Balloon Fest

It’s that time of year – the Adirondack Balloon Festival!  There are just so many great things in our area and this is one of them. The crowds are quite large and traffic is a nightmare on one of the main roads near our house. There are 6 scheduled launches starting Thursday night small launch, but they are all weather dependent.  No flights were cancelled this year, although Thursday night they didn’t fly because of breeze.

We were able to walk to the Thursday night launch at Crandall park, which is so nice because we didn’t have to worry about parking and whatnot.  We waited for a long time while they decided whether to launch or not. The breeze was just a bit much, but the balloonists inflated up.  I don’t mind the not flying because my favorite part is getting up close and personal with the balloons.

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It’s so neat to be by the balloons. It was really hot in this part because of the burners:

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More on the Folds of Honor in a bit.  There was one shaped balloon at this launch:

Turtle!

While the balloons didn’t fly, a couple did a small lift over to the next field on the other side of those trees. One balloon actually hit a tree limb, but they were fine.

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The Adirondack Balloon Fest was the introduction of the Dreamship balloon.   Folds of Honor is an organization that provides scholarships to children of fallen service men and women.

The balloon is made up of drawings from children who have received scholarships. They drew a picture of their dreams and the balloon is them taking flight.

Very inspiring and moving.

Until next year, balloons!

What’s Blooming!

Not too much new going in the garden right now. Things are winding down and it has been so, so dry and hot here! All the rain in other places and we are hot and kind of humid with no rain. It doesn’t look like it will be changing any time soon, either.

Volunteer snapdragon:

Those yellow flowers are marigolds that just popped a bunch of blooms with this heat. The annuals are loving this extra sun and warmth. You can see fallen leaves all over, too. Already.

Fair Bianca:

I  missed this bloom forming, so it’s a little old looking.  I hadn’t been looking at the rose bush other than watering it from afar and didn’t notice the blooms forming.

Some of you may remember the long gourd vine I had last year that appeared out of nowhere. I harvested about 8 gourds from it and used them, along with some pumpkins, for fall decor in the garden bed. Squirrels ended up munching on everything. Well, a new vine appeared this summer where those gourds were 😀

It is really short – only 3 feet long or so – and I decided to leave it. It is covering up my one aster plant, however.

The vine started really late, but I see a couple gourds forming. Tiny baby gourds:

I’m pretty sure these won’t get full size before frost, but it’s fun nonetheless.

More annuals out back – my potted morning glories:

These are a beautiful color. I wish I could bring this inside over the winter, but morning glories can be toxic to pets if they eat them, particularly the seeds, and Pixie would at least be eating the leaves.

My Enchanted Evening rose is having its September flush now:

I love this rose. It’s not very tall. Descriptions say it should get 3 to 4 feet tall, but it’s about 2 feet.  It’s disease resistant, hardy and fragrant – all a girl can ask for in a rose!

We have another hot and dry weekend coming up. It will be early riding to beat the heat, that’s for sure.  Have a great weekend!

Becoming an Outdoorswoman 2

The BOW weekend is always crammed full of stuff. They keep you busy for the whole weekend.  After that 6-mile hike, it was time for a change of clothes and then lunch before the next class.  This one was my favorite. It was building a bluebird box.

The bluebird is the NY state bird, which I think I might have known, but forgot. They have a lot of competition for nesting places as they like holes in dead trees, but then so do a lot of things. The bluebird box is specially designed for the bluebird. The hole is too small for grackles and starlings to get in and there is no perch, which other smaller birds like to have.

After a talk on bluebirds, we built the boxes. We didn’t have to cut the pieces, but just put them together.

It was really noisy with all of us hammering away putting our boxes together! 😀  It has a hinged door for access to clean the box and check on it:

That little bit of screen on the door is for fledglings to grab onto to climb out.  Here is me with my finished box:

Still really sweaty LOL. It was hot and humid over the weekend and all the hammering putting the boxes together didn’t help. I’m so happy with my box. I don’t think we will get bluebirds in it, though. I have seen them on the bike path about 1-1/2 miles from our house, but our habitat is not quite right. But, you never know. We will probably get wrens or sparrows in it.  If you want to build a box, here is a link to several free plans.

My sister was actually gone for Saturday. Her oldest went to college and the parents’ weekend and BOW landed on the same weekend. So, Colleen taught her class on Friday, drove to Potsdam that night (2-1/2 hours), spent the day with Logan and then came back to BOW Saturday night. She had to teach the Sunday morning class. I don’t know how she does it, really.  When she came back, this entered our room!

