Category: Pennsylvania

Brown Foam

When the frackers began to ramp- up their fracking activities in our county, just over a decade ago, my greatest pollution concerns were for our streams, rivers and lakes. It made perfect sense then, and even more sense now, as we have seen repeated… Continue Reading “Brown Foam”

Poisoning Pennsylvania

We had yet another ‘Stuck on Stupid’ moment this week when news emerged about the use of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas wells. Approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency! This comes on the heels of past revelations about… Continue Reading “Poisoning Pennsylvania”

Household Battery Backup

When we added the first eleven solar panels to our roof three years ago, we also added a Tesla Powerwall 2 (lithium- ion) backup battery (rated at 14 kWh) to the mix. The greatest advantage to me, is the ability of our house to… Continue Reading “Household Battery Backup”

Its the Beetles!

Along with Independence Day, Lightning Bugs, and the heat and humidity in western Pennsylvania, July brings back the Beetles! Not the singing type, more the chewing type. These buggers are primarily known for the lawn damage they cause, which seems especially noticeable on lawns… Continue Reading “Its the Beetles!”

More Frac Fluid Fears

While the oil and gas industry is attempting to rebrand some of its fracked gas as being more ‘green,’ and to spin ‘unnatural gas’ in a more positive light, yesterday’s newspaper stories reminded those of us who follow fracking of their long- running, and… Continue Reading “More Frac Fluid Fears”

Solar Energy In The Rain

It’s hard to believe that you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day, even though it’s true. Even harder to believe, is that you can produce solar energy on a rainy morning, but that’s also true! That’s right, even though it rained all… Continue Reading “Solar Energy In The Rain”

Going Solar With Large Trees

When we first landscaped our house, nearly 40 years ago, we made sure to plant a large growing Maple on the west side. That planting location came very close to the concept of planting a large deciduous tree on the southwest side of a… Continue Reading “Going Solar With Large Trees”

Lightning Bugs Are Back

While some call them Fireflies or Glowworms, we’ve always called them Lightning Bugs. Here in southwestern Pennsylvania they seem synonymous with the 4th of July, for the timing of their annual nocturnal appearance. True to form, it was nice to see their blinking yellow… Continue Reading “Lightning Bugs Are Back”

Hardening Off

When we schedule outdoor plant maintenance activities, using certain annual holidays as reminders really helps. For the 4th of July, Independence Day holiday, two things come to mind. The first regards daffodils and narcissus Following the Spring blossoms of these hardy bulbs, gardeners are… Continue Reading “Hardening Off”

Birdbath Down

About three weeks ago, we added a new birdbath to our backyard landscape, to help complement the three birdfeeders we added in late winter, when it seemed like the birds deserved some additional food sources, on the tail end of a nasty winter. The… Continue Reading “Birdbath Down”

Adverse Possession

It was 45 years ago, when I first learned of a law in Pennsylvania, known as “adverse possession.” There was property we owned back then, where neighbors had ‘cut a corner’ so to speak, by running their driveway over the corner of our building… Continue Reading “Adverse Possession”

No Steelers Training Camp

For the second year in a row, we won’t be making the late- July early- August pilgrimage to Steelers Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the NFL teams that won’t be permitted to hold a… Continue Reading “No Steelers Training Camp”

Fracking With Fitz

Following a recent protest in front of the City County building in downtown Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald made a few erroneous statements to the Press, according to a recent story by Eric de Place, a research fellow at the Ohio River… Continue Reading “Fracking With Fitz”

Compressor Stations

The progression of Marcellus Shale oil and gas development, processing, and export in western Pennsylvania has gone like this: 1. Seismic Surveys – Widespread exploration began with seismic surveys, that used “thumper trucks” and shot holes with explosive charges, to determine what the underground… Continue Reading “Compressor Stations”

4 Million Reasons

Our Washington County, Pennsylvania has a long, disturbing history when it comes to football field sized impoundments, 15 to 20 feet deep, which are used by the oil and gas industry to ‘hold’ their liquid waste, or should we say, are supposed to hold… Continue Reading “4 Million Reasons”

Code Orange Doubleheader

The weather is playing a doubleheader in the Pittsburgh region this weekend, with Sunday being the second of back- to- back CODE ORANGE weather alerts. Code Orange days cause problems for young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues like asthma, emphysema, and… Continue Reading “Code Orange Doubleheader”

Big Solar Denied

The banner on the Mount Joy Township website, describes the township as “A Community with Rural Character and a Rich History.” Rich history refers to the Battle of Gettysburg, a famous Pennsylvania battle, 158 years ago next month, in the ‘War between the States,’… Continue Reading “Big Solar Denied”

TENORM Mountains

You’ve probably heard of the Allegheny Mountains. Also known as the Appalachian Mountain Range, it extends 400 miles through Pennsylvania, and several other states. As famous as those mountains are, Pennsylvania is now becoming known more for the 30 new “mountains” that it’s creating,… Continue Reading “TENORM Mountains”

Long Gone

Paul Urquhart of McMurray, Pennsylvania, volunteered for a second tour of duty in Vietnam, and while he is believed to have perished in his Loach helicopter crash, 50 years ago this Memorial Day, his body has never been recovered, so he technically remains “Missing… Continue Reading “Long Gone”

Honoring Tom

It was a local high school student, Brian Hottel, at Peters Township High School, who first raised my awareness of Tom Shipe. A newspaper story said that Brian wanted to create a memorial at the high school to honor Tom, who had never returned… Continue Reading “Honoring Tom”

Pennsylvania Fracking Reform

Pennsylvania legislators and our Attorney General are promoting new, overdue legislation, to help protect Pennsylvanians from the drilling and fracking of the unconventional oil and gas industry. PUBLIC HERALD has been head and shoulders above the rest of the media outlets, in reporting the… Continue Reading “Pennsylvania Fracking Reform”

Pittsburgh’s Best Kept Secret

Packed with beautiful annual flowers, perennials, trees, shrubs and vines, this roadside garden center in the South Hills has it all. Shrubs ‘n Stuf on Library Road (Route 88 in Bethel Park), just south of the entrance to South Park and the first McDonald’s… Continue Reading “Pittsburgh’s Best Kept Secret”

Dragging Hose

Since a great, all day, soaking rain on Mothers Day, our Pittsburgh area weather has been hot and dry, so this is the precise time when watering your outdoor plants can make a real difference. While all the trees and shrubs in the Pittsburgh… Continue Reading “Dragging Hose”

Recuse Yourself Judge!

