Friday, February 25, 2011

Skatepark Benefit this Weekend!

The benefit concert for a Pittsboro Skatepark is this Saturday 7:30 PM at the General Store Cafe.  There's a great article in the Independent Weekly and a prior post featuring a great poster at the Pittsboro Parks Blog.  Bands to include Caltrop, Blag'ard, Gasoline Stove and Shred Crust.  Admission is $10.  There will be a silent auction for lots of cool stuff donated by local businesses.  The definitive source for  info on the skatepark is here.  

Skatepark supporters at the Pittsboro Christmas Parade.

Hanami - Pittsboro Style

In Japan the first cherry blossoms of spring are heralded with much celebration.  Hanami is the tradition of enjoying the cherry blossom season which would start now in Pittsboro with the blooming of the Prunus Mume at Kiwanis Park.  While the tradition now mostly celebrates the bloom of the Sakura or flowering cherry, a more ancient tradition exists of celebrating the bloom of the Prunus Mume, which is more closely related to an apricot than a cherry or a plum.  
Traditionally, the delicate flowers were seen as a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.  From wikipedia:  “Poems were written praising the delicate flowers, which were seen as a metaphor for life itself; beautiful, but lasting for a very short time. This "temporary" view of life is very popular in Japanese culture and is usually considered as an admirable form of existence; for example, in the samurai's principle of life ending when it's still beautiful and strong, instead of slowly getting old and weak. The Heian era poets used to write poems about how much easier things would be in spring without the sakura blossoms, because their existence reminded us that life is very short.”

The Prunis Mume or Japanese Apricot tree was selected for inclusion in the Kiwanis Park because of it’s early and beautiful bloom.  Its fruit are edible as well, and no poisons are used at the park, so feel free to eat them this summer.  For you macrobiotics, this is the tree from which umboshi 'plums' are made.  The weeping cherry blooms will come to the park later in the spring.  Both the weeping cherry tree and the Japanese Apricot trees are still quite young; their displays will mature along with the tree.  
The hanami tradition is not uncommon in America; April 1st is the anticipated date of the peak bloom of the Sakura in Washington DC, for instance, which were a gift from the Japanese government.  I know of several private parties locally centered around these beautiful blooms.  It's never too late to begin new traditions or to appreciate the ephemeral flowers of late winter.  

I took the following photo yesterday, and in contrast to a similar one I took about a year ago, (March 15th, 2010 to be exact) I saw no honeybees pollinating the flowers.  Maybe a few more weeks of warm weather will coax them out.   

The Japanese Apricot (prunis mume) is now in bloom at the Kiwanis Park in Pittsboro.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chatham Lacrosse

It’s not too late to sign up 1st thru 8th grade boys for spring lacrosse, but hurry because registration ends on February 27th.  A free new player clinic will be held on Feb 26th - details here:  There’s a girls’ league too, but registration has closed for this spring.  Players of all levels are welcome.  The teams will be broken up by grade and compete against teams from Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Apex, Holly Springs.
Lacrosse has it's origins in tribal game played by Eastern Woodland Native Americans and Plains Indian tribes in Canada.  Hundred or thousands would play in a given game and the event could last for several days.  The game sometimes even served as a war surrogate to settle disputes.  Read the fascinating history at wikipedia:  

These days it’s just a lot of fun and great exercise.  Be sure to check out North Chatham Cardinal Youth Lacrosse.  

Photo: the good old days.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ready for Spring - Picnic Tables and Grills

New picnic tables have been installed at the Town Lake Park picnic shelter.  The existing grills have been repainted as well. New grills have been installed at Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park.  I see these getting heavy use as warmer weather arrives.  
The new grills and picnic tables were funded through a grant from the Chatham County Parks and Recreation Department, of which we’re very appreciative.  Our parks see lots of visitors from the far reaches of the county.  Thanks to the Pittsboro Public Works Department for the installations.  

Photo: One of the first users of the new tables!
Photo: The new grills are ready for salmon, steak and corn on the cob. . . yum

The Case for Slowing Down

Forgive the preachy and somewhat morbid post, but I think that it's important.  Pedestrians hit by moving vehicles have vastly different rates of survival depending on the speed of the vehicle on impact.  The numbers I've seen are:

95% survival at 20 mph
80% survival at 25 mph
55% survival at 30 mph
15% survival at 40 mph

Designing adequate greenways and sidewalks are crucial for a safe and effective transportation system, but driving responsibly makes a huge difference when these facilities don't exist.  Children and the elderly are the populations most vulnerable to vehicle/ pedestrian accidents.  Help make Pittsboro a safe place to walk.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Biggest Tree in Chatham

Contest:  Think yours is the biggest?  Then enter it in the big tree contest hosted by Grand Trees of Chatham.  Any species is fine.  A special award will be given at the annual Grand Tree Award ceremony this fall.  Email for more information.

Storytime:  Grand Trees is also doing a tree oriented story time at Pittsboro Toys on Thursday February 10 at 10 am.  Pittsboro Toys is at 44B Hillsboro St. Call 542-4885 with any questions.

The Emma Maersk - longest ship in use

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bicycle & Pedestrian Survey

Just a few days left to complete this NCDOT survey regarding bike and pedestrian needs.  The survey is anonymous, but you'll be asked to provide your zip code at the end.  This should only take 5 to 10 minutes.  The survey will close on February 8, so don't delay.  Link to survey below:

Tennis Lessons - Pittsboro

Tennis Lessons offered at McClenahan Street Park in Pittsboro
I ran into a bunch of cool homeschooling parents and their kids yesterday at the municipal tennis courts.  They were taking private tennis lessons from local instructor John Delafield.  It was their first class but some of them looked like old pros.  There are still slots available; so if you're interested in more details for this class, future classes or other private instruction contact John at: LRBCO@AOL.COM.  Chatham County Parks and Recreation also offers Tennis Lessons through John - be sure to check their schedule too.  
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