Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Got grubs? Get the hot sauce!

"Grumble, grumble. Grubs again." Photo: JB, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

“Grumble, grumble. Grubs again.” Photo: JB, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

At forty-two percent protein, they’re highly nutritious, and in many countries are considered a delicacy. Here in northern New York, we produce them in droves—lawn grubs, the immature form of beetles such as Japanese beetles, European Chafers, Oriental beetles, and the recently arrived Asiatic garden beetles. Grubs kill grass by eating roots to the point that it can be peeled up like a carpet. Damage can be compounded by skunks, moles, and crows grubbing for the tasty critters.

The time grubs best succumb to treatment, either natural or chemical, is when they’re small, generally in mid- to late August. Right now, mature grubs are thinking about pupation, after which they’ll emerge as beetles. The only way to rout them at this juncture would be to hire a surfeit of skunks. Then you’d have other problems.

One bright spot in the Battle of the Grubs is that a recently approved chemical appears to be both very effective and non-toxic, two things which unfortunately don’t always go together. It poses no threat to bees, which has been a concern with imidacloprid, a very popular grub control chemical. In 2013, the European Union issued a two-year ban on imidacloprid in light of research suggesting it may adversely affect honey bees.

This name of this new compound, chlorantraniliprole, is a tongue twister, but it’s important to know so you can be sure you’re getting the right stuff. It’s available to homeowners under the brand name GrubEx™. Sometimes it can take a year or two for an older formulation to work its way out of the supply chain, so check the label to be sure that you’re getting chlorantraniliprole.

As mentioned, timing is critical for successful grub control because their most vulnerable life stage is in late summer. It can be confusing though, because different chemicals take varying lengths of time to become effective. Chlorantraniliprole takes 60-90 days to work and should be applied by the end of May, at the latest, in order to kill grubs in August. Products containing other chemicals are available, each with its own application schedule.

Imidacloprid takes 30+ days to reach maximum effectiveness and has to be applied in June to mid-July. The chemical in fast-acting “24-hour” grub products is either trichlorfon or carbaryl. This type of product is applied in late summer. Both active ingredients are highly toxic, so keep children, pets, and wildlife away from treated areas for at least a day following application.

According to Cornell, our soils are too cool for milky spore disease, a biological grub control, to survive. However, beneficial nematodes, which are near-microscopic soil organisms that attack most grub species, are quite effective. Plus they’re nontoxic and don’t harm other organisms. Beneficial nematodes are fragile, and must be applied soon after they arrive. They can be ordered online, or ask at your local garden center.

Because applying grub chemicals in the spring is a poor choice, the best thing to do is to reseed bare spots now and to mow high — 3-4 inches — so the grass will make stronger roots.

Or you could mix some batter, fire up the deep fryer and go grub up some dinner from the lawn.

PESTICIDE DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to provide correct, complete and up-to-date pesticide recommendations. Nevertheless, changes in pesticide regulations occur often, and human errors are still possible. These recommendations are not a substitute for pesticide labeling. Please read the label before applying any pesticide and follow the directions exactly.

Paul Hetzler is a horticulture and natural resources educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

In a springtime mood

I was astonished to hear yesterday that in Saranac Lake the hard frost from this long winter still runs deep enough to keep the water pipes of some folks frozen even now. It feels pretty definitely like spring in Potsdam. Just in time, too; I could use another snow flurry like a stick in the eye.

I’m just starting to turn the corner, mood-wise, and just starting to turn my eye toward the aftermath, which doesn’t help much, mood-wise. For example, it seemed like a good choice to just fill the entire back porch with empty cardboard boxes over the winter, rather than to shovel out the recycling wheelie. So there’s a lot of box-cutter work for the weekend instead of my first choice–watching the daffodils bloom from a lawn chair.

And much as I enjoyed watching other folks plow the road and the driveway all winter long while I drank coffee by the window above the heat vent, now sand and salt and gravel and peeled sod are everywhere. Something to do after recycling–say this afternoon.

Another one down. Photo: Dan Jeffrey, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Another one down. Photo: Dan Jeffrey, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

And that’s just the beginning of my “honey-do” list. Well, to be fair, I make my own list and have no one else to blame. A fourth fallen tree has joined its three buddies that I have been letting mulch down where they lay. Three more are standing dead. Chainsaw work has never been on my list, but finding and paying a tree guy is.

And falling ice broke two windows and three clapboards on the back porch. Not a repair job one would want to entrust to an English major whose main talent lies in poetry. Picking up fallen limbs and sticks and raking out beds is more my speed. And I’m an excellent wheelbarrow motor. Sunday, perhaps.

So, one more lovely weekend I will never get back again. Having all that stuff done will be an improvement, mood-wise, I have no doubt. And next weekend–weather willing–it’ll be strictly lawn chair, baby. Lawn chair and, oh yeah, bug dope.

Your music has gone to a better place

Like many once-maniacal music collectors of my age, I still have a dozen feet of vinyl that hangs out in an out-of-the-way part of the house mostly ignored, like an old dog that can’t be troubled to move around much anymore.

I imagine that many such collections just disappear one day; I’d come home and my wife, trying to be kind, would say that my music hadn’t died, it had just gone to live on a nice farm upstate.


“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” a heinous but mind-altering composition.

NCPR seems to be that farm upstate, because every so often boxes of old vinyl LPs just turn up here. They are of every different breed from classical to comedy to rock to folk to jazz. And the various music hosts comb them over, looking for lost purebreds among the many mutts.

Radio Bob was spinning discs from one such adoption yesterday in the mini-studio next to my office. Usually I ignore the hubbub, but I suddenly found myself up out of my chair, looking over his shoulder while “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly twisted the air. Now this is a 17-minute audio cliché–to modern ears a truly heinous bit of composition, overblown and self-indulgent. And yet I was instantly transported to a day in 1968 when I ran across a friend peeling the plastic off the just-released LP cover, a twelve by twelve square of riotous color, immense hair, and chubby Art Nouveau lettering. He was heading toward the library at (then) Potsdam State, where they had listening carrels decked out with pretty good turntables and a library necessity, headphones.

My own home audio gear consisted of a fiberboard-encased portable record changer made by Montgomery Ward, with tinny speakers latched to it by buckles and hinges. Nothing in my 15 years had prepared me for this–Psychedelic. Rock. On. Headphones.

I’ve never really been the same since. Clearly, my day’s work was going to be put on hold while I relived a time in my life when there was nothing more important than what music you bought and played, what bands you followed, what concerts you hitch-hiked to attend, what posters were on the bedroom wall.

No music that came after those teen-aged years has had such life-changing consequences. And though the music itself is not so great looked at through the perspective of nearly half a century, I retain the belief that music is a mind-altering substance. It should change your life. It’s magical and important; it should be a really big deal.

Is there a particular piece of music that first blew your mind and rocked your world? Say what and when and why in a comment below.

Coltsfoot: Eye candy and cough syrup

Coltsfoot in bloom. Archive Photo of the Day: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY

Coltsfoot in bloom. Archive Photo of the Day: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY

I haven’t checked with an optometrist, but I may have a winter-related vision problem. When five or six months of winter-white finally give way to a mostly brown world each early spring, my eyeballs ache for something bright in the landscape. That’s probably why I plant a few additional crocus bulbs in the yard each fall, and why I search out early-blooming native wildflowers like bloodroot and spring beauty.

But what thrills me most is how clumps of bright yellow coltsfoot flowers emerge, long before their leaves come out, from muddy roadside ditches and rail embankments. Coltsfoot is native to Europe and Asia, but has naturalized throughout North America. Coltsfoot flowers look a bit like small dandelions, but without leaves. You tend to see them in places where soil has been disturbed. Maybe it’s the contrast in color or their audacity at blooming so early, but these flowers do a great deal to dispel my winter fatigue.

Many non-native plants came here accidentally, but coltsfoot was likely planted by early settlers because of its history as a medicinal plant. We don’t know if coltsfoot cheered up European settlers at winter’s end, but we do know that they used it to treat coughs and cold during winter’s icy grip. Its botanical species name is Tussilago, derived from the Latin word for cough. Its common name comes from the fact that its leaves, which emerge as the flowers die back, have a shape similar to a horse’s hoof.

Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder (think Socrates, but slightly less ancient) treated his asthma by inhaling the smoke of dried coltsfoot leaves and flowers. In an ironic and tragic twist, Pliny died of smoke inhalation during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. There was a period of time in Europe when the coltsfoot flower was the symbol for an apothecary. And following a tradition that dates back thousands of years, modern Chinese still use coltsfoot in commercial cough syrups.

It’s important to note that no herbal remedy should be used without first consulting a licensed medical professional. In fact there is concern about the safety of coltsfoot in some quarters. In a 1999 study at the University of Iowa, researchers documented an increase in liver cancer among rats ingesting large doses of coltsfoot. However, because the Iowa study concluded coltsfoot’s health risk was due to one particular compound it (the plant, not the study) contained, some German researchers are trying to develop a strain free of that chemical.

Making cough syrup from coltsfoot requires supervision, but using it as a tonic for the spirit need not involve doctors. I encourage everyone to check out these splashy early-blooming flowers. You can’t overdose on eye candy.

Paul Hetzler is a horticulture and natural resources educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

High school kids to discuss an “adult” novel: “All the Light We Cannot See”

A crowd of book-lovers, young and old, in the NCPR studio. Photo: Joel Hurd

A crowd of book-lovers, young and old, in the NCPR studio last spring. Photo: Joel Hurd

It’s spring at NCPR and time to bring a group of high school students into the studio to talk about a book. This year we’re discussing Anthony Doerr’s popular new novel, All the Light We Cannot See, a WWII story set in Germany and France.

All the Light We Cannot See is marketed as an adult book although both the main characters are teenagers who age and grow. When I first met with the high school kids I asked them if they thought Doerr’s new novel was actually a Young Adult novel in disguise. Hmm… is that a belittling statement for a 530-page book filled with drama and intrigue and carnage and honor? We didn’t come to any grand conclusion on this.

What we have discovered is that All the Light is an intriguing read for teens, that the young characters are well-drawn, and we cared for them enough to worry what would happen as the war drew to a close. The German boy, Werner, desperately wants to become a scientist in the Nazi ranks and as he ages he makes decisions that are not always honorable. We wondered if each of us would have had the strength to say no to the cruelty and terror Werner found as he trained to fight. Peer pressure and brutal retaliation kept most of the German boys quiet about the injustices, or active participants in them.

allthelight_cvAnd we wondered, is it more compelling to read historical fiction about a time and a place we have studied or is it better to know nothing at all about the location and outcome of the story? We know who won WWII but the suspense in the story partly revolves around the characters staying alive long enough to witness the end. A story that is part of the giant history of WWII contains much unwritten information that readers already know.

Have you read this novel? Did the teen characters appeal to you? Some of the students found the sub-plot about a “cursed” diamond a great part of the forward arc of this story. Some of us found that part of the book distracting and a little silly.

We will record our last book discussion on Monday, April 27 at the NCPR studios. It won’t be live, but we’d love to know what you thought of this epic of a novel. And maybe you have a question or two for our young readers. Leave a comment and we’ll include you in the conversation.

This Friday: “dig a $50 hole, plant a $5 tree”

Muskrat Day. Velcro Appreciation Month. Hair Follicle Hygiene Week. Arbor Day. You know it’s an obscure event when the greeting-card trade hasn’t bothered to capitalize on it. I like to think the industry knows Arbor Day is worthy of a Hallmark line, but that they’ve decided to honor its spirit by conserving paper. C’mon, it’s possible.

Adams, NY native Julius Sterling Morton was Secretary of Agriculture under Grovelend, an acting governor of Nebraska, and the founder of Arbor Day, celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Adams, NY native Julius Sterling Morton was Secretary of Agriculture under Grovelend, an acting governor of Nebraska, and the founder of Arbor Day, celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

While it’s not the best-known observance, Arbor Day has a respectable history, as well as local, um, roots. Begun in 1872 by Adams, N.Y., native J. Sterling Morton, Arbor Day was intended to highlight the need to conserve topsoil and increase timber availability in his adopted state of Nebraska. Though it began as an American tradition, Arbor Day, which is observed on the last Friday in April, is now celebrated worldwide.

Morton was not only passionate about planting trees, for him the act seemed to verge on the sacred. He said “The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in mankind,” and believed every tree planted made this nation a little better. J. Sterling went on to become rich and famous with his Morton Salt Company, and Arbor Day went on to become a somewhat obscure, if virtuous, tradition.

I tend to agree with Morton’s lofty pronouncement. To plant a tree is to invest in the future, and is an act of generosity and responsibility. When we add a tree to our community, it’s likely that many generations of people after our passing will enjoy it.

Trees add value to our lives in surprising ways. Many of us have heard the spiel about how trees decrease home energy costs, increase property value, filter pollutants, and all that. But, did you know that shoppers spend more money when there are trees in a downtown shopping district, and that homes sell faster on tree-lined streets?

How many of us are aware that hospital patients who can look out on trees from their bed have better outcomes? And did you know that crime rates drop significantly when urban neighborhoods are planted with trees? And that lying under a shade tree in summer cures acne? OK, I made that last one up, but the rest is true.

It may be noble to plant a tree, but it has to be done right or you might as well rent it, because a poorly planted tree will only live a fraction of its potential lifespan. Location is the first thing to consider. Kids and trees usually look cute when you bring them home from the nursery, but they grow up fast and can take up more room than you expected. If your site is under wires or has restricted space for branches or roots it needs, a tree that can grow full-size without causing conflicts.

Volunteers planting a tree for Arbor Day in Rochester, Minnesota. Photo: A href="">Jonathunder, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Volunteers planting a tree for Arbor Day in Rochester, Minnesota. Photo: Jonathunder, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The old adage “dig a fifty-dollar hole for a five-dollar tree” may need to be adjusted for inflation, but the idea still has currency, so to speak. Ninety percent of tree roots are in the top ten inches of soil. To reflect this fact, the planting hole should be saucer-shaped and two to three times the diameter of the root system, but no deeper — ever. Otherwise the Planting Police will ticket you. Okay, that’s fiction too, but if I happen to come along I may give disapproving looks. It’s imperative the flare be right at ground level, because deep planting leads to serious future health problems. For the tree, primarily.

Before backfilling, remove all burlap and twine. Wire cages on ball-and-burlap trees should be cut away. Container-grown trees may have circling roots that need to be teased out straight.

Adding gobs of organic matter to the backfill likely dates back to ancient times, when folks might grab an arborist, if one was handy, and throw them in the planting hole. Possibly in response to this, arborists now recommend little or no additional organic matter in most cases. With very sandy or heavy clay soils, moderate amounts of peat moss, compost or other amendments can be used in the backfill. Adding more than that can cause a “teacup effect,” and roots can suffocate. Fertilizer is stressful on new transplants, so wait at least a year on that. In most native soils, trees don’t need fertilizer.

Water thoroughly as you backfill, and prod the soil with a stick or shovel handle to eliminate air pockets. Unless the site is very windy it’s best not to stake the tree — movement is needed for a strong trunk to develop. Two to four inches of mulch over the planting area, but not touching the trunk, will help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Throughout the first season, check the soil every few days to be sure it’s moist but not waterlogged.

If you’re looking for a suggestion, here are some exceptional trees for street and yard planting:

  • Washington Hawthorn: small, disease resistant, salt tolerant, white flowers, tolerates road salt
  • Japanese Tree Lilac: small, drought tolerant, large cream colored flowers
  • Heritage River Birch: med-large, resistant to insect pests, pinkish-white peeling bark
  • Skyline Honeylocust: med-large, wet soil, drought & salt tolerant, thornless
  • Prairie Pride Hackberry: large, drought tolerant, wildlife eat berries
  • Kentucky Coffeetree: large, disease and pest free, drought tolerant
  • Bur Oak: large, tolerant of both drought and intermittently wet soil, and can live 800+ years!

Have a happy Arbor Day this April 24 — planting a tree is a great activity to share with loved ones, and a great investment in the future.

Paul Hetzler is a horticulture and natural resources educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

A little debrief

A year ago on this spring Saturday morning I would have been at my desk at NCPR during the crazy rush of the closing hours of our on-air fundraiser. But instead I am enjoying a day off at home. Thank you for that, as well as for the thousands of generous gifts that will ensure another year of doing what we do at NCPR, to the best of our abilities.

As you probably know by now, we reached and passed our goal Wednesday morning at about 8 am after only two days and two hours of “classic” public radio fundraising. Taken with last fall’s even more successful effort (only two hours of “old-school”), that completes a full year in which NCPR has shifted its fundraising strategy away from week-long intense stretches of interrupting programs to raise funds, to a “quieter” method more respectful of the integrity of the public radio journalism and entertainment we are asking you to support. So this is good time to take stock of how that is working, both for NCPR and for our listeners.

