Friday, June 2, 2017

History of Farming — KHS Meeting and Talk

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 7:30 pm, the Kingston Historical Society will hold its spring meeting and talk. Judy Peters, President of the Van Harlingen Historical Society (VHHS) of Montgomery, will present "Harvest Time! The History of Farming in the Millstone Valley . . . In Their Words." The experiences of farmers from the early 1700s to current times will be described in their actual words found in diaries, inventories, wills and oral histories from the Van Harlingen Historical Society archives. They will be illustrated with historic photographs from the VHHS Image Collection and objects from the Montgomery Farm Museum. Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask questions and share local farming experiences.

Judy Peters has served as President of VHHS for the last 4 years. She lives in the historic district of Bridgepoint, in "Opie's Mill," which is considered one of the oldest surviving mills in the Millstone Valley. She has a Master's degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and taught and supervised research there for 10 years. In her "other life," Judy is a business consultant in the chemical and textile industry.

The free program will take place at the Kingston Firehouse, 8 Heathcote Brook Road (just off Route 27) in Kingston, NJ. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit KHSNJ or call 609-223-3877.

Staats Boys Haying, early 1930s

Photo: Courtesy of Kingston Historical Society

Update: Missing Cat

Leilani has been found by a neighbor. Thanks to everyone for your help.

Missing Cat

Please be on the lookout for this missing cat. She is a light-colored Lynx Point Siamese with blue eyes and a striped tail and answers to the name Leilani. She comes from Parcel 3 and has never been outdoors. If you can catch her, her owner asks that you do so. Leilani's owner lives at 104 Sayre and can be reached at 609-514-0377.

Friday, May 26, 2017

FPNL Annual Meeting and Program on Bluebirds

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 7:30 pm, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will hold its annual meeting and program in the Education Building at Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. After a short business meeting, Allen Jackson, president of the NJ Bluebird Society, will give a presentation on bluebirds. The event is free. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. For more information, please call 609-683-0483.

Allen Jackson has been involved with bluebirds for many years. He initiated efforts to establish the NJ Bluebird Society (NJBBS) and is a relentless advocate for proper management as the key to the bluebird's future. He has erected over 600 nestboxes in southern New Jersey, established 50 trails (with monitors) and bands over 1,000 bluebirds each year. Besides NJBBS (President) and North American Bluebird Society (Board of Directors and on the Nestbox Committee), he maintains membership in the Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania, Tennessee Bluebird Society and Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin.

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the historic, horticultural and natural resources of the former Princeton Nurseries Kingston site. Their goals include promoting restoration, development and interpretation of the site for the education and enjoyment of the public. As part of this overall goal, FPNL sponsors interpretive and educational walks and talks on history, nature and horticulture-related subjects. 

Photo: Susan Liddle

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kingston Greenways Earth Day Cleanup

Join Kingston Greenways Association for their Earth Day Cleanup on Sunday, April 23, 2017, from 2 to 4 pm. This year KGA will tidy up the areas adjacent to Railroad and Greenwood Avenues, Division Street, Mapleton Road and Ridge Road in Kingston. In addition to the inevitable tossed and blown litter, KGA will be removing some larger trash that is not only unsightly but also could pose hazards to wildlife.

Coming from US 1, head west towards Kingston on Ridge Road (Doubletree Hotel is on the corner of this intersections), and take the first left on Railroad Avenue. From Route 27, turn onto Heathcote Road and go a quarter mile to just beyond the intersection of Heathcote, Ridge and Division, then turn right on Railroad Avenue. Parking for this volunteer event is along Railroad Avenue off Ridge Road. Grabbers, gloves, orange vests and garbage bags will be provided. For more information, visit the KGA website or call 609-683-0483.

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FPNL Arbor Day Celebration and Lichen Walk

Almost everyone has seen a lichen (pronounced "like-in"), but few people know much about these small plantlike beings that have no roots, stems or leaves. On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will hold its Arbor Day Celebration and Lichen Walk. Dr. James Lendemer from the New York Botanical Gardens will lead a lichen walk in the Mapleton Preserve from 2 to 4 pm. He will identify and explain the importance of these unique and fascinating organisims—some of which are considered to be among the oldest living things. The walk begins at the D&R Canal State Park Headquarters, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. The event is free and all are welcome. For more information, visit the  FPNL website or call 609-683-0483.

Lichens are a fusion of two unrelated organisms, usually a green algae and a fungus, that grow slowly and can be especially susceptible to habitat disruption. Many species are sensitive to air pollution, and lichens are used throughout the world to assess and monitor air quality. An important part of the food chain, lichens are also used by various animals as nesting materials, dyes, and medicines, and serve as a food source for reindeer and caribou.

