Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We drove to camp on Monday to begin work on the room in the basement. There is lots of snow on the ground, somewhere between 12 and 18 inches. And it has been COLD - check out the thermometer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Interesting Exhibit on an Ancient Civilization

I read about this exhibit in the NY Times and am hoping this post will serve as a reminder to me that I'd like to go see it sometime. The exhibit is at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and is called “The Lost World of Old Europe: the Danube Valley, 5000-3500 B.C.”. It is on display through April 25th.

Here is an exerpt from the Times article. "For 1,500 years, starting earlier than 5000 B.C., they farmed and built sizable towns, a few with as many as 2,000 dwellings. They mastered large-scale copper smelting, the new technology of the age. Their graves held an impressive array of exquisite headdresses and necklaces and, in one cemetery, the earliest major assemblage of gold artifacts to be found anywhere in the world.

The striking designs of their pottery speak of the refinement of the culture’s visual language. Until recent discoveries, the most intriguing artifacts were the ubiquitous terracotta “goddess” figurines, originally interpreted as evidence of the spiritual and political power of women in society.

New research, archaeologists and historians say, has broadened understanding of this long overlooked culture, which seemed to have approached the threshold of “civilization” status. Writing had yet to be invented, and so no one knows what the people called themselves. To some scholars, the people and the region are simply Old Europe."

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I think we've now had more snow in New Jersey this season than they have had at camp. And all of that in one storm yesterday. We woke to this.There was so much blowing it is hard to measure, but we got at least 18 inches. And today was our Messiah concert. We braved the roads, which were still a mess this morning (and this evening too for that matter), and drove into Red Bank to help set up the stage of the Count Basie Theatre. Chorus members wandered in as they got themselves plowed out and we ended up with most of the choristers and all of the orchestra. The audience, however, was very sparse. Too bad. Those that didn't show up missed a fabulous concert.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back in NJ

We had a very nice trip to the Adirondacks. We have been trying to figure out why we feel so relaxed when we are there for a few days, even when designing a finished basement. Having good friends helps. We went out with friends 2 of the 4 days we were there, which never would happen in NJ. But also, on these short trips we can escape the mundane tasks like paying bills, etc. We even managed to take so many leftovers we did little grocery shopping or cooking. So I guess it is like a mini-vacation. Now we're back in NJ and have to pay the bills that were in the pile of mail waiting for us, go grocery shopping, etc. Sigh.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


We have spent much of this visit to camp in the basement designing my new sewing room to fill this empty corner.The project continues to grow - now we've decided we need to replace the basement steps too - so who knows when the "after" picture will be posted.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What We Do Best

... spend money. Or what I like to think of as stimulating the economy - that's a good thing, right? Or what W likes to call retail therapy. Today the economy we are stimulating is that of the north country. We came to camp yesterday to start the process of building a room in the basement. It is going to be mainly a sewing room for me - yea! We went into town today and ordered the lumber and sheet rock. We also need a replacement handle for the back door and the best place to buy that was pretty close to Lake Placid. So we figured why not go to Placid Boatworks and order our new boats - especially since they were having a sale: order and pay by January 15th and get a paddle for free. Given that the paddle is worth nearly $500 and that they never put the boats on sale - they can't build them fast enough - we figured that was a good deal. We'll pick up the boats in the spring. This is what my boat will look like.It weighs about 20 pounds. We are already looking forward to getting back on the water. Though we could go paddling now if we wanted. It is 50 degrees today and the locals are already bemoaning the lack of snow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Block Wonder

This is my favorite quilt so far. This is the orignal fabric, which is "stacked and whacked" to make the quilt. I also used this for the quilt backing.Here is a close up of the finished quilt.And here it is hanging in the stairwell.This one goes in the quilt show in the spring.
The hardest parts of making a quilt like this are 1) finding a fabric that works (I think I did a marvelous job of that if I do say so myself; I was surprised how difficult it was), and 2) deciding on the layout of the blocks. Thanks to W for his help with that over a period of many days.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Civic Duty

I just returned from 5 days, spread over 2 weeks, of serving on a criminal jury. It is something I don't want to have to do again. We ended up with 11 jurors in agreement and 1 who we basically browbeat for 1 1/2 days until he agreed to a guilty charge, but on a lesser count than most of the rest of us would have liked. For quite a while I was sure we were going to end up with a hung jury. Others in the room who were more familiar with the process said there was no way the judge would allow us to declare that after just two days of deliberation. Which could have meant we would go into yet another week. Perhaps that is the reason the one juror decided to relent. It didn't help that the statutes were very poorly written with the possibility of more than one interpretation, though again, the vast majority of us agreed on one interpretation. Fortunately, I won't be called to serve again for at least 3 years. While I agree in principle with the American justice system and the ability to be tried by a jury of one's peers, in practice it is not pretty.

