Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and places to go, with the purpose
of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Women's History Month Projects

This morning, I dropped off my Art Project for Women's History Month - it is called PENNANTS. It is 8 pennants with portraits, cameo style, of famous and successful modern women like Opra Winfrey, Kamala Harris and others. It will be on exhibition tomorrow at Haddon Fornightly for the Annual Through A Woman's Eyes Art Show that is held in cooperation with a high school group called the 50 - 50 Club. Last year I won the prize for "most on theme Art Piece" but I don't do the work to win, I do it to celebrate Women's Accomplishments and it always make me learn something new. In my e-mail today, the National Women's Hisory Project invited everyone to participate in this event, which I thought was wonderful, although I can't participate because my eyesight has become so poor from the Fuch's Dystrophy (a chronic degenerative disease of the cornea). Back when my eyesight was good, however, I transcriped the typed version of Ann Cooper Whitall's Diary, housed at the Gloucester County Historical Society Library. The original is held at Swarthmore in the Quaker Collection. I was grateful to the kind person who transcribed the script version to the typed version, for sure. So here is the notice for the Clara Barton transcription event. By the way, what will you do for Women's History Month? You could do something simple like watch a movie! Or you could even think about our mother's lives compared to ours! Happy March Women's History Month!

This Women’s History Month, join us to transcribe Clara Barton’s papers held at the Library of Congress! Help unlock the past, one word at a time, by delving into the archives! This virtual, free event is open throughout the month of March to anyone who wants to be a part of an essential, crowdsourced public history project! How much you transcribe is up to you. Try it once or join every day—every little bit counts!

Transcribing historical documents is the process of taking (generally) handwritten documents and putting them into plain text. Transcription improves the searchability, readability, and accessibility of historical documents for people who use screen readers or other assistive technology. It also makes them searchable by keyword and easier to read. The Library of Congress’ By The People project supports the transcription of documents in their archives.

This March, the National Women’s History Museum encourages you to help transcribe Clara Barton’s papers! Nurse, educator, philanthropist, lecturer, and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton (1821-1912), kept diaries throughout her life. We need your help to make her writings more accessible and, by extension, more widely known!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Review of SISI - pbs passport - a historical period series about Austro-Hungarian Empire

If you don't have it, I strongly recommend the PBS Passport which costs oly $60 for a year and offers an infinite set of shows, series in every genre. My favoirite is NOVA - I just watched a great NOVA documentary on Astronomy in Senegal, and before that an update on one of my favorite archaeology/anthropology subects Oetzi the Alpine body found that is the oldest human remains in the world. But right now, I am watching Ssi (short for Elizabeth) about the Bavarian Duchess who married Franz Joseph the Austrian Emperor in 1850.

There are so many things to think about while watching this series. I am on Season 2. First of all, the constant maneuvering of alliances to keep the baying wolves from attacking. All the little nation states and empires are constantly in danger of being gobbled up by a neighbor which is what happened to Hungary. Austria gobbled it up. And Napoleon, the hungriest wolf of all is marching across Europe gobbling up one country after another until, as we all know now, he bites off more than he can chew and loses his army to the Russian winter. In the series, Napoleon is gobbling up Lombardy and Franz Joseph is trying to make an alliance first with the confederation of German speaking city/states, the German Convederation of Saxony, Hesse, Prussia, Bavaria and 35 other principalities. Eventually, Prussia gobbled up those neighbors and the country of Germany was created. All of these little countries came about by the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire. What

What it reminded me of was Putin's attempted take-over of Ukraine and the scramble of the Nordic neighbors, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden to get into NATO for protection from this greedy insane neighbor who is waiting to destroy them in order to take over their land.

What came next to my mind were thoughts about the connection between feudalism and patriarchy. The young females of the aristoratic land rulers auctioned off up the scale of royalty as breeders for the dynasties. Young Elizabeth of Bavaria was 16 when she married Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria, who was 23. When she is giving birth to the first offspring of their union, the crowds outside the palace weight expectantly while the church bells toll, first the safe delivery, then the sex of the child. A sign of disappointment when it is revealed the child is a female and not a male heir to the throne.

Queen Victoria who was reigning uring this same period as the drama Sisi is set, gave birth to nine children. That is one year pregnant and another year breast feeding and recovering, so total of 18 years of childbearing, although of course, royal mothers probably employed wet-nurses, poor women who breast fed other women's babies for pay. Childbirth is a traumatic experience which although universal is nonetheless, of colossal proportion in physical pain and fear. Having done this once myself, I truly cannot imagine having to go through it 9 times! The average women prior to birth control gave birth to 7 children. "One in every three children born in 1800, died before its fifth birthday."

The array of diseases in staggering from smallpox to cholera, diptheria, typhus, measles, whooping cough, etc. I know these names from all the innoculations my daughter received when she was a baby. Death rate for women in childbirth is also shocking.

Primogeniture means that only males inherit, and this was the standard throughout Europe until late twentieth century. Male children inherited the property, and the Empire! And they had rights to the children as well. A woman gave birth but the man owned the woman and the children. This didn't change until the successive waves of Feminist Revolution that were always occuring but reached greater success in the Feminist fight for Suffrage in England and the United States in the 1900's. Without the vote, women couldn't change the laws.

My latest Art Project is called Pennants. It is for the 'THROUGH A WOMAN'S EYES" Annual Art Exhibition held at the Haddon Fortnightly in Haddonfield, NJ. It is a joint effort of the Haddon Fortnightly Women's Club and the 50/50 Club of high school young women. About 75 artists participate in the show.

My project was 8 pennants on a cork board with portraits of women of success in 8 fields: Art-Kara Walker, Books-Christiane Amanpour for Journalism, and J. K. Rowling for fiction, Entertainment-Opra Winfrey, Media Mogul, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, music billionaires, Politics-Kamala Harris, US Vice-President, Religion-Nadia Bolz-Weber, NYTimes bestselling author and influential Lutheran pastor, Pema Chodron, Buddhist abbot of Gumpo Abbey in Nova Scotia and successful author of two dozen books, Sports-Serena Williams, Technology/Science-Charpentier and Doudna, Nobel prize winning creators of CRISPR, the gene editing process, and finally, World Affairs-Greta Thunberg (Climate activist) and Malala Yousefzai, activist for female education in the Middle East.

Doing that project was a demonstration to me, of how far we have come. Yet the fight goes on. Here in America in 2024 the battle for control of Women's Reproductive rights still continues. And here in 2024 a greedy neighbor still attempts to attack and grab a neibhoring country. But the processes are still evolving. From the German confederation to world wide unions like NATO, we are learning to form cooperative grops to protect us. And women, at least in Europe and the United States have close to full equality in the law.

What all of this means to me is that there is evolution, but the struggle is never over. Right now in America, a would-be dictator and exploiter of women attempts to turn back the clock and destroy democracy and replace it with a theocratic/dictatorship, and a lot of people support him. "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King. This hopeful message reminds us to stay faithful and active. Also, doing a project like Pennants showed me the material proof of this observation.

Just this month a female member of Sinn Fein was elected president of Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill. Rutger's Astroner Kristen McQuinn will lead NASA's Science Operation Center for the Nancy Grace Telescope. Each week another notable woman shows how far we have come.When I watch the NOVA documentaries, I am thrilled to see the proliferation of women scientists narrating the programs and working in the Labs. We still have a long way to go (technology is slow to progress) but we are headed in the right direction and making good progress. And, by the way, I forgot to mention one of my favorites Angela Merkel two time Chancellor of German and often cknowledged as the chief leader of the Econimic Union in Europe! Let me not close without a nod to the past and Golda Meir - were she only here now, perhaps peace would once again grace the Middle East and an end to the war between Israel and Palestine be stopped.

Friday, February 2, 2024

February Black History Month - suggestions

Gloucester County Historical Society a block down from our Meeting is exhibiting on African American Troops in the Civil War, so if you are local and free, you may want to drop in and visit. We have shared some events with GCHS and their library and museum are a treasure!

Also, if you have Netflix, you may want to view RUSTIN which has been nominated for film awards and is an excellent and riveting film about the Quaker Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin. So there is a go-to and a film and one more -

All the local Camden County Libraries are featuring music events Motown to Rock and Roll AND there is a Henry Louis Gates documentary coming on PBS on Gospel Music!

I hope this helps everyone find something interesting for February Black History Month. Perhaps someone else has a book review to offer.

HappyTrails my friends! Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Thursday, January 18, 2024

More on the Vegan transition

Well, it is the first month of my transition from vegetarian to mostly vegan. I say 'mostly' because I am not an absolutist and there are things I may not give up, like honey for my tea. we shall see. So far, to replace my daily snack of cheese and crackers, I have enjoyed pita bread and Sabra brand hummus; my favorite flavor is roasted pine nuts. I warm the pita bread for 50 seconds in the microwave and especially in this cold weather, it makes a very satisfying snack. I have tried other kinds of hummus and Sabra, to me, tastes the best.

For another alternative to cheese as a snack, there is peanut butter, walnut butter, and almond butter. I usually buy walnut butter because I love the flavor of walnuts, and for an extra taste boost, I add a little Nutella hazlenut butter which has cocoa in it. By the way, on another subject - SMOOTHIES - I make Nutella smoothies and you can heat a cup of it on low for 1 or 2 minutes and it makes a delicious hot drink! I have transitioned away from my favorite SIGGIES yoghurt to Silk, soy yoghurt. It is not an improvement. First of all Siggis has less sugar and a denser, thicker, creamier texture. The Silk hoghurt is kind of gluey and too sweet, but I only use it for smoothies so it isn't a big deal. I wouldn't eat it for a yoghurt choice though. To make a Nutella smoothie just throw a handful of walnuts into the blender, followed by two bananas, a cup of yoghurt and two heaping tablespoons of Nutella, then fill to an inch from the top with Almond Breeze extra creamy milk and hit the whip blender button. It makes three or four pint size glasses of smoothie, or two large glasses and a cup of hot smoothie. I tried the Bowl and Basket brand of hazlenut spread and it wasn't as good as Nutella - less flavor.

