Illusions

It’s winter in the north country. So naturally, we headed further north, for our first trip to Canada, in two years.

Are we moving?

After completing paperwork and Covid testing, we arrived in Lévis, a ferry ride away from Quebec City. The St. Lawrence River still had plenty of commercial and ice traffic to watch and we took a few ferry rides back and forth.

Most of our activities took place outdoors and when we had to venture inside, proof of vaccination was required.

So real

But there was plenty to do outdoors and we were prepared for cold weather. We spent hours walking around the city, visiting the outdoor German Christmas Market and tucking in to warm up periodically.

We visited an interesting exhibit in the Musée de Civilisation about merde, more commonly known as shit! It actually was very informative although we skipped the aroma exhibit. Too much of the world lacks access to clean water and sanitation.

Musée de civilisation

Back in Lévis, there was a light show in a park just next to our AirBNB, complete with ice sculptures.

On our way home we skated in the magical Domain du Foret Perdu, or the lost forest, where there were 15 km of ice skating trails through the woods. They even have a Zamboni, so the ice was smooth.

Not smooth enough for me however. I took a face plant where I truly landed flat on my face, luckily in a snow back. No broken bones.

Once home, we enjoyed a quiet holiday. The evergreens were decorated, inside and out, and the geraniums are blooming, despite the snow outside.

How do you queue?

I do best on country roads where I may see another car every five minutes or so.

This thought came to me as I drove downstate in increasingly heavy traffic. I knew I had to get off the Cross Island Parkway onto the Long Island Expressway. I used to commute here in my earlier days and was accustomed to the road and its traffic patterns.

Like a good doobie, I got into the right lane early so I would be well positioned for the exit. Then I became annoyed, and even a little angry, as more and more cars pulled into the right lane at the last minute. This made me look up queue theory and traffic patterns.

Apparently it is predictable and even preferred that you wait until close to the last minute to merge. If everyone got into the right lane early, there would be a crawling lane of traffic for miles. By pulling in late, traffic is allowed to flow more smoothly. And here I was chalking it up to entitlement and all sorts of negative things.

So please don’t honk at me the next time I cut you off in a merge. I’m just keeping traffic flowing. Or as Tim likes to say, zapping you.

In the meantime, I will stick to the country, where the biggest problems are deer, turkeys, and even bears crossing the road.

Past peak but not too bad

This could relate to many things, including me, but today I am talking about deciduous trees.

Fall in the Adirondacks is glorious and brief. Catch it while you can. Cold fronts with high winds blow the remaining leaves off the trees, which happened again this year.

There’s often a rainbow after rainy weather and stormy skies.

And sunsets from the cabin are stunning. It’s nice to be home to enjoy these views.

Home just in time

High peaks color

We returned home and were greeted by the trees just starting to change color. We peep while going about our regular activities, often at high speed.

Used to be an iconic red barn here here
Pretty even at 55 mph
Headed downhill to Cascade Mountain
My “fishing hole” where I have never caught a fish
Fire Island Lighthouse

And finally, a lighthouse. I joined my daughter on Long Island and we walked the barrier beach to this beauty. Tim and I spent one winter on Fire Island (heaven) and this was our backyard view!

Loving home

Friends came to town and we spent the week exploring the Adirondacks with them. I always wonder why we travel so much when we love where we live. Ah well, the adventurer in us all.

We hiked long and short hikes, up mountains, around lakes and through some mud. The views make it all worthwhile.

view from Nun-Da-Ga-O ridge

I spend a lot of time looking down, watching my feet and there is a lot to see there as well. It has been a wet summer and mushrooms flourished.

Back on the home front, I was hopeful I would get to see a monarch chrysalis. Our yard is covered in milkweed. We saw a few caterpillars sampling the leaves but none hung around for us to watch.

But as the DH always says, “There is no such thing as paradise”. Despite the pandemic and uptick in cases, a local music festival brought lots of visitors to town; we got out of dodge and headed to the Great Camp Sagamore.

It is situated on its own lake, which unfortunately was only about 62 degrees f. We chose to swim anyway, Tim with a wetsuit, me, without. I figured I had about 30 minutes until hypothermia set in. I swam close to shore just in case and was fine, but slow for my swim. As soon as I was finished, I got out of my bathing suit and put on wool leggings, a wool shirt, cashmere sweater and fleece. It wasn’t enough. I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t bring my lunch to my mouth. I headed for the shower instead and a ten minute steamy shower did the trick.

I came out of the shower to find this creature on our bed. I walked around it and didn’t see it doing much, then I wriggled the blanket, nothing. Jokester DH had found a fishing lure and thought it would be a nice surprise for me.

