Elen Rathbone will be away on vacation for a couple of weeks so we’ve asked Jackie Donnelly, who writes the Saratoga Woods and Waterways blog, to fill in. She’ll be posting Ellen’s columns under the name Woodswalker beginning Sunday.
Jackie is a former editor/writer recently retired after 15 years as a Hospice nursing assistant. She’s not a professional naturalist (she majored in English), but a self-described “lifelong nature enthusiast and wildflower nerd.” She also says she is an admirer of Ellen Rathbone, whose blog inspired her to start her own on January 1 of this year, she says “hoping to document a full year’s cycle of the beautiful wilderness settings and amazing diversity of flora and fauna close to my home in Saratoga Springs.” Liberated from land by her Hornbeck canoe, she primarily haunts the Hudson River where it forms the northern boundary of Saratoga County, with occasional forays into the “genuine” Adirondacks.
The Adirondack Shakespeare Company will celebrate its inception by presenting Hungry Will’s Variety Hour at the historical Scaroon Manor Amphitheater on the west shore of Schroon Lake at 3 PM this Saturday, August 1, 2009. The 500-seat outdoor Greek style amphitheater, which has been dormant for the past 50 years, is located on the grounds of the Scaroon Manor Day Use Area which reopened to the public in 2006. According to a DEC it’s the “first new recreational facility constructed in the Adirondack Forest Preserve since 1977.” ADK Shakespeare is a company conceived by Patrick Siler and Tara Bradway to bring professional productions of classic plays to the Adirondack region. Hungry Will’s Variety Hour will feature a select group of actors drawn from across the country performing scenes, songs, and speeches from Shakespeare and other great dramatic authors.
ADK Shakespeare utilizes an approach to classical performance where all non-essentials are stripped away and the language of the playwright takes center-stage. Actors prepare their roles individually, and with only one day of rehearsal, present the full production. “Because even the company is unsure of exactly what will happen, the performances are authentic, dynamic, compelling, and unlike most anything you are used to seeing in the theater,” according to Siler. “Our goal is to discover the play for the ﬁrst time with the audience present, and together create a world by mixing the raw materials of the author’s language with the catalyst of the audience’s imagination”.
There will be one performance only: Saturday, August 1 at 3:00 p.m. with a rain-date of Sunday, August 2. This event is FREE with paid admission to the Scaroon Manor Day Use Facility, although donations are appreciated. Reservations are not necessary, but can be made by emailing email@example.com.
Tonight at St. Bernards Church in Saranac Lake the Elegua Duo performs from 8 – 9:30 pm. Classical musicians, Claire Black and Ginevra Ventre, pianist and cellist respectively, will be recording for NCPR. Some of the composers they embrace are Beethoven, Chopin and Britten. They will then be in Westport on Friday from 7:30 – 9 pm for the Essex Community Concert Series and Blue Mountain Lake for an interactive children’s workshop. The workshop will be held at The Adirondack Center for The Arts from 3:30 – 5 pm.
Also tonight in Saranac Lake at 6:30 pm, pianist and accordionist Radoslav Lorkovic is going to be in Berkley Square. He is so accomplished – throwing different styles of music into his original compositions; classical, blues, swing and zydeco to name a few. I’m excited that he’s in town and changed my plans to be at his concert. Tonight in Westport at Ballard Park, Meadowmount Classical presents an evening of Chamber music at 7 pm. As a child my folks used to take me to Meadowmount concerts and despite being antsy on occasion, I loved going. They gave me a deep appreciation and understanding of classical music even though I haven’t studied it formally. I also think those concerts helped teach patience and respect for the silent moments in music and therefore in life.
Tonight, last but not least, at the Elizabethtown gazebo; Larry Stone, Julie Robards and Max Van Wie will be playing at 7 pm. Julie is a great bluegrass musician, you can catch her with the band Stacked Deck (which Larry is also part of) and Larry plays some great blues/swing/country with his band Stoneman Blues Band. They’re so talented individually that as a duo they must put on a good show. If you miss them tonight, catch them tomorrow from 7 – 9 pm at the Deers Head Inn also in Elizabethtown.
In Saranac Lake on Friday at the Waterhole Pie Boys Flat begins at 10 pm. It’s Rugby Weekend so you know it’s going to be crazy. I listened to these guys online and I think they’ll do a fine job keeping everyone pumped and jumping with their blend of reggae, funk and rock.
