Well, they say that spring is here, but the eighteen inches of snow on the ground out here says otherwise. While snowshoeing up in the back of the property, I took an old ax handle and checked the snow depth. There’s still two feet of snow where the sun doesn’t shine.
I needed a break this week. The wood stove is once again giving me problems with negative pressure causing smoke to come into the cabin. I would be a lot more worried about this if it was December or January, but since it’s the end of March, it’s really not bothering me that much. Obviously, the stove and the chimney need to be replaced, but now is not the time for that. » Continue Reading.
Well, we had a nice March thaw. I’m not sure it really made things better, but it sure was pleasant to have a couple days of sunshine and warmth. I was even able to let the fire go out for about thirty-six hours, marking the longest period I’ve gone without a fire in the wood stove since January.
While I enjoyed shoveling in just a shirt with no gloves necessary, I was still a little upset at having to shovel. Needless to say, I have had more than my fill of shoveling this winter. The driveway is passable, but not in good shape. The ruts I made when the snow was soft are now essentially the tracks I have to take to get in and out of the cabin. I basically have no say in how I get up and down the driveway, but so far, I’ve still been able to drive it. I don’t mind hiking, but if it can be avoided, it seems silly to hike. » Continue Reading.
There’s a gentle thud as another icicle falls off the roof and lands in the soft, heavy snow on the ground. It’s not that warm today, but warm enough to sit out on the porch and read for a while. I needed a winter hat to sit out there, though the sun was warm when it poked out from behind the clouds.
There’s a noticeable difference in the amount of snow on the ground. It’s not really melting, but it is disappearing. Almost like the surface of the snow isn’t changing, but just sinking closer and closer to the ground. The days haven’t been very warm, but we’re starting to get those days when it feels a little humid out. This is the snow’s way of saying goodbye I presume. » Continue Reading.
Psychologically, I am ready for winter to be over. I like the snow and the skiing and the trips to the gym that I just can’t justify when it’s nice out, but I would really like some nice warm days to come our way. Maybe I’m not ready for winter to be completely done, but I could use a February or early March thaw.
I was sitting here reading the other night, when the radio suddenly turned off. This is a common occurrence, due to the fact that my radio is a “solar” radio. I put solar in quotes because this is what the radio was advertised as, but it is, in fact a crank/rechargeable radio that happens to have a small solar panel on it.
This past summer I spent a little bit of money getting solar lights and this radio. Last winter I had used an old digital alarm clock for my radio. That clock was the same one that’s been waking me up since I was a freshman in high school. It was a good, old-fashioned plug in clock radio that had a battery backup so that if the power went out, your alarm would still go off. I went through a lot of nine-volt batteries listening to NCPR last winter, so many that I had to repair the wire harness a few times. I took that clock radio to the campground last spring and decided to leave it there when I got my new solar radio. » Continue Reading.
Every morning there are tracks in my driveway. Sometimes they’re deer tracks, or the random dog that occasionally wanders through, or like this morning, they’re fox tracks. With only a dusting of snow on the ground, I’m not sure why different animals seem to frequent the driveway, but I almost always stop on my way to work to see who had come through the night before.
I do mean a dusting too. The lack of snow is great for getting things done outside, but obviously horrible for skiing. Last week we got about six inches. I got the plow hooked up to the four-wheeler and, miraculously, got it started. I plowed the snow off the driveway just to practice with the new set up. By Monday afternoon, the only place there was snow was where I had made snowbanks. Good thing I didn’t actually break my finger putting the plow on. It really felt broken when I slammed it. » Continue Reading.
The tea kettle is warming up on the stove so I can have the first of many, many cups of tea today. There’s cough drop wrappers strewn about the table and all of my handkerchiefs are in the laundry basket. I hate being sick.
The worst part about this particular cold is that I finally took a day off from work and had to spend it lying on the couch doing nothing. It was a beautiful day yesterday, with the first real snow of the year settling on the ground. Being in a snow belt, I got a few more inches than most people and if there was any possibility of being able to breathe through my nose, I would have loved to go out for my first cross-country ski of the year. » Continue Reading.
The bottom line: we can market the heck out of Childwold, N.Y. as a tourism destination, but the visitors will stay in Lake Placid anyway.
Marketing alone is not the solution to the sustainable tourism problem.
In a recent post by NCPR’s Brian Mann, he revisits the idea that there is a lack of a coordinated tourism marketing effort for the Adirondacks. He cites the “balkanization” of the region, “with no central governing organization to shape how and where dollars are spent”.
A reader recently asked me what a normal day out at the cabin was like. Unfortunately, most of my days consist of getting up, going to work, and coming home to go to bed. But on the weekends and when I’m not working, I’ve settled into a nice routine mixed with plenty of different chores. No, not chores. Activities.
Pico or Ed usually wake me up on the weekend, so I get to sleep in until about six. After ignoring them for an indeterminate amount of time, I relent and get their food. Then Pico and I take a walk up the Right Trail to the Upper Camp. I check the log cabin that’s another quarter mile or so into the woods. I live in the middle of nowhere, and Upper Camp is even closer to the center of the middle of nowhere. » Continue Reading.