Monday, November 16, 2009


One thing we get a better view of in NJ is sunsets over the water.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tote Bags

The reason I have not been posting much recently is that I've spent all my spare time sewing tote bags to sell at Poricy Park's annual Holiday Shop. One quarter of the proceeds go to support the park which in turn supports Rebecca's Reels Quilt Guild by providing space for us to meet, exhibit, etc. And the rest of the proceeds go to me, which is great but probably doesn't even cover my material costs. But that is fine. I mostly did it to support the guild and to experiment with colors and designs. I probably won't do something for the holiday shop again though. I ended up under a lot of pressure to finish in time. I'm on jury duty this week and next (more on that later) which really cut into my available time. Of course I didn't need to make so many bags, but once I had the fabric I wanted to do as many as I could. Here is the result.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paddling at Brigantine

For the second half of our "weekend for the birds" we took our kayak to Brigantine NWR. We put in at Scots Landing and did an over 8-mile paddle through the marsh grasses. We were hoping to see snow geese and did see a few at a distance, but no great numbers. Either they were elsewhere, or we were too early in the season. But it was a beautiful day and a great paddle. We timed our arrival to coincide with high tide out at the ocean. The tide was still coming into the boat launch when we arrived back there about 2.5 hours later. So that worked out well. While we paddled against the tide a good part of the time, we were assured a good view over the grasses and didn't get stuck in any low spots. At low tide there are many fewer places to paddle and you are so low you cannot see much. Here is a typical view, with Atlantic City in the background.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Weekend for the Birds

Today we joined AA&J at Hawk Mountain in PA. The migration is slowing down, so we did not see many birds. But they had this golden eagle on displayand we did some rock scrambling and hiking. This is the view from the north lookout.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trip to Oregon

I just got back (in the wee hours of the morning) from my annual trip to Oregon with Linda. This time the most cost-effective way to travel was for me to buy two round-trip tickets - one from Newark to Denver and back on Continental, and then another from Denver to Portland on Frontier. That meant I could join Linda on her usual Frontier flights. The problem with this arrangement is that I "rolled my own" connecting flights, meaning if a delay in the Continental flight meant I missed the Frontier flight I was on my own. And that almost happened. A low ceiling in Newark meant they were spacing planes out more than usual and I got into Denver over an hour late; so I just barely made the Frontier flight. And then it was snowing in Denver, which delayed our departure as we sat on the runway waiting to be de-iced. So lessons learned this time around: 1) it is too nerve-racking to do my own connections; 2) we should probably leave even earlier in October due to the crazy Denver weather. Plus, I thought I was being smart to return on the day that daylight savings time ended. That meant we had an extra hour (body time) in the morning to catch our flight. But it also meant I got into Newark an extra hour later at night, which was definitely not good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Riding the Waves

Today we took advantage of that mid-day outgoing tide we discovered yesterday. We drove to Sandy Hook in the morning and left a car - which took us quite a while given the detour caused by the bridge construction. We also used the GPS to mark the spot to head to with the boat.Then after lunch, we put the boat in at home and paddled the 9 1/4 miles to Horseshoe Bay. The tides gave us a nice ride most of the way. We averaged 4.2 mph overall with very relaxed paddling. We went under the new bridge being builtand reached our top speed of 8.6 mph there. The winds were light, but the water was churned up by all the boats, though Horsehoe Bay was nice and calm.I had thought it might be fun to paddle between Sandy Hook and the beach near S's house sometime, but there is way too much boat traffic along there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paddling the Shrewsbury River

For our first paddle in New Jersey this fall we just put in at our dock for an exploration of the Shrewsbury River. The scenery is just a bit different from that at camp.We found a family of swans, which we also don't get in NY.We went past the sedge islands towards Sea Bright and were enjoying the ride we got from the outgoing tide until we realized that it would be very hard to paddle back against the tide. So we struggled to turn around and head back home. But it gave us a great idea for tomorrow's paddle.....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kayaking Summary 2009

Here are the paddles we did this year.

