inspired by nature

Sunsets are guaranteed to happen every day, some more beautiful than others. We only have to marvel at them.

The palette inspires my weaving.

I am making more napkins on my table loom. We lost one of the two I made in Maine this winter so now I am making six for home.

My band weaving group is going to meet again after more than a year apart. I was inspired to try a 3 heddle technique on my inkle loom. I had to correct a few threading mishaps but now this will be easy weaving while we chat away the afternoon.

Aran meets Japan

I’m using a Japanese stitch pattern to make an Aran style baby sweater. Similar but different. It seems more delicate and lacy.

Kaleidescope quilt blocks

Down another rabbit hole. I am trying a new quilt technique where you cut 6 (or 8) identical triangles and arrange them into a hexagon. I use a hinged mirror to predict the outcome and plan the layout.

I try to create a little something every day. And keep a sense of wonder.

they don’t call it black fly season for nothing

The season reportedly runs mid-May to Father’s Day (which this year I optimistically thought was June 6). A few of those weeks they can be a real nuisance; ferocious one might say.

Their favorite spot to dine is around the neck and wrists where they leave itchy welts. My neighbors and I wear these Adirondack necklaces and bracelets during the season.

Now to make matters worse, we have deer ticks, the little culprits best known for Lyme disease but also responsible for several other tick-borne illnesses such as babesiosis and anaplasmosis, also nasty in their own right.

Today, I pulled a deer tick off me. I had worked in the garden the past few days and didn’t follow tick precautions. I usually either shower as soon as I am done outdoors or wear tick repellent. But it’s early in the season and I had black flies to contend with so I was lax. No more.

Last night I dreamt lots of scorpions were on me. That thought persisted during the day until I took a hot, hot shower and scrubbed with a washcloth. It was the only way I could be sure an itch wasn’t another tick. I’m glowing!

May’s full moon
Almost paradise

From zero to fifty in one day

I just spent five months with only Tim to talk to. Then we returned to our home in the Adirondacks. Yesterday, I volunteered for a Covid vaccine clinic where I administered 50 doses, and conversed with 50 + people in one day. My brain was fried. But I felt good, I could finally do something.

We wrapped up our time at Schoodic with a flourish. Tim and an old colleague performed Schubert’s Wintereisser to a small, socially distanced, rapt audience. it was beautiful, despite the unheated barn on a snowy day.

I walked my favorite walks one last time.

Our trip home ended with a ferry ride across Lake Champlain, which was so calm it could have been called Lake Placid!

Next island gig?

There was a lot to catch up to at home. Most importantly, my bees were still alive. We had a couple of warm sunny days and they were out gathering pollen. I did a quick inspection, saw new brood, unwrapped the hive and took out the winter insulation. They were quite docile.

Then it snowed and the temperature dropped. Oops. Such an amateur.

This is no surprise. Every year we get spring snow, sometimes as late as May.

So, I will wait and see. And talk to Tim.

Imagine

I am starting to see things again. Not woowoo visions but interpreting reality a little differently. It is mostly centered around bees at the moment. On Deal Island, in the past, the rock formations spoke to me.

When I had to make the decision of which way to hang the door on the bee-shed, this knot made the decision for me.

You have to admit you see a bee flying at you. So the door went up and the shed is finished. My “weekend” project took three months and ran behind schedule and over budget. But it provided hours of learning and much welcomed activity as we moved in and out of PAUSE. I may have a little post construction depression (PCD).

It’s easy to see why because it is the cutest shed I ever built. Tim gave me some bee decor for our 14th wedding anniversary and it is the perfect finishing touch.

Now the bees are sending me their own message. Something about a dog.

My daughter lacked the vision but here it is.

Lake boat

When we sold our last sailboat, Tim thought he was free of boats but I had a vision of dragging a small boat around the Adirondacks and zipping around in its many lakes. Sparky met the bill – small, a little funky, cute as a button, and reliable. She is a 50 year old Starcraft Sprint with her original Mercury 50 outboard. She has already outlasted one truck. Now Eddie takes her for her rides (Eddie because he is an Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer, 33 years her junior).

If anyone can replace a windshield on Sparky, please let me know.

She has been in at least 10 lakes with us. Yesterday we ventured to northern Lake George from Rogers Rock campground. It was a perfect day, warm, sunny and not crowded except for two loons that got a little close.

We dropped anchor off Vicars Island and Tim swam his usual mile, I did a little less and while I procrastinated getting in the water, they swam close and started singing. What a treat.

I swam for a bit then clambered back aboard (actually the hardest part of the swim because the ladder leans into the V- hull), and lounged on the pull out seat.

We wrapped it (and perhaps summer) up with soft serve ice cream. Just what I dreamed.

High Peaks are peaking

We live in a region of the Adirondacks called the high peaks, named for the 46+ mountains over 4000 feet in the area. They have been ablaze with color. People pull over on the roadside to try to capture the colors with their phones and cameras. It’s not always so easy.

There was smoke over the pond on an early morning venture.

Looks pretty drab after all.

Yesterday we wanted to swim but found the pool was going to be full of kids and no lap lanes would be available. Instead we went for an afternoon stroll out back. Holy cow!

Tim blended in quite well with the trees

The colors were stunning. Even the ground cover was bright red.

Next year’s blueberries?

Tim took me to a lookout with great views of our little home sweet home and the mountains. What a beautiful place.

Time to get out the woolies.

A trip to the University health center brought a surprise. A sculptured sewing machine and quilt, three stories high. Perfect fall colors.

Oh, Canada

We had a last minute vacation when a caretaking stint fell through and we had already booked the time off. We headed north to Quebec and experienced urban living and wilderness within two hours of each other.

