WHAT ARE THE PINE BARRENS

Chatham Bogs, Constable Skies

Chatham Bogs, Constable Skies

A Princeton Garden Club has asked me to speak and show pictures on the Pine Barrens.  I have written my talk, with all its logistical details.  But my experience of the Pines is an idyllic region, dreamlike in beauty and Productivity.  It is currently seriously imperiled (five PIPELINES are poised to thread their way through the ‘Barrens’ as we ‘speak’, and our governor is all FOR THIS DESTRUCTION, 17-trillion gallon aquifer of America’s finest waters and acres beyond counting of flammable pines or not.)

This is a typical scene along Route 563 near Chatsworth, the Heart of the Pines.

Marilyn Schmidt, Savior and Proprietress of Buzby's General Store in Chatsowrth

Marilyn Schmidt, Savior and Proprietress of Buzby’s General Store in Chatsowrth

This is my long-time friend, Marilyn Schmidt, former scientist, former realtor, former tax assessor, author, publisher, illustrator, and keeper of the Heart of the Pines.  To learn more about the historic role of Buzby’s, which she saved in a tax sale and had named to the New Jersey and the National Registers of Historic Places, read John McPhee’s legendary The Pine Barrens.

Tomasello Windery Store at Smithville, above Atlantic City

Tomasello Windery Store at Smithville, above Atlantic City

The Pine Barrens even have their own winery, Tomasello’s, an outlet of which is visible from the Bakery at Smithville, near the Brigantine Wildlife Refuge, where NJWILDBEAUTY readers know I go all the time for major birding experiences.

An exquisite lake is Lake Oswego, ideal for kayaking, ringed with evergreens and marvelous wild plants, right down to the water.

Here's How the Brig (Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge) looked shortly after Hurricane (by any other name) Sandy!

Lake Oswego shortly after Hurricane (by any other name) Sandy

As the autumnal equinox approaches, I think of equinotical storms, not the least of which was the infamous Sandy.  Our state is still recovering.  Although the Brigantine and Lake Oswego and Scott’s Landing and Leed’s Point are very near Atlantic City, where Sandy came ashore — these are tough places, home of salt-of-the-earth people, and they were back on their feet remarkably soon.  Here are a few images that give only the slightest clue as to what the land and the people endured, from what they have recovered:

No Picnic Today,, Lake Oswego After Sandy

No Picnic Today,, Lake Oswego After Sandy

Brigantine Wildlife Refuge Closed by Hurrican Sandy

Brigantine Wildlife Refuge Closed by Hurricane Sandy

Barricade Realities, Brigantine After Sandy Chewed the Dike Road

Barricade Realities, Brigantine After Sandy Chewed the Dike Road

Foot Access Only

Foot Access Only

Raccoons Survived Sandy

Raccoons Survived Sandy

Wildlife Drive Taped Off

Wildlife Drive Taped Off

Scotts Landing Survived Sandy

Scotts Landing Survived Sandy

Scott's Landing Looking Due East

Scott’s Landing Looking Due East

We Survived Sandy - Tasha O'Neill's Traditional Christmas Picnic at Scott's Landing

We Survived Sandy – Tasha O’Neill’s Traditional Christmas Picnic at Scott’s Landing

And always a final visit to idyllic Leed’s Point, which lost many buildings, but kept its working fishing village spirit despite all.

What Remains at Leeds Point After Sandy

What Remains at Leeds Point After Sandy

One of the Signs and One of the Buildings We Lost at Leed's Point

One of the Signs and One of the Buildings We Lost at Leed’s Point

What the Pine Barrens are All About -- After the Harvest

What the Pine Barrens are All About — After the Harvest

All of this beauty survived one of the most savage storm in recorded United States history.  Only to fall, now, in 2015, to the forces of politics and greed.

EATING THE VIEW – Bahrs Restaurant; Sandy Hook

there’s a place I go to eat

the view

in a building weathered yet spruce

 

 

Home is the Fisherman, Bahr's, Sandy Hook

Home Is the Fisherman — from Bahrs Restaurant Table

 

building weathered, yet spruce

high above the Navesink

over in The Highlands

 

inside, all the appropriate accents

whale’s rib–

gigantic lobster claw

grizzled captain figurehead

the requisite polished brass

 

one of the earliest ever

diver’s suits

stands sentry at entry

welcoming

 

every table waterside

sky light tripled

bouncing off inlet

then white fishing craft

to dance along our plates

 

we take binoculars

to table

sometimes cannot order

because we’d have to take our eyes

from fugitive goldeneye swimming below

off petite grebe

disappearing cormorants

 

My sister thinking of her late husband's love of boats. JPG

My Sister Dreaming Across the Inlet at Bahrs

 

most friends know their specialties

without consulting

menus

 

belly clams for Faith

Anne’s oysters,  fried light as tempura

Mike’s delicate scrod

my sister’s and dear Tasha’s lobster rolls

–high and pink and light

above that toasty roll

succulent steamers for Karen

scallops seared   (special order)   for me

 

always the cloud-soft hot biscuits

sun caught in Yuengling

 

Bahr's Biscuits Sandy Hook

 

on the horizon shimmers

our afternoon’s quest

Sandy Hook’s bird-rich reaches

across an emptying inlet

 

below our table

fishermen return

tie up to clean

morning’s catch

 

A Good Day on the Bay, Sandy Hook

 Good Day on the Bay

one day, even I could tell

they were working on roseate

striped bass

Captain later revealing,

“Each brought home his limit”

 

a little boy at the next table

–watching those deft surgeries

when asked, “What would YOU like?”,

answered

–pointing at their bass–

I want one of those.”

 

Bahr's Sign late Aprio 2010

Sky Light at Bahrs