9.05.2008

A Vacation

Wren and I had a great vacation last week, which accounts for my unannounced break from blogging. It was 10 days of pure real-world, off-line, away from desk—loving every minute of it.
We enjoyed sunny meadows.

We (belatedly) discovered the glorious delicacy that is purple-flowering raspberry—a divine wild plant that takes raspberries to a whole new level.

We were visited by our friends Eva and Deb. Eva and Gumdrop did some serious communing. Later in the day, we communed with the blueberry patch across the road.
We also enjoyed a visit from our friend Andrew of Andrew's Honey and Bees Without Borders, and his pal Kelly, shown here displaying a nice hunk of beeswax.
Andrew provided some wonderful mentorship during a visit to our hives. Along with teaching me a thing or three, he assured me that I'm not the world's worst beekeeper after all. Whew!


We walked the rails-to-trails near Roxbury. This old rail marker indicates the mileage to Kingston, New York. The old train line ran from Kingston to Oneonta, according to a local historian we ran into during our walk.

During another walk in a nearby forest, I was thrilled to find this old metal sign half-buried in the mud. Finders keepers.
The forest is now NYS land; these trees were, presumably, planted with the sawmill in mind. Fortunately, destiny has spared them: they are now part of what is called "a demonstration forest." It's a beautiful, rich woodland area just over yonder.

Each day, we spent quality time with Sencha and made sure to do plenty of trespassing. ("This land is your land, this land is my land, etc.")

We visited Mountaintop Arboretum in Tannersville. The aboretum is working to revive the glorious, blighted American Chestnut, which once dominated the Eastern forests.
The chestnut "nursery."

We nearly drove off the road when we saw this sign on our neighbor's farm. The skulls say it all.

We made a pilgrimage to John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge. The place, it seems, is always closed and lacks quality signage or walking trails (we think Burroughs deserves better). After briefly communing with the adorable exterior of the house, we bushwhacked down the hill to a beautiful pond/bog where—after inadvertently scaring the bejesus out of umpteen bullfrogs—we lay in the sun, interrupted in our mellow thoughts by a doe who appeared out of nowhere to drink at water's edge. Very Burroughsian.

We got the car washed (and bought brownies) at the local firehouse fund-raiser.
We checked out the cool trucks.

We met new bugs and continued the ongoing effort to Learn Our Trees (finally getting various oak, beech, fir, and maple species under my belt).

We got some serious altitude on the Windham High Peak. (Wren doesn't consider it a bona fide vacation unless she force-marches me up a steep mountain.)It was quite a beautiful hike, with diverse forest communities, fabulous mushrooms (like the comb tooth below) and many interesting wildflowers I'd never seen before (and am still trying to ID).Up top, we met a couple who'd just minutes before witnessed what sounded like a major bee swarm in a balsam tree. Sadly, we missed that excitement, though the honeybees kept us company all the way up the mountain, wherever there was sun enough to support goldenrod.

We also had a nice chat with a Search & Rescue guy who said that the best way to handle a bear encounter is to stand with your arms up, stretching out your shirt or coat over your head to look as large as possible, make a lot of noise and—if charged—bat the bear really hard on the nose with a big stick; woodland-survival tips we sincerely hope we'll never need.

All in all, a fun and informative vacation! Here's to the next forced-march up the mountain of rest & relaxation.

2 comments:

M.Thew said...

Sounds awesome! And welcome back to blogville, though we all know that the woods are so much better.

Of course, since you're from NYC, you know you can out-yell a bear!

Eva YaaAsantewaa said...

Yes, I've read that about bears, too. I hope you two never have cause to test it out! LOL! How wonderful to see a couple of photos from our visit to you--which still resonates in our minds and hearts. It was a treat! And I can relate to being force-marched up whatever's high! LOL!

Continued blessings,
Eva (of Eva and Debbie)