Monday, October 31, 2016

Veblen House Written Up in Area Magazine

Now, isn't that weird. I could have sworn there was an article about the Veblen House and cottage in the latest edition of Weird N.J.

Oh, right,

there it is,

page 62,

a lovely four page spread,

right between a pictorial portrait of the Overbrook sanitorium and a man who gave his left arm for Asbury Park.

Weird N.J. is a beautifully rendered magazine edited by Mark and Mark (Sceurman and Moran), who clearly love our state as an bottomless trove of weirdness in truth and legend. Whether buildings or people, we all are worked on by a mixture of care and neglect, elements and time. It's truly weird that buildings and a legacy as distinctive and extraordinary as those Veblen left behind have been neglected, and so we're proud to be part of this edition of Weird N.J. Our aim, passion and privilege, as the Friends of Herrontown Woods, is to make care the dominant influence going forward.

The photos and writeups are by FOHW volunteer Glen Ferguson and myself. I bought a copy online for $7, free shipping, at this site.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Early Fall in Herrontown Woods

These are photos from recent walks in Herrontown Woods. With most trees still green, the early turnings really stick out. In fall, the woods becomes color coded, with each kind of tree or shrub announcing its identity, so that one can grasp their numbers in a single glance. Here's a radiant dogwood, all alone with its bright orange.

Closer to the Veblen cottage, a similarly intense flash of bright red in deep woods turned out to be a black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica).

Mushrooms cluster in aesthetic ways on fallen logs,

and stumps,

or rise straight from the earth.

All that sequestered carbon in fallen trees slowly gets consumed, metabolized, and returned to the air, in time to be photosynthesized back into sugars by the trees and other plants, in a cycle that's as beautiful intellectually as it is aesthetically. How incredibly elegant that the carbon in wood yields its energy to living things, then "takes wing" as a gas to drift skyward and be so naturally and effortlessly delivered to plants for reincorporation into living tissue.

At Veblen House, the butternuts had a good year, after we gave them more protection from the deer.

The last photo is of a Kentucky Coffee Tree, discovered growing in the field next to the Veblen House. Its 3 foot long, many leafleted leaves make patterns on the patterned sky in late afternoon.