Sunday, June 21, 2009

Adirondack Center for Writing Publishing Conference

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) has announced its annual Publishing Conference which will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake on Saturday, July 18, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year’s focus is on New York State small presses.

Topics will include the advantages of publishing with a small press, some of which are –- writers usually do not need an agent; small presses often publish first-time authors; small presses tend to publish writing that large presses ignore; writers have more control over the final product with a small press than with large presses. Other subjects covered include how to submit your work to a small press, a process very different than with large presses, and how to find the small press that is right for you.

According to the Center’s Press release: Presenters include Mary Selden Evans, executive editor at Syracuse University Press. With more than 1,200 titles in print, SU Press consistently earns international critical acclaim and attracts award-winning authors of note. Each year Syracuse University Press publishes new and groundbreaking books in specialized areas including New York State; Robert Hershon, co-editor of Hanging Loose Press, one of the country’s oldest independent publishers. HL introduced the work of such writers as Sherman Alexie, Kimiko Hahn, Dennis Nurkse, and Cathy Park Hong, among others, and also publishes Ha Jin, Paul Violi, Jayne Cortez, Elizabeth Swados, Jack Anderson, Harvey Shapiro, Maureen Owen, Charles North – about 150 writers altogether. Rob Igoe, publisher at North Country Books, which publishes and distributes quality books about New York State and New England. Also presenting is Jeffrey Lependorf, who serves as the shared executive director to Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org) and the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (www.clmp.org), both national non-profit organizations serving the community of independent literary publishers. Lastly, Bruce McPherson of McPherson & Company, which concentrates on contemporary and 20th century fiction, foreign and domestic; and for nonfiction on contemporary culture, art theory, anthropology and film studies, will be part of this exciting conference.

For a brochure with complete details or to register, contact ACW at 518-327-6278 or by email at info@adirondackcenterforwriting.org.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Contemplating Carrots

“Eat your carrots – they’re good for your eyes.” What mother hasn’t intoned this mantra to her children? Well, I’ve always loved carrots, and yet I’ve worn glasses since I was in third grade. Go figure. Still, carrots are good for you, and, even more importantly, they are easy to grow in the Adirondacks!

One of the things that makes the Adirondacks (or at least a good chunk of the region) ideal for carrots is the loose sandy soil. Root veggies need loose soil so they can grow big roots. If you suffer from heavy clay soil, you will have a tougher time growing things like carrots and beets, but with plenty of soil ammendments, you can still make a go of it. Afterall, my parents’ garden had terrible clay soil, it made weeding a misery, and yet we grew plenty of carrots and beets every year.

When it comes to picking out what carrots to grow, it can be difficult to choose. I tend towards heirloom varieties, partly because they have neat names, partly because they have some unusual colors, and partly because I like to support the folks who are protecting our seed diversity. I don’t particularly like the idea of one or two companies owning the patents on produce and making it illegal for folks to gather their own seeds from these plants. But that’s another story. This year I have Scarlet Nantes, Red Cored Chantenay, and St. Valery among my carrot selections.

Now comes the “hard” part: planting the seeds. Carrot seeds are tiny. Carrot seeds are light-weight. Planting on a windy day can be a disaster. They say to plant your carrots in rows two inches deep. This is difficult to do if you aren’t planting in rows. I mix my carrots with my onions – onions supposedly keep carrot pests at bay – but this means that I’m not planting in rows. So, I end up scattering my seeds on top of the soil and then raking the soil over the top. The trick then is to keep my shallowly-planted seeds wet enough to germinate.

Once they sprout (which takes a while), I discover that my scattering technique needs work. Vast areas are carrotless, while small patches are thick as turf. This leads to the next chore with carrots: thinning them out. I have always hated thinning my veg – it seems like I am wasting food! However, if you don’t thin, then you end up with runty carrots. Runty carrots are difficult to peel, although they make great snacks for the dog.

So I’ve come up with an alternate solution to thinning: transplanting. I tried this last year with some success, so I figure I’ll give it a go again this year. The goal is to take those thick clumps of carrots and spread them out into the Spartan spots; carrot seedlings are so much easier to handle than those weeny carrot seeds. All I have to do is gently remove the clumps, separate them into individual plants, and carefully stick them back into the ground, doing as little damage as possible to the root.

It’s worth the extra time and effort, however, when late summer and fall roll around and the time has come for the carrot harvest. They say that the later you harvest your carrots the sweeter they will be. Some even suggest you leave your carrots in the ground all winter, digging them as you need them. These pundits obviously don’t live in the snowbelt like we do. Dig them in winter? With what, a jackhammer? Nope, I’ll dig mine before the snow flies, thank you.

