…by Anura Guruge
The other day Deanna noticed that we had a little frog living inside her metal, ‘girl-watering-plant’ fountain. I was concerned that it might not be able to get out. I didn’t have to worry. It can hop onto the shelf, as it now often does and suns itself. It is very cute. You can see it on the left, below the flower. This is unadulterated nature. We didn’t do anything other than place the fountain there — which we do every Spring. So, I am cool. We get frogs in that area. Every fall at least one decides to commit suicide by jumping into the nearby window well. That is deeper than the fountain. Plus it has brownish gravel in it. Come fall it also gets a coating of fallen, fall tree leaves. Any frog that jumps in gets automatically camouflaged. If they can’t jump out, they will eventually perish as the nights get colder. Then when we are clearing out the well we will discover a perfectly preserved, mummified frog — and the kids will take it to school for ‘show-and-tell’.
The fountain with the frog is just about a 4 feet away from the 15 gallon fish tank housing the now very tame snapping turtle ‘baby’. Danielle, my eldest, scooped the snapper from the lake in mid-June, when she was out on the paddle-boat with the other kids. The kids always wanted a turtle and we had two empty fish tanks and a turtle shelf from the prior turtle we had had about 7 years ago. So, I agreed to keep it until Fall. We looked up snapper care on the Web. They said that it will become tame very quickly. I was skeptical. I was wrong. It is like a little puppy. It knows us. Comes out to greet us when we move aside the top covering. Deanna catches all sorts of stuff for it; we are not sure of its gender. It likes grass hoppers and worms. I also have turtle pellets. It seems to be doing well. We pick it up. Put it in the large wading pool so it can stretch its legs. We let it walk. But, come September I am taking it back to the lake. Not going to try nursing it through the Winter. It should be fine. It will have a couple of months to get acclimatized.
So currently we have two goldens (14 months and 11 years), 3 rabbits, 6 fish, one snapper and one frog.
…by Anura Guruge
I was well aware of the old railway semaphores above the Old Railway Station (now the Community Center) in Alton Bay. I do glance up at them every once in awhile as we go by, but I had not looked at them closely until this Sunday.
One room of the Community Center is used by the Lakes Region Tourist folks as an Information Booth. This Sunday I did an afternoon shift at that booth in my capacity as a Granite State Ambassador. One of the tourist board employees drew my attention to the signals. He had been trying to get Alton Town to paint them. He had called one of the selectman (who happens to be my neighbor) a few months ago — but to no avail. I know the person who heads up Alton Parks and Recreation, so I promised to contact her. I did, as soon as I got home – via e-mail. I got an e-mail back. They are aware that the semaphore needs attention and are hoping to get to it this fall.
I am not sure why we have to wait until fall. The whole structure is crying out for some attention — at least a coat of paint. Look at the pictures above — that I took yesterday (when I went to pick up the kids from a day camp at the Community Center).
Though I have been a life long train buff (with a badly neglected Z-gauge train set, bits and pieces of other train sets and a lot of books on trains) I have not paid any attention to the history of the railroad that served Alton — though I do also visit Railway Park. So I have no idea of the provenance of these semaphores. It is interesting that you do not see them in old photos of the building! Of course there has to be folks in Alton who know the whole history. I just wish they would rally around and get this restored. Also not sure that black is the right color for the semaphores — though I am the first to admit that my experience of semaphore signalling is 100% based on the British scheme, which is what I grew up with in Ceylon and Britain. Yes, I had little British yellow and red semaphore signals for my HO railway set in Ceylon.
I have offered to help restore these signals. Not that I have the time, but I feel that it is something I should do given that it is train related and in Alton. But, if you can help PLEASE contact Alton Parks and Rec.