First stop, Old Quebec City. We walked for hours, ate dinner out every night and joined the other tourists admiring the St. Lawrence River. One night, there was a live piano player (so much better than a dead one) who accompanied silent films on a large outdoor screen. Charlie Chaplin was more funny than I imagined.

I admired the old buildings and use of stone. And surprisingly, the lights.

When we had our fill of city life, we headed further northeast to the Saguenay Fjord. We hiked and went on a whale watching tour in Tadoussac at the mouth of the Fjord.

It delivered! Although we did not see any of the renowned Beluga Whales, we saw lots of Minke and Humpbacks, diving, doing the whale tale thing. I didn’t even try to get any photos. I did get photos of other boats watching the whales.

When the tour company told us, due to the south wind, we were bound to get wet and the temperature was in the low 60’s, we opted for the Big Boat. I took this photo while I was down below enjoying a cuppa.

The fjord and the St. Lawrence seaway are magnificent. The fjord is 300 meters deep in many places and is a perfect meeting and eating place for several species of whales and seals (as our guide yelled phoque). Cliffs rise on either side and sunrises and sunsets were stunning.

Tim spotted this jewel of a spot on our way to Tadoussac and we returned for a short hike the next day. This statue was out a viewing platform overlooking Rose du Nord, the pearl of Saguenay. Perhaps she is Rose. It’s a beautiful fishing and farming village tucked into its own cove on the fjord.

After a few days on the north side of the fjord, we headed south to the national Parc Saguenay at Riviere Eternite. We had the cutest little Echo Chalet. We were glamping! All we brought were our sleeping bags and towels.

We stretched our legs and took a few hikes.

I almost opted out of getting the view from the top. We met a woman on our way up. As we approached the summit, she had abruptly turned around and was headed back down because she had seen a bear.

So what did we do? We banded together and kept walking. To Tim’s annoyance (because he wanted nothing more than to see a bear) I made as much noise as I could. Subsequent research confirmed black bear attacks are very rare – only about 20 in the past 20 years – but the most recent occurred September 5 in …Canada. Oh my!

We made it home to find geese flying west? And a stunning view right from my porch.

It’s always good to come home to the Adirondacks, which no longer feels like wilderness. French lessons begin today.

The little things

We are caught up at home and settled back into civilization. Back to work, banking, shopping and consuming. Hmmm. Memories of Deal Island arrive every day.

There are simple pleasures at home. We have sandy soil and partial sun due to a mountain to our east. Nothing grows very well. This peony limps along but it has at least 3 blooms this year. Pretty pathetic in comparison to some but beautiful nonetheless.

Tim found this little hummingbird trapped in our garage. It spent the night there. He nudged it outside and I made a batch of nectar. I dripped some into its beak with my finger. I couldn’t even see her swallow. After a while at least she started to look around. I went indoors and watched with my binoculars. It was like watching a newborn take its first steps. I saw her flutter her wings and perch up on the dish of nectar. Some time later she was gone and off with her pals to do hummingbird things. I will never know if it is her at the feeders but will imagine it is.

Strawberries are finally in season and delicious. Both Tim and I brought a quart home. Too many strawberries. So I made a batch of strawberry jam in my instant pot. Good on toast, in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and on vanilla ice cream.

On the rocks

In my mind there are six seasons in the Adirondack Mountains: summer, fall, winter, ice, mud, and spring. The one to really avoid is ice. It happens every December and January. We get early snow, then a thaw and sometimes rain. The end result is ice, black ice, crusty ice, you name it. It’s all slippery. And dangerous. Each year there are a few broken bones and head injuries; sometimes even death.

This is our driveway this morning. I keep a pair of mini crampons (microspikes) on a pair of shoes that I wear to do chores in these conditions and to walk to the hot tub. On Thursday night, my winter 46’er ( he climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks above 4000 feet between December 21 and March 21) slipped on the ice on our front step and shattered his wrist.

We drove to our local ER where they confirmed he had indeed shattered it beyond what they could set there. They arranged for us to meet our orthopedist in the ER at the hospital in Lake Placid. The problem was we had to cross two mountain passes with ice on the roads and get there in under an hour because it closes at 11 pm. With some white knuckled driving on my part we made it.

I expected some violent maneuvers to get the wrist back in position but it was all very gentle with traction and weights. Then it was cast and we were sent on our way back home. We’ll know in a week or so whether it remains in position. The ride back home was much more relaxed, my 46’er had pain medicine on board and we were no longer under a time constraint.

Until we reached the last hill right in front of our house. It was sheer ice. I made it halfway up, slid into a 45 degree angle on the road and couldn’t go any further without skidding. Going downhill would have meant sliding into a snow/ice bank, which I had done once before under similar conditions. We were stuck. And it was 1 am, well past my bedtime.

We decided to abandon the car but still had to get to the house without another fall. I thought my socks would stick better to the ice than my Blundies. They didn’t and I had to drop to my knees and crawl and slide, uphill to the car, to the side of the road where I had better traction. Then I walked in my socks to the house. I retrieved our microspikes, brought them back to the car and then we walked carefully home.

We called the highway department to let them know I had left the car stranded. The next morning as I was checking the temperature to decide if it was time to try to move the car, there was a knock on the door. The plow driver had walked up to my house and had a plan. He had backed the whole way down the road in the event he couldn’t make it to the turnaround. He had sanded behind the car and the crew had hand shoveled sand in front of the car. All I had to do was drive forward, straighten the wheels, roll back down the road in neutral and let the plow pass with more sand and then come up the hill. I chickened out and asked if one of them wanted to do it. One did – with aplomb. He slipped and skidded the car so it was no longer at an angle, rolled down the hill and then gunned it and raced up the hill right into my driveway. How lucky are we to live here?

Here are some photos of the more photogenic seasons in the Adirondacks.

It seems I don’t have any pictures during mud season.