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Essex 6/12

Last week, my dog Ginny and I were in town to see the show at the Firehouse Art Gallery. Actually, Ginny stretched out on the cool concrete floor for a snooze while I studied the paintings.

While there, I met an avid reader who asked about the obvious problems white pine trees are showing. The needles are turning a pale yellow on pines all over the North Country, and look like they're dying. White pines shed some of their needles each fall, but not like this. Along the Northway, you can see where road salt has killed white pines, but trees far from roads are having the same problem.

I consulted a local expert, my wife Amy, who said arborists are stumped as to the cause. Since the problem appeared over a huge area at the same time, insects and diseases can be ruled out. Some sort of environmental condition may be the culprit, like wide temperature fluctuations last winter, but right now no one knows what's going on. Amy did say that trees may suffer damage in the winter but won't show signs of injury until spring. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

While in town, we visited the community bulletin board and met the woman who is the unofficial bulletin board keeper. She was taking down old postings and rearranging others, making it nice and neat. I myself occasionally tidy up the bulletin board, but not with the aplomb this lady has. She tolerates out-of-town interlopers, like a certain Willsboro artist, and allowed a notice for a mid-August golf tournament to stay. We both agreed that the advertisement for a klezmer band with no performance date would have to go.

On Saturday, a funeral procession went past our house. Our neighbor, Sam Sayward, passed away after a long struggle with cancer, and his friends gathered with their farm tractors to pay their respects. Sam was a tractor lover. There were dozens of tractors in the cortege, including antique tricycle types, huge 4 wheel drive models, and even a log skidder. It was a fitting and very moving tribute to a well-loved man.

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