Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Drive North Through The Mountains

At home on Sunday morning, 5 of my 6 dogs lounge about on the living room floor, not yet aware that we'd be heading north that very day. The moment they realize it, they become quite excited and eager to go. But for this moment, all is calm.

I took care of the cats, the birds, the guinea pig and the house plants. I vacuumed the rugs and washed 2 loads of clothes. Then the dogs and I headed up the Northway to the high peaks region of the Adirondacks. This picture was taken of my little red car alongside Route 73 looking toward Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge. Many years ago, I hiked Rocky Peak Ridge with two dogs as a sort of vision quest. It was memorable and seeing the mountain range in the distance brought it all back to me.

We stopped along the way several times. Here, at the base of Rocky Peak Ridge, Wren and Wally trot through the paths which were covered with pine needles.

And Fergus, Casey and Seamus sniff to see what wildlife has been there recently.

Fergus, Wally, Casey and Seamus. Seamus sure looks happy, doesn't he?

Winky all by himself in the woods. He wasn't anxious to get back into the crowded car.

I stopped in the tiny town of Brighton to buy myself a sub. While I waited for it to be prepared, I noticed the hayfield across the road which was flooded with bright orange flowers, presumably Orange Hawkweed. It was lovely.

Another view, this one with a high peak in the distance. I had made plans to visit an Adirondack herd of Scottish Highland Cattle our way to the farm. I'll put those photos in my next post.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Water And Mountains

Above is Seamus and Fergus at the trail head for hiking to Rock Pond. We didn't hike the trail, but I twice stopped there to let the dogs out, once heading north and once heading south. The woods is filled with Balsam and the air is filled with Balsam aroma, quite wonderful indeed.

Wren, as usual, is lagging behind. Trotting along a mountain trail is a lot of work for her so she waits to be sure we're REALLY going farther and not returning soon. In this case, I called her to get her farther into the woods.

Wally and Winky in the woods along the trail to Rock Pond. My two little Chinese dogs whose common denominator is joyful enthusiasm. It looks as if Wally was pooping when I snapped this picture, doesn't it?

A lovely pond along the highway. There's been a lot written about Purple Loosestrife pushing out our native Cattails, but they seem to be thriving in the Adirondacks.

Another pond, this one somewhat larger. There were so many ponds, bogs, marshes, rivers and streams that I wonder if they are all named.

A row of telephone poles crosses the end of this pond and, in fact, a causeway leads to a small settlement on the other side of the water.

A river leading off into the wilderness.

And more water.

Flowers on the bank of a shallow pond. Look closely at those two stumps in the water.

Indeed, those stumps made for a great sunning spot for a Painted Turtle. It was also another opportunity for me to try the zoom on my new camera.

Mountains in the distance, seen across a lake.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Visit To Tupper Lake

Tupper Lake is both a small city and a large lake in the heart of the Adirondack Park. I found the city quite attractive with a real livable quality, not just a tourist town. The lake is magnificent and most of it is quite wild and undeveloped. The highway took me through the town and alongside the lake for a long way.

South of town, the road often allows views out over the lake from the surrounding hills.

I'd love to canoe the boggy edges and meet the plant and animal residents.

With the Adirondack Mountains in the background.

It was a clear, fine day in the Adirondacks.

Across the lake I saw I saw some one's Adirondack style boat house. The lake was actually quite wide here and I had to use my camera's zoom to get this photo.

A classic Adirondack lake scene.

I found a place to pull off the road and the dogs and I walked down to the rocky shore.

Casey was tired of being locked in the back of the car and wanted to stretch her legs, get a drink of water and cool off. Fergus was amazed to see her go into the water. He didn't follow her example, but perhaps he will in the future now that the seed of the idea has been planted.

Casey has never been a swimmer, but has always loved to wade in the water.

As for Seamus, he was quite happy to bounce around in the tall grass and be joyful.

Wildflowers grew all around the boulders.

And after we hopped back into the car and began our journey, this turkey appeared right near the road, quite unafraid. I saw several turkeys and several whitetailed deer, one with a tiny fawn.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Farm In June

Each weekend when I arrive at the farm, I'm amazed at the changes in what is blooming. I saw these bushes full of big white blossoms in bloom on my most recent visit. My first thought was that the previous owner really loved white flowers and then I went over to take a closer look to see what kind of flowers they were. I don't believe I've ever seen these flowers before, but they were quite beautiful and smelled nice too. I thought they might be Mock Orange but had to wait until I got home to look them up.

They are indeed Mock Orange, which I'd previously thought was a warmer weather plant. But they are sure thriving on my property in the frozen north. In fact, they're spreading.

And these old fashioned roses which I have to brush underneath while riding the lawn tractor mowing the lawn. Amazingly, these roses have no thorns, at least none which have hooked me yet.

A little side note: I found this tiny tricycle (about 1" high) in the dirt near the front door. It brought back a flood of memories for me from kindergarten. When I was 5 years old, my mother gave me a tiny tricycle which I took to kindergarten to show my classmates. I let some "friends" play with it and never saw it again. I find it a strange and eerie occurrence to discover such a tiny tricycle 56 years later. Yes, I suppose I'm being silly.

And finally, the lone Peony is in bloom. Again, I'm amazed to discover that it's pure white. The former owner must have loved white blossoms.

But on closer inspection, I discovered that there are ruby red splashes of color in the centers of the flowers.

And another view.

Inside the farm house kitchen, Rick has tiled the countertop and replaced both the sink and faucet.

It's quite deluxe, the sort of thing I'd expect to find in a rich person's house instead of an 1850s farm house. There's also a new, level kitchen floor. What luxury!

The upper cabinets have been realigned and painted.

And the lower cabinets have been rebuilt and are quite amazing. Now, of course, I want to move there right now and not wait.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Adirondack Kitsch

I love kitsch, and especially when it's alongside the highway as a tourist attraction. I suppose this stems from the summer vacations I took as a child with my mother and sister. We'd drive the highways across country from Ohio to Oregon, taking in the national parks, tourist traps and scenic highways. There were giant concrete dinosaurs, prairie dogs, jackalopes and white rabbits. There were buildings shaped like tepees, Swiss cheese, coffee pots, etc. We stopped and paid admission to see prairie dog towns, local zoos, "mystery houses of gravity," and bought souvenirs at Wall Drug. Well, that American 'spirit of kitsch' is alive and thriving in the Adirondacks. The general store, above, is sided with birch bark and filled with souvenirs. I loved it. Alas, it also housed the first of several delis with no menu and no helpful employees, a trend which became a theme as I traveled and looked to buy lunch.

Bears and a giant eagle outside the general store.

This giant lumberjack stands tall in the town of Tupper Lake, New York. Nearby, I saw a sign saying that Tupper Lake was the proud home of Woodsmen's Field Days.

On Long Lake, one can travel via pontoon plane. The ticket booth is the small building above and that is the highway next to it.

This Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake doesn't really qualify as kitsch, but I loved the look of it. I wish I could stay there some time, but will have to be satisfied with admiring its exterior.

Now this is a scene reminiscent of my childhood travels on Route 66. 'RJSTIC' FURNITURE alongside the highway with escaped garden lupines for decoration and a giant 'RJSTIC' chair to draw one's attention. I couldn't resist.

And some one's mountain home near the Hudson River not far from where there are canoe liveries for whitewater canoeing and rafting.

And in Lake George Village, I discovered this giant Uncle Sam and Santa Claus. It doesn't show well, but in the background between them, you may be able to see a giant lumberjack. What a trio! Add this kitsch to the magnificent Adirondack scenery and you've got yourself a vacation.