13 December 2008

Holiday Cheer

Even though the holiday season can be stressful, it definitely makes for nice pictures. These are from the past week at the Western Springs Holiday Walk, where all the businesses and different associations have some sort of holiday activity.

The Historical Society of Western Springs had ornament making, letters to Santa and story telling in front of the Ekdahl, an historical landmark.

Western Lights Sweet Adeline Chorus at the Harris Bank - more to come on these ladies.

Waiting for Santa to light the Tree

The Western Springs Garden Club decorated the library for the season

06 December 2008

And then it snowed...

The first of December brought the first snowfall of the season.
And who doesn't love freshly fallen snow? (Besides anyone, like myself, who has to wake up at 6:30 am to shovel the heavy slush)
It is pretty, though.

Black Friday

I woke up before 5 am on the Friday after Thanksgiving (known to most retailers and Americans as "Black Friday") to take photos and see what it was all about, and it made me realize that I never want to do that again.
I went to a strip mall near my house and I was shocked at how many people were there.
Complete chaos.
Some people were waiting outside Office Depot before 5 and it didn't open until 6 am.

Note: I didn't buy anything, and I went back to sleep for a few more hours when I got back home.

Thanksgiving Day

This is my all-time favorite holiday: non-denominational, no gifts (money spending) required, it's all about making and eating delicious food, and watching football. Plus, the awesome parade!

Turkey Day 2008:

03 December 2008

Effects of Coal in Athens County

Being a Sierra Club member does have its perks! In the Appalachian Chapter of the Ohio Sierra Club newsletter, I found out about this tour to see the effects of coal mining in Athens County. I originally signed up just to take photos, but I ended up learning so much about the history and the environmental issues of the area. Being a Chicago-area native, I was completely in the dark about strip mining and the effects it can have on water, a uniquely Appalachian environmental problem. At the end of the day, however, I knew a lot more, and I got a complete tour of Athens County. You can't beat that with a stick!

We started out with a tour of the Sunday Creek Watershed - a system of streams and tributaries in Athens County - to see the effects of mining damage in the water. Some sights had been better cared for than others.

A retention pond helping to clear the water near glouster.

A wetland that has helped contaminated water deviate from its path in the creek.

Coal literally is lying all over the place in this corner of the world.

Disgusting aluminum contaminated water as a result of a strip mine.

This doser puts lime back in the water to balance the pH. Not very effective.

We stopped for lunch after the morning tour, and everyone enjoyed playing with the dog.

The second part of the day we traveled to a farm near Amesville that had strip mining damage.

Shale is the material that lies on top of the coal, and would normally be considered useless. However, the clever entrepreneurs of Appalachia used the Shale to make brick, thus creating more profit than just the coal, and being less wasteful.

These "high walls" that result from strip mining are not normal for the area. This particular one is over 100 ft. tall.

So then the most fun part of the trip:
Donnie Stevens, whose farm we visited, introduced us to his domesticated deer and his dogs, one of whom tried to run me over. The deer enjoy saltine crackers, even when I give them some.