The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. - Anaïs Nin

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Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Nature


For nature stories

A Weird Winter

This has been a weird winter. We saw a few snow flakes in October, a bit of snow around the end of December and early January, then almost nothing. Relatives down south are still digging out, though, from their big snow storm.

The temperatures have been relatively mild. As I type it is about 40 degrees out. What little snow was there is turning to water and evaporating.

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A Worm of Robins?

This chilly, windy morning, as I was walking my dog, I was surprised to see a large flock of robins fluttering all around the Spring Street Parking Lot.

Are they lost? Or did they miss the southbound AMTRAK?

(According to the Quebec based bird welfare organization Le Nichior, the proper collective noun for robins is
a “worm”.

http://lenichoir.org/collective-nouns/)

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Did Anyone Else See the Sun Dog Today?

I took these photos from my back yard in West Brattleboro, just southwest of BEEC. Such a cool experience!

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Winter Solstice 2015

This year, the winter solstice will occur on December 21st at 11:49 PM EST. It'll be the shortest day of the year in which Brattleboro will receive about nine hours of daylight. Happy holidays!

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Retreat Woods Showing Signs Of Wear

We took a walk in the Retreat Woods recently as a way to get back into nature without having to go too far.  It had been a while since we last went -- probably in the early summer sometime.  The trails were already too wide then, but this last time, it was obvious they had seen some hard wear.

In most places, the main paths were down to hard-packed bare earth, with lots of trippy rocks and tree roots pushing up that I don't remember being quite so much in evidence before.  The softer, smoother top layer of earth seems to have been worn away.

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Snow at iBrat HQ

Well, that was somewhat unexpected. Some snow at HQ on Cedar Street today.

Surprised cats came to the back door, wanting to come back in after expecting to be out most of the day. Both were covered with snowy ice pellets.

Did you get some flakes, or was this a micro-weather event?

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Feed Me!

A greedy raccoon steals cat food and then demands MORE by banging on a glass door with a rock.

View the video here:

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Concluded August 26th

 The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its sixth and final monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, August 26th. All of our sites received significant rain in the day prior to sampling and 20 of our 27 sites tested above the “suitability for swimming” standard set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water.

The kids are headed back to school and our monitoring season has come to a close. I want to take this time to extend a gigantic thank you to all of our volunteers who took time out of their Wednesday mornings to collect samples and help transport them to where they needed to go. We would not be able to make this program work without all of our amazing volunteers. So….THANK YOU!!!!!

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Body Farms: What Really Happens When We Die

All planetary life forms anywhere throughout the universe have an expiration date.

On Earth, the mass production of humans with their built-in obsolescence is no exception, which, akin to our manmade consumer products, the people have a shelf-life of their own. It’s a good thing too. The human population cupboard is full, and, in fact, bursting at the seams.

As a society, the human collective can expect two expiration dates. One is on the daily road of sustainability where individual humans become extinct (aka death). The other is when humans taken as a whole are no longer sustainable on this planet causing the extinction of the species.

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Loons Near Brattleboro?

I know this is a loaded question but where can I find some loons near Bratt?  Has anyone heard their calls in Windham County?  I returned last week from camping in the N.E.K. and fell in love with their haunting calls. Just curious if anyone knows or not.

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued August 12th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its fifth monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, August 12th. All of our sites, as well as much of the Northeast, received a soaking rain the day prior to sampling and only one of our sites tested below the “suitability for swimming” standard set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water.

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 29th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its fourth monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 29th. Our sites on the Saxtons River and Sacketts Brook received significant rainfall in the day before sampling and 5 of our 27 sites tested above the recommended “suitability to swim” bacteria level set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water. As the summer progresses you can use the charts we publish to make informed decisions about where it is safer to swim or boat based on which sites have high bacteria counts after rainfall or tend to always have high bacteria counts.

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 15th

SeVWA LogoThe Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its third monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 15th. The majority of our sites received significant rainfall in the day before sampling and 8 of our 27 sites tested above the recommended “suitability to swim” bacteria level set by Vermont and the EPA. It is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams, so keep that in mind when making weekend plans on the water.

