Friday, July 31, 2009

Snapshots From The Journey

Driving through the town of Keene, New York, a pretty little tourist spot in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks. Just ahead is the intersection where we turn left, continuing on Route 73 while Route 9 bears to the right. I was shocked, however, to learn that there was a Lake Placid Iron Man bicycle race in progress and I was delayed by over an hour between Keene and Lake Placid.

Once we were back to progressing northward toward the farm at a normal rate of speed, I thought that I should let the dogs out at the first opportunity. I stopped at a small cemetery surrounded by Adirondack high peaks. In this photo, Casey, Wally, Fergus and Seamus check the place for ghosts:

Seamus stretches his legs in the scenic cemetery:

In the bottom left of this shot you may notice Casey and Fergus, a couple of happy dogs:

Even Winky and Wren trotted around and got a bit of exercise:

And the view was stunning:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Spend My Weekends On The Road

Yes, another trip up through the Adirondacks to the farm. I drive, drive, drive - and then I work, work, work. This weekend's trip involved my bringing a gas kitchen stove up with me to use in the farm house apartment. It took up so much room in the back of my car that I knew it'd be difficult on the dogs. I put big ol' Seamus in the front seat with me and the other 5 (smaller) dogs in the back with the kitchen stove.

The 5 smaller dogs seemed to fit pretty well. Seamus, however, took up so much room that I didn't know how well this would work. Indeed, when he curled up to sleep, he hit the gear shift lever and knocked the car out of gear. He pushed my leg so hard that I began to have leg cramps. I decided I'd have to keep him turned toward the window and I'd have to stop and let the dogs out more often than usual:

There was a threat of thunderstorms both in the forecast and in the sky. As I drove north up the highway towards the Adirondacks, I was prepared for almost anything:

The skies cleared and I stopped by a beautiful rocky Adirondack stream to let the dogs out for a run. We didn't actually get down into the water as the banks were too steep and the boulders too big, but the meadows alongside the stream made an excellent spot for a break. Below are Fergus and Seamus by the stream:

Casey, Wren and Winky stretching their legs and exercising their sniffers:

It was a fine day in paradise as Wren and Wally pushed their way through the wildflowers:

I especially liked this shot of little Wren, who seems to be feeling contented and happy. When I see her in this picture I think that her name, Wren, is most apt:

Fergus, being a pup, wants to get everyone playing. Old Casey and Wren, however, will have no part of it:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adirondack Scenery

Though I often travel the same route down through the Adirondacks (there's very few roads from which to choose), I'm often amazed at the beauty and the new mountains I notice. When I saw this large gap between the mountains, I imagined myself as a pioneer and thought how I'd head for that low spot in the hope of finding a pass through the mountains:

I stopped along the way to let the dogs play in a mountain stream. A few of them wanted no part of it as the route down to the water was too rocky and difficult. But Casey, being a veteran Adirondack dog, knew just how to cool off and get herself a drink of clear, cool water:
And Fergus followed her example. Dogs, like people, learn by watching others:
Below us, the stream rushed on down through the boulders:

I found a flat spot to give the dogs a bit of exercise:

A close-up view of the mountains:

And a Purple-Flowering Raspberry:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Drive Down Blue Mountain Road

When it again came time to drive home to Albany, I decided to take a small dirt road down through the mountains to a highway intersection where I'd again be on my usual route. Blue Mountain Road was the way to the trail head for Azure Mountain, which I hope to hike some day. So I turned off down the road and drove for miles and miles and miles. I saw classic Adirondack wilderness scenery with lots of water:

And the water was surrounded with mountains:

There was some private lands mixed in with the state lands and cabins appeared here and there along the way:

I found the trail head to Azure Mountain and came to a private club where large signs forbid trespassing for any reason. They appeared to be quite serious about it so I backed uphill a long way (there was no turnaround) and began the long trip back to the highway. But when I passed a small gravel bank, I decided it was a good place for me to let the dogs out to run:

