On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

The lazy beautiful days of summer are here. Lazy if we take the time to enjoy every moment without rushing through the season. The traffic on Route 309 in front of our office has thinned out considerably now that school is not in session. Some of that is due to the Route 309 blasting project, which has closed four lanes up and down the mountain to two.

I went down and up the mountain last week, the first time since the new traffic configuration was put in in April. Travel is seamless and the narrow roadway is less than two miles. The “Truck Route” signs in fluorescent orange along the interstate exits are tiny, I’d guess about the size of an 8 x 10 piece of cardboard, and extremely hard to read and understand. It’s no wonder truckers that only make occasional runs to Mountaintop are getting confused.

I have seen only one large truck on Church Road and none on Nuangola Road, but my times on those roads are very limited. I can surely understand truckers making their own routes when they see the detour signs. As there are no weight limits on the roads trucks are not subject to tickets unless they are speeding.

The side of the mountain where the blasting is taking place is pretty much gone. All that hard rock is being trucked away as fast as the demolition crews can work. We won’t recognize our old Route 309 when the project is completed in November. Winter travel is bound to be a lot safer.

Final Days for Train Tickets

There’s only one more week to get your tickets for the Mountaintop Rotary Club’s Steam Train Excursion. The train will roll on Saturday July 5 from the Penobscot Yards in Fairview Township all the way to Jim Thorpe. The passenger train excursion is the first in Mountaintop in more than 50 years. Tickets are available for $70 at Triangle Pharmacy and at rotarytrainride.com.

Pink & Blue Success

The Fourth Annual Blue Ridge Trail Pink & Blue Golf Tournament was held on the first day of summer in picture perfect weather. Our team tried their best but we missed out on a flight prize by one stroke. If we had missed just one putt and been only 3 under par instead of 4 we would have been in the money.

The event is a cancer awareness event and all proceeds are donated to the Prescription Assistance Fund at Medical Oncology Associates of Kingston, PA. Patients who are underinsured or do not have insurance at all have a valuable lifeline for treatment medications through the fund. The 2014 Pink & Blue was the largest ever with a field of 108 golfers, three corporate sponsors, 33 hole sponsors and another 40 businesses donating gifts for raffle prizes.

Every family has been touched with cancer at some time. We thank all the golfers and sponsors supporting the Blue Ridge Trail Pink & Blue Golf Tournament again this year.

Garden Musings

I have my garden behind a 6-foot tall mesh fence and I am praying that the deer do not jump over it and come snacking. I see deer peeking out and jumping out of the woods on my daily walk and along the roads I travel every day of the week. Traveling at the speed limit or even a little below it is an especially good idea. A collision with a large deer will smash up your car.

Getting back to the vegetable garden, the tomatoes are robust in their cages with lots of yellow blossoms and the squash looks healthy too. My broccoli plants are stocky and will soon put forth nice heads. Green and wax beans are interspersed with transplanted peppers of many colors and shapes. I forgot I had planted the bean seeds there first. So far the beets and carrots have poor germination. We have not had enough steady rain and the seeds are compromised.

I mulched the vegetable garden on Sunday, while listening to the birds and an engaging audible book. The exertion that gardening takes gets easier the more I do it, but the hot sun does slow me down a bit. I used the newspapers on the garden, and I will eventually top them with compost. We haven’t had a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks, so some old-fashioned watering was on the schedule too. That’s the beauty of mulch. It keeps the moisture in the ground available to the plant roots and keeps the weeds from taking over. All the while the newspapers are decomposing and will be conditioning the soil for the future. That’s what I like about gardening, figuring out how to make everything thrive. Water is the root of all life.

Brooklyn Bunch Arriving

The Dicus family will be coming for their summer vacation this weekend. Kate 9 and Maggie 6 are going to play more golf this summer Kate loves gymnastics and going on outings with Mema and Papa. My grandsons Charlie 13 and Patrick 11 have been playing golf for several years and will be participating in the Blue Ridge Trail Thursday morning golf program. Charlie Dicus will be golfing with his grandfather more, while the other three children attend Wright Township day camp. Camp Director Steven Waskie and his energetic staff are open for business as of this week. The camp runs for 6 weeks until August 1. It’s not too late to register. Just go over to the camp any morning at 10:00 a. m. and join up.

Then there will be swimming at Frances Slocum and Hickory Run State Parks and badminton, soccer, and an occasional marshmallow roast in our back yard. I noticed that the fireflies are out now that the evenings are warm. The weather forecast for this week was all in the low 80’s. Heat, lots of daylight and ample moisture will have my plants exploding out of the ground. In a few weeks we will be harvesting for the dinner table.

New Business Roundup In addition to the new Kettle

Corn Shop at 71 N. Mountain Blvd., offering dozens of flavors of gourmet popcorn, several new businesses are open or soon will be in the remodeled shopping strip developed by John Thomas. The Tasty Turtle Frozen Yogurt Shop at 59 S Mountain Blvd is now open from noon to 9:00 p. m. daily and features a surfboard tropical theme. The Leaf & Ladle is now hiring with an expectation of being open for business by mid July or sooner Bob and Diane Orloski are offering fresh healthy salads and soups. The Eagle has always kept on top of all the new retail and service businesses that open in Mountaintop. We love to keep our readers informed about new options on the mountain.