It takes time to make a transition like this so I am giving myself permission to take it slow and have an occasional dairy product if needed - such as on Sunday, I enjoyed a piece of cheesecake for a friend's birthday. For me, I believe it makes it easier to make the switch.

I hope you are having fairly good luck with your resolutions. My three - to review, were to read Quaker Practice, to transition to vegan from vegetarian, and to ride my exercycle a little each day. On point three I have not registered even one success yet, but I haven't given up hope. All I did so far, was get on it one day, to make sure I still could and turn the wheels a little to try it out. My back room, where the exercycle is, is super cold and to make it habitable, I would need to remember to turn on the wall heater in the morning when I let the dog out. The wall heater would have to run for about half a day to heat that room.

Now it is time for me to do my daily reading as it is too cold and too icy to do my usual daily routine which is to walk the dog. She hasn't had a walk for 3 days (counting today) It is too cold and I am afraid of slipping on snow and ice and falling. That's what happens when you get old and have fallen a time or two. The last time I fell, about a month ago, I lay in the drive-way until I could phone my neighbor and tell him it was an emergency. My neighbor across the street, Mark, is very kind to me and his elderly mother is a friend of mine. He came over and got me a chair from the porch to use to get myself up. It works better than any other method I have found. So now, I am afraid of falling and the driveway is very lumpy with frozen snow over ice. Fortunately, plenty to do in my beloved bungalow to keep me happy, reading and painting and my laptop. It is only my dog who feels the loss, but yesterday I took her for a ride in the car to the ShopRite, so at least she got out.

Happy trails, my friends! Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Upcoming Art Show and a View of Progress 2024

Sometimes, especially if, as I am, you are a somewhat anxious person, you can get caught up in What's Wrong These Days! I was having a talk yesterday, on our snow day, via texting, with a neighbor about the proliferation of new beer distilleries and marijuana dispensaries in our Garden State. I was, half jokingly, asking the rhetorical questions: Isn't driving on our highways dangerous enough? Do we not have enough DUI's and acoholica and drug addicts on our streets and in our homes? And then suddenly, feeling a bit dragged down by the dark gloomy weather and the steady fall of little flakes of worry, I thought of an old song "Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative, latch on to the affirmative and Don't mess with Mr. In-between>"

Once, I made a little graphic design in my daily sketch/writing journal that showed outlook as something like a radio station where you could change the channel and get a whole different kind of music. Sure, there is plenty to worry about and you don't have to search far to find it. Every time I open my e-mail, I am bombarded with disasters: today there was a young woman who stabbed her mother to death in Mt. Laurel, a young man shot to death in Camden, clarion blasts about the crooked megalomaniac Trump's triumph in the GOP caucus in Iowa, entrenched divides between democrats and republicans over immigration and abortion, and the threat posed by the seemingly insoluble problems of homelessness and immigration, not to mention climate change. I have no answers for any of these deep problems. Personally, I am worried about how I am going to walk my dog on the icy, slick frozen snow of the sidewalks. My dog and I haven't had a walk in two days!

Well, here is a new station to turn the dial to. I have gathered the materials and started work on an art project for the upcoming annual Haddon Fortnightly and HMHS 50-50 Club March "Through a Woman's Eyes" Art Exhibition, the theme of which is MODERN WOMANHOOD.

You are probably familiar with those triangular pennants favored among colleges and sports teams and scenic vacation spots. I had bought some for my daughter when she was little and we visited various vacation spots. I think we had one for the Steam train in Stroudsburg and another for Shenandoah National Park. I have always loved these pennants - the flourish of the lettering, the colorful art. So I decided to pick a dozen categories of achievement and make a pennant for a woman who has gained fame and success in each. Here they are:

Art - Kara Walker, contemporary artist, famous works include her silhouettes depicting the cruelties of slavery and her huge sculpture of a sugar sphinx entitled 'The Subtlety'

Business - Sheryl Sandberg - successful CEO and author of best seller on success for women in business 'Lean In'

Entertainment - Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

Film - Greta Gerwig's 'Barbie' set box office record as one of top grossing films of all time

Human Rights - Malala Yousefzaid, winner of Nobel Peace Prize for her activisim for female education

Journalism - Christiane Amanpour - Chief International anchor for CNN earned every major television journalism award

Music - Beyonce/Taylor Swift - two global music powerhouse billionaire businesswomen

Politics - Kamala Harris - First woman Vice-President of the United States

Religion - Nadia Bolz Weber - Influential Lutheran Pastor and author of three New York Times bestsellers

Science/Technology/Medicine- Emmanuelle Charpentiere and Jennifer Doudna Nobel Prize Winners for CRISPR - gene editing.

Sports - Serena Williams, won ore grand slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man in the open era,

Writing - J. K. Rowling, richest author in the world (1 billion) and Harry Potter series best selling series in history (600 million copies)

So, working on this ART project really put progress in a new frame for me, as a woman in the world, because at my age, 78, I can remember when it was said that the public wouldn't pay attention to a female news anchor, and when I was in college, our survey of world literature didn't include a single female author. Hillary may not have become President, but progress is made in steady steps forward and Kamala Harris has achieved that.

Happy New Year! Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 13, 2024

January 2024 - New Year's Resolutions and News

Increasingly as the years go by, my resolutions tend to focus on health, generally in the "Do More Eat Less' category, but this year, I am adapting my vegetarian lifestyle to become more vegan. Between 11% and 19% of gobal emissions come from animal agriculture. Sometimes addressing climate change can seem to large for the individual to make an impact but there are so many ways we each can change the world, one person, one idea, one meal at a time. We and use Brita intead of plastic bottles, and we can use materials made from recycled and we can buy less and waste less. Even more, we can protect our own health and help the planet by going vegetarian or vegan.

For me, the main obstacle to going full vegan was to give up chaeese. I have replaced most dairy successfully with alternatives such as almond milk and a very tasty butter substitute made from olive oil, but cheese was my downfall. I don't eat much cheese, jsut a coule of slices with cracketrs in the evening, so I decided to find an alternative and I did: humus with pine nuts topping and small pitas or pita chips - very tasty, very satisfying.

If you need inspiration, I found mine in "You Are What You Eat" series which was featured on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and which gave me the push I needed.

Here is another tip for inspiration: Lesbiveggies on Merchant Street in Audubon, NJ serves absolutely delectable vegan meals. I was there yesterday and had the Hungry Breakfast Meal of scrambled seasoned tofu, roasted potatoes and pancakes $13 and mint tea. One of my friends had roasted cauliflower tacos which she (a mostly meat eater) announced was Delicious! and a table over were three large boisterous "He-men' enjoying roasted cauliflower sandwichs. I know because their platters looked so hearty and delicious, I asked what they were having!

Lately, I have been making smoothies too. my usual is a handful of walnuts, two bananas, cup and a half of almond yoghurt and two cups of almond milk to which I add, depending on mood, 2 cups of blueberries or 3 heaping table spoons of Nutella hazlenut spread. By the way, you can heat a cup of the Nutella smoothy in the microwave in place of hot chocolate.

I will add to this post as I find more helpful tips, so keep posted!

Happy Trails! Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Women in the Time of the Revolution, Part two

It is one of nature's little cruelties that such a book loer as myself should be losing my eyesight, but so it is. I have Fuch's Dystrophy. For a couple of years, I have been weeding out books and donating them to the Free Books Project at Newton Friends Meeting i Camden, NJ. I have 3 cartons ready to go in my car. This gave me the idea of donating my Women in therevolution collection to the young woman I met who volunteers at the Red Bank Battlefield. She is away at present studying in England, but a friend of hers is volunteering at Red Bank so I called a volunteer friend of mine, Harry Schaeffer, and asked him if he would pick up and take to the Whitall House, a tub of my collection of books about the Women in Revolutionary America. He came over and picked up the tub and also walked the dog with me. I gave him a treasured and relatively new book on an interest that we shared: runaway indentured servants. It was really nice seeing Harry again and I felt really good about letting those books go to young women who may be able to enjoy and use them. Here is the bibliography of the books I donated:

Belonging to the Army, Holly Meyer Margaret Morris, John Jackson Betsy Ross, Marla Miller Women in Colonial and Revolutionary America1607-1790, Bonnie Eisenberg Remember the Ladies, Linda Grand DePauw Great Women of the American Revolution, Brianna Hall Never Caught, Erica Armstrong Dunbar Not All Wives, Karin Wulf Weathering the Storm, Elizabeth Evans Fron Slaves to Soldiers, Robert Geak Camp Follower, Suzanne Adair When Heroes of the American Revolution, Susan Casey Sally Wister’s Journal Abigail Adams, , Phyllis Levin Founding Mother Cokie Roberts Glory Passion and Principle, ,Melissa Bohrer Following the Drum, Nancy Loane The Diary of Hannah Calendar Sansom, Sex Among the Rabble, Claire Lyons Revolutionary Mothers, Carol Berkin Patience Wright, Charles Sellers Betsy Ross, Jennifer Silate Terrible Virtue, Ellen Feldman One of the things I learned about the way women during Revolutionary times were portrayed seemed particularly cruel and evil minded The only women you tended to hear about were what were called "Camp Followers" who were said to be prostitutes that followed the army and were a pestilential torment to George Washington because they had to be fed from army rations. The truth was that the camp followers were laundresses, cooks, nurses, and most were the family members of the men enlisted. They ahd been left behind on small farms or in other circumstances with no way to support themselves or survive, so they were forced to follow their husbands, fathers, any male upon whom they had depended for their food and lodging. In return, they provided the necessities of the soldiers - laundering, cooking, nursing the sick and wounded. Probably among them were women who were forced to traffic in sex for food and survival, but they were not the primary inhabitatnts of that group of unfortunates with squalling babies on their backs, pushing wheel barrows of pots and pans, or dragging bundles of tents and bedding. You have to read books by women historians to get the real story, and by the tiem I was a history volunteer there were many women histories putting a proper balance to the historical record, at last. I hope my gift carries the torch to another generation of historical scholars. When I was a young student, college access had been out of the reach of many young women. Some colleges, like Princeton, were still all male. The Women's Revolution, along with the Student Revolution changed all that and the college doors were blown open, so that intellectually vigorous readers and learners like myself could have a chance. Soon enough, books came out of those opportunities, written by women in graduate programs all over America and we met our ancestors in literature, Art, history at last!

