Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Wishes for You,...

This New Year's Eve here on the hill is quiet and peaceful. JenJen is napping on the sofa hassock, I'm here in the recliner. Outside the daylight has faded into night.
My wish for you and all of yours, for my community and for our country and planet is peace, good health, and happiness. Welcome, 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bang, Bang,...The Bridge is Dead!...

Which 'ole bridge, ... the Champlain Bridge!

Shortly after 10 a.m. this morning the 80 year-old bridge descended into the history books. In 1929 the NY governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was on hand to share in the dedication of the bridge. There was a parade with bands, floats, and many dignitaries. Until this past October the bridge continued to link the two states of Vermont and New York.

Vermonters drove to Ticonderoga, NY, to work at International Paper and New Yorkers drove to various jobs in Vermont. One farmer on the Vermont side owns land on both sides of the lake. The bridge closing has been a hardship on everyone. Kudos to those that have worked so hard to keep ferries going as winter deepens upon us.

So with a bang that was heard at my home miles away, it is now gone. If you want to view the demolition visit the NYS Department of Transportation website.

Goodbye old friend, you served us well until you were just too unsafe to continue. We look forward to the replacement due to be open for the summer of 2011.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to Everyone,...

JenJen rests after opening her gifts!

From my home here on the hill to all of you, may you find peace, happiness and good health on this Christmas Day and in the year to come!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cat? Cat,?... Do You See a Cat?....

There seems to be a ruckus going on under my pine chest in the diningroom. I hear a rattle of a kitty toy...
Apparently JenJen has a new "hide out!"

Who me? Would I hide on you, Mom? Not ME!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye Clarence,...

It was with sadness that I read about the passing at age 104 of an Adirondack icon, Clarence Petty. I had the privilege of his acquaintance a few years ago when he served on the board of an organization where I was employed. He was an amazing man, always ready to chat and tell stories of the Adirondacks. The photo above is from an internet search, published on Flicker by "storycorps." I think it shows that famous twinkle in his eyes,... thank you "storycorps" for sharing such a great shot of Clarence with all of us who loved him.

The NY Conservationist ran a story about Clarence in their February 2009 issue. There he is on top of an Adirondack peak, one of the many places where it was natural to find him. The cover photo for his book, Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty shows him in a guideboat. No matter where he was, speaking before large groups, at his desk writing a letter to legislators in support of conservation, paddling across a remote Adirondack lake, or flying his plane, he was one of my heros. A "hero" with a capital H! Goodbye Clarence, I'll see you out on the land...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Wishes for You...

More than a year ago I shared this picture of wild turkeys in my back yard. Today is the traditional time to roast a turkey,... I think that most of these have escaped the oven. Unlike our ancestors who hunted turkeys, now we usually buy a specially grown turkey. We add all kinds of yummy side dishes and have a feast.

I will be doing that today at my daughter's home. My three grown children and my four grandchildren, as well as some people that my daughter invites to join our family dinner will be sitting down around 1 p.m. My contribution is always the home made rolls. Also my daughter has me make the gravy when I get there.

So today as we watch parades, eat huge meals and watch football, I wish for all my blogger friends, your families, all our neighbors far and wide, and our fellow residents on this planet, ...good health, warm clothes, a home, friends and a few moments to think of all that you are thankful for. For me, it's all of the above mentioned things plus my good fortune to have a job I enjoy, a camper to travel with, and especially this computer to communicate with all of you good people!

A special "Happy Thanksgiving" wish to you from the hill!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day...

Back in 1918, in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared, ending WWI. President Woodrow Wilson immediately named the day Armistice Day. As history moved on and WWI was not the war to end all wars,... veterans returned from WWII, then Korea and VietNam and sadly on and on.... It is now a national holiday. I believe it is the only holiday that is never moved from its original date of 11/11.

This year I chose a Korean War Memorial photo to honor our Korean War veterans. I was in grade school at the time of the Korean "police action"... My cousin Tommy went to fight. I remember crying with worry.

Looking back I have known many other veterans,... John, Steve and Ivan who served in WWII, David and many others who served in VietNam. Then came the first Gulf War, my own son had just finished his years in the army, I worried that he'd be called back. He wasn't. And now this war involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan... It does not end. It is sad to say that hostilities have been present since cave man days and apparently will always be with us.

I want to say to anyone that has served,... no matter where or are all my heroes/heroines... Thank You!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crossing The Lake,...

Normally the trip to Vermont from the Adirondacks is a pleasant drive via the Crown Point Bridge. On October 16th life as we know it in the North Country changed. The Champlain Bridge between Crown Point, NY and Chimney Point, VT was closed as it was considered unsafe. I applaud those who made that decision which they knew would be unpopular, I think those decision makers were heros for protecting lives. Maybe the bridge would never have collapsed, but ... what if it did? But I know what a huge inconvenience and expense now faces so many people.