Even though we keep saying that bacteria levels are heavily dependent on rain, river users, whether they be swimming, boating, paddling, tubing, fishing, or even just hiking by, can help improve water quality by taking care of the rivers and their shores.

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One's Lure of Choice

It’s peak summer, buzzing abounds. I was recently struck by the correlation between bikes and flies. This article attempts to chase that down. An exercise in vernal observation and kinetic free association, admittedly esoteric.

Sitting by the side of the road, gazing with even a slight degree of critical attention, you’ll see Harleys, BMWs, Ducatis, Triumphs, and a spate of Japanese varieties, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki.  Within each company selections are offered which do specific things optimally. The Touring Bike, the Cruiser, the Racer, the Dirt Bike. Also dotting the landscape, an array of hybrids made to straddle on and off-road use, they do various tasks reasonably well. These are the Enduros, Spyders, Dual Sports, etc. It’s a vast domain, with models for every passion and taste.

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued July 1st

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had its second monitoring day for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, July 1st. As you may recall, a large thunderstorm came through our area Wednesday morning which coincided, rather unfortunately, right with our sampling time. Some volunteers were out before the storm moved through, but about half our sites were not tested due to the inclement weather. Our volunteers are a valuable asset and we never want to risk their safety to get a few water samples!

          Bacteria levels tend to spike following a heavy rain event when more water falls on the ground than can be infiltrated, or soaked into, the ground and it runs off directly into rivers and streams taking everything loose on the ground with it. In the case of impermeable surfaces such as concrete, pavement, and compacted sand or gravel, no water can ever infiltrate and always becomes runoff when it rains.

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SeVWA's 2015 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Began June 17th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) began its monitoring program for the summer of 2015 on Wednesday, June 17th. We will be testing 27 sites on eight rivers and streams every other week through the end of August. This year, we have sites on the West River, Rock River, North Branch Brook, Williams River (including South Branch and Middle Branch), Saxtons River, Sacketts Brook, and Whetstone Brook.

Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, is a bacteria that is found in the guts of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Most E. coli will not make a person sick, but sometimes they can become pathogenic which means they can cause illness. Additionally, the presence of E. coli in waters acts as an indicator for the presence of other, more difficult to test for pathogens. We publish our results to the public in order to help everyone make informed decisions about recreating in Vermont’s waters.

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Anyone Know Who Helps Injured Birds?

I found a bird this AM that might have an injured wing. I doesn't try to move away when I approach it on my deck.

It seems to be a mature bird but on the smaller side. It is yellowish-green on top and white on the belly. The edges of the wing have a black and white pattern and it has a rather pointy beak.

It was breathing heavily I think (though maybe not?).

So my question is: Does anyone treat and try to rehabilitate injured or sick birds?
thanks

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Birds In Our Backyard

We’ve always heard birds from our backyard, singing in the woods behind the house, but until this year they never bothered to visit the yard itself.  I attributed this to the presence of cats, who are numerous in these parts, but even with many furry carnivores patrolling the vicinity, the birds have not been deterred this year.  Many varieties of ground feeding bird have been hanging about, including the elusive wood thrush—right here on Cedar Street!

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Bear Spotted in the Retreat Woods, 5/17, Evening

FYI, be aware that a bear was sighted this evening, 5/17, between around 7 and 7:30 pm in the Retreat Woods. It was a full-grown adult, and ran away from my dog and me when we surprised it. Location: between the "Just for Fun" trail and the highway, relatively close to Greenhill Parkway and Western Avenue. No cubs were seen.

Ralph Meima

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To Serve One's Greatest Purpose in Life

Rising early one recent morning in May, I stepped out onto the front grassy lawn to catch a little air. Standing still, leaning on my cane facing the wooded lot across the road, I looked about and noticed five feet from my right a red breasted robin standing still on the grass staring in the same direction. We stood there for a minute or so, her glancing at me, me glancing at her, neither alarmed by sudden moves. It was a warm, blue sky day. The air was still, peaceful and quiet.

With a sudden move the robin started pecking at the grass. At first, her beak came up empty, but suddenly she picked up a long, squirming worm I hadn't seen and dropped it.

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