Also on Friday in Plattsburgh Crow Party is playing at the Monopole at 10 pm. A great hard-hitting blues band as far as I’m concerned – my only complaint with these guys is that even though they purposely compose short songs, I sometimes wish they’d just keep playing. When the groove is really working and people are up and dancing more of the same is better than fine, it’s fantastic. Russ Bailey, Franz Pope and Matt Rabideau are all excellent musicians! Call 563-2222 for more information.
On Saturday Blues For Breakfast is playing at North Creek Station and is a Jerry Garcia tribute band. August 1st also happens to be Jerry Garcia’s birthday. I found out about this show from Nate Pelton’s website adkmusic.com. Thanks, Nate!
Looking into next week: On Monday, August 3rd at 11 am, Earthtunes will put on a interactive performance for children and adults at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Playing mandolin, viola and guitars, Steve Mayone and Barb Herson use different musical styles to teach their audiences about the environment and how to care for it.
On Tuesday, August 4th, The Pines Inn Songs at Mirror Lake series continues with Spiritual Rez. A 7-piece funky reggae band is giving a free 7 pm concert a Mid’s Park in Lake Placid. These concert are usually of a very high quality and excellent. I like what i’ve been listening to online of these guys.
There is an interesting story over at WNBZ updating the more then 100-year-old dispute between owners of about 1,000 acres in the Hamlet of Raquette Lake, once a part of Township 40, and the State of New York. The dispute is a confusing mess of claims and counter claims, but it looks like there may be a resolution in the works. Of course any deal will require another Forest Preserve land swap and associated Constitutional Amendment. There is a nice recounting of the history of the dispute here.
Representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Town of Long Lake, Raquette Lake residents, state legislators and several environmental groups are back at the negotiation table in an attempt to end the land dispute once and for all. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is presenting a free lecture Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Community Church, in Essex. “From Great Camps to Skyscrapers: Rediscovering the Remarkable Architecture of Robert H. Robertson,” will be presented by Daniel Snydacker, Ph.D., executive director, Pequot Library, Southport, CT, and architectural historian.
Robert H. Robertson, the architect of Camp Santanoni, and Shelburne Farms in Vermont, was born in Philadelphia in 1849 and did his training with other, well-known American architects. He did not go to Europe to study at schools such as Les Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris as did his contemporaries Richard Morris Hunt and others. This non-academic training is clearly evident in much of his work which is profoundly American in so many ways. Robertson led the way in the development of several important categories of American architecture. He competed successfully with the greatest architects of the late 19th century and, in some of his work, anticipated the greatest architects of the 20th century. Ironically, Robertson has dropped out of sight among those who study American architectural history. Unfortunately, his papers and drawings apparently have been lost and this may account for the lack of interest among scholars. Many of his buildings survive, however, and they bear eloquent testimony to the skill and creativity of their designer.
Robertson worked in a broad swath down the East Coast from the Adirondacks, to Tuxedo Park, through the Berkshires, into both Southport and Newport, and then, with a flourish, he designed a string of handsome, groundbreaking tall office buildings and churches right down the middle of Manhattan. His commissions reached as far West as Ohio and included several lovely homes in New Jersey and on Long Island.
Robertson’s architecture is human in scale. His had an unerring, firm control of massing. His roof lines are breathtakingly strong and powerful. He demonstrates a mastery of detail which he exercises with an often playful eclecticism that reflects the influence of William Morris, John Ruskin, and others in the arts and craft movement. The more one sees of his work, the more one recognizes his genius. The lecture will help put his local buildings into a broader context by circling out past the rest of his work and coming back again to understand the true importance of Santanoni and Shelburne Farms.
This last winter one of our local residents came in with a photograph of the strangest looking tracks in the snow. There were no distinct foot prints, and no well-defined gait pattern. What it looked like was a beautiful serpentine zig-zagging design; it reminded me of rickrack. And it looked familiar. I grabbed one of my tracking books and quickly thumbed through. Sure enough, there it was: porcupine tracks. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) held three public hearings in July regarding proposals to classify and reclassify state lands and water involving the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area, Round Lake Wilderness Area, Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River. These areas are located in the northwest part of the Adirondack Park in Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties. The Agency will hold an additional hearing on August 10, 2009 at its Ray Brook headquarters and will continue to accept written public comments through August 28,2009. » Continue Reading.
