Here’s a lovely scene from our Mother’s Day hike at Harriman State Park. The apple trees were blooming and the fragrance was heavenly. I was hoping to find morels, but there wasn’t one in sight. There hadn’t been any rain in weeks, so it wasn’t that surprising.
Recently I went with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop to Frost Valley YMCA. If you live anywhere near Craryville, NY (which is near Woodstock, NY) I recommend going. This weekend was specifically for all kinds of winter activities, which included hikes, ice fishing, tubing, ice cutting (demonstration on how people used to harvest blocks of ice for their ice boxes), etc. The hardest part of the weekend was deciding on which activities to sign up for.
My favorite activities were the hikes of course. This photo was taken on their highfalls hike. The ice on the left was about 100 feet tall and a stunning shade of blue.
Our annual 4th of July visit with our good friends Jim and Sandi was another vacation chock full of good, clean summertime fun. Our days were spent swimming, boating, steaming clams, grilling and seeing (and lighting) fireworks.
Lindsay, Neil and I enjoyed boogie boarding in the perfect temperature ocean. It was amazing how much more civilized the temperature was at the beach than inland.
Our friends hosted a bbq at their adorable home and my hubby took the sweet picture on the porch.
It was hard to bring this trip to an end, and we even delayed it by visiting friends in CT for a couple of hours on the way home.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend. We decided to celebrate Father’s Day by going on a bike ride. Lindsay has just gotten comfortable enough riding that we went on a rail trail. We rode on the North County Trail way in Westchester, NY. It runs along the old Putnam Division line, which is parallel to the Saw Mill River Parkway.It was a very pretty ride through the woods and past swamps and rivers. One stretch had loads of frogs announcing themselves. We dubbed that frog alley. We made many stops to rest tired little legs (she had a bike with no gears) and enjoyed a picnic lunch, a beautiful view from a bridge, and a cookie and cherry break. We lucked out with the weather as well. It seems as though we now live in the tropics, and get an afternoon downpour every day. But on Sunday, we had the perfect temperature and no rain!
This last view is looking down from the bridge, which had a sign that said “No jumping”. This bridge is low enough to the water (not for me!) that I guess it attracts yahoos. The sign by the much higher Tappan Zee bridge says “Life is worth living” and has a phone number. Yikes!
Oh, and now Lindsay has upgraded from a pink bike to a fierce new black one with gears.
This weekend we went up to my in-laws in the Berkshires. We got in two beautiful hikes in which we searched (to no avail) for morel mushrooms. Although it was disappointing to miss the morels, the gorgeous wildflowers and critters more than made up for it. There were loads of red-spotted newts (also called Eastern Newts). These sweet little guys live in the water when they are tadpoles and adults, but during their juvenile phase (when they are called red efts), they live on land. They are most visible when it is wet out, which it was this weekend.
There are many things we love to do when we’re up in the Berkshires. Taking hikes is at the top of the list. It is still a bit early (snow and mud on the ground) to go on the more ambitious hikes, so we decided to take a simple walk along Ice Glen road. At the end of the hike we ran into a woman walking with her puppy. We stopped to talk with her and discovered that she keeps chickens and raises or grows all her own food. She also has a flock of alpacas and spins and weaves the fiber. I mentioned that I spin and she invited us to walk over to her house, where she gave me a trash bag full of her alpaca fiber.
It was crazy how much we had in common with her. She mentioned that she has a son who’s a photographer in Brooklyn. But what put me over the edge was when she said that I could dye the white alpaca and mentioned that she picks wild mushrooms to dye her fiber. She uses turkey tail mushrooms to dye her wool blue. I’m going to have to keep my eye out for them this year.
My new challenge is to process the fiber. I usually buy fiber that has already been washed and carded. I am going to borrow equipment from someone in my spinning group to card it. I’ll post more when I work on the fiber.
I am excited by this new challenge. It was so unexpected to meet such a nice woman and come away with gorgeous, soft alpaca fiber.
This past weekend I went with 3 friends from my knitting group up to Rhinebeck, NY to the NY Sheep and Wool festival. For those of you who aren’t knitters (seriously, are there any??), this weekend is kind of the holy grail for knitters and spinners. One of my friends referred to it as Burning Man for middle-aged women.
The festival takes place at the Dutchess County fairgrounds, which are gorgeous with fall foliage this time of year. There are vendors of all kinds – yarns, spinning wheels, spinning fibers, patterns, shearling slippers, handmade soaps, etc. There are also barns filled with livestock including sheep, goats, alpaca and llamas. There are plenty of kids from the various farms who exhibit their animals and hope to win ribbons. It was hard to say if the sheep or these kids were cuter. I was particularly smitten with this sweet girl, who is about my daughter’s age. She was very proud of her sheep, and admitted to me that she does miss her animals after she sells them. I also thought this sheep showed an enormous amount of personality.
Lisa and I are eating lunch from the artichoke guys.
We really lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and mild, so we could wear some light knitwear. I finished this melon-colored sweater about a week before the festival. The pattern is called Buttercup. What’s fun about this weekend is that you are surrounded by your people. The sheer quantity of gorgeous (and bizarre) knitwear was astounding. The sheer quantity (shear quantity?) of bad knitting puns we saw was also astounding. Our B & B was filled with knitters, which was fun.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend. On Saturday I went with some girls from my Brownie troop to see the last Liberty basketball game of the season. If you haven’t been to a WNBA game, I highly recommend it. The girls enjoyed themselves and unknowingly got a little feminist boost watching women athletes.
Yesterday we went to Harriman State Park. It’s just over an hour out of the city, and comprises miles and miles of varied hiking trails. I first went here with my mushroom hunting group. This time we tried a different trail that led us to a lake. The water was clear and all of us were itching to swim in it. Next year we’ll pick a nice hot summer day, leave the city early and spend some time there.
We had an interesting wildlife sighting while we were hiking. Our friend Kate saw a snake move and then heard a rattling noise. It turns out this 4-foot snake is a timber rattlesnake. We warned people who had dogs about the snake as they approached the area to hilarious results. Most picked up their dogs and were fascinated. One woman completely lost her mind and started shrieking about snakes. I think even her dog rolled its eyes at her.
This Saturday Neil and I went on a morel foray. Although the spring has been extremely dry, it rained recently and we were hopeful that that would lead to some good morel hunting. Nope. Between about 60 people, only 4 morels were found. I wasn’t one of the ones who found one. Bummer. And it doesn’t help that a good friend from Seattle is practically tripping over morels in her garden. And doesn’t believe me when I tell her they are real morels. So she doesn’t eat them. Wah.
But, it was a beautiful sunny day out of the city. I can’t disclose the location, although with such poor results, I doubt anyone will be banging my door down to tell them. And I saw a turtle. You have to get excited about something, right?
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We went up to the Berkshires, which always gives us an excuse to spend time outdoors hiking. Here are some photos from the weekend.