Back In The Swing Of Things

by Derek Email

Wow...It has been a while since I have been able to post here. Hopefully I can get back in the swing of things. It has been a super busy summer so far. With The Friends Of Rockland Parklands working on a few big things for the town's recreational properties, and life in general. It seems as if I have blinked and the summer is over. It is funny how when you are busy and occupied, there never seems to be enough time for everything. But, when your just lounging around, time seems to stop. I will begin posting the ongoing updates from the projects at Hartsuff Park (new pavillion on the way), as well as the new access gates we are getting ready to install on the rail trail.(donated in full by Stoughton Steel Co. Inc. of Hanover) The Ralph Ewell greenway is in full bloom as we have been fighting back the growth and a few downed trees on the trails. Big things are happening in Rockland. Be sure to saty tuned for more updates and pictures as things progress....

See you soon,


Sunny Days Are Here Again

by Derek Email

    Well it is official, we are into the good weather months. After having the clearest winter I can remember in my 36 years, we are now starting to see days that call for shorts and t shirts. This is bringing people outside in droves. And in my point of view, that is awesome. The newly built Rail Trail in town, was jam packed all weekend long. Families out for a stroll or ride, joggers, dog walkers, they were all out and enjoying the sunshine. From what i was told, there was good traffic on the Ewell Greenway as well, as residents took time from their spring clean-up routine to enjoy the fresh air. In my travels around town this weekend, I was very pleased to see the open spaces we work so hard for, being used. I can only hope that the interest will grow as more and more people find these gems that are not-so-hidden, in their own back yards.

       Now in a usual year, I would be talking about getting the bikes back from the shop after having them tuned and such after some winter abuse. This not being the case, the bikes are ready and waiting. It has been a busy few weeks though and they have seen limited use. With any luck, this will change soon. With our schedules for trail work, park clean up, and such becoming more organized, we will soon be free to hit the woods and pedal. Sometimes it is hard to fit all of the things we want to do into our short 24 hour days. But, with the daylight growing longer every day, more opportunity for activities grows with it. There is nothing better than hitting the trails after a work day to ride or hike until the light is scarce. The sights are so much different at dusk. Soon we will also be back into the loop of our Sunday ride and campfire sessions. Something I dearly miss when the time just doesn't allow it. The quiet relaxation time spent around the fire pit, is always an exclamation point on a great day.

       So, here's to better weather, longer days, and jamming more crap into my schedule each and every glorious day.

1st Hartsuff Renovation Day A Success

by Derek Email

It was a chilly Saturday morning, with the sun barely peeking out from behind the clouds. As 8 o'clock neared, cars began to roll into the parking lot at the Hartsuff Park Recreation Area. Tools were laid out, and a plan was in place. For The Friends Of Rockland Parklands, this would be our first, of many, organized work days. We had an ambitious workload ahead of us, but as the crowd grew, so did our hopes and enthusiasm.

All in told there were about 18 volunteers on the site by 8:00 a.m. Now, I had basically set goals in my head of the time frame. I thought of the time it would take to complete each task, and by what time we could be moving on to other jobs. I was way off with my speculations. Once the group was split up and attacking, it was quite clear we would be blowing through the jobs in rapid fire mode. The half dozen high school seniors that were present, set the pace early. I was truly impressed at their work ethic and the tenacity that they approached their assignments. Together with the Boy Scouts of troop 13 they hit the ground running. Before we knew it, the initial clean-up of the playground area was done. The sand had been raked through and all the debris had been cleared. While myself and a couple others were busy setting new timbers around the playground, the scouts and high schoolers were on to task 2. Clearing and collecting brush and deadfall from the paths, trails, and camp counselor parking spots.

