Community

It amazes me how a small town pulls together. If someone becomes sick, there are various fundraisers to help the family, a meal chain is created and a village rallies.

We have no real emergency except we won’t be able to drive our own cars anywhere due to the bridge’s washout. Yesterday a neighbor’s friend built a temporary walkway so we can at least somewhat safely cross the gap.

One of our neighbors’ cars is already on the other side of the bridge at the repair shop. It has been offered up as a vehicle for us all to use. Another friend offered the use of their car. Our UPS driver called the house and asked if I wanted my packages left at work!

A neighbor across the road from the bridge said we could keep a car there. Construction engineers were here scratching their heads figuring out the best way to tackle this new development in the midst of replacing the bridge anyway. Obviously we would like five minutes to scoot one of our cars to the other side.

I’ll be able to at least walk to work but will probably cancel other plans. Tim will catch a ride to his concert today.

And why haven’t the bluebirds left yet?

Maybe they want to get their fill of these beautiful berries.

New Horizons

 We have sailed Lake Champlain for several years. A lot of our time was spent around Northwest Harbor in Westport. To be sure, there are beautiful anchorages and mountain views but it’s wonderful to have a change of scenery, which is what our new little red speedboat provides. And we don’t have to spend three nights on the sailboat to get there. (Spoken like one who has crossed over to the dark side, with a two stroke engine no less).

We’ve been to Lake Placid, where we had a trial run, the northern part of Lake George, Basin Harbor, Button Bay, Valcour Island and island camping in Lower Saranac Lake. 

Boating season in the Adirondacks is quickly coming to an end. We went kayak camping the past few days and the thermometer dipped into the 30’s at night. Luckily we were comfy mummified in our sleeping bags. The weather was still nice enough to be on the water during the day and we even took a brief swim.

Although the lean to was great, I do not sleep in lean tos. I have visions of mice running through my hair while I snooze. Zip me in a tent anytime.

We shared the lake with three loons who called to each other throughout the day and night. A perfect Adirondack accompaniment. At home we hear coyotes and they are not all that different.

We managed to kayak through an unlikely passage. The map clearly showed water around an island. It forgot to mention cattails and lilypads. We had at least ten inches of water at anytime, which is all we draw in kayaks. Some areas were so close, paddling was impossible and we had to resort to poling.

The scenery was spectacular, company was outstanding, camp food was passable and a good time was had by both.

The little things

We are caught up at home and settled back into civilization. Back to work, banking, shopping and consuming. Hmmm. Memories of Deal Island arrive every day.

There are simple pleasures at home. We have sandy soil and partial sun due to a mountain to our east. Nothing grows very well. This peony limps along but it has at least 3 blooms this year. Pretty pathetic in comparison to some but beautiful nonetheless.

Tim found this little hummingbird trapped in our garage. It spent the night there. He nudged it outside and I made a batch of nectar. I dripped some into its beak with my finger. I couldn’t even see her swallow. After a while at least she started to look around. I went indoors and watched with my binoculars. It was like watching a newborn take its first steps. I saw her flutter her wings and perch up on the dish of nectar. Some time later she was gone and off with her pals to do hummingbird things. I will never know if it is her at the feeders but will imagine it is.

Strawberries are finally in season and delicious. Both Tim and I brought a quart home. Too many strawberries. So I made a batch of strawberry jam in my instant pot. Good on toast, in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and on vanilla ice cream.

So many new skills

I hardly have time to apply the old ones. My holiday crafting is officially over. Now I am only left with: a birthday quilt, with only a small amount of binding to be sewn; new baby and sibling gifts; a wedding afghan; leggings for painters; two bathing suits for me; and recover a set of boat cushions. Then it will all be about travel projects for out next trip to lovely Deal Island!

Tim gave me a refresher course in the chain saw and I have been cutting the wood down to size for the wood stove and splitting it. My only two compaints are the chainsaw is a little heavy and I need a girlie chainsaw helmet with ear protectors. Tim’s tends to slide down over my eyes. Could be a problem.

Next up are my mad plumbing skills. I replaced our kitchen faucet. Kohler boasts it should be a homeowner project easily completed in under an hour. I guess that would be the case if all the parts worked. But alas, I resorted to eBay and two parts were defective. How did I know this? After my first installation and trial, we had a fountain in the kitchen. At least the plants on the windowsill got watered. After many false starts – under the sink, turn the water off, try something else, turn on the water – drip, drip, drip, I identified the culprits. Luckily I still had the old parts and with them installed, the faucet now works beautifully. There may have been some cursing under the sink in the process.

Yesterday I got to use the snowblower because we had about 4 inches of snow. That got me thinking about organizing the garage. And go to the dump. When Tim mentioned his piano needed “voicing” I put my foot down. I’ve had a lot of days at home and about and have really enjoyed them. We went for a walk at Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. Lovely trails – with micro spikes – and beautiful views.

Here are some shots from closer to home. Iron mountain looked lovely down our road, covered in snow.

And my poor little pizza oven sits across the driveway, unused and looking lonely. I painted a face on the door so when I look at it, it looks back at me. Next summer…

On the rocks

In my mind there are six seasons in the Adirondack Mountains: summer, fall, winter, ice, mud, and spring. The one to really avoid is ice. It happens every December and January. We get early snow, then a thaw and sometimes rain. The end result is ice, black ice, crusty ice, you name it. It’s all slippery. And dangerous. Each year there are a few broken bones and head injuries; sometimes even death.