Farmers, workers, those going for doctor appointments, and tourists are faced with either a rather long detour or the expense of a ferry ticket, which for a car and driver plus one adult passenger going round trip costs $24.25. Many people are employed in one state and live in the other state. People travel to Burlington, VT for surgery, dialysis, shopping for vehicles, and many other reasons. Lake Champlain Transportation has stepped up its ferry schedules, The Ticonderoga Ferry has put up floodlights so that it can operate after dark, and a new pedestrian ferry will begin Monday between Westport, NY and Basin Harbor, VT, as shown in this article in today's Plattsburgh Press Republican. A temporary bridge is also being explored. A sincere "thank you" to those that are working hard to solve this tough problem.

Today I drove a friend to Vermont to pick up a new car. Here's what that trip looked like...

Looking up at the pilot house on LCT's "Grand Isle" ferry.

Waiting to load a car buying a ticket at the booth,...

Underway across the lake, looking at NY to the west,... the Adirondack Mountains in the distance,...

Looking down the lake toward the south,... the NY shoreline in the foreground.

This couple is vacationing from Canada. We shared a quick visit while I was snapping the photos in the rain. I hope that the rest of your trip had better weather and that you arrived home safely!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


...For Change!

That's what the event was called. This afternoon a variety of music acts gathered at the Westport Central School to bring attention to the fact that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Performing this afternoon was a local favorite, ALKATRAZ. This band, although the oldest member is only a 10th grader in high school, already has a professional sound. I congratualte Gabe, Austin, Jack and Aaron for an outstanding performance today! Watch for them folks,... we'll be hearing a lot more from them in years to come.

Mr. David Wyant shared some soft guitar strumming and wonderful old tunes from three decades ago. His easy style was well received by the teenagers as well as the adults.

The Lacombes, husband and wife from Rouses Point, took us down memory lane with some great old tunes,... their harmony blended with the sounds of a beautiful Martin guitar.

Did you know? ...that one in three teens have been or will be involved in a violent relationship? ...that boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children? ...that every day, more than three women are murdered by an intimate partner? I was very surprised by these statistics which are in a brochure handed out at the event.

There are services to assist if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence. Don't be afraid to call them!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Snow...

Yesterday a.m. I snapped the photo that is now what you see as my blog header. That is the first snow on Giant. Raven is in the foreground, and Giant is the rounded mountain behind Raven. It is actually far higher than the mountain in the foreground. Giant rises 4626' over the villages of Keene Valley and St.Huberts.

The valley had some early morning fog. Summer is gone, leaves are turning. Time marches on...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fort Ticonderoga...

The United States flag flies over Fort Ticonderoga today, but it was not always so. These historical buildings must be dizzy from changing hands so often. Here just some of the names of people who have entered through the gates of Fort Ticonderoga. As I stood there on Wednesday I could almost hear the voices!

The buildings are fascinating... to think that our ancestors lived and fought and died in these yards and fields here...

A guide in Revolutionary War dress gave a demonstration of the steps of firing a muzzle loader gun. In this day of modern weapons to think of taking nearly a half a minute to load and fire a gun is amazing.

One of the Fort's cannon pointing strategically toward the narrow area of Lake Champlain.

My visit found a very small group of people on the fort's grounds as the summer tourists are gone, children back in school. It gave me time to walk through the buildings and over the grounds at my own pace, soaking up our history. Maybe it was the best time of the year to visit?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember....

September 11, 2001...I remember all of the wonderful people that we lost eight years ago today,... and all of the heros that worked so hard to help.
(image courtesy of

Monday, August 31, 2009

As You Are Now,...

There is a tiny cemetery between Elizabethtown and Mineville. It is in the woods. There has been an attempt to clear brush and mow the grass this year, but the branches and leaves are still crowding in. A lot of the graves are from more than a 100 years ago,... some more than 150 years ago.

Walk softly, as you pass by....As you are now,
So once was I....As I am now, so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

Juliett lived to be seven before she died in 1842,

Amelia Ann, only 10 died in 1854,

A father, Enos Wise, who was born in 1787 seems to be comforting his son who died as a teenager. The weatherbeaten pitcher holds faded artificial flowers.

I think I would like to come to my final rest in a place like this.

I wonder what their lives were like. Their loves and their heartbreaks. Very few stones showed ages more than in their 40s. There were a couple that reached ages in their 60s and one was 77. It must have been pure luck to have lived that long a life in those days. I paid my respects and quietly walked back to my car. Sleep well, my friends.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The skies threatened rain and finally delivered rain as the last band was closing Saturday night. People ducked into the pavillion, and laughed, it was still a happy time. The scene was the 6th Annual Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival in North Creek, NY. Here the crowd gathers in the pavillion facing the stage at the Ski Bowl Park.

The Town of Johnsburg, home of Gore Mountain Ski Area donates the use of the grounds. Thank you Johnsburg!
For me, this particular festival was all about traditional bluegrass music...the pioneers, the people that have been entertaining for decades. Smokey Geene, and his Martin guitar which he named "Ben A. Martin" are always a favorite. Smokey, now 79, has been performing for more than 50 years.

Traditional music continued with Vern Young, who is now 85 years old. This gentle giant's voice and guitar picking is still strong. I talked with Vern and he's a gracious and most interesting person. And,...he's booked to be back in 2010!

White Mountain Bluegrass continued the traditional music with several sets over the three day festival. I spent some time visiting with Mac and Hazel as they sat in their individual band tent near the stage. I felt honored to receive a hug from each of them as I headed back to the pavillion. They are included in a permanent display honoring Pioneers of Bluegrass at the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro KY.

Here Junior Barber of Beartracks visits with Vern Young. Talk about a "meeting of bluegrass minds!" It doesn't get much better than this!

Watch for Beartracks at the Peru Community Church on November 13th at 7:30 p.m. Junior Barber, his cousins Julie Venne-Hogan and Tom Venne will be performing their usual high energy music.

If you have never attended a bluegrass festival give it a try. Bring your camper, your tent, or just bring a folding chair and come for a day. You will leave steeped in traditonal music and warmed by the friendship of the "bluegrass family."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All Of a Sudden....

....I have realized that it's been over a year that I've been doing this blog. I posted about the Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival before,... last year! You will find that post here.

So tomorrow morning off I go again after being home only three days. Soon enough this will come to an end after Labor Day and I'll be back at work. But until then...... let the camper wheels roll!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where's Cedar?...

Last week I was in Alburg, VT at the Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival. This is White Mountain Bluegrass, doing great traditional music. The husband and wife in the middle of the stage have been playing professionally for more than 40 years. They are listed as Pioneers of Bluegrass at the Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY.
Here is my camper on the left, awning to awning with a friend's who is a member of a camping group to which I belong.
This week is our county fair. My grandchildren are showing their 4-H cattle. A fun moment when the youngest won first place and the older one placed second. My granddaughter went on to take many other awards. The cows are all from my son's herd.

The middle grandson.

Granddaughter with her prize winning Jersey cow.

I'll be in and out of the blogger world for the next couple of weeks,... August is shaping up to be very busy. I'll check in with you all every few days. Enjoy the last of the summer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Queen Anne and Her Friends,...

In front of my deck is a sea of Queen Anne's Lace. The reason is because I've been off having fun at bluegrass festivals and camping trips. That part of the rough lawn has not been mowed. My house is on a hillside, and that part is done with a weedeater once a year. This year I'm a little late and the reward is beautiful!
Ferns, black-eyed Susans, Daisies, have joined in the display!
I haven't been able to identify this wildflower. It is bright purple, and only grows about six inches high.
Can anyone tell me what it is?

I have a lot of these red berries, (honeysuckle?) and they are providing a feast for someone,.. as the low branches are pulled down. Birds? Squirrels? Deer? .... a Bear?

The Queen Anne's Lace will be able to grow for another week. I am leaving today for five days in Vermont. The Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival begins on Friday. The weather is forecast to be pleasant, so make your way to Alburgh, Vermont for some fun and good music!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fiddling Fun,...

Those that have known me for a while know that I enjoy bluegrass and old time fiddle music. On July 18th I went to Wilmington, NY to an evening of fiddling and fun. The Food Stamp Ramblers were performing. One of the band members laughed saying they named their group that because they get so little for playing they need food stamps! All kidding aside they are a great group of very accomplished musicians.

Check out this video taken by Mary Winchell and published on YouTube:

That tune played in the video is "Skillet Lickin' Breakdown" written by the late Ken Bonner. If you are in the area of Wilmington, join the fun at their next concert there on September 26th, 2009 from 7:30 to 9:30. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gone Campin'...

Every campfire is always the best one ever,... right?

My older son gave me these neat little hanging lanterns for Christmas. They really look nice in front of the camper.

All set up at Macomb Reservation just west of Plattsburgh, NY. One of the nicest state campgrounds in the Adirondacks.

The view down to the water is framed by tall pines. Perfect setting to watch the Canada geese, great blue herons, and all kinds of little critters such as squirrels and chipmunks. Heading home soon. Sorry smallpines,... didn't travel 86. Will do that soon!