Early Summer 2022

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Scott Weis

Journal Entries of the Upper Delaware River Region • Serving PA, NJ & NY

Early Summer 2022

Publisher & Editor

Amy Bridge publisher@milfordjournal.com

Creative Director

Jimmy Sheehan jimmy@milfordjournal.com

Associate Editor

B’Ann Bowman bann_bowman@yahoo.com


Amy Bridge amy@milfordjournal.com Susan Mednick susanmed2@optonline.net Kimberly Hess Kimberlyhess212@gmail.com


Martin Schmalenberg, Ed Gragert, J.J. Kimiecik, Sue-Ni DiStefano, Paulette Calasibetta, Eric Francis, Robert Bowman


The tri-state upper Delaware River highlands and valleys are a place of rare beauty…. Seeing the region and living in it almost aren’t enough. Such beauty should be captured on canvas or film so that one can truly appreciate it, glimpse it in the quiet of an art gallery or museum, or between the pages of a poetry book or literary sketch. The Journal Group’s mission is to capture these momentary snapshots of beauty graphically and through the written word. We celebrate our area and the uniqueness of the people who live and work in the tri-state region. From Pike to Wayne and Monroe to Lackawanna Counties in Pennsylvania, upriver to Sullivan County and on to Orange County in New York, and to the headwaters of the Wallkill River and along Sussex County’s rolling hills in New Jersey, with quaint, historic towns and hamlets at the center, the Journal Group opens its doors to our communities, businesses and organizations, to serve as a communicative journal of all that we have to offer for those who live here and for those who love to visit us, too.

Publication Information

The Journal Group publishes The Journal ten times a year and distributes it in eight counties in PA, NJ and NY. We assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission. We reserve the right to refuse to print advertisements that we deem inappropriate. All rights reserved.

Uniting PA, NJ & NY PO Box 1026 • Milford, PA 18337 • 908.578.3138 www.milfordjournal.com



Early Summer 2022


• art •


• history •


• food •


• life •


• nature •

Scott Weis Florida’s Famous

Beast Prep

Print Biz Worm Factory

6 • journal entry 7 • poem 8 • calendar 35 • signs

Scott Weis

Journal Entries of the Upper Delaware River Region • Serving PA, NJ & NY

Early Summer 2022

Cover Line Blues man Scott Weis has a story to tell. Photo by Leah Marie Kirk 5

Guitarist Martin Schmalenberg high-fives singer Kristin Albrecht at Spark After Dark. © Joe Di Maggio

Journal Entry

Music Appreciation


here are grammar schools in New Orleans that treat music programs as importantly as they do their math programs.

So why is music so important there? And why is it important everywhere? Music is a large part of the culture in the Big Easy, and educators understand that music interacts with the part of the brain that develops logic and language. Along with being an outlet for creativity, playing and singing music fosters memorization skills and promotes collaboration with others. Music has its own language, stimulating brain activity in its own unique way. Just listening to music has been proven to be relaxing—it helps to lower blood pressure by slowing down blood flow and easing stress. Endorphins, the feel-good hormone, can be released, which help to reduce depression. The type of music, whether classical, rock, jazz, R&B, or reggae, for example, doesn’t matter, but the effect it has on us individually does. I’ve been reading a biography of the physicist and mathematician, Albert Einstein, author of Relativity: The Special and General Theory. A lesser-known fact about Ein6

stein was that he was an accomplished violinist, and it is said that if he had not had a career in science, he may have been a professional musician. “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music,” Einstein declared so gracefully. Music gave him more pleasure than anything else in his life. Einstein also said that “Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe.” Bringing it back home, this past June, the annual Milford Music Festival weekend was all set to go—with acts about to perform throughout town—music lining the streets. A nationally known band had been booked at the Milford Theater to kick things off on Friday evening when at the last minute, they had to postpone due to a medical emergency. This is when local blues legends, Bobby Kyle and Scott Weis, stepped up to provide a free concert to the people. They rocked the house and got the weekend off to a great start. Perhaps you’ve read Bobby Kyle’s story in our April 2018 issue; now here’s Scott Weis’s in this issue. Whether it’s music in the park, on the streets, in an art gallery, or at a bar; music in a house of worship, a school, a theater, a stage, or in your own backyard...people relate, people enjoy, and people unite through music. Always follow the music!



Summers Sails Clouds floating on a celestial sea, Headed for exotic places, Beyond imagination, drifting aimlessly. Their lofty sails puffed out like pillows, Catch the wily wind, that gently prods and billows, Slowly transforming, creating a disguise; Becoming cats, and rabbits and dragons that fly. Stealthy and reticent, helmed at a steady pace; The sun in the east, the wind at their back Sailing in beauty and grace. -Paulette Calasibetta


Calendar Fridays 7–8 p.m.


Instructor Presentations. Dining Hall Pavilion, Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton, NJ. Also on line. Info: 973.948.5200, www.petersvalley.org. Saturdays 6 p.m.


Wildflower Music Festival. DorflingerSuydam Wildlife Sanctuary, White Mills, PA. Outdoor festival. $13–$26. Info: 570.253.5196, dorflinger.org.

July 9th

Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. .............................

Countryside Garden Tour. Railroad Green, Warwick, NY. Visit local private gardens. $25. Hosted by Warwick Valley Gardeners. Info: warwickvalleygardeners.org.

July 10th

Sunday 1–4 p.m.


The Best of Van Kirk Museum. Sparta Historical Society, Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta, NJ. Celebrating 20th anniversary. Hosted by Sparta Historical Society. Also July 24th. Info: 973.726.0883, www.vankirkmuseum.org. 5:30–7:30 p.m.


Concert in the Park. Lake Marcia, High Point State Park, Sussex, NJ. Mike Lawler. Tickets, $5. Hosted by Friends of High Point State Park. Info: 863.326.1367, www.friendsofhighpointstatepark.org.

July 11th–15th

Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–1 p.m. .............................

Harry Potter Palooza: A Camp for Wizards. Sparta Train Station, Sparta, NJ. Kids 8-13 years. $225. Hosted by Train Creative. Info: 973.940.3330, www.train creative.org.

July 14th–31st

Thursdays–Sundays Weekdays 4–11 p.m. Weekends 1–11 p.m. .............................

Orange County Fair. Orange County Fairgrounds, Middletown, NY. Rides, vendors, exhibits, concerts & more. Info: 845.343.4826, www.orangecountyfair.com.

July 15th–17th

Friday–Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. .............................

Artists’ Studio Tour. Locations throughout Wayne County, PA. Hosted by the Wayne County Arts Alliance. 570.729.5740, www. waynecountyartsalliance.org.

July 16th

Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. .............................

Music in the Valley. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, Stroudsburg, PA. Learn 8

about folk instruments & traditional music. Info: 570.992.6161, www.quietvalley.org. 2:00–3:30 p.m.