Women in the time of the Revolution - Book essay

When I first began to study Literature for my first college degree at what was then, Glassboro State College in Glassboro, New Jersey back in the late 1960's, I looked for the women writers. I had read male authors my entire life and I was a book worm, so I read a LOT. In fact, I had cut my teeth, so to speak, on the classics of American Leterature and European Literature, thanks to a bookshelf in my Grandmother Lavinia Lyon's basement. No one else had any interest in those books but to me it wa like discovered treasure. My Mother read to me and bought me books and that must have been the origin of my enchantment, because enchanted I was! For most of my childhood, all I wanted to do was read, read, read! I was particularly captivated by sea stories for some reason, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson. Perhaps I felt that after I had been in the amniotic sea, I had found myself shipwrecked on a mysterious island too.

Among the many sets of books in my Grandmother's basement book shelf, were the whole collection of Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. I read them all, although I must confess I didn't finish A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Twain. I couldn't understand it at all. Among the classics of European literature in the set on the shelf were books by Boccacio and de Maupassant. I read the Last Days of Pompei from that set as well as The Decameron. In my teens, after I moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey and got a library card, I expanded my reading with sets of books more appropriate to my age, which I devoured like candy: Cherry Ames. Student Nurse, Nancy Drew, Detective, and others. They had been inspired by one book from the basement shelves called OUTDOOR GIRLS ON A HIKE, which I loved wih all my heart. It was in a special class of beloved books which was shared with Anne of Green Gables also from the basement. Later in my more turbulent teens, I came under the sway of the Russians, Turgenev, Dostoevski, Pasternak. Their work seemed to suit my tormented teenaged soul.

What I loved about all of those books was my TOTAL IMMERSION in those other worlds. I was that kind of strange child with that kind of strange concentration. Those other worlds transported me and also prepared me for a life among humans, for better or for worse. So, of course, when I went to college to study literature, I wanted to learn the magic art of writing books, and having met, by that point mostly male authors, I was eager to see the world through the eyes of women, but where were they? After a dispute with a literature professor over a coarse called Survey of World Literature which included NOT ONE female author, I did my own indepencdent study and created a bibliography of lost, forgotten, or ignored women authors and I read them beginning at the beginning with Lady Murasaki and the Tales of Genji, the first novel written around 1000 a.d. I worked my way through the famous ones like George Sand and Edith Wharton, and the Bronte' sisters, and I sought out women who had been good enough to be published but who had later fallen into the dustbin of history, Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Similarly when I studied Art in my 2nd Bachelor's degree at Rutgers, I looked for the Women Artists and again it was a true excavation through the lives of male artists. But I found Artemisia Gentileschi, Marie Laurencin, Mary Casatt, Georgia O'Keefe (soon to become famous again thanks to the Women's Movement). Fortunately I had a woman professor who had written a book on lost women artists, Wendy Slatkin: Women Artists - Antiquity to the Present.

I am going to finish this in a new entry because the blog has limited the amount of text space I can use. to be continued.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Christmas Events - Candlelight Tour Red Bank Battlefield

I haven't been posting many events for people to enjoy for the holidays because I assume most people get e-mail notices and most people, (unlike myself) are also on facebook. But I wanted to highlight this one because of my old time long association with the James and Ann Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield and because it is special to me because of its location beside the mighty Delaware River. The views from the windows of the river remain magical in my memory from my days as a volunteer there, the deep indigo sky at twilight and the way the house and the river bring you back through the centuries to the family who lived in that place in those momentous times in our Revoloutionary history. It is a quiet event - not a problem with parking or crowds - as I recall. And it is a kind of peaceful and warm experience.

If you are unfamiliar with the James and Ann Whitall House at Red Bank Batttlefield, it is in National Park. When I drove there I took the National Park exit off Rt. 130 and drove straight down Hessian Avenue to the park and there is parking both by the Ranger Station and along the River facing lot. Dress warm if you are planning to take a walk along the paths because it is a cold wind that blows over the Delaware.

The Candlelight Tours will be held:

Friday December 8th from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday December 9th 3:00 - 8:00

Sunday December 10th from 4:00 to 7:00

My home is all decorated inside and out for the upcoming holiday as I love the decorations so much I want to enjoy them for my birthday and Thanksgiving. They brighten the dark days of early winter. The storms have been knocking out my outdoor lights somehow, but I push the re-set button at the outlet and they come back on - gotta go do that right away - the wind yesterday was fierce!

Happy Holidays!

Jo Ann

wrightj45@yahoo.com r

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving story

On Thanksgiving, 2023, I was driving south down Kings Highway to Clarksboro to my sister's house to have dinner with her and my brother who was up from West Virginia. I had the radio on and I was enjoying the music as I enjoyed the gorgeous array of trees along Kings Highway south of Woodbury, tall stately everygreens, expansive golden canopied trees, some scarlet and others nearly empty but clad in a delicate veil of pale leaves on their black ink drawn branches. The radio announcer said 88.5 was going to play the music from The Last Waltz. For those who don't know or who have forgotten, the Last Waltz was a celebration of the last touring concert of The Band, a hugely influential and popular rock band of the 60' and 70's. The final concert was held on Thanksgivingin 1976 in California. Some of their hits were "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Day They drove Old Dixie Down." My personal favorites were "Ophelia" and "The Shape I'm In" but most of all "I Shall Be Released."

The Band had famously backed Bob Dylan, and in the last concert after 16 yers on the road, they were joined by Dylan as well as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and other greats of the era. Martin Scorsese filmed the concert and made a now famous documentary from it. His relationship with the lead guitarist, Robbie Robertson, started a whole new career path for Robertson who scored several films for Scorsese including Raging Bull.

Some years ago, I had seen a documtary about Levon Helms. I don't remember much about it other than he died shortly thereafter and that he had suffered a disappointment about the end of the Band and the documentary which he felt gave too much credit to Robertson. An interview with Robertson explained that he understood how Levon Helms felt and that it was simply his perspective and that he loved him like a brother. Robertson had been an only child and the members of the Bankd were like siblings to him.

They are all dead now except Garth Hudson (86) who is in a Care facility in Canada but who still plays the piano. Robertson died this year at 80 of prostate cancer leaving a wife, an ex-wife and two adult children. To many of us The Last Waltz was like the end of our own youth. I was 31 in 1976 when The Band broke up and played their last concert and I was separating from my husband, and starting a new life, truly leaving my youth behind in many ways. Listening to this music really moves me but I don't indulge in the past very often. Nonetheless, it stirred me enough that today, Black Friday, I took the day off from chores and errands, other than walking the dog and I watched the Scorsese documentary The Last Waltz, and a few interviews.

Last fact and an interesting one, Robertson's mother was a Choctaw/Mohawk born and raised on Two Rivers Reserve in Canada. His biological father was Alexander Klegerman, a professional gambler who died in a hit and run accident. So celebrating the life and achievements of Robbie Robertson is also a way to celebrate Native American Heritage on this holiday which is increasingly an opportunity to reflect and observe the culture of First Peoples.

By the way, my daughter and her husband, sister, brother-in-law and her father and step-mother all celebrated Thanksgiving in Woodstock (with the step-mother's mother who lives there and is in her 90's) which is where The Band did their work with Bob Dylan and spent many creative years. The son-in-law and Lavinia's father and brother-in-law are all musicians.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful and meaningful in many ways and I hope yours was too! Happy Trails!

Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com (don't bother with 'comments' - it is destroyed by spam.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Healthful benefits of gratitude

We have all read the healthful benefits to our brains and bodies of taking the time to reflect on all we have for which to be grateful. I just filled a survey to that effect on our local news e-mail thread and I decided to do the same here: I coud go on too long, but I will modify myself. I am grateful for: being able to live to the ripe old age of 78, to have had good parents and a boom time in America in which to grow up, to have a healthy daughter who is happy and successful in her adult life, to have my siblings still alive and to be able to spend Thanksgiving with two of them, to have my own little bungalow which I love in a cozy and comfortable town with great neighbors, to live in AMERICA the wonderful, to have good friends who care about me and about whom I care, to have had a wonderful education and tools that allowed me to be a lifelong learner to have a satisfying and useful career that helped my fellow man. I am grateful that my ancestors took the big risk of leaving their homelands and coming to this great country, and I am grateful to have lived in the twentieth and twenty-first century to see such wonders in medicine and progress in society, despite the problems that people still struggle with in other parts of the world and in our own country - we are making progress! I am grateful for sufficiency i both my personal ife and in the place where I live - we mostly have all we need and we don't face famine or civil war or any of the plagues that beset outher parts of the world. I am grateful for the presidency of President Joe Biden who saved us from the chaos created by the previous administration. I am grateful to have lived in the period of the struggle for equality for women and to have benefited from that struggle. I am gratdful for my animal companions and the means to afford to keep and care for them. I am grateful to live in a property with trees and hollies and birds and other creatures. I am grateful for the ability to read and for the gifts I have been given to write and to paint and for the asssociations that allow me to share these gifts with others, local galleries, local journals, this blog! I am grateful to have lived in a period where we were challenged by evil but prevailed in two wars and two undeclared wars and I am grateful that my father and brother served in both and came home safely! I could go on but I think two of these long lists for one day is enough and I don't want to challenge the gods with too many gifts They say whom the Gods wish to punish they firwt give great gifts, but I never went in too much for ancient classical pessimism - especially the Greek form. Christianity offers much more hopeful optimism and less predestined doom! I am grateful for George Fox and the Society of Friends!

Happy Thanksgiving and I suggest you make a list too and surprise yourself!

By the way, I am grateful for my vegetarian life these many decades and how it has helped my health and I want to remind you there are many alternatives to meat eating for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Happiest Woman in the World!

