Monday, May 30, 2011

No Aquaponics

The city has announced that monies from the dredging grant can't be used to create the planned aquaponics facility. The fallback plan is to move as many fish as possible into the upstream and downstream holding ponds. Most will assuredly die, taken by fisherman and predators.The heron is reportedly having a happy time.

Some of the fish in the lake are decades old. It will be a shame to lose so many of them, but I suppose it's necessary.

Darn. I was looking forward to seeing the aquaponics garden.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Drain Plug

This ancient structure, which can be found along the berm on the back side of the lake, is essentially the drain plug for Pine Lake.

On Thursday two of the city's workmen were working to break this big iron pipe with a sledgehammer.

They were able to take out one side of it below the water level. When I walked by on Friday I could hear water draining.

The workmen told me that when the dredging project gets the green light the city will bring in a pump to empty the lake in a hurry.

I had some great shots of the men at work, but the photos got eaten. Sigh.

Trees Down

The level of the lake was getting downright low before last night's rain. I had photos, but argh, for the first time since I bought my first computer in 1981, I lost data-- all the photos I have taken since I returned home a week ago Tuesday. And it was my own stupid fault.

Yesterday's storms took down some trees in the city, most notably one at Lakeshore and Spring (photo above) and another by the tennis courts. The latter carried power lines with it, creating a dangerous situation and requiring re-routing of cars to the other side of the lake. Power was apparently off on the back side of the lake from the evening onward. Electricity at my house went off at 2 am and didn't come back on again until late morning.

This tree on the small berm also went down.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Former Course of Snapfinger Creek

Here are some photos of the dry lake bed, clearly showing the one-time course of Snapfinger Creek. Before the lake was built, this was where the water ran.

When I first looked, the course of the creek wasn't that apparent, but it sure was on the 21st, when I took these.

Note the remnants of the stream bank in the second and third photos.

May Flowers on Dogwood Road

Here are some photos of flowers I took as I walked down Dogwood Road on the 21st and again today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Rapture Seems to Have Been Delayed

My thanks to Tommy Conlon and the unknown photographer for the following photos.

Tommy Conlon and His Son Contemplate the World's Impending Demise

All in quiet at Harold Camping's Family Radio Network. I guess they're cleaning egg from their faces.

About thirty Pine Lakers (myself included) gathered yesterday at the city gazebo on the lake, bringing fruit, salads, sandwiches, and a grill to cook burgers and hot dogs. We all had a good time as we waited for the beam-up.

I regret not having brought some clothes and shoes to scatter around on the grass so the latecomers would think they'd missed the Rapture.

Dallas Prepares to Sneak Away from the Rapture on Her 40-Year-Old Honda CL70

Friday, May 20, 2011

End of the World Party

Every few years there comes along another end of the world scare. And, until now, the world has survived.

Since the end of the world is predicted for 6 pm tomorrow (unsure what time zone God uses), there will be an end of the world party tomorrow at the city gazebo on the lake. It starts at 5:40. Rapture at six.

Bring food.

And be sure not to be late.

You know why.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Delta Airlines Boeing 777: Photo courtesy Delta Airlines
Delta's Ready When You Are

I flew from New York to Georgia today, and it's good to be back home after a month away!

I fly to and from White Plains airport in Westchester County. It's a small place, and I like the laid-back atmosphere. When I have time to kill I go to the inexpensive diner on the second floor or up to the third floor to watch planes and plug in my laptop. The gates are like 100 feet from security. It's all quite convience-- if your destination is one of the eighteen cities available from White Plains.

Fortunately Atlanta is one of the chosen few. I can generally book one-way flights for less than $100.

I usually fly direct, but wound up with a two-legger today. Happily, storms over Philadelphia got me re-routed onto a direct Delta flight and I was on the ground at Hartsfield less than two hours after takeoff. Then an hour on MARTA and a short cab ride from Indian Creek Station with a Somalian taxi driver, and I was home.

After a month way my house smelled a little musty and I had to sweep up three big dead palmetto bugs, but otherwise everything was fine.

Tomorrow it's off to Farmer's Market to stock up with perishables.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Jersey Botanical Gardens

While riding with my sweetie through the highlands of New Jersey in the fall of 2009 we chanced upon The New Jersey Botanical Gardens. The leaf colors were wonderful and I took more than one hundred photos with my Canon Digital Rebel SLR, which had arrived in the mail just thirty minutes before we left the house.

The gardens are on the grounds of Skyland Manor, a grand estate built in the 1920s for the Salomon family. They include formal gardens, lots of trails through the woods, and the manor house and outbuildings.On a mountaintop and with higher mountains on two sides, it's a lovely place.

Following are some of my photos of the botanical gardens' 2009 fall foliage.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rhododendrons Run Riot at New Jersey Botanical Gardens

I love rhododendrons. They remind me of the North Carolina highlands, where I was born, lived on occasion, and love. A few times in my life I've seen them blooming at Craggy Gardens, near Asheville, and on Roan Mountain, further to the north.

When I was in my teens my father tried to grow rhododendrons at our house near Nashville, but there was so much sun and so much heat they didn't make it, except for one, which grew, thin and scraggly, in the two feet of dense shade between our house and the little concrete block house that housed our well.

I planted a half dozen rhododendrons in my shady lot in Pine Lake. Several are gone, and several are still hanging on. I love it when they bloom.