She feeds her classes chocolate, but shares it with me 😀  After the evening things, we had a bonfire:

The nights get really cool in the Adirondacks at this time of year, even if the day was hot.

Sunday has one last morning class. I chose tree identification:

This was a  very neat class. We learned how to use the ID books. It’s sort of like one of those Choose Your Adventure books where you answer a question about the leaves and depending on your answer, you turn to a specific page and repeat until you come to your match. We also got a mini guide to take home. We practiced inside and then went out into the field to identify real trees. I am looking forward to taking my guide out on the bike path to identify some trees.

A good weekend and we really lucked out with the weather and it staying rain free.  I don’t know if I will do another BOW as I’ve taken most of the classes that interest me, although they do change some.  Plus the one next year will be in the central part of the state. I do like Silver Bay and want to take a vacation here some time.

If you want to see if there is a BOW workshop in your state or nearby, this is the official page for the national. It’s a great way to learn a new skill or try something different in a very safe and friendly environment.

Becoming an Outdoorswoman

It’s been a 2 or 3 years since I did Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW). My sister still is teaching there. In fact, she hit 10 years of teaching at BOW this year!  It has been moving to different places in the state, which is one of the reasons I haven’t gone, but this year it was back at Silver Bay on Lake George.

There was some construction going on as the dining hall was being demolished to build a new one, so all the meals were moved to the inn itself – which was a little crowded.  I roomed with my sister and we stayed in the inn.

It’s very old, which is cool. You all know I love that.  The rooms are nice:

My first class was Backyard Wildlife, which I didn’t really take any pictures of. We talked about ecosystems on your property and ways to improve it. We also studied tracks and poo so you can figure out what went through your yard LOL!  There was also talk about exclusion for animals like deer, keeping bats and squirrels out of your house, and bear awareness.

Saturday was hiking. This was the hike for people who have experience hiking.  This is in the Adirondacks, so you it’s going to be up. This hike started out right away with an incline:

This went on for about half a mile. It was quite the start. One thing about the day is that it was hot and humid. Once you get into the woods, you don’t get any breeze, so it feels really stuffy. I was a sweat machine.

We took a break at a lean-to, which overlooked the lake:

This was one spot where there was a breeze since it was open and it felt heavenly! Good thing the hike was in the morning, too.

Lots of interesting things to look at. Tons of mushrooms everywhere.

Lots more inclines to go. Our instructor said over the course of a mile we went up 800 feet in elevation, which equates to 15% grade. That’s how steep it was at times! Our goal was to get to Jabes’ pond and boy was it worth the hike!

When you say a perfect day, can you think of a better picture?  It was so peaceful and quiet, too.

The hike was planned well with lots of different terrains, so it was very interesting to do.

The pine forest was my favorite spot:

The hike ended up a bit over 6 miles and we finished in a little over 3 hours. It was a great workout. The instructor said we were one of the fastest groups he has ever had on this hike. I think we surprised him because he was huffing and puffing and staying in the back LOL.  There are times when I feel like I am all flabby and out of shape and then I realize there is no way I could have done (or wanted to do) that hike if I wasn’t in good shape. The mind plays tricks 😀

I’ll talk more about the other classes in another post.

What’s Blooming!

I’m doing this post from my phone, so let’s see how it goes.

This is the time of year when I do evaluations for planning for next year. I’m looking particularly at this bed:

There are 4 shrubs in this bed, all babies. Most of that green stuff is foxglove, plus a few annuals. This is a dry bed because of tree overhang, which is proving to be a challenge.

The shade bed in back is also struggling to find its footing:

The plants are pretty small still and I had some problems with critters pulling them up. The green at the back is a little strip of our neighbors yard behind their house, which is just weeds and overgrowth. A fence used to block that view. We are debating on putting up some sort of barrier here, but no budget for that right now.

On to some blooms!

Marigolds:

Potted baby coneflowers that I dug up that are waiting to go to their new homes. Sharing the bounty of self seeding!

Did I show my urns in their spots? This is where they ended up:

Tippy pot mums:

Bee on sedum:

Lots and lots of bees. Plus several painted ladies:

Zinnias, coneflowers and garden art:

I’m off for the weekend at Silver Bay doing Becoming an Outdoorswoman. My home for a couple days:

Report to come!

Meadowbrook Preserve

Sunday I did a little solo hike. The afternoon was really nice and I decided I wanted some foot work instead of bike work.  Since I was going alone, it’s all about safety and I went to our local nature preserve, which you can’t get lost in and is really close to home.