Post-mission debriefing. Photo: A. Goodchild, UK Royal Air Force photographer

Post-mission debriefing. Photo: A. Goodchild, UK Royal Air Force photographer

We had an all-staff meeting yesterday to look at how it went from our point of view. From the financial point of view, complete success–two goals, two scores. Looking at the business model transformation, incomplete success. Our aspiration was no program interruptions. But David Sommerstein summed it up best: In one year we went from 12 days of on-air fundraising down to two days and four hours. That is, as the car dealer ads say, “He-YOU-juh!”

But we also feel that there can be some tweaking. Three weeks of “quiet” fundraising with brief messages, lots of email and social media–could that be shorter? The fact that in both drives we had to go on-air old-school to close the deal–does that mean we should just build some of that, maybe in brief bursts, into the strategy? Some program interruption, but planned and produced to be better radio? A lot of possibilities were brainstormed around the table.

You folks have all been at the receiving end of this effort. So how does it feel from your perspective? What worked and didn’t work for you? Is there some other approach to raising the funds we need that we just haven’t tried? What was it that made you give, when you did? Just as we have crowd-funded the station for another year, maybe we can crowd-think better ways to do the necessary business of public media. Let us know in a comment below.

Mud season and messy times in the north country

Spring has hit New York’s North Country. In Canton, there is no snow on the ground. Songbirds sing, the sky is blue, and the grass is slowly turning green. Melted snow seeps into the slowly thawing ground. Once saturated, it seeps out and seizes the muddy boot treads and brave sandals that churn it up.

I don’t know anyone who can avoid the stuff. Whether you work outside, are an avid gardener, have little kids, or like to run and hike, you are bound to get muddy. On one hand, we all know this, yet the outside world imposes pressure to clean up, look presentable, and keep the dirty stuff outside. We preserve our living room and kitchen inner sanctums, tidy and neat, in contrast with the seasonably messy, outside world.

If you can deal with a little bit of mud, there is plenty to do outside during this season. Summer, fall, and winter are tourist seasons, but no one comes to the northeast for mud season. Why not take advantage of the minimal crowds and venture forth?

JP Carey paddles Twin Falls on south branch of the Grass River in Degrasse. Photo: Becca Doll

JP Carey paddles Twin Falls on south branch of the Grass River in Degrasse. Photo: Becca Doll

For those interested in whitewater paddling, rivers are running. This is typically the best time of year for the sport, as pressure and water volume build with the sudden onset of snow melt. When the ice finally bursts, rivers flood and release an astonishing amount of water. My friends who are paddlers say this season will be relatively mild with high water, because the snow melted steadily, before the rivers thawed.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has asked hikers to avoid high elevation trails in the Adirondacks until mid-June. Muddy trails are vulnerable trails; rock work and structural support is easily dislodged during the spring. Avoiding vulnerable trails helps conserve the amount of work for the summer trail crews and keeps trails open during the rest of the year.

Spring Sunrise on Azure Mountain, Photo: Eric MacIntyre

Spring Sunrise on Azure Mountain, Photo: Eric MacIntyre

If you still want to hike, the DEC  published a list of recommended spring hikes at lower elevations. Some of these even include high peaks.

  • Debar Mountain Wild Forest: Azure Mountain;
  • Giant Mt. Wilderness: Giant’s Washbowl and Roaring Brook Falls;
  • High Peaks Wilderness: Ampersand Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Big Slide, the Brothers, and Porter Mountain from Cascade Mountain – avoid all other approaches;
  • Hurricane Primitive Area: The Crows and Hurricane Mountain from Route 9N;
  • McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain;
  • Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area: Pharaoh Mountain; and
  • Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Baker Mountain, Panther Mountain and Scarface Mountain.

For more information about Mud Season Hiking in the Adirondacks, check out this site:

Steelhead Trout, Photo: National Wildlife Action Fund

Steelhead Trout, Photo: National Wildlife Action Fund

Perhaps the most popular mud season activity in the Adirondacks is fishing. Trout season began on April 1, but lingering ice cover on small ponds and lakes drives anglers to focus on rivers and creeks. The stretch of the Salmon River that runs through Pulaski is renowned for its spring steelhead trout runs. The DEC also published a list of great fishing spots around the Adirondacks, listed by county and body of water. For more information about where to fish for what legally, visit their website.

In the meantime, enjoy the unseasonably sunny weather, and don’t let the mud bog you down.

