Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Many Stories a Barden Can Tell

There are many curious sights in the Barden at Herrontown Woods, and each has a story behind it. This figure was carved two years ago by our chainsaw virtuoso, Victorino, as a bit of whimsy after a morning of tree work in the Barden. Is it sad because it has lost its bark?

The gazebo in the background has a long but fun story behind it. 
This dugout has two stories behind it. One is the story of how it was carved by Princeton High School students. The other is the story that inspired the carving: the Odyssey. 
I'm sure the kids who made these mudpies can tell you all about them, and how delicious they were.
This tree is very quietly telling its story every day at the Barden.
This tree, a dead ash cut down by Victorino, has a story to tell if we take the time to study its markings. The story will be not only about the tree but about the woods or abandoned field in which it sprouted.
I bet its rings will take us back to a time when Herrontown Woods was mostly farm fields. And what sort of insect made that blue-stained channel?
This version of a leaf corral, with a central cylinder for food scraps, tells the story of organic matter's journey back to the soil from which it came. 

Venture up the red trail from the Barden to the little red barn, and the stories really start to get interesting. So impressive that this skeleton is defiant even long after passing. Now that's spirit!
On the next wall over, Teddy Roosevelt has the same pose. Maybe the skeleton is Teddy's!
And it's great to see a skeleton maintaining its flexibility, despite the attritions of age.

Herrontown Woods doesn't have any skeletons in the closet. Just in the barn.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Princeton Council Approves Funding to Remove Asbestos at Veblen House

November 14 was a great day for Veblen House. At the town council meeting that night, council members unanimously approved funding for removal of asbestos in the house. The funding comes from a reserve put in place when Mercer County transferred ownership of Herrontown Woods to Princeton Municipality. 

An article in Town Topics provides more details, and also reports on other ways the town has been assisting the Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW), including some assistance in removing dangerous trees and treating invasive species. 

FOHW leases the Veblen House and Cottage from the town, and our volunteers also maintain trails on 220 acres of public land in Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill Reservation. Though FOHW is primarily responsible for raising funds to repair and repurpose the buildings, we are grateful for the town's key assistance. 

The Return of Portapotty

Much to our individual and collective relief, the portapotty is back. Gray has been replaced by green and brown, and our fear of being liable for a $750 replacement fee has been replaced by a better understanding that mistakes can happen. 

The mystery of the disappearing portapotty, first noticed missing the day before Thanksgiving, continued through the weekend. Were we now living in a world where not even portapotties are safe from theft? 

There had been some detective work. We inspected the spot where it had last been seen. The nearby leaves were undisturbed, suggesting a clean removal. Turned out that the portapotty had not been stolen after all. Rather, one of the company's drivers had mistakenly hauled it away. 

If it had in fact been stolen, we might then have thought twice about getting another one. That in turn would get us thinking more about investing in a composting toilet, which comes up now and then as an alternative. Reportedly, there's one at Rosedale Park. Time for some field research.