There’s no way a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge should be ruling on a court case, involving gas drilling and municipal zoning, when he was a cheerleader for Act 13, drilling and fracking, and the Shell cracker plant, for over a decade! Last I heard,… Continue Reading “Recuse Yourself Judge!”

Deadheading Rhododendrons

Seeing the fantastic Spring blossoms on Rhododendrons, brings up the next question, to deadhead or not to deadhead? And probably then, what is deadheading? We’ve been noticing a large number of blossoms on Rhododendrons around western Pennsylvania this Spring, thinking that they are having… Continue Reading “Deadheading Rhododendrons”

Uncommon Beauty

Common shrubs often exhibit uncommon beauty, and Bridal Wreath Spirea is one of those shrubs. The moment to capture a good photo is often very fleeting, whether that timeframe is measured in minutes, days or weeks. With a sky shot, it can be minutes,… Continue Reading “Uncommon Beauty”

Moving Day

With our local weather lady forecasting July- like weather for this coming week around Pittsburgh, it’s time to move my office mates onto the front porch. Before we had all the crazy twists and turns of climate change, I always figured May 20th was… Continue Reading “Moving Day”

Returning The Favor

There was a lively debate going on in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, eight years ago, regarding the potential leasing of the DEER LAKES PARK gas rights. Concerned citizens filled the chambers of multiple Allegheny County Council meetings, in an attempt to get a ‘No’ vote… Continue Reading “Returning The Favor”

On Deaf Ears

My persistent efforts, and extensively researched comments, were shared with our Washington County commissioners over the past decade, and did nothing to prevent our premiere county park from being used as a ‘cash cow’ to produce revenue, from oil and gas drilling and fracking.… Continue Reading “On Deaf Ears”

Republicans Love Fracking

A group of environmental reporters, recently polled Pennsylvania legislators, for their reactions on the results of some disturbing health studies, both past and present, regarding those citizens who live in close proximity to unconventional oil and gas well drilling and fracking, primarily in southwestern… Continue Reading “Republicans Love Fracking”

The 4 Minute Gap

Those of us watching the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court hearing yesterday were surprised when we were excluded from 4 minutes and 48 seconds of that virtual public hearing. It turns out that Panel 2 of the Commonwealth Court yesterday morning, included a judge who was… Continue Reading “The 4 Minute Gap”

Fracked By Zoning

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court will hear arguments on an important case on fracking, as it relates to residential zoning, this Monday. Those who have followed fracking closely in Pennsylvania, over the past decade, recall alarming legislation that was passed by our state legislature, known as… Continue Reading “Fracked By Zoning”

Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf and P.F.A.S. Years ago, when our Peters Township high school switched its football field from natural grass to artificial turf, I was asking one of the right questions: Where will the artificial turf get disposed of when it’s replaced after 10 years?… Continue Reading “Artificial Turf”

World Class

Sometimes the best is close to home! If I’ve driven past McMurray Nursery once, I’ve driven past there 10,000 times. It’s completely evolved over those 40 years, most recently under the loving care of its third owner, Paul Hauber. Due to extensive work on… Continue Reading “World Class”

Fire Blight

Some plants suffer from being ‘pushed’ with too much Nitrogen fertilizer. Fire blight is caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora and affects over 100 different plants. It’s generally more serious in Apple and Pear trees in orchards due to loss of production (technical information). First… Continue Reading “Fire Blight”

Rain Gauge

How much rain did we get? Weather can be very localized, so it’s hard to know how much rain you actually got without a rain gauge. Checking our rain gauge this morning, I see we got just over one-inch of rain over the past… Continue Reading “Rain Gauge”

Deadwood

Bought a 2x4x8 stud lately? Pennsylvania is known for its hardwood trees, but it’s the softwoods attracting all the attention right now. Spruce, Pine and Fir aka ‘SPF‘ in timber talk. Do-it-yourselfers and home builders are getting stung by a huge rise in lumber… Continue Reading “Deadwood”

Throw and Grow

The nickname my Penn State professor gave Perennial Ryegrass has stuck with me all these years. Tom Watschke was one of those teachers you were fortunate to have, one of the truly memorable ones through all your years of schooling, due to his knowledge,… Continue Reading “Throw and Grow”

Zoysia Brown

Think twice before planting Zoysia grass on a northern lawn, unless you really like that ‘straw brown’ color. It’s that time of year when newspaper and magazine ads promote the idea of adding Zoysia grass to your lawn. The sales pitch can be quite… Continue Reading “Zoysia Brown”

Shrimp of the Land

This story from New Jersey caught my attention this morning… imagine actually eating those weird looking Cicadas! Billions of 17-year periodical cicadas are predicted to emerge this spring across the U.S. (Shutterstock) Some people call them Locusts, but they are actually Cicadas. You may soon… Continue Reading “Shrimp of the Land”