This is our driveway this morning. I keep a pair of mini crampons (microspikes) on a pair of shoes that I wear to do chores in these conditions and to walk to the hot tub. On Thursday night, my winter 46’er ( he climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks above 4000 feet between December 21 and March 21) slipped on the ice on our front step and shattered his wrist.

We drove to our local ER where they confirmed he had indeed shattered it beyond what they could set there. They arranged for us to meet our orthopedist in the ER at the hospital in Lake Placid. The problem was we had to cross two mountain passes with ice on the roads and get there in under an hour because it closes at 11 pm. With some white knuckled driving on my part we made it.

I expected some violent maneuvers to get the wrist back in position but it was all very gentle with traction and weights. Then it was cast and we were sent on our way back home. We’ll know in a week or so whether it remains in position. The ride back home was much more relaxed, my 46’er had pain medicine on board and we were no longer under a time constraint.

Until we reached the last hill right in front of our house. It was sheer ice. I made it halfway up, slid into a 45 degree angle on the road and couldn’t go any further without skidding. Going downhill would have meant sliding into a snow/ice bank, which I had done once before under similar conditions. We were stuck. And it was 1 am, well past my bedtime.

We decided to abandon the car but still had to get to the house without another fall. I thought my socks would stick better to the ice than my Blundies. They didn’t and I had to drop to my knees and crawl and slide, uphill to the car, to the side of the road where I had better traction. Then I walked in my socks to the house. I retrieved our microspikes, brought them back to the car and then we walked carefully home.

We called the highway department to let them know I had left the car stranded. The next morning as I was checking the temperature to decide if it was time to try to move the car, there was a knock on the door. The plow driver had walked up to my house and had a plan. He had backed the whole way down the road in the event he couldn’t make it to the turnaround. He had sanded behind the car and the crew had hand shoveled sand in front of the car. All I had to do was drive forward, straighten the wheels, roll back down the road in neutral and let the plow pass with more sand and then come up the hill. I chickened out and asked if one of them wanted to do it. One did – with aplomb. He slipped and skidded the car so it was no longer at an angle, rolled down the hill and then gunned it and raced up the hill right into my driveway. How lucky are we to live here?

Here are some photos of the more photogenic seasons in the Adirondacks.

It seems I don’t have any pictures during mud season.

Elves at work

The elves have been busy at my house making and wrapping handmade gifts. There were lots of owls in the house before they topped the grandkids’ heads.

Owl toppers, hats and a shopping bag

No spoiler alert needed because our families already gathered for the holiday celebration. The gang has quickly grown too big to stay at our house so we rented a bigger house and a fun time was had by all. I ate my first fried turkey, 16 pounds in 45 minutes, cooked by my son, and tossed some donuts in the oil when the turkey(s)! we’re done. It was delicious and now we have the best turkey soup I ever made.

There were more hats,

Pom poms were a hit this year

and even a little pottery this year in my handmade gifts.

Snow conditions were ideal and we have been snowshoeing in the woods and mountains.

Snow at home

Hurricane mountain clouds

Can’t get lost here

My elf work is almost done so now I can sit back and enjoy the season.

Things got worse before I was saved by a loaf of bread

Although I traveled for more than 30 hours with only three hours sleep, my trip went fairly well. I took advantage of lounges in the airports and had a quiet place to have appetizers (and a cocktail) at night and breakfast (and good coffee) in the morning. IMG_2367I watched a movie, The Meddler, where I laughed and cried. Perhaps sleep deprivation played a part.

On the seven seater flight home to the Adirondacks the boy pilot said he expected a smooth ride except for some “messy” weather over the mountains. The altimeter said we were at 8,000 feet so I knew we wouldn’t graze the High Peaks, at 4,000 feet.  When I saw him tighten his seat belt mid-flight, I thought it might be a good idea to do the same. I did and sure enough it was a bit bumpy.

We landed beautifully and then I was concerned my car, which had been parked for two months, wouldn’t start. I needn’t have worried about that though because as I walked to the car, I saw the rear tire was flat. NOOOO!!! I’m too tired for this. But I had visions of an ice cream cone from Donnelly’s and powered through. The flavor of the day was raspberry peach swirl and it perked me up for the drive home.

Yesterday was lazy.

This morning I drove Tim two hours back to a different airport, then drove back home, after a roadside nap, and headed to the seasonal farmer’s market. I stocked up on hand dyed yarn, fresh veggies, local meat, and eggs. My last stop was my favorite bread baker’s booth. I had just collected my large bag of bread and switched the bag on to my left arm to pay. A large gust of wind came up and I thought the bag had exploded because there was a loud noise and commotion on my left arm. One of the tent supports, with a long nail at the end, pulled free in the wind and landed on my bag of bread, NOT ME!, and tore it apart.  I feel my luck may have changed for the better.IMG_2371

As they say, Winter is Coming

We had our first snow flurries this weekend. We’ve (mostly Tim) tucked in the house and winterized the tools and watch the sun set at 4:30. 

The mountains had some brief beautiful fall colors.  

   
I forgot to take pictures though.  The deer and turkey were plentiful before hunting season. Now I have to remember to grab an orange vest before I run and their numbers have dwindled. 

  
We picked the perfect day to explore the old fort at Crown Point. 

   
    
  
But a new kitten and knitting and weaving projects occupy most of my time. And sometimes it becomes a tangled mess. 

  

  

Just like world affairs.