Almanack Contributor Jackie Woodcock

Jackie Woodcock

Jackie Woodcock was born and lives in the Adirondack Mountains. She is an apiarist, lepidopterist, conservationist, teacher, writer, artist, and a co-owner of SkyLyfeADK. You can find her SkyLyfeADK on Instagram and Facebook.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Junco Jig

junco

It’s that time again here in The Adirondacks, and mountain residents know all too well the confinement and extra chores that come with SNOW.  My Husband and I find a great deal of joy and contentment feeding and watching the birds, and there is no time like winter to observe the lives and behaviors of our friendly visiting birds.  One of the most entertaining winter birds is the dark eyed junco.  These little birds are the real snowbirds, unlike humans who are called snowbirds for fleeing the winter temps in search of warmer territory, these little birds arrive in the Northeast in time for snow fall and will fly northward once signs of spring appear. 

Juncos are very social and will gather in flocks that may have two dozen birds or more. A flock of juncos is called a chittering, flutter, crew, or host. Juncos will also join flocks with chickadees, sparrows, and kinglets.  Due to their similar coloring and size, the junco is sometimes confused with a chickadee but can be differentiated by several factors.  Once you identity the differences in each bird, you will immediately recognize who is who and their intriguing habits. 

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

A Different Kind of Lady

lady bug or beetle?

For weeks now, the insects currently clustering in homes here in the North East, are tiny Fall visitors called Asian lady beetles.   These little uninvited guests, ranging in color from red to orange and yellow with black and white markings, are swarming to homes in preparation for the Winter conditions to come.  Both our native red ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are in the insect family Coccinellidae, and although they can look alike, they have very distinct behaviors.  The easiest way to tell them apart is to look for a distinctive white “M” on the beetles’ heads.

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Friday, October 14, 2022

If You Could Save Time In A Bottle

Wendy and Screech Owl

At 47, I have yet to meet or know a person who hasn’t known the sting of death.  Whether it be a friend or family member, loss can be life altering and if given the chance, we would surely turn back the clock and have them back in our lives once more.  Tomorrow is not promised and today seems so short.  Maybe we forget from time to time, but it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that life could never be long enough to save a broken heart from crumbling.  What would you do if you could save time with the ones, you love the most?  I think Jim Croce nailed it with the lyrics of his song, Time in a Bottle, words flowing from the heart from someone who knows what it feels like to have cherished a being we were Blessed to have in our lives. 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Winter Weather Worms

worms

During the summer, here in the Adirondacks the little creatures we call earthworms are abundant and apparent.  For many, earthworms are just a simple creature that are foraged for to utilize as bait when fishing, but they serve many more purposes than this. Earthworms perform several beneficial functions such as: Stimulating microbial activity.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Adirondack Kids column for March

adirondack kids column for march

Adirondack Kids

We hope all the kids are enjoying the newsletter created just for them.  It’s never too soon to teach the little people how to be Good Stewards of Nature and hopefully one day they will want to be guardians of nature.  We have been putting together a nature filled package for all the kids who send in their “Crack the Secret Code” answer.  Can’t wait to hear from you all!

If you missed January’s Newsletter here is the link: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2022/01/new-adirondack-kids-feature.html

and February’s is here: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2022/02/adirondack-kids-february.html


Saturday, February 12, 2022

Adirondack Kids for February


Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Predator-Prey Relationship: An Intricate Balance

predator and preyPredator and prey is one of the most common type of relationships in the animal kingdom.  Animals need to survive and feed themselves, and for predators that occurs through them hunting smaller animals or prey.  Ecosystems are complex and diverse, with many levels and intricate relationships between organisms. Removing any level from an ecosystem disrupts a delicate balance that may have evolved over millions of years.

Populations rarely, if ever, live in isolation from populations of other species and in most cases, numerous species share a habitat. The interactions between these populations play a major role in regulating population growth and abundance. All populations occupying the same habitat form a community. The number of species occupying the same habitat and their relative abundance is known as species diversity.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

We’ll Always Remember Her This Way

Wendy Hall

On January 16, 2022, the heavens opened and welcomed home an angel, her name is Wendy Hall.

She blessed this Earth for 70 years, touching lives where ever she went.  Wendy was so many things, to us a mentor and beloved friend.  How fortunate we are to have spent time and space with her, having known her made us better people.  There weren’t many days that Wendy didn’t drive up to us on the Refuge in her little grey car to say Hello, and share her dreams of what she wanted to implement for the betterment of this World.

