Welcome to Bobscaping

Photos and information about landscaping, energy and the environment.

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel, when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy… I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

THOMAS EDISON 1931

Bobscaping Blogs

2nd Cracker Plant in Ohio River Valley?

Judging from a newspaper story in today’s Wheeling, West Virginia newspaper, the PTTGCA ethane cracker plant is still a strong possibility for a shovel-ready site in Dilles Bottom, Ohio, since financial commitments are still being honored. With the forecast 2022 completion of Shell’s new cracker plant, upriver in Monaca, Pennsylvania,…

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Washington County Comprehensive Plan

Washington County, Pennsylvania wants to hear from county residents on their new Comprehensive Plan, last adopted in 2005. The updated plan is being developed with an advisory committee and stakeholder/public input. The final plan will be adopted in Fall 2022. Take the short Public Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WashingtonCoCompPlan Webpage: https://planning-commission-comprehensive-plan-2021-washcodps.hub.arcgis.com/ Public Open…

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Coal, not Gas, as the ‘Bridge Fuel?’

News out of Germany yesterday points to how many nations have been hamstrung by their reliance on natural gas, as supplies tighten and prices whipsaw. Since renewables aren’t quite where they need to be yet, the current crisis, with heating season a scant 12 weeks away, has nations returning to…

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LNG Export Outage Helping US Prices

The June 8, 2022 explosion and fire at the FREEPORT LNG export terminal in Quintana, Texas, dropped the Henry Hub commodity price for natural gas, from $9.34 two days before the incident to $7.26 a week later, a huge 23% price drop. Conversely, LNG prices in Europe and Britain rose…

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Unleashing the American LNG ‘Trojan Horse’

While the CEO of the largest US shale gas producer keeps talking about “unleashing” Marcellus Shale natural gas, and more specifically, it’s condensed liquid form, LNG, we’re suddenly snapped back to its radioactive realities. Reporter JUSTIN NOBEL spelled it out in his June 9, 2022 story, As U.S. LNG Expands…

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Pennsylvania Must Act

Today’s PA Environment Digest Blog contained important testimony from the Pennsylvania Senate Hearing held last Thursday and seen in its entirety in this video. Brian S. Schwartz, MD, MS laid it out with crystal clarity in his June 2, 2022 testimony: “We’ve studied asthma exacerbations. We find out when people…

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Presidential Boost for Solar Energy

It looked like the 2 months long, tariff investigation by the US Commerce Department on solar components from China, could last another 3 months, further kneecapping U.S. solar panel installations, right when they’re needed to fulfill demand and increase renewable energy in the United States. “The investigation essentially halted the…

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Fracking Public Health and Policy in Pennsylvania

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Senators Katie Muth and Jim Brewster hosted a public hearing in Monroeville, PA: “Pennsylvania’s Shale Gas Boom: How Policy Decisions Failed to Protect Public Health and What We Can Do to Correct It.” Watch the 2 hour and 44 minute hearing video here: Direct Link: https://www.senatormuth.com/pa-senate-democratic-caucus-pennsylvanias-shale-gas-boom-how-policy-decisions-failed-to-protect-public-health-and-what-we-can-do-to-correct-it/ FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/senatormuth/videos/974399176561028…

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Pittsburgh Meets Nurdles Following Train Derailment

It was only a matter of time before plastic nurdles began polluting Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers, but we didn’t think it would happen prior to the grand opening of Shell’s Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Beaver County, PA, where they will make trillions of nurdles from fracked gas every year. PETROLEUM…

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Diaries from World War One

Leading up to Memorial Day, I wanted to share several personal memoirs of men who served with the 15th Field Artillery Regiment in France during WWI in 1918. The coat of arms of the 15th FA Regiment above the shield contains a French 75mm Howitzer with the Indianhead of the 2nd ID…

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Oil and Gas Industry’s “Disaster Capitalism”

Have you fallen victim to the oil and gas industry’s disinformation campaign? Have a listen to this new Podcast, or read the transcript, to find out for yourself: New Research: Big Fossil’s Disaster Capitalist Response to Russia-Ukraine“In the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the gas industry is now fully…

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NYC Solar Energy Growth is Impressive

It was impressive to read a recent Clean Energy Update from conEdison and realize how many solar energy systems have been installed in New York City and Westchester County. Customers have already installed more than 44,000 solar systems, with solar capacity increasing nearly 7-fold over the past eight years! New…

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Solar for Schools

It was somewhat of a shock, and definitely a disappointment, when I learned that our new $95 million high school didn’t include any plans for solar energy. One of the Peters Township high school students shared her disappointment with me as well, saying her high school environmental group hadn’t made…

