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.


Monday, May 11, 2020

The Waggle: Interpretive Dance of the Honey Bee

honeybeeHoney bee colonies contain three distinct castes of individuals.  Each hive contains a single female queen, tens of thousands of female workers, and anywhere from several hundred to several thousand male drones during the Spring and Summer.

Female workers bees are solely responsible for bringing two main resources back to the hive.  These two resources both come from a flower: nectar and pollen.  These workers diligently search for flowers with the most of these two resources which are vitally important for the survival of the hive.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Basics of Beekeeping: A Labor of Love

I am often asked why I decided to become a beekeeper. My journey into beekeeping came from my deep concern for the fate of honeybees (apis mellifera), which have been dying out in droves. There are very few things that can prepare you for the experiences you will discover with the amazing creatures we call honey bees.

 Beekeeping is like teaching or practicing law or medicine, and so many other things. Until you’ve actually done it and gotten some experience under your belt, all the reading and classroom time in the world doesn’t truly prepare you for the real thing. I love beekeeping but there are plenty of times the work is heavy, hot, tiring, and extremely sticky. It’s vital you do your homework and make sure you want to be a beekeeper before investing in hives, clothing, tools and other equipment – all of which can quickly run into the hundreds of dollars. So what’s the best way to prepare for this rewarding and eco-friendly hobby and be sure it’s right for you? The best preparation you can undertake is to find other local beekeepers and ask lots of questions. 

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Rising from the freeze, embracing signs of spring

Spring is a time when flowers bloom and trees begin to grow. The days grow longer and the temperatures rise above 40 degrees. For the people who have weathered the winter, the melting of ice and thawing of the ground is greatly anticipated.  During this period, creatures who have adapted to the freezing temperatures through miraculous transformations in bodily functions, now rise to an altered green landscape. 

Many people have not witnessed these seasonal transformations, but as mountain dwellers in close proximity to these creatures, a glimpse becomes possible. Making it to spring is no small feat for animals that hibernate.  To humans, hibernation may appear restful but for the animals who hibernate, this state can be arduous. Some of these animals expend huge bursts of energy so their body temperatures don’t dip too low and do it with little to no food and water. 

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

8 tips for staying connected during coronavirus distancing

unityAs we find ourselves in an atmosphere where the terms “Social Distancing” and “Self Quarantine” become common, it can be easy to feel like your world is out of your control. I know here in the Mountains many people have already undergone a form of social distancing due to the winter weather, and are possibly more adjusted to be confined than those who have been living among large numbers of people on a daily basis.

We are products of routine and when that routine is abruptly altered, life as we know can become skewed. It seems as though perception becomes ourstrength, our weapon against challenging times. We do have a choice, a choice in how we view the circumstances and react. The United States is not a stranger to invisible attacks. Throughout history we as humans have been fighting a battle with viruses and diseases and we have prevailed.

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Adirondack Refuge: Where The Wild Things Go

Alex with Zeebie and Cree at Adirondack Wildlife RefugeIt’s no secret that throughout time, we’ve been seeking a human – animal bond. The American Veterinary Medical Association defines a  human – animal bond as a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and well-being of both.

Today we see this drive to understand and be part of this bond from anthrozoology to the average pet owner. The American Pet Products Association says that the number of U.S. households that own a pet is on the rise. They say about 68 percent of U.S. households have a pet, more than 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. People are also changing the way they view their relationships with animals, both in the home, and outside it. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Little Things: Pollination at its Finest

honeybee by Jackie Woodcock

Here in the Adirondacks the stars are our night light, the crickets and bull frogs our bedtime lullaby.

This is a place where the simple things are seen and not overlooked. Mountain life affords us an advantage, serene surroundings to ponder about the little things and the opportunity to witness nature at work up close and personal. » Continue Reading.