit, and not only were we being seen, now our scent confirmed just who we were. The two families stood at the tree line, and we got back into the car. Vigilance, and wisdom in the meadow last evening will insure their play for another day. A pickup truck had stopped further up the road, and its occupants were watching the show with us until that final bow at the tree line.
All those deer prancing in the meadow on a late summer evening was one of those moments one does not forget.
Life. It's all around us, on us, and in us, and it will taken away from us someday. Always too soon. Still, for those left behind life does continue, and the world keeps on spinning.
Those deer are testament to that piece of simple philosophy. They're still here. Despite that we felt our world was ending ten years ago as it did for thousands of others, life did continue. We did carry on. We grew stronger, wiser, more vigilant, cautious, but we did not let our losses stop us from living. We knew that if we had stopped living we would have lost.
So, we lived. We directed our sorrow, and anger toward the need to insure it would never happen again, to care for those left behind, to carry on the legacy, and memory, of those that have fought to make us safe since then, and were no longer among us. All require life.
Last evening, as we stood on the side of the road, and watched those deer living, playing, and being still here, it was didn't take much to realize that we had made it, too, and had not squandered life. Our mindset enabled it, and others had insured it. Many had given their life to insure it.
That was my 9/11 anniversary moment. It came late in the day on the edge of road alongside a meadow, and next to my wife. Couldn't think of a better place, or company, to experience that moment.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011
Prayer, and reflection. So passive, yet all powerful.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
|Fireworks over the Freeman farm at Old Sturbridge Village.|
|The Heritage String Band played 19th century melodies on|
the common at Old Sturbridge Village.
Friday, September 2, 2011
|The little parking lot outside |
the main gate.
|The athletic field, and parking lot|
are under all that water.
|The High Water mark is in the middle |
of the photo, on the far left.
|The bike / walking trail on the |
Sturbridge side of the
river is currently underwater.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
So, why not bury them? A couple of reasons: cost, and location. The cost of million dollars a mile to bury the cables underground does not inspire the utility companies to change. Government assistance would be great, but then there is the yearly maintenance cost that we would all end up paying.
Another reason that cables aren't placed underground more often is the location of the cables. Areas prone to flooding aren't good, and utilities cannot be buried in places that are prone to water damage, still, many areas are perfect, and many special areas, such as along Route 20 in Fiskdale, are long overdue for a change in technology.
I guess until a new form of energy, and communication transmission is developed that eliminates hanging cables in the air, we can expect to loose services when the wind blows hard, or heavy snow and ice falls. The cost to bring services back online is the cost of doing business to the utility companies, and a lot less expensive than the cost of burying cables, maintaining, and repairing them. To those of us affected by lost power, and services, it is trying. Hours without an electric light is annoying. Days without power are very trying, unless fully prepared with supplies, and a portable generator.
So, since an alternative form of power transmission is not on the horizon anytime soon, the only other options are playing the odds, and hoping for the lights to stay on, all the time, or installing a generator at the homestead.
The latter deserves some more thought.
"Should The U.S.Power Grid Be Underground?" http://www.patrickmaas.com/2011/02/04/should-the-u-s-electric-grid-be-underground/