Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Most Important Video

I don't often share videos, etc. on this blog - but this one, by the Cleveland Clinic, was magnificent and deserves as much circulation as it can get. I'd call it moving, even life changing. It's a restatement of the most important principal of life. Well, enough of my thoughts. You can decide for yourself:


Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's Party Time!

By the time you read this, I'll be totally and permanently moved to the farm. But I wanted to show these moments with some wonderful people. Many of the folks I knew when we all volunteered at a local animal shelter threw me a going away party at a little park, a part of historic Fort Crailo, on the shores of the Hudson River:

We were just getting started when this historic ship made its way up the Hudson. I thought it was the Half Moon, but was told it was actually the OnRust. Both are faithful reproductions of Dutch Ships which plied the waters of the Hudson in the very early 1600s. You can read more about each of them by clicking on the links:

There was a magnificent cake and snack foods, balloons and lots of talk of dog rescue missions, past and present, happy and sad:

Notice the cake decoration. It's the farm house and barn, taken from a photo on this blog!

It was a most pleasant assemblage and, happily, they'd arranged to be sure we'd have a canopy because it rained lightly the whole afternoon:

I took a time out to admire the Albany skyline , or at least part of it, which was visible just across the Hudson River:

There was a little singing and then we ate the delicious cake. Then there was packing up, saying good bye and everyone went home:

I brought home lots of cake leftovers which the dogs smelled and begged for (unsuccessfully). But the big hit of the night was the floating balloons which trailed ribbons beneath them. Both Bramble and Draco got involved:

Bramble was especially happy to have such moving, interactive toys:

And I received a Bobble-head RCA Nipper in honor of my previous blog posts which you see, if you are so inclined, here, here and here. This Nipper now sits on my kitchen counter facing the door and greeting anyone who enters:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Big, Beautiful Bloomingdale Bog Trail - Part 3

My damaged ankles had begun to hurt and I was just about to turn around and return to the trail head when Daphne discovered this old railroad car off in the forest on its side. I examined it and it looked to me like an old passenger car. It even had the remnants of seats inside. That old sofa might have indicated that the railroad car was used as a hunting camp for some time after the railroad abandoned the line. I could only guess at the history:

But at that point we did turn around and begin our journey back to our parked car:

I thought those waxy, white blossoms were blueberries and knelt down to get a photo. Madeline and Clover got smack dab in the way of a good photo, but it turned out to be a blessing. I ended up with a poor photo of the flowers (which weren't blueberries) and a good photo of the dogs:

And there was plenty of Usnea, or Tree Moss (actually, it's a lichen):

The dogs seemed to have understood my insistence that they stay closer to me and were doing quite well. Of course I'll probably have to repeat the lesson again and again on future hikes:

Every so often they'd break into a run and I'd yell, "Stop!" Then I'd call them back and give them both petting and praise. They were having a great time and I was enjoying their company - and also the scenery:

I don't know what our altitude was there, but given the lateness of springtime to the forest, I'd guess we were already pretty high up in the mountains:

Seamus and Daphne made a few more excursions into the water, Seamus to get a drink and Daphne to frolic. That's what she was doing when I snapped this photo, running back and forth between the water and the shore:

And then we marched onward. I was truly liking keeping the dogs close at hand:

We met a bird watcher and, having seen him coming from far off, I had the dogs on leashes when we met. Once past, I gave them their freedom again:

When we reached the pond near the trail head, I reflected on the spectacular beauty all around me and the pleasant company of my dogs:

Madeline toddled down to the water's edge for a drink and then I put them all back on their leashes to finish the hike back to our car. After that, I just had to finish the long drive home - and I did so without taking any more pictures:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Big, Beautiful Bloomingdale Bog Trail - Part 2

With no one else on the trail, the dogs were allowed off leash. But I insisted they stay close to me and not run too far ahead. They were beginning to get the idea and everyone was having fun:

We stopped every so often to explore one of the brooks which gurgled and burbled their way along the path:

The scenery was magnificent, the air scented with balsam:

And I was happy, though that coat had to come off very early in the hike:

The trail took us through forests and wetlands:

