October 18, 2009

RECORD-REVIEW "Talk of the Town"


Ariel Simons is about to change her life. In November she’s traveling to Lesotho (pronounced “le-SOO-TOO.”) This small country inside of northeast South Africa counters the typical expectations of arid and deserted Africa. Ariel will be in the mountains, at about 4,600 feet, seeing the four seasons and even snow. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she will teach either chemistry or biology in a rural high school. “I’ll also help development community-based projects depending on people’s needs. For Lesotho, it will likely comprise of AIDS education and awareness (since the country has over a 30% AIDS rate), and programs for women and girls to develop confidence and independence in a predominately male-dominated society.” The commitment to the Peace Corps is two-to-three months of language and skills training in the capital followed by two years at her post, which will likely be in an isolated village. The trip is scheduled to last from November 2009 through January 2012.

How does one get ready for a (daunting) trip like this? And did you say you can only bring TWO suitcases for TWO years abroad in rural Africa? “I'm buying things like solar chargers, clothes that will survive years of hand-washing and camping equipment and the little things that are expected to keep me sane during this journey. I've heard iPods, a comfortable pillow and favorite candies do the trick,” Ariel said. “Intensive language and skills training will be done in my first few months, so it's a matter of packing up my life here and staying motivated and enthusiastic for my upcoming adventure.” Godspeed, Ariel. We will keep the home fire burning until your return to Pound Ridge.

Pound Ridge has a new palette as October’s page is here. Carolynn Sears, Pound Ridge Garden Club Horticulture Committee chair, Master Gardener, and garden coach, has a few helpful tips for this time of year. You know those dahlias that have been dazzling us the past few weeks? Once the first frost sets in, dig up the tubers and other tender bulbs. Discard anything that looks diseased and store in a cool, dry place. Think propagation for next spring. It’s also not too early to install burlap protection for exposed shrubs and ornamentals. And… while you’re out there, be sure to look up and around at the beautiful Pound Ridge autumn. You might even catch a migrating Monarch or bird passing through your garden.

While on the topic ... did you know that gardeners in our area are served by two nearby cooperative extensions? UConn is represented at The Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, Conn. (tel: 203-322-6971); and Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension for Westchester County in Valhalla (tel: 914-285-4620). Both organizations offer training programs, workshops, diagnostic clinics, help lines, and soil testing. “Fall is a great time of year to have the soil tested to identify what amendments (fertilizers with different nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium ratios or limestone to raise the pH) might be needed,” Carolynn said. For further inspiration of the garden variety, stay tuned for more monthly tips from the Pound Ridge Garden Club.

Are you getting lazy at signaling? Floppy on the foot brake? Speedy on our country roads? You need to refresh your driving skills. Hiram Halle Library will sponsor AARP’s Driving Safety Program on Saturdays, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants must attend both sessions to satisfactorily complete the course. Not only will you help make our roads safer for you, me and the next guy, but you’ll also qualify for reduction of auto insurance premiums and up to a 4-point reduction by the Department of Motor Vehicles for violations incurred during the 18-months prior to completion of the course. To register, call the Library at 764-5085.

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