There are several interesting upcoming Keene Valley Library Adirondack History Lectures (beginning tonight) that will include Adirondack writer Andy Flynn, historian Fran Yardley, and NCPR journalist Brian Mann. The full schedule details are below.
A unique Adirondack treasure, the Keene Valley library was created in 1885 with an initial gift of $200.00 and a collection of just 167 volumes. Today the library holds more than 20,000 items thanks in part to members of the Keene Valley Library Association, organized in 1891. The library building was completed in 1896 and the organization was granted a charter in 1899. The Library has been expanded several times over the years beginning with the addition of a childrens’ room in 1923 and a fireproof room to hold the historical collection in 1931 which includes the Archives of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The library also includes a small collection of 19th and early 20th century landscape paintings which hang in the main reading room. They have been selectively chosen to reflect the tradition of artists finding inspiration in the High Peaks.
Adirondack Lecture Series:
Fran Yardley: A Photo Presentation: Stories and History of the Bartlett Carry Club on Upper Saranac Lake Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 PM Fran will present a portion of the wealth of material she has discovered as she researches the history of Bartlett Carry on Upper Saranac Lake from 1854 to 1985 for her upcoming book. Bartlett Carry is a short portage from Upper Saranac to Middle Saranac Lake, part of the historic transportation route from Old Forge to Saranac Lake used for centuries. Photographs date back to pre-1890. Spend an evening diving into this rich history. Bring stories of your own about this venerable, historic spot in the Adirondacks.
Andy Flynn: Turning Points in Adk History Monday Aug. 3 at 7:30 PM Andy is the educator at the Visitor’s Interpreter Center in Paul Smiths. He is the author of Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, a series of books with stories based on artifacts found in storage and on exhibit in the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. His books will be available for purchase and Andy will do book signings.
Brian Mann: Ten Years at the NCPR News Bureau Monday, Aug.10 7:30 preceded by dessert reception at 6:00 Brian Mann, News Reporter and Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio. Brian moved from Alaska to the North Country in 1999 to help launch NCPR’s News Bureau. Brian is a frequent contributor to NPR and writes regularly for regional magazines including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer.
The weekly Wet and Wild Wednesday freestyle pool show continues tomorrow (July 29) at the Olympic Jumping Complex. The freestyle and aerial athletes launch up to 60-feet into the air off of the kickers where they execute a series of spins, twists and flips before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool. Athletes of all levels – from the beginner to World and Olympic champions – train at this site, which has one of only two pools in the U.S. where freestylers are able to perfect their moves. Current athletes training in Lake Placid include U.S. and World Champion Ryan St. Onge, and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Vladimir Lebedev from Russia – both of whom have their eyes on the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. U.S. Ski Team members Matt DePeters and Ashley Caldwell as well as Russian Anton Sannikov are all spending the summer at the freestyle training center hoping to make their respective Olympic teams. The show begins at 1 pm. At Wet and Wild Wednesday visitors have a chance to win prizes, learn more about the sport of freestyle and get autographs. Athletes demonstrate training techniques on the trampoline during breaks in the jumping. Spectators can ride the chairlift from the Base Lodge to the bottom of the 120-meter ski jump tower. From there, guests may take the enclosed elevator up 26-stories to the Sky Deck and experience the view of the Adirondack High Peaks and surrounding area.
Admission is $14 for adults and $8 for juniors and seniors. The price includes entry to the competition as well as the chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck. A one-time entry into the jumping site is included with the purchase of a $29 Olympic Sites Passport. The passports can be acquired at any ORDA venue, as well as the ORDA Store on Main Street in Lake Placid. Food and drinks are offered for sale.
On Saturday, August 1, 2009 the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake will celebrate all things canine. “Dog Days of Summer” will return for a third season with a variety of dog demonstrations, programs, and activities. All dogs are welcome when accompanied by well-behaved owners.