I almost didn't open the car doors, however, for as soon as I stopped, deer flies covered the windows. I feared they were going to mob us as soon as we got out. But I got brave and gave it a try anyway. I'm happy to say that there was a nice breeze and we weren't at all bothered by deer flies. If, however, the breeze had died, then perhaps we'd have had to jump quickly back into the car:

The scenery along Blue Mountain Road was exquisite:

Back on the highway again, we headed on down through the Adirondack high peaks region:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot Time In Hopkinton Last Sunday

You may recall that I'd left the dogs back at the farm house early Sunday evening and drove off on a circuitous route toward the local convenience store in town, sightseeing as I went. Once I'd taken the local tour, I headed into the town of Hopkinton and found, wonder of wonders, A TRAFFIC JAM! There were cars clogging the (2) roads and a town green filled with people barbecuing and eating. Both sides of the highway were lined with parked cars and I could hear cheering and roaring engines. I parked and walked toward the commotion. This is what I discovered:

The Adirondack Truck And Trailer Pulling Association was having a major contest in Hopkinton and folks from all over had come to see it. Many families brought lawn chairs and many used their truck beds as platforms to get them a good view:

I saw giant farm tractors screaming and smoking as they tried to haul the sled toward the finish line:

When they'd gone as far as they could go, the sled was unhooked and their distance was measured:

With a cornfield as a background, lots of beer was consumed and lots of was done:

A lot of food was consumed beneath the big skies of the St. Lawrence valley:

It appeared that I'd arrived toward the end of the tractor pulling, so I only saw a few of them do their work:

But then the truck division began. This yellow truck, I heard the announcer say, was last year's champion. He hooked up to the sled and gunned his engine. Smoke, dust and the roar of his screaming engine filled the air:

He picked up some speed and was almost to the finish line:

But didn't quite make it. As you can see, the crowd applauded wildly. As for me, I had my faithful dogs waiting back at the farm house so I drove home. When I got back, I could hear the roaring engines all the way to my place:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Farm Neighbors - Part 2

About a half mile up from my farm, this is Shinnock Road, a narrow and short connector road on which is only one farm. This farm has hay and corn fields which appear to me to be about 100 acres each:

Green fields, broad blue skies, farm homes, silos, horses and cattle. This is rural America:

I was astounded at the magnitude of this corn field, though I admit that the photo doesn't show it well. It was, however, both magnificently beautiful and large:

It appeared that this farm was raising calves either for veal or for dairy. Again, notice the big sky and cumulus clouds. A guy or gal could lie down in the grass for hours and watch those clouds float by:

More rural beauty:

A pair of steers in a neighbor's field:

A local man once told me that white birch up there grew like a weed. If you cut it down, it quickly sends up multiple shoots. In many places, birch woodlands frame the farm fields:

A closer view of a birch woods:

And just down the road from me, a couple of ladies enjoy the beautiful summer sun and the green grass:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Farm Neighbors - Part 1

After mowing the lawn on Sunday afternoon, I left the dogs in the house and jumped in my car so I could drive down to the local store. But instead of taking the direct route, I drove a few of the local roads to give myself a tour of some of my neighbors and get a feel for the area. This church was in a town so tiny it didn't really have a town center. The church, in fact, was surrounded by farm land. I saw no sign announcing its denomination or persuasion. But it sure is picturesque and reminiscent of days gone by.

And this is the closest cemetery, a joint effort by the towns of Hopkinton and Fort Jackson:

My biggest impression was that this is real farm country with corn and hay fields in the 40 to 100 acre size range. I believe this corn field was in hay last year and I estimated it at the time to be about 40 acres. I thought that was pretty big but I'm coming to realize that there are many fields nearby which dwarf it.

Just up the road from me is a quintessential American heartland farm. This is big sky country. Montana, eat your heart out:

A hay field which stretches out to a spotty line of small trees and then continues on:

Another neighbor, this one with horses:

And on the highway, someone has built a lake house. There's a fountain in the pond which keeps the water from freezing in the winter and the ducks all congregate there.
Straight narrow roads, endless fields and great big skies:

And this attractive barn right near the turn-off into the Adirondack Park: