Monday, March 28, 2011

Silly Dog

The picture at the top of the blog is about right. We still have plenty of snow and plenty of freezing temperatures. In a nutshell, spring has not sprung here. We enjoy our trips to town because most of the snow has melted there, just eight miles away. It's still plenty cold, but at least we're not looking at the white stuff. Our driveway is a pleasure now that the rocks have been placed, and we no longer have mud season in the living room. This has made me incredibly happy. So happy, that I was compelled to wash and wash the floors this past weekend. What happened? Well, the floors were spotless with a beautiful sheen that had been allowed to dry uninterupted for five hours while I drove Allison to Newburgh on Friday night. When I came in, all the dogs were let out for some fresh air, and it became clear that Jake could not walk on the newly waxed floors. Even I was cautious as a quick turn could cause you to wrench your back. The floors were polished to a sheen, and he couldn't walk down the hallway. We have strategically placed throw rugs throughout the house, and Jerry laid them down artfully in the hall so that Jake could go from one to the other without injury. I guess this frees me from all floor waxing respnsibilities in the future? We'll see. He's been quite careful though, but I have caught him trying to get into the woods across the street, following Bailey up the mountain, blindly I might add. If he should fall in the woods, and I can't find him, I would say he's up a creek without a paddle. He's had to be helped up many times when his hind legs just give out. It's a terrible thing to see, but the fact that he is still interested in mountain climbing does intrigue me. It is a case of mind over matter. The desire to have a good time outweighs the risk of injury. Have I mentioned that I have been horseback riding? I go to an hour class on Wednesday nights, and to say that it has revived me is an understatement. I am living for that hour, once per week. For that one hours I feel weightless, fearless and empowered. I'm climbing obstacles, running, galloping and just being free. So I totally understand Jake and his mountain climbing persuits. We're both trying to squeeze a little bit more out of our limits. I dont' know how Jake feels, but I do know that I am feeling happier for that pursuit. Now if this damn snow would just go away, we'd be great.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Got Mud?

Yes we do. It's been a long, cold winter, and the melting process is taking some time. It has it's own season, that which we call "Mud season" here in the Adirondacks. No one is safe from it, because we ALL have the same harsh winter to melt away. Those with paved driveways (the debate continues) are much happier than those of us with "rustic" driveways, which means essentially that you have paved a driveway into the landscape by simple continuous use. We have a circular driveway, which in my Long Island Mind is a step above those with a straight driveway. I love it. It's not the same circular driveway that existed in my youth, bicycling through Sands Point and dreaming of "someday. . . ", but I love it just the same. However, our driveway has taken quite a beating this winter, and the melt is becoming dangerous. I have to use the 4-wheel drive just to back up, and the north corner is sinking towards the pond. Drastic measures are needed, and that's where Dave comes in. Dave lives down the road and is busy boiling sap at this point in the season, but not too busy to come to our rescue. Solution? Rocks. Dave, who was the landscaper in our Rock project around the house, delivering huge boulders to give our front porch "the look" we were looking for, as well as designing the system for drainage, is delivering the rocks that will save us from mud oblivion. Poor Allison has been reduced to waiting for her bus at the road, on time, because the mud avoidance route is too timely and messy to take on while the bus is parked, with flashing lights, waiting for you. That is another blog for another day, but you get my point. The garbage bags get loaded onto the front porch, knotted up and waiting for the brave soul who will don their mud-boots and take them out to the pails that are at the "curb". We have no "curbs" per se, but again, I've made my point. Mud season takes on huge planning and avoidance times. Nothing outside of the house is spontaneous, because you have to figure out where it is you are going, and what you will need when you get to the other side? This is how people start wearing workboots to church. It's a slippery slope (no pun intended) when you are in the middle of mud season and have somewhere to go. April brides have been known to don workboots under their dresses. I don't know that I would take that extreme. My wedding day? I think packing an extra pair of shoes would not be a huge inconvenience but, hey, that's me. How far would YOU go to have the right shoes for your visit to town? They are delivering the rocks as we speak, and the dogs, who at first were barking maniacly when the truck arrived and dumped its load, have now adjusted to the sound and are sleeping through it. Very little inconveniences them. All they know is that it is spring, and as soon as I open the door, EVERYONE wants out. Yesterday, I was climbing underneath the porch to retrieve Daphne, who had decided that rolling around in the mud was a beautiful experience, and she wasn't quite ready to come in from the sunny day. Sweet dog. I now have a pile of towels by the front door, for use by anyone who comes in and hasn't made a good maneuver out there. I just keep thinking "May." By then, it will all be grass and stones. One can only hope. Got Boots?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Northerly migration

They're coming back. I have been witness to the northerly migration of the birds that cut out last fall. It is as exciting to me as a trip south was to them in the first chilly temperatures of September. Welcome! We've missed you! The southerly migration is a bit like rush hour in that the skies are full and quite predictable. But now, on the cusp of spring, only the heartiest of the birds are venturing back into the north country, and we have set out a feast for the eyes and bellys. We want them to know that there is food here, even though the tops of the adirondack chairs are just peeking through. I have watched a couple of "V" formations pass by heading north, and I have cheered them on vocally. Lucky for me, I live in the woods! "Welcome, come on down" shouted to the rooftops might cause me some stares if I lived in town, but here in the backwoods, I'm me and myself. We can shout anything we want, and no one will come to get us. I have shouted a few times in the dead of winter, more along the lines of "aaaaggggghhhh". Now that we're closer to spring, the shouts are more the expressive exhultation kind-Thankfully, for any distant neighbors who may wonder what it is they're hearing far off in the distance. We have heard recently that a mountain lion is prowling in the vicinity of our property. This is a little disconcerting, especially when you take a wander out to the mailbox, which happens quite often when I forget to take in the mail. Around dinner time I will look around with a practiced eye, determining what needs to be done before Jerry gets home. I can get a days worth of puttering done in twenty minutes or so, so that the truth of my lounging isn't as prominent when he walks in the door. At least the table will be set, dinner simmering on the stove (you can bring a simmer up pretty quickly if you have to) and the mail set out for perusal. At this time, I may realize that I had forgotten to bring in the mail and the newspaper and head out to the mailbox. Now that daylight savings time makes it light at six PM, it's not such a big issue. But walking the 25 feet to the mailbox at dusk after hearing a mountain lion is around doesn't bring me alot of peace. If I were to choose an escort, I would make it Daphne. She would take on anything that moves. In her mind, she would win. But the reality scares me a little. I hope it is rumor, and Jerry's call to the DEC brought us no new information. Now THAT is a yell that would get someone's attention. In the meantime, I will practice welcoming the birds that fly overhead, and sometimes stop at our little sanctuary by the driveway. Suet, seed and water are available for any northerly headed feathered friends. It's nice to see them back. I have big plans for the pond this year, and hope to expand the sanctuary to that. I'm often asked how we survive the winters here, and why. Spring, Summer and Fall, that's why.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hey Friends

I'm guilty of laziness. Sometimes it is so hard to sit down at the computer and eek out something worthy of your time. Sometimes I accomplish that, sometimes I fail miserably. It has been such a bleak and dreary time here-mud season. We still have the snow, but its continual melting combined with the dirting that we do during snowfalls turns the whole thing into a big muddy mess. And today, miraculously, all that is gone! We once again have a spectacular winter wonderland! As much as I loathe and despise snow this time of year, you can't deny its beauty. These views are mine from our living room and from the road, where Jerry is once again tirelessly plowing the driveways. He is weary of the snow, and I certainly can understand that, as I do not plow. But for me, it is a gift every time it happens. I am concerned for our beautiful birch trees, which take the hit of an ice storm more so than the other trees. They are the bowed limbs blocking the driveway, and when all the snow is gone, they will continue to lean. As Jerry says, "They were here long before we were, they will be fine." I'm going with that thought. The sap is running these days and down the road I understand the men are working on the syrup. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Schools were closed today, which was a nice bonus for Allison, having attended Glen Cove's Junior Prom until the wee hours of Sunday morning, she is catching up on some zzzzzz's. Well deserved. She is a beauty. All of the girls at the prom just take my breath away. I remember when they were Brownies and Girl Scouts. And now they are beautiful young women clubbing the night away. Yikes. I'm glad she's home safe. I may not let her leave again. That's my first thought whenever I see the pictures from a good time. As a worried parent, I always think that anything that is that much fun shouldn't be allowed. Sorry Allie, I was born that way. I wonder this time of year about our Irish roots, and I am always compelled to make March 17th a Holiday, with a capital H. It's the holiday I miss our kids when they're not around, because it was always the most fun. We're together in spirit, if not around the table. Corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. It's an acquired taste, for sure. We discovered an auction house in Gloversville, and were there at the stroke of six on saturday night, just in time to bid and win these treasures: Two pair of snow shoes, beautiful birchwood tables and a boars head. The jury is still out on the boars head. The fact that Jerry was the only bidder should have been an indication of something, but we proudly brought him home. I'm still not sure, but his provinence gives him a position of interest in the living room. We'll see. The auction was a good time. We were packed and out of there by 8:30, so for couple of hours on a Saturday night it was a good time. I highly recommend it just for the people watching opportunities. It brings out quite a crowd, and quite alot of items to be auctioned. Mixed with the odd stuff is a beautiful hutch or dining set. It's definitely one of those moments where "you have to be there". We were. The good thing about snow storms in March is that no matter how much damage they do, you know they will be gone soon. Enjoy this last spurt of winter. I know I will.