The final decision is what to do with your carrot crop. My family always froze our veg, so that’s the route I usually take. Still, I do like the idea of fresh raw carrots in January and February, and with a little planning, you can store your carrots all winter to use as needed. All you need is a deep container of damp sand. You fill your container partway with the sand and then lay down a layer of carrots. Cover with sand. Add more carrots. Continue until container is full. When you want a fresh carrot or six, you simply dig them out of the sand.

OH, and you’ll need a cool place to store your container(s), like a root cellar. I don’t have one of those, so I will stick to freezing my carrots.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

World Bobsled and Skeleton Championships Coming to Placid

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), in tandem with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF), has successfully bid to bring 2013 World Bobsled and Skeleton Championships to Lake Placid’s Olympic Sports Complex. The decision, by unanimous vote among member nations, came down at the annual International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (FIBT) Congress held in Moscow, Russia. Over 100 representatives from 30 nations participated in the event. This will give the two-time Winter Olympic host the final major competitions in the three disciplines prior to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The world championships are held every non-Olympic year. Starting in 2004, the FIBT has held the championships for all of the disciplines at one site. Prior to that, the bobsled and skeleton championships were held at different venues.

Earlier this year ORDA and the USBSF hosted the 2009 World Bobsled and Skeleton Championships on the famed Mt. Van Hoevenberg sliding track. Besides the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid has hosted eight other bobsled world championship competitions – in 1949, 1961, 1969, 1973, 1978, 1983, 2003, and 2009. The skeleton Worlds came to town in 1997 in addition to 2009.

The 2009-10 FIBT World Cup calendar was also announced during the congress. Lake Placid is the second stop on the tour, with the athletes competing November 20-22 on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg track.

In addition to the 2013 World Championships, Lake Placid was selected as the site of the next year’s FIBT Congress. The members from all over the world will come to town in the fall of 2010.

PHOTO CAPTION: Jim Goff, ORDA Director of Events (left), Darrin Steele, USBSF Chief Executive Officer (center), and Tony Carlino, Olympic Sports Complex General Manager (right) stand in front of the University of Moscow during the FIBT Annual Congress. FIBT awarded Lake Placid the 2013 World Bobsled and Skeleton Championships.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Adirondack Bat Survey

What is your favorite bird/animal/flower? This is a question I am often asked, and for me it is a difficult one to answer because there are too many fascinating things out there to select just one favorite. That said, I am especially fond of bats. They are highly misunderstood animals that are actually linchpins in many ecosystems. If more people understood their importance, they might be as popular as baby seals and elephants. Sadly, it often takes tragedy to bring around a change in feelings, and for our bats, that tragedy is White-nose Syndrome (WNS). » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Fly Fishing For Dad, Bird Walks at the Wild Center

A couple of nice events this weekend at the Wild Center. It starts on Saturday with a new “Walking With Wild Birds” series. Designed for beginners and experts alike, these morning walks will explore mountain and boreal bird habitat as well as introduce people to bird watching. Then on Father’s Day, Sunday, the center is pulling together a fly-fishing program with local experts and hands-on opportunities to learn to tie flies and improve your casting skills.

Here are the details from the Wild Center: » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Adirondack Weekly Blogging Round-Up


Friday, June 19, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, June 18, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Electric Rock and a Rockin’ Ukulele!

On Friday in Plattsburgh Ten Year Vamp will be rocking out at The Naked Turtle Holding Co. This year the band has been voted Best Rock Band in Metroland and they won best local rock band in Capital Regional Living Magazine. Fronted by Debbie Gabrione, they’ve opened for some of the hottest contemporary acts, including Nickelback and Gavin Degraw. Their show starts at 10 pm.

Saturday 6/20: The big show this Saturday is in Saranac Lake at Will Rogers, 78 Will Rogers Drive. Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele player extraordinaire, will dazzle his audience on the four-stringed instrument. I’ve watched some of the videos on YouTube. He does more with his thumb than most people do with both hands and he does it with feeling! I can’t wait to see him in real life. If you get a chance to check out his version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and I bet you’ll be hooked. The doors open at 7 and the show is scheduled to start at 7:30. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. You can get tickets online through Lazar Bear.

Also on Saturday in Saranac Lake Sven Curth is playing on the patio at The Waterhole. This is a free show. Sven is a favorite singer/songwriter/guitarist in the North Country from the band Jim. The show starts at 7 pm.