Dr. Lendemer is a lichenologist at the New York Botanical Gardens. He currently serves as Assistant Curator of the Institute of Systemic Botany, which has the largest collection of lichens in the western hemisphere. His research on lichen biodiversity has been used to develop conservation management policy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Update: Snow Removal Damage

The monument on the Parcel 6 corner that was buried by BrightView's snow removal crew (see first photo in the previous post) was exposed as the snow melted. The marker was plowed out of the ground, with damage evident to the monument and curb. The marker has now been removed from the site. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Another Poor Snow Removal

Another snowstorm, another poorly executed and supervised snow removal—and it's still in progress. As of this afternoon, some driveways had not yet been plowed and even those that had been were nearly inaccessible. The crews plowing the road left snow blocking the driveways. Homeowners had the choice to stay put, dig themselves out or risk trying to drive over big mounds of snow and ice.

Our snow removal contractor BrightView continues to block—and in some cases completely bury—the house number monuments at the entrances to the parcels. In an emergency, these markers guide police, fire or ambulances to homes in need of assistance. A few years ago just after a snowstorm, a seriously ill homeowner in Parcel 6 needed an ambulance. EMS workers could not find the house because the monument was covered in snow. Apparently we haven't learned anything from that experience. After this storm BrightView completely buried the monuments at both of the entrances to Parcel 6. Other markers in the community were also covered. Here are some examples. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Parcel 6 corner — There's an address monument hidden under this huge snow pile.

The other entrance to Parcel 6.

Parcel 7 corner — There's an address monument hidden under this huge snow pile too.

Parcel 12 corner

Parcel 1 corner

We are not talking about an inability to shovel neatly here. We are talking about potential disasters. There are good reasons the corners with monuments need to be clear of snow. And yet BrightView continues to plow them over. Instead of providing proper supervision to the contractor, our management company FirstService Residential continues to make excuses.

With maintenance and association insurance fees that cost some residents over $500 a month, is it too much to ask that we have competent contractors who are properly supervised by our management company?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Ahead

Remember to move your clocks ahead one hour tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2:00 am on Sunday, March 12.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Opening Reception at South Brunswick Arts

The South Brunswick Arts Commission will hold a Meet the Artists Reception for the exhibit Botany and Zoology on Friday, March 10, 6:30 to 8:00 pm. The event, with music by jazz trio Shikantaza, is open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Botany and Zoology runs through May 19, 2017. The exhibit is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and on evenings when meetings are scheduled. The Gallery is in the South Brunswick Municipal Building at 540 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction. For more information, visit South Brunswick Arts or call 732-329-4000, ext. 7635.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Repair the Snow Removal Damage!

In most places this weekend, the snow from over two weeks ago was melted. But it wasn't completely melted at the Parcel 6 corner and berm. There was still a filthy pile of snow sitting on the berm. Around it lay broken branches, sticks, leaves, gravel and even someone's undelivered newspaper. The landscape is in a shameful state and should be an embarrassment to our management company FirstService Residential and to our snow removal contractor BrightView. The landscape division of BrightView tried to blow leaves during the week in this area of the Loop Road but was either unable to clean up this mess because of the remaining snow or just didn't try. We understand that the snow has just melted, but the snow should never have been dumped like this. It has damaged the shrubs, the understory and the berm itself. We wonder where the supervision is here and who is responsible to the community for this mess. This eyesore needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. 
(click photos to enlarge)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Signs of Life in the Winter Landscape

                                                        Photo: Tari Pantaleo

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for a walk through the fields of the Mapleton Preserve to look for signs of life in the winter landscape—be they plants, animals or birds, evidence of feeding, tracks or scat. It will likely be cold, and may be snowy or muddy, so dress for the weather. Hot chocolate will be served after the walk.

The walk will take place on Sunday, February 26, 2017, from 1 to 3 pm. It is free and all are welcome, but preregistration is requested. For more information and to register, call Karen Linder at 609-683-0483. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FirstService Residential Drops the Ball—Again

(click to enlarge)

After the second snowstorm of the season, it is disheartening to see that our snow removal contractor BrightView has done more damage to the Parcel 6 corner and berm. The shrubs that were trashed in the first snowstorm were pushed back and covered with snow once again. This time snow was piled high, creating a filthy wall along the front of the berm. Lower branches of the trees were pulled down and broken in the process.

It's perplexing that our snow removal contractor would treat the landscape in such a harsh and damaging way when another part of their own company is responsible for its care in other seasons. What's even more discouraging is that our management company FirstService Residential hasn't done anything about it.

Photos: Paul E. Nolting

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black History Month

The Gift to Sing
by James Weldon Johnson

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
      I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow's somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
      And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
      And I can sing.

Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Let Us Remember Who We Are

                                                       Photo: Paul E. Nolting

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

1936 – 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Photo: AP/John Minchillo

"The Constitution does not begin with, 'I, the president.' It begins with, 'We, the people.' So don't try to divide us. Do not try to divide us!"
— Gloria Steinem

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow Removal Trashes Shrubs

We're one snowstorm into the season and the beleaguered Parcel 6 corner is in trouble again. Our snow removal contractor drove a plow up onto the corner, next to the Parcel 6 monument, crushing and uprooting the shrubs. The plow also dumped gravel from the road in front of the damaged plants (click photo to enlarge).

