Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grandchildren at the beach in the Adirondacks

Here are some photos of the grandchildren at the beach taken during the family reunion!

Late Blight on Tomatoes

Looks like there will be no tomatoes this summer! Late Blight has wiped out my crop. It has been devastating. I'm not quite sure how it came into my garden - I started my plants from seed from one of the most reputable North American suppliers and nurtured them in sterile medium. AN INFECTED TOMATO

My garden is almost a mile away from the nearest other garden, yet I have a devastating infection and have pulled most of my plants. This is all very disappointing because garden fresh tomatoes are one of the most amazing benefits of home gardening. Their flavor just cannot be reproduced commercially. This problem is occurring throughout the Northeast because of the cold, wet weather. I tend toward organic gardening, so a complete preventive regime of fungicide from the time the plants are young is really out of the question for me. The only comfort I can take is that many other vegetables are doing very well this season - especially the green leafy types. Some pictures of infected plants are below.A DEAD PLANT AT THE END OF JULY WHEN IT SHOULD BE IN FULL STRIDE!


These tomato plants are the same ones that I protected from the frost back in early June. Now they are lost.

Fox predation on Geese

Yesterday, the people renting one of our cabins reported a murder! on their lawn. They were sitting on the porch of their cabin sipping wine and watching the wild geese who pasture on our lawns. Everything was quite pastoral and bucolic when, all of a sudden, out of the tall grass sprang-burst a fox who quickly, and in one motion, killed a goose! When they made their presence known the fox retreated. The goose lay on the lawn. The guests retreated to their seats after their initial excitement, and soon the fox reappeared and took the goose into the woods and disappeared. Quite exciting and I wish I would have been present. Everyone has to make a living and find a way to eat! Today the geese are still present but seem a little more cautious and defensive. They are in sufficient numbers that it is not even noticeable that one is missing. We also lost another one earlier in the season to the fox who was then feeding her pups.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Maria and Tovah introduced to eating locally - genuine locavores

During the family reunion, Happy (Grandma Naomi) and Grandpa Joe spent a few hours with Maria and Tovah while everyone else went to see the latest Harry Potter film. We spent quite a time in the garden and chicken run and then ate what we gathered. We're startin' them young! They picked carrots and broccoli and each had a basket to carry the vegetables they picked for Dinner.
Then it was on to the 'chicken run'.

After feeding the chickens, they each gathered an egg from the nesting box - the chickens were fortuitously generous today giving exactly two eggs for two girls!

Then it was time to eat what was gathered! Tovah had her egg 'sunny side up' and Maria had her's 'scrambled'.

Each girl ate heartily! Maria has already cleaned up the scrambled egg and both joined the 'clean plate club'.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Schofield Pond

Last week Naomi, I, Bruce, and Miriam hiked into Schofield Pond for a picnic lunch. Here are some pictures of the day. It was one of the few really nice summer days this year.
The trip started with a ferry across rain swollen and beaver dammed Paradox Creek. That's Naomi, Miriam, and me, in order, in the canoe.

We crest the ridge to the pond.

I'm standing in front of the impressive beaver dam across the outlet of Schofield Pond.

Naomi and Miriam stand under a shelf fungus near the outlet of the pond. Miriam is standing on her tip toes so she will appear taller.

The most important part of any picnic - relaxing!

The four of us!

Me, squatting somewhat awkwardly - a little too much arthritis - at a beautiful cascade just below the outlet to Schofield Pond.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Owl Pate Mountain

View from the top of Owl Pate looking South over the Paradox Creek Valley. Our homestead in roughly the clearing in the center of the photo.

On July 17th, my brother-in-law, Bruce Phipps, and I climbed Owl Pate Mountain. It is one of the higher peaks on the east side of the Northway just about at exit 29. It is visible from my house and makes for a nice walk which will entertain for the best part of a day - at least at my speed. I can walk to it from my house without having to cross anyone else's property because we adjoin the Hammond Pond Wild Forest at a place that makes a convenient route to the mountain. When I was younger and we operated a residential treatment center and school on our property, I used to hike to the top of Owl Pate several times a year and also hunted, fished, and camped in the same area. The outdoor experiences provided by the Hammond Pond Wild Forest played an important part in the School's program. The hike triggered many happy memories of days spent in the woods. The mountains in the upper left of the photo above are Knob Mountain and Little Knob Mountain. Just below Knob mountain is the abandoned hamlet of Hammondville which was a center of the mining industry in the Nineteenth Century. It was connected by railroad to the Champlain Canal. The Iron that made up the cables for the Brooklyn Bridge came from those hills.

Bruce and me in picture at the top taken with a timer. I look a little beat and I was. Bruce, on the other hand, could have taken in another couple of mountains and been none the worse for wear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Low's Lake - Proposed Land reclassification to Wilderness

Last Monday, July 13th, I stated my views at a public hearing held by the Adirondack Park Agency at Long Lake regarding the proposed reclassification of several thousand acres of land on Low's Lake to Wilderness Area . These lands were a combination of lands newly acquired by the State of New York and nearby lands previously classified as Primitive. A classification as Primitive means that it is pending future classification as Wilderness. It seems that, with the acquisition of the new lands, the time was ripe to visit the matter of the status of the lands contiguous to Five Ponds Wilderness classified as Primitive. Classification of the lands as Wilderness adds additional protections designed to keep the lands and waters remote and free from motorized use - essentially to preserve and/or generate wilderness conditions. Many local people oppose any and all new more restrictive classifications fearing that it will interfere with their easy motorized access and also harm their local business interests. Essentially, they view the matter as 'locking up' the forest so that the tourists who enjoy the outdoors with motorized assistance - ATVs, Motorboats, Float Planes, etc. - no longer come to the area and make purchases, seek overnight accommodations, eat and drink at local establishments, etc. Of course they forget that Wilderness oriented recreationists also seek similar types of services.