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2021 RGGI Annual Report

Pennsylvania is on track to fully participate in ‘Reggie’ if GOP lawsuits, or the November 8, 2022 gubernatorial election, doesn’t derail the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “This regulation has the support of businesses and residents, and will save lives and millions of dollars by cutting…

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Frackin’ & Crackin’ Plastic This Summer

The story ‘Preparing for Petrochemicals‘ by Rick Mullin appeared on Chemical & Engineering News (c&en) on May 9th. The author took a balanced approach to what this massive Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex (aka ‘cracker plant’) will mean to Beaver County and the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania tri-state region. I’ve been closely following the…

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Time to Rethink Solar Energy

On top of spiraling prices at the pump for gasoline and diesel fuel, this recent headline grabbed everyone’s attention: Pennsylvania electric generation costs increasing up to 45% on June 1st “According to the commission, higher wholesale market prices for electricity are being caused mostly by shifts in supply and demand…

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Widowmakers in Peterswood Park

Apparently, Peters Township doesn’t have enough money budgeted to remove hazardous ‘widowmaker’ trees from their Bebout Road community park in Venetia, Pa since some of these dead trees have been standing for a few years, despite citizens’ repeated safety concerns to Peters Township Council. The problem with delaying their removal…

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Rainy Day Still Produces Solar Energy

How wet was it Friday in western Pennsylvania? Just ask Dr. Oz… it was too wet for ducks!!! Yet even on a rain-soaked Pennsylvania day like that, our solar panels were still producing solar energy. Maybe not the 50 kWh they would on a bumper-to-bumper sunny day, but still far…

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BEWARE of Poison Hemlock

Poison Hemlock has already sprouted this Spring (This blog was originally posted last year, but it’s worth repeating!) You may remember the story about Socrates drinking a cup of Poison Hemlock. Yup, same deadly stuff! Just coming into contact with it can cause you problems. More details about POISON HEMLOCK…

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Netflix Docu-series Revisits Three Mile Island

We watched Part One last night, and thought it was well done. As they point out, this event happened just 12-days after THE CHINA SYNDROME was released in movie theaters. What timing! Checking the PJM Interconnect webpage this morning we see NUCLEAR energy is providing most of our multi-state region…

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‘The Power of Big Oil: Part 3 – Delay’

In addition to a tornado warning —that had us eating supper in our basement at 6:00PM Tuesday evening— the third segment of this PBS Frontline documentary aired later that same evening. I recognized a couple powerful allies in the oil & gas air pollution and methane awareness arena: Tony Ingraffea…

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Solar and EV Update

SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION: During the month of April, with our share of clouds and precipitation just south of Pittsburgh, PA, our rooftop solar panel system (8.97 kW) produced 894.5 kWh of energy. SOLAR PRODUCTION EXCEEDED USAGE:During the same month, our home electricity usage and electric car charging (for 940 miles…

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Dusting by Oil and Gas Drillers

(Reprinted with permission from the May 2, 2022 PA Environment Digest Blog by David E. Hess, former Secretary, PA Department of Environmental Protection) From 2016 to 2021, DEP approved 752 plans for the permanent disposal of drill cuttings at oil and gas well drilling sites through the decades-old practice of…

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All Hail Marcellus Shale

Robert Donnan ©2009 Enter the darkness, in the ground,Frack it, attack it, damn that sound!Gas to be drilled, big money found,Spewing secret chemicals all around.  Steal the water, from the fish,Pump it, pipe it, spot the dish.Secret formula? Aw tish-tish,Resolve it later, don’t we wish!  Will it all, to your kids’ grandkid,Don’t…

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Pa. Act 14 Notifications and Local Communities

Last night in Jefferson Hills Borough, Pennsylvania, Lisa Graves-Marcucci, Pennsylvania Coordinator of Community Outreach for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), gave an informational presentation to the borough’s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) regarding Act 14 notifications. These important Act 14 notifications, sent by certified or registered mail, regarding applications for upcoming…

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The Power of Big Oil

In Part Two of the FRONTLINE series titled “Doubt” we see the finagling that went on by oil company executives, special interests, lobbyists and elected officials, to delay climate change action, and extending through several presidential administrations. VIDEO: The Power of Big Oil – Part Two: Doubt (52 minutes)

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The ‘Un-Natural Gas’ Radioactive Waste Stream

A well-written and researched story by Justin Nobel was published yesterday on DeSmog: ‘This Needs to Be Fixed’: Nuclear Expert Calls Radioactivity Levels Found Outside Ohio Oilfield Waste Facility ‘Excessive’. Justin’s MUST READ story is about a facility in Martins Ferry, Ohio, that processes radioactive waste from oil and gas…

