The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 20, 2009


Share the plenty

Perched on the edge of winter, Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for our own good fortune, and also a time to reach out and help others who may be less fortunate. While gathering to enjoy good food and company this coming week, remember that according to Tuesday’s Boston Globe, last year 14.6% of U.S. households struggled to obtain adequate food, up from 11.1% the year before. Consider supporting one of these nearby organizations working to fight hunger:

The Open Table is one example. The organization serves warm meals on Mondays at the Union Congregational Church in Maynard and on Thursdays at the First Parish Church in Concord. There are no eligibility requirements. They have been serving meals in Concord for 20 years and three years ago expanded their program into Maynard. Groceries are provided to guests who need them and the Open Table welcomes volunteers and donations of groceries. Cereal, coffee, tea, canned fruit, tuna, soups, cooking oil and spaghetti sauce are especially welcome. Donations can be dropped off on Thursdays between 1 and 3 p.m. at their food pantry in the back of the Concord Recreation building at 105 Everett Street next door to the Armory. For further information, call the Open Table at 1-978-369-2275, visit their web site at, or write them at P.O. Box 42, Concord, MA 01742.

The non-profit Acton Community Supper serves hot meals on Wednesdays at the Acton Congregational Church at 12 Concord Road. A food pantry is located in St. Mathew’s United Methodist Church at 435 Center Street in Acton. Both programs serve residents of Acton and bordering communities such as Carlisle. Non-perishable food donations can be made by leaving items in drop-boxes at Donelan’s or Roche Bros’ supermarkets, or the Acton Post Office on Route 27. To learn more about the program, visit their web site at, or call 1-978-635-9295, or write them at Community Supper, Inc. P.O. Box 2098, Acton, MA 01720.

The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell is a non-profit food bank that provides emergency food aid to over 1,500 people per month. Members of both Carlisle’s First Religious Society and Congregational Church have been involved in helping the Open Pantry through the years. For information on how to volunteer or give nonperishable food, call 1-978-453-6693, visit their web site at, or drop by the Open Pantry at 200 Central Street, in Lowell.

The Carlisle Post Office collects donations of grocery items for another nearby food bank, Loaves and Fishes, located in Devens. Loaves and Fishes provides food and emergency shelter for residents of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley. To donate non-perishable food, just place items in the marked bin in the lobby whenever the post office is open. For more information about the organization, visit online at: ∆

Turning over a new leaf

I don’t know this for a fact, but I would guess that Carlisle has more leaves on the ground per capita than any other town in America. This view is based mostly on my own experience in my yard where so many leaves fall that the lawn is obliterated and the stone walls are all but buried under wind-driven piles. Though it wasn’t always so, modern practice requires that fallen leaves be cleaned up so as not to offend the neighbors.

Being of a certain age, I prefer the old-fashioned way of raking leaves into a pile on a tarp for disposal. In my childhood you dragged them to the street and set them on fire, producing gusts of pungent smoke that stung the eyes. At a distance, however, the smell of the diluted smoke was quite pleasant in much the same manner as the smell of tobacco smoke from a pipe. The smell of burning leaves was one of the standard harbingers of winter. Nowadays, you drag them to some corner of the yard designated as a leaf cemetery. It is less satisfying than burning them, but you are consoled by the knowledge that you are not contributing to air pollution and that one day the leaves may provide humus for the garden.

Still, the raking and dragging is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Noting this, a friend of mine recently took pity on me and hired a leaf-cleaning company to come clean my yard. One afternoon last week, a fleet of trucks pulled up in front of the house, complete with leaf blowers, power rakes, and a giant leaf vacuum cleaner. For the next four hours, the roar of machinery filled the air. Whether the pollution caused by all those machines annulled the pollution foregone by not burning, I don’t know. But in the end the yard was totally free of leaves, something that had never happened before in all the time I have lived here.

It was a short-lived victory. As Nature abhors a vacuum, she also abhors a leaf-free lawn, and the oaks and sycamores, which had craftily held on to their leaves until the machinery left, released them, putting affairs more or less back to the status quo ante. Hiring the leaf-cleaning company again seems wasteful, but I read with interest in last week’s Mosquito about the High School’s “leaf project,” in which students collect 50 different specimens of leaves as part of their scientific education. I would like to invite them to my yard where there is an ample supply of at least ten species. If they don’t come, then I’ll just wait till the snow covers all the leaves and I can forget about them till next spring.


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