Her days were filled with thoughts and ways of how to touch people and compel others to care for God’s amazing creations.  We were birds of feather and we surely flocked together.  Wendy’s love for nature compelled us to use every skill we had for the good of creatures great and small and some of the accomplishments we are most proud of were because Wendy encouraged us along the way.  She had an amazing way of making us feel like geniuses and idiots all at the same time.  God only knows she knew so much more than we did but she never made us feel insignificant in her presence.

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Saturday, January 8, 2022

New kids feature: Adirondack Kids

kids newsletter code breakerAdirondack Kids was created after traveling south to see family.  My husband and I happened to see a newsletter for kids that looked like a fun and educational way to reach out to the smaller residents in the Adirondacks.  Each monthly newsletter will combination of information about an animal here in the Adirondacks with a mixture of worldly facts, art, how to be a friend of nature, outdoor safety, humor and suspense with “Crack the Secret Code.”  If you have difficulty viewing the code decipher sheet pictured here, we would be happy to e-mail anyone a copy.

Every newsletter will have a Secret Code for kids to decipher with the aid of the decipher sheet.  Once your child has deciphered the Secret Code, e-mail us at skylyfeadk@gmail.com  with what you believe the Secret Code was.  Each child that submits the most cracked codes by the end of 2022 will receive a package from Sky Lyfe with a variety of educational and natural items to keep them curious about nature.  The email you send does not need to be long, we just need what they think the cracked code is, age and first name for responses.  Please put “ADK Kids” in the subject.  We hope kids will enjoy the newsletter we created just for them and welcome any comments or suggestions.  Happy Code Breaking to all the kids.

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Friday, December 10, 2021

Woolly Bear’s Mountain Winter Forecast

woolly bear Its that time of year again!!  The temperature has dropped and snow blankets the Adirondacks.  For most of us here, Winter can seem to last forever and any foresight we can get of what to expect, can be welcomed.  Like many other creatures, the woolly bear is now nestled into their Winter hideaway and will hibernate until Spring.

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Remnants Of Life

remnants of life

The Adirondack Mountains is an amazing place to witness the natural lives of wild animals.  With 2,000 miles of hiking trails, there is ample opportunity to witness new life as well as the passing of life.  The mountains are full of the cycle of life as we witness baby animals of various species and come upon a pile of dry bones.  The cycle of life escapes no creature calling this Earth their home and there is evidence all around us of this fact.  Is it possible for death, the dry bones of an expired animal to once again be a part of the building blocks of life?  In the lives of some mountain animals this is most certainly possible and is an important factor in survival as a source of essential minerals.

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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Monarchs: How High Can They Fly?

monarchsMigrating Monarchs Soaring at Unbelievable Heights

Monarch Migration has been known to be one of nature’s most spectacular events.  Every Fall up to 500,000 monarchs leave the colder regions to seek solace in warmer areas throughout the United States as well as Mexico.  Many people here in the Adirondacks are aware of when they first see these beauties in early Summer and when they stop seeing them as fall sets in but have never witnessed the gathering of thousands of monarchs in preparation of their migrating group flight.

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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Evergreen: Not just a term for Trees

fernsIt’s not uncommon to immediately think of coniferous trees when hearing the word Evergreen.  For us Mountain folks, these tall beauties with multiple hues of green are a welcomed scene of color as the last parcels of leaves fall to the ground and the landscape takes on a dreary, stark appearance.  If you care to venture out on a hike, you will find trees aren’t the only plants that keep their lively green shades throughout the coming winter months.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Fall Webworms: Spinning their way through the season

webwormsAs fall sets in, it’s not difficult to identify the tiny creatures called fall webworms.  This time of year, these masses of larva have been busy recreating scenes from sleepy hollow as they prepare to over winter in the pupa stage.

This display of web weaving starts when the adult tiger moth lays her eggs on the underside of leaves in ‘hair’-covered clusters of a few hundred.  Host plant selection is dependent on factors like the plant’s degree of sun exposure, age, environmental stress undergone, toughness, and nutritional quality. For an insect that needs energy for processes like dispersal or diapause, consuming plants that provide a lot of carbohydrates could is beneficial; for a female insect that is producing eggs, consuming plants that provide a lot of protein is beneficial. In the eastern U.S., pecan trees, black walnut, American elm, hickory, fruit trees, and some maples are preferred hosts.

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Butterfly house: Where Humanity and Nature Unite

butterfly house

SKY Lyfe was born out of love for the tiny life keepers, we call bees and butterflies.  As apiarists and lepidopterists our hearts were moved over a decade ago, to research and support some of the World’s most innocent insects as well as one of the most feared. It is our mission to bring awareness to these creatures, in hopes of conserving their lives and global importance to humans and animals alike.

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