Tag Archives: great outdoors

I Think They’ll Live

Remember the tiny one-inch sprouts in the “Sunflower Forest” I planted alongside the road? The little sprouty peepers I showed you a photo of a few weeks ago? Some of them are almost five feet tall!

Never mind zucchini … if these all bloom, I’m going to have thousands of sunflowers!



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Adirondack Skies

Around here, we’re always commenting on the skies.

We see a lot of sky. We have a nice clear shot at home. (It would be clearer if they hadn’t installed that damned street light.) The view we see on our six-mile daily commute is pretty amazing too. Across the little mountains back behind Gabriels, then over the peaks beyond Saranac Lake, and finally, across the entire valley, past Bloomingdale and over Whiteface. Lots of sky. It’s amazing to be able to see entire weather systems, and to be lucky enough to quite literally drive through clouds. The quality of the light and sky is different here. We usually explain it by saying, “The sky seems a lot closer.”

I snapped this pic standing in the driveway just now, between thunderstorms. I think it looks like a monster mouth in the middle of the photo is eating the universe. (Isn’t there something like that in Ghostbusters?)

Below is the famous view from Donnelly’s ice cream stand in Harrietstown, over to and across the valley, past Bloomingdale, past Whiteface and the other peaks. It’s amazing how this view changes from day to day, from season to season.

This next one is from a few years ago – another yard shot – when we were still camping out in the cabin during Summers. I noticed it was particularly bright out … Get a load of that moon!

Yeah, it’s the classic view, from the top of Whiteface Mountain. Just about everybody who has ever visited Lake Placid has this photo. But I never get tired of it.

Happy view! You have a great day too!


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The Tiny Beach

I’ll admit that I really dislike exercise in a fairly considerable way.

But I love swimming. Why did it take me so long to realize that swimming is exercise? I have no idea. And in this part of the Northern Adirondacks, there’s no shortage of swimming opportunities. When one friend invited me to the-pond-that-shall-not-be-named, and then another friend suggested exactly the same pond, I decided to call it fate. We have dozens of awesome swimming holes within five miles of our place. But this one is super, super close. Less than two miles from home. Needless to say, I’ve been down at the pond three-days-out-of-three so far.

It’s little. If you had ten people on the landing/beach, it would be seriously crowded. But usually, you’re the only one there. The proximity is a lot of the attraction with this particular site, but I also like it because it’s fairly hidden, a bit of a secret, because it’s more sandy than mucky, and because the short walk down to the pond is just as much of a treat as the water.

I don’t like seaweed and muck, so the fact that the tiny entrance “beach” has a sandy bottom is a big plus. Of course, it tuns to goop a little ways out, but by then, you can’t touch the bottom much anyway. The water has been awesome – nice and warm, with a cool current coming past every now and then. Even after the storm we had yesterday, the water was still super warm.

I suppose I’ll soon be getting to the point where I want a little more of a challenge than swimming 75 feet across the pond and back, but for now, it’s just enough of a swim for me. I do two or three back-and-forth laps each time I go.

Hey, look! That’s me out there!


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Go Get ‘Em, Tansy

Can I tell you about a plant that has gorgeous foliage and flowers, is a natural insect repellent, is terrific in cuttings and vases, dries beautifully, is super prolific, and likes to be ignored?

I love me some Tansy. Love it!

Here in the Adirondacks, we get a lot of those gorgeous flowers that grow wild in Great Britain. The sort of thing you see English hillsides covered with. Tansy.

We inherited a small field of it that I’ve been cultivating – mowing it back to the ground where I don’t want it, and encouraging it with fertilizer where I do want it. I left most of it, just really tightening up the beds and making some space for a path to our neighbor friend’s place.

Tansy is cold and drought tolerant, and comes back every year thicker than ever, masses of those little yellow button flowers that I like so much. It blooms in August, although I like it in Spring and earlier Summer as well – the foliage looks like big ferns. It’s part of the thistle family. By late Summer, my Tansy patch has grown to about four feet. Only thing they are picky about is this – Full Sun. They don’t like shade.

In addition to its visual properties, gardeners often plant Tansy with other plants as a natural insect repellent. (Great idea for the back row of a flower garden!) The leaves give off a smelly, pungent odor that the bugs don’t like. As for it’s other properties as an herb – stay away. The oil was once used in medicines, but today it’s considered poisonous.

Tansy plants are grown from seeds in the spring, or from a cutting from an established plant. If you’re in my area, don’t bother with the seeds. Just holler at me, and come on over to get a shovel full. If you’re dividing your own Tansy, that’s best done in the Fall. A shot of the thick, pretty foliage is left.

And that’s what I know about that. Go, Tansy!


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Where the Wild Things Are

Well, you know. You don’t have a lot of nice wild plants when you buy an old junk property that the previous owners principally used as a junk yard.

But, we’re trying. Plenty of new plants and trees have been planted, and we make the most of what little was already here.

When we find a little gem of a wild plant, we nurture it. Trim it back to healthy, add some good soil and manure around the base. One does what one can. Here’s a few wild flower shots from around the place. Only thing I didn’t get was our crazy goldenrod – gotta wait for August to get a pic of that. We’ll have some crazy day lilies next month too. For the time being …


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Well, hell. When I searched “rustique,” I had no idea how popular the word might be!

Don’t worry. I’m not opening a fancy restaurant or starting a dot com home furnishings shop. I just thought it was a nice word to title a post about fixing our old, broken down fence. (I use the term “fixing” very loosely.) My friend Sheri said she loved the bird feeder on the fence post, so I thought that as long as people are noticing the thing, I might as well fix it up.

It’s been sitting there on the ground rotting for a few years, having stood between the neighbor and us for who-knows-how-many decades. For me, putting this thing back up was a no-brainer – old weathered wood, eye-catching junk, and rustic decay are all totally up my alley. Plus, it’s been there for years and it’s not doing anyone any harm, so it should be allowed to stay.

For the most part, it was a lot like putting a puzzle together. A few stitches and patches though. It’s good for a few years. I might go on the hunt for some old wood to further fix it up.

Now. Where can I get me some scarlet runner beans?


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The Back Forty (Feet)

I’m sure I’ve used that title before. But trust me, it’s particularly apt in this case.

Along the back of our property, the back forty feet or so, you’ll find our little slice of the real Adirondacks. No (de)construction junk, no big hole full of foundation rocks, no piles of old lumber. Just our own little tiny stretch of Adirondack forest. (Although I like fussy words, so I call it The Copse.) How about a tour?

Head down the old fence line, and you’ll se an opening to the right of the birdhouse, between two small trees. You can head on in there.

If it’s evening, take a look back over your shoulder, and the sun will be setting over the old birdhouse. I was a little early for that. Let’s head on down the trail though – Now, watch your step!

We’d like to get a few chairs. There’s a little clearing as we cross onto the neighbor’s property. (We joke that this area is governed by the “Tri Owners Backwoods Association.”) I thought about bringing a bench back here, but I don’t think of it much as a sitting place. More of a poking-around place. (Don’t get me wrong – we’ve whiled an afternoon or two and tipped a few beers back there!)

I very good at appreciating what I have, no matter how little. And I do love the little copse. We may just have a few feet of woods, where others have acres, but I love it back there. I think of it as my Five Minute Vacation – take a little walk, crack down that dead branch, toss some deadwood out of the path, pull up an ankle-snagger or two.

I’m going to try to make it a habit to get back there each evening. You have a great day too!


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