Another Saturday show is being held in Plattsburgh at The North Country Food Coop Upstairs Music Lounge: one of my favorite bands Russ Bailey and Crow Party. Russ plays the blues -whether electric or acoustic you’ll feel what he’s feeling. The show is from 8-10 pm and it’s free.

Sunday 6/21: On Sunday in Tupper Lake, local favorite Steve Borst is back at P2’s Irish Pub. Steve is a much sought-after guitar teacher with a lovely voice who plays his own songs and can boast an impressive repertoire of covers.

Photo: Jake Shimabukuro


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Architectural Heritage Awards Program Seeks Nominations

The deadline for nominations from the general public for the 2009 Adirondack Architectural Heritage Awards program is June 30th. Adirondack Architectural Heritage seeks nominations for projects that recognize exemplary historic preservation work throughout the Adirondack Park including examples of sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and demonstrated long-term stewardship. Past winners have included projects as diverse as a 19th Century Irishtown school restoration, stewardship of Santa’s Workshop, restoration of the circa 1906 Stark Hardware Building in Saranac Lake, restoration of the Twin Pines boathouse on Loon Lake (circa early 1900s) and relighting of the Split Rock lighthouse, in Essex on Lake Champlain.

For more information about our awards program and to obtain a nomination form, contact Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, 1790 Main Street, Suite 37, Keeseville, New York 12944, 518-834-9328 or visit their website at www.aarch.org.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the nonprofit historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack Park. AARCH was formed in 1990 with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the Adirondack’s unique and diverse architectural heritage. This legacy includes not only the nationally recognized “Great Camps” and other rustic buildings but also the many other structures that embody the whole range of human experience in the region. These other structures include: a wide variety of homes and farmsteads; the churches, commercial buildings, town halls and libraries that make up most Adirondack settlements; bridges, railroad buildings, lighthouses and other transportation related structures; and industrial sites related to the region’s important iron, wood, quarrying and tanning industries. AARCH website, maintains a list of endangered properties in the Adirondacks.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is an Adirondack Wetland?

We have a new school program here at the Visitor Interpretive Centers: What is a Wetland? Since I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on this program, I thought it would make a good topic for the Almanack.

Put very simply, wetlands are lands that are, well, wet. That is to say, they are wet for part or all of the year. Some wetlands are obvious, like swamps, bogs and marshes that have sodden ground or standing water that you can see (or feel) every time you are there. Other wetlands, however, are seasonal, appearing when water levels are high, and disappearing in the heat of summer.

One of the Adirondack Park Agency’s responsibilities is protecting the integrity of wetlands within the Blue Line. They have staff who go into the field to conduct “wetland deliniations,” which are essentially determinations of the borders of wetlands. In order to do this, their staff look at three determining criteria: plant species, soil type(s) and hydrology.

The plant part is easy. There are species of plants that are either totally dependent on water (like pickerel weed and sphagnum moss), some that are in water two-thirds of the time you find them (like Joe-Pye-weed and black spruce), and others that are nowhere near water (like sugar maple and eastern white pine). If the area in question has a majority of plants in the first two categories, it is a wetland.

Soil types are kind of fun to determine. A core sample is taken within the test area. The soil from the sample is then compared to a soil chart, looking for evidence of oxidation. Oxidation indicates the presence of air in the soil. If there is no sign of oxidation, the soil is considered gleyed and is classified as a wetland soil. If oxidation has occurred, the soil will look rusty. If the amount of oxidation is minimal, the area is likely a seasonal wetland. On the other hand, if the soil is totally oxidized, then air gets through the layers year round and it is not a wetland.

Finally, we come to hydrology: is there water present? If there is visual evidence of innundation or saturation, you have a wetland. Do you see water? Does it squish underfoot? Is there a line of debris along the shoreline, below which the shore is scoured of vegetation? Are there areas of dead trees, where the trees essentially drowned from flooding? These are all indicators of wetland habitats.

Why is the APA so concerned about wetlands? Wetlands are extremely important habitats. Far too many people are unaware of just how important they are. Over the course of my career in environmental education, I’ve come to conclusion that many people think that those of us who promote the protection of wetlands are merely looking at them as animal homes, but the truth is that while indeed they are imporant for all kinds of wildlife, they are also so very important for people.

