Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Logging History: Lumber Scaling Rules and Tools

log-measurement-1900_0William Fox’s short “History of the Lumber Industry of New York State” in the Sixth Annual Report of the Forest, Fish and Game Commission (1901) includes a photograph (shown here) of a crew scaling and marking logs at a skid way.

Scaling is the term used for the measurement of logs to determine their usable wood content.  When developing tables for log measurements, certain assumptions were made concerning natural variations in diameters (log’s thickness inside the bark) and reductions for waste due to unseen defects, saw kerf (saw width) and slab loss at the mill.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Historic Saranac Lake Events For May

HSL logo BLACKHistoric Saranac Lake is gearing up for a busy month in May, with a variety of talks, tours, and events scheduled celebrating Saranac Lake’s unique history and architecture.

The month kicks off with a walking tour on May 1 as part of Saranac Lake’s “Daffest” Festival. A walking tour leaves Riverside Park at 10:30 AM. The group will stroll along the shores of Lake Flower, learning about some of the cure cottages that once catered to TB patients. The tour ends at the Bartok Cabin, where the great composer, Béla Bartók, spent the last summer of his life. The tour is $5 per person or free to Historic Saranac Lake members. A boxed lunch is available following the tour for $15. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Inaugural Champlain Area Trails Grand Hike May 3

CATSGrandHikeChamplain Area Trails (CATS) will host a full day celebration of community-connecting activities at the inaugural Grand Hike on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The Grand Hike is an “Inn to Inn” walk in the spirit of self-guided inn to inn walks made popular in Europe. Hikers will depart at 9 a.m. from the Westport Hotel in Westport, N.Y., traversing along a mix of Champlain Area Trails and scenic back roads to the finish at the Essex Inn in Essex, N.Y.

The complete journey totals 14 miles, but participants will be able to select from several shorter distances. The hike is divided into 5 segments, with 4 “oases” along the trail from which hikers can start or finish. Each oasis will provide port-o-potties, water, snacks, maps and complimentary shuttles to and from the Westport Hotel, Essex Inn and the Essex Ferry dock. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Whitewater: Paddling the Schroon River

Bob on the Schroon RiverSince ski season ended, I had been looking forward to my first whitewater canoe trip of the season.  The spring showers and melting snow had conspired to raise the river levels to dangerous levels, but they have now receded.   For our inaugural trip of the season, Bob, Horst and I decided to run the Schroon River. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

William Rush Merriam of Wadhams (Part 2)

05WRMerriam1885When the president began handing out appointments, William Merriam was a strong candidate for many positions. In business, he had recently been touted as the right man to head the Northern Pacific Railroad, of which he was already a director. In politics, he was mentioned as the front-runner for many very important positions: Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, ambassador to Germany, and ambassador to Russia. He was widely considered very capable of filling any of those positions, and had another thing going for him: no skeletons in the closet, and no scandals for the opposition to resurrect.

And it’s true: the rival party well knew of Merriam’s qualifications, his intelligence, and affability. His only problem came from within his own party’s ranks—yet it had nothing to do with politics, and little to do with Merriam himself. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: Emerging From Dormancy

vernal pool at Huntington Wildlife ForestThe unseasonably cool and overcast weather pattern that has prevailed over the Adirondacks for the past several months has impacted many forms of wildlife, especially the cold-blooded creatures that are early to awaken from their winter dormancy. Among the organisms that return to an active state as soon as the surroundings thaw are two common and highly vocal amphibians that spend winter embedded in the upper layer of soil, or beneath a pile of rotting, organic debris on the forest floor.

Within a few days of the frost melting from the ground around them, both the wood frog and spring peeper experience biochemical changes throughout their body that reactivate the tissues and organs that became dormant for winter. As soon as their muscles are functioning again, these small vertebrates pull themselves from the covering that engulfed them since last autumn and begin their journey to the vernal pools and shallow woody wetlands that serve as their breeding grounds. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Lake Placid Center for the Arts Summer 2014 Preview

image001(1)Lake Placid Center for the Arts, celebrating over 40 years of Arts in the Adirondacks, is presenting a mix of events for both adults and children this summer. For information on these, or any other LPCA program, visit our website at www.lakeplacidarts.org or call the box office at 518.523.2512. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

John Brown Day: Local Connections to Slavery, Abolition

JB Day 2014[4]Launching John Brown Day 2014, students from high schools across the Adirondacks will attend special screenings of 12 Years a Slave, the Academy award-winning film based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free Black Adirondacker who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the mid-1800s.