Okay, I know I am tempting the Gods by saying this but today I felt like the happiest woman in the world and I must admit that I often feel this way! Perhaps it is my nature, perhaps it is my circumstances, inheritance, maybe it is chemistry or brain structure, but I just find happiness everywhere and today on my 78th Birthday, I was especially aware of the extraordinary beauty of the Fall Day, the trees were lush with gold, extravagant with blood red illumination, and delicate and exquisite with pale sun gilded leaves hanging on to the very thin lacy ends of the bare branches.

The day began with a trip to the Nail Salon for my monthly pedicure. So here is the balance: my back, hip and knees are so stiff and my eyesight so diminished I can no longer do my own toe nails and they MUST be done! If you let them go too long they can bend in or break off - both bad circumstances. At my favorite nail salon of the past 8 years, Wonder Nails in Audubon inside the Pine Plaza, the ladies are all familiar to me and unfailingly gentle, polite and calming. Today they had a show on tv where Chinese peasants were growing fields of food and a woman was foraging and bringing back interesting fruits and greens and cooking them in a huge kitchen in such large quantities that she used a kind of small shovel to stir them. Then when the dumplings were steamed and the vegetables were boiled in broth, a group of people came and sat around a huge table and ate with their Akita looking on. Maybe it was a commune. Anyhow, the music was calming and the scenery was lovely and my feet were so happy to be trimmed and soaked and pampered after all their hard work.

Next, I drove to meet Barb Solem at The Station for lunch. I had breakfast croissant and creamy pumpkin soup which was delicious! We chatted and Barb gave me a card which I hated but, of course, I didn't say so. It was a fat lady on a recliner with a cat on her stomach. I laughed but it was insulting. I left it on the table and she went back for it, so I put it in my pocket, but when I got home, it was gone - my birthday karma made it disappear! I don't care if it was true, it was mean.

At home, Yard Guy Bobby came and took out an invasive shrub from my beautiful Juniper where I usually hang Christmas lights each year, and he mulch mowed the yard because I am not leaf blowing any more due to environmental impact of the noise and the fumes and also because my e-mail news feed has had a few articles about how good the leaves are for the earth and insects. It was only $80, which I thought was quite fair.

Lavinia called and told me about the progress of her "Love All Alices" theater and film project. And she told me about Justin's musical Stereophonics, and her plans for Thanksgiving and her birthday - Kentucky for Thaksgiving and Woodstock, then Atlantic City for her birthday. When she comes home at Christmas, I asked her to reserve a Sunday so she can look at the old SODAT building because she has some music and art friends who might be interested in space! I will put that on a back burner for the time being. I don't want any more troubled waters with Dietrich, the obstackle and disappointment maker.

Anyhow, back to the happiness, All day and all week I have felt immensely fortunate to have had such a great life and to have such a great life right now!

On Sunday, our new WFM visitor, Francis brought pumpkin bread to Meeting, Jenny and Landon brought cookies and Jerome and Susan threw me a bagel bar party in what was the SODAT reception area. They cleaned it all up and it is going to be the Woodbury Friends Art Gallery soon! What a surprise and what a wonderful thing to hope about. We just need to do a few other things - painting mainly.

Family all well, Sue and Joe contacted and Neal and daughter, texts with Alex and the world in my small sphere is turning in balance and grace. I feel enormously fortunate in every way! I just want to say THANK YOU! to the fates, the gods, karma, whatever directs the flow of human affairs! Also to my parents and ancestors who brought me here.

Happy Trails from Jo Ann on my 78th Birthday November 13, 2023

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Cedar Run Presents: Hunters of the Sky

Cedar Run Presents: Hunters of the Sky All Ages Participants are introduced to a variety of raptors (birds of prey) through hands-on exploration and an engaging lesson, during the live animal show. Observe each species’ unique characteristics and learn about its adaptations.Participants will spend time learning how raptors fit in our ecosystem and use these adaptations to succeed in the wild.

Riletta L. Cream Ferry Ave Branch Library Tuesday, November 14th, 4 pm https://www.camdencountylibrary.org/ferry-ave-branch-directions

Link to register for the event: https://tinyurl.com/mvvh2kwv

Happy Trails, Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Tiny Art Show Opens!

The Station, 10 East Chestnut in Merchantville opens its annual TINY ART Exhibition this weekend. The Opening reception is from 6 to 10:00 this Friday night 11/10/23. I cannot recommend the food highly enough at the cafe - during the day, so if you want to stop in and have a bite and see the show during the day, enjoy! It is a wonderful place in so many ways. And it is unique for this side of the Delaware! There may be other galleries, and there may be other healthful food cafe's and restaurants, but here you have BOTH. You can eat a delicious meal, and perk up with a specialty coffee and see the art! If the sun is shining and the weather is mild, you can sit outside and enjoy the autumn beauty as well.

It is my honor and my joy to have six tiny paintings in the show - by tiny I mean 5x7 inches, acrylic on canvas, framed and ready for your wall! All of the subjects are autumn and local beauty spots from the Red Bridge at Knight's Park in Collingswood to the beautiful trees of Audubon Lake!

The first time I truly understood the power of Tiny Art was many years ago when I visited an art exhibition in New York City that featured postcard size paintings of scenic places in Europe. They were done for the tourist trade before the advent of printed postcards and they were exquisite! Ever since, I have been making tiny paintings to capture a feeling from a special place and time in my life as each of my tiny paitings in the show do. I hope you get to see them and enjoy them as well as the other works. All the exhibitions at the Station are wonderful and once you visit, you will go back for each show and for the delicious food!

May your Happy Trails lead you to the Station and you can also enjoy walkng the Rails to Trails just in front where the train used to run.

Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Thinking about Death and how we deal with it. Gloucester County Historical Society event

THE ART OF MOURNING is now on exhibit until November 11th at The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum and on November 8th there will be a presentation titled GRAVE MATTERS with Jane Peters Estes, a look at Victorian customs in regard to Mourning.

Call Museum at 856-858-8531 for more information.

The Museum is located at 17 Hunter Street, right on Broad in Woodbury, NJ.

https://gchsnj.org

By the way I used to volunteer at the Library (behind the Museum) and if you are interested in South Jersey history there is no finer place to begin your quest. Same goes for genealogy. The same can be said for Camden County Historical Society and both organizations are most worthy of your support, your time via a visit, or your volunteer efforts!

Jo Ann

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Leave the Leaves

As soon as I moved into my beloved bungalow in South Jersey, I began to reearch ways to avoid having to rake for days and weeks each year. I LOVE my trees, and I have a couple dozen of them. Finally, I bought a great Leaf Mulching mower that lasted for about 3 decades. When it finally went, I was unable to get another one, but by then I was too old for yard work anymore anyhow. My Knees, hip, and back didn't permit it. So I lurched into the dark world of lnadscape guys, which by the way is a misnomer because NONE of the ones I hired were landscapers and some didn't know a English Ivy from a periwinkle. They were mowers, and most were welded to the seats of their tractors, so I couldn't get them to weed whack or do any trimming or anything that required getting off the tractor seat. Finally I found a more or less cooperative young fellow recommended by a neighbor and we have been working together fairly cooperatively, but generally, at some point each year, I hire my sister who actually is a CERTIFIED LANDSCAPER and she helps with trimming the trees and shrubs.

Anyhow to get back to the leaves, I have an excerpt for you from a bulletin I receive via e-mail about TREES:

FALLEN AUTUMN LEAVES HAVE ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS

As the temperatures cool, the leaves of deciduous trees transform into the beautiful oranges, yellows, reds, purples, and browns of autumn, blending together a new world of colors.

It truly is a sight to behold, but eventually, those leaves fall to the ground and crunch beneath our steps. During this season, many people decide to rake piles of leaves and discard them. Perhaps they rake in a pile to jump in for some classic fall fun, but eventually, those leaves are removed from yards and sidewalks.

Turns out, all that endless raking doesn’t have the best ecological benefits! This year, try leaving (no pun intended!) all that fall foliage on the ground. Not only do fallen leaves provide food and shelter for larvae and other organisms, but they also provide many essential nutrients as they decompose.

These decomposed (or even partially decomposed) leaves help to improve the soil structure, loosening heavy clays by adding essential draining properties. In sandy soils, they increase water retention by improving water-holding capacity.

For all of the gardeners out there, the organic matter of fall leaves also helps to improve soil fertility by providing important nutrients that will benefit plants and crops in your garden. So, save yourself from raking all season long and rest assured that you’re doing what’s best for your garden and the environment!

Happpy Trails Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Tiny Art at The Station (Eiland Art Center) Chestnut St., Merchantville, NJ

Tiny Art exhibition returns to The Station this month through December and I am honored and overjoyed to have three of my small paintings accepted into the show. My three paintings are all autumn landscapes because that is what moved me when I was getting ready to do work for this show. All of the works are about postcard sized. Mine three framed acrlylic on canvas paintings are 5 X 7 and ready to hang. One is the Red Bridge at Knight Park in Collingswood, another is a splendid tree at Audubon Lake, and finally the third is my second painting of the final autumn of the little woods that used to be on Northmont Avenue in Mt. Ephraim. The little woods held a small rustic home in a large pasture beside it. The property was purchased and four large two story homes were built there and the woods cut down. Before the demolition, the little woods blazed in a final gloroius splendor in an autumn afternoon sun.

I have been going regularly to the Station Cafe for lunch lately, twide last week, in fact. One day, Chef Jenny had made the most delicious butternut squash soup I have ever tasted. I wish she would make it more often, that alone is enough to draw me back! I don't know if you have ever cut up a butternut squash but it is no easy task. I am only too happy to have someone else do the work and for me to enjoy the delicious results! Along with the delicious soups, there are wonderful sandiwhiches. My current favorite is the breakfast croissant which is scrambled egg and cheese and coonut bacon (Vegan) on a flaky croisant - YUMMY! My friend Barb with whom I had lunch on Friday has a favorite too, the Vegan BLT on foccacio bread!

Along with a great art show, there are charming gifts and cards to browse for your upcoming holiday season gift giving. So many reasons to visit the Station, and get on their mailing list becaue they have pop up gournmet dinners - another great gift idea for that special someone.

