Archive for Maryland

SCOD Flora Survey Project

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2019 by Drogo

Volunteer efforts to make a ‘Washington DC Metropolitan Area’ survey map of identified flora species will be documented by SCOD over the course of several years, starting in a few local areas the team can access easily. Frederick and Thurmont are the first areas we are beginning with because of access and pre-existing information by naturalists.

Methodology:  Data Collection (field & archives); Digitizing Process; Database Analysis for Uses (historic land use, planning, locating existing species)

The SCOD Frederick Area Flora Species Mapping project has begun! Node 1a Block 1 of Spiral 1b is surveyed in my notebook. It will take several years to complete the region map, but more than 3 people will be working on it (Drogo, Christine, & Drumwise), and will focus on trees and shrubs estimates, but will include any info donated.

Please contact Drogo Empedocles, Chris Drumwise Ousse, or Christine Maccabee if you are interested in helping or contributing to our project. We are searching for partners to help us with GIS about trees and other plants. Find us on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks for your support!

References so far include: Frederick County MD Property Explorer, Arbor Pro USA, Science Direct Procedia, MD Department of Natural Resources, MD Forest Service, Garden Clubs, Nature Clubs, Park Groups, …

Arbor Pro USA – urban forest management for municipalities, universities, and you. 15 years of GPS tree inventories for risks and planning. Team members: Scot, William, Jeff, Ken

Science Direct – Procedia social and behavioral sciences: GIS for benefits and hazards of urban trees.

Tree-Keeper GIS for Frederick, MD – PDF11,158 Calculated Trees; Total Yearly Eco Benefits = $692,169

Frederick City of MD, Park Division Urban Forestry Program – Arborist

Maryland Manual On-Line: Plants & Trees

Frederick County Government, Maryland – GIS / Public Safety

Maryland I-Map – Mapping & GIS Data Portal

Frederick County, MD – Parks & Recreation Locations

Frederick County, MD – Property Explorer

 

Frederick County GIS Data [from email]:

  1.       We have Forest Polygons, they are available here:  https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/5969/Download-GIS-Data

The latest Forest Polygons are from 2017, we have and will update them about every 2-3 years, we started in 2005.

  1.       We have a Forest Canopy layer, made in 2011 by NASA and U of MD.  It is available for everywhere in the State of Maryland, https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=f70ada30bd29428395186ce5f3a618c5 .  I have a copy of the data if someone needs a copy of the GIS files feel free to send them my way.

 The County Tree Canopy Report can be downloaded by the link below  There are others for example Frederick City and Brunswick available here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/urban/utc/pubs/ .  I also included in the download a map of our Green Infrastructure.  If you have further questions feel free to reply or email me. Download Link:  https://frederick.sharefile.com/d-s13e6f8f52834481a

Mary McCullough – GIS Analyst / Interagency Information Technologies

Frederick County Government Office: 301-600-2324

Website: Frederick County GIS

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Evan Keto  – Maryland Licensed Tree Expert #2221, ISA Certified Arborist SO-6594AM, and Owner / Fruitful Trees and Gardens, LLC  240-763-0764

The options are limitless, although resources always are. Personally, I think a handful of people in Frederick could have the greatest impact by plugging data into existing systems, like this map where you can document edible plant species: https://fallingfruit.org/

Even if you only focused on public areas where foraging would be allowed (or at least not prosecuted), documenting all the walnuts, hickories, persimmons, pawpaws, blackberries, serviceberries, etc. would still take quite a long time. But by trimming your plants list, geographical area, and eliminating the technological issues, you could just start creating a very valuable map, and perhaps get other people on social media to volunteer to add to your efforts. In the end you’d have a resource that would help increase environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Just one of many ideas.

A map of trees and shrubs in Frederick or the greater DC area would take dozens of volunteers years to complete. For example, Casey Trees has been working on a map of the trees in DC, and that has taken many volunteers many years, and as they keep it updated, it will never be finished:  https://caseytrees.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=932aa4d49bfa45b39ecf3321cbb6cdbc

Eventually, hyper-spectral satellite imaging will be able to tell us what every tree is by its unique light signature. That way, we could instantly identify each tree species for an entire region, but that’s not going to be available for a while: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40490-018-0123-9

For instance, if you wanted to ask, “What species of trees and shrubs are growing in the DC area?”, that could be more of a list than a map, and can be compiled by cross referencing multiple resources, including – The City of Trees:

https://www.amazon.com/City-Trees-Complete-Washington-Center/dp/0813926882/ref=asc_df_0813926882/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312065538926&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4121470300927145656&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007790&hvtargid=pla-493397652405&psc=1

Maryland Champion Tree Listing

http://www.mdbigtrees.com/view_tree.aspx

C&O canal species lists: https://www.nps.gov/choh/learn/nature/plants.htm

 (Monocacy battlefield, National Capital Parks, and other NPS units would also likely have species lists)

Towson Arboretum: https://www.towson.edu/campus/landmarks/glen/trees.html

National Arboretum: https://www.usna.usda.gov/

University of Maryland campus arboretum https://arboretum.umd.edu/

In the end, I think you’ll find hundreds of different species of woody plants, as I learned 200+ and those were just on the UMD campus. If you widen your interest to all plant species, then be prepared to learn to identify thousands and thousands of potential species in this area: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderProfileResults.aspx?z=7 

Or, if you did want to create a map, you might want to focus on a particular geographic area, such as some of the local parks, and perhaps with focus on the largest and most interesting trees. It might be worth contacting the city’s Sustainability Coordinator and the County Forestry Board, who may already have some items mapped and/or resources to help:

http://www.cityoffrederick.com/891/Sustainability

https://sites.google.com/view/fcfcdb/bigtreeprogram#h.p_vluyI_xWVRDU

Also, you might be interested in seeing the USFS iTree Tools suite, which is all free:

https://www.itreetools.org/

Hope this helps,

Evan

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Frederick County Planning Dept. – Tim Goodfellow (600-2508) spoke with me on the phone and mentioned more contacts:

DNR MD Forest Service, Local Forester at Gambril Park – Mike Kay

DNR MD Wildlife & Heritage Service

Frederick County – Office of Sustainability

Frederick County – OSER (Office of Sustainability) Shannon Moore SMoore@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Tom Rippeon – Arborist, Parks & Recreation, Frederick MD – 301.600.1233; C 240.409.4410

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SCOD Flora Project will be updated here as more data is processed.

To be continued…

Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering

Posted in Education / Schools, Events / Celebrations, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, jobs, news, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2018 by Drogo

Day, Month, Year, Time – Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering – You are invited to the Victorian Townhouse of the Honorable S.P. (near Market Street) __ Third Street, downtown Frederick, MD; to read anything of your choice for apx.10 minutes, and our informal group will discuss for about the same time as the reading. Tea will be served.

Democratic voting on name of group, which selections to read, whether to record, and date of next meeting.

[for actual current details contact SCOD members]

Swallows Are Back!

Posted in Nature Studies, Poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 29, 2016 by Drogo

ON THE WILD SIDE for June, 2016 by Christine Schoene Maccabee

The Swallows Are Back !

“Birds, the free tenants of land, air, and ocean,

their forms all symmetry, their motions grace…”

James Montgomery, British Poet

I often wonder how many other people feel a thrill when the swallows return to our area in early May. In late April this year I began to watch for them with high expectation. Every year the swallows are drawn back to my home like a magnet, much to my amazement and joy. Their nest of mud and grasses, lined with soft feathers, is perched in a corner of the eaves of my A-frame house. Due to the strength of this nest, and how well it is “glued” to the wood, it has lasted through many a fierce storm. It is the second nest the swallows created there in more than 20 years, the first one falling down just a few years ago. That particular spring, upon their return, they built another strong nest in the very same place, and I expect it to last just as long as the other one.

The first sign of the return of my feathered tenants is their excited chirping, and my day is immediately happier upon hearing them. They sound like they are having a lively conversation, which I guess they are, and my loneliness is displaced by their cheerful company. Since arriving here several days ago, the mated pair has been zooming all day through the skies eating whatever they can find. Every spring and summer they keep my atmosphere completely free of mosquitoes, so no Zika Virus here ! However, due to all the rain and cool weather this spring, the flying bug population is not so great yet. Hopefully the birds had plenty of food while traveling north after wintering somewhere in Mexico or some country in South America. Some swallows winter as far away as Argentina !

I wish I knew my swallows’ entire story, but at least I do know part of their story here in northern Frederick county. I have seen mothers, and fathers, sitting on their nest until the babies hatch. Thereafter the wonderful partnership of the parents continues, taking turns feeding the nestlings, and themselves. It takes a lot of energy zooming around all day. It is a true joy to watch them fly far out over the fields, gathering what they can at lightening speed, and then bringing the food back to their eager nestlings. Usually there are four young ones, and once these fledgelings leave the nest the mother and father occasionally settle down to raising 4 more.

Birds, as we all know, are amazing creatures. We humans are fascinated with both their flight, and their songs, not to forget their amazingly artistic colorations. Many a poet has written eloquently about them and artists such as Audubon have painted detailed representations of them (more than 1,000 to be nearly exact!). Songs like “The Little Red Lark”, an Irish ballad, portray their amazing flights and songs, and airplanes were invented as we grounded humans decided we too had to fly. This idea may or may not have been a good one. After all, birds are following their natural inclinations, whereas humans do not, and we are definitely polluting our planet with all our unnatural contraptions, are we not ?

So, perhaps that is why I am so mesmerized by birds, particularly the swallows. They are so small, seemingly so vulnerable, and yet they can fly such long distances with the greatest of ease. In fact, once here, it is estimated they can fly the equivalent of 600 miles a day in quest of food for their young, according to the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds. So how is that possible ? you ask.

In my research I have learned, as many of you likely already know, that birds are very light (as light as a feather in fact) due to the fact that their bones are hollow and filled with air. Also, according to a book on Natural History by Bertha Parker, connected with a bird’s lungs are tiny air sacs scattered throughout its body. These air sacs act like tiny hot-air balloons ! Therefore a typical swallow weighs far less than a mouse, lizard or frog of the same size. A birds streamlined body is another help in flying. Humans have tried to mimic these qualities, the closest coming to gliders of various types, and hot-air balloons. I will not say anything about all the other larger, costly, heavy planes, especially of war, which have completely digressed from Nature’s perfect plan.

So, back to feathers. Feathers also serve the purpose of protecting birds from rain and cold. They shed rain because they are a little oily and the intricate parts of the feathers are cleverly put together in lovely, serviceable patterns. Feathers also keep the birds body warm, trapping the heat ; think of your down sleeping bag. This winter I remember telling my chickens to huddle close and keep warm, as I closed them up for the night in their unheated coup. I even worried a bit, but they weathered the cold winter beautifully as they are fully and thickly feathered.

I am in total admiration of birds in general, and sometimes I wish I were as free as they are, unfettered by coats and boots and layers of clothing, and independent of automobile expenses. I envy them for their ability to fly and feed themselves without growing their own food or going into a grocery store.

However, as Popeye so wisely said, “I yam what I yam, and tha’s all what I yam”, and there is no escaping that fact ! I do rather like having two strong legs, and arms I can reach to the sky with, giving praise for all the wonders of life. I am also thrilled to have my swallows back here for another season. I will miss them when they gather to go south in August, and I can usually tell when the time is coming by all their excitement as they zoom around my house with their happy, chirping fledgelings, full grown by then, and fully independent. Sigh.

I wish I could fly free as a bird, and be light as a feather !

Christine is a Master Wildlife Habitat Naturalist and can be reached at songbirdschant@gmail.com with any questions or stories of your own.

Boonsboro MD Green Fest 2015

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2015 by Drogo

Boonsboro MD Green Fest

May 9, 2015

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For years I had been meaning to visit my neighbors in the local area town of Boonsboro for their Green Fest, and finally through SCOD networking I was able to advertise for it and attend it. From10am-5pm dozens of tents (200 vendors) were set up all over a generous sized town park with stone bridges and a large stone gazebo and three pavilions. Merchants and groups from all around the area were vendors; artists, crafters, designers, landscapers, healers, alternative techies, stewards, farmers, and brewers. Most of the vendors had claim to some kind of ‘green’ product or service, or both. Even the infamous ‘Dan Ryan Builders’ were oddly among the list of sponsors; perhaps due to some guilt from destroying thousands of acres of farmland and wilderness, but more likely smart propaganda from social pressure to sustain profits. Greedy profits are being challenged by community based exchange when events like this increasing spread scod alternative architecture and environmental and historic preservation concepts. There was also live music and tons of play structures for children, and wine and beer for adults. Most impressively there was a huge clothing swap and recycling exchange area! My only practical criticism was that there should have been more trash cans and recycling bins along the tent paths. With 150 volunteers and thousands of visitors, the event is clearly successful.

Perhaps some year I will risk paying the vendor fee to sell my books like BOG Peeps and SCOD Thesis, however I might not sell enough books to make back the cost of the tent and space. However it does seem more artistic and intellectual than other outdoor events with emphasis on other things like outdoor athletics, music, or food / drink. or had less people. Among the many vendors I visited and spoke with were Moonshine Forge Blacksmith Shop, Windsong Healing Arts, Farm of Peace, Rose Sanders-Mendez Artisan Jewelers, DM Designs, Western MD Solar Panels, Mtv Solar Electric Cars, Branching Out UMD Woodland Stewardship program, Valley Co-op, MOMs Organic Grocery, Common Market, and Natural Fusion Hair Stylist. It was wonderful to see so many people into the ‘Green’ movement, see old acquaintances, and meet new people too! One of the most interesting strangers I spoke with was Mr. Wallace M. Yater. ‘Wally’ as he is affectionately known, is a brilliant modern philosopher that deserves an entire essay and book based on his ideas, practices, and experiences. Wally handed me his theory on the importance of mutations in biodiversity, called ‘Why Everything In Biology and Life Depends On Very Rare Random Molecular Mistakes’; but that is another story….

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SCOD Site Flora

Posted in Environmentalism with tags , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2015 by Drogo

The trees (20-70 years old) form woods that follow the rolling hills. Often the woods are sparse, but thorns and shrub bushes make dense thicket patches. Spiral trunks occur on one young tree per acre (apx.). Spiral trees seem to result from the influence of parasitic vines, like honey-suckle, but some trees out-live their vines. There are more young trees than old trees on the site. Although it is difficult to tell the age of a tree from the outside size, inside trunk rings are more accurate because growth rates vary.

Ideally trees provide shelter, food (fruits and nuts), and fuel for cooking and heating our fires. In turn humans should plant, care for, cultivate, and protect trees. Failure to look after each-other results in us cutting too many trees down, using poisons that hurt every-thing, and trees falling on houses and branches and sap falling on cars. Increased awareness of our trees is phenomenological respect for life. Respecting trees has a beneficial effect on our ecology. Sages know the wisdom of tree stewardship. Some trees have been alive for thousands of years. Fire-wood should be gathered mostly from dead-fall logs, branches, and twigs. Reducing dead-fall on forest floors can reduce wild fires.

Here is a list of local plant and tree types, most of which can be found on the SCOD Thesis property site. All the families listed here are at least currently regional, if not native. Obviously not all types of vegetation are listed here, but it is a reasonable list: maple trees, box-elder trees, sycamore trees, oak trees, ailanthus trees, mulberry trees, apple trees, evergreen trees, elm trees, willow trees, catalpa trees, princess trees, ginkgo trees, walnut trees, beech trees, sumac trees, mosses, mushrooms, shelf-fungi, lichen, herbs, vegetables (wild leafy-greens and planted crops), berries, roots, vines, grasses, shrubs, ferns, thorns, nettles.

Friend In Need – Christian Witchcraft

Posted in Book Reports, Crafts, Religions with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by Drogo

This is a reprinting of an extremely rare (only one copy known to exist by experts) old American spell book by the Wizard Zittle. Pennsylvania-Deutsch (German immigrant) braucher pow-wow hoodoo folk-lore magick literature, spread into Boonsboro, Maryland. Inspired locals like Michael Zittle made and used original and pirated books for medicine cures and magical charms of self-help, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. While considered dark-evil ‘powwow magick’ during the 1800s, these independent publications were Christian folk-lore witch-craft; as most European immigrants were proudly Christian Protestants (Lutheran) and Catholics. This curious occult local artifact has now been revived by local occultist, and Pagan Priest Drogo Empedocles!

Order a copy of ‘FRIEND IN NEED: Sympathetic Knowledge

1st Edition Kindle Ebook

1st Edition Amazon Paperback

Friend_In_Need_Cover_for_Kindle

East Coast Sonic Boom Will Kill Thousands

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2014 by Drogo

Sonic Detonation for Oil & Gas Reserve Testing along the Atlantic Coast – America

US Government (Obama) is allowing Fossil Fuel Reserve testing from Maryland to Florida along the East Coast which can kill or maim over 100,000 marine animals. The Republicans are ignoring any environmental concerns (as usual), and they are selling the testing as a great thing for oil and gas production and sales. This story seems to be lost upon the public.

The following is from a Baltimore Sun article, the only other evidence found by searching this issue after hearing it referenced quickly on NPR.

Baltimore Sun Article, Maryland:

“The use of seismic airguns is first step to expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to the Atlantic Ocean, bringing us one step closer to another disaster like the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Claire Douglass of Oceana. She noted that the federal agency has estimated that the testing could hurt and possibly kill up to 138,000 marine mammals, while disrupting the feeding, mating and migratory behavior of many more.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, also objected to the proposal. “The Mid-Atlantic is just too environmentally sensitive for drilling,” he said in a statement. “I urge the Administration to reconsider its plans to allow this testing which will only serve to harm Maryland’s coastal communities and the natural resources which drive our economy.”

