Thursday, November 22, 2012

How The Heck Did I Forget The Friends of 112th St.:

   I thanked many people for their contribution to the O 'Brien Family fundraiser -- but it seems I missed one very important group. The Friends of 112th St came in late with a large, and in charge check. The group holds it's annual fundraising dinner on the final Saturday of February each year. The money raised is disbursed to special causes, and worthwhile organizations through out the course of the year. They are always there when needed, and I apologize to them for the oversight in my last blog posting.  Their Mission Statement is for the group to benefit the money it raises, back to the community. They've been doing it for many years, and will continue to do so in the future. 
Many thanks goes out to them for their generous contribution to the cause. And my apologies go out to them for the 70's Brain Cramp I suffered when last blogging.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

O 'Brien Fundraiser Postscript:

   The fundraiser held  on 11/11 for Don & Terry O 'Brien was a smashing success. Many people need to be thanked for their contributions of food, gift certificates, and generosity in making this event a reality.
   The Troy Boat Club was just wonderful in offering us the use of their facilty. It's always a pleasure to work with Bill Bowles, who has a heart as big as the 112th St. Bridge. Val Fiaco of the Beverage Barn is another generous guy. The B-Mart donated quite a bit of beer and a gift certificate for the raffle.  Jimmy Farley,of Jimmy's Pizza, as always, gave us a gift certificate. Jimmy is always there when needed. Many thanks goes out to Troy's Director of Parks & Recreation, George Rogers, for the donation of a round of golf/with cart at Frear Park golf course. Lighthouse Liquor , donated a gift basket, and the ladies at 'This is Whair it's At' gave a basket of hair care products, as well as a certificate for a wash/cut/blow dry at their long standing business on 5th Ave. Eastside Collars gave a custom dog collar, With Mick Cahrenger donating a marble nameplate/ with free engraving. Francesca Tutunjian gave us a $20 gift certificate for her fine eatery, Francesca's. Vic & Heather  Christopher donated a $50 gift certificate for their new venture, Lucus Confectionary & Wine Bar on 2nd St. downtown. The Troy Elks gave a $25 gift certificate, and Mary McDermott donated a Phillips Sonicare Toothbrush set. Ed McAvoy gave a $350 gift certificate for exterior pressure washing, and Gary Reynolds donated a wine gift basket. Kyle Harbinger, of Brunswick Computer Services rounded things out with a donation of five, $50 gift certificates for computer repair.
Special thanks goes out to our performers who donated their time, including Brian Kane, Paul Stokowitz & Harmonic Duo, and Maurizio Russamano. Rocco Mazzarello of Adirondack Sound Sysytems also deserves thanks for giving up his entire Sunday afternoon to be with us. My partners in putting this together, Bill & Penny Bashford did a great job, and gave up quite a bit of their time for the organization of this event, and deserve much credit.
The community came out strong to support our neighbors, Don & Terry --even though it was a football Sunday. Lansingburgh has always been a very tight nit community. On November 11th, they stayed true to the course in their support of their neighbors, the O'Briens.Thank you to all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fundraiser For Another Fire Victim:

   The boys at the Troy Boat Club are hosting a fundraiser for  Lansingburgh fire victim. Rich Layton, who was recently burned out of his 123rd St. home.
   The event will be held on November 17, beginning at 4pm. The boat club is located at 763 1st Ave, and can be contacted by phone at, 235-9697. The guy's and gals over at the club, have a heart as big as Donald Trumps yacht. They are always reaching out to people in need, offering their facility on 1st Ave as a means of helping out those going through a difficult stretch.
   For additional information, contact the Boat Club directly, for cost of the benefit, and what's being offered.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sunday Fundraiser:

   Imagine leaving your home, thinking it's going to be a normal day. Then you get a call telling you that your home is on fire. Your possessions, family photo's, and a lifetime of memories, gone in a flash. Well, that's what longtime Lansingburgh community members Don & Terry O 'Brien recently experienced.
   A fundraiser will be held to help them out in their time of need this Sunday, November 11, at the Troy Boat Club (731 First Ave), beginning at 2pm. Don't worry about missing your Sunday football, as all the games will be on at the club. Plenty of food will be available, as well as a full afternoon of entertainment, and raffles.
   Donating their time for the event will be performers, Brian Kane, Paul Stockowitz & Harmonic Duo, along with Maurizio Russomanno. Sound tech services will be supplied by Rocco Mazzarello of Adirondack Sound Systems. Cost of the event is $20 at the door. Also many of our local businesses have donated goods, and gift certificates for this event
   Don & Terry have lived in the 'Burgh forever, and have invested in the community not just as homeowners, but also as proprietors of O'Briens Public House on 5th Ave. They've put their sweat equity into the 'Burgh, and it's only right to give back to them and their family. So please take the time on Sunday to join us in supporting them in their time of need. If you would like to donate any items for the raffle, e-mail me at, Check out our Facebook page also. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Urban Composting:

   If you enjoy gardening as much as I do -- keep reading. If not, go read Franco's, Tailspin.  I've been an avid gardener for many years, and I'd like to share with you a few tricks I've picked up on, to help maximize your own growing experience.
   It all starts with good soil. People always run out in the Spring to purchase bagged soil mixes. If you buy cheap, that's exactly what you get is cheap, bad soil. There's a few great soil mixes out there, but, they are also very pricey. Why not make your own? It's easy, and not very time consuming. 
I've been composting for 2 decades, and the rewards of my efforts are seen by the high yield of veggies, & herbs I get from a small garden year after year. Plus my houseplant's just thrive from the natural nutrients from my homemade mix.
   In an urban environment, composting can be tricky because of the two S's -- space and smell. Here's a great way to avoid those two detriments, and to get you started. 
1) Purchase a 33 gal. plastic, or rubber trash can, with locking handles. With an ice pick or screwdriver poke some small ventilation holes in the sides and bottom. This enables the airborne bacteria to get to it, as you turn your pile, once you've got a few things in there.
2) put in one or two shovel full of topsoil to cover the bottom.
3) Add old veggies, fruits, peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, used teabags, fish scraps, sawdust, bone-meal or anything else organic in nature.
4) Add some baking soda to the mix to help keep down the stench.
5) After a good rain, grab some worms and add them to the mix. They help expedite the breakdown of materials. Always keep your pile moist.
6) Roll that barrel on the ground occasionally to help mix everything up. 
7) You can use them, but try to stay away from composting weeds. They may contain some seed, that sometimes is not killed off by the heating of your compost heap, which naturally occurs as you add layers of materials. 
8) Manure is another great addition to your compost. Just don't use your house pet waste, which contain some detrimental pathogens, which will not be destroyed, even in a hot pile. Chick, goat, pig, and cow manure works best. (The last time the circus was in town, I was able to get some Elephant waste. It mixed well in my compost pile, but it took me a month to get the smell out of my Jeep!)
9) Never mix in any meat products, or salad that had a dressing on it either. Diseased or pest infested plants are another no-no.
10) I always add a thin layer of grass clippings, which really turns up the heat of your pile.
11) Add a bit of Lime Stone, or some additional Baking Soda for increased smell control.
12) Fill your barrel gradually throughout the winter, giving it a bit of moisture now and again. Only fill to about 3/4 full to give you some mixing room for your weekly roll of the barrel. 

   Your compost should be ready to use by June if you follow my method. Most people just feed the landfill with their waste. Save some space by using your waste to grow something spectacular. I always throw a couple of shovels full of  my 'Black Gold' into each tomato planting hole. This season, most of my tomato's weighed almost 2 lbs. There's many ways to compost, this is just my preferred method, which will help if you want to compost, but don't have much space to do it.
Over the next few months, stay tuned for some great tricks, and tips I'll share with you about growing bigger and better things in, and around your home--all organic baby!