Happy Trails Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Hunting History - Log Cabins

When I was growing up, Davy Crocket was BIG! That whole frontier world was immensely popular. People had sofa's upholstered in fabric showing scenes from frontier life, log cabins, old wells, people gathered around the old oak tree, stage coahes. Fes Parker was Davy Crocket in a tv series that ignited the popular imagination. It was a Walt Disney production in the heyday of family fare, l954-1955. All of us kids had Lincoln Logs and I loved to build villages in the bag=ck yard with sticks to make fences and pebbles and rocks to create scenery. I was just reaching ten at the time.

The love of log cabins and that early settlement architecture has stayed with me my whole life. I am not sure what re-ignited the fire but during my early driving explorations in South Jersey right after retirement, I began to hunt out log cabins of which there are surprising quite a few. I found one just as you enter Swedesboro, beside the church ol the hill, an excellent historic beauty on its own. And I found one just as you enter Salem. There is another really old one in Greenwich that you can tour during their harvest festival each autumn. Once when I was there visiting the log cabin as you'd visit an old friend, I met a man who had written a book on log cabins and I bought his book. In those early days of history hunting, I drove all over the place and found fascinating buildings and towns which excited even more avenues to explore, such as One Room Schools and Civilian Conservation Projects!

The closest log cabin to where I live happened to be the oldest log cabin, not just in New Jersey but in the whole Eastern Hemisphere, in Gibbstown! It is a Finnish/Swedish log cabin which was at the time owned by the Rink family, who had lovingly preserved it. The day I found it, Mrs. Rink was haning out wash in hwe back yard and she gave me a tour. It is the Braman-Nothnagle Cabin built in 1638! One of the reasons it is the oldest standing log cabin is the Scandinavian cultural tradition of taking down and burning an old log cabin when a new home was built. This cabin has been so famous, Scandinavian royalty has visited! It is actually Finnish style. The Fins flattened the bottom and top of the logs so that they fit so snugly there was no need for chinking.

The Rinks got older and Mr. Rink, sadly passed away. Mrs. Rink put the log cabin and their adjoining Colonial home up for sale but she felt honor bound to protect the log cabin and most of the highest offers were from the philistine developers who wanted to tear down the historic cabin as well as the now historic adjoing house to build new homes. She showed great integrity in turning down their offers and accepting one that was a fraction of the value of the property, just so she could ensure that the log cabin would be maintained and preserved. The original asking price was over a million, but she accepted $225 thousand. It seems to me that we are in a period where istory isn't as respected as it was once. Mrs. Rink however, showed her love.

Perhaps the biggest period of respect for history in the popular culture was the Bicentennial, in the 1970's. Those were halcyon days! Oral history flourished, Historical Societies saw a resurgence in membership, and old buildings were visited and admired and resored and preserved. In these days, even a Revolutionary War era treasure such as the brick house in St. Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr, are casually destroyed for no more than a highway sound barrier. The St. Mary's house was built in the mid 1700's and had been owned by a hero of local militia who mortgaged his own home to raise a militia that fought in the local battles such as Gloucester City (the first battle of the Marquis de Lafayette when he earned his officers stripes). How sad. Preservationists protested, but the wrecking crew came in during the early pre-dawn hours and desroyed this irreplceable piece of American History in our own backyard.

On the plus side, another piece of early history has been preserved by the Camden County Historical Society, an early Cooper family Delaware River ferry tavern. We have all watched the struggle to save this building and we await its transformation into a Revolutionary War History Museum in the not too distant future.

If you, too, are either a follower of log cabin history or Swedish/Finnish settlement in the early Colonial period, look up the Nothnagle Cabin and have a drive over and get a look while you still can. And let's all say a hearty thank you to the Rinks for standing in the long line of history lovers who have preserved our shared history!

Friday, October 20, 2023

Do you love trains?

Embark on a rare-milage autumn-themed journey along the Woodstown Central Railroad! Take in the lush woods and scenic farmland as our train travels to the beautiful Fenwick Grove. Here, passengers will disembark for 30 minutes and enjoy many of the activities included in your train ticket:

-Pick out a pumpkin (decorating kit included)

-Enjoy cider and a donut from our station

-Play fall-themed activities

-Take in the views along the Fenwick Creek

This is an unforgettable Fall experience that you won’t soon forget. Please allow approximately 90 minutes for your entire experience

Personal Note: Okay, heere come the tears! Whenever I think of train rides I think of my fathr and the last train ride of the many we took throughout our family lives as childresn. My father loved trains and having grown up in the last days of the era of train travel, I loved them too. We took train rides in Pa., W.Va. and any place we traveled that had a train ride available. When my daugher was a bit older, I took her on train rides in Strasbourg, Pa. and Jim Thorpe, Pa.

Our last family train ride was the Thanksgiving Train Dinner out of Petersburg, W.Va. We loved it! It must have been 1999 or so because my mother died in 2000. Almost every day I have a memory of my mother or my father and it brings tears to my eyes, but I am grateful for all the very happy memories we gathered before they left us. My father died in 2011. I would love to go on the Woodstown train trip but I find myself at this point in my life, I am 77, soon to be 78 in one month, not really able to drive many places due to declining eye sight, and like so many people in this period of our history, my daughter lives far away. New York City isn't that far geographically but the traffic and difficulty of getting here from there combined with their busy lives making a living in today's difficult economy make any kind of family event difficult. I hope you can make the Woodstown train ride and store up a happy memory for yourself and whoever you take with you! Happy Trails Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com (if you wish to comment as the comment section of blogspot is destroyed by spammers)

Friday, October 6, 2023

Nobel Peace Prize 2023

A young woman, 22 years old, was dragged off the street by the Iranian so calle "Morality police" for nhaving part of her hair exposed by her head coveering. She was murdered in prison and sparked a human rights revolt in Iran which is still going on despite 300 protesters being jailed and killed. Thousands have been arrested. Iranian women live in a social prison as do so many women in the East. Women and girls in Afghanistn cannot receive education cannot hold jobs, cannot walk outside uness covered in every way but their eyes which are bhin a kind of fabric grate in the head cover. They have no protection from abuse, domestic violence, and live in a culture of oppression and subjugation. Many women in parts of the world have not risen far above this level of enslavement. Only reenly, women in Saudi Arabia won the right to drive a car.

The punishment for trying to stand up for their rights is harsh in these parts of the world and include beatings, lashings, imprisoment and murder. Rape is an ongoing form of intimidation and terror as is seen even today for example, in India. Just 7 years ago, a young physical-therapy student, Nirhbaya was attacked and gang raped on a public bus. She was known for her love of education and her kindness and her wish to devote her life to helping others. She died of the physical abuse she suffered. Recent crime statistics in Dehli show that there are still 93 cases of rape a day.

Needless to say, the Middle East and Arabic countries have the worst record on human rights in regard to women.

The Iranian activist, Mohammadi was one of 351 candidates for this year’s award – the second-highest number in the history of the Nobels. She became the 19th woman to win the award in more than 120 years of the prize.

Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian human rights lawyers who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, commended the committee’s decision to honor Mohammadi.

“We live in a very interconnected world. Right now, people in Iran are fighting for freedom. Our future depends on their success,”

Although in Western Nations things are indeed infinitely better for women, the battle for our rights has taken a turn recently in the United States in the increasing bans against a woman's right to make medicat decisions in her own reproductive life. The right wing of the Republican party has gone so far as to block military promotions and live our defenses hampered in their war to force the military to adopt a no support of reproductive choice for female soldiers. Reproductive choice is one of the basic pillars of a woman's independence and ability to protect and support herself. We, in America, must work harder to protect the rights our ancestors have sacrificed and struggled toprovide for us or we, too, can sink back into the segregation and discrimination that marked our past.

Hail to the mighty, the brave, the heroes who rise above fear and fight for the rights of women all over the world!

Happy Trails from Jo Ann - a woman, a teacher, artist, mother, and a long time supporter of equality for all!

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Saddler's Woods with Naturalist! Upcoming event.

Sunday Autumn Hikes with Naturalist Jeff Calhoun:

10/15 and 11/12 11am - 1pm

Join naturalist educator Jeff Calhoun for a 2-hour tour of our local treasure. We’ll take a closer look at the old-growth trees, wet meadow, and early successional woodland all contained in this 25-acre urban forest surrounded by suburbia. Participants will gain an understanding of the ecology, native biodiversity, environmental challenges, and SWCA’s conservation effort. Children ages 12+ are welcome with a responsible adult. Fee: $20 donation per person, per session. Registration is required. Attendance limited to 20

Link to register: https://forms.gle/vT9aCr6gQxffowyd9 Meeting Location: Welcome area of 250 MacArthur Blvd. Haddon Township, NJ 08108 ( meet by the Saddler’s Woods sign.)

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Halloween Art Show at The Station/Eiland Arts Center, Merchantville

Once again, we are fortunate in having a wonderful Halloween Art Show at the charming Merchantville venue called The Station and/or Eiland Arts Center. It is located at 10 East Chestnut in Merchantville, NJ. It is a repurposed Train Station and houses not only a wonderful Art Gallery upstairs and down, but a great Cafe' and Coffee bar. My friends and I eat there regularly and the food is superb! The chef makes the most delicious soups - my favorites are herbed potato and carrot ginger. My favorite sandwiches have been the BLT with vegan coconut bacon, and the flaky croissant with egg and diced tomato and coconut bacon. I also like the grilled cheddar on focaccia bread with soup. The theme of the show is Hallowwen - HAUNTED PLACES.

The opening reception will be this Friday, October 6th at 6:00 p.m. and the show will be up all month. I am both happy and honored to say I have two paintings in the show. I chose to work from photographs I took of Mount Moriah Cemetery, an abandoned cemetery near Yeadon, Pa. that I discovered while researching family burials. My paternal grandfather was buried there in the 1930's but I couldn't ind the grave even though I had the plot number becaus Mt. Moriah was abandoned many years ago and has been allowed to be overtaken by a jungle. Fortunately, volunteers have been struggling to clear it of debris dumped there and to make some headway mowing in various sections. The once stately facade was almost completely destroyed by vandals who set the towers on fire. The front of the structure remains to show what it must have been once. It is so sad. Frankly I didn't know you could just abandon cemeteries like that.