The administration’s move to allow seismic testing had been opposed by some municipalities, the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and by more than 100 biologists, who earlier this year called on the bureau to postpone its decision until new guidelines could be finished for protecting marine mammals and fish from the acoustic impacts of the tests’ underwater vibrations.

Drilling had been banned in the 1980s off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but Congress lifted the moratorium in 2008 amid concern about rising gasoline prices. The Obama administration was preparing to hold a lease sale off the Virginia coast in 2010 but canceled it when the BP oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

– Baltimore Sun newspaper, writer Tim Wheeler

BP Kills

WAR WEARY : Turning to Nature for Solace

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2014 by Drogo

August 2014

There is no one on this earth who is not affected by all the wars, and rumors of war, these days. Of course, all through the history of mankind there have been wars and rumors of war, and according to some thinkers and writers this is how it will always be, forever.

However, that is not what I want to debate, or discuss. I only wish to convey a few of my personal feelings about how war is affecting people, all people, and the natural world upon which we depend for survival. Whether people are aware of it or not, those in the muddle of the Middle East countries, or here in the USA where we are not hearing air raid sirens daily, we are all affected. There is not one thing on this earth that does not affect another.

Now how can I say that ? Aren’t we insulated from the worst of it here in America? Actually, we are not. “Whatever happens to the least of these happens to us”. Some very wise person said something like that 2,000 years ago. Actually, the words are more like this: “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these, ye do also unto me.” No wiser words were said.

Most natives of America thought along the same lines. They were natural ecologists, born and bred with “all our relations” in mind as a way of life. Some wise native said that we are all connected, that what befalls one part, affects another, and more…that a great sadness would befall us, as human beings, when there are no more sounds of nature and we loose the company of wild creatures. They are here for our use, but also to uplift our spirits with their amazing beauty and diversity. The earth and all of its inhabitants are a profound miracle! So, as I look around at what war and materialism have done to the natural world, and are doing, I feel a great sadness that I cannot seem to shake.

Such is the sadness we all feel on different levels, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are all war weary. Weary of wars between each other, and war against the natural world. The earth itself is weary too, its water, its air, its swamps and rivers, its plants, its butterflies, bees, birds, the polar bears, and on and on. Shall I list every remaining species?

As I wandered my gardens this morning, picking dried peas for next years planting (now there is an act of hope) and herbs for a healthy tea I need to make, my thoughts were solemn. What if there comes a day, due to rampant human ignorance upon the face of this beautiful earth, what if someday, there is no pure air to breath, or clean water to drink, or swampy breeding grounds for myriad birds and amphibians to thrive and procreate. In Syria, Gaza and Iraq,and many other places around the world they are already experiencing serious problems, and my heart bleeds for them. Innocent, hardworking people, with children and old people, all suffering due to the ignorance of their leaders. There is no clean drinking water and poor sanitation is pervasive. Swamps are drying up, rivers and lakes polluted. The inhabitants are war weary, and so am I, and so are we all. So is the Earth….

Yet, there is always hope. There are people doing their best to keep the balance between … and I will say it as it is…good and evil. To water it down, between dark and light, life and death , is stoically philosophical, though true. But this is not a philosophical exercise. This IS a war, another sort of war, a genuine fight for survival, and not just for survival of humans, but for the entire delicately balanced ecosystem.

So, how not to groan and lament the demise, the poisoning, of such a gift? Why are we throwing this precious gift back in the face of the Giver, the Great Spirit, as well as our OWN spirits. Doesn’t , shouldn’t, everyone know that without the purity of the earth, we will all sicken and die, together, some sooner, some later? I suppose some people simply do not care enough, or think, or feel for that matter. If egotistical ignorance and materialism continue as they are, and if misguided leaders feel only hate and fear, then we are doomed indeed.

Am I war weary.?… You bet ya I am. So are you. Now, what to do about it ?

I say, turn to the purity of nature, and fiercely protect and nurture it, wherever, however you are able. That is our only salvation, our only hope. Then someday, when we are truly weary of this life, and it is our time to say farewell; with forgiveness in our hearts for those who knew not what they were doing, we will die in peace knowing in our hearts that we did the best we could.

Walk Lightly, but with a strong walking stick…

~ Christine SCHOENE Maccabee

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Waiting on the Chickens

Posted in Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by Drogo

It was late afternoon, the time of day I make my 2nd trip down to the chicken pen to feed my three birds a 2nd time. It had been raining, torrentially, off and on all day, but I decided to get my attitude straight as I put on my long German cloak and rubber boots. Those things, along with my large pale blue umbrella, kept my clothes perfectly dry, and I was happy to feel the wind and mist against my face. Breathing deeply of the purest air, there was nothing going to bring me down on my afternoon jaunt to the chickens.

