Friday, December 27, 2019

First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands invites everyone to a First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 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 1.5 mile loop hike through the Mapleton Preserve.

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

Photo: 2019 First Day Hikers by Laura  Hawkins

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Postcard

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thanksgiving Day Walk in the Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for a walk in the woods on Thanksgiving morning. FPNL's annual Thanksgiving Day morning exploration of the Mapleton Preserve takes place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, at 10 am. The program will begin at the main office for the D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. Come work up a Thanksgiving appetite. With the aid of magnifying glasses, explorers will look for often overlooked natural things and enjoy the abundance and subtle beauty of late fall. 

This walk is free and all are welcome, but preregistration is requested. Please call 609-683-0483 to reserve a spot. For more information, visit the FPNL website.

Photo: Karen Linder

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Fall Back

Remember to move your clocks back one hour tonight. Daylight saving time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 3.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

KGA Fall Foliage Walk

Kingston Greenways Association will host a fall foliage walk along the bed of the former Rocky Hill Branch Railroad on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at 1:30 pm. This walk will be led by railroad historian John Kilbride. After 34 years with Amtrak, John is now the moderator of the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historians and Railroads of Trenton Facebook groups.

The walk will start at the Kingston Locktender's House, just off Route 27 at the D&R Canal in Kingston, and continue to Rocky Hill and back to Kingston. The walk should take about 90 minutes. This event is free. All are welcome.

Photo of Railroad Depot & Canal, Kingston, c. 1910: Collection of The Historical Society of Princeton

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Elijah Cummings

1951 – 2019

"When we're dancing with the angels, the question we'll be asked: In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?"

Photo: US House Office of Photography

Monday, September 23, 2019

National Public Lands Day at Mapleton Preserve

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands and Kingston Greenways Association will host the annual National Public Lands Day work session in the Mapleton Preserve on Saturday, September 28, 2019, from 1 to 4 pm. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. FPNL and KGA invite the public to play a part and contribute to the restoration of the Mapleton Preserve, the former home of Princeton Nurseries. The Princeton Nurseries Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a significant historical site in central New Jersey.

FPNL's focus this year is removing brush, vines, invasive saplings and shrubs from the Preserve's signature ginkgo row, caring for trees in the Flemer Arboretum, weeding the butterfly garden and collecting litter with the trash crew. Volunteers are asked to bring their own loppers, saws, rakes and shovels. Sturdy shoes, work gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats are also recommended.

The entrance to the Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. For more information, visit the FPNL website or call 609-683-0483.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sandy Hook Promise PSA

This Public Service Announcement from Sandy Hook Promise contains graphic content related to school shootings that may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel that this subject matter may be too difficult for you, you may choose not to watch this video.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Valerie Harper

1939 – 2019

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Toni Morrison

1931 – 2019

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Sunday, June 23, 2019

How Was Your Weekend?

I spent part of mine removing standing water from the shrub bed at the front of our house. Despite repeated requests to our management company, FirstService Residential, nothing has been done to solve this problem. It's clearly our Association's responsibility, but that doesn't seem to make any difference. So Saturday morning, after a week of heavy rain, I got out the wet vac to get the water out of the bed and give it a chance to dry out a little over the nice sunny weekend that was forecast. With more showers coming in the week ahead, it was a temporary solution at best, but I hope it's enough to help the shrubs survive for now. There's a big rhododendron at the corner of the house that is struggling and probably has root rot caused by the bad drainage. The rhododendron that was next to it had to be removed. Both were already large, mature plants when we bought the house 18 years ago. It's a shame to see beautiful, long-established landscaping ruined by poor maintenance. As I noted in my previous post, one of our property managers, Anna DeSimone, finally came and looked at the problem in mid-April (although I raised it with FirstService months before that). She brought a representative of our Association's landscape contractor, BrightView. Since then nothing has been done and it seems nothing will be done. So much for carefree condo living.

Friday, June 21, 2019

FirstService . . . or NoService?

After waiting over eight months for help—any kind of help—with a drainage problem, we had received no assistance. We had hoped a visit in mid-April by Anna DeSimone, one of the managers from FirstService Residential, and a BrightView representative would finally bring some action. But we heard nothing further after that. Then, in a chance encounter a few days ago outside our home, the same property manager finally admitted (two months after she was here) that no action would be taken. It seems like our Association has no intention of even trying to alleviate the water problem, and Ms. DeSimone wasn't even going to give us the courtesy of saying so.

Then to make matters worse, our landscape contractor BrightView just mowed our very wet, poorly drained lawn after a week of heavy rain. These pictures show the results. 

How much do we have to pay in monthly maintenance fees before we get the service we're paying for?

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

KHS Spring Program: New World Dutch Barns

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, the Kingston Historical Society will hold its spring program on New World Dutch barns. The program will take place in the barn at Rockingham State Historic Site at 84 Laurel Avenue in Kingston. Admission is free.

The program will begin at 7:00 pm with Victory Chase's video on the Rockingham Barn Raising, and refreshments will be served. At 7:45 pm, Elric Endersby will deliver an illustrated talk, "Arcades and Anchorbents: The Origins and Characteristics of New World Dutch Barns."