We returned home to our peaceful cabin. Now it’s my turn to make sure the bees are fed for the winter. There was not enough honey for me to take another harvest so I put the boxes with partially filled honey frames below the larger brood boxes. I think they will clean them out and move the honey up to the brood boxes over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I am also feeding them sugar syrup. So far I have given them 30 pounds of sugar in a syrup mixture and more to come.

Wildcamera

I’ll weigh the hives in a few weeks to make sure they have enough food to last the winter.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the view from home.

Coyotes sing for our supper

Heard from our front porch

It’s a jungle out there. We hear coyotes most nights, deer snack on our shrubs, rabbits keep the driveway clean of clover and greens, and I am not sure what the snakes do, except cause me to let out a shout whenever I see them.

Fawn feeling right at home
Snake in the shrubs

Summer is flying by with so much pent up activity taking place. But at the same time the Delta variant is surging. Stay safe, get vaccinated.

Wildflower garden

Our wildflower patch turned out to be mostly black eyed susans, which are pretty nonetheless. The honeybees aren’t interested. Our untended field is just as pretty.

Note the cute bee-shed she-shed still standing
The morning glories reseeded themselves

We clearly needed a vacation from our busy schedule. Tim booked a little cabin on Lake George and we brought Sparky along for the ride.

Headed to another swimming bay

We swim when we can and are just chillin’, sometimes literally. I’m wearing a wool cap this morning. I decided to try my hand at jewelry making this trip. It’s another hobby that travels well.

Les Bijoux

It is surprisingly relaxing just getting out of your own environment. There are no overhanging chores waiting, so the mind can wander: watching ducks, looking at clouds, and taking daytime naps.

And there’s always another boat ride on Sparky.

I’m in the honey

My first harvest is in! The process is pretty straight forward but too sticky to photograph.

First, I selected frames that were completely full of honey and capped by the bees with wax. The bees know when the moisture content is just right. I only took six frames from one of my three hives. I “encouraged” the bees to leave the frames with a stiff shake and a gentle brush.

The honey house was ready with a honey extractor, wax uncapping knife, 5 gallon food grade bucket and lots of jars. The wax is sliced off the honeycomb, then two frames are centrifuged and the honey is flung to the sides of the extractor drum where it slowly drips downward. Turn the frames over and repeat, and repeat.

Next the honey, which still had bits of wax in it, is poured and filtered into the 5 gallon bucket and from there is poured into individual jars. The label design came later.

There were about 8 quarts of honey, after the 1/2 cup I licked off my fingers, and it’s worth its weight in gold. Given my investment, that comes to about $275 a quart. Now I know why it is called liquid gold!

Everyone needs a road trip now and then

And this jeep does it with style, with a crocheted wheel cover.

We went to a show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and had some time to explore the Park, take the waters, and swim in a beautiful pool.

Last weekend, we visited Gloucester, MA for a dear couple’s 50th anniversary party. A fabulous thunderstorm rolled through our first night and hung directly overhead for quite a while. Very dramatic. We don’t get thunderstorms like that in the Adirondacks. The mountains catch them before they can reach our “Pleasant Valley”. The grey weather persisted through the weekend.

Next time we’ll be more careful about reading the fine print in an Airbnb listing. The first night, while it stormed, we both rolled into the middle of the little pull out couch‘s mattress. Tim took matters into his own hands and moved it to the floor for the second night. One of us slept beautifully.

There’s a good chance a group of my bees are enjoying their own road trip. One hive may have swarmed. They were gathering and talking about it for a couple of days.

I’ll inspect their hive this weekend to see if there is still a queen present, or in the making. In the meantime, I sampled some of their honey. It was light colored and delicious. I can hardly wait until they share it with me.

Can you carry (canoe carry)?

I have a dear friend who loves the Adirondacks even more than me. She and her family were here last weekend and proposed a canoe trip. Really a canoe circumnavigation of several lakes with four fairly long portages, a nice word for long walks lugging your boat. I think the paddling was about 10 miles and carries totaled about 3 miles.

We brought our two kayaks and also brought wheels. It was still pretty hard getting over the portages. My kayak weighs about 42 pounds and Tim’s is around 60 lbs.

By the end of our seven hour journey, I could barely get myself out of the boat. It was too cold to swim but I managed to get wet anyway. I flipped the boat getting in and dumped myself in the water. Very graceful.

Taking a break
The happy family
We made it

When we got home, we looked up lightweight canoes. But really, I love my kayak, which I bought in 1996. For a long time, I considered it my best leisure investment. So we’ll just have to avoid the carries.