Big Moose Lake
Bog River above the falls
Bog River from Lower Dam to Upper Dam - twice
Cedar River Flow
Cheney Pond and Boreas River
Cranberry Lake from Wanakena to Dead Creek Flow
Follensby Clear to Upper Saranac Lake
Great Sacandaga Lake
Henderson Lake
Indian Lake
Lake Champlain and Ausable River
Lake Lila
Lake Placid
Long, Slang, Turtle, and Hoel Ponds
Lower Osgood River
Lower Saranac Lake
Lows Lake
Middle Saranac Lake and Weller Pond
Piseco Lake
Raquette Lake to Blue Mountain Lake
Raquette River from Stony Creek to Falls
Rollins Loop
Round Lake
South Creek to Second Pond - twice
St Regis Lakes - Lower, Upper, and Spitfire
Tupper Lake - Rock Island Bay to Bridge Brook
Upper Osgood River
West and Canada Lakes

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to NJ

We woke up to this today.It was a sign that it was time to head south. We drove to New Jersey and got this view of "our" beach where we will take our winter strolls.Tough life.

Monday, October 12, 2009


What is better than seeing a moose by the road?Seeing all the townsfolk lining the road watching the moose. I should have taken a picture of all the people with their binoculars and cameras and of the state police who were trying to keep a bit of order, directing traffic so no one got run over. This bull moose was by the Raquette River next to Route 30. Apparently he had been there all day, meaning we drove right past him on the way to our paddle. This is one of the reasons I love this place. There are so many other folks around like us who get a thrill out of sharing their surroundings with wildlife.

End of Season Picnic

Today we paddled one more time from Lows Lower Dam to the Upper Dam in order to join the gang (about 25 of us)for a picnic. The weather was cool and cloudy, but not windy or rainy and these days that is good enough. It was great to see everyone one more time before heading south.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kayaking Henderson Lake

We finally paddled on Henderson Lake today. It has been on my list for a fall paddle for years. Though the fall colors are past their prime, they were still neat; but would have been spectacular in the sun.We were expecting sunshine, but it didn't show up until late afternoon.The lake is small (though we managed to paddle 6 2/3 miles around it; plus the 1/3 mile portage to get to it) and is surrounded by lots of rocky cliffs and many picturesque waterfalls. This one is the creek coming in from Preston Ponds. We stopped at the lean-to near here for lunch.We finally got close to the red moss I've been seeing. It seems to be sphagnum that is changing color.
This is the size of the Hudson River as it flows out of Henderson Lake.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kayaking to Lows Lake

We had a great paddle with Linda and Edward today from Lows Lower Dam on the Bog River to Lows Lake and back, for a total of 15 1/2 miles, plus the portage. And it only took us 6 1/2 hours, including lunch at a nice campsite.This was our last large lake in the Paddle Pursuit. We didn't venture too far into the lake, as you can tell from the route marked on the map, but our explore around the islands was neat. There are lots of bits of bog various places, not just the spot in the river. We expected it to be a long ordeal, but we really enjoyed the paddle and didn't feel the distance. We are definitely in much better paddling shape than ever. I'd like to go farther into the lake the next time if we can find a day with little wind. The weather was pretty good considering what it has been like recently. We saw a bit of blue sky and the colors of the trees were magnificent. Mostly it was gray, but no rain.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kayaking Great Sacandaga Lake

We and Linda and Edward paddled on Great Sacandaga Lake today - the next-to-last large lake on our Paddle Pursuit. We put in at the boat launch just north of the Northville bridge and paddled partway around the island opposite the campground and back for a total of about 8 miles. It was a long drive for us - about 2.5 hours - but the leaves were very pretty in spite of the gray skies. The weather was quite balmy, all of 50 degrees (which was a lot better than the 32 degress we woke up to) and we started out with very calm water.We stopped at the picnic area next to the campground for lunch. There was a large beach exposed due to the low water.The winds picked up on our way back, but they were from the south so we got a good ride.
We went to Melody Lodge outside of Speculator for a very nice dinner.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hiking Stone Valley