What can we say? We just hope repair and replacement doesn't take our management company FirstService Residential as long as it took them to replace the monument sign the snow removal contractor damaged last year—about 8 months.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Read, My Child, Read!"

In 2016 Congressman John Lewis received the National Book Award for March, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell


by Claude McKay

Now the dead past seems vividly alive,
    And in this shining moment I can trace,
Down through the vista of the vanished years,
    Your faun-like form, your fond elusive face.

And suddenly come secret spring's released,
    And unawares a riddle is revealed,
And I can read like large, black-lettered print,
    What seemed before a thing forever sealed.

I know the magic word, the graceful thought,
    The song that fills me in my lucid hours,
The spirit's wine that thrills my body through,
    And makes me music-drunk, are yours, all yours.

I cannot praise, for you have passed from praise,
    I have no tinted thoughts to paint you true;
But I can feel and I can write the word;
    The best of me is but the least of you.

                            Photo: Vincent Hoban

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Congratulations, Vice President Biden

Today President Obama awarded Vice President Biden the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at a surprise ceremony at the White House. The president added that he was bestowing the medal "with distinction," an additional level of veneration that has only been given to three other recipients: Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MLK Day of Service in the Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands on Monday, January 16, 2017, for a cleanup in the Mapleton Preserve on the National Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From noon to 3 pm volunteers will be clearing small trees, brush, vines and trash in the historic Mapleton Preserve. You are asked to bring any tools you may have, such as saws, clippers, loppers and rakes. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather—work gloves, sturdy shoes, warm clothing and hats are recommended. For more information, visit the FPNL website or call 609-683-0483. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. (If using a GPS, use 145 Mapleton Road, Princeton 08540 as the address.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thank You, Mr. President

Photo: John Gress/Reuters

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017


by William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                    Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                    And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

Photo: Henk

Friday, December 30, 2016

First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands invites everyone to a First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve on Sunday, January 1, 2017, from noon until 2 pm. For anyone who made a resolution to walk more, this is a great opportunity to start the new year off on the right foot with an easy hike through the Mapleton Preserve.

The walk will start at the Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. Dress for the weather whatever it is. The walk is free and all are welcome. For more information, call 609-683-0483 or visit the FPNL website.

Photo: Jonathan Michalik

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds

1932 – 2016

Photo: Cliff Lipson

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher

1956 – 2016

Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.

Photo: Riccardo Ghilardi

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Postcard

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas the night before Christmas . . .

A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Monday, December 12, 2016

FirstService Residential Dropped the Ball—Again

Early this morning without any notice or warning from management, a construction project began on my home. Six trucks, 10 or 12 workers, ladders, scaffolding and other equipment suddenly appeared. Soon there was chaos on my roof—pounding hammers, removing of nails, stomping footsteps. After searching for the foreman, I was told they are replacing the wood trim on all 24 townhouses in Parcel 1, a job that will take about a week and a half. He added that I might want to move my car to a safer location and watch out for falling lumber when I enter and exit my home.

It is difficult enough to wake up and discover your front yard has been turned into a construction zone, but it is even more inexcusable that our management company, FirstService Residential, did not notify homeowners in advance of the project. We are constantly reminded of bagel breakfasts, "holiday" celebrations, etc., but there was no notification about this major construction on our homes. Isn't management supposed to serve residents? Who is responsible for carrying out the simple courtesy of letting us know what is happening to our homes?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's Emily Dickinson's Birthday

I'll tell you how the Sun rose
by Emily Dickinson

I'll tell you how the Sun rose –
A Ribbon at a time –
The Steeples swam in Amethyst –
The news, like Squirrels, ran –
The Hills untied their Bonnets –
The Bobolinks – begun –
Then I said softly to myself –
"That must have been the Sun"!
But how he set – I know not –
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while –
Till when they reached the other side –
A Dominie in Gray –
Put gently up the evening Bars –
And led the flock away –

Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. For more of her poems, click here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Celebrate the Season at Princeton Abbey

To celebrate the holidays, Princeton Abbey is hosting a concert featuring Princeton Pro Musica's Chamber Chorus on Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 1 to 3 pm. All are welcome to attend at no charge, compliments of the Princeton Abbey.

"As a new business in the Princeton area, we want to give back to those who have welcomed us so warmly," explains Katherine Walden, with the Princeton Abbey & Cemetery. "We look forward to sharing the Abbey with the community at this special time of year and are honored Princeton Pro Musica is helping us celebrate the season with song."

The program will feature traditional holiday choral pieces and will also include audience participation. Light refreshments, with hot chocolate and cookies, will be provided afterwards.

The Princeton Abbey is located at 75 Mapleton Road, Princeton, NJ.