This coming Tuesday evening, Jim and Colleen Van Hoven will present a talk titled "Adventures in the Amazon Rainforest" at the Essex Community Church. It starts at 7:30, refreshments will be offered, and donations to the library will be gladly accepted.

While we were out walking the other day, Ginny and I spotted several male bluebirds hanging out in a thicket on the edge of a hay field. There may have been females as well, but they weren't apparent. Although they prefer a diet of insects, if bluebirds have enough fruit, like wild grapes or sumac, they can overwinter in this area. They usually fledge two broods, and the young from the second batch spend the winter with their parents. Fifty years ago, bluebirds were in a dangerous decline, mostly because non-native house sparrows and starlings were taking over their nesting sites. Today they are doing very well, thanks to a huge network of bird lovers who put out nesting boxes.

In downtown Essex, the rock cutting machine is working steadily, grinding out sewer line trenches in ledge. It sounds like a very long train going by, accompanied by clouds of rock dust. This is one machine I do not want to try operating.

I can't resist putting in my two cents on the ferry brouhaha, which is let it close. I don't wish misery on anyone, but I don't mind the isolation, and one can't expect weather on the lake and human enterprises to always meet expectations. I don't regard the ferry company as malicious, and the miniscule government subsidies they get probably keep ticket prices down. Be of good cheer, and remember it's just this winter to get through, because the new bridge should be open next fall, and the lake will again be aswim with ferries.

Amy occasionally invites Cornell professors to dinner at our house if they're in the area, and this evening a vegetable expert will be here, along with several farmers. Cornell people are very pleasant, but they don't crack jokes, they aren't too amusing, but they do eat a lot. They aren't shy about seconds and even thirds, and of course they're all skinny as rails.

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