Q: While driving along Route 22 just north of White Plains, I happened to be stuck in traffic and noticed something called the Old Fisher Burial Ground on the west side of the street next to Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a very tiny plot of land. Can you tell me something about it, and was it always this small? —Elizabeth Merritt, Mount Kisco
A: The Old Fisher Burial Ground is a small family cemetery in North Castle. In the 1800s, it was common for families to have their own cemeteries.
According to Patrick Raftery at the Westchester County Historical Society, William Fisher buried his son there near the road from White Plains to Kensico in 1857 and then deeded the plot to other members of his family. It is a small cemetery even by family burial-ground standards. There are only eight members of the Fisher family buried there.
Perhaps most notable of the departed Fishers was Edward, who was killed in the Civil War in 1862 at the Battle of Savage’s Station. There is a monument to him at the cemetery but his remains were buried at the battlefield.
Unfortunately, in 1987, vandals damaged the 150-plus-year-old monuments.
Q: A woman in Scarsdale recently got busted for operating a $3 million indoor marijuana business in Queens. Apparently, someone turned her in, but how hard is it to catch someone growing pot in his or her house? —Will Basset, Mount Vernon
A: It depends on how much pot you plan on harvesting. It’s one thing if you want to raise a plant or two and dabble in some hydroponics and heat lamps. You can spark up a fatty at the end of the day, groove to the Dead, stare at your black-light-illuminated velvet poster, and eat Funyuns, and no one will be the wiser…probably.
Million-dollar operations—now that’s a different thing.
Andrea Sanderlin of Scarsdale was allegedly operating what’s called a “grow house”: a house or warehouse where marijuana is cultivated. In such a facility there’s a whole lot more than just a bunch of potted plants. Marijuana plants grow best under 1,000-watt lights, which take a lot of energy to run and which make for a really hot house. Too much heat is bad for the plants so there needs to be air conditioning and ventilation, which is also an electrical drain. As any high-school employee will tell you, pot also has a certain distinctive smell, so filter systems to keep the neighbors from getting curious are also used.
When the power company notices a $9,000 monthly bill, they don’t think someone left the kitchen light on all night. They call the cops.
Some pot farmers use generators, but you need big ones or a bunch of them, and they are also noisy and hard to conceal. Other growers will tamper with the power company’s meters or even steal power from their neighbors, risking electrocution and the chance of never being invited to the block-party barbecue.
So, though you can draw the blinds, pay your high electricity bills, and keep your mouth shut, running an indoor marijuana business is a tough thing to hide.
Q: Last night, I think I saw a coy dog—one of those half-coyote, half-German Shepherd critters. It was rough looking and seemed to stare at me from the back of my yard. Should I be worried? —Lori Parsons, Dobbs Ferry
A: You probably saw an Eastern coyote, not a coy dog. It is possible for coyotes and dogs to mate, but it isn’t likely. Coyotes really prefer to hook up with other coyotes and are more likely to prey upon a domestic dog than they are to take it to dinner and a movie. It is probably how Mother Nature keeps the genes of the two breeds from getting all mixed up. Plus, the pups born from such crossbreeding would be born in the winter when there isn’t much of a chance that they’d survive.
During a 20-year period from 1950 to 1970, the coyote population expanded in the Northeast, and that was when this kind of interspecies breeding happened the most. It is an extremely rare occurrence today.
Having said all that, should you be scared? Well, a few years back, a rabid coyote attacked a little girl playing in front of her house in Rye. Usually, coyotes fear humans, though our lifestyle, our garbage, and (gasp!) our domestic pets can entice them. They live on berries and leaves in the warmer months and on deer (road kill and carrion) in the colder months. Keeping your garbage covered and your pet securely fenced in will go a long to keeping the coyotes away.
If you see a coyote, don’t panic, don’t approach it, and definitely don’t corner it, and you should be fine. Problems, believe it or not, arise when people purposely feed coyotes and then get too close to them.