Killing Time in the Catskills. Time and the Valleys Museum, Grahamsville, NY. Kevin Owen, presentation about infamous murderer, Lizzie Halliday. Members/free, non-members/$5. Info: 845.985.7700, www. timeandthevalleysmuseum.org. 5 p.m.


Barn Raising. Jeffersonville Bake Shop, Jeffersonville, NY. $75. Concert plus international street food, beer & wine. Benefits Weekend of Chamber Music. Info: 917.664.5185, www.wcmconcerts.org. 5:30 p.m.


Youthful Strength: Vera String Quartet. Grey Towers. Milford Theatre, Milford, PA. Sponsored by Kindred Spirits Arts Programs. $25. Info: 570.409.1269, www. kindredspiritsarts.org.

July 23rd

Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. .............................

Secret Garden Tour. Milford, PA. Hosted by Milford Garden Club. $15–$20. Info: 917.270.5439. www.milfordgardenclub.com.

July 24th

Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. .............................

Riverfest. Narrowsburg, NY. Music, art, food, poster auction. Info: 845.252.7576, delawarevalleyartsalliance.org/riverfest.

July 29th

Friday 4–10 p.m.


Orange County Freedom Fest. Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Montgomery, NY. Salute to veterans. Food vendors, fireworks, live entertainment. Info: 845.291.4000, www.orangecountygov.com.

July 30th

Saturday 7 a.m.


Pass It Along Triathlon. Lake Mohawk Country Club, Sparta, NJ. Benefits Pass It Along’s program for local teenagers. Info: 973.726.9777, www.passitalong.org.

August 5th–13th 9 a.m.–11 p.m.


Wayne County Fair. Honesdale, PA. Rides, animals, food, shows. Info: 570.253.5486, waynecountyfair.com.

August 5th–13th 10 a.m.


New Jersey State Fair & Sussex County Farm & Horse Show. New Jersey State Fairgrounds, Augusta, NJ. Info: 973.948.5500, www.njstatefair.org.




By Martin Schmalenberg

Blues Power

Scott Weis

“Born under a bad sign...been down since I began to crawl. If it wasn’t for bad luck… I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” -Booker T. Jones and William Bell

Photos by Leah Marie Kirk


merican blues as a music genre did not exist before African American slaves, and later sharecroppers, in the deep South, merged African rhythms and traditions with their own hard times to create music that reflected their lives. The blues can be slaphappy, dirges, laments, triumphs, broken dreams and romances, and ironic turnarounds.

the Rolling Stones began a long line of young white guys mimicking the blues sound. As young musicians started listening and buying records, they began wondering about names such as Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters, who appeared on the credits of many songs by Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and of course, the Stones.

The men and women who created the genre in the first two decades of the 20th century invented an art form that has touched the hearts of people all over the globe, an astounding achievement. Probably the most relatable topics used throughout the blues are lovers’ laments and heartbreak of every kind. But the blues is also celebratory, not always sad. The intensity of the music is what inspires so many listeners and musicians.

A new generation of kids was buying guitars and discovering iconic Black musicians, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, TBone Walker, and Albert King, for example. This launched a tidal wave of guitar players eager to play the blues and start bands. They were hearing the blues as never played before by super guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton.

Blues, as a musical form, is pervasive in jazz, as well as rhythm and blues, and became the backbone of early rock and roll. There are legendary stories of rural Blacks who, with early guitar types, banjos, and fiddles, began the tradition that emanated from cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, with songs such as “Cottonfield Blues” and “Mississippi Boweavil Blues.” The notion of the blues as a separate genre arose during the Black migration from the South to northern urban areas, notably Chicago, in the 1920s, along with the simultaneous development of the recording industry. The 1960s ushered in a rebirth of interest in blues music, especially the so-called British invasion bands like Cream. The Beatles were heavily influenced by Black music, and

Growing up in North Jersey, a young Scott Weis would hear his mother playing Elvis and various country artists. After hearing Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Scott dreamed of getting his first guitar...alas, it turned out be a plastic four-string. He was now eight years old. His dad approached him one day, impressed with his enthusiasm, and told him that if he could play some Johnny Cash songs, he would get him a real guitar. Scott finally got an electric guitar and rapidly learned by ear. Setting his sights on learning from the best, he started demonstrating real technique. He would start bands in high school and eventually found himself on 48th street in Manhattan, the mecca of guitar shops. It was there that he got a real professional instrument, a Gibson Les Paul Custom. Continued on next page 11



Scott was getting a reputation as a fine session-guitarist and would occasionally fill in on the stage for known bands if players became ill. He found himself playing live with some of the greats such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. He became a “gopher” at the legendary recording studio, House of Music, in West Orange, NJ, doing odd jobs, continuing to get his foot in the door, being part of the scene, and getting guitar parts for major recording artists. Eventually, he auditioned at the 14th Street Amory in NYC, known to musicians as a rehearsal and audition space. While putting down guitar tracks as a “ghost” player, Scott signed with Premier Talent Agency as a touring musician for over 300 bands throughout the 1980s and ’90s. He was gaining notoriety as a specialist in the blues. Eventually, Scott was invited to play in Europe with various bands, including American blues singer, harmonica player, and recording artist Junior Wells, playing 150 nights a year. In 2005, Scott stepped out on his own and created the Scott Weis Band that would evolve through several permutations. Originally, he never thought about being a singer, but gradually people encouraged him to do it, and Scott developed the classic raw, down-home blues voice, and he was finally earning some serious money. His first CD, Have a Little Faith, was released in 2006. But the story of the classic, passionate journeyman blues musician would not fit the traditional mold if not visited with severe letdowns and disappointments. “Tragically, I lost my fiancé and began to question the intense lifestyle of being a musician and being in constant demand,” Scott said. “After a bout of depression, I did some soul searching and left the music scene, starting a ten-year hiatus to raise my kids. I eventually moved to Colorado for a while, attending a Buddhist retreat to change my lifestyle and gain direction.” With a great deal of introspective thinking, he returned east and became a bar tender at the Tom Quick in Milford, PA. Scott then opened a restaurant, The Garden of Eden, with a partner and made a decent living for about six years.

Scott was earning extra money with some landscapers at a private residence, and before long the homeowner came out and said, “Aren’t you Scott Weis, the guitar player?” “Well, yeah, I guess,” was the reply. The owner remembered following Scott’s career and asked, “Why aren't you recording anymore?” Finding out that studio time was expensive and problematic, the homeowner insisted that Scott take a financial offering to help. It was substantial and a minor miracle. After still some more of the same type of “help,” the Scott Weis Band was back in the studio and finished their next CD in 2008, Tryin’ to Get Back. Under the heading of “I guess that's why they call it the blues,” the pendulum swung back into near tragedy in 2012. While trying to avoid hitting a deer, Scott’s car hit a tree, and he broke his neck. It was so serious that the doctors said if just a little more damage had occurred, 12

Continued on page 14

Photos courtesy of Scott Weis

And then another change. He sold the restaurant, and many friends were trying to get him to play again. He accepted a chance to come on stage locally with just his harmonica. A close friend came out of nowhere, handed Scott a guitar, and virtually demanded...PLAY! Eventually, the fire was relit, and Scott put together a band, but he struggled to get the finances to be able to get into the studio and record a new CD. And then, just like that, his personal story of the blues took still another dramatic turn.


Photos by Leah Marie Kirk

Art that would have been the end. He was put in a brace and struggled to stay alive. But as he worked out, trying to regain some feeling and strength, wouldn’t you know it, a call came in for him to open up live for Dicky Betts of the Allman Brothers. How could this be possible? Could he do this? People were amazed that he said, “OK, yes, I'll do it.” After the concert, flowers and get-well cards flooded the stage. Behind the amplifiers, Scott broke down from the audience’s emotional reaction, and he realized then that he should not give up. Several years ago, Scott’s life took still another turn, both logical and satisfying. He became store owner together with Steve McVicker, manager, and guitar tech for Water Wheel Guitars in Milford, PA. He has made still another name for himself by his creative customizing and renovation of iconic brand guitars, which are for sale in the shop. In particular, the Paisley Park Custom Telecaster has turned quite a few heads. Over the years, Scott has shared the stage with the likes of Joe Cocker, Etta James, Greg Allman, Robin Trower, John Lee Hooker, the Outlaws, and many more. Over the past 15 years, the Scott Weis Band has produced six CDs with singles that broke the top 50 in the US. He has also had albums that peaked at number 7 in the UK and number 10 in France.



In 2012, the Blues Hall of Fame inducted Scott as a great artist from Pennsylvania and awarded him with a Heritage Award. These days, when watching Scott play live, people are amazed at the fact that he may be the only person to play guitar and harmonica in unison. An extensive European tour, twice cancelled due to the pandemic, is finally back on schedule to begin in September 2022. For 35 years, Scott Weis has been the prototypical journeyman blues musician, both living and playing the blues. He has seen it all, and as a consummate artist, he has distilled it down into his playing, singing, and composing. “Times are not easy for everyone, and when I play music, it’s a spiritual thing for me,” said Scott. “I use my guitar as a way to express my soul and the energy I have for life. When I play, I try to take everyone with me, so we can all forget about life and relax.” Playing the blues is a mix of emotion and experiences, Scott Weis is that and more. Through perseverance and resiliency, he has survived and succeeded. And I guess, that is why they call it the blues. ................................................................................. Martin Schmalenberg is a retired Asian Studies teacher who now spends his time with his bonsai, guitars, and two cats.



William Henry Seward

History William Henry Seward The following is an excerpt from the article, “The Sewards of Florida, NY,” written by J.J. Kimiecik and published in the Florida Historical Society’s book, Florida, New York: Orange County, an Early Look at Its Faces, Places, and Winding Staircases.


o history of Florida, New York, is complete without mention of the Seward family. In the 1881 Ruttenber and Clark History of Orange County there were listed over forty Sewards. The Village of Florida listed several as prominent citizens in the late 1700’s and 1800’s. The two most prominent, of course, were Samuel Sweezy Seward and his son William Henry Seward. Locally, it was the father Samuel who was the most influential citizen in the early years of Florida and Orange County. Nationally and internationally, it was the son William H. who progressed through various elected governmental posts and achieved lasting fame as Secretary of State in the cabinets of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. This history of Florida, New York, concentrates primarily on Seward’s early life and activities here in Orange County and only briefly highlights the events of his later political life. Perhaps it is best to let William Henry, or “Harry” as he liked to be called, tell this part of the story as he put it down in his autobiography that he started in 1871. He died before he could finish it and his son Frederick W. completed it in 1877. Excerpts from that work, indicated by quotation marks, will be interspersed in the following pages. Seward writes… “It is natural that you should ask me to relate for you, in my leisure hours, as much as I can recall of what I have hitherto seen, and thought and done. “I was the fourth of six children and the third son, born in 1801 on May 16th. A daughter, older than myself, died in infancy; a second daughter came after me. I have been told that the tenderness of my health caused me to be early set apart for a collegiate education, then regarded by every family as a privilege so high and so costly that not more than one son could expect it.”

‘Florida Aetas’, the flower of age, as those flowers were identified in Latin, apparently inspired the change. Redfield also has a rather flowery description of Seward’s birthplace. “The local scenery of Florida is scarcely surpassed in the country for beauty and magnificence. On each side, mountains…rear their blue summits into the skies, while the broader fertile valleys, watered by numerous rivulets and miniature lakes, enriched by genial and appropriate culture... complete the majestic and lovely panorama.” Redfield goes on—“Brought up amidst such sublime and ennobling scenes of nature—inheriting from a worthy ancestry the purest sentiments of honor and patriotism—the mind of young Seward early received a powerful impulse toward the career of beneficent greatness.” Keep in mind that the above glowing description was written in 1854, before Seward became Secretary of State, before he negotiated the purchase of Alaska. But greatness has small beginnings. Seward continues in his recollections… “My native village, Florida, then consisted of not more than a dozen dwellings. While the meeting-house was close by, the nearest schoolhouse was half a mile distant. It stood on a rock, over which hung a precipitous wooded cliff. The schoolhouse was one-story high, built half of stone and half of wood. It had a low dark attic, which was reached by a ladder. They did say, at the time, that a whole family of witches dwelt in that wooded cliff by day and that they came down from that favorite haunt and took up their lodging, by night, in the little attic.

For the record, his brothers were Benjamin Jennings, Edwin Polidore and George Washington. His surviving sister was Louisa Cornelia. They were usually called by their middle names, particularly “Polidore.” William Henry, as noted, like to be called “Harry,” and in his own private life was referred to as “Henry” by his wife and close acquaintances.

“One day before I had reached the age of which I was to take a legitimate place in the school, I went there with my older brothers, without parental permission. While there and ‘all of a sudden’ it grew dark. I had no doubt that the tyrannical schoolmaster had kept us in school until night, and I expected every moment to see the aerial inhabitants of the hill enter the schoolhouse and make short work of us all. Crying vociferously, I was discharged from the school and ran for my life homeward.

Did Seward’s birthplace play a role in shaping the character of the future statesman? An early biography of Seward by J. S. Redfield in 1854 states, “A part of the town (Warwick) was called Florida or Floriday as early as 1738. Prior to that it was called Brookland. Supposedly, the name was changed to Florida because the land was covered with red flowers.