The event will include a few simple rules and regulations for doggies and their people: dogs must be leashed at all times; owners must clean up after their pets – special bags will be available; dogs will only be allowed on the grounds – not in the exhibit buildings; Doggie Day Care will be available throughout the day at no charge, with the understanding that dogs cannot be left for more than an hour; poorly behaved or aggressive dogs will be asked to leave the museum grounds with their owners. “Dog Days” demonstrations will include “Dancing With Dogs” at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on the museum’s main lawn. Join members of the Adirondack High Peaks Training Club for Canine Freestyle behaviors, Solo Freestyle performances, a Formation Dance routine, and a Square Dance. Whether you have two feet or four paws, this fun-loving group of dogs and owners will get you moving!
The “JAZZ Agility Group,” featuring a variety of dogs going through their paces on an agility/obstacle course featuring hurdles, weave poles, and tunnels, will demonstrate at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Adirondack Museum Curator Hallie E. Bond will offer a Brown Bag Lunch program in the Mark W. Potter Education Center at 12:00 noon entitled “Historic Hounds: A Ruff Account of Dogs in the Adirondacks.” The presentation will showcase a portion of the more than 800 historic photographs of dogs in the museum’s collection. Dogs are welcome in the Education Center.
Nationally recognized Adirondack folksinger and storyteller Chris Shaw will share songs and a few humorous stories about man’s best friend in two short sets at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Shaw has released nine recordings: his 1988 debut album, Adirondack, has been inducted into the Library of Congress Folk Archive. He has appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Old Songs Folk Festival, and the Chautauqua Institute, as well as music halls, festivals, and coffee houses across the United States and Europe.
From 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. “Doggy Booths” featuring working dogs, including the Champlain Valley K-9 Search and Rescue Dogs, will be open. Dog owners will answer questions about training, care, and the work of their dogs.
Museum visitors and their pets are invited to participate in the Rustic Agility Course from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and join the Pooch Parade, a who’s who of dog breeds at 2:30 p.m.
This year the Adirondack Museum will support the work of the Tri-Lakes Humane Society, a no-kill shelter caring for stray and unwanted domestic animals, by holding a collection drive as part of the “Dog Days of Summer” festivities. Visitors are asked to bring a donation of food, toys, or cleaning supplies to the museum. A drop-off spot will be located in the Visitor Center. Needed items include: Science Diet puppy and dog food, Kong and Jolly toys, dog beds, biscuits and jerky treats for dogs of any size, Clorox bleach, paper towels, toilet paper, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and large, heavy-duty garbage bags. The museum will deliver donations to the shelter.
The Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy gets a lot of attention when it completes a landscape-scale protection deal like the 161,000-acre Finch Pruyn purchase, or when it buys a place with a hallowed name like Follensby Pond.
But for decades it has also been working among the little farms and forests of the Champlain Valley with a larger picture in mind. “The goal is to provide safe passage for species—a way for a moose, say, to go from the Adirondacks to Vermont with little risk of being struck by a car, or a salmon to make it far enough upstream to spawn without being blocked by a dry culvert,” Michael Carr, executive director of the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, said in a press release Monday. “Where are the most important habitat linkages and how do we work do we protect them? To date, we’ve raised several hundred thousand dollars in grants for this initiative in the Champlain Valley, which is a critical piece of a larger effort.” » Continue Reading.
It’s been two and a half months since a Border Patrol checkpoint was last staffed on the Adirondack Northway, but the federal agency says the North Hudson post is still in operation, though more sporadically than after it was established in 2002.
The checkpoint is temporarily down because the New York State Department of Transportation is doing roadwork in the section of I-87 southbound between Exits 30 and 29, says David Matzel, public information officer for the United States Border Patrol sector in Swanton, Vermont, which covers five northern New York counties. The post was last manned on May 11, Matzel says. Its infrequent use of late has nothing to do with budgeting, he says. Authorities decide to staff it “based on intelligence,” he explains. The intelligence pertains “only to immigration and terrorist activity. . . . Anything else we get past immigration is just a factor of someone trying to run drugs through there at the wrong time.”
The checkpoint has netted a lot of marijuana and ecstasy in its lifetime. The questioning stop was instituted in reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Four motorists were killed when a tractor trailer rammed into a line of cars there in 2004. Since then, officials have added rumble strips and other safety measures designed to better warn motorists to stop.
