Sunday, November 8, 2015

More Fall Photos and Adventures

Continuing on from my last post of fall rides and drives, I thought I'd post some more fall photos.

About a month ago, my husband, son, and grandson took a hike up one of the mountains in the Adirondacks that has a fire tower on top of it. It was Wakely Mountain in the Moose River Plains.  It is not too difficult of a hike, and the views are beautiful from the summit.

Over the past several decades we have hiked up several mountains. I've been up Wakely Mountain in the past, but now I avoid rocky, uphill terrains.

My husband has hiked several of the Adirondack High Peaks. There is also a club called the 46ers and if you are interested and serious about climbing the High Peaks of the Adirondacks you can register and join their group on their website: ADK46ers.

The Adirondack High Peaks are those mountains in the Adirondacks of New York State that are over 4,000 feet.

On the trail up Wakely Mountain

The Adirondack Forty-Sixers is a club open to all who have climbed, or intend to climb, all the peaks and have registered with the Adirondack Mountain Club.

Wakley Mountain Fire Tower

If you are interested in hiking some of the trails that have fire towers on them here is a link to them. Adirondack Fire Towers. I have climbed three of them with my family that have fire towers on them: Bald Mountain, Snowy Mountain, and Wakely Mountain.

One of the many dirt roads found in New York State (Winona State Forest).

Railroad bed near our house in Mexico, NY

Dirt road in Winona State Forest
Winona State Forest is located in northern Oswego County in the Town of Boylston and in the southern part of Jefferson County in the Town of Lorraine. This is a recreational area that offers hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, dog-sledding, horseback riding and other activities. It also offers over 8 miles of snowmobile trails that connect with other trails in the area.

Oak leaves and acorns

One of the roads in Winona State Forest

Salmon River Reservoir

Salmon River Falls, Orwell, NY 
In the above photo, we visited Salmon River Falls on a beautiful fall day during the Columbus weekend in October. It is a very popular tourist site this time of year because of the fall foliage. You can see several people on top of the falls. The falls is 110 feet high. There is also a trail you can take to the bottom of the falls, but it's quite steep so you need to be an experience hiker and physically fit.  The link below will provide you with more information on the history and rules of the area.

 Official Website of Salmon River Falls Unique Area if you missed my post on another Unique Area in New York State click on this link: Labrador Hollow Unique Area.

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

May the trails you follow today 
lead you to peace, happiness, and solitude. 

Thanks for stopping by ~
Feel free to leave a comment! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

An Autumn Drive in Northern New York

Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, NY

We like to go for drives/rides this time of year - in the fall, when the leaves are turning colors.

The landscape is truly nature's beautiful palette. So many colors of reds, yellows, greens, browns, oranges, and against the background of the blue sky and white, puffy clouds the views are just amazing. And the smells, too! When the leaves have fallen, and they start to decay, you can smell the slight pungent odor of the leaves after a rain. That's when you know that fall is here and winter will follow soon in autumn's footsteps.

When we go for a leisurely ride in our car, it usually always involves a ride to either the mountains, a forest, or some type of water (that could be a river, a pond, a lake or a waterfalls, etc.), and usually we're lucky if we can get all three in on one trip.

And in the fall we usually head up to the Adirondack Mountains. From our place, in Mexico, NY, we can get up there in about 2+ hours. Of course that depends on how many times we stop for photos along the way of any of the above three mentioned items (mountains, forests, or water).

We're so lucky in New York State to be able to experience all four seasons of nature, and each with its distinctive qualities. The fall, as the days get shorter, allows for the transformation of the summer greenery in the landscapes of trees, flowers, and fields, to turn a golden yellow or brown, and other rich, glowing fall colors.

Whiteface Mountain (in back) from Lake Placid, NY.

The days can be brisk from cool mornings, to a warm and sunny afternoon. And then you have the autumn rains and wind that finish off the colorful leaves left hanging on the trees by disposing of them on the ground to be blown around the house and then to be raked up or left until spring. And you could even be surprised by a snow flurry or even an accumulation of snow this time of year.

Several areas of the Country experienced the effects of Hurricane Patricia as well as we did, too. In the last few days our areas have had high winds with some people experiencing power outages, and lots of rain. We were fortunate that we did not get as much damage as several areas of the south experienced. Personally, we just had some small branches come down.