My other painting is also from a photo I took from one of my many visits to the grave of Walt Whitman, right here in Camden, NJ at Harleigh cemetery which is a model of a beautifully maintained cemetery. Generally I have visited Walt Whitman's grave on his birthday to honor his immense and immortal soul.

This year, another artist and friend, Jerome Barton, has a piece entered in the show, a gorgeous stained glass piece. Jerome was a student of mine many many years ago and has kept in touch over the years. I am delighted he has become an artist and enormously proud of his beautiful work.

All works are for sale, but by all meeans, just come and enjoy the opportunity to see the show!

Happy Trails ( even through the cemetery!)

Jo Ann

wrightj45@yahoo.com

Monday, October 2, 2023

18th Century Field Day at Red Bank Battlefield

On October 22, from 10:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m. you can enjoy a glipse of life in the Colonial period and you can re-visit a monumental day in the history of our country. Three hundred years ago on that day, a vastly outnumbered American Revolutionary force faced a fierce and widely experience army of Mercenary soldiers from Hesse Cassel Germany, hired by the British to defeat us and open the Delaware River to their ships.

They needed to re-supply their forces which had captured our capitol city of the time, Philadelphia. The River was defended by a fort on the Philadelphia side, Fort Mifflin, and the fort on the New Jersey side at Red Bank, Fort Mercer.

It was a David and Goliath story. The greatest British warship of the time, the Augusta was in the River and the 2000 strong army of Hessians was marching on the 200 Colonials in a trench fort at Red Bank, the farm of the Quaker Whitall family.

The short of it is we WON and it was a turning point for our morale and for the faith of others in our ability to persevere.

Just recently in an archaeological dig, the bodies of a dozen of the Hessian soldiers who died in the battle were uncovered in a mass grave on the site. This and other fascinating facts and stories will be available on this exciting and colorful day. There will be demonstrations of colonial arts, muster drills, and a grand finale' the re-enactment of the Battle of Red Bank.

And it is all FREE! Red Bank Battlefield is in National Park and there are places to have a great picnic while you are there plus the historic farm house which still stands will be available for tours. There is also a great playground for the little ones.

Happy Trails? for comments you can reach me at wrightj45@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Love Dogs? Then this one is for you! and your best friend.

90% chance of rain on Saturday? No problem! We've pivoted before, so let's pivot again! We're moving Woofstock INDOORS!!!!!

We're taking over the whole first floor of the Voorhees Town Center (VTC)! The main entrance will be located at the Food Court Entrance on the Laurel Rd side of the VTC. That's where our food trucks, and covered Food Court and Beer Garden tents will be too!

Pet Contest? Still ON! Alumni Parade with Hegeman String Band and Dawn Timmeney from FOX 29? Still ON! Gift Basket Raffle?? You guessed it, still ON!!!

Your well behaved four-legged friends are still welcome too! We ask that you make sure they take their potty breaks outside and that you clean up thoroughly after them.

NO RETRACTABLE LEASHES PLEASE!!!

Over 125 vendors and rescues will be there!!!! We hope that you will too!! 27th Annual Woofstock Festival

Septmber 23, 2023 - 11:00 - 4:00

INSIDE the Voorhees Town Center

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fall Craft Classes!

Gloucester Co. Certified Gardeners are once again offering their popular craft classes!

For the first time, the classes will be held in our larger space at the Shady Lane Complex

254 County House Road, Clarksboro, NJ 08020

9/30 - 10:00 a.m. needle felted pumpkins

12:00 p.m. paper holiday ornaments

10/28 - 10:00 a.m. felt card holders

12:00 p.m. Rag Rug Making

Call 856-224-8045 for more info and to register, class size is limited!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Batsto

I don't get to the pinebarrens much these days but I always like to hear from them and today I got their quarterly newsletter in my e-mail, so I aam letting you know what is going on there: Save the date! Be sure to check out the Fall Glass and

Bottle show on September 24, 2023,

kicking off the Fall and Winter events at Batsto, including the Country Living Fair, the Haunting, and Winter in the Pines! Plans for the Fall show include an additional row to accommodate up to 100 anticipated dealers. For more on times and dates, google Batsto

Happy Trails!

Jo Ann

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Connect

Here is a link which has a huge number of markets shows, festivals and music events in South Jersey this month and next. If you aren't subscribed to Visit South Jersey, you should be! Sorry I couldn't put this in as a link but it didn't work so try copying it and pasting it then when you reach it subscribe. You'll be glad you did.

visitsouthjersey@spark-creative.net

An Essy of LOVE - September 2023

I wanted to write an esay of love about my little house. It has been the longest romance of my life, almost 40 years! Walking up the path to my front door is a daily delight for me. As soon as I enter the shade of my tree crowded yard, I feel the love. This house is so much more than my shelter, it is my turtle shell, a part of me. All the homey details, like the two cats, Lucky and Mr. Boots meeting me and Uma at the bottom of the driveway when we come home from our walk, the trees waving their cheery greeting, all the green glow of the happy rain watered neighbors - the hollies and the cedars, the maple trees and the hedges, the leaves of the flourishing Lily of the valley - all of them speak to me and greeting me with their comradeship. The view out of each of my windows is a continuing joy to me and is always changing.

The window I see here from the sofa is a mosaic of green, and shadow with an occasional yellow leaf fluttering down like a bird. In a few weeks the leaves will change and carpet the yard a foot deep and the trees outside will present a black lacework of bare scratched ink drawn brnnches agains the sky.

A couple of times a week, I wave at the township maintenance men on the truck when they come for recycle or yard waste, or trash. They all know me and my dog and somehow some of them know my name and say "Hello Miss Wright!" Maybe they were students. I run into students from time to time, such as this past Monday when I went to the Dermatologist, the assistant said she had been a student of mine at Mary Ethel Costello School. I asked her if she still did art and she said she liked to do little painting on the beach. I was glad.

My house and I love to spend cozy evenings watching old mystery films. I am at present watching old Peter Wimsey episodes, but I think I have run out of my favorites, those with Ian Carmichael as Wimsey.

My nephew helped me take down my summer decorations yesteday and now it is time to put up the autumn ones - garland on the banisters and maybe some orange twinkle lights. I have two pots of chrysanthemums on the porch and a big fat pumpkin glowing with ripeness and fecundity, it will be a feast for the squirrels in a week or two. The cats and the dog and I were sitting on our shadow dappled porch in the frisky breeze admiring the pumpkin after our morning walk. The mums are still hiding in their buds and we will enjoy watching them open in the sunshine of each day marking the rest of this month of Septmmber In about 10 days it will be my 60h high school reunion. This will be the first one I attend without my best friend Chris who is wrapped in so many of my childhood memories that I can't think of her without crying. Every time I think of her, I think of Christmas and us showing one another our presents under the tree and our newest flowered flannel nightgowns still bright in color and not faded by many washings and so cozy on the cold winter nights in our bedrooms In fact, I have to leave that memory before it breaks me down and takes me from this happier moment.

It won't be as though I don't know any one at the reunion because I have re-acquainted myself with Sue Troy who will be moving up this way from down at the seashore soon now that she is widowed, and I will see Liz Sylvestry, formerly Betty Krachun, this grief stricken woman who has lost her husband, her son, and her own home and lives in an apartment made up for her by her grandson out of a basement in his building. How lucky I am that I have my own home and my daughter is well and my siblings are all well and we have each other.

Well I guess this is my big "Gratitude" for this day, a gratitutde for home, and small town living, and neihbors and sufficiency of every sort and all the many blessings that have been showered down on me like the golden leaves of the autumn trees.

Happy Trails - Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Fall Harvest Festival at Red Bank Battlefield

Free Family Fun and Activities

Learn about the vital role the Pennsylvania Navy played at the Battle of Red Bank!

See Batoe Moon,an 18th century sloop, and meet her crew.

Cider Making Demonstration

Colonial Food Preservation and Hearth Cooking Demonstration

Plants for Sale for Fall Gardening

Straw Bale Maze

Live Period Folk Music

Colonial Conjuror Magic Show

Free Kids Crafts & Games

Farm Animal Petting Zoo

September 17, 2023 from noon to 4 pm

Happy Trails-Jo Ann

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Edgar Allen Poe Event in October

Gloucester County Historical Society Presents:

An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe. Helen McKenna-Uff as Edgar Allan Poe offers us an evening of spine-chilling storytelling and insight into Poe's life. This event will be held at Woodbury Friends Meetinghouse, 124 N. Broad St. Parking is available in the GCHS lots or the County lot on Hunter St.

$25 Tuesday, Oct 17 6:30 PM

You can buy your tickets online on their website set up for the purpose

https://www.gchsnj.org/shop/poe/

For more information call 856-848-8531

Monday, August 7, 2023

The oldest road in America

"The oldest road in the United States was a 1,300 mile road. It was constructed on order of King Charles II of England and was built between 1650 and 1735. Long before there was a United States it ran through his colonies and it ran through New Jersey. Sure there were little paths and dirt roads. But this was a road as in what we’d call a highway today, eventually running all the way from Massachusetts to South Carolina, long before the concept of automobiles was here.

Sure there were little paths and dirt roads. But this was a road as in what we’d call a highway today, eventually running all the way from Massachusetts to South Carolina, long before the concept of automobiles was here. Only In Your State calls it the oldest road in America.

At first it was used by post riders to deliver mail. Later it was smoothed and widened so that stagecoaches and horse-drawn wagons could travel it. Basically it was the first concept of what would be the interstate highway system. Eventually a real highway system grew. And much of The King’s Highway became Route 1. Yes, Route 1 is part of the oldest highway in the United States."

Every Sunday, I drive from my house, 4 houses off of Kings' Highway, to Woodbury to the Woodbury Friends Meeting. Our Meeting is 300 years old! and it sits on a gentle hill operlooking the oldest road in America. I already knew that, but Ijust received a local news e-mail to which I subscribe and it offered the above confirmation of that fact so I thought I would share it. I have driven the Kings Highway all the way down to Greenwich on the Bay. It is a wonderful drive, I highly recommend you take a ride on it and follow it either North to Burlington, or South to Greenwich, and see all the cool towns along the way.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Freedom and Free Books!

