August 2008

"Shrub Removal"

   "Howdy Folks' I need to explain to the Caledonia population why we have removed the shrubs at the St. Columba Cemetery on Route 5.

   As many of you know as of May of this year I took over the duties of caretaker of the cemetery. Tom Robinson's health kept him from any further activity as caretaker so Neil Alhart asked if I would take the job, and I did. Neil and I discussed the thought of creating and installing a sign for the cemetery. I felt that before the sign project could advance that the shrubs that lined Route 5 had to go first. He agreed with me but wanted to know my reasons.

   Around the first week of May I noticed that we had an unusual amount of Crows in and around the cemetery every morning. I decided to watch them one morning and saw why they were so interested in the cemetery. May is the whelping month (the month babies are born) for most of wildlife creatures. The Crows were interested in the baby rabbits that were being raised in the shrubs, a perfect habitat for them. The Crows also were feeding on the snake population that seemed to be located in the older section of the cemetery. There seemed to be a large amount of the common Garter (non-poisonous) snake in the cemetery and I wanted to find out why. Why were there snakes in the older section and not in the newer section of the cemetery? My investigation took me to the shrubs, the answer was as plain as day. The shrubs were dying from being so close and not trimmed for so many years. In these dying shrubs I found a huge moth, toad and rabbit population. It's the food chain in style. Toads feed on moths, snakes feed on moths and toads, crows feed on snakes, toads, and baby rabbits and moths. The shrubs had to go the recycler.

   The shrubs were closer to the older section than the new. The older section had shade and gravestones to hind under. The gravestones in the new section are installed differently now days. Critters can't get under them.

   I had Father Mickey come to the cemetery and I explained what my thoughts on the shrubs were and he also agreed that they had to go. I told him that I could get someone to help remove them on a volunteer program.

   I called a fellow that I knew would jump at the chance to make Neilís idea a reality. Don Coyle came to my aid. He (and his backhoe) my grandson Shawn Wolcott and I pulled all of them out in 3 hours.

   I then went to Chris Buckley (Village DPW Chief) for help in taking them to the recycling center to be turned into mulch. He and his crew also did the job in 3 hours.

   Now that the problem area is cleaned up, the critter situation will move on and our cemetery will be back to normal. Please continue to enjoy our cemetery!

   We have future plans for the front of the cemetery (Route 5). I hope to install a split rail fence as a buffer between the cemetery and Route 5. The village also has plans to install a sidewalk from Park Place to Browns Road. A lot of folks are walking or riding bikes to the medical services on Brown Road everyday. This will be helpful to them.

   With this all said and done, l will then go after the dream that Neil wanted to see happen, a sign to identify where our families are resting.

   I will be looking for volunteers to help make this happen, so beware Ö

   God Bless