Saturday, January 30, 2010

During a blizzard...

and a few hours later.

The sun melted the last snow very quickly but the cold temps remain. It's a lot easier to hike around in cold temps than when it's hot and humid. During the dog days of summer I walk mostly in towns.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun to shop in Kingston, NY

Kingston has loads of interesting shops -especially if you like books, music, art supplies & toys.

Kingston is pretty amazing. It was the first a capitol of New York, so it has a lot of grand places.

Plenty of places to eat, there are coffee shops, diners, cafes, tea rooms and chocolate shops.

Something for everyone.

And the architecture is fun too. Kingston has many very walkable neighborhoods and shopping areas.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Last Summer in the Catskills

A groovy mini bus ~ a cheerful relic of days gone by.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Waterland

On Friday we enjoyed the sunshine at Kingston Point Beach. A beach in winter is a favorite outing for us.

Mathilda is now an exhibit at the maritime museum. She was built in Quebec in 1898, and spent many years working in Montreal Harbor and New York Harbor-- she was the oldest steam tug in operation (in the States) when she retired to Kingston in 1969.

Icebreakers in the distance. This is the Roundout Creek -- a tributary of the Hudson River. It was nearly 50 degrees on Friday, so it was a day of melting, and we enjoyed an extra extra long walk.

A close up of the snowy beach.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Logging in Lumberland

Saturday was a cold day in The Catskills, but it was time to log.

Every so many decades the loggers are called in ~ for stewardship of the land and for a little pocket money to help pay for saplings to plant in warmer weather.

This logging road has been here since the 1700's when people from Connecticut owned parcels and called the area "Lumberland." This road leads to a parcel of a few hundred acres of forest.

Most of the dense forest is above the logging road on ridges, or below in a valley. The loggers will be busy for awhile, and when they complete the task of clearing away so much dead wood (you wouldn't believe how many trees fall in a thirty year period) and chopping a few select trees, there will still be plenty of trees in the forest, and room for more to grow in a healthy environment.

A few years ago we noticed that by clearing away a lot of other trees among a group of fine red oaks that were struggling with too much shade and fungus, we were able to see the oaks thrive again. In just one year you could see the amazing difference that more air, sunlight and space made for them.

Lightening strikes wreak havoc on trees-- I've seen the tops of tall oaks cut off by lightning, and apparently maple seeds floated into the burnt area which must have collected rain and debris, and began to grow! So you have these freakish looking trees that are half and half. You wouldn't notice that a big solid looking oak has a "maple tree top" in a dense wood unless you stood right next to it and looked way up there, or climbed a nearby tree or ridge. When everything is packed in tight, weird things begin to happen. A tree will twist itself every which way to try and get some sunlight, roots compete like crazy in the rocky woods. ( a tiny pine trying to grow out from under the edge of a boulder seems to send out a 'help me' vibe as does a willow trying to grow on a very dry high ridge.) Every spring we go out and look for these small distressed trees that are still healthy enough to relocate to a better spot.