Born in Minerva in 1808, Northup lived many of his early years in the region, married and made a home with his wife and their three children in Saratoga Springs. It was there in 1841 where his harrowing entrapment and subsequent enslavement on a Louisiana cotton plantation began.

Eighteen years later in October 1859 John Brown’s raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, lit the spark that ignited the war that ended the chattel slavery that Northup and millions of other people of African descent endured in the United States. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Frank Morehouse: The Return of Common Loons

SONY DSCLeft the farm at 11:15 am; reached Kibby Pond at 12:30.  There were some reroutes since the last time I was here, but I can’t blame my hiking time on those.  I blame winter and junk food.

Ice is not out.  And it’s a good thing because I am not prepared to fish.  I didn’t expect the ice to be out.  I came here for reconnaissance.  Of course I got myself worked up on the hike in.  What if the ice is out?  I’m not ready.  Then, as I crested the hill and saw the outline of the pond below, my heart stopped.  It is out.  I stood there in disbelief for half a second.  Through the trees, ice looks the same as the reflection of an overcast sky on open water.  But the sky isn’t overcast enough.  Ice.  I started down the hill and could make out a darker outline along the shoreline.  That’s what open water looks like today.  My heart slowed with my relief and my decent.

I came here on a whim.  I was hemmin’ and hawin’ this morning over whether and where to hike.  I’m farm-sitting for my cousin in Sodom.  Do I leave the animals for a little while?  There’s a lot going on at work right now, too.  I should stay and get some stuff done.  But I heard and saw my first loons of the season this morning, a pair of them, and that made my decision easy. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cub Schaefer, A Bull Story, And Other Tales of Summer

From left to right - Mathias Zahniser, Francis -Cub- Schaefer. John Hitchcock, Tommy Senate, Tommy TaylorAdirondack summers for the Zahniser clan on Edwards Hill Road in Johnsburg were wonderfully and inextricably bound up with the Schaefer clan. Even these 40 years hence, memories of those years play, as Cub Schaefer told me in July 2000, like videotapes.

Many of those scenes come from summer in Bakers Mills in the 1950s with  The Rainmakers, our young band of avid trout anglers that included Cub, Matt and Ed Zahniser, Johnny Hitchcock, Tommy Senate, and Tommy Taylor. We named ourselves The Rainmakers part way through the summer, realizing that every time we all went fishing, it rained.

The story opens with the whole troupe of us strung out along the diminutive stream through Johnny Robbins old place across Route 8 from Johnny Steve’s farm just beyond the road into the Oehser’s camp east of Bakers Mills. We are all looking for likely holes, meaning a pool deep enough to keep a trout’s dorsal fin from drying out. Willows overarch parts of the stream. All is idyllic until Matt Zahniser, the senior Rainmaker, comes crashing down the middle of the stream below some willows shouting “Bull! Run!” He wasn’t talking Civil War reenactment. » Continue Reading.



Friday, April 25, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, April 25, 2014

All Things Natural: Spring’s Titillating Burlesque!

ed_kanze_spring_burlesqueOur 52nd podcast! Off come the snow and ice that clothe the Adirondack Mountains all winter, and out comes the bare, naked landscape. It’s spring’s annual burlesque: an off-again, on-again process that eventually leads toward summer.

Listen here as I take in the show in this week’s edition of All Things Natural! Thanks to all who have supported our little nature podcast over the last year. It’s been a pleasure reading and responding to your comments. Happy Spring!

» Continue Reading.