There’s big fat flakes of snow slowing drifting down out of the sky. I just threw a few logs in the wood stove and the small waft of smoke that escaped is mixing with the aroma of the black beans I’m simmering on the stove. It’s a nice night to be out here in the cabin.
Ed’s curled up next to the computer and his tail is leisurely hitting the back of my hand. Herbie’s asleep and snoring on the foot stool near the wood stove while Pico is contentedly laying on the bed. The temperature is supposed to go up a little in the next few days, but for now, it feels like winter. If it does warm up, it will be a nice treat.
My parents came up this weekend to help stack the wood in the shed. Four cords are in there, along with the other four stacked outside under tarps. It’s nice to be all set with heat for the winter, bringing a deserved sense of satisfaction in having taken care of that one aspect. When you live in nature, like most Adirondackers, you try to control what you can, knowing that you can’t control it all. No one knows what type of winter it will be, but we can get ready the best we know how, and in the spring take pride in the fact that we made through another one. » Continue Reading.
There’s snow flying around in the air. It’s been snowing on and off all day, with some sticking to my car this morning, but there’s none on the ground. I noticed the slightly silvery coloring of the pines and hemlocks from snow sticking to the branches, though. I’m glad it’s not sticking on the ground yet, but it won’t be long, and even though it’s been cold, we’ve been lucky that the snow didn’t start flying a week or two ago.
They say that this is the remnants of Hurricane Sandy, which at the cabin turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. We had a wind storm last winter where I could hear trees coming down with a fair amount of regularity, but this past Monday night didn’t add up to much. There was one branch down on my road, so it turned out I didn’t need to bring my chainsaw with me. But I guess it’s good that I was prepared to cut my road clear to get to work. Or maybe it’s not good. I don’t know. » Continue Reading.
The nights are longer and cooler and the daily high temperatures are lower than the summer lows. I’m glad for the solar lights strung around the cabin. They cast a pleasant blueish glow without being blinding. Wearing a headlamp literally all time last winter really got old, and it’s nice to be able to see without one. Now I can find my glass of Maker’s Mark without burning batteries.
Ed got another mouse last night. He can never get them during normal waking hours, only in the middle of the night. So, after work, I didn’t do anything that could be called “chores” or “work” or anything like that. I sat on the boulder that serves as my front step and played guitar. I let all the animals out to enjoy the warmth of the afternoon sun. Pico ate grass and layed around, Ed went out hunting, and Herbie was somewhere doing whatever it is fat cats do. » Continue Reading.
I had a great trip to South Carolina last weekend for a friend’s wedding. Shorts and flip flops all day was a nice change from the jeans and sweatshirts our weather has required. And for some reason, this trip has caused me to think a lot about what it means to live off the grid. Maybe it was all that time spent on planes breathing recycled air.
I’m not sure, but I do know that I consider myself off the grid with no running water, electricity or even indoor plumbing. But I have cell phone service and my blog has a Facebook page. How off the grid is that? » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Dave Mason and Jim Herman of Keene, leaders of the ADK Futures Project. Over the past year they have been conducting workshops, interviews, and discussion sessions with a variety of Adirondackers about what the future of the Adirondack Park should be. Dave and Jim are retired management consultants who ran a small consulting firm during the 80’s and 90’s that helped very large organizations create strategies for growth and success.
The ADK Futures Project was kicked off at the July 2011, Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual event in Long Lake. A year later, after 120 interviews and 14 workshops involving 500+ people all over the Park and in NY City, the results were presented at the 2012 CGA event. It is a pro bono project, using scenario planning, a methodology from our consulting careers. We are not members of any of the usual ADK organizations but Keene, NY is our home. The initial goal of the effort was to broaden the conversation about the Park, involving more people and weaving together the full breath of issues facing the Park. But along the way surprising alignment emerged around a particular future vision for the area. » Continue Reading.
Never in my life have I ever been this excited about buying light bulbs. Seriously, I told everyone about it. This is a great day in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, when I’ve bought lights in the past, it’s been a joy. But ordering strings of solar-powered LED lights was new high. These lights will make a big impact in my existence, especially during the long winter when the sun goes down at four in the afternoon.
My original plan for this summer was to get a small solar panel and a battery to wire so that I could run some Christmas lights in the cabin. Nothing much, but enough so that I didn’t have to wear a headlamp for six months. That got real old last winter. But after shopping around and realizing that I would have to spend several hundred dollars to get a suitable setup, I was relieved and delighted to find the lights I just ordered. » Continue Reading.
Pico. What a lucky mutt. As far as anyone can tell, he is half border collie and half Australian shepherd. Seems good to me, and he really doesn’t care what you call him.
A couple of weeks after I moved to Florida, I realized that living with my brother was the first place I had ever lived where I could have a dog. So I went out and got a dog. I checked the local shelters and there were no border collies, so, I went on to Petfinder. There were border collies galore on the site. Most people think they want a border collie until the dog begins outsmarting them and gets bored and starts destroying things. » Continue Reading.
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