“On the way I met what seemed to me a great crowd, some of whom were looking down into a pail of standing water, while others were gazing into the heavens through fragments of smoked glass. In after years, I came to learn that I had thus been an observer of the total eclipse of the sun which occurred in the year 1806.” Continued on next page 17



Seward continues with his recollection of his early schooling… “At the age of nine years I was transferred to the Farmer’s Hall Academy at Goshen, where my father had been educated. I boarded there with two affectionate cousins, who were nieces of my father… “I was not long in coming to the discovery that the elaborate education appointed for me had its labors and trials. My daily studies began at five in the morning and closed at nine at night. Even the intervals allowed for recreation were utilized. “It was my business to drive the cows, morning and evening, to and from distant pastures, to chop and carry in the fuel for the parlor-fire, to take the grain to the mill and fetch flour, to bring the lime from the kiln, and to do errands of the family generally; the time of my elder brothers being too precious to permit them to be withdrawn from their labors in the store and on the farm. “How happy were the winter evenings, when the visit of a neighbor brought out the apples, nuts and cider, and I was indulged with a respite from study, and listened to conversation, which generally turned upon politics or religion. “My first schoolmaster required me unaided to translate Caesar’s most terse description of his campaign and to render into English prose the most intricate and inverted lines of Virgil. When I failed in these tasks he brought me upon the floor... to complete the work amid the derision or the pity of my youthful associates. It was more than I could bear. I continued to lose my Latin books in the fields as I passed home; and the schoolmaster reported me to my father as too stupid to learn. “This brought about the crisis, which was followed by explanation and reform. My father excited my emulation by telling me that I might become a great lawyer. I found study thence forward as attractive as it had before been irksome.” Other events in his native village helped to shape the personality of the man who would eventually serve as Lincoln’s right hand. Seward writes of one... “There was, of course, an annual or nearly annual celebration of the Fourth of July. My first conception of the dignity and conception of our country arose out of these rural festivities.” Seward then describes in lengthy detail one patriotic skit in which a skiff was mounted on a wagon and one of Seward’s brothers portrayed Columbus discovering the new world. The next year, a year when there were only eighteen states in the Union, eighteen boys were dressed in white muslin coats and trousers, with white paper caps on their heads and blue sashes around their waists. These boys each represented one of those eighteen states. Seward relates… “It was my part to impersonate my native State, by no means then the ‘Empire State,’ and on my banner I bore the pure and chivalrous name of ‘Lafayette.’ I have loved, honored and lamented the gallant French hero since that time, and I suppose I shall die loyal to New York and to the Federal Union.” Continued on page 20 18




As young Harry grew up in that house on Main Street, he was confronted by one situation which puzzled him and helped to shape his view of what was to become a national dilemma. Again, from Seward's reminiscences but in a somewhat briefer form… “There was existing at that time a social anomaly, which I long found a perplexing enigma. Besides my parents, brothers, and sister, all of whom occupied the parlor and the principal bedrooms, there were in the family two black women and one black boy who remained exclusive tenants of the kitchen and the garret over it. The kitchen fireplace stretched nearly across the end of the room. The supply of wood was profuse, and the jambs at the side of the fireplace were not only the warmest but also the coziest place in the whole house. Turkey, chicken and sirloin were roasted; cakes and pies were baked at this noble fire.

“I knew they were black, though I didn’t know why. If my parents never uttered before me word of disapproval of slavery, it is but just to them to say that they never uttered an expression that could tend to make me think the Negro was inferior to the white person. “The few rich families in the neighborhood had as many as or more than we; others had only one. While the two younger of my father’s slaves attended school and sat by my side if they chose, I noticed no other black children went there. “Zeno, a Negro boy in the family of another neighbor, was a companion in my play. He told me one day that he had been whipped severely, and the next day he ran away. He was pursued and brought back and wore an iron yoke around his neck which exposed him to contempt and ridicule. He found means to break the collar and fled forever. “I early came to the conclusion that something was wrong… and determined me at that early age to be an abolitionist. The descendants of that slave family in my father’s kitchen now number but seven, and these have their only shelter under a roof that I provide for them...” Seward sums up rather fondly the last few months of his youth in Florida... “So time went on and I went on with it, closing my preparatory studies in a new term of six months at the old academy in Goshen with little variation of habit or occupation, except that my parents occasionally permitted me to attend them in their social visits at Newburgh. These excursions gave me the only glimpse I then had at life outside of the sweet little valley in which I was cradled.” 20

William Henry Seward

“Moreover, the tenants of the kitchen, though black, were vivacious and loquacious, as well as affectionate towards me. What wonder that I found their apartment more attractive than the parlor, and their conversation a relief from the severe decorum which prevailed there?

In time young Harry took his first steamboat ride up the Hudson to Albany and then to Schenectady to start his career as a student at Union College. He was fifteen years old. Although Seward seemed to sever his ties with his native village, he continued to be drawn back to his “Sweet Little Valley.” …And Seward, ultimately, goes on to a career that would do any city proud…State Senator, Governor of New York, U.S. Senator, “Almost” President of the United States, and Secretary of State under Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Trusted advisor to Lincoln during the Civil War, a nearmartyr himself at the time of Lincoln’s assassination, and the man responsible for the purchase of Alaska. Throughout that illustrious career he found time to write and return for visits to the place of his birth…. …The historical marker, situated on what is now South Main Street proclaims, “Florida, Birthplace of Wm. H. Seward.” Obviously, it was more than just his birthplace. Two hundred twenty years have now passed since Seward was born in his “sweet little valley.” The residents of that valley still honor the man and his achievements. ............................................................................... Special thanks to Gary Randall, former president of the Florida Historical Society, for providing the excerpt for this article.




By Amy Bridge Season and Sizzle


hink like a beast, cook like a beast, train like a beast. Do what beasts do,” says their website.

Okay, you’ve piqued my interest.

Seeing names like Honey Beast BBQ and Meat Madness, I’ve got to find out what this is all about. “So, what is a beast?” I asked Bill, with maybe a touch of naiveté. “A beast,” he replied, “appears when a person’s skill exceeds human comprehension. And who doesn’t want to be bigger than life? My products allow everyone to shine their inner beast. Who doesn’t want to be a superhero in the kitchen?” “How did this all begin?” I wonder, with images of my grandmother running around in her kitchen dressed as Super Woman.