Only in New York, in October (and no, that's not Ted)

So back to our autumn drives around the area - this year we headed up to the Lake Placid area. Home to the winter Olympics of 1932 and 1980. There is a museum there that you can tour for the history of the games as well as visiting the sites where the competitions were held. And you might be able to see some athletes in training for the next Olympics.

Lake Placid also offers some great eateries as well as some great shopping. We had lunch at The Cottage Restaurant, which is a pub-like restaurant offering wonderful views of Lake Mirror and the High Peaks. They have a woodburning fireplace both inside and out, and it was warm enough the day we visited so we were able to dine outside.

On a separate day, we took off for an afternoon drive on some of the dirt roads in northern Oswego and Jefferson Counties. With the heavy winds we've had the last couple of days, most of the leaves were down in that area, but the leaves scattered on the ground and in the woods make for delightful woodland fairy scenes.

Hope you are able to welcome in the "Trick-or-Treaters" or catch some of them in costumes at your local venues. I just love watching all the little goblins and ghouls running around the neighborhoods in search of their sweet treasures!

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
~Author Unknown

Feel free to leave a comment. 
Would love to hear from  you ~

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Blank Page . . .

As I stare at this blank page I'm pondering what I'm going to write about today. How technical do I want to get about "gardening stuff"? Maybe I just want to share some photos and thoughts on this page. Or some chores that you need to do this time of year.

One of my friends asked me a few months ago if I was worried I was going to run out of ideas to write about. I answered her, "Well, I can always find something to write about, even if it's about dirt." Well, here's the scoop on dirt! No, not really. I don't feel like writing about dirt right now. Maybe in the winter when there's not too much blooming or the skies are displaying their drab colors.

Actually we're getting closer to winter now. Can you believe it snowed in Mexico, New York earlier this week (October 18, 2015)? Yes, we actually got 8" of snow! I don't think it got above 38 degrees that day and we got our first frost. Not a very heavy frost, but a frost. I guess this is the end of our growing season.

I got quite a bit of my fall gardening chores completed the last few weeks with the help of my husband, Ted. I still have some hostas and other perennials to cut back and it's supposed to warm up this week, so I think I will still have time to finish most of gardening jobs before we get the big snows.

Today I write about Color! Color in the landscape and color in the sky! I'm not a professional landscaper, just a home gardener (and mostly flowers at that). I've learned by trial and error. Probably mostly error. But I try to keep my losses and mistakes to a minimum. When purchasing new plants for a garden I usually buy one and see how that does in my soil, climate, and environment. If the plant doesn't make it, and I really like the plant, I might buy another one and try it again. And usually after that I'll give up on a plant and find something else.

Plants with different color combination and textures make a garden interesting and can create moods of relaxation or excitement. But sometimes this can be very difficult to achieve. Especially when you have plants where the colors look great together, but in reality those same plants bloom at different times of the year. Some might bloom in spring and others in late summer. As an example, you can plant them together and even though they bloom at different times of the year they might compliment each other in their shape, color or texture of the leaves and stems. Many plants have more attractive leaves than they do flowers. Different colored leaves can blend your flowers and plants together.

When I'm planting perennials in my garden, I usually select a plant by it's color, size or shape. Not specifically for an overall plan, but that's usually my first priority. If it's visually appealing to me and it's the right height I'll try it out. Also, a lot of plants might look wonderful in a photo, but when you see it in person it could be much smaller or larger than you expected. Or it could also be a plant that is very much an aggressive grower and over grows its boundaries. Be sure to check labels on plants before you buy them for the size and requirements of that plant. Fall is a good time to plant shrubs and trees as well, as long as you can plant them at least six weeks before a heavy frost is expected so the roots can settle in. It might be a little late here, but trees do well when planted in the fall.

I'm also sharing photos from some of my friends and their beautiful gardens this past season.  And some of my favorite photos from this past year as well.

Also, as most of you have noticed, I haven't posted my blog lately. I had a busy and enjoyable summer spending time with my family and friends. Also, when it was too hot to do any gardening outside, I started a queen-sized quilt for us to replace a well-worn out one. I finished the quilt top a few weeks ago and now it's at the quilt shop being machine-quilted.

A garden "bed"! Created by Colleen & Phil McAllister. Photo by Colleen McAllister.

Photo by Cynthia Kresman Hatalak of one her gardens
with beautiful varergated New Guinea impatiens.

I think we had a very beautiful summer, and September was gorgeous as well.

While the fall colors have been beautiful, I don't think they have been as brilliant as they have been in previous years.

I hope you get the chance (if you haven't already) to get out and maybe explore your area for the fall changes in the landscape. The fall colors look so glorious against a bright blue sky.

And it's also a good time to go for a ride in the country and check out the fall produce at the farm stands. Pumpkins, winter squash & apples!

One of Sandy Nichols-Leinbach's beautiful garden borders (Photo by Sandy). 

A photo shared by Judith Lembree of one of her colorful perennial borders. 

Another photo from Judith Lembree.

A photo I took of my friends' (Jan & Jim Tighe) backyard retreat.

Here is a very extensive guide to color in your garden from UGA (Georgia) Extension: Landscape Basics: Color Theory

And a special thank you to my friends, Cynthia Kresman Hatalak, Judith Lembree, Sandy Nichols-Leinbach, and Colleen McAllister for allowing me to share their photos on this blog post.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, 
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

Thanks for taking the time to 
check out my blog post. 

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer is Half Over


I know you don't want to hear that, and believe me, I don't either - but it's true. If you haven't done anything exciting yet that you were planning on doing during the nice weather then it's time to schedule that activity now and DO IT! before the weather cools off. . .

Can't believe that summer is half over. Where did it go? The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooling off. We've been below 60 F overnight, and some birds are already heading south like the tree swallows and purple martins.

Turkey Vulture soaring in the thermals

This summer certainly has been a comfortable one here in northern/central New York. We've only had a few hot days with high humidity, and most of the days have been in the 70's with low humidity. It's been a pretty good gardening season, too. We had a sufficient amount of rain for the most part earlier in the summer so the gardens have needed little supplemental watering, but the past few weeks have seen little rainfall and now the trees and gardens are showing their stress.

Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario with Association Islands in the background

From my observation, the Lake Ontario water level has been high since early spring. It hasn't gone down much at all yet. From all the rain throughout the Great Lakes this has contributed to the high water levels. There is a significant amount of large debris being washed into Lake Ontario from the tributaries that empty into it as well as from the other four Great Lakes. Several large logs and roots can be seen along the shorelines, and boaters have reported seeing these large logs floating out in the lake several feet from shore. Boaters beware because sometimes these large logs are floating just below the surface.

My daylilies have proved to be very beautiful this year. I'm not sure why, but it could be from all the rain we've had this spring and summer. Also, my husband cleared out a few dead trees in our backyard and that's opened it up a little to provide more sun for one of the daylily gardens.
I wasn't sure how my daylilies were going to do, because it looked like some of them were not going to come up this spring and when they did come up they were extremely little. I don't know if they got damaged by all the snow and long winter or something else. I was remembering that last year I used some Slug Bait around the perimeter of the daylily gardens, and the directions advise not to use around daylilies. Well, I thought that if I used some around the edges that that would be ok. Well, it's possible that it harmed some of the plants and that's why some of the were slow in coming up. Also, some of them even failed to bloom. I hope they recover fully next year.

One of several species of  Globe Thistle (Echinops).
This one was given to me by a friend and has soft leaves. 

My iris bed is a mess. It really needs a lot of work. I probably should move it to a location where it's a little drier and gets more sun. I might do this by gradually splitting up my irises and planting them in a different area (after I figure out where I'm going to move them to).

Ligularia - The Rocket

I've got some other chores lined up for later in the season. I'll have to dig up and split some of the more aggressive daylilies, and I have some tall perennials that need to be moved because they are too distracting where I have them planted currently. I'll also need to dig up a peony that's pretty close to a pine tree and no longer blooms anymore.

Crocosmia. (Pictured below) The crocosmia is a hardy perennial (Hardiness Zones 5-9) and is related to the gladiola family. When the plant comes up in the spring, it sends up tall narrow leaves that look like Siberian Iris leaves. The flowers appear later in the season (about the time the daylilies bloom) on arching spikes of little flowers that resemble the Cana lilies flowers only smaller. They are available in mostly hot colors and depending on the variety can bloom from mid-summer through early fall. They do well in full sun and most any type of soil. They may flop over so I've supported them by putting a peony hoop around a clump of them. They can grow from 35 to 45 inches tall. They attract butterflies and humming birds. They look nice in a border and do well in containers, too. They are also attractive as a cut flower in arrangements or as a single specimen. And another plus is that they are deer and rabbit resistant. If you live in a an extremely cold area you might want to mulch them well over the winter. I have had lost a few over the winter extreme temperatures. Or you can dig up the corms (like gladiola) and store them inside over the winter.