It was a sea of Joe Pye weed and goldenrod:

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There are several loop trails through this totaling 2-2.5 miles all together. I went around most of them with a little doubling back. I brought the Rebel along for pictures today. The preserve is as flat as can be, so carrying camera gear is not a problem.

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Enjoying the day!

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I heard lots of Jays, saw some Red winged blackbirds, but no turkeys. We do see turkeys around when riding sometimes.

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Sea o’ ferns:

I don’t know what made this hole, but I didn’t want to stick my camera in there!

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Back out in the goldenrod meadow. It was full of bees.

My nose was running a little bit during this hike.

All in all a beautiful day. Between my other walking and intervals, I ended up with about 7 miles on the day!  It’s good to be active.

What’s blooming!

It’s seems a little weird to be posting mundane things and life here in upstate NY is just going along all the while nature is just in upheaval in other places.  Please, please everyone heed warnings for Irma and stay safe! And Jose? You can just pass on by, thank you.

It’s been a fairly dreary week here. I think there has been a bit of rain at least every day and sometimes a lot of rain. We had some city crews working on our street. This year they are revamping all the water mains on our street. It’s been a summer long project and they finally got down to our end. Last spring we had to have the end of the driveway opened up to reach a covered water main to reach the shutoff. Well, now they moved the whole thing. Why they want to move it to where the sidewalk is, I don’t know, but I’m sure there must be some reason.  I got a little panicked when they knocked on the door and told us our driveway would be inaccessible for a couple hours. Then they started sawing into the sidewalk at the end.

I thought they might go into the end of our driveway with that machine, but they worked really skillfully to just lift the one section of walk.

I would almost say it was delicately done, but it’s still big machinery LOL!  After lifting that, they then dug down about 6 feet down.

They really did only take a couple of hours to do this and our driveway is fine. Of course, the hole is filled with dirt and cinder now. I am assuming that they will be redoing everyone’s sidewalks when the project is over. I hope.

On to the blooms. One surprise balloon flower:

More snapdragons:

You can see how all of my pictures have damp in them. They weren’t taken on the same day, either!

This was a surprise gift from a friend earlier this summer:

She said she thought of me immediately when she saw it 😀

It’s mum time right now. I wanted to put mums in my tippy pots this year and lo and behold there was a sale on small mums – 5 for $5!  I only needed 4, but who am I to turn down a flower deal?

I got one different color for the fifth one, rebel that I am.  Here are the tippy pots now:

Those will hopefully fill out nicely in a couple weeks.

It’s been a somewhat cool summer and I don’t think some of my plants are ever going to bloom. I love the old fashioned flowering woodland tobacco. A few years ago I tried growing some from seed and they were such a pain and only one flowered. So, this year I bought some as plants. They look really good, but it just hasn’t been warm enough for them to really grow:

They should have tall flower spikes on them by now. Wahh. If they don’t bloom, I’m tempted to dig them up next month and bring them inside until they do.

The zinnias are really cooking along. The flowers just keep getting bigger and bigger.

You definitely need patience with the zinnias. Remind me of that next year when I complain, okay?

Joe Pye is big and strong:

It’s amazing how this was at the bare ground this spring and now 6 feet tall. Plants are just so cool!

Have a good weekend everyone and stay safe!

Burgerfi ride

My back has been bothering me  lately. Not sure what caused it, but I tweaked it again somehow. We had plans to ride on Saturday, but I wasn’t feeling great. I did a test ride on flat roads and it was aching, so a 40-mile ride with hills wasn’t really on the table. Booo.  Chronic back issues suck, can I just say that?

Sunday was Harvey rain around here and we had a family gathering, which was a good day to let my back rest up again to do a ride Monday.  It felt a lot better today, so John and I got on the bikes to Saratoga.  Normally we do a cupcake ride, but with the sweets we had at our gathering yesterday, I had a hankering for something savory instead, so a lunch ride was chosen.

The roads were damp in the woody areas, but otherwise the ride was sunny and dry – although quite a head wind on the way down.

This road goes by the entrance to one of the state parks and it was busy. That last summer gasp.

This tree has four trunks!

I wonder what made it split into four?

Is this a chocolate chip cookie or poisonous mushroom? You be the judge.

Well, I don’t know if it’s poisonous, but I wouldn’t eat a mushroom anyway.

It was challenging with the wind going down. So glad it was a head wind on the way down so that we could get a nice tail on the way home.

Burger time!

We really enjoy BurgerFi. The fries are so good and I like the burgers. John gets the veggie burger, which he likes a lot as well.  Noms!

This is the last weekend the Saratoga Race Track is open and Saratoga was really busy. Lots of shoppers out.  It’s looking like fall in the display windows!

Saratoga Tea and Honey is one of my favorite stores to visit. They have great teas and honey, plus lots of accessories.

I’m a coffee lover first, but I do drink tea. I have a thing for tea pots, too – even though I don’t own any LOL! I just love how they look.

A big renovation project is about done in town with the Adelphi Hotel. This is the first it has been uncovered in probably at least a year?

It’s quite a magnificent building with all the column detail. I would love to check out the inside some time.

I didn’t take too many pictures today. We had an uneventful ride home and my back made the 40 miles without too much complaining!

I guess now summer is officially over, although the riding isn’t 😀

What’s Blooming

Does anyone else just feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the world right now? It’s crazy. I feel so fortunate to have our house and my gardens to help. I’ve said in the past that being out working in the gardens is a good thinking time and meditation.

It’s been quite chilly here. Temps hit 40 degrees last night. It’s way too early for that! I think it might be even a little colder than that tonight. We shall see if some of the last annuals that haven’t done anything will be able to if the cold proceeds along this fast (I’m looking at you moonflowers).

My white lilies:

These nod downwards and are hard to get a good picture of unless I want to lay down in the garden bed, which isn’t going to happen. 🙂

More wayward cosmos:

The $1.99 mums from 2 years ago are still going fantastic for whatever reason.

That’s two plants. Just goes to show you never know what will survive and thrive until you try.

Polar bear zinnia:

I have these in the front and back gardens.

Miniature butterfly bush:

I’m thinking of getting one of these in the back if the big Black Knight one doesn’t do better next year.

Here is a little marigold:

These came from my BIL’s nursery. They were done with all the planting and there were annuals left over that were just going to be composted, so I brought some home with me. Some sun ones and some shade ones:

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The coleus are by Radiance Falls. I’m making notes to put more of these here next year.  I have a notebook for gardening where I keep receipts, plans, schematics and various notes about ideas. It sounds organized, but you should see the notebook LOL! It’s crammed.

More of my zinnias out back:

I have to remember that zinnias are really late flowers around here – at least when direct sown into the ground.

The hydrangea tree:

I was standing by this yesterday and there were so many bumblebees around it that it sounded like a hive! It was very cool and wonderful to see all the bees.  The flowers are just starting to age pink and look so pretty:

Here is the back edge of our property:

It’s a study in white.

It’s going to be a cool weekend, but Saturday should be dry for riding. Sunday I think we are getting some leftover Harvey rain. It’s amazing how far and long that extends.

Berry Pond Hike

We had a very mild weather weekend here. In fact, it was 48 degrees Saturday morning when we got up!  There was hiking planned for the day and the trail was Berry Pond. There was supposed to be a beaver colony on the pond and I wanted to see that. We had nixed our original hike route as we thought it was going to be a bit much for the day, but we underestimated this hike LOL!

It took about 20 minutes or so to drive to the trail head. There is a large complex of trails at the Lake George Recreational Center to choose from.  We were thinking based on the mileage given by the map it should have been about 4.5 miles, 2.7 for the blue trail and 1.7 for the orange trail.

It was very quiet on the trail. We were the only ones on it for almost the whole day.

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This lean-to overlooked West Brook, which was probably my favorite part of the whole hike. The stream was covered in moss and looked so pretty.

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I could have just parked myself by this with a picnic lunch and spent the day here. But, we had plans!

The trail began to really climb. We had no idea it was going to be such a grade at times.

It was certainly a workout climbing.

We reached a summit outlook. This is the west side (?) of Lake George:

We kept going and going waiting to hit the orange trail. We finally came across where it met the blue trail.

The orange trail went to Berry Pond itself and the beaver colony.

You could see a lot of old and new beaver damage.

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Here is an old dam:

There were lots of lily pads on the pond.

I think that one and this picture are among my favorites of the day.

We finally found the new beaver dam on the other side of the pond. It is really huge!

It was kind of weird being below the level of the pond on this side of the dam.

Very cool. We didn’t see any beavers, though. I was hoping to see the, but I guess they were sleeping 😀

From this point, the trail looped back onto itself back to the start.

We ended up with 7.5 miles! I don’t know how that extra 3 miles happened LOL. I had 19,000 steps on my phone. That’s a lot of walking.  I would do this hike again, but I think we might take a shortcut for part of it.