Sunday, August 29, 2021

Connecticut Tobacco?

Did you know  Connecticut has region known as "Tobacco Valley"? Tobacco is a major cash crop for the state and was a major economic booster in the mid-19th century...


Settlers from Europe learned about tobacco from the Native people of North America who used tobacco in pipes. In the Connecticut Valley, farmers have grown specialized tobacco used for the two outside layers of cigars - the binder and the wrapper, since the early 1800s. This type of tobacco is known as Shade tobacco and has been recognized as the finest cigar wrapper in the world. 

In the mid-19th century, an area which ran from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Hartford, Connecticut, had become a center for cash-crop production and was known as “Tobacco Valley.”  Commercial tobacco production expanded dramatically in the early 1800s thanks to the growing popularity of cigars among men in the U.S. It brought in millions of dollars and provided a source of work for thousands of young people fourteen or more years old. At its height in acreage in 1925, there were 30,000 acres of tobacco in Connecticut alone.

It's still a major cash-crop  for the state


There are a couple of types of tobacco grown in the area.


and Shade

"Connecticut shade tobacco is a tobacco grown under shade. Around the year 1900, Connecticut tobacco growers were facing increased competition from Ecuador, specifically the Sumatra region. However, when Sumatran seeds were brought to Connecticut to grow, they were getting scorched by the sun and dying. In order to use these seeds, tobacco farmers pioneered a technique called shade-grown tobacco, where a cheesecloth is placed above the tobacco plant while growing to prevent direct sunlight."
"The results were fantastic, and this technique quickly spread to other varietals of tobacco and other growing regions. Not only does this cheesecloth limit the sunlight that can damage fragile leaves, it also increases the temperature and humidity of the air around the tobacco plant increasing yields."  Source
South Glastonbury Tobacco Farms
Crops of broadleaf tobacco can be seen quite frequently in the area. (I believe further north in the Windsor area shade tobacco is more common)
Many barns in the area have a peculiar elongated shape. These are (or were) tobacco barns where the sides would be opened up for drying the leaves
barn on the right is opened for drying

On Hubbard Street in Glastonbury there's an abandoned cigar factory
Close up

Monday, August 23, 2021

USA Climate Change Maps

Recent extreme weather incidents are examples of human-caused climate change supercharging extreme rainfall events which are are likely to become more common as long as the planet continues to get hotter.

"The reason is based on a physics principle known as the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, which relates temperature, pressure and water vapor. The principle shows that warmer air can hold more water vapor -- about 7% more water vapor per 1 degree Celsius. More water vapor in the atmosphere means more moisture available to fall as rain, which leads to higher rainfall rates."

On average, the planet has already warmed more than 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, according to a major UN climate change report published earlier this month. Over land areas there has been even more warming, and particularly in the Eastern US, which has led to a noticeable increase in heavy downpours that lead to flash flooding, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment." Source

Every Place Has Its Own Climate Risk. What Is It Where You Live?

Maps Source Below

Stress per Region

Increase in Precipitation

Increase in Droughts


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Smoke gets in your eyes!

 Large and unrelenting wildfires in the western United States and southern Canada are producing so much smoke that even the East Coast is feeling the effect

The animation below demonstrates NOAA’s calculation of near-surface smoke shows fires in the West and in southern Canada that generated large smoke plumes that accumulated over the course of July 2021.  An overlay of wind currents shows how these plumes were carried east.

Source >

Watch July's wildfire smoke travel across the country

Article and interactive animation >

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Native American Names - Glastonbury CT Area

No matter where you may venture to in the U.S. -- it seems you can find tribute/evidence of native American origins if you know where to look...

  • Wangunk (“where the river bends”)
  • Nayaug  ("noisy waters")
  • Naubuc (flat plains to the north”)
  • Neipsic ("water near the hill") or Nipsic

The Native Americans of the present-day Glastonbury/Portland area were members of Algonkian-speaking tribes. They lived in clans of approximately 100 individuals and each group was ruled by a sachem or chief. Clans took names from features of the land where they were centered. Naubucs lived in the plains to the east, the flat area at the north end of town. Nayaugs lived a bit further south near the Noisy Water at the mouth of Roaring Brook (note: they were also known as the Red Hill Indians). Wangonks lived at the bend in the river behind today’s Town Hall, where the Connecticut River turned in the 1600s. The Neipsic springs first attracted Native Americans who came for the water's mystical healing powers. Today, the water still bubbles up from the hillsides in Glastonbury's J.B. Williams Park found on Neipsic Road.

The tribes were peaceful and farmed the land. In the summer, clans lived along the river in longhouses. In winter, they moved to the hills and lived in south- or west-facing caves. 

You can find the following names on the map above as well
  • Knogscut ("place of wild goose') - Knogscut Mountain >
  • Minnechaug ("berrylnd") - Even the golf course, when heading to Manchester, has a a Native American name!

Other Places Nearby

  • Meshomasic (“the great snake” or “land of many snakes”) - State Park >
  • Shenipsit (“at the great pool”) refers to the Shenipsit Lake, which the Shenipsit trail passes by

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Connecticut River

Did you know?

