Category: Pennsylvania

GOP Legislators Trying to Kill Clean Energy in Pennsylvania

In this day and age, with all we’ve learned about climate change and the disastrous effects it’s already having on our Commonwealth, it’s hard to believe there can be this kind of stone age thinking ‘under the dome’ in Harrisburg, Pa, led by none… Continue Reading “GOP Legislators Trying to Kill Clean Energy in Pennsylvania”

First Drive on the Southern Beltway

Pittsburgh’s long awaited Southern Beltway toll road opened yesterday, easing the trip to and from the Pittsburgh International Airport for many travelers. For those living south of Pittsburgh, this route will eliminate battling the traffic snarls that have become far more common in the… Continue Reading “First Drive on the Southern Beltway”

Tesla Energy Production Exceeds Needs (Again)

September brought more positive results, with our solar panels producing enough energy to power our home and charge our electric vehicle, while also “banking” an excess that will be carried forward through net metering. Solar energy production for September = 844.2 kWh Home usage… Continue Reading “Tesla Energy Production Exceeds Needs (Again)”

New Tesla Powerwall App

The latest update to my iPhone apps included an all new Tesla Powerwall app. Our Powerwall2 is a 14kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the garage, entirely charged by solar energy from 21 solar panels on the roof. It serves as a backup for most… Continue Reading “New Tesla Powerwall App”

First Frost

After years of observing the weather in our Pittsburgh area, October 10th became the average date for our first frost, marking the end of the growing season for frost-sensitive plants. It also marks the date to bring houseplants indoors. Recently, when I mentioned this… Continue Reading “First Frost”

Don’t Expect Protection

Pennsylvania Senator Katie Muth hosted a hearing last week, CLOSING THE HAZARDOUS WASTE LOOPHOLE IN PA, where we learned once again why citizens jokingly say the initials D.E.P. (short for Department of Environmental Protection) stand for “Don’t Expect Protection.” Of course it’s no laughing… Continue Reading “Don’t Expect Protection”

National Solar Tour this weekend

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) national tour, both in-person and virtual, takes place Saturday and Sunday. Learn more here. US map of locations Established in 1954, ASES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that advocates for sustainable living and 100% renewable energy by sharing information,… Continue Reading “National Solar Tour this weekend”

PetroChem Pancakes with a dash of Nurdles

Apparently it wasn’t a 3-day pancake breakfast that had staff at a Beaver, Pa. childcare facility smelling pancake syrup last week. According to the September 28, 2021 story “DEP cites Shell for ‘malodors’ outside cracker plant construction site – ‘Strong’ smell ‘like pancake syrup’… Continue Reading “PetroChem Pancakes with a dash of Nurdles”

Earth to Nick

Oblivious to toxic waste pollution and the devastation from climate change, Pennsylvania politicians continue to put frackers first! Washington County commissioners have never been shy about their diehard, all-in support of the oil and gas industry, even in the face of an endless stream… Continue Reading “Earth to Nick”

Public Parks as Cash Cows (no more)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared earlier this year that “all proceeds from the sale of our public natural resources are part of the corpus of our environmental public trust” and that the environmental trustee obligations described in the state constitution apply to ALL levels and… Continue Reading “Public Parks as Cash Cows (no more)”

Clean Energy Week

Looking at our regional electric grid, we have a lot of work to do if we are going to wean ourselves off fossil fuels by 2030, or even 2035! The PJM Interconnection grid, that delivers electricity to WV, PA, OH, NJ and parts of… Continue Reading “Clean Energy Week”

1922 Tournament of Roses

Yesterday we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Washington & Jefferson College’s undefeated season that propelled the team to the game now known as the Rose Bowl. Yesterday, a few of the surviving family members were honored before the kickoff of W&J’s home opener versus… Continue Reading “1922 Tournament of Roses”

Winter Weather Forecast

A woolly bear caterpillar crossed our path Sunday… The caterpillar was our annual reminder of folklore surrounding winter weather forecasting. Pennsylvania PrognosticatorsThe Woolly Bear is nearly as famous for its winter forecast, as Punxsutawney Phil is for his spring forecast. It’s also known as… Continue Reading “Winter Weather Forecast”