Here are some photographs of rhododendrons in bloom. I took them yesterday at the New Jersey State Botanical Gardens. The morning sun highlighted the delicate blooms to perfection.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ad Hominem

For about ten years now I've had a Yahoo newsgroup about Pine Lake. It's called PineLakeGA and can be found here.

The purpose of the group is to talk about anything and everything to do with Pine Lake. Complaining is okay, but discussion of personalities (with some exception for elected and appointed officials) is considered off-topic, and repeat offenders are subject to moderation.

As one might imagine, in a small town feelings sometimes run hot, and from time to time things do become personal. When that happens I have an e-mail discussion with the parties I feel have crossed the line. Usually that resolves the matter, at least for a time.

There's been some difference of opinion among some of the group members as to what exactly is and is not a personal attack. I thought I would attempt to clarify it here:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Funding the Dredging of the Lake

The third installment of The Dredge Report is up and can be found here; it explains a bit about the funding of Pine Lake's dredging project. My interpretation follows below the fold.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

City-Wide Yard Sale This Weekend

The time just zoomed on me. I didn't realize until this morning that this is the weekend of Pine Lake's city-wide yard sale.

Come buy all that stuff you, you know, really really need. Bicycles, tools, kitchenware, tables, couches, kid's toys, adult toys. Just cruise through the city and you'll see the sites.

Friday, May 6, 2011


My yard is sooooo shady!

How shady is it?

Glad you asked.

There are a few spots that get afternoon sun, but for the most part, it's all shade, all the time.

I foolishly tried to grow tomatoes my first year at the house. The vines ran everywhere, but made only four tomatoes.

The next year I tried cherry tomatoes. I got perhaps twenty from six plants.

Plants that like some sun tend not to survive in my yard. Before they expire they grow tall and spindly. Even plants that like shade have a hard time. My azaleas don't do quite right, more's the pity, and most of my rhododendrons have died.

But impatiens, or at least the impatiens one finds at Lowe's and Home Depot thrive. They run riot in my window boxes from the time the weather warms until the first heavy frost-- usually in early to mid December.

They get a little leggy late in the season, but mostly what one sees is a mass of red and pink and white blooms.

Happily, impatiens are inexpensive. This year I picked up six packs for a dollar each at Home Depot, then grabbed more at Lowe's, where they were only fifty cents. I add a little fertilizer to the soil in the boxes, scoop out and hole, drop in a plant, and cover, water, and stand back.

In window boxes impatiens can get thirsty during the hot dry Atlanta summer, but they revive nicely when given a drink.

If you're looking for pretty, inexpensive blooms for ground cover or for planters, you could do worse than impatiens.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unincorporated DeKalb

My House in Unincorporated Dekalb
For eight years before I moved to Pine Lake, I lived near Northlake Mall in unincorporated Dekalb County. My street was a cul-de-sac with about 20 single family dwellings.

Over the years I spoke twice in passing with the gay male couple who lived on one side of me and once with the husband of the Middle Eastern family that lived on the other. We never learned, or, if we mentioned our names in our brief conversations, remembered one anothers' names. Not in eight years.

Some neighborhoods are more prone to socialization than was my my cul-de-sac, but my street was unfortunately typical of suburban Atlanta. People live insular lives, unconcerned about and for the most part unaware of their neighbors. I know I did.

Things changed when I moved to Pine Lake. Even before I bought my home I knew the names of several people. Within months I knew more than 100 names, soon after that, perhaps 200.

Before I even moved into my new home, on the night of the lighting of the lake for the 2006 holiday season, I realized how much I was going to enjoy Pine Lake. I ran into a couple of my acquaintance, remarked that I needed to change a lightbulb and was going to Home Depot the next day to buy a stepladder. Nonsense, they said. They would loan me theirs. After the ceremony, I and Donna Johnston, my visiting friend, walked with them to their house.

After visiting, Donna and I found ourselves walking down Clubhouse Drive toward my house on Pine, at midnight, carrying a stepladder. It seemed the most natural things in the world, and I suppose it was.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

George! Hutchins! FOR! Congress!

Every once in a while something so odd comes along that you're just compelled to share it.

All politics aside, the website of George Hutchins is perhaps the most bizarre thing I've ever seen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

1952: Building the Berm

A Berm is Added to the Back Side of Pine Lake
Chief Purvis is at Left, I.B. Melton at Right
The Child is Probably Mayor Melton's Son
From what I gather, Snapfinger Creek once flowed directly into Pine Lake to the east and flowed out to the west. There was no berm on the north side of the lake.

The written introduction to the old Pine Lake scrapbook notes the year the berm was installed: 1952, the same year the book was written. If not for that information, I would have thought from the equipment used that it was ten years earlier.

From the photos that follow, the lake wasn't drained before the berm was made. I wonder how they did that!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pine Lake Scrapbook

Ten years ago I had temporary custody of a remarkable old scrapbook of Pine Lake.

It was a time of heightened political tensions in the city, a messy time, so I chose to make high-resolution scans of the scrapbook.

Now and again I'll be posting photos from the scrapbook, which contained a remarkable pictorial history of the city from it's founding in the 1930s. Perhaps, you, gentle reader, can help me fill me in on missing bits of history and help me to identify some of the locations.

The scrapbook contained an introductory history, written in 1952. It follows below the line.