Enter September

Clockwise from upper left:  DN at today's butterfly release, LT at Storm King, RT making bubble soup, 
and DN's pre-Hurricane Irene list for my grocery run

Fall is right around the corner.  As I drove to a friend's tag sale this morning, I noticed the leaves were tinged with reds and oranges.  The sun is setting as I begin to type and I see the last few streaks of pink and baby blue in the sky.  DN's schoolbag is packed with everything on her school list and hanging on the doorknob, ready to be grabbed on the way out.  My classroom is almost completely set up (I got some brand spanking new literary terms and figurative language mini posters yesterday that are going to look fabulous on my bulletin boards) and the twins have already RSVP-ed for their fall playdates with my moms' group (thanks, CL!).  It's a pretty normal start to September.

View of my backyard from left to right (starting in the upper left hand corner) the day Hurricane Irene hit

Meanwhile, a mere hour or two from my house, Hurricane Irene has decimated parts of Ulster County, the Catskills, and the Mohawk Valley in New York as well as Vermont.  Major flash floods (relatives of friends saw creeks that usually ran a few inches in depth transform into 6'+ angry rivers) took everyone by surprise.  An employee at a nearby farm market told me how the owner lost half of everything he owned and how a neighbor lost 1000 fruit trees.  He had asked the owner if they should put out a donation box next to the register, but the farmer was too proud to ask for handouts.  He was just thankful that they still had half.  Numerous families and individuals were trapped in their homes for days because flash floods and mudslides swept away bridges and destroyed roads.  Middleburgh High School, as well as many, many other schools, are scrambling to salvage whatever they can and clear out the buildings before black mold sets in.  

From Twitter:  @GlitterandGray I'd never wish having to comb through trees, dirt, water and muck to find your belongings stretched over two miles of destruction on anyone. 

Watershed Post has been a lifesaver for people suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in the Catskills.  For the first couple of days after the hurricane, people (as well as friends and family members of victims) added themselves (totally mindblowing) to a Google spreadsheet that listed people who were still stranded and in need of aid.  Now there is a spreadsheet that contains the names and contact info for donation centers both in the area and all the way down to NYC.  I have been riveted to their Twitter feed as they tweet and retweet the most uplifting and heartbreaking stories and videos from those who are experiencing this firsthand. 

Ways to help:
  • Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief
  • If you are in the Catskills area or know someone who is planning to go there as a volunteer, click here to see a list of what donation centers need.
  • Donate to The MARK Project, a local organization committed to rebuilding many of the communities that have been affected.
  • If you're in the NYC or Hudson Valley area, support local farmers by buying your fresh produce at farm markets and going apple picking.  Their livelihoods really do depend on your continued support.
  • Donate to Bags of Hope for the Children of Schoharie County.  Kayla is creating and handing out small bags of toys to kids who have lost everything.  
Thanks for your time!  

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