Photos courtesy of Bill Corrado

“After I got divorced, I had to fend for myself in the kitchen, and it wasn’t a pretty thing. I realized I needed help,” Bill explained. “My daughter, Erica, who is now my partner in business, is a natural cook. She taught me about using spices—I experimented and found that as long as I didn’t overcook or undercook, it was the seasoning that makes a difference. I cut down on a lot of salt and sugar use.” The idea for Spice Beast, the company, germinated in 2014, and by 2018, Bill had incorporated and started marketing his products to the fitness community—to people like himself. Bill still goes to the fitness shows, such as the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports and Fitness Festival that’s held every year in Chicago. They have body building competitions and a huge vendor expo. “Prior to starting Spice Beast, I worked out in the gym, six to seven days a week. Now it’s only about two to three days because of time commitments.” The Great American Weekend, an annual event in Goshen, NY, since 1982, was the first non-fitness event that he attended as a company, and it was very successful for Spice Beast. They found that their brand could cross over all markets, so they added on booths at trade shows and expos around the country, as well as local farmers markets. They now ship their products nationally and to Canada.

Erica and Bill Corrado

So, I continued my research. What I found was Bill Corrado—a motorcycle riding, tattooed, larger than life, bodybuilder-type of guy from Goshen, NY, who sells all natural Keto, Paleo, and vegan-friendly; low sodium; sugar free; preservative free; and gluten free spices—being interviewed by Ben Aaron from WPIX New York.

I ask about the logo. “A good friend who’s an artist with Marvel Comics designed it. I wanted something muscular and hairy, with horns, a bit scary, but not overly so. He showed me the first proof, and I said, ‘It’s perfect!’ My friend replied, ‘Yeah, it’s YOU, with a lot of hair and horns.’” The spices themselves come from all around the world and are packaged in glass bottles using a heat induction seal, which makes them super airtight. The names for their flavors come when Bill and Erica sit together and think-tank them. Bill explained that their most popular spice, Jacked Garlic & Onion, will jack up everything from chicken to broccoli, taking the foods’ natural flavor to the next level. “We looked for a name for our buffalo-spiced rub, and all the good ones were taken, so by popular vote, we came up with Chickeny Goodness. You can’t beat that,” Bill chuckled, displaying his fun, yet mischievous humor. I found Blackout to be another interesting name. It’s actually a blackening rub that combines a proprietary blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, sea salt, onion powder, oregano, and thyme. What sets their rub apart is that it is low sodium, with only 62.5 mg of sodium per serving. There’s Cajun Voodoo Dust, with the subhead, “That Voodoo That You Do.” This, Bill tells me, is one of a few bold, spicy, salt-free Cajun rubs on the market; and there’s Everything But The Carbs bagel seasoning which can be bought in a bagel-less bundle. Bill says it’s delicious on eggs, chicken, tuna, even pickles. Continued on next page 23

Food Then there’s the Big Buzz, a coffee-spice rub for pork and beef. Bill explains that the Big Buzz is one of their “cheat” spices, because it has brown sugar in it. I’m not sure what that means, so he explains. “In the fitness community, the key word is ‘macros.’ The macronutrients in your food must be counted, such as the protein, the carbs, and the sodium. Your ‘macros’ are set based on your fitness goals, and you are only allowed to eat so much of each nutrient for maximum effect. All of the ingredients that you eat have to be weighed and measured; it’s a science. Most bodybuilders track nutrients on their smartphone app or a spreadsheet. “When you hit a plateau, you can then eat a ‘cheat’ meal. This meal is exactly what it sounds like; you just get to let loose and eat what you want. Just like your ‘macro’ count, these meals are planned. This allows your body to rebalance your metabolism and regulate your insulin, and it provides a psychological benefit by adding a break to the routine. “Four of our spice blends are protein enhanced. I blend organic pea, a plant-based protein into our seasoning mix, which adds an additional 16 grams of protein to each jar. My main goal is that our spices will make every meal taste like a cheat meal. Eating clean is boring and bland,” Bill continued. “My job is to get people to eat clean but not boring. There’s no reason to eat bad for good flavor. “Because I only cook with olive oil, we’ve added a new addition to the lineup, five extra virgin olive oils imported from Italy and infused with unique flavors such as the Spicy Parmesan, which has parmesan cheese, garlic, and chili pepper, or the Blood Orange, oil infused with blood orange extract. These can be used in a myriad of ways.” As we are wrapping up our conversation, Bill turns introspective. “Everyone wants to be a beast, until they learn what it takes to be a beast. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work, you have to be able to metaphorically hold the power in your hands. I believe that Spice Beast can be a ‘cheat code to beast mode’ in the kitchen.” If beast mode means that you are bigger than life, powering up to give it all that you have, and never settling for less than the best, then I would definitely say that Bill Corrado of Spice Beast is corralling his inner beast.


Continued Sloppy Janes You have all had a Sloppy Joe...you know you have, a lunch room special in our youth. Meet Jane, Joe’s health conscious sister! This healthy twist to an old-fashioned comfort meal will have your family thanking you for not only making them something delicious, but for doing it with their health in mind. Ingredients • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes • 1 tbs coconut oil • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced • 1 pound ground turkey • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt • 2 tbs tomato paste • 1 tbs yellow mustard • 2 tbs Spice Beast Chickeny Goodness • 1 tbs Spice Beast Jacked Garlic & Onion • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (We used Coconut Secret Brand) Instructions • Preheat oven to 400 F. • Scrub and pat dry the sweet potatoes. Pierce each one several times with a fork. • Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. • Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. • Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large skillet over mediumhigh heat and sauté the onions about 4-5 minutes. • Add the ground turkey to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through (no longer pink), about 7 minutes more. • Add Jacked Garlic and Onion and Chickeny Goodness, tomato paste and mustard to the skillet and cook, stirring, until well combined. • Pour in the coconut aminos, stirring until it has reduced. • When potatoes are done, remove from oven and make a slit in the top of each sweet potato. Stuff with sloppy Jane mixture; serve and enjoy!

Grilled Orange Chicken We eat a ton of chicken in my house. So sometimes you just have to think out of the box. This is a simple and delicious way to marinate your chicken. It is absolutely delicious, with a light and refreshing flavor that you will want to add to your recipe book. Ingredients • 6-8 boneless skinless, thin-sliced (or pounded) chicken breasts • ½ cup Spice Beast Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil • ½ cup fresh orange juice • 1½ tbs Spice Beast Beast Prep Pro • ½ tbs Spice Beast Meat Madness Pro • 1 tbs Spice Beast Viva Pizzeria • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves crushed Instructions • Whisk together oil, orange juice, and all seasonings. • Place chicken in a gallon ziplock bag. If chicken isn’t thinly sliced, pound the chicken with a mallet or roll with a rolling pin until the breast is of even thickness. Pour marinade over chicken in bag. • Refrigerate chicken overnight. • Remove chicken from marinade and place on a plate or platter at least 30 minutes before grilling. You want to allow the meat to really absorb the marinade • Prepare grill and grill chicken until done, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. You can serve this over a fresh salad or with any side dish of your choosing. You can also use this marinade for all cuts of chicken or even try it with fish.



