Monday, July 28, 2014

Fishing Hole

So we took a tour through Lincoln Vermont this week and decided to stop off and do some fishing. I have gone years without fishing and licenses skyrocketed! We dropped close to $100 on Vermont licenses so I am hoping I acquire a taste for fish! Our first stop was to Goshen Dam and ended after several hours of continuous casting and not a single fish! This spot was absolutely gorgeous, but much to our dismay has become fairly well known. As we continued travelling we were abruptly faced with a young white-tail doe in the middle of the road. Given it was a dirt road we stopped the car and watched the deer lick salt like a kid with a tootsie pop. 

Hopefully this doe will still be around this fall!

I am able to disclose some non-specific land-markers for our next stop but I have been sworn to secrecy regarding its actual location. On a small dirt road in Lincoln we pulled to a grassy pull off and pushed aside a veil of vines to find a small footpath. The foot path was a little steep but opened up onto a river bed with plenty of different levels for swimming. We bypassed the swimming spots and went directly to a 7 foot waterfall that dropped into a rock canyon (also a great swimming spot). After spotting a small hole that looked just right for a photo-shoot, I waded the river and scaled the large boulders on the other side of the river.

 Although it was a little scary climbing down the rock-face it was an amazing view of the waterfall I would not have gotten otherwise! 

After a bit of wading and picking up interesting rocks we started hooking our worms and dropping lines directly into the waterfall. No sooner did we drop our lines than the fish started jumping out of the plunge pool as if they were trying to jump back upstream! Each time the line was dropped it was literally less than a minute before a fish was on the line and we were reeling them in as if they weighed 100 pounds! We only kept one fish that I learned was a brook trout. These cold water fish are relatively forgiving when it comes to the type of bait you utilize(we had worms) and can be found in many spring-fed rural brooks throughout Vermont. 

Unfortunately for the fish and much to my dismay I have not yet found a way to prepare fish that I enjoy. Some habits are hard to break and red meat is one ;) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Straight Up Climb

This past weekend we had an interesting experience with a local hiking guidebook that did not quite meet our expectations. The book we had was all about hiking with kids and outlined a great trail on Pitchfield Mountain in Keene, NY described as moderate with a round trip of 3 miles. 
Unfortunately for us, the book must have been written in the 70's when everything seemed wonderful and beauty was found around every corner. As the trail has been traversed by avid hikers the directions have somewhat changed and it is not quite as peaceful as it once was. 
Our book described a "split" in the trail about a half of a mile in, the trail to the left, traveling up to the outlook (1.5 miles) and the trail to the right went up the mountain (distance unknown). Well. There was no split! Instead we followed the one and only trail, heading straight up! We quickly left the busy highway behind and sunk into the wilderness as we started our ascent. 

The trail was marked fairly regularly with NY Trail Head markers but as we started to progress higher, the signs became less frequent.
As we walked we crisscrossed a small stream coming down the mountain fairly often with some spectacular waterfall views. Although they were fairly small falls they were gorgeous and added a mystifying appeal to the trip. All of my readers will soon find out that I am a Waterfall Junkie!!! 
Unfortunately the higher we hiked the larger the rocks became on the trail until we were literally scooting from rock to rock on our hands and knees. A few members of our group were struggling with the altitude and decided to stop about two hours into the hike. I continued for another 45 minutes, reaching false peak after false peak. After such a grueling climb I relished the glimpse of sunshine through the treetops. Thinking to myself; it is just beyond this bend! No such luck. 
Eventually I rounded a corner in the trail and was met with massive stones coming out of the mountain on both sides. These huge boulders were overlooking one of the most breathtaking views I had ever seen. I continued on the trail but at this point my legs were shaking uncontrollably and tapping out their own beat! After each disappointing false top, and now hiking alone, I became discouraged and decided to turn around. However, before I began my retreat down the mountain I climbed atop some of these large boulders and took these shots of the mountains and I am still speechless as I look upon them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Japanese Beetles

So a friend of mine made mention of an influx of Japanese Beetles in her garden and how she was having trouble getting rid of them using only organic methods. Thank goodness I have not yet had this issue in my garden but it got me started on some research.

Japanese beetles have a metallic green body and copper wings. This chafer, or flying beetle grow to an average of 3/8 in long by 1/4 in wide. These pests feed on fruit and foliage as adults but start out feeding on grass roots as larva. These beetles overwinter roughly 8-10 in below the soil surface and begin to move towards the surface as spring approaches. In the beginning of June the adults begin to emerge and generally live for 30-45 days.

It is easy to spot Japanese beetles in the act of ruining a garden as they are not easily startled. You will also notice skeletonized leaves and defoliation in your plants. One beetle may cause damage to your garden but as these beetles grow in number the damage can become quite substantial.

If the infestation of beetles has not grown too large, you can simply pick off the beetles and drop them in a bucket of soapy water (soap breaks the tension and allows the beetle to drown).

Although not much help for current beetle issues, laying down mulch or hay will keep these chafers from laying eggs in your soil and cut down on the number of beetles you have next year.

Milky spore is a product you can purchase and spread throughout your lawn and garden in order to kill Japanese beetles. However this garden is recommended with a warning because it is ONLY effective towards Japanese Beetles and will nothing to combat the thousands of other flying pests in our area.