FREEDOM AND FREE BOOKS!

Last night, I happened to come across a program where two women were discussing Soup Joumou. Now, I am no cook but I do make soup, often, and so although I don’t watch food shows in general, this one seemed unique because of the historical connection.

Soup Jomou is made of several ingredients but a main base is squash. You can find out the ingredients by googling the name of the soup. This soup comes from a tradition evolving from the Haitian Revolution in the 1700’s. Enslaved people were forced to make this soup for the rich and the plantation owners but forbidden to make it for themselves. When they freed themselves from Colonial enslavement, people who left Haiti for Louisiana brought the recipe with them and on Haitian Independence Day each year, they make it and enjoy the taste of freedom in every spoonful.

By coincidence, this morning, in my e-mail, I received an invitation to join the Free Books Project at Newton Friends Meeting for Squash Soup on Saturday! Unfortunately, I was unable to visit this Saturday, but once again, I was impressed with the generosity and creativity of the Free Books Project at Newton Friends.

Also, for the most successful early gardeners, I believe we are in or approaching that season when the prolific squash rises in abundance and becomes widely available, often for free from gardening friends, so what a great time to find the recipe that suits your taste and to think of the long noble history of this healthful soup. Bon Apetit!

Jo Ann Wright wrightj45@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

An Essay from a friend - good thought!

My Ode to Clover and Pollinator-Friendly Lawncare: a Friend’s Idea for Better Stewardship of the Earth Many of the residents in my 55 and over community remember the time when lawns often included and were even encouraged to include white clover. Clover seeds automatically came with the grass seed. “75 years ago, no one planted a lawn without mixing a little white clover in with the grass seed (Roger Swain, The Victory Garden, PBS).” It was often packaged with the grass seed.

Historically, clover became an unwanted weed after World War II during which 2-4, D was discovered. Its original purpose had been to destroy potato crops in Germany and rice crops in Japan. In the form of a weed killer, it became popular for lawncare, known as WeedOne , thought to be much more toxic than RoundUp. to which it has often been added. With long-time and frequent use of RoundUp, studies have increasingly uncovered health problems with it as well with many countries currently choosing to limit or ban its use. As soon as it was found that weed killers also killed the clover, their producers encouraged calling clover an unwanted, unsightly weed.

Keep in mind that lawns of turf grass comprise the single largest irrigated crop in America, about 40,000,000 acres (twice the size of Kentucky).

Studies of mixed lawn and clover show that such lawns attract many kinds of pollinators, as many as 2 to 12 different species of pollinators, and in some areas, up to 200 different species of pollinators, and there are 3,500 native bees in all of North America. Moreover, such a mixture renders lawns friendly to microbial and earthworm habitat. They also sequester carbon, which helps fight climate change. If during the mowing process, clippings of grass and clover are left on the lawn, enough nitrogen is provided for lawn health without adding fertilizer.

Our zealous desire to kill off clover and other weeds has come to favor the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (e.g., clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) which are the worst threat to bees. They interfere with the mobility, navigation, feeding behavior, reproduction, and overall colony health of bees. They seriously endanger many species of plants and insects that are already classified as endangered. Such pesticides have been banned in the EU and in Canada. New Jersey is one of the few states that have banned neonicotinoid use. Because these chemicals remain in the plants and soil for years, they continue to harm those who use lawns for play and recreation or for food. The question is if the American public and its politicians will be brave enough to stand up to Big Ag and the Fish and Wildlife Service. That would help avoid the end of pollinators and even the kinds of wasps that feed on cutworms, grubs, and other lawn-and-crop-eating creatures. The report on these chemicals came out in May, 2023.

I am personally willing to live with some clover. I recently welcomed the various bees I found in little patches of clover. Clover can be beautiful once again. In conclusion, let us support our friends, the pollinators, in whatever way we can. It will give our children a more livable future.

Resources included:

https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/

https://psci.princeton.edu/tips/2020/5/11/law-maintenance-and-climate-change

https://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/infoservices/pesticidesandyou/CloverCited.pdf

https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/epa-three-popular-neonicotinoid-pesticides-likely-to-drive-more-than-200-endangered-plants-animals-extinct-2023-05-05/

http://nebula.wsimg.com/cca8724b79162214c52d2ee6b227fad4?AccessKeyId=D2195B5438568F141D86&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

https://extension.umn.edu/landape-design/planting-and-maintaining-bee-lawn

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/24-d-most-dangerous-pesticide-youve-never-heard

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9101768/

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Grapevine -

Our kind and wise assistant clerk at Woodbury Friends Meeting, Carleton Crispin, suggested recently that it might be interesting and worthwhile to take a note on our discussion themes in our Adult First Day School each Sunday. I volunteered to do that and decided it might be of interest to share with others. This is what we talked about today.

One of our members, Marilyn, had recently attended the 78th Annual Seabrook Buddhist Temple's Obon Festival with her husband, who is a long time reader of Buddhist literature and practitioner of Buddhist meditation techniques as well as a teacher of Tai Chi.

Back in the 1970’s, many Americans (including Marilyn’s husband Ralph and me) became acquainted with Buddhism through two books that were best-sellers and immensely popular on college campuses and among counter culture folks: The first was ZEN MIND BEGINNERS MIND by Shunriyu Suzuki. The other was Alan Watt’s book, The Way of Zen. Watts, was born in England and studied philosophy. Both authors popularized the study of Buddhism in America. Alan Watts was also a vegetarian because, he said “Cows scream louder than carrots.”

For simplified information on the basics of Buddhism, I recommend a pbs website accessible through google. It describes the 4 noble truths which involve human suffering and the eightfold path out of suffering.

My own personal study of Buddhism continued from the above mentioned books into the writings of Pema Chodrin, American Abbot of Gumpo Monastery in Nova Scotia. She has a gift for translating abstract ideas into applied behavior. It is no exaggeration to say that her books came to me at a time of great pain and confusion and saved me. The first book I read was When Things Fall Apart, the second was Start Where You Are, and then Comfortable with Uncertainty. I have since read my more. She is known for teaching the Path of Loving Kindness, in which, I am sure, we can all find parallels with our Quaker faith.

The Light Within has glowed in the hearts of people of many cultures around the world and throughout time. I find it hopeful to know that.

Jo Ann

Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Electronic Divide

First of all, I am not alone in this. Secondly, it is becoming increasingly apparent that among the other divisions we have in our society: race, economics, class, we now have a new way the poor the elderly, and the dsadvantaged are going to be cut out - Electronics. This first became apparent to me during the Covid epidemic when everyone was forced to use on-line access to register for immunization. Shockinly to me, I couldn't get immunized at my doctor's office or the hospital to which she is connected - we could only get signed up ON-LINE. Fortunately for me, through my years in education I had already learned enough to be able to wade through this rubble strewn stream to register at every recommended county/state/national site. Never did I recieve any information from any of them. It was as if I had sent a message in a bottle. Finally, an even more experienced and possible more intelligent or perhaps more connected friend sent me a link through some My Chart portal to register and I got my shot.

Meanwhile, my brother in West virginia, a life-long working class ironworker who lives in the mountains without internet access or any electronic experience whatsoever was shut out entirely although he was in the endangered age group, as was I and he was also a veteran! No, the Veterans associations could offer him no help with this situation and could not offer him vaccination either - you HAD to register electronically. Fortunately on his way home from yet another futile attempt to get some help with this, he stopped at the Liquor store and the woman at the counter used her computer to get him signed up.

If you didn't have a grandchild who could maneuver this land- mine field, you were out of luck! Remember, during Covid the libraries were closed.

Not everyone can afford home internet or a home computer, or even a smart phone. My brother had none of these. He is retired and lives on a meager social security income that pays enough for food and utilities, car insurance and taxes but does not afford cable and internet service, also he lives in the mountains in West Virginia AND he is visually impaired!

So let's stop and think about visual impairment for a minute; one group I left out is the aged, a group to which my brother and I both belong being in our 70's. My vision is failing and my brother's is very poor and has been most of his life. Old people, the very ones most in need of the vaccination were the group MOST likely to have visual impairment and financial limitations. And I can tell you from having taught community education classes back in the 1990's and early 2000's, many people who have never typed or used any kind of electronics were very hampered in progressing with this new skill.

After the pandemic, when people tried to get jobs, they found themselves shut out because all employment was suddenly behind the gatepost of the the internet. You couldn't fill out an application and get an interview anymore, even for unskilled or low skill labor - all jobs were behind the electronic fence of the internet. And to make it more insulting there were headlines about people not wanting to work! They wanted to but they couldn't manage the electronic mine-field of electronic application, even for jobs like Wawa clerks and Diner waiters.

This doesn't even touch on the huge portion of the population with literacy problems and perceptual impairment! So lets talk about how disabled people are also left out in the cold in this brave new world of electronics.

I am in support of the screen writers strike because AI is about to take over writing the pablum that makes tv series these days. The AI uses previously written plots to get the pattern and churns out the crap that is modern entertainment.

Ok, I have let off steam. I was angry because my sister has to attend Drug and alcohol counseling because of a DUI and I had to give her an old laptop, which we took to a computer shop to pay to have zoom put on because neither of us could manage it, and then when she tried to log on at home, there was some problem with one of the many mysteries of internet access - something to do with a firewall. Now my sister is a culinary expert and an expert landscaper and I am a three college degree expert in literature, art and teaching. Neither of us could wade through the obstacle strewn field of this electronic nightmare. Finally her son was able to get her set-up in an old i-phone she had. Her new android phone wouldn't work either. Logged on to her session, the chaos you might expect did in fact ensue - people couldn't get the camera right, get the mute and unmute sorted out and got so frustrated they cursed and got kicked off. Those who don't complete the on-line counselling may have to go to jail. Maybe in jail they will teach them how to navigate this new elecronic world.

At the same time, the SODAT office that used to handle these issues with in-person counseling sessions and drug testing, has been shut down, so there is no alternative to the on-line version.