Sue-Ni DiStefano and Amy Bridge. Photo by Ethan DiStefano

Life Print Is Alive, Really!

A Conversation Between Amy Bridge and Sue-Ni DiStefano “


ibliophiles want to absorb the written word—they are a fierce bunch and will travel anywhere for a good book. We have people who come in from all walks of life,” says SueNi DiStefano, owner of Broad Street Books, in Branchville, NJ. “I know for a fact that print is not dead. This past year our online business sold 17,000 plus shipped books and an exceptional amount from walk-in traffic at our retail location.”

Amy Bridge is the embodiment of an empowering woman. She began her entrepreneurial career in the 1980s after working for a graphic arts house and a large ad agency, followed by a stint at a lifestyle magazine in Northern NJ. In 1986 she opened and ran the Stork Club, three upscale maternity clothing boutiques, located in Westfield, Summit, and Morristown, NJ.

When I started The Journal back in 2009, many people warned, “Amy, you will be out of business in a year. Everyone is reading online.” They asked, “Why would you go into print?” But here’s The Journal 13 years later, and we’re still going strong.

Doing all of the retail tasks of buying, hiring, advertising, and more prepared her properly for her next career move, which was working with retail accounts for a Northeastern PA newspaper and then a local magazine, which eventually led her to begin her next business, The Milford Journal.

“I had similar experiences,” Sue-Ni says, sharing her insight on the subject. “Books bind us throughout history. We can be reading words that were written 100 years ago, or maybe even 1,000 years ago; actually owning a book can change your life. When you pull a book off your shelf, you have a concrete, priceless jewel that opens a gateway to other lives by divine osmosis, not to mention the artists’ and illustrators’ work—covers can actually make you read a book. If you leave a bowl of candy or fruit on your coffee table, it will be soon gone. If you leave a magazine or a book, people will pick it up and start reading.”

Two years later, The Sussex County Journal hit the streets, followed by The Orange Sullivan Journal. On their ten-year anniversary, the magazines consolidated into one magazine, The Journal, keeping their same distribution in three states and seven counties, where NJ, PA, and NY meet.

“Agreed. My friend Bob Keiber, who passed away last October, wrote a haiku: Why ‘coffee’ table? They are so cluttered with books, No room for coffee.

The Journal is an inspirational lifestyle magazine that is a full-color, glossy love letter to authors, artisans, noteworthy philanthropists, and our tri-state area. Amy Bridge is our definition of a community role model, and she and her team have celebrated their thirteenth year! Sue-Ni: Are there any specific authors, books, or music that get your creative juices flowing when creating a new magazine issue?

“Many folks have told us that they’ve saved every issue of our magazine. Sue-Ni, you have called The Journal a full-color, glossy love letter to authors, artisans, noteworthy philanthropists, and our tri-state area. I love that! Of course, in keeping up with the times, we have gone digital with a version of the magazine on our website, and there is much good to be said about the web and easy access to information, but in my opinion, you can’t compare a digital magazine to a full-color, glossy ‘old fashioned’ print magazine.

Amy: I love to listen to music, mostly classical or ’60s and ’70s rock, when I want to relax, especially if I am drawing, painting, or working with my orchids. I also love to read classical literature, particularly the French classics, but give me a good Steinbeck or Sinclair Lewis and I’m lost in it. Currently, I’m reading The Brothers Karamazov and a biography of Albert Einstein…but, when I’m actually working on the magazine, I’m doing constant reading for research, (which is always a great journey and takes me down many different roads—I learn so much), so I don’t have much brain power left over, for pleasure reading.

“Sue-Ni, if our conversation inspires one person to pursue a career in writing and publishing, then we have done our job!”

Sue-Ni: What advice would you give to high school or college graduates who want to work in the publishing industry?

“Amy, my wish is that this article reaffirms your faith that print is now no more endangered by e-readers than stairs are by elevators. There is only one thing that could replace a book: the next book!”

Amy: Whenever I speak to a group of young students who are interested in journalism, I stress that they should find their inspiration and always follow the path that makes them the happiest; start by writing about what you enjoy.

The following interview was taken from Sue-Ni’s BSB Blog, which is included on her website, www.broadstreetbooks.com and has featured local authors and artists of note. I am humbled to be included on her list.

Practically speaking, my advice is to never wait until the night before deadline to write. You always need to put the writing down and look at it again and again with fresh eyes. That’s really important. Continued on next page 27

Life Also, writing success doesn’t always come from being a journalism major in college. As a matter of fact, I have never taken a journalism course in my life, and I think that has been inspiration for many young people. Sue-Ni: Who is a creative you would love to interview and why? Amy: I enjoy interviewing creative people who understand what motivates them in their creative process. Ken Burns, the documentarian, is someone I would love to talk to—because his art is making history come alive, and he does it so well. He must always be learning from his work, and it shows. I would love to know him personally and discuss that. The people I want to interview are the people I would like to have sitting around my dining room table. Sue-Ni: What are the biggest challenges you face as a magazine editor? Amy: I am the editor, publisher, and owner of this magazine, so there are a lot of challenges, but as editor, the challenge is finding new material that I feel will be appealing to me and to our readership. Luckily, it always seems to come, probably because my antennae have always been up and there are so many interesting stories in our part of the world. Sue-Ni: What is the difference between an editor and a publisher? Amy: That’s a great question because most people outside the industry really don’t know the answer. In a small magazine enterprise such as ours, my job as editor is to create and schedule story ideas and to coordinate the story line with the right people to write and photograph. The editor is responsible for all of the magazine content and contributes to and oversees the editing process. As publisher, I deal with all of the business aspects: facilitating the printing, coordinating the shipping, distribution, advertising sales, and bookkeeping, for starters. Sue-Ni: What is the best advertising advice you can give to artisans or businesses, especially during these challenging times? Amy: Advertise. It’s important. Years ago, I worked for ad agencies. I learned that advertising should be a part of all businesses’ budgets, just like rent and utilities are. You have to let people know that you are out there and what your business does. I’m convinced that it really works. I have collected testimonials from our advertisers over the years thanking us for helping to get their message out there to the public. When readers see your ad, they feel there’s a credibility to your business; you are a legitimate part of the community. 28


