Month: September 2018

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park is considered an urban park but being surrounded on 3 sides by water, in full view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan with a tidal marsh in its midst and wide expanses of picnic areas it doesn’t seem urban.

It includes Liberty Science Center, an interpretative center, picnic areas, the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal building, the only New Jersey ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, performance areas and a variety of areas for special events and is home to Empty Sky: the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial.

Most of the summer programs have ended but I want to mention one which I recently went on and recommend that you add to your schedule for next summer.  My son and granddaughter and I went on one of the Park Service’s Kayak Eco-Tours.  We happened to be the only people on the tour that day and had the guides all to ourselves.  It’s a 2 hour paddle around the Hudson River Estuary and Caven Point.  The kayaks are fitted with bicycle style paddles, if you prefer not to use the usual oars.  It was a great day out on the water.  The guides explain the importance of estuary ecology, point out the various waterfowl to be seen and, at one point you make land fall and walk around looking at and talking about molluscs, etc.  We found several horseshoe crabs out of the water and put them back.  I saw a large crab (not horseshoe) swimming under my kayak.


We had very good weather.  It was great exercise – I love paddling and I’m not bad at it.  It’s always relaxing to be out on open water.

I highly recommend it, especially for a family outing and you can always bring a picnic to the park and there are all kinds of things to do in the park with the Science Center, the interpretative center, restaurants, walks, and photo ops.

Bees Are Important

Yesterday, I learned that the New Jersey Beekeepers Association web site has a list of people who will provide honey bee swarm and hive removal. The Central New Jersey Beekeepers Association has a search engine to access the list by county and zip code.

What a wonderful resource!  Thank you New Jersey Beekeepers.

Please DO NOT spray bees or hives, if bees have inadvertently decided to nest in an unfortunate location on your property.

Bees are essential to the pollination of all vegetation, to our agriculture, to our food supply and provide honey.  Bees are currently endangered.

I also learned that, in New Jersey, it is illegal to spray pesticides within 3 miles of an operating apiary:

Bees are important to our lives!


Stinging Insects

First of all, they sting, they don’t necessarily bite.  There’s a difference.  Language is important; let’s be accurate.  Mosquitoes, ants and fleas bite; bees and wasps sting.  Let’s just get that out of the way.



I was recently stung by some kind of ground burrowing wasp in my garden patch.  I’m fortunate to have 2 garden patches in a nearby community garden.

I was pulling weeds, really pulling them out of the ground.  I did not see the wasps but I suddenly felt them stinging me.  A few days ago I went back to see where the nest is and realized that pulling the weeds had, clearly, disturbed their nest so they did what they do and attacked me.

I did everything wrong:  I ran.  I waved my arms around and tried to kill them.  It’s really difficult not to do either.

We don’t use chemicals in the garden.  We don’t intentionally kill things in the garden.  So, how to get the wasps to leave my garden patch?  That’s another story, to come.

What I want to share in this post is what I learned about allergic reactions to stings.

I’ve been stung various times in my life.  I was swarmed by yellow jackets when I was about 8 years old.  Very painful, very scary.  I’d never had an allergic reaction until this latest attack.  Both my sister and my son have serious sting reactions; the kind that can take you to an emergency room.

I had no reaction to the stings (4 to 7), except the pain and discomfort.  Until — almost a week later.

The stings had started to itch (some of us associate that with healing) and I did my best to avoid scratching.  But, the itching increased and the area around the sting sites (3 of them) began to get red and swell.  The red areas kept increasing; a lot.  I started to be concerned but there were no other symptoms and I’m not one to run to the doctor for every little thing, but finally I decided to see my primary care physician and was able to get in quickly.

This is what I learned.  Some people, like my sister and my son, have anaphylactic reactions to stings (as well as other things).  They can be very dangerous.  Some people have no allergic reactions to stings, which has been the case for me, most of my life.  And, some people have localized reactions to stings, which is what this was.  My doctor told me that it’s rare that anyone has both kinds of reactions; you have one or the other; or none.

He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and suggested a stronger antihistamine than the one I had begun to take.  The anti-inflammatory worked in roughly 20 minutes.

He also told me the reaction might return and I can feel sensations that indicate that it tries, from time to time.

So, be careful.  There are hundreds of thousands of species of wasps (Wikipedia) and 20,000 species of bees (Wikipedia).  But don’t kill them; they exist for a purpose; everything does.