 Sticky tape or stakes can be purchased and laid in strips throughout your garden however this process is not guaranteed to work as there is nothing in the tape to draw the beetles too it.

You can also purchase Japanese Beetle traps at your local hardware store.

If you have had a similar experience with beetles or have any tips please feel free to let us know!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garden Time

So this weekend I spent an absurd amount of time plucking and pulling every weed that threatened to break through my garden soil. Unfortunately I chose to take pictures before I spent all of my Saturday weeding so these illustrate the true extent of my laziness over the past few weeks! 
Sweet Corn
Broccoli slowly recovering from the slug attacks!


Overall my plants are looking quite leafy and green but my pepper plants are simply not up to par. Several of my plants have lost their leaves as they dried up and turned to a black dust on the top of the stalk. The stalk however, has remained green and I am in high hopes that they will round the corner with a little TLC! My next step in combating the ever awful slugs and snails has been a fowl plan! I recently picked up two mallard ducklings whom I call Thelma and Louise. 

Snuggle Time
They have not quite reached a size where I feel comfortable letting them run free with the chickens so they are currently spending their nights in an dog crate and their days running wild! I have been filling up a sled with water several times a day and they are a riot to watch! Most evenings they put themselves to bed by snuggling down into a pile of hay and there they stay until I wake them up in the morning. 

After my long day of strenuous work I fell into a deep, restful sleep and had the most amazing dream! I dreamed of walking through my garden behind a small ramshackle cottage. The sun was high and the plants were aching to get closer to the warmth of the rays. 
Tomato plants, ripened to perfection, were bursting through the Azalea that lined the pathways and dandelion sprouts struggle to grow around the rock stones laid out. Sunflower's tower over Lily's at every turn and open up to a gazebo in the middle of this magnificent maze. 
The circle was lined with evening primrose sprinkled a midst night gladiolus hanging low over a reflective pool. As I sat in the gazebo watching the bees travel between the blossoms, I envisioned how my paradise would light up at night and I could not think of a single thing I would want to change. 
This is certainly not the garden I have now but perhaps someday....

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Berry Busy Weekend!

So this weekend was so busy that I am already planning on breaking it up into multiple posts! Friday was a complete bust what with having to work and dodging raindrops but Saturday was absolutely amazing! We started out the day with a trip to my family's farm in Whiting Vermont and got a chance to snack on fresh snap peas and lettuce straight from their award winning garden. My mother has learned the hard way that weeding a giant vegetable garden is not conducive to raising 7 children and thus has laid out white plastic across its length. Now the garden only needs small holes cut and tucked under wherever she wants her plants. She uses old railroad ties to hold everything in place and create sections but I have also heard of using rocks, or piling dirt around the holes. Their sugar snap peas are overwhelming their section and have even begun to have some gorgeous little purple flowers!

My next stop of the day was too the Lemon Fair in Shoreham, VT to spend a little outdoor time on the covered railroad bridge. Although we spent a good three hours fishing, we have yet to catch anything over .5 lbs... But sitting on the riverside soaking up the sunshine is always a good afternoon regardless of what we catch!

Shoreham Rail Road Bridge
Our last outing of the day was a four-wheeler (ATV) ride out through Moriah, New York. My boyfriend and I jumped on the wheeler and flew through all of the rural trails in town. We stopped on one trail to take a gander at an old mine opening and the collapsing ground around it. However, while we were stopped I began looking around and noticed the most brilliant wild strawberry patch I have ever seen! We picked and ate for a good 15 minutes until our fingers were stained red and our bellies were full of our sweet treat! This little treat was a great reminder to always be keeping an eye out for wild edibles close by!
Wild Strawberry Patch
Our trails went from the strawberry fields to the top of a "tailings" pile left over from the Iron Ore mines in the 1850's. This pile has an EXTREMELY steep trail going up the side with literally inches of firm ground on either side and had me clutching on for dear life. But the view at the top was worth the trip! A small plateau looks over all of Mineville, NY and onto Lake Champlain with the bridge in clear view. We sat here and watched the sunset before heading for home and bringing our Saturday to the perfect close.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

NY Hiking Trip!

Happy week of the 4th!
Sorry I have not been able to post much this week but it has been a hot/humid one so my bottom has stayed in fresh water as much as possible! This past weekend I went hiking in upstate New York with my love, his son, and our two labs.
We went to a great trail in North Hudson called Hammond Pond Wild Forest and it was absolutely amazing!!! There are four different stops you can make along the way including Trout Pond, Round Pond, Hammond Pond, and East Mill Flow. We did not make it all the way to East Mill Flow but Hammond Pond was simply gorgeous. It was roughly 2.5 miles to this pond and a very cool little man-made bridge crossing the lower end of the pond.
 There are also a few aluminum boats and canoes left on the pond for everyone to use. When we took the boat across we came to a rock-face with a cleared off area that would be great for a campsite! We used this opportunity to jump into the clear water (although it is dark) and came out only smelling mildly of beaver! The absolute silence that surrounded us and the still water made for a picturesque day and I can't wait to go back again.