Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring in the Adirondacks

Loon Lake by Shannon HoulihanAlthough, we had some snow last night, the temperature is rising in the Adirondacks, the snow is melting, and the sap has been flowing. The natural world around us is starting to wake up; spring is finally on its way.

In Schroon Lake, we have witnessed the increased activity of the wildlife and the beginning of ripening buds on trees. We have been visited by energetic red squirrels, a vole, shrew, and many birds, flocking to our backyard feeder. Although squirrels, voles and shrews don’t hibernate, their increased activity is a sign that breeding will take place soon. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Tips for Starting Garden Plants Now

starting-seeds-indoorsBased on recent excavations in northern New York State, archeologists have reached a stunning conclusion. Apparently, beneath layers of snow and ice there may still be “soil” in our region. It’s been so long since the presence of soil was confirmed, many people had begun to doubt its continued existence.

With the issue of object impermanence resolved, gardeners can get ready to start seeds indoors. If you’re new at this, the materials list can be perplexing. You’ll need to scrounge up the right amounts of light, warmth, drainage, timing and sanitation. Seeds would be helpful, too. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Winter To Spring In A Bear Cub’s Den

TOS_BlackBearBabiesThe forest is going through a seasonal transition, at a leisurely pace, and often invisibly. Bear cubs, for example, are maturing in hidden dens that we might pass right by.

Black bear (Ursus americanus) cubs are born in mid-January to early February. The newborns are blind, deaf, and toothless, and covered with hair so fine they appear bald. They weigh about a half a pound and are the size of small squirrels. Barely able to crawl, they sense the heat from their mother’s sparsely furred belly and find their way to her protective warmth. She nurses often, shifting position to assist them and to avoid rolling onto them. Her milk is a protein-rich twenty percent (or more) fat. (Human milk, by comparison, is about four percent fat.) » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Houseplants Can Thrive With Attention Now


6214PothosIvy3004The days are getting noticeably longer now, and even though our snow-covered gardens are weeks away from spring planting, my houseplants have noticed the difference and are starting to put out some new growth. March is a good time to direct my yearning to garden towards my houseplants while I wait for spring to arrive outdoors.

During the depths of winter most houseplants go into a slowed state of growth, so pruning or dividing them then would not be such a good idea. But now that they are waking up and putting out some new growth, they will be able to respond to the stress of pruning and re-potting with no problem. These practices do cause some stress to the plants but it also induces them to push out more new growth in response, so this really is the ideal time to work on your houseplants. » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring In The Adirondacks: Fiddlehead

FiddleheadSpring is an exciting time of year. The forest seems to abound with new life, radiating with new sights, sounds, and smells. I recently went for a walk to photograph the early spring wildflowers in bloom around Heart Lake and Mount Jo. Heavy winds made photographing the flowers difficult. The fiddleheads on the other hand were more stable and offered the opportunity to capture the brilliant detail found in the young leaves just starting to emerge from the coil of the fiddlehead. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: Emerging From Dormancy

vernal pool at Huntington Wildlife ForestThe unseasonably cool and overcast weather pattern that has prevailed over the Adirondacks for the past several months has impacted many forms of wildlife, especially the cold-blooded creatures that are early to awaken from their winter dormancy. Among the organisms that return to an active state as soon as the surroundings thaw are two common and highly vocal amphibians that spend winter embedded in the upper layer of soil, or beneath a pile of rotting, organic debris on the forest floor.

Within a few days of the frost melting from the ground around them, both the wood frog and spring peeper experience biochemical changes throughout their body that reactivate the tissues and organs that became dormant for winter. As soon as their muscles are functioning again, these small vertebrates pull themselves from the covering that engulfed them since last autumn and begin their journey to the vernal pools and shallow woody wetlands that serve as their breeding grounds. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 25, 2014

All Things Natural: Spring’s Titillating Burlesque!

ed_kanze_spring_burlesqueOur 52nd podcast! Off come the snow and ice that clothe the Adirondack Mountains all winter, and out comes the bare, naked landscape. It’s spring’s annual burlesque: an off-again, on-again process that eventually leads toward summer.

Listen here as I take in the show in this week’s edition of All Things Natural! Thanks to all who have supported our little nature podcast over the last year. It’s been a pleasure reading and responding to your comments. Happy Spring!

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Amy Ivy On When To Plant The Garden


springfrostlgGardeners across the North Country have had a stressful winter, wondering what the sheets of ice, endless snow and sub-zero temperatures are doing to their perennials, berries, trees and shrubs. All we can do is wait and see how things get through. The next biggest stressor for gardeners is going to be deciding how early you can start planting your garden.

