Monday, July 26, 2010

Bear Hunt in New Jersey

New Jersey has approved a black bear hunt for December west of 287 and north of Route 80. That is my backyard. I flipped open the paper to finish reading the article. Having a bear hunt has been a controversial subject since the last hunt in 2005. There are many people for and against. It has turned into one of those taboo topics like a politics and religion. I worry about the cubs and fear the horror stories I heard back in '05. We'll see, I suppose.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I leaned in, icy water dripping down my arm, to peer at the cluster of rusty brown harvestmen on the the back of the house. They scattered as the mist from the hose wafted over them. There were small, clearly immature ones as well as large ones. There were also several kinds based on body color; but the dominant variety is the rust ones. I have always liked them. As a child I would pick them up and let them walk on me. They are harmless and tickle as they dance over the hairs on your arm. I still pick them up. They are the non-spider spider. I mean, although they are arachnids they are not spiders. They do not spin webs and do not bite.

They are common and I seem to be having a bumper crop of them this year.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Simon Patch Story

Here lies the body of Mr. Simon Patch who was wounded in ye defense of his country at ye White Plains October 28, 1776 and died of his wounds December 31, 1776. In the 28th year of his age. Photo by Diane Brace

On the eve of this 4th of July weekend, I want to offer you the story of one of my Revolutionary War patriots. Simon Patch (my G5 Grandfather) was a young man just starting out on a farm in Massachusetts. He had been married for 6 years to the lovely Elizabeth Williams and had 4 children, one an infant (my grandfather, Samuel) born in July 1776. While the war swirled around him and his brothers enlisted; he stayed in Ashby clearing the land, but keeping his head cocked and rifle handy. In the fall of 1776, he kissed his tear-streaked wife and marched off with his older brother Jacob to fight in White Plains, NY.

During the battle he was shot in the thigh. Jacob procured a horse and made a litter (by fitting the butt end of small trees to the stirrups of a saddle and covering them with a sack of hay.) to carry Simon the 200 miles back to their family home in Groton, Massachusetts. Through his determination and the kindness of strangers, he made it, but Simon died of his wounds December 31, 1776. His wife remarried in 1780 and his brother Benjamin became the guardian of the children moving them to Vermont.

I was on a message board for the Patch family on back in the winter when I saw a post about this book. I order 2 copies quick as a flash, having one sent directly to my mom. It was so interesting to read about my own people.

Simon Patch DAR # A105895

From Massachusetts Army & Navy, The Revolution 17 Vol.'s: Vol. II, page 1005, Patch, Simon, Ashby. Copy of a list of men who voluntarily enlisted in Sept., 1776, to serve for two months at New York and served accordingly; also, Private Capt. Thomas Warren's Company, Col. Brooks Regement; Company return dated Oct. 31, 1776, and endorsed "White Plains" -- Reported Wounded.

Birth: Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849 Vol I Births. P. 181. "Simon s. Ebenezer and Sarah, July 11, 1749."

Death - Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849. Vol. II Marriage and Deaths. p. 254 "Wounded in defence of his country at White PLains, December 31, 1776a. 27y."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bears Do Know What's in the Can

While I was chatting with Sissy this morning on the phone, a black bear sauntered into the backyard heading straight to where I hang the bird feeders in winter. It must be the same one that has chewed on my feeders in the past. By the time I grabbed my camera, it had moved on. The odd thing was that it was 9 am, late for bears to be about.

Then on my way home from the market this afternoon, I saw one making a beeline to a bear can on the side of the road a few block from the house. The bear reared up and pushed it over and was rolling it around. I inched up in the car and took this picture through the open passenger side window. What you can't see is that the bear was panting, it was noon on a hot summer day, why is this guy not holed up somewhere out of the heat?