For one thing, wetlands clean and filter all sorts of pollutants from our water. These pollutants range from toxic chemicals to seemingly harmless fertilizers, like nitrogen and phosphorous. We know that nitrogen and phosphorous are essential for healthy soil and plants, but when large amounts enter lakes, ponds or streams, the result is potentially harmful algal blooms and excessive growth of water weeds, which can choke waterways and reduce oxygen levels in the water, resulting in the death of fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Wetlands also act as giant sponges. Every time it rains, wetlands soak up the water and release it slowly. This helps protect areas downstream from severe flooding. Look at places around the globe that suffer from massive floods today. Chances are that over the last century or two the associated wetlands have been changed or entirely removed. Without the mediating effects of these “sponges,” the water now rushes downstream, gathering speed and volume, with nothing to slow its progress as it rushes to the sea. This leads to the next benefit we get from wetlands.

Wetlands reduce soil erosion by slowing down the flow. With slower moving water, shorelines are not eaten away, and silt can fall out of the water, leaving cleaner, clearer water to continue downstream.

And, of course, wetlands are vital habitats for fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and mammals.

Did you know that one of the deciding factors for the establishment of the Adirondack Park over one hundred years ago was protection of our waters? The Adirondack region is the source of much of the drinking water for downstate New York. With all the unregulated logging that was done in the 1800s, vast areas of land were left denuded of trees, and as a result, streams and rivers were severely impacted. Some had reduced flow, others were no longer clean as a result of runoff. You can listen to a reenactment of the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention at the Newcomb VIC that lays out these very concerns.

So, yes, wetlands are important and we need to protect them. After all, there is only a limited amount of freshwater on this planet, and all environmental reports these days suggest that freshwater will soon become more valuable than gold. We need to protect our freshwater so that it will always be there when we need it, and this means protecting our wetlands.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Tonight Jazz, Tomorrow Jazz and New Open Mic

Tonight in North Creek at barVino, The Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip is back. Show goes from 8 to 10 pm. A few of the great artists they cover are Thelonious Monk, Grover Washington and Jimi Hendrix.

Tomorrow night in Jay The Bill Stokes Jazz Ensemble is at the Village Green. This is an excellent band that encourages people to dance with their mix of swing, standards and latin jazz. Bring your lawn chairs and a picnic dinner as the show starts at 6:30 pm.

Also on Thursday in Saranac Lake at Grizle T’s ( 53 Main St.), they’re hoping a new open mic will catch on for the summer months. It’s going to be hosted by Bob Mann from Tupper Lake. There will be a sign-up sheet but no cover. Call (518) 891-6393 for more information.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moose ‘n’ Bear Discuss a Recent Sighting in Saratoga

Where moose returns from the track to a wise admonishment from bear. (click for larger image)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

UPDATED: Constitutional Amendment for Power Line

One story has been lost in the drama coming out of the New York State Legislature lately: the Constitutional amendment. In May, before it became completely dysfunctional, the NYS Senate passed a bill that would give after-the-fact permission for a new power line from Stark Falls Reservoir to the Village of Tupper Lake. The Constitutional Amendment is necessary to provide an exception to the Forever Wild clause of the Constitution (Article 14, Section 1). The Forever Wild clause forbids logging or development on the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and that includes power lines. The Amendment requires passage by two separately elected legislatures, which is now complete, and then approval by voters on a statewide ballot this fall. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Farmers Market at The Wild Center, Thursdays

The Adirondack Farmers’ Market Cooperative (AFMC) is expanding with a new market for summer ’09 in Tupper Lake. Beginning June 25, The Wild Center will host a weekly Farmers Market where you can meet farmers and purchase local food grown in the Adirondack region. Market days will be held under a tent every Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm. The market is free and open to the public; museum admission is not required for market related events.

The market grows out of an initiative piloted by The Wild Center and the AFMC last summer, which featured several market days throughout the season. Positive responses by attendees encouraged both organizations to move forward with plans for a weekly market this season. Shoppers found a variety of products – from honey, herbs and veggies, to baked goods, prepared foods and meats – and the opportunity to talk with local farmers about farming in the Adirondacks.

Special activities and attractions are being planned for Opening Day June 25. Herbalist Jane Desotelle will lead a Wild Edibles walk at 1 pm. Addison Bickford and Steve Langdon will play blues and old timey music 11:30 – 2. Local food will be available for sale from the grill, and hands-on children’s activities will be available at a kid’s craft table.

More stories from the Adirondack Almanack about Adirondack food can be found here.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Analysis: Lake Colby Association and Adirondack Council


View Lake Colby in a larger map

News last week that the Adirondack Council plans to sue the Village of Saranac Lake marked an escalation in a long-simmering war of surrogates among numerous interests driven by local and regional motives. » Continue Reading.


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