Here is the Adirondack Park Agency's website discussing their proposal for the reclassification. Included are very good maps of the area indicating the scope of the proposed changes.


I have included my complete remarks below:

My name is Joe Mahay. Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion here tonight. As a resident of the Adirondack Park since 1971 who has worked, owned land, and operated several small businesses here, I wish to express my support for the reclassification of the state lands and the new state land classifications proposed by the Department and the Adirondack Park Agency.

This area is one of the greatest recreational resources in the United States, as described in the April 2009 edition of the National Geographic Adventure Magazine. It ranks the flat water canoeing in this portion of the Adirondacks as #5 in its list of the 50 best American Adventures.

I suppose it should be unnecessary to point out that by far the vast majority of the flat waters in the Adirondacks are open to use by motor boats and anyone who wants to jet ski or cruise, fish, or water ski with a motor boat can do so - often with access provided by a New York State boat launch site. And anyone who wants to canoe or kayak in these conditions is also free to do so - and many do.

What is in scarce supply are flat waters where one can canoe or kayak in quiet remote wilderness conditions without the whir and whine and wake of engine driven craft. That is the prize, the unique recreational opportunity that these classifications will help to preserve. That is what results in national recognition of the area as a recreational resource for America.

I suppose it should be unnecessary, also, to point out as one irony of life that when we use a motor to access wilderness, we soon no longer have a wilderness. In the Adirondack Park there are literally hundreds of miles of paved and gravel roads through wild forest and along the edges of wilderness and hundreds of miles of shorelines classified as wilderness or wild forest with motorized access on the lakes and ponds making up those shorelines - motorized access is not a problem nor a scarce commodity. Yet one of the ironies of all of this motorized access is that, once we have the access, the remoteness and quiet of a wilderness experience is gone as most everyone attests. It is self defeating to try and provide motorized access to remoteness. Unless a line is drawn somewhere, the somewhere we desire no longer exists.

For these reasons, I strongly support the proposed reclassifications from primitive area to wilderness and the new classifications as wilderness and the classification of the state owned lands under the water bodies as wilderness as a guarantor of this unique recreational resource for future generations.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


There have been no entries since early June because Summer is so busy. Gardening, Visitors, Cabin Rentals all take attention - satisfying attention - but attention never-the-less. Being busy is a good thing, but sometimes it takes an effort to retain a sense of being present in the moment I'm in and not frittering my life away projecting myself into the next one.

The summer has been Cold and Wet. The garden is growing well except for those things that like it hot - like eggplant, which is spending the summer as a stymied yellow thing not going anywhere at all. The garden is bigger and better than ever. Having the chickens as part of the gardening experience makes the whole area seem more dynamic and interesting. The garden/chicken complex seems very nuturing with eggs, chicken to eat, and vegetables galore. The chickens wait impatiently for me to let them out every morning. I feel guilty if I linger in bed past 6am. As soon as I open the doors of their coops they burst forth and test their wings and search the grass for any tasty bugs and worms. They graze on the grass and clover and then turn their attention to the chicken feed. I refer to them affectionately as 'my girls'. It feels a little sexist and anthropocentric and I feel a little guilty, but I do it anyway. No one has called me on it yet. People mostly just smile indulgently.

The family all seems good. Jenna and Maria are doing a lot of traveling and are right now in Guatemala visiting a friend from College who lives there and just had a baby. They visited us over the Memorial Day weekend. Mark is very busy at his new job as CFO of a Charter School group in Chicago and not traveling this summer except for his job. Jenna and Maria will be in Paradox on July 18th for the Family Reunion.

Micah and the kids are coming East for the week of July 18th for our family reunion. Juan and Miguel and Natalia are going to visit Juan's family in Spain where they will be joined by Micah, Esther, and Samson after they make a little tour of Western Europe when they leave Paradox. It'll be a Summer to remember for the grandchildren. Samson is busy making his music which can be listened to at: http://www.myspace.com/childofthesunmusic . Esther has been in her second theatrical production this summer and is enjoying acting very much.

Tovah, at two and a half, has started her new day care school in Northampton. She seems to be thriving in this environment. Up to now she was in a private home day care situation which was a good place to start. Her new setting, though, gives her more scope with more 'others' to relate to and more activities for stimulation. Bekah and Mitch and Tovah will also be here in July for the family reunion.

We've had number of overnight house guests - our Rabbis Jonathan and Linda, Joann (Naomi's oldest and dearest friend) and Jules, Joe and Ida Berger, Matt and Annie Wall, my brother - Keith, and Jenna and Maria. In addition, Frances and Jerry, and my Mom and Vern have been over for dinner.

We've spent time away in Northampton visiting Bekah, Mitch, and Tovah and in Milbrook and NYC with Deborah, Michael, Mimi and Bruce. In NYC we went to a tribute performance at Carnegie Hall for Theodore Bikel's 85th birthday on June 15th.

I'm also keeping a little busy with The Resident's Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. I'm just involved with the Positions Committee - will be giving a statement at a public hearing on July 13th regarding reclassification of some state lands in the northwestern part of the Park. It seems good to be keeping a little involved in things Adirondack.

So, life is good.