Monday, June 30, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!...

After more than a week of rain off and on (mostly on) I am beginning to feel like I’ve been living in the bottom of a boot! When it’s not actually raining everything still looks like my deck floor, covered with puddles.
However, the rain has been good for the foliage and berry crops. The honeysuckle is now covered with ripening red berries. And the cherries are turning red on the cherry tree. Yesterday I noticed a pair of Cedar Waxwings in the maple tree nearby. I’m sure they were checking things out for supper.

Is that a bit of blue sky I see?

The rain has been so heavy at times the wild daisies are bending over. The black-eyed susans are still standing straight, perhaps their stems are a bit sturdier.

But now, mid-morning, a glimpse of blue sky is showing in the west. Can we hope?

And then the sun breaks through! Middy braves a walk across the wet deck to jump up on the railing to the stairs, a positive sign when she is willing to go outside.

The blue sky now is full overhead. The sun beats down on the developing pine cones in the tops of the white pines near the house.

And in the young maple tree by the deck a sparrow sings….
Perhaps this will be a good day for us all!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Time out for Pride....

Today I take time out from usual blog entries to be proud. Yesterday my oldest grandchild graduated from highschool. Here he is returning from receiving his diploma. The white sash is for his induction into the National Technical Honor Society. He received three awards/scholarships. He will continue his education in the State University of New York at Cobleskill. I am proud of Ethan and of everyone in the Class of 2008!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Step Back in Time....

A year ago a grandson was in third grade and I went with his class on a field trip. The 1812 Homestead is a wonderful place in a nearby town. This glimpse at our past is portrayed in a manner that gives school children a chance for hands-on adventures in what life was like many generations ago. The day begins with a wagon ride around the grounds and surrounding woods. The first stop is a tree house where the director of the homestead gives a science lesson. Topics included flowers, trees, and even a bird’s nest with empty egg shells.

The question here was “Is that bird we hear singing the one that hatched from this egg?” Talk about starting the day with a tough question!

The next stop was at the schoolhouse where the teacher greeted the children at the door and after going inside they found out that school in today’s world is much easier for discipline than it was then. There was no slouching in a seat, full attention at all times,.. Needless to say when they got back outside there were a lot of giggles.

Next was the candle making shop and the blacksmith shop. Everyone made their own candle to take home. A pail of wax is melting over the fire. The blacksmith demonstrated how to make basic wall hooks.

On to the shingle shed. My grandson is cutting a shingle from the wood.

In the next picture a classmate is smoothing the shingle for a good fit on the roof. Notice her chest protector. It’s a piece of shingle around her neck on a cord. If the blade slips that will protect her from getting cut.

If you are in northern New York and you like history, check out The 1812 Homestead!
Try this link to see more about The 1812 Homestead...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The St.Lawrence River

Just to the west of the Adirondacks, past the foothills of the mountains, lies the St.Lawrence River Valley. The St.Lawrence River flows to the Atlantic Ocean from Lake Ontario and is navigable by a system of locks. My favorite campground is on the shore of the St.Lawrence River. Coles Creek State Park. From your lawn chair by the campfire you can watch the ships slide by, and hear their horns as they greet each other in passing.

In this shot my grandson fishes on the shore of our campsite at Coles Creek while out on the river a freighter travels downriver toward Montreal.

I am fascinated by the lakers,…. freighter ships carrying all sorts of things from ports farther west in the Great Lakes such as Thunder Bay, Ontario; Duluth, Minnesota; Toledo, Ohio and north of us in Montreal, Quebec. I have been to the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, NY, many times and watched the freighters go up and down with the water level in the lock so that they can continue either up river or downbound.

A bit farther upriver from Coles Creek is Alexandria Bay, NY. This is the home of Boldt Castle built by George C. Boldt, one-time owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Mr. Boldt began building it in honor of his beloved wife, Louise. The castle grew to six stories and 120 rooms. But in 1904 Louise died suddenly and Mr. Boldt, in his great sorrow, stopped all work on the castle. It is now, after many years of being vacant to be ravaged by wind and rain and vandalism, being restored and is a “must see” if you are in northern New York State. Check it out at

The pictures today were taken at various times and on various trips to the St.Lawrence River.

Sunset on the St.Lawrence, another great camping day draws to a close at Cole's Creek.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bog River Falls

Many years ago a dear friend of mine introduced me to the Bog River Falls. The stream begins in Bog Lake, continues through Lows Lake, then through the Bog River Flow downstream to the falls and into Tupper Lake. These pictures were taken late in April. The leaves weren't budding yet, everything was in the early spring grey and brown colors with only the blue sky to let me know that the season really was finally beginning to change.

I’m not sure what makes the falls such a healing place. But if you have a heartache or worry take it to Bog River. Perhaps it’s the effect of the rushing water that seems to carry your troubles away. I know I always feel better for spending some time on the rocks with the mist from the splashing water hanging in the air around me.

The tumbling water flows under the bridge and out into Tupper Lake....

The falls can be found south of the village of Tupper Lake via Rt. 30, and then a short way after a right turn onto Rt. 421.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Backyard Beauty -- Up Close and Personal!

How often do we walk outside and overlook nature’s beauty? While walking in the woods near my home I looked down and found a birds nest. It had tiny evergreen cones in it, and was weathered, obviously blown down during the past winter. Now on the ground it was once a safe home for a family of birds, the grasses though brown and soggy still hold the original tightly woven shape.

The ferns are such a vivid green this time of year. So young and fresh.

Mulleins are stretching upward, with their rosette centers. Later there will be a tall seedy blossom with yellow flowers. Their leaves are velvety soft. Try them as innersoles in your shoes!

Delicate Bittersweet Nightshade... This lovely flower produces red berries later in the season, but don't taste them, they are bitter. Some believe this plant is poisonous, like it's European "cousin."

Look closely at the bark of the White Pine tree,… notice the shades of grey and brown and tan.

See the rocks with whorls of lichen growing in such neat circular patches!

In my yard are dots of brilliant red,… wild strawberries, tiny yet juicy. Tomorrow before my grandson mows my lawn I will pick some for a special June treat.

The lesson learned,… never overlook what is right before our eyes, or under our feet!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Elusive, The Tiny and the Mighty!

This morning the view from my deck is overcast. The sky is the color of blue-grey cement. More rain is forecast. The birds must know what is ahead for them so they are active this morning. Every bird that is common in the foothills of the Adirondacks must be singing!
I can hear sparrows, a warbler (who is much too elusive to pose for a picture), of course the common blue jay, chickadees, a crow is "cawing." A brilliant yellow (tiny) goldfinch visited the feeder but was immediatly chased away by a hummingbird! So I guess the award for the mighty(!) this morning goes to the ruby throated hummingbird! Their feeders are not close to each other, but the hummer wasn't going to have any part of another bird even in the area!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clouds are rollin' in,.....

“There's a storm across the valley, clouds are rollin' in…”
John Denver wrote those words back in 1974 in his song “Back Home Again.” The clouds are rolling in from the west. The weather continues to be cool and rainy, then perhaps an hour of sunshine if we‘re lucky!

I took these photos last evening, and today has dawned no different. Forecast remains for more of the same. So it is off to Plattsburgh for groceries and to buy graduation gifts for next week. (NY schools gets out later than most) After a day running errands and shopping…

”it's good to be back home again….”

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trees and Flowers,....With a Story!

Here in the North Country April brought us some wonderfully warm weather,… too warm. May was mixed. Here we are in June, and we are getting a stretch of cool and rainy weather. So cool that I actually had to start the furnace to warm the house for two evenings in a row. With the price of fuel oil this was painful! However, now the sun has come out, the temperature has warmed, and the flowers and trees are looking brighter than ever with the raindrops still wet upon them.

The wild cherry tree by the carport has gone past the blossom stage. Now tiny little green cherries adorn the branches. I wonder how many cherries will actually survive to ripen before they are eaten by the birds? I keep several cherry trees just for that reason,…a feast for the birds.
This peony bush is a transplant from the flowers my mother-in-law had. My son, who lives in that house now, brought it to me when he was doing some yard work there. It looks especially lovely with raindrops sparkling on it.

Even though the weather has been cool, more flowers are coming into bloom in the flower box along the side of the house. This yellow lily was a gift from a friend three years ago. It is one of three that she brought to me from her mother who was dividing flower bulbs. Isn’t it nice when you can look at your flowers and remember friends and family?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The "Sixth" Great Lake

Some time ago there was a movement to name Lake Champlain as the sixth Great Lake. The idea met with opposition from some and it never came to pass. However, to those of us here, it is truly our “Great” Lake. At approximately 108 miles long, (some say 110) it stretches south to north as the border between New York and Vermont. It flows northerly beginning in the Lake's South Bay near Whitehall, NY, into Canada’s Richelieu River and eventually into the St.Lawrence River near Montreal, Quebec. There are approximately 80 islands in Lake Champlain. These views are taken from the VT side facing west toward NY and the Adirondacks.
There are two road crossings,… the Crown Point Bridge between Crown Point, NY and Chimney Point, VT and also at the northern end of the lake between Rouses Point, NY and Alburg, VT. There are three ferry crossings run by Lake Champlain Transprotation Co., and one privately owned small ferry at Ticonderoga.

A hundred years ago steamships plied the waters of the lake between various ports on both NY and VT shores. As a little girl my mother used to tap dance on the dock when the steamers arrived,…. My grandfather playing a harmonica. Tourists would give her pennies. She was a cute little girl with black ringlets back then in 1910! Now the steamer, Ticonderoga, is displayed at Shelburne Museum in VT.

Lake Champlain was part of the great inland sea. Much of northern NY and VT was underwater. The tale is told by the sedimentary rock found along the shores.

I live about ten miles inland from the Lake. On a hot summer night it’s fun to drive to the ferry dock, park your car and walk onto the ferry for a ride across the lake to VT and back… and then go for an ice cream cone.