Sue-Ni: As an editor who has interviewed many authors and artists, who would you love to follow-up with that was personally thought provoking or motivational? Amy: I had an opportunity to do that three years ago for our 10-year anniversary issue. I followed up with people who we had interviewed years ago, to see what they were up to today. I am most interested in people, whether artist, crafter, historian, chef, or anyone creative, who keeps taking it to the next level. Sue-Ni: What is your favorite part of creating new content in your magazine? Amy: Visualizing a story possibility—meeting someone or reading about something and knowing right away that this would be a great story! I also really enjoy matching the writers and photographers to the editorial content. It takes a certain skill set and experience. Each creative brings a different voice or perspective. Putting all these different voices together into an interesting, coherent finished product is the icing on the cake. Sue-Ni: Do you read your magazine reviews and comments by your subscribers? How do you deal with bad or good ones? Amy: I have been fortunate to get many wonderful emails, and I always share them with my whole team. Working together as a well-oiled machine has been important to me since day one. If we get a bad comment, which luckily is rare, I share that with them, too. We all learn together. Sue-Ni: What are your proudest career achievements to date, and what are your future goals for the Journal Group? Amy: I consider the magazine my “art.” The beauty of it, the creativity of it, its consistency, and its longevity are what I am most proud of. I am also really proud of how well our team works together; there are many moving parts. Design, editorial, sales, and distribution, all have to run smoothly to make the magazine work. As we move into, hopefully, a post-pandemic world, and we have new talent who are attracted to our area, I would like to connect our established residents with the newer ones. Together, we can continue to showcase our area as the creative mecca that it has always been. Sue-Ni: Who are authors or artists we should be keeping our eyes on? Amy: Honestly, I am not a best-seller-list type of reader. I love the literary classics and feel that I have learned so much about writing styles by studying them. Of course, in my opinion, all authors and artists are worth keeping our eyes on.


Nature The Wiggle Room

Composting with Worms


f someone were to ask you what Cleopatra, Aristotle, and Charles Darwin had in common, I suspect that the composting functionality of worms would not come to mind, either immediately or after significant pondering. Yet these three individuals were some of the first to acknowledge the incredible power of worms to create fertile soil and compost common organic waste. The history of worm composting, or vermicomposting, is traceable to Egypt. The Egyptians had a great admiration for worms, and they knew that these animals were largely responsible for the fertility of the Nile Valley. Cleopatra even made it a crime to take worms out of her realm to another kingdom. It was Aristotle who named the worms as “the intestines of the earth” because of their mobility within the soil and for the benefits that they offer to soils. In 1881, after returning from one of his Beagle trips, Darwin wrote an entire book, The Formation of Vegetable Mold Through the Action of Worms, in which he compared worms to the most important human invention, the hoe. Sadly, it was the last book he wrote, but it indicates how important he felt worms were because he noted that worms plowed the earth regularly and continuously, unlike the hoe. By 1876, with his first grandson on the way, he felt his writing life was nearly over, with so much unfinished, he wanted to “write on earthworms before joining them.” Vermicomposting in the US dates from as recently as 1972 when a Michigan biology teacher, Mary Appelhof, arrived at the idea of trying it at her home. In that year, she realized that she wanted to continue composting during the winter months despite living in a northern climate, so she mail ordered one pound of red wiggler worms, or Eisenia fetida, (red wigglers) from a bait dealer. Regular earthworms do not work well for vermicomposting because they don’t process large amounts of food waste and don’t reproduce well in confined spaces. I started worm composting in 2007 in my Manhattan apartment—I had been commuting to my house in Milford Township on weekends since 1983. It was surprising for visitors to learn that in my NYC living room, a bare three to four feet from the dining room table, thousands of red wiggler worms were digesting organic waste from the past week or so. When I became full-time in Milford, my 10,000 worms came with me and are safely ensconced in the garage in their multi-storied “Worm Factory 360.” But we’re getting ahead of the story. In 2009, an article appearing in the New York Times, “Urban Composting: A New Can of Worms,” made many more American readers aware of the potential for even apartment dwellers to try vermicomposting. 30

By Ed Gragert

Of course, any kind of composting has a positive impact on soil enrichment and reduction of landfills, so why should, would someone worm compost? Compared to vermiculture, simply putting food scraps into or on the ground or in a composting barrel has nowhere near the impact that worm composting has. Regular composting takes weeks and weeks to decompose, can result in odors, and attracts hungry animals. Food for Thought Worm composting dramatically reduces the amount of organic waste that would otherwise be thrown into a garbage can and then into a landfill. Food takes up more space in US landfills than anything else. It’s estimated that the average family of four discards almost 900 pounds of food scraps per year, that’s almost 220 pounds per person. Landfills are a major source of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. So, vermicomposting is natural, good for the environment, and easy—worms contentedly eat half their weight daily, poop, and make baby worms, plus they double in population every three months. Since my garbage is picked up only once a week, having food waste in the garbage bins would create smells, but I don’t have to worry about that with worm composting. Contrary to what you might think, worm composting is odorless if worked properly. As I mentioned earlier, guests to my Manhattan apartment had no idea they were sitting next to thousands of worms. And if you currently pay for waste to be carted away, you also may see a reduction in costs because you’re throwing away less volume. At nurseries, worm poop is one of the most expensive fertilizers you can buy. Both potted and garden flowers and veggies love worm compost; you will notice the difference in enhanced color and growth because worm castings are one of the most nutritious “fertilizers” used for indoor and outdoor plants. It is said to be ten times more powerful than regular compost. I should point out, however, that even more nutritious is chicken poop, but chickens don’t fit easily into a worm bin… What Do Worms Actually Eat? Feed your worms any non-meat, non-dairy organic waste such as vegetables, fruits, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper, coffee filters, and shredded garden waste. Worms especially like bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin. Continued on next page




They also eat the bacteria that are at work in over-ripe food scraps. And they are fast. If you compost without worms, you can expect the food scraps to take weeks for composting, but with worms, the food scraps are gone in seven to ten days, depending on the size and type of scrap. For best and fastest results, I cut up the food scraps. Although most food scraps are perfect for worms, there are some that should NOT be given to them: dairy products, citrus, meat, fish, oils, and vinegar. About Bins There are many options for worm composting bins, including DYI wooden or plastic boxes. You will need to estimate your weekly food waste volume and find one that meets your needs. My choice is the Worm Factory 360 because it is a self-contained unit and is expandable. It consists of a base and three to five trays that stack together into a multi-storied unit. I include a small amount of top soil—just enough to cover the food scraps—to prevent odor and fruit flies that can emerge if food scraps are openly available. Each tray has holes to enable worms to climb up after digesting food in the lower levels. When the worms have completed their work in the lowest tray, the soil is ready to be used in flower beds and gardens. The unit comes with an initial start-up kit, including the bedding, tools and instructions. Since worms function most effectively in temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees F, the unit also comes with a thermometer (which I have never used, actually). Importantly, the unit also comes with a ramp to enable worms to climb up into the composting sections if they happen to fall to the lowest part of the base. There is a spigot to empty worm “tea” for additional fertilizer usage. This tea is so powerfully nutritious that it cannot be placed directly on or near plants. It needs to be thinned with ten parts water to one part tea before being used. I also like this worm compost option because of its low maintenance. After placing a few days’ food scraps in it, I can leave it for two to three weeks when I go on vacations and other trips. Downsides to Vermicomposting? Really there is only one. As I mentioned earlier, worms prefer living in the 40 to 80 degree F temperature range. In winters in our area, this means the worm bin must be indoors to avoid temperatures that are too cold. I keep my worm factory in the garage—with a small space heater to keep the temperature above 40 degrees. Needless to say, this has an impact on my electricity bill during the coldest winter months. If the bin is inside of a heated area of the house, this would not be a concern. 32

