A Word in Edgewise 8/8/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

NOTE: “A Word in Edgewise” did not air this week, as the station was off the air due to a lightning strike. Host R.W. Estela has provided this transcript of the comments he had intended for that day’s feature:

8/8/2016 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise

[aired live ~730 EDT on WERU-FM 89.9 & 99.9 & streaming at weru.org]

((note: due to a lightning strike at WERU-FM ~7/22-23/2016, the studio phone line became inoperable for over a week, so that 7/25/2016 AWIE was archived by PDF only; subsequently no attempt was made to create an 8/1/2016 AWIE))

Toward the end of this past week the slender-though-waxing crescent Moon slid directly below Mercury and then Jupiter a day later, with Venus in close pursuit.

One of the advantages of our relatively rainless days and nights here in Down East Maine lately is the clear evenings we’re afforded. Something about that crescent Moon past sunset last night seemed so much a ready handle upon which to hang a hope or two for today.

Coping with this summer’s drought would be one such hope: if the farmer and the gardener have sufficient water available, a hot dry summer will make for good crops.

For several years now, my girlfriend and I have been big into second plantings of corn, squash, beans, carrots, peas, lettuce, and spinach. We have also become accustomed to waiting until late June to sow pumpkins and summer squash.

When evening temperatures tend toward the 60s, germination occurs quickly, with most seeds sprouting two to three days after planting.

Fortunately we have a handy spigot and plenty of hoses, so the seedlings then grow rapidly.

Another upside of the otherwise not-to-be-recommended drought is the near absence of pests. Japanese beetles, for example, an annual bane in our garden, are yet to arrive.

Obvious indicators of the drought are, nonetheless, not ubiquitous.

Yesterday morning, for instance, I went for a paddle in Orono on the Stillwater River, that oxbow of the Penobobscot River that forms Marsh Island, upon which the University of Maine sits.

My usual route is to put in at Webster Park and to paddle upstream as far as the dam at Stillwater Avenue, and then around an island just below the spillway of the dam and then downstream back to where I started. Altogether this makes for about a five-mile workout.

Owing to the hydroelectric facility at the Stillwater Avenue dam and another hydroelectric facility in Orono just above where the confluence of the Stillwater River with the Penobscot River, the section between the two dams stays at a level favorable to the operation of the two dams. In other words, water is held back at the lower dam.

The Penobscot River, on the other hand, had a US Geological Survey gauge height at Eddington during the weekend that fell below two feet, meaning much of the Penobscot River between Old Town and Bangor has exposed rocks and is generally known in the paddling vernacular as “bony.”

So we enjoy the ample sunshine, but we pray for rain — such is the paradox of Vacationland during a drought.

Next week we’ll be reporting on the Rio Olympics, already underway these past few days.

Hi, this is RW Estela: For more than a quarter of a century WERU-FM has been like an ever-expanding garden, despite the hardships of an ever-changing economic climate and an assortment of natural disasters such as storms that spell trouble for the station transmitter and the occasional random lightning strike that decimates telephone communication. Through it all, however, WERU-FM has had the generous support of its listeners, be they volunteers or members — or frequently both — who have seen the value of providing a unique blend of music and public affairs to the listening community. Please do what you can to continue the worthy tradition of supporting WERU-FM in its efforts locally and internationally. Thank you.

From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a Great Day!

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