Almanack Contributor 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.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Mountain Gardens Galore

A garden in the Adirondacks

By Jackie Woodcock

It’s prime time here in the mountains to witness fruits, berries, and vegetables hanging from lush greenery. In the small towns that make up the western gateway to the Adirondacks, gardens of all sizes are thriving and abundant. There are several reasons people in these small towns choose to garden. Some find it therapeutic and gratifying, with the greatest reason being that we live in what is called a food desert. No, we don’t live in an area strictly covered by sand and scorching temperatures, rather we live in an area where access to fresh food is greatly limited. Thus the action of planting gardens becomes paramount to community health and well-being.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Bigfoot: Real or a Figment of the Imagination?

harry and the hendersons

For decades stories of a bipedal, ape-like creature have been circling the globe and the Adirondacks is no exception.  Native Americans have talked about Sasquatch for hundreds of years. Often considered a West Coast phenomenon, sightings have also appeared all over the Adirondacks, from Saranac Lake in the north to a famous sightings in Whitehall. This creature has many names depending on geographical location of the sighting, but the most common names for this creature in North America are Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti and Skunk Ape.  The one commonality of sightings despite the location on the globe, is the fact that the sightings occurred in remote areas with a large amount of vegetation and that are not densely populated by humans.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

He Still Moves Stones

eater art

As the Easter Holliday nears, over 2 billion Christians here in the Adirondacks and around the world will be celebrating the resurrection and the rising again of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion.  The resurrection of Christ, which is the holiest of celebrations, occurred over 2000 years ago when humanity’s fate stood in the balance.  It began early one Sunday Morning as two women leave their homes and walk out onto a shadowed path on their way to perform a somber task.  This morning promises only sorrow, Mary and Mary unaware that this will be the first Easter.

They are not hoping for an empty tomb, they are discussing how they will feel when they see Jesus.  They have no idea that his grave has been vacated.  There was a time when they dared to dream such dreams, but not now.  It’s too late for the incredible, the feet that walked on water have been pierced.  The hands that healed lepers had been stilled.  Noble aspirations had been spiked into the cross the Friday before.  Mary and Mary have come to place warm oils on a cold body and bid farewell to the one man who gave reason to their hopes.  But it isn’t hope that leads the women up the mountain to the tomb, it is duty and devotion from which they expect nothing in return.  What could Jesus, a dead man offer?  The two women are not climbing the mountain to receive, they going to the tomb to give.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Junco Jig


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. 

» Continue Reading.

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.

» Continue Reading.

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. 

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Winter Weather 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.

» Continue Reading.

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:

and February’s is here:

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.

» Continue Reading.

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.

» Continue Reading.

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  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.

» Continue Reading.

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.

» Continue Reading.

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.

» Continue Reading.

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.

» Continue Reading.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox