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October PSA

 

October is breast cancer awareness month, even though every month you should be doing your own self exams. I had my mammogram this year.

If you are not insured, you may be eligible for a free mammogram. You can find information on that at the National Breast Cancer Foundation where they can help you find a facility near you – or through the CDC program called NBCCEDP

Early detection is key for the best outcome.

I just realized that I forgot to do my pink pictures for October like I have done in the past. Life has been a bit of a scramble lately and it slipped my mind. Then I downloaded some pictures from my camera from today:

That will do!  Please click on this site to help fund those free mammograms for people in need.

This was showing the increase in layers for biking now. Finger gloves are needed early in the day. It was 33 degrees this morning; however – we hit almost 70 degrees by the afternoon! It is crazy, crazy weather.

Still lots of butterflies, too. The are loving the zinnias.

They had best be moving on to warmer climates soon!

Lately

I didn’t get a blooms post done on Friday. There wasn’t really anything new, but I did get some pictures of butterflies!

I saw them out the window on Friday afternoon and ran out quick with my phone. There were 3 monarchs on my zinnias, which is really exciting for me! They are “new” butterflies, which you can tell because they aren’t tattered at all.  Monarchs only live for a few weeks except for the migration batch, which can live for 8 months. Butterflies are fascinating!

I was really close to them, obviously LOL

Monarchs are a good subject since they sit nice and still for a long time, unlike swallowtails.

On Saturday, we had a family gathering to celebrate a few events, niece Devon’s birthday, my mom’s birthday and our anniversary as they all happen within 2 days of each other.  I was in charge of bringing a cake. I used mixes for time sake. I marbled chocolate and strawberry together into a bundt pan:

Topped with chocolate ganache. It turned out pretty well! I was winging it a little, so good thing.

Fall has officially arrived here. The temps dropped pretty rapidly from 90 degrees to in the 60s and overnight in the 30s!  It was too cold to bike in the morning, plus it was really foggy:

It’s crazy how cold and foggy the morning was and then it turned into a beautiful day, so we rode to the lake:

Quite a difference!  We had a snack from the bakery. Mine was a pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin buttercream:

It’s a small cupcake, but we only did 18 miles.  Lake George was really nice without the tourists around – or as many tourists, I should say. I’m always surprised at the drop off in tourists because fall really is such a beautiful season around here. Plus the village decorates.

Happy fall!

Hudson Pointe Hike and anniversary!

John and I explored a new hiking area last weekend. It was a hot day, so we left in the morning. We did our own duathlon: bike/hike/bike  😀  We took a roundabout way to get there to get in some miles. This place is maybe 5 miles from home? We rode around for 10 before we got there. I had packed other shoes in my bag because no hiking can be done in my clip shoes. Street walking yes, but not terrain.

It doesn’t look like much here. There are some tennis and basketball courts to the right.

Not sure who planned putting a metal table in the blazing sun all day, but I wouldn’t want to sit there!

We walked a bit and found the trails:

It was nice and shady in here. Great for a hot day!  The trails are well marked.

From up here, you could look down to the Hudson river:

They weren’t kidding about steep slopes and bluffs. At the bottom of that picture, it just basically drops off. A little scary.  We hiked down a fairly steep slope and came to the bottom where you get a great view of the river:

Then we went along the trail to the marsh area.  We haven’t had rain for at least a couple of weeks, but it still was muddy under these wooden walkways:

I liked these. 😀  Then we hit the fun house bridge:

Looking at it doesn’t inspire much confidence, I have to say LOL!  However, it was quite solid.  This area was full of birds. We scared 2 herons when we came up to this. One of those times when I wish I had my really good camera and telephoto lens.

I want to come here some time really early and just camp out with my camera.

Then it was back into the woods and climbing back up, although this way wasn’t as steep as the way down. We happened to go the right way to avoid that 😀

Nice hike. We did about 2 miles and then biked home from there.

Moving on, today (Thursday) is our 21st anniversary. Last year we were in Ireland and it’s nice to reminisce about that trip.

We don’t usually exchange cards or gifts, but we do go out to dinner. Tonight was Indian food!

This is paneer tikka masala. This is the vegetarian version of chicken tikka masala with paneer cheese. So yummy!  Plus naan bread:

Yum!  And happy anniversary John!

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.

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!

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 😀

Saving the salamander

As you know, Wednesdays are Bagel Days!  We take this day to do a long ride as well — about 7 miles prior to breakfast and then 10 or 11 miles after breakfast. Gotta work off that bagel:

 

We were on the post breakfast ride. John was riding in front of me and he looked back a couple of times. He said he saw something orange  in the shoulder and it was moving. He wanted to go check it out. We turned around and I spotted it in the middle of the road! There were cars coming and I thought for sure it would be squished by the time we got to it.  However, fate smiled on the little guy and I scooped him up.

.

Turns out this is a juvenile Eastern red spotted newt (salamander).  The adults end up larger and green.

He was pretty active and unafraid:

Look at him strutting his stuff! LOL.

I learned more about this newt via the DEC website:

  • This salamander is native to NY.
  • This guy can live 12 to 17 years! Provided he doesn’t get run over by a car…
  • They eat mosquito larvae. Now we just need 100 of them in our back yard right now.
  • The babies excrete a poisonous toxin. Yikes! I was thinking I was more worried about salmonella, but okay. The color of the juveniles warns away predators.

Pretty neat! It’s always fun to find wildlife.

On a side note, I will share some of my business stuff. Normally I don’t get much time to experiment and the like just because of everything that needs to get done, but I am trying to do more with our products to showcase what they can be used for.  Activated charcoal is one of the new “in” things. I see people brush their teeth with it, use it for masks, etc. It is also popular in soap as an acne bar. Of course, you are not supposed to make a medical claim about your soap because then it becomes a drug and the FDA can go after you. I see too many soapers making claims on their soap.

At any rate, I am working on a tutorial for activated charcoal soap and this is the end result:

The top design is made with a spoon if you can believe that. I don’t do this with my regular soap bars because they won’t fit into my boxes if I do that. But this batch is just for show so I wanted to have some fun.  It’s all shiny because it is fresh soap (also called wet soap) and at a very thick pudding stage here.  This will be ready to try in about a month.  Soap is a very creative medium.

Volunteer work

I’ve been doing my volunteer work at the Chapman museum in downtown Glens Falls for a year now. It doesn’t seem like that long, but that could be because it’s usually one shift a month. Most of the volunteers work the reception area.

 

The museum recently installed a local information kiosk of sorts. It’s free to anyone to come in and learn about local history. Some interactive displays

And there are about 8 informational panels to read.

 

It’s really a well done display. The idea is that it could function as kind of a welcome center for visitors since our city doesn’t have one, but it hasn’t been made official.

The museum also has a great selection of books about our area and history.

 

I asked the director where he gets the books from and there is a specialty publisher that deals in local history. Who knew?

Anyway, that’s just a snippet of my volunteer duties.

We also got in buttons:

It’s the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights in NY this year. The education coordinator at Chapman is also on the planning committee for the suffrage events, so we see a lot of what’s coming up, including this:

 

The speakers will all be acting in period costume. I’ve got this in my calendar.

On a side note, I’m sure that I am not the only one with this problem. Cat gets on the couch when you do and snags your spot. Then I’m too much of a sucker to make her move and I perch at the front.

I want to come back as a cat in my next life.

Things You Can Do

Like many of you, I’m sitting here today wondering what the hell is going on in America.  Things need to get done.  Even though you may feel like you can’t make any change happen, there are larger groups with more infrastructure in place that can.  Join with them or donate.

  1. Southern Poverty Law Center. Mission: “The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality”
  2.   Anti-Defamation League: A national organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry in all forms
  3. Speak out. If you hear racist/bigoted/hate comments, call them out. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Try to do it respectfully and engage in conversation to help someone understand the problem, not just name calling. Violence is not a solution. Open a dialogue. This is the most important thing, IMHO.

It’s on all of us to work this out. We can’t wait for someone else to do it for us.

Photo fun

I grew up in a photo family. My grandparents owned a photo developing business and so I’m sure you can imagine the number of photos our family has stored in boxes upon boxes.

Transferring those photos to digital either requires sending out the negative and not getting it back or trying to take a picture of a picture, which doesn’t yield the best results. Enter google’s app PhotoScan and now I can get these pictures in a digital format. It’s available for iOS and android. Maybe it’s been around for a while, but it’s new to me.

You just put the photo in the viewfinder and match up the 4 circles. Here are some photos I did today:

That’s a wallet photo of my dad. The app removes any glare, too.

This was the photo that got me looking for a solution. I wanted a copy of this pic of my sister and I.

Not really sure why because that santa looks completely bored Lol ?

Finally getting the technique down a little better. Not getting too close is the key.

This is young me:

I’m having a tea party and no one came! Not quite sure how old I am here, but suffice to say it would be in the very early 1970s.

Of course, these pictures will never be crystal clear and the age discoloration isn’t going to go away. Anyway, this wasn’t any kind if sponsored post or the like. This is just a great tool for those of us with a lot of pre-digital age photos.