I’ve learned to not even try to make predictions related to the weather, especially as it relates to plants. Luckily many plants are quite resilient, so even if they get off to a slow start in spring they often catch up by summer. I have no idea what May is going to be like, and therefore no idea if you should make any adjustments to your usual gardening practices.

Just last year we had a killing frost in early May followed by those endless days of pouring rain that lasted into early July. All I can do is advise you to be ready for anything. Go ahead and plant your peas and spinach at the end of April if that’s what you usually do, but save a few seeds for replanting in case those don’t make it. When possible, plan to make successive plantings and hope that the timing works out for at least one of them. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail conditions are agreeable. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Return of the Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture of over florida (Wiki Commons)The very rapid loss of the snow pack that covered our region has created flooding concerns, curtailed, or completely ended, back country skiing for another year and has greatly improved foraging conditions for our ground feeding birds. Among the avian summer residents that benefit from periods of unseasonably warm weather, and the accompanying loss of snow, is a bird renowned for its scavenging talents.

Over eons of time, the turkey vulture has evolved various features to locate and capitalize on recently thawed carcasses of animals that were unable to survive the winter, and has become one of the most effective and visible scavengers in the Park. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 14, 2014

First Signs of Spring: Skunk Cabbage

skunk_cabbageIt’s spring. Red-winged blackbirds are calling, chipmunks are foraging and flocks of robins abound. Bending down to smell the first subtle scents of crocuses and daffodils, we give thanks that winter is over. Sometimes, we also take a whiff of skunk cabbage flowers, just for the olfactory shock value.

Skunk cabbage grows throughout the Northeast and Midwest, ranging from North Carolina well up into the northernmost reaches of Quebec. The flower emerges through the snow and ice of March in the understory of wooded swamps, along riverbanks, lakeshores, and in other habitats with rich wet soils. First growth is an exotic, crimson-hued, three to six inch tall cowl –called a spathe – that surrounds and protects a spherical cluster of flowers. Each flower measures ¾-inch across and consists of 50 to 100 tightly packed florets. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Late Spring In The Adirondacks

Owl's HeadSpring seems to be painfully slow in returning to the Adirondacks this year. Substantial amounts of snow still linger in most places, and ice continues to cover the surface of nearly all stationary bodies of water throughout the Park. Despite the reluctance of winter to yield to spring, scattered patches of land devoid of ice and snow always develop in late March and early April, signaling the coming change in seasons.

These places of bare ground and open water inevitably attract birds that have returned northward in the weeks around the vernal equinox in their attempt to reach their breeding grounds early and lay claim to a prime mating territory. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Spring Skiing In The Backcountry

adirondack backcountry skiing

Last weekend we got a few inches of wet heavy snow, followed by a week of blue bird days with temperatures well above freezing.  This made for nearly perfect conditions for backcountry skiing.  A telephoto lens allowed me to capture this shot of a skier descending a slide in the backcountry.


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Short List of Adirondack Signs of Spring

"Bartlett Carry, Spring" On the first full day of spring I was cross-country skiing, breaking trail through about 6-8 inches of powder – on top of an 18-24” inch base of snow that’s been here most of the winter. It was warm and sunny, the snow a bit sticky, and as I enjoyed the late winter experience I thought of the ways we Adirondackers know it’s really spring.

So in no particular order, here are some tell-tale signs that it is actually spring in the Adirondacks. They don’t all have to happen – if you notice a few, spring is on the way.

Unlike today, when every little finger of every branch of every evergreen is carrying a couple of inches of fluffy snow, there will be the bright green of new needles on the tip of every branch.

The faded orange beech leaves, which provide welcome color in the black and white winter woods and tinkle and rustle with every little breeze, will finally fall off, leaving the way for new leaves to burst out.

The sweet smell of maple syrup production in the air and you might notice clouds of smoke from cute little sugar shacks with huge piles of firewood. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring: Starting Seeds Indoors

starting-seeds-indoorsEven while we remain snowbound, the days are growing longer and the sun is getting higher; robins are singing, and there’s a good chance spring will come sometime in 2014. For those who still believe in spring, late March is the time to start planting vegetable and flower seeds indoors.

Raising your own plants gives you the option to pick unusual varieties not available commercially in the spring, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying transplants. For kids it can be a fun activity, and for the rest of us it’s at least in part about seeds of change; a sign we believe growth and change are possible despite a bleak forecast. » Continue Reading.