Crocosmia (not sure of the variety, was given to me by a friend)

A new bird to add to our list was a recent sighting of an American Redstart that found our birdbath in our backyard and used it for taking long refreshing baths for at least two days in a row. It was a nice surprise and I heard its call before in our backyard, but I wasn't familiar with it and I wasn't able to identify it until I saw the bird. I wish I had a better photo to share with you, but the one pictured below was taken from inside our house through a screened window.

American Redstart

Have you ever seen a woodpecker drink from a hummingbird feeder? Me neither.
Also not as sharp as I would have liked it - taken through a screened window.

Two baby Ospreys on left, and parent Osprey on right.

May your summer days be filled with sunshine, rainbows, frogs, butterflies, and ice cream!

Have a great week!

Feel free to leave a comment . . .

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Garden Tour on the Lake at Henderson, NY!

Last Saturday, July 11, 2015, was the Henderson NY Garden Club's Garden Tour! There were eight homes on the tour and the Henderson School Apartments which featured a vegetable garden and several attractive seating areas.

Henderson, NY, is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario in Jefferson County. Some of the homes on this tour were in Henderson Harbor. All the homes on the tour have beautiful views of the water. Some of the best sunsets are on Lake Ontario in this area.

It's nice to take a garden tour in your area because it gives you an idea of what shrubs, trees, and perennials grow well in your area, as well as how large they grow, if they are invasive, and what are their soil/light and water requirements. In addition to that, there is usually a garden club member at each house site which can help to identify plants and answer questions that you may have.

The Secret Garden
The above four photos were taken at Deb Newcomb's place. It was very welcoming and you could see the love and appreciation that go into maintaining these gardens.

While these gardens are very beautiful, it's not always easy gardening on these sites. They have very rocky soil, and in some areas there is not much topsoil covering the rocks. In some of these pictures you will see areas of rock edgings and walls and they most likely came from those individual properties.

Another major problem for these gardens are deer. The deer population in this area is unbelievable. I never would have thought that deer would thrive in these areas, but they do and they love it here. Most of the garden club members and owners of the properties that I talked with all said that deer were a problem in the gardens. So the challenge has been to try to have beautiful flowers with the least amount of deer damage. The deer love most any kind of flower buds.

We, personally, have tried many different deer repellents. Some work, but you have to keep at it more often that what's recommended on the labels. We've tried some of the home remedies that you mix yourself with household ingredients, and that might deter them for awhile, but if they get hungry enough you can count on them coming back. We have used the concentrated form of Liquid Fence, and one of my neighbors uses Bobbex. And they both work.

This was a new house in Henderson Harbor which featured new landscaping. 
One of the new raised beds at this home.

Another one of the homes we visited had beautiful decks and a great entrance porch. I loved how it was decorated with the birdhouses in the photo above and the cozy seating area in the picture below.

The two photos below show the large perennial garden at the entrance to this home. I'm sure the rocks that border the garden are from the ground when the property was excavated for the home.

The home in the photo below also includes rock borders and ledges and the owner explained that most the the rock came from their property as well.

This is their view of Lake Ontario.

Another place on the tour featured a lovely place with beautiful views and perennials. It appeared to be a very welcoming and comfortable home.

Another home on the tour featured a home with two beautiful pond areas.

The house and gardens featured in the photos below were the last place we visited on the tour, and it is also the place of friends of ours, Mark and Linda Adams. They have created several themed gardens on various areas of their property. The areas include a sunny garden, a Victorian Garden, a Knot Garden, and a few others as well. There is an extensive amount of shade on the property and they have done a great job of planting shrubs and perennials are that are conducive to that environment.

This building is the back of the Playhouse. 

One of the seating areas in a shady garden.

The Garden Shed

A path leading through the shade garden.

One of their two Fairy Gardens.

I'd like to thank all of the homeowners for opening up their gardens for us to enjoy their beautiful landscapes and views: Dana Keefer, Nancy Denny, Pam Brandt, Linda & Mark Adams, Barb Davidson, Deb Newcomb, Holly Creek, and Jean Kenna. And thanks to the Henderson Garden Club for hosting our visit.

Hope you enjoyed your armchair tour ~

Feel free to comment. 
I would love to hear from you!