Mountains of molehills

Molehills. Photo: Joanne Goldby, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Molehills. Photo: Joanne Goldby, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

One thing about snow is that it hides a multitude of sins. A coating of “alabaster wool,” as Emily Dickinson put it, makes one property look as immaculate as the next. By early April, though, most of us felt like pristine is an overrated virtue, and we were prepared to settle for muck and grime if only Mother Nature would peel back her wintry shroud.

But as backyard glaciers receded, some homeowners were dismayed to find that an army of moles had apparently spent the winter detonating explosives. The star-nosed mole and the hairy-tail mole are the two species that live in our area, and as their soil mounds indicate, they’re active all winter. If they’ve turned your once-flat lawn into a relief map of the Adirondacks, don’t panic — it’s not as bad as it seems.

Star-nosed mole. A five-ounce mole can eat about 50 pounds of grubs and worms a year. Photo: Gordon Ramsay, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Star-nosed mole. A five-ounce mole can eat about 50 pounds of grubs and worms a year. Photo: Gordon Ramsay, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

It may not change your opinion of them, but moles consume lawn-decimating grubs. In addition to the Japanese beetle, we have four other beetle species whose larval, or grub, stages eat grass roots. Grubs weaken grass and create dead patches, and the moles have been, well, grubbing them out for you. A five-ounce mole can eat about 50 pounds of grubs and worms a year.

Moles also contribute to healthier soils. Their activities help blend material throughout the soil profile, which improves aeration and drainage.

If mole damage becomes severe you may have to implement control measures. Fortunately, as rodents go, moles have a low reproductive rate. While the extent of damage may suggest your yard is teeming with moles, it’s likely there are just two or three. This means you only have to eliminate a few animals to vastly reduce or stop the carnage.

Moles have two kinds of tunnels, permanent ones 6-24 inches deep and temporary ones just below the surface. They’re able to dig new surface tunnels at nearly 20 feet per hour, and can scuttle through their deep runs at about 80 feet a minute. In spring and fall they feed closer to the surface in their shallow runs, and this is the best time to control them.

Mole repellants sometimes work in the short term. Cat feces, coyote or fox urine, and castor oil mixed with dish soap may help drive them off your property for a while. Studies have shown that ultrasonic and vibratory devices meant to repel moles or mice do not work. Remedies such as placing broken glass or mothballs in their tunnels are also useless.

Toxic baits are of limited value, because unless they’re pretty confident it’s a live insect, moles will rarely eat it. The only effective way to remove moles from your yard is by trapping. It’s fairly simple, although it requires a time investment.

Scissor or harpoon-type traps work, but must be set in active surface tunnels. Jab a stick into surface runs every few yards. If the holes are repaired the following day, the tunnel is active and you can set a trap there. Mole traps can be found at most hardware stores or purchased online.

Regardless of how you deal with moles, it’s easy to get rid of their soil piles. Once the ground dries out enough, rake the molehills into the surrounding grass. After a few warm days and a spring shower or two, the lawn will take off and you’d never know the place had suffered an outbreak of tiny volcanoes.

But a strategy of tolerance is cheaper and leaves you more free time if you can live with a little seasonal mess. After all, we’re talking about molehills, not mountains.

Paul Hetzler is a horticulture and natural resources educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

We want to do better. Do you want us to?


The most exciting thing to happen in my work life in many years was our transformative fundraiser last fall. I went from doubt to hope to belief over the course of a few days as NCPR listeners convinced me that they wanted change. Change to a less intrusive way of keeping the lights on and the mics open at NCPR, a way that trusted listeners to respond without the cannons and the elephant parade and the synchronized dancing, without distorting the schedule of programs they rely on us to provide. And they put their money behind it in a big way. Especially in the last couple days, when the matter was still very much up in the air, a staggering amount of generosity brought us to within inches of goal by Monday morning. Be still my heart.

Well–here we are again. Two days left and $54,000 to go. It makes a man nervous. To put that amount in perspective, we have been averaging about $6,000 a day over the last couple weeks, so this is a big reach.

So I have to say it again. NCPR wants to do better; we want to do more great radio and less hyperactive fundraising. We believe you want that, too. Those who have already given in this drive have said so with their contributions and in their comments. Nobody seems to want to go back, especially not us.

But there is only one way to make that happen.

We need you to make your contribution to NCPR right now.

So no more waiting to see what happens. Please don’t make us come into the studio Monday morning to talk for six minutes about the glory of the new logo mug. It’s a great mug, I admit, but it’s not great radio. And great radio is what you pay us to make.