I am surprised more journalists aren't talking about this but, of course, they are already expert at maneurveiing the zoom world and they don't apparently know enough people in the "lower classes" to have seen first-hand the fall-out from it.

This new "Smart World" is in fact, an inhumane world and further disadvantages those who are disadvantaged. Sadly, I see no escape, at least for the existing generations. I suppose the younger people raised in this world will be more adept at managing it. I hope so, although reports of the ravages of social media and on-line counseling via AI have already been making that look like a fool's hope.

Don't get me wrong, there are good aspects and I am writing this on a blog, after all, but, the downside is huge and glaring. And by the way,libraries are closing down left and right, so where are people supposed to go for computer access who don't have it at home and can't afford it? This is the unforseen Brave New World and 1984 we have been fearing. That's enough ranting for me for today. I am going to the real world to walk my real dog in the Climate Crisis Heatwave that is also wreaking havoc on us.

By the way, I didn't even begin to rage about PASSWORDS! I just joined a new gym and suddenly was confronted with the specter of registering for classes online. I created an on-line account with password and failed at registering becasue it didn't like my password, or my new password, and even after a second phone call I had to persuade the desk clerk to register me.

Jo Ann

Sunday, July 9, 2023

MUSICIANS - This is interesting!

From The Stationn, Art Gallery and Arts Center, Merchantville, NJ

Bring your musical instruments, amplifiers, pedals, and other music gear to find potential buyers or trade them for new treasures. It's a perfect chance to upgrade your setup or find something unique to add to your collection! Register here if you like a table

🎤 Open Mic Night: Calling all musicians, singers, and performers! Take the stage and share your passion with a supportive audience. Whether you're a seasoned artist or a first-time performer, this is your chance to shine. Sign up at the venue.

Contact Mat for any questions: mat@eilandarts.com

Asit happens, I have two instruments but I am holding on to them in hope that someday I will be inspired to begin again and learn to play. The one I have the chance of learning to play is the Ukelele which I made good progress on but then I fell by the wayside and now I would have to go back to START. The other is a piano but it really belongs to my daughter and soon as she is settled in her new apartment with her husband, she will come for it (she says).

Pleas use my e-mail for comments as the comments on the blog is completely swamped by robospam and obscenities. Thanks wrightj45@yahoo.com

34 mile bike trail coming!

CAMDEN COUNTY, NJ — A 34-mile bike trail planned for South Jersey has received some significant federal funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the county $19 million to develop key portions of the Camden County LINK.

Once completed, the LINK will span from the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden to the Pinelands National Reserve in Winslow Township. The grant will fund the development of the pedestrian/biking trail's most complex portions in Camden and Pennsauken Township. See Camden County's portion of the planned trail here.

The LINK will be part of Circuit Trails — a network of multi-use trails around Greater Philadelphia. Circuit Trails currently includes more than 370 miles of multi-use pathways. The coalition set goals to reach 500 miles by 2025 and more than 800 miles of interconnected trails by 2040 across nine counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Sadly, my biking days are over but this is such a wonderflu plan when it is finished, I may invest in a 3 wheeler so I can bike again! I had to stop because although my bike was the correct size for me anatomically, it was too tall for me to feel safe and stable, so I gave it away. I can imagine this new trail will possibly spur a bunch of 34 mile hikers! Now more than ever we need to encourage the population to get outside and get moving to combat the epidemic of obesity and related illnesses.

Here's to the great RIDE! Happy Trails - Jo Ann don't use comments it is polluted by robo spam - contact me by email if you wish to comment wrightj45@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Blueberry Festival

To be honest, I don't go to festivals anymore but I feel I have a duty to let you know when I hear about one, so here we go:

Fri, Jun 23, 2023 at 5:00 PM

Trinity Episcopal Church, 207 W Main St, Moorestown, NJ, 08057 Our Blueberry Festival is back! Join the fun.

Blueberry Desserts, grilled sausage, hot dogs and salad. Kids games, music, dancing, bouncy house, Blueberries and blueberry jam for sale. p/> I will tell you my favorite blueberry place, though, it is WHITESBOG! And they have a blueberry festival as well but the parking is difficult there at festivals. You should go visit someday when it isn't crowded. Elizabeth White cultivated the blueberry from the native high bush berry and she was also a famed specialist in Holly growing and her family had cranberry bogs and a big business in cranberries. Her home, Suningive, is still at Historic Whitesbog Village and you can visit there. Hiking the bogs in summer is delightful and gorgeous!

Enjoy blueberry season - one of New Jersey's products! Remember those state products maps?

Happy trails - Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com

Friday, June 9, 2023

The World on Fire June 8, 2023

Last night, for the first time, I could really smell it - the smoke from the wildfires in Canada. Of course it could have been mixed with the wildfires in the Pines around Medford, and also, there was a construction site fire in Philadelpia.

Short sighted people. I read some comments after a red alert e-mail news item, and one of the coments was insulting and scornful against people calling this air disaster "Climate Crisis" The commenter emphasized, "It's Wildfires, not Climate Crisis" and added some insults to push his point home. What he didn't realize was that the Climate problem, the drying world, is pusshing the rest of the trouble, the wildfires, the drying up of rivers, water shortages. One of his insults was against "Woke Greennie Weenies" and I reflected on how so much of the current culture war is about manifestations of gender. Macho male dominance has been challenged by sensitive people who care about the environment, about animals, about the big world. That intimidation begins all the way back in the school yard with bully boys picking on sensitive ones and on anyone else they perceive as weaker.

It is interesting to me that Ron DeSantis in his latest ad against Trump, portrayed him hugging Dr. Fauci, whom the radical right wing have demonized, the man who led us through the pandemic. They hate him. The image was manufactured because Trump didn't embrace Dr. Fauci, of course.

I looked up 'Woke' once and it described people who believe in equality for LGBTQ citizens, environmentalism, animal rights, and women's rights.

The "unwoke" want to return to discrimination against all these groups. They want the rich to be spared paying their fair share of taxes. They want to reduce the power of the federal government, push women back into the house, take away birth control so women will be forced to reproduce and hence noat free to get an education or make a career, and be independent financially. That's what they mean when they say Make American Great Again - they mean take it back to the 1940's and 50's, reverse progress.

Air Quality - I called my vet to see what he would say about walking Uma. He advised that I wear a mask, of course, and that I walk her no more than around the block, just so she can get a leg stretcher but not breathe too much bad air.

bad air, bad water, we have more and more of these environmental disasters!

Well, at least it is still cook which I am enjoying so much!

Jo Ann wrightj45@yahoo.com Happy trails friends!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Worries and Politics

As you well know if you have visited this blog, I rarely talk about politics, but this time, I was a little worried. If, like me, you rely a lot on social security, this stand-off over raising the debt ceiling was frightening. Fortunately for me, I was a teacher and my career was during the period of the strong unions, so I have pension which is enough for me to survive, if not exactly thrive. Also fortunately for me, my mortgage is paid.

Yesterday in one of my news feeds on e-mail, it could have been npr, cnn or nytimes, I read about homeless senior citizens living in tents while using walkers and canes and struggling with big medical issues. The article said they had lost their homes to taxes or other issues and some have dementia and no family members nearby to help them maintain.

Also fortunately for me, I lived a life fairly free of bad habits so my brain is still in good shape, and I don't have a family history of dementia or alzheimers diseases for which no amount of healthy living can help. I stopped smoking 40 years ago, NEVER took up drinking, and always abided by the rules for maintaining good sleep habits - no blue screens in the bedroom, steady bedtime, and getting up early in the morning. Also no caffeine.

But people fall into all kinds of troubles including not having proper medical coverage and falling into debt for medical services. Also, not preparing for quarterly taxes can be a big one. Anyhow, however it happened I was surprised to read that there are so many elderly people in tents in homeless shelters.

To the point - all the concessions demanded by the right wing were to deprive the poor. There is never any move on their part to make the rich pay a fair share of their taxes. It is absolutely shocking to me that multi-millionaires and billionaires shirk their duty to pay a fair share of the financial burden to keep this country functioning. They use every trick available to avoid paying their share - like a wealthy friend who refuses to chip on the tip after a dinner out with friends. Selfishness and Greed rule the Right, along with bigotry and a deepd desire to dominate and control women's bodies. They don't get that taking care of everyone makes the country a better place. Who wants to live where the poor die in squalor on the sidewalks? Only vastly wealthy people who hide in gated communities and on giants yachts.

Our country is in deep danger because the Right Wing Republican party plays on the bigotry of so many against peope of different color or different sexuality to allow the rich to hide their money and rob the country.

Peope worry about Joe Biden's age, but the thing to worry about is a leaders character and morality and dedication to the good of the population. Franklin Delano Roosevelt got us through World War II and he was disabled! Winston Chruchill was ill and overweight and he got Britain through the worst crisis of the modern age, the Nazi Blitzkrieg!

Let us all keep in mind these facts about President Biden's performance:

"Biden has shown time and again his ability to work with whomever is across the table from him.

He did it in 2011 with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell on the debt ceiling. And despite GOP intransigence only deepening, Biden has been able to pull off multiple bipartisan pieces of legislation since taking office, including:

the $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the CHIPS Act, which aims to build more semiconductors in the United States; the bill that provided health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins like Agent Orange in Vietnam and burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the $1.7 trillion federal government funding bill that got 68 votes in the Senate and included a revised Electoral Count Act." One of the things the McCarthy contingent did successfully strip away was funding for the IRS so that it could function adequately to catch tax cheats!

OK, I have said my piece. I am of the WWII generation nd I know we faced the Greed and Self-interest rise of domination politics in fascism before and defeated it, and we may have to do that again. I have hope that there is enough in humanity of compassion, courage, honor and justice to rise to the challenge and defeat it again.

Time to get outside and walk my dog, isten to the birds sing, watch the new leaves sway in the gorgeous Spring breeze, and put all the political worry behind me - Enjoy your day! For at least two more years my social security check will arrive and let me say one more time - it is NOT an ENTITLEMENT - It was an investment that all of us who receive it paid into throughout our decades of working lives. Jo Ann