Our Sharing garden

There is a garden where you are welcome to come and sit, walk, meditate, pick blueberries when they are ready, cut flowers in season, and bring your kids to see the chickens…..

The entrance to the garden is through a gate between 132 and 158 Rolling Ridge Rd., right next to the walking path between Harlow and Rolling Ridge. This almost one acre garden produced vegetables, chickens and turkeys for my family for many years. Now that I am living alone, I would like to share the garden with neighbors.

Anytime the gate is open, you are welcome to come in and explore.

This garden is currently under development as I have done very little there for the past few years. I asked an ecological landscape designer to give me some advice and they produced a map as a guide to development, which will likely take several years.

I am not following the design exactly, but this gives you an idea of what it might be like someday.

This project is related to a study I did on our neighborhood last winter that may be seen here: https://changingthestory.net/2020/11/22/our-backyard/

If you would like to be on an email list to receive notice when something is ready to pick, please send me a note at jgerber@umass.edu.

Welcome to the sharing garden……

remembering phyl – One year later

THANKS to everyone who joined us on June 13, 2021  to remember and celebrate Phyl’s life, around the date of her Yahrzeit (the anniversary of her passing) at Look Park in Northampton, MA.

Here’s a video from the event.

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If you are in Amherst, you are also invited to visit the gravesite on your own at any time. The grave is at the Wildwood Cemetery at 70 Strong St. in Amherst, MA. It is the only rose/pink granite stone at the far, north end of the cemetery. Here is a map….

Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst MA

And for those of you who live nearby…. the deck is open! You are invited to stop by to visit me…. and talk about Phyl, your pain and sadness, your happy memories, your love for her. And I’ll tell you about our grandkids! Be sure and text or call to make sure I’m home (413-687-7798)

Join me on the deck to remember Phyl…. please stop by!

Finally, you are also invited to help us with our final fundraiser for the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association in memory of Phyl. The money that we raise will go towards a mission that Phyl cared about deeply – a world without ALS.  If you can, please donate!

Our last ALS Fundraiser in Phyl’s name

By the way, the ALS Association told us that Phyl-in-Tropics (which was the number one fundraising team in Massachusetts in 2019) has raised over $60,000 to support research and care services for ALS over the past few years. Phyl would be very proud of this work.

For the full story of Phyl’s illness, go to: https://changingthestory.net/2020/07/19/our-journey-with-als/

Her smile…..

Professionalism: 11 Important Workplace Qualities

The following article is taken from a web page called “FairyGodBoss”, a resource for women in the workplace offering advice on how to be successful. It offers interesting advice and tips on professional behavior, regardless of gender identity. Original Post

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Professionalism is pivotal to career success, a recent study on Career Readiness conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found, with 97.5% of employers who responded calling it absolutely essential or essential. The workplace has certainly changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean professionalism is any less important.

What is career professionalism? 

Being professional might mean a variety of things, from how you dress at work to how you perform. Mastering professionalism at work is vital for success and happiness on the job. Contrary to what some believe, true professionalism in the workplace is not restricted to any industry. Whether you’re a waitress working a part-time job or a lawyer making six-figures, you need to practice professional behavior and be hard working. There are certain standards of professional conduct, and not meeting them could make or break your future at a company.

Continue reading Professionalism: 11 Important Workplace Qualities

britons are happiest when drinking tea, survey claims

After a lonely and separated 2020 due to COVID, Britons reported feeling most content when spending time with loved ones, having a cup of tea,  and sleeping, a survey has found.

Others feel content when laughing, having a clean and tidy house and spending time with their furry friends. 

Tucking into baked goods, having dinner cooking in the oven and simply finishing work on time also feature in the top 50 list. It also emerged more than half of those polled admitted to needing comfort more than ever this year, with many  feeling that the last 12 months have been mentally tough. 

Paulina Gorska, from Schulstad Bakery Solutions, which commissioned the research, said: “This year has been one of the hardest many of us have ever faced.

And in a time of turmoil and uncertainty, we turn to comfort and want to spend time doing things which leave us feeling content, happy and able to forget about the real world for a little bit.”

Psychologist and author of The Little Book of Happiness, Miriam Akhtar, said: “This survey reflects what we have seen over the course of the pandemic.

“When stress levels rise, people’s need for a sense of peace grows and we return to the simple, meaningful activities of life like hanging out with loved ones or engaging in absorbing hobbies and crafts.”

Your personal diversity and inclusion statement

As one of the assignments in STOCKSCH 382 – Professional Development in Sustainable Food and Farming, students are asked to write a Personal Diversity and Inclusion paragraph. This is becoming more common among employers as part of a routine job application package. This blog will help you to create your own D & I statement.

Why write a Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Writing a Diversity and Inclusion Statement of your own allows you to clarify your own thinking with respect to these issues in your life and in the work place or school.  Many employers are now requiring such a statement as part of a routine job application process.  In addition, you may find yourself on a team some day where your workplace is trying to create such a statement.  This is good practice! 

Continue reading Your personal diversity and inclusion statement

Why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa – and why we can expect more

Author: Suresh V. Kuchipudi

Clinical Professor and Associate Director of Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, Penn State – March 4, 2020

The coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, is a frightening reminder of the imminent global threat posed by emerging infectious diseases. Although epidemics have arisen during all of human history, they now seem to be on the rise. In just the past 20 years, coronaviruses alone have caused three major outbreaks worldwide. Even more troubling, the duration between these three pandemics has gotten shorter.

I am a virologist and associate director of the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Penn State University, and my laboratory studies zoonotic viruses, those that jump from animals and infect people. Most of the pandemics have at least one thing in common: They began their deadly work in Asia or Africa. The reasons why may surprise you.

Continue reading Why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa – and why we can expect more

To our Grandchildren

Shortly after Phyl died, I asked friends and family to send me a short video clip of themselves talking to our grandchildren about their GG. I made the following two videos from these clips. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

John Gerber

1.Family and friends from the “old days” tell GG’s grandchildren about their GG – 28 minutes

2. Remembering Phyl Part II – Amherst Friends – 45 minutes

In addition, there are two videos from Phyl’s Celebration of Life

3. Wildwood Celebration for Phyl – Part I

4. Wildwood Celebration for Phyl – Part II

And a few favorites

5. There is Love – 4 minutes

6. A Parade for Phyl and Sue – May 22, 2020

7. Three Years of Phyl in Four Minutes – 4 minutes

8. Phyl Goes to MIT – 3 minutes

9. Phyl at the Beach – 3 minutes

And finally…

10. Phyl’s story – 38 blog posts

This is what our mermaid is doing now……

Our mermaid

Plants will save us – if we let them do it

The seeds of truly green technologies are being planted now.

By Linda Rodriguez McRobbie – November 29, 2020

In an experiment at MIT called Automated Arbortecture, researchers used computer-controlled lights to control the shape a plant took as it grew.
In an experiment at MIT called Automated Arbortecture, researchers used computer-controlled lights to control the shape a plant took as it grew.HARPREET SAREEN

Karen Sarkisyan’s tobacco plants glow. Not quite enough to read by, and less than, say, a freshly cracked glow stick, but much more than your average tobacco plant glows, because your average tobacco plant doesn’t glow at all. In fact, although many species of marine creatures, insects, fungi, and bacteria naturally emit light, no plants do.

“I personally am amazed every time when I look at them in the dark room,” says Sarkisyan, a synthetic biologist at the London Institute of Medical Sciences at Imperial College London and the CEO of the biotech startup Planta, based in Russia, where Sarkisyan got his degree. A time-lapse video of the plants growing over several weeks shows their

glowing leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers, green as an alien invasion, flaring bright as they curl upwards. Sarkisyan acknowledges that the video makes the genetically modified plants look a bit brighter than they are to the naked eye, but in any case, the sight is captivating.

Continue reading Plants will save us – if we let them do it

A Thanksgiving message from john

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They will live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. “

Anne Lamont

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TO:  Friends and Family

Every once in a while I look back in my journal to see what I was thinking and doing one year ago.  On my birthday last year, Phyl and I drove to a farm store in Westhampton where she said they made the best whoopie pies!  She had a hot dog and a whoopie pie and seemed to enjoy the day.  But that evening she broke down in tears, according to my journal, and cried “I hate my body.”  She had lost most of her physical abilities by that time and needed help with everything except eating, talking and driving her power chair (and these would all go within the next 6 months). I wrote that I felt helpless. The next day she was up and ready to go again.

Phyl was amazing the way she would continue to bounce back from regular and continuing struggles and defeats.  Every time she lost another ability, it hit her hard.  We cried together at night and the next morning she was smiling and ready to go again, trying to figure out how to adjust to the most recent loss.  She demonstrated a resilient attitude that I didn’t appreciate at the time because I was so worried about “what’s next?”  My job was to be prepared for whatever she needed.  

Thanksgiving was approaching and I asked her to write a letter to her network of friends and family.  It took her hours, since she had little control of her hands.  Nevertheless, she wrote in a letter we sent to you all…. “I am grateful for each and every one of you. I’m thankful for the walks around the neighborhood, the prayers, the outings, the problem solving to make situations work for me, the kisses and hugs, the food, the txt, the phone calls, my new bathroom (thanks Dad), the chats on the deck (some serious and some hysterically funny) and the shoulders to cry on.

Continue reading A Thanksgiving message from john

our “backyard”

The land bordered by VanMeter Dr. to the south, East Pleasant St. to the east, Rolling Ridge Rd. to the north, and Ridgecrest Rd. to the west defines an area that comprised much of  the Jerseydale Dairy Farm managed by the Harlow family since 1908 and sold to Walter C. Jones for development in 1952.  Named Grandview Heights by Walter Jones, the area was one of the first housing developments in Amherst.  This short study looks back at the land and it occupants.

Twenty thousand years ago, if you stood roughly in the middle of the property, on the corner of Harlow Dr. and Frost Lane, and looked straight up, you would see an ice sheet two miles high.  Two miles of crushing weight which had moved inch by inch from the north, dragging rocks and boulders and scaring the earth along the way.  The weight of that frozen mass, under which nothing could live, created a tabula rasa upon which a new story of the land would be written. And then the ice melted.  When the glacier had receded, the rift valley that would become the Connecticut River Valley remained and an east-west series of hills south of Hartford created a natural dam, backing up the flow of water running from the north and creating a long lake, later to be named Lake Hitchcock after the Amherst College professor who so loved this region.

The ice started to recede about 18,000 years ago and Lake Hitchcock began to form.  Standing at the corner of Harlow and Frost, 16,000 years ago, you would have been on an island with its western shoreline just a few feet west of Ridge Crest Rd.  The current UMass Agricultural Learning Center and much of the valley beyond were under water.  You could see an island in the lake not too far out that is now Mt. Warner. 

The shoreline of geological Lake Hitchcock was along a line west of the homes between Ridgecrest Rd. and the UMass Agricultural Learning Center (Beachfront properties).

Continue reading our “backyard”

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