This is the last week of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s family road trip comedy Leaving Iowa by Tim Clue and Spike Manton at the Charles R. Wood Theater in downtown Glens Falls. The show runs through Saturday, August 1. All performances are at 8:00pm. Tickets are $29 plus applicable service fees and may be purchased online at www.ATFestival.org, over the phone at 518-874-0800, or in person at the Wood Theater Box Office. Laughable memories of family road trips fill this sentimental comedy about a man returning home to find a final resting place for his father’s ashes. As he searches for the perfect spot to scatter the ashes, he relives the boyhood summer vacations he and his sister spent trapped in the family station wagon headed to uninteresting historical sites with their determined and well-meaning father.
The Chicago Sun-Times called the show “a comedy with a surprisingly deep soul.” Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune says Leaving Iowa has “genuine charm and humility. It knows what it is — a simply structured homegrown comedy and a celebration of the oft-unappreciated parenting skills of the so-called Greatest Generation.”
ATF Producing Artistic Director, Mark Fleischer, says he selected the script because of its universal appeal and connection to summer in our area. “Our region is a vacation destination and everyone has spent time as a kid trapped in the back seat of the family car wondering when they would reach their intended destination. Others have been the parents in the front seat answering that constant inquiry, ‘are we there yet?’
The cast includes: Martin LaPlatney (Dad), Dan Colman (Don), Susan Wands (Mom), Sarah Marcus (Sis), Bill Bowers (multiple character guy) and Stephanie Cozart (multiple character gal).
ATF’s production is headed by director Scott Illingworth. The design team includes Michael Locher (sets), Antonia Ford-Roberts (costumes), Ryan Gastelum (sound) and Jason Kantrowitz (lighting). Kantrowitz, a Broadway and international lighting designer originally from Glens Falls, has returned home for the third summer in a row to design lights for ATF.
Attached photos by James Shubinski featuring Dan Coleman (Don), Martin LaPlatney (Dad), Sarah Marcus (Sis) and Susan Wands (Mom)
Earlier this year we had a visitor in who was telling me how she had submitted a floral arrangement at a garden show only to have it rejected because it had bee balm in it and bee balm was a protected plant in New York State. “What?!?” I said. “Bee balm’s not protected; it grows like a weed in my gardens!” “Oh, but it is,” she claimed. I promptly grabbed a copy of New York State’s Protected Plant List (put out by the Department of Environmental Conservation), and sure enough, bee balm (Monarda didyma), aka: Oswego Tea, is protected. In truth, this plant is not yet an endangered species, nor is it threatened. It is, however, listed as exploitably vulnerable, which means it is “likely to become threatened in the near future throughout all or a significant portion of [its range] within the state if causal factors continue unchecked.” As I stand there and stare at my flower beds, which are slowly being swallowed up by bee balm, I find this hard to imagine.
New York is home to five species of Monarda: basil-balm (M. clinopodia), bee-balm/Oswego tea (M. didyma), wild bergamot/horsemint (M. fistulosa), bee-balm/purple bergamot (M. media), and dotted horsemint (M. punctata). Of these five, only one (basil-balm) is non-native, yet at the same time it is listed as rare.
Two of my gardens are a sea of red: bee balm that has gotten out of control. Still, the hummingbirds like it, and that’s why I planted it. What I have yet to discover is why this one is so aggressive, while the other varieties I have planted have obligingly stayed in their private little clumps: the pale purple wild bergamot, which blooms late in the season, the lovely pink one, which is only just now budding, and the scrawny white one, although I’ve got my eye on this one because it seems to be slowly spreading (I’m just now thinking it might be basil-balm). I had a deep magenta variety which also spread, but I haven’t seen much of that one lately; it could be I dug it all up and gave it away.
Most bee balms that you find in nurseries today are hybridized varieties, which come in all sorts of colors and fancy names. Domesticated. The only problem I have found with these is that many are prone to powdery mildew, which doesn’t seem to harm the plants much, but it sure looks awful. My phlox are also susceptible to the mildew, but I’m not too keen on the white phlox, so I don’t feel too badly when I pull out contaminated plants.
Since I’ve sort of made it a mission to promote native flowers in my gardens, I guess I don’t mind too much that the bee balm is thriving, especially now that I know it is a protected plant. Maybe I’ll start offering it to the State for reclamation plantings!
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