  • The Connecticut River is named after the Pequot word “quinetucket,” meaning long tidal river. The European corruption of that begat “Connecticut.”
  • The Connecticut River is tidal and navigable as far inland as Hartford, CT sixty miles from the Sound. Large oil barges with shallow drafts regularly make the trip upstream to Hartford.
  • 410 miles long, the Connecticut River is New England’s longest river running through four states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • 70% of all the fresh water entering Long Island Sound comes from the Connecticut River.

The Meandering River through the Glastonbury "Reach"

The Floodplain
The large area south of Hartford, Connecticut along the Connecticut River is known as the Great Meadows. It's a large inland wetland and a significant regional resource. The Connecticut River meanders through the Meadows and has shifted considerably over time. The fertile floodplain soils of the Meadows are an important agricultural resource and farmland and farms are abundant throughout the area.
Yellow areas are farmland

Glastonbury Reach
The floodplain area is known geographically as the "Glastonbury Reach". Over time, this stretch of the river has shifted its course. One dramatic example occurred in occurred in 1692 when a flood altered the course of the river in Wethersfield. The flood shifted the course of the rover to the east and swept away all but one warehouse. 

Ancient Glacial Lake Hitchcock

Lake Hitchcock was a glacial lake that formed approximately 15,000 years ago in the late Pleistocene epoch. After the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated, glacial ice melt accumulated at the terminal moraine and blocked up the Connecticut River, creating the long, narrow lake. It stretched from present-day Rocky Hill, Connecticut to St. Johnsbury, Vermont: about 200 miles! 

Part of the ancient sediment dam that contained Lake Hitchcock is still visible today as a sand pit at Dividend Pond Trails and Archaeological District in Rocky Hill. Sands dunes built up along the shore of the lake can also be seen today at Matianuck Sand Dunes Natural Area Preserve in Windsor.


Part of the ancient sediment dam that contained Lake Hitchcock is still visible today as a sand pit at Dividend Pond Trails and Archaeological District in Rocky Hill:

Huh  -- What's the deal re this square-shaped lake?

Crow Point Cove's shape is man-made. The cove was excavated for highway construction of the interstate 91 embankment nearby.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Rupert's Land

What/Where was it?

Rupert’s Land was a vast territory of northern wilderness. It represented a third of what is now Canada. From 1670 to 1870, it was the exclusive commercial domain of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the primary trapping grounds of the fur trade. The territory was named after Prince Rupert, the HBC’s first governor.

By 1870, the Government of Canada acquired Rupert’s Land from the HBC for $1.5-million. It is the largest real estate transaction (by land area) in the country’s history. The purchase of Rupert’s Land transformed Canada geographically. It changed from a modest country in the northeast of the continent into an expansive one that reached across North America. Rupert’s Land was eventually divided among Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Indigenous People, Métis and Missionaries

The charter signed by King Charles II gave the HBC complete control of the territory. Almost no thought was given to the sovereignty of the many Indigenous peoples that had lived there for centuries. The HBC established forts and trading routes through much of the territory. The Cree, Assiniboine and other groups supplied the Company with furs, or acted as middlemen for other Indigenous fur suppliers. The Indigenous groups either took part in the growing trading economy or were directly employed by the HBC. The fur trade changed the Indigenous economy. Rather than hunting and trapping for subsistence, people now trapped in exchange.

Unidentified Métis Family
(photo by Robert Bell, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada)

In this family portrait above, we see the blending of two cultures. The father wears a European suit adorned with a pocket watch. The mother, who might be Métis1, holds their infant in a cradle board, traditionally used by First Nations peoples. The shawls, worn by several of the women and girls, reflect Métis culture.

The above sourced from this excellent article:
Rupert's Land (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

1 - Métis 
The Métis are Indigenous peoples in Canada and parts of the United States who are unique in being of mixed Indigenous and European (primarily French) ancestry. In Canada, they are considered a distinct culture, and are one of three groups of Canadian Indigenous peoples referenced in the Constitution. Métis (Wikipedia)

Monday, April 12, 2021

The World's Most Spoken Languages

The 100 Most Spoken Languages Around the World

Around the world, there are more than 7,000 regularly spoken vernaculars, this infographic shows off the top 100 most common languages in a very nice linguistic infographic. World languages list varied origins, with some branching off from the same ancient roots and some having a history all their own. 

The myriad of languages have been illustrated with its language origin tree, so you can easily trace their roots. Beautiful and ever-evolving, like a forest, the sheer variety of common languages spoken around the globe has been charted here in one world language map. Check out the top 100 most popular languages and their origin.

Check out Infographic >

The 10 Most Spoken Languages In The World

Almost half of the world’s population claims one of only 10 languages as their mother tongue

Please note:
What constitutes a language or a dialect is hotly contested stuff. More troubling is the fact that what we refer to simply as “Chinese” is actually a whole family of languages conveniently lumped into a single category. “Hindi” is also used as a catchall term to cover numerous dialects and sub-dialects.

Top 10 Languages By Number Of Native Speakers:
1. Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers
2. Spanish — 460 Million Native Speakers
3. English — 379 Million Native Speakers
4. Hindi — 341 Million Native Speakers
5. Arabic — 315 Million Native Speakers
6. Bengali — 228 Million Native Speakers
7. Portuguese — 220 Million Native Speakers
8. Russian — 153 Million Native Speakers
9. Japanese — 128 Million Native Speakers
10. Lahnda (Western Punjabi) — 118 Million Native Speakers