Suggestions for the Community Vermicomposting can be a fantastic learning experience for students. Imagine the great soil that could be produced if students at local schools had worm composting. Lunch scraps could be put to good use instead of simply being trashed, and it would be a wonderful educational tool in a biology, ecology, or agricultural course or club at school, with the rich soil used to beautify the grounds or even sold to pay for the composting supplies. For suggestions on how worm composting fits within schools and the curriculum, see thesquirmfirm.com/worm-compost ing-fun-educational. An intriguing idea for our area is to do community-wide worm composting, using food waste from grocery stores and restaurants. The community could create large bins for food scraps and ultimately sell the resulting worm compost soil to local gardeners and florists. Such an initiative existed in the Moosic, PA, area a number of years ago. When I spoke with the entrepreneur who set up the system, I was told that the project went very well for several years, with his hundreds of thousands of worms. Unfortunately, the grocery stores stopped separating plastic bags and other containers from the food scraps. That forced him to do the separating, and he found it was an overwhelming task. There is an organization in Oregon, Everwood Farm, which works with communities to create large-scale vermicomposting units. Its unit handles “2,000 tons of food waste per year at an annual cost savings of approximately $70,000.00. The worm castings are sold as an organic soil amendment or mixed to form valuable plant growth media, as well as providing a natural pesticide and fungicide.” In light of the sewer and septic situation in our rural townships, one might explore vermicomposting toilets, that have been proven successful for over twenty years in homes and communities in Portugal that were plagued by similar issues. It is supposed to be less complex from a technological point of view and more efficient than a septic system. So, it seems that Darwin was right. Worms might well be considered the best continuous horticultural and environmental tool, easily beating out the hoe!




Planet Waves by Eric Francis


(March 20-April 19)

Something you do or say may provoke a response from someone who thinks they have authority over you. This won’t be an especially radical action on your part; it will be more like something ordinary that is just the thing to do. Try not to act like anyone has power over you. It’s questionable whether they do. And any influence will be minimized if you don’t play into a reaction or drama. Saunter off and keep doing your thing. I would suggest being particularly careful in any environment where alcohol is present, and add that you don’t want to make any decisions under the influence of even a little of the stuff.


(April 19-May 20)

You will solve a problem twice. The first time will be on the conceptual level, and the second time will be about putting your plan to work. So if you get the idea all of a sudden but you don’t know how to make it happen, be patient, and refrain from taking action till the full plan comes to you. Also, you don’t need to over think anything, such as wondering whether this or that is “too radical” or “too extreme.”


(May 20-June 21)

The inner sense is the one that’s been hurt the most by our overwhelming digital environment. Mercury standing still in Taurus is helping center your awareness inwardly. That also means physically, and you may be receiving messages about how to better care for your body. If you study the relationship between where you place your awareness and how you feel physically, you will make a discovery or two over the next few days.


(June 21-July 22)

Take a relaxed approach to any private or sensitive information that you may reveal about yourself. I don’t mean passwords or banking information: I mean actual things about you, how you feel and what you want. You don’t need to act — ever. Sincerity works beautifully for you, particularly in situations where you’re visible and have responsibility for anyone or anything besides your most personal affairs.


(Sep. 22-Oct. 23)

If a partner of some kind, whether business or personal, seems reactive, do your best not to let it trigger you emotionally. You are in a potential perfect storm situation; however, if you are self-aware, you can maintain control over yourself. The key here — not everyone is good at this, and I’m not one to talk but anyway — is realizing that it’s not about you. What others are going through is their trip.


(Oct. 23-Nov. 22)

Small decisions will get you far, particularly related to your health and your work. You don’t need to make radical changes; rather, take small opportunities to make meaningful adjustments. Where health is concerned, make sure any analysis involves the role of alcohol on your physical and emotional constitution. This is not a moral issue; it’s a holistic one. Be objective and skip the judgments.


(Nov. 22-Dec. 22)

Your astrology remains in maximum creative mode, so ride that wave, or that tiger. The planets describe self-discovery above all else, and that would rightly include some form of erotic experience. That makes many people nervous. If that includes you, you have the choice to confront the challenge. There’s plenty of opportunity in doing so, though you may be running into some moralistic conditioning. For all its reputation as the bold adventurer of the zodiac, your sign has a prude streak to it. But is that really you? Where is this influence coming from?


(Dec. 22-Jan. 20)

You may feel like something is holding you back from expressing an idea or a feeling. However, you’ve already resolved the block. There definitely was one; but it now has no power to obstruct you. The matter is resolved, but you may not know it. Move forward incrementally, that is, one inch at a time. What counts is that you’re doing anything, rather than doing everything, or doing a lot.


(Jan. 20-Feb. 19)

Actions you take or words you say could have a far wider impact than you imagine possible. It could be so wide that you don’t even find out about the influences. Therefore, keep it positive, and real, and as you move through life, maneuver gently. Your best work and most positive possibilities are in the realm of ideas. You have plenty, and you will have more. The key is not being attached to them, or to any outcome.

You can do anything you want. The way is open, though potentially has its challenges. Rather than going forward in all directions, you might choose one thing that really has your interest. You have a grip on the usual work-related matters. However, you’re always happier when you conduct that activity with feeling, so don’t hold back there. I am referring mostly to what is wholly elective, and what you would do for the pleasure of creation, accomplishment or getting it done.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)



(July 22-Aug. 23)

Your ruling planet Mercury is holding a steady position as it is now stationed direct. If this astrology is serving you, you’re getting the message to delay something, and you may be wrestling with an ethical issue of some kind. That would be a wholesome and productive use of the current planetary setup. Meanwhile the Sun in Gemini is encouraging you to take leadership, and to do so in a visible way. You will have to make these two influences work collaboratively.

(Feb. 19-March 20)

Mercury is now stationed direct in one of the most sensitive angles of your chart. This is the all-important 4th house, where you make decisions about whether you feel safe on the planet. This includes within your own four walls, your community, the world, and the cosmos generally. For you this is always a double-edged matter. There is always another possibility than the one you are living out. The feeling of safety and belonging usually has little to do with the material reality of the situation. ..........................................................................................

Read Eric Francis daily at PlanetWaves.net. 35

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