Elric Endersby is a founding partner of The New Jersey Barn Company, which disassembled the ruinous late 18th century Nevius Barn from the Middlebush area of central Franklin Township in 1999, and raised it at Rockingham in 2013. Victory Chase recorded this work on video over five weeks, from October 21 to November 25, 2013.

Photo of Rockingham Barn, Rockingham Historic Site, Kingston, courtesy of Elric Endersby

Monday, May 13, 2019

FirstService Residential Drops the Ball

We're having a lot of rain this spring. What may be good for plants and reservoirs is not necessarily good if you're dealing with drainage issues around your home. Despite repeated requests over many months to FirstService Residential, our management company is not offering any solutions to a serious and persistent water problem. When it rains, water collects at the foundation of our home and in the adjacent planting bed. Two foundation plantings, one a large well-established rhododendron, have already been removed due to root rot. Another, the last remaining foundation planting, is showing signs that it will also need to be removed. After many requests, a FirstService Residential property manager came to see it with a manager from our landscape contractor BrightView. Since then we've heard nothing. Water problems around a home should be taken seriously. Maintenance fees for the last few months have included dues, association insurance fees and an assessment, which totaled $960 a month. How much money is enough to expect service from FirstService Residential?

Doris Day

1922 – 2019

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Spring Walk in the Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for a Spring Celebration Walk in the Mapleton Preserve on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The walk through the former Princeton Nurseries Kingston site will be led by Rick Henkel (photo above), who was the Sales Manager for Princeton Nurseries for 32 years. Rick has an extraordinary knowledge of trees and knows the Kingston site and its trees extremely well. The walk begins at 2 pm. Meet at the Main Office for the D&R Canal State Park at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston for this leisurely two-hour afternoon walk. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo of Rick Henkel by Jonathan Michalik

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Kingston Fire Co Donates Truck to Puerto Rico

On Friday, April 19, 2019, Agostino Racanati of the Kingston Volunteer Company (KVFC) and South Brunswick Fire District #3 handed over the title for their superbly maintained 1988 Spartan 3D Engine to Chief Eulando Piñero of the Metro Emergency Response Team of Bayamon City, Puerto Rico. Bayamon is Puerto Rico's second-largest municipality and is part of the metropolitan area centered on San Juan.

Following a blessing by Rev. Sharyl Dixon of the Kingston Presbyterian Church, KVFC Chief George Luck, Jr., gave a brief talk about what led to this event. Last year Fire Chief Piñero contacted the Bridgewater Board of Fire Commissioners District #4 for help in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The plea for equipment and supplies was quickly answered by central New Jersey's local fire departments. The truck, which had served the Monmouth Junction Fire Department for 28 years, was being replaced. Instead it will be fully stocked with supplies and equipment donated by other local fire departments and shipped to Puerto Rico.

Chief Piñero expressed gratitude for the many firefighters who participated in this project. One of the key partners, Captain Borke of the New Brunswick Fire Department, said the brotherhood/sisterhood of firefighters, "is so strong that it almost brings tears to my eyes." Officer Fedor Salvador of the North Brunswick Police Department also praised the network that came together to provide support for their colleagues in Puerto Rico.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Poem in Your Pocket Day

She Walketh Veiled and Sleeping
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power;
She obeyeth but the pleading
Of her heart, and the high leading
Of her soul, unto this hour.
Slow advancing, halting, creeping,
Comes the Woman to the Hour!—
She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power.

                                              Painting: Odilon Redon

Monday, April 1, 2019

National Poetry Month

I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine.

— Marianne Moore

For the first time, the 2019 official National Poetry Month poster features  artwork by a high school student: tenth grader Julia Wang from San Jose, California, who has won the inaugural National Poetry Month Poster Contest. Wang's artwork was selected from among more than 450 student submissions. It incorporates lines from the poem "An Old Story" by current U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

W.S. Merwin

1927 – 2019

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

from W.S. Merwin's poem "For the Anniversary of My Death" from The Second Four Books of Poems (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993).

Photograph: Nancy Crampton for The Paris Review

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spring Ahead

Remember to move your clocks ahead one hour tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2:00 am on Sunday, March10.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Barking Up the Right Tree

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will host a workshop on how to identify trees in winter on Sunday, March 10, 2019, from 1 to 4 pm. Even without their leaves, clues can be found in buds, fruits, leaf scars, branching patterns and bark. Dress for the weather for this walk in the Mapleton Preserve. Bring binoculars and a hand lens if you have them. This is an intensive workshop and is limited to 10 people. Cost is $20 per person for materials. Preregistration is required at 609-608-6455. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston.

Photo: Gingko buds by Tari Pantaleo

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MLK Day of Service Rescheduled

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands has rescheduled its National Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for Monday, February 18, 2019, from noon to 3 pm. For details, see our post below.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

MLK Day of Service Postponed

Due to the bitter cold and serious icing in Monday's weather forecast, the MLK Day of Service in the Mapleton Preserve has been postponed until Presidents' Day, Monday, February 18, 2019.  Check FPNL for further updates as the date gets closer.

Friday, January 18, 2019

MLK Day of Service in the Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands on Monday, January 21, 2019, 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 a must. For more information, or if you would like to involve a group to help, call 609-683-0483 or visit the FPNL website. 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.)