Archive for the ‘Somerset’ Category

Now there’s something you don’t see every day

Now there's something you don't see every day

Ran across this beefed up Subaru near a cemetery I was investigating.

The Belle Meade Depot

The GSA-Belle Mead Depot was located in Hillsborough and had several purposes thru its history. It was primarily a warehouse and there were numerous railroad lines running into the facility. During WWII, the facility was used as sort of 20th century Guantanamo, housing Italian POW’s. After the Vietnam war, the property was then turned over to the GSA from the Army until it was closed in 1991. In 2009 the Belle Meade Depot property was transfered over to the Somerset County Improvement Authority. Bought for $15M, the 369 acre property will be jointly owned by the county and the town of Hillsborough. it is hoped that after any contimination is removed (which cost another $20M) the property will become ball fields and recreational areas.

I visited there in 2007 with the intent to scale the most notable thing on the property: a giant water tower. I went there with several friends and we scouted the property which was very close to some ball fields. After scouting out a handful of remaining buildings that were in serious disrepair, we headed for the tower. I have to say that this was not a smart move. We didn’t know the structural stability of the tower, or more importantly the ladder. Like stupid spider monkeys we one by one climbed up and were treated to an amazing 360 degree view of the area. At the time there was a geocache up on the top, easily one of the riskiest geocache finds ever. Still, this isn’t the stupidist or riskiest thing I’ve ever done in my explorations. All the pictures are up on flickr

UFO reported in Somerville, NJ area

it was definitely a UFO. Cause it’s an unidentified flying object. Whether it’s of alien origin remains to be seen.

a 12 foot tall fiberglass cow…

The 12 foot tall fiberglass cow that sits on the Middlebush dairy farm was originally built in the 1960’s for about $5,500 for the Cream o Land Dairy. After many years they asked the MIddlebush dairy farm owners if they could store if for them temporarily, and for 20 years it stayed at the Middlebush farm. When Cream o Land asked for it back, Middlebush said sure, if ythey pay for 20 years storage. From then on, the iconic cow was the official property of the Middlebush dairy farm

The cow sits on a trailer bed and used to be taken out for parades and social  events but lately this cow is content to just stay in its pasture, and mingle with 80 or so real Holstein cows…

NJ’s Oldest Tree

This tree is generally considered the oldest living tree in NJ, pegged at over 600 years old. It is located on the grounds of a church which has a graveyard that dates back to the 1750’s. It is so big and so weak that it cobbled together with cables, allowing different sections of the trees to support other sections. There are also supports from the ground stabilizing the larger, lower hanging branches.

Old barn and tractor

Found this old barn on what is now some sort of public park land property. Wonder how old the tractor is?

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oldbarnjohndeer

oldbarnrear

oldbarnwindow

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Veil Family Cemetery

This tiny family plot is located on the side of the road in Bernards Twp.

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St Andrew’s Ukraine cemetery

St Andrews Ulraine Cemetery is located in S Bound Brook right on the Raritan river. The ornate church the church was erected as a monument to those Ukrainians who died in the quest for liberty and national independence for their homeland – and especially to the 7 million victims of Stalin’s planned annihilation of the Ukrainian nation, the Great Famine of 1932-33. It is the only monument dedicated to these victims. “The memorial church is a very modest cross on the graves of the millions of victims of the Great Famine – the graves that were plowed under by the enemy.” These were the words of Archbishop Mstyslav of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on October 10, 1965, the day of the dedication of St. Andrew’s Memorial Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

It is the only monument dedicated to these victims. On St. Thomas Sunday, or “Providna Nedilia,” thousands gather at the center to honor the dead.

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The Middlebush Giant

He liked to call himself Col Ruth Goshen, but to the residents of Middlebush, and to those who saw him in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, he was simply known as the Middlebush Giant. Standing at 7’11, and weighing over 650 lbs, Goshen was one of 14 children, and despite all of the children being rather large, he stood out amongst them. Reportedly Barnum himself found and recruited him for the circus. Goshens real name was alledgedly Arthur Caley.

When Goshen died the funeral was held in his house and the 8 foot coffin had to go out the window. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the woods near the cemetery because he afraid curiosity seekers would try to dig him up. Boy scouts created the headstone for him in 1970.

goshen

Sorry ’bout them dead birds…

The Feds did it

Hundreds of birds that dropped dead on Somerset County cars, porches and snow-covered lawns, alarming residents over the weekend, were all of a rather foul breed of fowl–the notorious European starling, which the United States Department of Agriculture killed on purpose. The starling, a prominent figure in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” has become a royal nuisance in North America. They have been invading farms and pushing out native wildlife since a New York City group infatuated with the playwright released about 100 imported starlings in Central Park in 1890 and 1891.

It was part of an ill-conceived plan by the American Acclimatization Society to fill America with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. Now, the USDA is acknowledging making a few mistakes of its own by not more fully warning people around a Princeton Township farm, where it applied a pesticide on Friday to kill 3,000 to 5,000 starlings that have been plaguing a livestock farmer. “It was raining dead birds,” said Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine, explaining how people watched starlings drop throughout the Griggstown section of his town, which borders Princeton Township in Mercer County.

“People were concerned. They were wondering why there were so many dead birds lying around,” he said. Everything from Avian influenza to West Nile disease, both bird-killing ailments that also affect humans, was feared. But no humans or pets were ever at risk, said the USDA, contending the pesticide, known as DRC-1339, is inert once it is eaten by the birds and becomes metabolized. That part of the story is only now reaching residents in Somerset County’s Franklin Township, where officials continued efforts today to help citizens find ways to dispose of the bird corpses filling up their lawns. “Unfortunately, this was also done on a Friday, so the birds died on the weekend when no one was around to respond to calls. I can just imagine it would have been very disconcerting for people to find the birds dead,” said Carol Bannerman, a USDA spokeswoman.

State agriculture and wildlife officials were notified two weeks ago, along with Somerset County officials. But Ken Daly, Franklin Township’s administrator, said the township was told too little, too late. “The only notice we got in the municipal building was on Friday, a second-hand phone call from our county health director that somewhere, sometime the USDA would be culling birds. No one knew what that meant. If we had known it was coming, we could have gotten word out to the residents,” he said. The pesticide was applied by the USDA on bait piles at the farm, and federal authorities said there was one other miscalculation. While the pesticide has been used in the past in densely populated New Jersey, this time the starlings moved far off the Mercer County farm where they ingested it.

“In a rural situation the birds would have concentrated in one roosting location. Apparently here, they were feeding in one location and roosting elsewhere, in areas quite dispersed and away from the farm,” Bannerman said. She said the farmer had tried non-lethal efforts before calling the USDA. “The farmer has a variety of livestock, and the birds would eat the seed which takes food away from the livestock, costs the farmer money. Also, as the birds eat, they excrete droppings into the food left for the livestock to eat. It was a very unhealthy situation,” Bannerman said. “The farmer had tried other non-lethal methods, like changing the food he was feeding his animals, dispersing the birds, trying to chase them away and having predator birds on the farm. There just wasn’t any impact,” she added.

Starlings move in large flocks and are very aggressive. They will push native birds, including the American kestrel, woodpeckers, martins and blue birds from tree holes and other roosts, especially during breeding season. But they pose equally troublesome hazards for humans, with starling flocks colliding with aircraft, fouling power stations and setting up winter roosts in the ornate facades of old towns, defecating on shoppers as well as the buildings. The Town of Dover, in Morris County, tried a long list of non-lethal control efforts before largely giving up its battle with the birds in the 1980s. “We really didn’t solve the problem,” said Health Officer Donald Costanzo. “We used the sound system we use for Christmas music, playing sounds of starlings in distress, which was supposed to get them to leave,” he explained. “The sound agitated the starlings, so they would start screeching even more, but they didn’t leave. And we had our own sounds of starlings screeching over the speakers. It all just got so annoying to everyone, we turned it off.”