Tuesday, December 31, 2013

County Route 50, Along The Deer River In Brasher, New York - Part 1

I was returning home from the Post Office when I decided to make a side trip on County Route 50 in Brasher, a road I hadn't yet toured. It began with St. Patrick's Cemetery:

There were a few neat little homes with decks and lawns. This one flew an American flag:

Though much of the landscape was bare because of a thaw the day before, this road still showed some snow:

There were nice homes with lovely landscaping, always backed up with White Pines and woodlands:

In fact, the houses soon fell away and I found myself driving through Brasher State Forest:

I passed this little side road. It looked so interesting that I backed up to take a closer look, snap a photo and check to be sure this was State Forest land. It was, so I hope to come back soon with the dogs to investigate this road. It sure looked inviting as it wound its way into the forest:

A neat log home with a big barn and lots of White Pines:

A small mobile or modular home, also with lots of White Pines:

This old split rail cedar fence was well on its way toward decay. Since cedar lasts so very long, I figured the fence could easily be a hundred years old or so:

There were gorgeous hay fields - lots of them, in fact, and rows of big, round hay bales:

The road followed along the Deer River, pretty much frozen over at this point:

More hay bales out in the field. The road was becoming more rural, narrower and less populated - but I kept driving. I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Happy, Snowy Walk In The North Hay Field

It had been a relatively easy winter so far with little snow and temperatures which frequently warmed up enough to melt what snow was on the ground. But one morning it turned colder and began snowing in earnest. Sometime mid-morning I decided to take the dogs out across the north field to revel in the heavily falling snow:

They were beyond themselves with joy - as you can see in this photo of Fergus in mid-leap:

We walked clear across the field. I opened the gate and we then began walking into the woods. That pile of old lumber, fence posts and tree trimmings is the result of a full summer of hard work, piled up there to rot naturally:

There was a sort of road through the woods once upon a time, but there's not much left of it now. But I knew where it led, so we followed it as best we could:

Seamus and Fergus made side trips to sniff for Sasquatch invaders:

The brush became quite heavy and the rocks underfoot were threatening to twist one or both of my injured ankles. I stopped and the dogs looked back at me, disappointed we weren't going any farther:

Madeline investigated a little creek. I wish my cows could get to this creek to drink, but I suppose they'd be all muddy if they could:

Clover ran along the creek just to see what she could see:

But it was time to return, so we headed back up toward the open gate:

And the dogs were happy to moving again:

We began making our way back across the hay field:

Madeline ran ahead and wouldn't come when I called her, but I got the other dogs to heel as we neared the road. We crossed safely (not that there's any traffic to speak of on that dirt road) and returned home. We found PeeWee sleeping under my desk, unaware that we'd even been gone. This had been a brief but enjoyable jaunt, the last one we got to take before the snow on the ground became too deep for any more such walks:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chapter Three - The Wild Center!

I was nearing the end of my tour of the Wild Center. This display was about the natural cycle of processing natural materials, decay and soil building. That board which looks like it has thousands of worms was actually filled with Red Backed Salamanders. I wish I'd asked if they were real but I never did:

A Coyote:

"Every night the river sings a new song:"

This was part of a display about high peaks summits and explained the process of how rock becomes soil:

There was a small model of an elevated walkway and I wondered if there was one outside which I might tour:

But no, the elevated walkway is planned to be opened in 2015:

There was a cafe in which to have lunch, and also a gift/souvenir shop:

I especially liked the gift shop. I revert quickly to boyhood in natural history museums and zoos, and even more so in their natural history related gift shops:

They had Adirondack themed edibles, pottery, artwork, games and aromatic items filled with balsam needles:

Adirondack themed ornaments:

Plush birds which sang songs typical of their species:

And lots of puppets and stuffed animals, especially the big favorites of moose, bears, fish, otters, rabbits, etc. But I had cows and chickens and dogs and cats waiting for me at home, so I bid farewell to the Wild Center and began my journey back to the farm:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chapter Two - The Wild Center!

I continued my tour of the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. I was especially interested in the mushrooms, as I so often see and photograph them while hiking. I have only once seen a green mushroom and I don't think it was these, but I'll now be able to identify one if I see it in the future:

There were lots of wetland displays as the Adirondacks is filled with bogs, ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers. Water, water, everywhere:

The displays on the right were about peat bogs and that giant fish tank on the left contained several indigenous species:

Including Lake Trout:

And Sturgeon:

There was a giant Pitcher Plant display:

And all about flooding, shallow water fish and nighttime species:

More about wetlands:

And Brook Trout:

This was the otter display, a big favorite. The swim tank was very large and L-shaped. The part you see here was merely a small portion of it. The happy, playful otters also had dry land on which to live and you can see that over on the right, above that cave opening. The cave was for children to explore:

I took many photos of the otters but they were moving so rapidly that none of them were useable. So I admit that this photo and the next one are from the internet:

When I studied Wildlife Biology in college, my Adviser specialized in River Otters and kept several of them as research animals which, I could tell, were secretly pets as well. I had my photo taken with them and it appeared on the cover of a pamphlet about the Honors Program. But there was still more to see at the Wild Center and I'll post Chapter Three tomorrow:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Chapter One - The Wild Center!

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York is an Adirondack natural history museum which I'd long planned to visit - but never had. So one wintry Friday I drove down to pay a visit to The Wild Center:

The central building was large, modern and beautiful:

I paid for admission and began my tour. The first exhibit was a geological demonstration of the origins of the Adirondack region:

There was a traditional Adirondack lean-to, complete with socks drying on a clothesline. But what was in that aquarium?:

Inside that aquarium was an Eastern Garter Snake, a common Adirondack resident:

There were many large displays of local fish:

And local turtles. This was an Eastern Painted Turtle, but they also had Red-Eared Sliders, an introduced species which now makes itself a home in the Adirondacks. This turtle was close enough to touch and I was impressed by the clever sign which warned turtles that human touch might be dangerous. I thought that a far more effective way to handle the problem than a "Do Not Touch" sign:

A naturalist came out for an owl demonstration. She brought out Luna, a Screech Owl who had been so badly injured by a car that she would never again be able to live in the wild. The naturalist talked about all the local owls and, of course, Screech Owls. Luna was very calm and used to people, and she'd found a comfy, happy life at the Wild Center:

There were clusters of typical Adirondack scenes:

And more turtles in a pond which also had Wood Ducks:


And mushrooms, lots and lots of mushrooms. I encounter them frequently while hiking and have been fascinated by their colors and variety. You may recognize the one on the left as the subject of many photos in former blog posts. But there was still a lot more to see at the Wild Center and post Chapter Two tomorrow: