Friday, September 26, 2008

Garlic Planting

Finished planting 8lbs of garlic sets today.  Don't ask what I'm going to do with all that garlic come next August, but if you're interested in some, send an email to next summer and we'll see what we can do.  
It has been dry for the last few weeks with the soil quite brittle and crumbly for several inches down - a little like store bought ground coffee left too long on a pantry self.  It  started to rain about noon today and is expected to continue for a couple of days - good news!  Great to have all that garlic tucked away in  the neat garden beds waiting for the rain.  All I have to do is put a 'comforter' of straw on top, which I will do after the rain thoroughly wets the soil.
Lots of bird activity today.  This morning I came upon  a warbler trapped in the Garden Shed, which fluttered out as I entered the door.  This afternoon there were Robins galore in the wet bushes around the house and there were flocks of Jays marauding the woods.  A spectacular Piliated Woodpecker alighted on the big pine tree behind the house tentatively tapping the trunk searching for a treat as I was awakened from my afternoon nap.  There was a steady rap of rain on the bedroom's metal roof. The gleaming colors of the wet fall leaves were enhanced by the diffuse light of a cloudy day.  Life seems good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hike to Hammond Pond

The picture on the right is of the outlet brook for
Hammond Pond.
Yesterday, Naomi and I hiked the short hike into Hammond Pond. It was a beautiful fall day after the first hard frost of the season. You can see the first hints of fall color. Had a great relaxing time.
Naomi took a video of me eating a cucumber that is pretty funny! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Visiting Tovah in Florence, MA

Hello from Florence. We're visiting our Grand - daughter, Tovah. Having a great weekend. We visited a small farm at the Vocational High School where their was a Holstein sharing Grandma's name - Happy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Garden Harvest - First Frost - Maybe

As we were working on getting the garden prepared for the first frost of the season, we discovered that the mice had started to harvest one patch of our carrots before us. Naomi decided to beat them to the rest of the harvest and so she stands with a bucket of carrots and the garden fork in her hand.
We picked squash and mulched the vines. We ate the last of the sweet corn for lunch. All the savors of the summer foods - tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., take on a bittersweet emotional tone as the season advances. This first frost is always a marker. The smells change from seedy and flowery to musty and mouldy as the bacteria and fungi begin to dominate in the life processes.

The garden has been abundant this year. You can see it is also rather wild and rank. We sometimes long for the precise orderly gardens one sees in the magazines, but it doesn't seem to be in our nature. We are always trying to cram more into life than there is room for.

The web of fencing you see most clearly against the sky is 8 feet high and extends 4 feet underground - protection from the deer and the woodchucks. Behind Naomi and to the right (click on the photo to enlarge) are a couple of ceramic sculptures done by one of our daughters when she was in college. In the background on the right is Moose Mountain. Like it's companion, Owl Pate, it is about 2500 feet and about 1600 feet above the garden on the valley floor. The air drainage from those two mountains and the others in our neighborhood gives us some of the coldest temperatures in the region on those quiet clear nights of fall and winter.
PS: Wouldn't you know, it didn't freeze!
PPS: First Frost occurred sometime while we were away on the weekend of Sept.19-20-21.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Raven Nest

This picture of Owl Pate Mountain was taken as I was standing just above a Raven's nest that sits on a rock ledge on our property.

I have often heard the Ravens from our house as they squawk in their raspy gravelly croak, like old movie sound tracks of prehistoric reptiles. Today, as I was taking this picture, the pair appeared in strong voice. I had the time and decided to explore a little and see if I could find where they were nesting. A little clambering about on my part produced a narrow view of one corner of their nest planted on a ledge with a protective overhanging crag. One of the birds was standing on its edge.

Ravens are more numerous now than they were 35 years ago when I first came to the Adirondacks, but they still are a wondrous bird - big black scavengers and hopefully 'forever more'.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fish Story

Last Sunday, 9-7-08, Naomi and I and friends of ours - another couple and their young boy - were canoeing on Johnson Pond in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest. It was a bright clear beautiful early fall day. The boy was in a junior sized kayak and having a lot of fun scooting around the older couples. We took a close look at some of the Pitcher Plants, Sundew, and Bladderwort. Telling the story of these three carnivorous plants is always a fun part of anyone's introduction to Adirondack wetlands. The young man expressed some exception to the 'disgusting' digesting insects in the bulb of the pitcher plant.

The resident loon couple, which we were hoping to see and hear, were absent. Probably they were either on their way to the ocean for the season or visiting some other pond looking for something to eat.

We proceeded to canoe down the narrowing channel of the pond that leads to the outlet. There are several very nice beaver lodges on the shoreline with channels approching them from the open water. These provided great challenges in manueverability for a young man in a kayak.

As Naomi and I approached the second of the lodges, and were a little distant from the others in the party, there was a great splash and commotion next to our canoe. Water splashed on Naomi's face. My immediate thought was that a beaver had taken umbrage at our appoach to her lodge and was trying to intimidate us with the old 'splash of the tail' trick. Instantly, however, there was the heavy thumping of a very large nothern pike thrashing around the bottom of our canoe. I couldn't say I actually saw it throw itself into the boat, but there it was. Quite intimidating with it's gaping jaws and sheer size. Our friends and their son came over to see and share the excitement. The event made the trip truly memorable. I took my pocketknife and severed the spine just behind the head and took the offering home for a treat of fresh fish. The fish measured 35 inches and had numerous bloody marks from leeches.