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Friday, April 25, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Arbor Day Originated with Northern New Yorker

Tree IllustrationToday is Arbor Day, a 140-year-old tradition wherein Americans plant trees to improve home and country, and it has local roots, so to speak. Begun in 1872 by Adams, NY (Jefferson County) native J. Sterling Morton, Arbor Day was intended to conserve topsoil and increase timber availability in his adopted state of Nebraska. It has since become a worldwide observance.

Morton believed planting trees went beyond improving our nation. He said “The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in mankind.” Rather lofty words, but I agree with him. To invest in trees is to invest in the future; it’s an act of generosity and responsibility. When we plant a tree in our community, it’s possible—depending on the species and the site—that our great-grandchildren and beyond could one day enjoy it.   » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Apr 24)

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This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. The report can also be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

 

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Amy Ivy On When To Plant The Garden

springfrostlgGardeners across the North Country have had a stressful winter, wondering what the sheets of ice, endless snow and sub-zero temperatures are doing to their perennials, berries, trees and shrubs. All we can do is wait and see how things get through. The next biggest stressor for gardeners is going to be deciding how early you can start planting your garden.

I’ve learned to not even try to make predictions related to the weather, especially as it relates to plants. Luckily many plants are quite resilient, so even if they get off to a slow start in spring they often catch up by summer. I have no idea what May is going to be like, and therefore no idea if you should make any adjustments to your usual gardening practices.

Just last year we had a killing frost in early May followed by those endless days of pouring rain that lasted into early July. All I can do is advise you to be ready for anything. Go ahead and plant your peas and spinach at the end of April if that’s what you usually do, but save a few seeds for replanting in case those don’t make it. When possible, plan to make successive plantings and hope that the timing works out for at least one of them. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Event To Recreate America’s First Victory at Ticonderoga

No Quarter Release 2014Fort Ticonderoga kicks off the 2014 season May 10-11 with its “No Quarter” event recreating the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775.

In this weekend-long recreation visitors will experience “America’s First Victory” by exploring this dramatic story from the perspectives of both the British garrison and the Green Mountain Boys, including face-to-face interactions with the historical characters including Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gore Mountain Replacing 30 Year Old Lift

Adirondack Express Charlift at Gore Mountain (Saratoga Skier Photo)This summer Gore Mountain, in North Creek, N.Y. will replace its 30-year-old Adirondack Express with a new high-speed detachable quad. The new lift is expected to offer guests a smoother, faster, and more reliable ride out of Gore’s primary base area. The plan includes a new unloading zone near the mid-mountain Saddle Lodge which will be lowered and restructured for easier access to the slopes.

According to the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages Gore Mountain, the new Adirondack Express will have a capacity of 2,400 people per hour, 300 more than previously.  The lift is expected to operate 38% faster than its predecessor, and to have eight fewer towers and padded chairs for a smoother ride. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Mapping Resources From The Adirondack Park Agency

APA-GIScapture The Adirondack Park Agency has some of the most skilled GIS (Geographic Information Sysytems) analysts at work in the park, and they have also been very proactive in sharing their mapping resources with the public.    I thought Adirondack Almanack readers might be interested in some of the new additions to the agency GIS page found here: http://apa.ny.gov/gis/

Some of the new products include maps of Park Webcams (with links so you can see the live feed), USGS Stream flow stations, and a newly released (Feb 2014) version of their meticulously curated ‘Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map and State Land Map’ that now includes the newly classified land in the Essex Chain lakes between Newcomb and Indian Lake. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fox Conner: The Adirondacker ‘Who Made Eisenhower’

Fox Connor on HorseA little-known forest retreat called Brandreth Park has several unimpressive dwellings and sparse communication with the outside world. Yet back in the dark days of World War II generals Eisenhower, Marshal, Patton and others in the American military headquarters of England and Europe felt it necessary to keep their lines of communication open and flowing with one of its residents, Major General Fox Conner, U.S Army, Retired.

It’s safe to say that most Americans have never heard of Brandreth Park or of this soldier who never served in WWII but who nonetheless contributed to the victory over Germany. Those who do remember Conner, consider him “the man who made Eisenhower”. » Continue Reading.



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