The Locally Owned Voice of the Capital Region

Comments by mhartley

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Posted on September 15 at 2:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A reader emailed this response:

I agree with many of your writings in today's Gazette. I am also frequently wondering why I'm driving my car, rather than riding a train or subway or bus.

Many of the complaints you expressed about the CDTA, I share. As a student in Schenectady, it was appalling to me to spend over an hour on the bus to get to downtown Albany. The 25-minute car alternative was obviously chosen. Similarly, the routes are in inconvenient locations, as you wrote. Serious thought needs to be put into developing more efficient routes. And, do any express buses exist in the CDTA system?!

I've always told myself that if Albany had a good transit system, and was connected with neighboring cities like Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga Springs, that this area would flourish. The fact that we have no trains here (beside the unreliable, expensive and therefore unreasonable Amtrak) makes me dumbfounded. I was recently in Portland, OR, a city with fabulous public trans, and even a downtown free area. They have many surface trains, allowing vehicles, buses, and trains to use the same roadways. Something similar should be done in this area. Not to mention express services during peak hours, hopefully between the larger cities.

But how could all this happen? Obviously, it's expensive. As citizens, maybe a good step would be to show interest. I've been considering trying to develop a pseudo flash mob on the CDTA system to express local citizens interest in better mass transit.

Thanks for the article
Devin S Harrison

From: Dreaming of the bus

Posted on April 3 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Most, but not all, of the snow is out of our vegetable gardens, but both the existing and future flower gardens are still under our own large snow banks. I may be in the same zone as you.

Between your frigid zone and the "scrubland," you might have to stick to potatoes and pumpkins, unless you have a couple of oxen willing to offer fertility. If you can get tomatoes and peppers to grow there, salsa always is good for rent. Or fresh eggs.

From: Measuring your garden

Posted on March 30 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A reader, and a gardener, called to say that you can't grow vegetables directly in composted manure, that it's too strong.

The stuff we use -- extremely-well composted ox manure -- is four years old before it goes into the garden. At that point it's like garden soil, and vegetables will certainly grow directly in it. But if you're buying bags of composted manure from a garden center, or even getting year-old stuff from your neighbor's barn, it's got to be mixed with soil.

I haven't tried a lasagne garden myself yet, although I'm planning one this spring for my son, who wants a secret garden with flowers and tomatoes and sunflowers to hide in. I'll let you now how it works out.

From: Measuring your garden

Posted on February 3 at 9:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's amazing how much wildlife there is in the cities, too. There's been a flock of turkeys wandering around the Gazette parking lot lately. I think they're looking for a break from the high snow. There are also deer on the bike path behind us. And I saw a grouse on the road on my way into work yesterday.

Thanks for reading.

From: Window watching

Posted on December 9 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And here'sanother source for soy candles, this one sent in by a reader from Edinburg:

"For the past year I’ve enjoyed experiencing Kobo soy candles from a small shop in Schuylerville called Dwell. They are incredibly scented, all natural, burn long and cleanly and are, of course, rather expensive. But well worth it. I’ve told my husband to get me my favorite scented one (or 2) for Xmas. The many scents are so exquisite that’s difficult to choose. And the proprietors are delightful!
Happy Holidays."

From: Burning candles can save energy

Posted on December 9 at 11:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In response to my comment about never having seen a soy candle in a story, a reader wrote:

“There is a newly opened local eco-friendly store at 27 Second Street in Troy, NY. The name of the store is THE SPINNING SEED. She stocks Stella Mare soy candles.”

And another reader wrote:

“I purchased a soy candle at Lindsey’s on Rte. 9, Clifton Park. The “brand” is Beanpod Candles; real soy. 100% Stabilized Soy Wax. Renewable Energy Source. Biodegradeable Soy Wax..... That is ALL written on the candle topper! I have the Evergreen fragrance & have NEVER had a true Christmas tree fragrance (without the tree) as I am experiencing with this candle.
I enjoyed your column today. Merry Christmas!”

From: Burning candles can save energy

Posted on December 1 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is all about lighting. We just put a light (cfl!) back into the chicken coop for extending daylight hours, after getting only one egg a day for two days after Thanksgiving. (Don't those hens know how many eggs pumpkin pie takes?) Lots of water, and more protein also helps them get back on the egg-production track.

As for impacted crop, I find giving them warm water helps. And waiting. Because generally, we humans are over reacting to normal chicken stuff.

As for a chicken advice column, I'll have to think about that one. Dear Chicken Person...

From: Lights out

Posted on August 13 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr. Chim,

My first upstate garden was robbed by neighbors, and it wasn't even in a high-crime urban area. Just a plot behind a gravel parking lot behind a small apartment building in a quaint little town. We also had a voracious groundhog. Not much in the way of produce.

Your best bet is taking over more of your mom's yard, sharing a garden with a friend with a yard, or checking out one of the community gardens for a plot of your own or to share.

From: Victory

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