By the first break time at about 10:00 a.m. it was evident that our goals for the day would be achieved. We had a huge pile of brush removed, and the kids were turning their attention to wire brushing and scraping the old paint from the playground structures. In a flurry of paint the old two toned swing sets, monkey bars, and tetherball poles were awash in a beautiful new hunter green coating. While the playground was being revamped, we had a couple people working on clearing the over growth around the old frog pond. They were able to clear a path around the southern side from the entrance rod to the bridge, and down to the pond's edge. It was truly amazing seeing how fast this was done, with a quality of workmanship that far exceeded our previous thoughts. I cannot say enough, how impressed I am at the work the youngsters were doing.

As all of this was being done up near the playground, there were a few other people working down at the parking lot area. Clearing brush and deadfall as well as bagging trash and debris. Upon seeing the work being done at the front end, I was shocked. It was beginning to look like I remembered it as a kid.

By 11:30 everyone was beginning to see the finish line of the day's work. When down the road comes the Park Department Superintendent’s wife with pizza and soda for the workers. This was a welcome treat for all involved. The last 30 minutes were spent eating, chatting, and cleaning up tools. As we stood back and marveled at the work that had been done, I know I couldn't help but feel proud of the people that gave up a Saturday morning to make a difference. From the adults that are always involved in town affairs and organizations. To the High School Seniors, getting ready to set sail into the world. And, the Scouts that are following an age old path of development. All of them put forth an effort to have a positive impact on our town. The scope of this project is quite large. But, with help like we had this past Saturday. I am confident that the plans we have laid out, will all come to fruition.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to all of those that attended, and to those that made a difference on a chilly Saturday in the park.

Some pictures of the work done.

1st...New timbers around the playground area

2nd of the brush pile. look into the background to see the clearing job done by the youngsters.

An then the newly painted playground features

all in all, a great day for a great cause.

Reminder...Hartsuff Renovation Day April 7th

by Derek Email

Just a reminder. The Friends Of Rockland Parklands is kicking off their renovation project of the Hartsuff Park Recreation Area this Saturday, April 7th at 8:00 A.M. Coffee and water will be provided. Bring gloves if you have them and wear good shoes. We have plenty to do, just need the hands to do it. I hope to see you all there...


Thanks you,


Playing In The Dirt

by Derek Email

So this year, the wife and I, are seeing if we have any green in our thumbs. We are building a garden. This is something we have talked about several times before, just really haven't had the time or drive to pursue. In my family, vegetable gardens were always there. As a kid, I would watch as my parents tilled, planted and harvested vegetables that would make the local 4-H club drool. It seemed as if all my uncles and neighbors had the farmers gene as well. Hopefully this was passed on to me.

Now, we do have experience with growing and planting. Our yard is ringed with multiple flower beds, with many different varieties of annuals and perennials. But you don't eat Tulips and Petunias. So undertaking this venture should be a learning experience. I have now read Crockets Victory Garden at least twice from cover to cover. For those of you that don't know, Crocket's Victory Garden was a wildly popular T.V. show on WGBH and PBS. The book I speak of, was written by the original host of that show. James Underwood Crocket. It is the book that has guided many home gardeners through the trials of bringing a garden to fruition. My parents included. Actually the book I have in my possession, is theirs. It is full of every imaginable situation we may face in our endeavor.

We are currently almost done with the preparations for the garden. The soil has been tilled, screened, and fertilized. The retaining timbers are all down and re-barred. We are hoping to have the fencing done this week, that will with any luck, keep the horde of rabbits that invade our land, at bay. I transplanted several Peonies, Hostas, Black Eyed Susan, Bachelor Buttons and other such fauna, to other patches around the yard. The vegetable garden is in a location that faces south and into the sun for just about the entire day, and in the same location as one of our former flower gardens. So I know that things grow here. Now it is just the question of whether the food items we sow, will be edible.

A picture as the garden sits now. 8 x 20 and awaiting the fencing.


I will chronicle our gardening adventure here, hopefully culminating with a good harvest for our efforts. I figure, this is one more thing that my Wife and I can do together. And, with any luck, can bring healthy, fresh, food items to our table. It should be fun...we will see


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >>