Essex 4/3

At last week's town board meeting, the subject of the Essex Youth Commission came up. The board is looking for volunteers to serve on the commission, so if you are interested, please call the town hall at 963-4287.

Outdoor burning is not allowed until May 15, and then only with a permit. There are some exceptions, like for cooking or camp fires, but no leaf, grass or brush burning. This is a new law this year, and Dave Lansing from the fire department wants you to be aware of it. The burning ban began March 15. While you're observing the new law, give a thought to displaying your house number, if you haven't already. It can be crucial in an emergency and it makes life a lot easier for us census workers.

Coming up April 10 at the Whallonsburg Grange will be a showing of the movie "An Education," which is a coming-of-age drama set in 1960s London. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is rated PG-13.

I've gotten several concerned inquiries about the "Welcome to Reber" sign that's occasionally displayed in our yard. It will be coming out later this spring, but for now it's in storage. Unfortunately, it makes an attractive target for motorists throwing bottles, which I then dispose of at the transfer station. It's embarrassing, but the gentlemen at the transfer station understands I couldn't possibly drink all that beer.

In the garden, garlic planted last October is coming up, and I planted spinach seed last week. Before the latest blast of Arctic air, I made tents for the garlic and spinach beds out of a gauzy material called row cover. It admits light and adds a bit of warmth so you get earlier growth. Indoors, we have tiny onion and lettuce seedlings coming up.

I got an e-mail from a reader asking about placing bird nesting boxes, which, sorry to say, is not a subject I know much about. If it's bluebird boxes, they're usually placed about 5 feet off the ground, near low tree branches and lawns. You can also put out nesting boxes for kestrels, small spooky falcons that are often seen sitting on phone wires. Although birds are a favorite subject of mine, please send me any other news you may have, natural or otherwise.

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