9 of us (8 women and W) hiked down the east side of Stone Valley today. The 3-mile hike to cars spotted at the other end was a perfect length. While the weather was gray, it didn't actually rain until we were at our post-hike lunch at the Hideaway Cafe just outside of Colton on Route 68. A very popular place with good food. There wasn't a lot of water in the river, but it was still picturesque.And there were LOTS of fungi around. Including this beauty.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hike to Devil's Pulpit

It's been raining for days so we went on a hike today even though it was still raining and SNOWING. Just wet stuff in the air that didn't stick to anything, but still... It isn't even October yet.

We bushwacked from Route 3 to the large rock called Devil's Pulpit overlooking the Saranac River between the Upper Locks and Lower Saranac Lake. There is a little dot in the river in this photo that is a lone kayaker.Given all the rain, we saw some neat fungi.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kayaking the Raquette River

We put in at Stoney Creek and paddled up to the falls and returned for a total of 11.5 miles. The lighting was wrong to get a good photo of the falls (I'd call it rapids), but this gives an idea.We also walked the 1.25 mile carry around the falls. It was a nice hike, but can't imagine carrying heavy boats and gear as everyone else was doing. The sign at the top of the falls gives an idea of how treacherous it is - that is the ripped-off bow of a canoe hanging on the sign.The reason for doing the paddle today was to see the maple trees at their peak. But we discovered that most of the trees lining the river are silver maples, which haven't begun to turn yet, instead of red maples. So while it was colorful,later would have been even better. After the paddle and hike we drove into Saranac Lake for dinner at Nonna Fina, which we had been wanting to try. It was not worth the drive; no better than Little Italy. But the sunset over Lower Saranac Lake was great.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kayaking from South Creek to Second Pond

Today we repeated a paddle we did in June, except this time the weather was great. We decided to join the 8-mile ADK paddle through Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes since this is one of our favorite places and you have to have cars at each end to do it. We've never seen Middle Saranac Lake so still.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kayaking Raquette Lake to Hemlock Hall

We paddled with the Wayfarers again today, with the usual collection of boats.We went from Raquette Lake through the Marion River,Utowana Lake, Eagle Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake as we did last year, for a total of 12.5 miles of paddling plus the carry from Raquette Lake to Utowana. The weather was great though it got a bit windy on Blue Mountain Lake. This year, due to road construction, we could not stop at the beach on Blue Mountain Lake for wine and cheese before heading for dinner. So we paddled directly to Hemlock Hall where 17 of us had a nice dinner.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wilmington Notch Falls

It was a beautiful day today and it was about time for some more apples, so I used that as an excuse to drive to Pray's farm market in Keeseville and stopped at the falls on the Ausable River at Wilmington Notch on the way back home. I love the "rocks and roots" at the falls overlook.And the falls were as great as ever.There was a lot less water than there is earlier in the season, but that means there were more rocks to scramble on and it was easier to ford the little streams flowing into the river as I made my way upstream.

Note: I've since been told that Banker's Orchards on Route 3 west of Plattsburgh is a good place to get apples. I'll probably try them next time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Fungus Among Us

I ran across this in the woods while I was cutting kindling. I have no idea what type it is.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kayaking Lake Lila

Eleven of us paddled Lake Lila and Beaver River today.We had never been on Lake Lila, mostly because of the rough 1/3 mile carry from the parking lot to the lake. Though the 5.6 mile rough dirt road is not much fun either. We took our single kayaks and took 2 trips to carry them down to the lake. So we got plenty of walking in addition to a 9 mile paddle, which included about a mile each way on the river, going down until we hit rapids. The lake has a reputation for rough water so we were glad that though the day turned gray, the water was calm enough not to cause problems. One problem with my paddling my single kayak, particularly while trying to keep up with a group, is that I don't get a chance to take pictures. The leaves are beginning to turn and once they get prettier I'm going to insist on going out more by ourselves so we can get lots of nice photos. Also, we'll need to go back to Lake Lila, probably next fall since it is so crowded in the summer, so we can explore it more fully. Today we made a beeline for the river, stopped for lunch at a campsite, then headed directly back to the carry.