Old Growth Forest Destruction

Imagine going into an art museum full of old masterpieces and laying waste to them with a chainsaw. Unthinkable, right? Now imagine those same masterpieces are living, breathing things, the last stalwarts standing tall against climate change. Yesterday’s story in the Seattle Times, B.C.… Continue Reading “Old Growth Forest Destruction”

Mike Tomlin Quotes

Being the great wordsmith that he is, I’ve been posting some of Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s most famous quotes for the past dozen years or more. Probably my favorite quote and nugget of wisdom is: “Be where you are.” MIKE TOMLIN You’ll find… Continue Reading “Mike Tomlin Quotes”

Natural Gas Widowmaker

With an increasing dependence on natural gas for electricity generation, one has to ask what this will mean to future consumer prices. Simon Casey of Bloomberg posted a story and chart yesterday, ‘Widowmaker’ Natural Gas Spread Doubles as Traders Eye Winter – “Natural gas… Continue Reading “Natural Gas Widowmaker”

O Deer!

One important job in the home landscape should never wait. Over the years, I’ve seen whitetail deer cause severe, life threatening damage to young trees. Damage to the main trunk of a tree occurs during deer mating season, which is commonly known as “the… Continue Reading “O Deer!”

Love Your Lawn… Now!

My web page title says it best, “SEPTEMBER IS LAWN MONTH” See all the reasons why: https://bobscaping.com/september-is-lawn-month/ There are two seasons of the year in the midwest and northeastern United States (and similar climate zones) when your odds of lawn seeding success greatly improve:… Continue Reading “Love Your Lawn… Now!”

One Step Forward

In a hard-fought bid to make Pennsylvania the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy, Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to fight climate change passed its last regulatory hurdle yesterday with the IRRC (Independent Regulatory Review Commission). The 3-2 party-line vote… Continue Reading “One Step Forward”

Smart Choice In Ohio

Good news out of Columbus, Ohio on Monday, concerning the decision to quit using radioactive de-icer on state roads The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is finally acting, following lab tests that were done by the ODNR just over 4 years ago, that included… Continue Reading “Smart Choice In Ohio”

Barium, Chloride and Strontium, Oh My!

A study published in SCIENCE (PDF) last week is said to be the first linking surface water contamination to fracking, the layman’s term for hydraulic fracturing, which is used to produce oil and gas from shale, like the Marcellus Shale which underlies a large… Continue Reading “Barium, Chloride and Strontium, Oh My!”

America’s Radioactive Secret

Justin Nobel, Science Journalist for ROLLING STONE, DeSmog, and other US magazines and investigative sites, presents his findings on the radioactivity found in oil and gas development during a Delaware Riverkeeper webinar. Begins at the 11:20 mark of video: More: TENORM: Stories on Fracking’s… Continue Reading “America’s Radioactive Secret”

Finches Return

The “all clear” was sounded at the end of last week for putting birdfeeders back up, so the first to go up was the thistle seed feeder that Finches favor so much, as well as the occasional Chickadee. Last update I read indicated that… Continue Reading “Finches Return”

Skunk Assist

In my battle against a yellowjacket nest that was dangerously close to our front sidewalk, a skunk (or raccoon) intervened to help clean-out the nest. I waited until well after dark the first night to spray the area under this ‘Little Gem’ Spruce with… Continue Reading “Skunk Assist”

Death by a Thousand Spills

Reading the weekly news of the oil and gas fracking industry in the United States reminds one of an old expression, “Death by a thousand cuts,” with the similarity being the cumulative effect of multiple smaller events. With the oil and gas industry, another… Continue Reading “Death by a Thousand Spills”

Fungicide Fish Kill

This headline appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 17, 2021: Fish and Boat officials investigate ‘significant fish kill’ in Chartiers Creek “Waterways conservation officers were dispatched and were on scene that evening and Friday. They found dead fish on banks and floating in the… Continue Reading “Fungicide Fish Kill”

County Fair Season

While we’re already two-thirds of the way through summer, we’re only part way into County Fair season! In order to keep track of all the dates and times of Pittsburgh tri-state events, I created the popular COUNTY FAIR webpage. After a one-year hiatus, it… Continue Reading “County Fair Season”

Steelers Training Camp

Heinz Field is the venue for Steelers training camp in 2021, with free tickets available for 12 more dates through Ticketmaster. These photos were taken on the first day of training camp that was open to the public, Wednesday July 28th. Reserved seats are… Continue Reading “Steelers Training Camp”

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”

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”