Archive for September, 2010

Black vultures at school; Dogfish in Mercersburg

September 17, 2010

Black vultures atop the Lewes School.

17 September 2010

Cape Henlopen School District may have to keep an eye on the colony of black vultures that have taken to roosting on top of the Lewes School built in 1921 on Savannah Road.   These scavengers, known to be more aggressive than their red-headed turkey vulture cousins, tend to stay put when they find a place they like.  We’ll see if they become a problem at the school.  A number of years ago Midway Presbyterian Church had to deal with a colony of the vultures that took to roosting on the peak of the roadside church along Route 1.  Some wise head came up with the solution of stretching a piece of thin wire from stem to stern along the ridge of the roof to prevent the vultures from roosting there. They were particularly distasteful during funerals at the church. The birds got the hint and went elsewhere.

Black vultures have become a more prominent feature in Delaware’s Cape Region in the last 10 years.  They were only a rare sighting for decades prior to that.

Dogfish in Mercersburg

I traveled to Mercersburg, Pa. a few weekends ago for a memorial service. Paul Suerken, a bright light who taught English and music to decades of students at Mercersburg Academy, died last spring.  His ashes were buried behind the Gothic chapel whose tall spire can be seen from miles around. Peggy Raley, also a graduate, brought Sherman Ward to the service which included lots of fine music which Sherman appreciated. Peggy popped the corks on two bottles of Nassau Valley’s finest reserve and several of us toasted Paul’s wonderful inspiration at a reception following the service.

On Thursday night prior to the service, I rolled into Flannery’s Irish Pub in Mercersburg and planted myself on a stool at the bar surrounded by members of a beer drinking club.  You know they were friendly people.  I was proud to see three wooden Dogfish handles among the line-up of taps and enjoyed a pint of peach ale with my Reuben sandwich. What a simple pleasure.  Dogfish is all over the country and is in the process of expanding again to keep up with the demand created by Sam Calagione’s marketing genius.  People just plain like Dogfish and all of the offcenteredness it stands for.

One of the guys who came into town for the service said he works for a company that supplies brewery equipoment.  He said Dogfish, for its next expansion, has to go to Europe for equipment. He said the brewery has grown too large for the small brewery suppliers in this country and not large enough to join the mega brewers of the U.S.  He said German breweries tend to be more in the mid-size niche occupied by Dogfish  so it’s off to Germany for the next batch of equipment.

I’m not saying this is gospel truth – just some of the chatter I picked up in Pennsylvania while helping Paul’s spirit make its way happily to the next adventure.

Remember what Capt. Speed says: be kind to one another !

Vicky draws a pint of Dogfish at Flannery's in Mercersburg, Pa.

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Wacky weather, smart business, honking geese

September 9, 2010

This is what the weather radar showed in mid-August when the last heavy rains soaked Sussex.

9 September 2010

I snapped a picture of this radar weather image back in mid-August when an occasional, but unusual, weather pattern brought up to four inches of rain over coastal Sussex. The storm worked its way into Sussex from the west – nothing unusual there – before passing offshore.  Then it turned around and came back over us and that’s when the tropical-storm-like rains began to fall. This image of the storm shows the “storm-track” mode indicating which direction the storm is traveling.  How often do you see a storm tracking from the southeast toward the northwest? I don’t know whether the storm picked up moisture over the Atlantic and I don’t know what temperature and wind dynamics turned it around and brought it back over the coast.  But it moved slowly and the rain came straight down and built in intensity until it turned to sheets of water.

Watching the changing weather around us is one of the great joys of living along the coast.

With a cell phone and a credit card you have yourself a bicycle at the ferry terminal.

Smart business idea

One of the smartest business ideas I saw this summer was the rack of bicycles Lewes Cycle Sports put at the ferry terminal in Lewes.  Here’s how it works.  You decide you want to take a ride.  Maybe you came over on the ferry; maybe you’re cooling your heels waiting for somebody to arrive on the ferry; maybe, maybe, maybe . . .  Anyway, you want to take a ride.  You check out the bikes, which are numbered and each locked with a combination lock. You choose the one you like and a then you whip out your cell phone and call Lewes Cycle Sports.  Its shop is just a mile away.  Too far to holler or walk.  They post their phone number right there.  So you call them, tell them what bike you want, give them your credit card number and then wait while they check you out. Once they determine your credit is good, they tell you the cost per hour, you make the agreement, then they give you the combination to the lock of the bike you chose and you’re on your way.  Lewes Cycle Sports maintains the bikes but doesn’t have to pay anyone to watch the shop and payment is guaranteed and the bikes secured by the credit card. With Cape Henlopen State Park so near with all of its trails, and Lewes an easy ride, the rental idea makes a lot of sense and takes advantage of credit card and cell phone technology.

Sounds of fall

Canada geese honked into town early this week just ahead of the cold front that dropped temperatures early Wednesday morning into the 50s.  How can you not think of fall when you hear flocks of geese passing over? It’s like hearing the sound of the band practicing for football games in the evening and seeing Orion – the hunter’s constellation – rising at night again in the southern sky.