Opening the door of the coop, there they were, all wet and happy. It surprised me when I first observed years ago that chickens like to stay out in the rain, scratching in the mud to find that last little worm or bug. They some tough ladies ! As soon as I opened the door, they scooted out into their yard thinking I would be throwing the sunflower seeds and cracked corn out there in the puddles. However, today my new plan on this rainy day was to keep the food in the coop. So I poured it clanging against the side of the metal feeder, hoping they would hear the noise and come running back in to eat. That way I could then close their little hatchway door and they would be in for the night, earlier than usual. Unfortunately, chickens are just like children. They don’t want to come inside until it is nearly dark, and trying to force them in is practically impossible without a lot of squawking.

Patiently I leaned against the door jam, and waited. One came in, Ma Belle, but she didn’t stay long. Darn, I thought, it is pouring out there, the food is in here, and still they play. I did not fancy having to come back down again by dark, in the rain, putting all my stuff back on again so as not to get wet, being more chicken than my chickens ! And so I waited, calling to them in a high pitched, chicken-like voice, but they refused to walk up their little plank and into the nice dry coop.

Then it struck me. I was waiting on the chickens, in more ways than one, and I do this everyday, twice a day ! I am their dedicated waitress. I bring them leftovers from breakfast , lunch and dinner, things like cold oatmeal, apple cores, rice and beans, greens, chicken bones from the rotisserie, just about everything their little hearts desire…except the brussels sprouts. The other day I put several little cooked brussels into a hollowed out cantaloupe half, and all they ate was the cantaloupe, leaving a very thin rind. Somehow I didn’t think they would care for the b.s. any more than most people, but this was only an experiment, so I was not surprised or upset. Most children don’t like brussels sprouts anyway. I eat them because they are good for me and I am one of those rare individuals who actually likes them. Children and chickens, on the other hand, are not so easily convinced !

Back to waiting on the chickens. I had the revelation about my servitude position while waiting for the chickens to come in out of the rain, but then I grew tired of waiting. Going out into the yard with them, I nonchalantly and very slowly, went around behind them and gently shooed them in the direction of the ramp. Happily it did not turn into a fiasco, with no success, as it frequently has in the past. Likely they were considering going in anyway. Or perhaps it registered in their little brains that there was no food in the yard, so it must be inside the coop.

Whatever they were thinking, or not thinking as the case may be, they all ran quickly, squawking as they ran, up the tiny ramp. Quickly, I closed the little door, saying “gotcha ! “ Whew, that was easy, I thought. Thank God, as it was beginning to pour down rain again, and I was getting hungry. All wet and happy, the three little imps began to discover the food in the dispenser, and I was happy too. I said “Goodnight girls, thank you so much girls for your eggs.” (I always thank them) and then “see you tomorrow”, as I closed the main door.

Whoever said captive birds aren’t happy ? They are no more imprisoned than I am. We might as well be happy together. I don’t mind waiting on the chickens. I serve then and they serve me. Their large brown eggs are the best, and their manure helps my organic gardens to flourish. Plus, everyday they give me a reason to get outside one more time, rain or shine, and take a walk down the hill, sometimes wading through wet grasses with the feel of mist on my face. I might even have a little adventure besides.

Who could ask for more?!

– Christine Schoene Maccabee of Mystic Meadows

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Savannah Drum Circle

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Music Reviews, POB Audio, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by Drogo

While I was earning my Masters Degree in architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), in Georgia, I lived on Forsyth Park during the 3 years. Forsyth Park was the largest park in the City of Savannah, and I was very lucky to have such a luxurious ‘yard’. I enjoyed walking and biking through it to classes, running around it and practicing martial arts in it for exercise, and wondering at the beauty of the spanish-moss in the live-oak trees, flowers, and green grass every day. Sometimes I would hear the drums calling to me, from across the fields of the Park, and I would find the free and open Forsyth Park Drum Circle. For a few months it was every Sunday at the Park for hours, but it would also happen randomly.

There were usually at least 2 or 3 drummers that would bring djembes and start drumming. Once they started the call to mass, others like myself would seek them out and join them. There was a tall blonde dreadlock guy named ‘Lion’, and some other hippy-type guys. My best friend in the circle was a hippy vegan girl, who kept a dog. I do not remember her name, but she always smiled a lot and lived a free and alternative life. I think many of the drummers were homeless to various degrees. I did not have a large drum, so I played my native american flute from Alabama (Llama Reed).

Sometimes other SCAD students came to play with us, and that is how some of us formed a ‘pan-ethnic music band’ called ‘The Lance Simmons Quintet’. Our college band was formed by a film student who played drums and chanted vocals. We also had a guitarist, a didgeridooer, and another percussionist. Our Quintet played at college events like ‘Battle of the Bands’ and ‘Pool Parties’, besides playing randomly outside in parks or at the beach. We recorded music in a SCAD sound studio, and made the soundtrack for a short film.

After I graduated in 2000, I was not able to find a similar drum circle in my home area, nor in all my travels; until 13 years later in Frederick Maryland. I would not even have found them probably, if not for Facebook and the ability for networking to find out about other locals. If not for Facebook it may have been a few more years before chance-fate allowed me to have a random encounter again outside in the Park. Drum Circle has changed my life.

Now that I am back with a drum circle on a regular basis, I feel a renewed sense of self-expression and common new-age communal values that have been so rare in Commercial American culture. Many of the mutual behaviors in drum circles, I have tried to express in my own life works (such as SCOD). Perhaps my spiritual belief in drum circle is deeply rooted in past tribal lives and my alternative Montesorri schooling; as my need for the ritual of drum circle is similar to the way many others must feel about attending a church or a more ‘professional band’ practice. Yet there is an alternative difference to drum circle that is very lacking in conventional traditions, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Some of the general ethics of drum circle groups include: freedom to join and play, bring your own instrument or respectfully play someone else’s, bring instruments to share if you want, and the desire to bliss out and allow others to do their thing.

Walton Drum

Frederick Artist Laura Higgins

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Crafts, Services, Sales or Trade with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2013 by Drogo

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Frederick independent artisan website for Laura Higgins who is owner, maker, designer, curator:

Market Street Broads

“Making Bad Ass Jewelry for Bad Ass Broads – I have been making jewelry for about 15 years now. Along with various types of creative outlets, I enjoy making jewelry as both a stress relief and a fun pass time.” – from her Etsy site.

Laura makes modern gothic-rock jewelry, dynamic psychedelic graphic art,  and expresses herself publicly with tattoos, her own fashion style, even occasionally costume and dramatic make-up art!!

“I never really think about that stuff. All the things the buyer wants to know I have trouble even explaining haha My style can change day to day depending on how I’m feeling and I make such a wide variety of stuff it’s hard to narrow down any of the influences, subjects etc… My medium changes all the time as well. I could be making jewelry one minute then get the urge to paint and I just kinda go at it and paint what I’m feeling whether it be a picture or just abstract emotional stuff.. I’m all over the place lol.”  – Laura Higgins

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Maryland Indian Tribes

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, History, Pagan, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by Drogo

Native American Indian Tribes in Maryland

The main existing Indian Tribe in Maryland seems to be the Piscataway. They are MD State recognized (finally), but as is often the case with bigoted bureaucracy not Federally recognized.

The Piscataway are a sub-tribe of the Conoy Tribe, one of the most prominent historic tribes of the Chesapeake Bay area. Their Algonquin dialect evolved from Nanticoke, having established roots here over 10,000 years ago as hunters and gatherers. They lived very much like the Potowomac Tribe, along the Potomac River; by 800 AD they grew maize, beans, squash, and pumpkins. Today there are 2 main Piscataway groups in Southern MD: The Nation (Chief Tayak), and The Tribe (Confederacy and Cedarville Band). They have no reservation land.

 2010: Frederick County had 800+ Residents that considered themselves Native American; Maryland Indians total: 25,000+ of which 8,000+ are Piscataway. Together with dramatic decreases in population due to disease, when American Indian reservations were dissolved by the Maryland Colony in the eighteenth century, and when the Piscataway were reclassified as “free people of color”, “Free Negro” or “mulatto” on state and federal census records in the nineteenth century, a process of detribalization was happening. While the Piscataway were enumerated as “mulattos” in state and federal census records, by contrast Catholic parish records and ethnographic reports continued to identify Piscataway individuals and families as Indians.

 Historically many tribes came together on the Rivers to barter:  Potowomac, Senedoes, Catawba, Iroquois, Tutelo, Saponi, Conoy, Piscataway, Delaware, Lenape, Powhatan, Shawnee, Susquehannok, Nanticoke… and they had populations of hundreds of thousands.

The old Maryland village of Piscataway where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake, must have been named as an homage to the tribe.

We do not have many records detailing how the all the tribes in Maryland looked; however we can generalize dress and appearance based on the many drawings and descriptions of Powhatans just south of Maryland in Virginia.

PowhatanIndianhouse

It is unclear why this map does not have the Conoy tribes on here; perhaps the Powhatan claimed Conoy land at some point during the records.

maryland tribes

 

 

 

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Musician Austin Litz

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Interviews, Music Reviews, Organic Development, POB Audio, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by Drogo

Local area musician Austin Litz is from Gaithersburg, MD; but actively plays and tours with many other musicians from Frederick, Baltimore, and DC. He plays a multitude of instruments, including keyboard, saxophone, his own voice and digital equipment.

“Balance is the key to the cosmic dance of vibrational intentions. ϕ . In music, balance can be measured with tangible, quantitative evidence (volume, tonality). In life, and in music, balance is also subjective matter. Thats where listening to your mind body and soul comes in. All three voices (mind,body,soul) function like a chord and must be tuned accordingly to resonate with the highest purity and beauty (whats beauty? a question for another day I suppose). When observing the majority of the American people, I do not hear a beautiful chord. The body and soul are hard to tamper with directly but can be de-tunned threw manipulation of the mind. Thats where we come in, to send a message of opening your mind. Your body and soul will soon follow. Organizations like Monsanto and Exon exist due to an abundance of ignorant contentment. Commodified love. Tune yourself into a technicolor chord, try 528Hz! In the Spring I personally can’t wait to plant a dank Garden in the backyard of the Litz house, ride my bike everywhere I can, and learn as much as possible with an unbiased, open mind.”

–  Austin Litz

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Liberal – definition

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2013 by Drogo

Liberal – being a liberal means being a kind and generous person, that often gives and accepts freely love or gifts, and prefers to give wisely rather than hoard wastefully; in accordance with the merciful teachings of morality from the Bible. Liberal ethics are based on the Golden Rule “love thy neighbor, and love thy enemy, as thyself”. A liberal thinker is comfortable with the arts because they can see the beauty in all creation.

The differences between liberal and conservative may be more socially emotional at their core than we want to admit; almost the difference between wanting to show public empathy (liberal) and not wanting to show vulnerability in relations to the “other” (conservative). The labels liberal or conservative are more a statement of mental willingness to be connected with a social group, than actual id of beliefs; and very connected to the ability of their personality to exhibit empathy for those outside of their state legal boundaries, social group, or superficial party or label.

The greedy rich based on wealth entitlements are not more deserving of loving support than the middle class teacher or the poor coal miner. A liberal can keep preserved land conservatively for the public, giving it to future generations while keeping it from selfish aggressive greedy individuals. Liberal ideology is linked to egalitarianism.

Liberal libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Liberal log-cabin Republicans are kind “classical conservative” members of a republic.

“Classical Liberals” were not as centrist as conservatives co-opting the term today. Liberals from hundreds of years ago may seem tame by today’s evolved standards of more equal rights; but for their day they were bravely questioning authority. Some questioned using thin veils of satire that got them beheaded (Thomas More, ‘Utopia’), and some used overt rebel violence (Founding Fathers, ‘USA’). Being radical leftists has not stopped some infamous figures from also being hypocrites who also abuse power (‘Socialist’ dictators).

Liberal civil rights democrats are the best type of citizen in a democracy, because they are not only for majority rule voting, but also representation of minorities and all people, as well as other forms of life, and things people care about that do not hurt others.

It is rich corporately bought selfish Democrats and Republicans that are a problem for any democratic republic; and are identified by the evidence of evil and corruption.

No one can be entirely liberal, just as they cannot be entirely conservative in all things; as wise people will seek balance, and humans will have contradictions and complexity.

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Seeking Tristate Local Eclectic Band Members

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Music Reviews, POB Audio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Drogo

I am hereby searching for musician band members to form a local band of some sort, here in the Tri-State area (Frederick Maryland, Harpers Ferry West Virginia, and Leesburg Virginia). I am more concerned about dedication to collaboration, rather than musical “talent”, since talent is relative. Quality is important, and we must be the arbiters of achieving mutual satisfaction. I am an eclectic musician myself, open to various styles and genres; and am searching for other creative people willing to negotiate musically in order to record and play for fun.

Prospective Band Members :

1.   Must live locally and have means of transportation.

2.   Must have phone or internet means of communication.

3.   Must have at least one musical instrument they can play.

4.   Must be willing to record or play live cooperatively and have fun.

5.   Must be open to almost any style or genre of music or sound.

* NO AUDITIONS

I play keyboard, native american flute, primitive drums, vocals, etc…

Hear some of my past collaborative recordings with SCOD on Soundcloud.

Please contact me via email if interested: drogo76@hotmail (com)

Air Ear Audio