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‘Time to Wake Up’ Farewell

I’m old enough to remember when saffron-robed Buddhist priests immolated themselves during the Vietnam War years of mass destruction and political corruption. On Earth Day, there was a repeat of that sort of supreme sacrifice by Colorado photojournalist Wynn Alan Bruce, a practicing Buddhist and climate activist. He self-immolated on…

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Big Oil

Two things recently caught my attention, the first being a 3-part series airing on PBS stations. The Power of Big Oil (Part One: Denial) “FRONTLINE examines the fossil fuel industry’s history of casting doubt and delaying action on climate change. Part One of this three-part series charts the fossil fuel…

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Spring Glory on Easter Sunday

We were lucky to catch the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens during its final days last week. The photos I took using an iPhone 13 Mini have been assembled into a short, high resolution video posted here for your enjoyment: MORE: Bobscaping videos on YouTube

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Pennsylvania has a Methane Problem

(UPDATED: FULL REPORT AND APPENDICES LINKED BELOW) In the big push by GOP candidates in the US Senate and Pennsylvania gubernatorial races for an accelerated amount of drilling and fracking in our Keystone state, these candidates are ignoring an existing problem with fugitive methane emissions from existing and abandoned wells.…

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Birds Eye View of Pennsylvania Gas Production

You really need this sort of birds eye view to fully realize the widespread oil and gas development that’s taken place in western Pennsylvania since 2004, when the first Marcellus Shale gas well was drilled in Westland, Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, followed by more early development around Hickory, Washington County,…

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Marcellus Shale Land Grab

There’s been some squawking lately about the prospect of some proposed, large scale solar farms, eating up too much farm land in Pennsylvania. One article made reference to one-percent of the farm land in Lawrence County, Pa as being a large amount for a solar farm. To that, I would…

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Crabgrass Control Now

L.O.L. SIGN IN FRONT OF GARDEN CENTER: “Grouchy hippies smoke crabgrass.” BACK TO REALITY: It’s that time of year to control crabgrass on home lawns, by applying a “pre-emergent” — meaning a product that has to be on the lawn BEFORE crabgrass germinates. I’m not at all concerned about it…

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HVAC Update with Heat Pump

Now that more of our home electricity requirements are provided by solar energy, it was time to upgrade our HVAC system to a heat pump, instead of just replacing the old central air conditioning unit. A far more efficient gas furnace was also installed for heat backup, when temperatures drop…

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Rethinking Biosolids as Fertilizer

Even though I’ve been a big fan of Milorganite for lawns and shrub beds over the years, news stories over the past 10 months have given me pause. On the plus side, are its characteristics as a non-burning and slow-release organic fertilizer, as well as a level of iron (Fe)…

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Energy Security

While the Department of Defense and others ‘in the know’ call for greater security from renewables, it’s the oil and gas industry trying to spin it the opposite way. “The world is changing, and we at the Department of Defense can’t afford to stand still. We need to compete for…

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About Bobscaping
Growing colorful gourds on a string trellis as a child was Bob’s first inspirational success, but Bob began his 35-year landscape contracting career following graduation from the Ornamental Nursery Industry program in Penn State’s College of Agriculture, where course studies included tree culture, turfgrass maintenance, plant pathology, agronomy, entomology, and other specialized horticulture classes on main campus in State College.
“Tree hugger”
Prior to university studies, Bob spent 7 years growing tree seedlings in his own nursery, as well as learning the proper methods of hand digging evergreen shrubs and large shade trees, while working at a commercial nursery. Landscaping, gardening and environmental issues continue to be lifetime passions in retirement.
Over 20 years on the world wide web!
Through work on four web sites over the past two decades, Bob has shared his textbook knowledge and hands-on experience with trees, shrubs, lawns and garden plants in varied landscape settings. This shared information has helped homeowners improve their own home’s curb appeal, while giving them the personal satisfaction of performing do-it-yourself gardening tasks, while using proper landscaping techniques and timing.
Bobscaping provides easy to understand information on tree and shrub trimming, lawn seeding, lawn care, soil improvement, fertilizer and basic everyday landscape maintenance topics.
See for yourself
Bobscaping “How To” videos help do-it-yourself home gardeners with step-by-step instructions, while also sharing tours of premier gardens, arboretums and conservatories. Many of the videos now have closed captioning (CC). Thousands of shrub photos and tree photos will further enhance your visit here.
And as we say in the business: Green side up!
Bob