The dogs were fascinated by the water, but so far had kept their feet dry:

We continued along, stopping every so often for a closer examination of the northern scenery:

And then, right near an old beaver dam, both Daphne and Seamus went into the water. Clover and Fergus were tempted, but resisted. Madeline refused to even get near the water:

And then we continued onward:

Now that her feet were wet and muddy, Daphne had become bolder and frolicked in the muddy waters, leaping and smiling, like a colt in a pasture:

The day was lovely:

My ankles were becoming quite sore and I wondered if perhaps a flat trail was harder on them than a winding, hilly, rocky trail. Or was it that, being so flat and straight, we'd traveled farther than I'd realized? At any rate, I decided we'd better not go too much farther. But I'll post Part 3 tomorrow:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Big, Beautiful Bloomingdale Bog Trail - Part 1

It was time once again to return to Albany from a stay at the farm, though I knew this would be one of my final trips and soon I'd be permanently moved. I left early because I'd planned to stop on the way home and try out the Bloomingdale Bog Trail whose main trail head is just north of Saranac Lake:

I met a nice man at the trail head who told me there was a woman with a leashed Golden Retriever on the trail, but she was almost back to the parking area and no one else was on the trail. So I leashed my dogs and started out, marveling at the beauty all around me:

The Shadbush was in bloom then, weeks behind the farm and perhaps a month behind Albany. But this is the Adirondacks, after all. Nevertheless, who could argue with such beauty?:

We passed by the woman and her Golden Retriever. She looked horrified to see my pack of (leashed) dogs. Once we had the trail to ourselves, I let my dogs run off leash but began buckling down on teaching them to stay close, perhaps within 15 feet. I had decided that they would either obey that rule or stay home when the rest of us hiked. I had to get cross, but they seemed to pick up the concept:

And still they had fun. This was a doggy (and human) paradise:

Whenever one or two of them got too far away, I'd shout "Stop!" and, when they did, I called them back to me for petting and praise:

There were burbling creeks to explore:

And what fun it was to climb down to the water!:

I had to keep up a constant dialog, but the pooches were beginning to grasp my new rule. And the trail was long, level and straight - apparently a former railroad bed. So I could see far ahead and far behind, enabling me to leash the dogs if someone was coming:

There were patches of balsams and several unusually large ones had fallen, filling the air with their aroma. For the dogs, it was all play time:

See, Dad. I'm not running ahead now! Am I a good dog?:

This was easy walking and spectacular scenery. But we were just getting started. I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Glorious Springtime Beauty At The Farm

You may be wondering why I am posting about apple blossoms on June 25. First, the north country is several weeks behind most of the rest of the state. Furthermore, I am behind several weeks on my postings. That's partially because I had so very much to post and partially because I have been making my permanent move to the farm and needed blog posts scheduled ahead of time so there was no interruption of updates.

There, now that all of that is explained, let's get back to the apple blossoms. The pears had bloomed the previous week, but the apples were in full blossom on this visit in mid May. Whenever the wind blew (which was nearly always), white petals filled the air like snowflakes:

And the lilacs were in full bloom, filling the air with a heavenly scent. Not bad, huh? The air was filled with the aroma of lilacs and with apple blossom petals. And I had this pastoral view across the road from my house in addition:

Here are the house and barn during lilac season:

I walked through the apple trees and looked back toward the house. We'd had a very rough winter and late spring, but apparently the apples, pears and lilacs found it to their liking:

So I moved up for a closer look at the apple blossoms:

Meanwhile, the dogs luxuriated in the warm sun and mild breezes:

I then moved to the other side of the house for a shot of more lilac blossoms with the north hay field in the background:

I looked back toward the barn:

And if you think this all seems quite heavenly, take a gander at this flowering crab in bloom. They looked just like thousands of rose buds

I don't think I've ever seen such a lovely flower before. I wonder if I can root some more. Well, I'll have to try it - or maybe they'll grow from seed:

Right next to the "rosebud tree" was a clump consisting of both a flowering crab and a yellow delicious apple:

But my little tour of the household flowers was about to come to an end and the dogs were waiting for me. So I put my camera away and continued to do the work I'd planned for the day: