Thursday, July 10, 2014

Down the road and back

It was such a beautiful day today that I was drawn out to take an afternoon walk down nearby Brownell Road.
 I love this road. I don't know how much longer I will love it, but right now, I still think it is a wonderful place.
 A few of our neighbors still have small farms: a few beef cattle, a few horses, some large vegetable gardens.
 Some land lies fallow and it, too, brings forth fruit.
 As I walked, I could hear bullfrogs, see a turtle slip into a quiet pool, hear a steer low.
 On other days, I have seen deer here, foxes, wild turkeys, a coyote slipping across the road like a quick shadow.
 A neighbor once told me that twenty years ago, a farmer had an old beagle that would take afternoon naps in the middle of this road. She guessed that the warm pavement felt good on his old bones.
"No one ever hit him," she told me. "We all knew to watch for him and we drove slowly. He died of old age."
 I don't think that dog would last long today. The Town of Malta is growing so fast. Houses are sprouting up and people zip by, going to and fro to work. They don't hear the frogs, they don't smell the fresh-cut hay.
No one likes change. But I do wonder: can we save some of THIS before it's too late? Can local governments fund programs to purchase the development rights for farms like these?

Saratoga County used to do that, used to have a very successful Farmland and Open Space Fund. It conserved farmland, created trails, and  protected natural areas. 

Money troubles caused them to stop funding the program. But now the county's economic picture has changed. Money isn't so tight this year. I hope the supervisors bring back this program. 

Because once all of this is gone, it won't ever be coming back. And I, for one, will sorely miss it.

I am asking for the support of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors for a modest investment of $500,000 in the Farmland and Open Space Fund in the county’s 2015 budget. Will you join me? Please call or email your  town supervisor soon. They start putting the budget together in August. Thank you. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's Saratoga County for horses and blooms this weekend

I love farms. I love horses. I love FREE. So the 2014 Saratoga County Horse Tour, sponsored by CCE Equine/Cornell Cooperative Extension sounds to me like the perfect way to spend Saturday afternoon.

This is a self-driven tour that is open to the public. Click here for a printable brochure and directions to each farm. If you've never met that lovable loser, retired thoroughbred Zippy Chippy, this weekend is your chance.

Several of the featured farms are in the thoroughbred biz in one way or another, so local racing fans may find this tour fun and informative. And if there is anyone in your family who is smitten with horses, this is a Must Do event.

And then there is Sunday. This event isn't free but it sure is popular. One of the main fundraisers for Soroptimist International of Saratoga County is this annual garden tour. Several generous and ambitious families open their private gardens to visitors on this one Sunday in July. Some gardens are professionally "done" but most are the result of the hard work and creativity of mere mortals who happen to love gardening. Those are my favorite. They fill me with awe and admiration. Please click here for information about when and where to buy tickets for the garden tour.

For those of you who can't make either tour, please check back here after the weekend. I will try to get some good photos to share with you.

Wherever you live, I hope your weekend is filled with lots of things you love to do in the out of doors.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Evening in Saratoga with Sonny and Perley

The weather was absolutely perfect Sunday evening for enjoying an outdoor concert. And what could be better than Sonny and Perley in Saratoga's Congress Park. Playing string bass with them last night was Bobby Kendall, from Troy, NY. They sounded great together.

An unofficial bonus last night was a group of young swing dancers. What fun they were to watch, moving so skillfully with their partners.

We happened to know one of the young ladies, a bright and talented local high school student. Such graceful energy!
There was a good-sized crowd there for the concert. (A few should NOT have brought their dogs with them, but that's a grumble for another time.)
At the break, pianist Sonny Daye introduced his beautiful granddaughter to some friends in the crowd. (Is that a proud grandpa or what?)
Last night's concert was the kick-off for Jazz in July, a month of free Sunday night concerts in Saratoga's Congress Park. Next week, the Peg Delaney Trio will be performing. Bring chairs or a blanket and a picnic, breathe in the soft evening air, and just feel the tension seep away. The concerts start at 7:00 pm.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Graduations and then it's Sum-sum-summertime!

It's been a very full couple of days. Lots of graduations, with gatherings of friends and family to celebrate them. Good stuff, all of it.

After our company left late this afternoon, the Handsome Husband and I headed into Ballston Spa for the start of their free summer concert series. The two-person band Sirsy kicked things off tonight, and did so with great energy and an appreciative audience. Melanie Krahmer and Rich Libutti are pretty amazing.

Nothing says summer to me more than free outdoor concerts, with kids dancing in front of the bandstand and everyone just having fun being outdoors.

I hope you get out to enjoy some music in your neck of the woods before summer gets away from you.

Because it's June!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Round Lake Antiques Festival

I shouldn't have gone anywhere near this place today. I really am trying to pare down, to deacquisition the "treasures" I already own.

But the Handsome Husband was off doing his own thing and the lovely June afternoon beckoned.
The small and charming Village of Round Lake is quite near us. For antique lovers, this is a nice show, much of it set up along shady paths.

Whether I am haunting thrift shops or antique venues, I always seem to be drawn to the same sorts of things. Battered watering cans always catch my eye. I like them as planters for summer annuals. But since I already own three of them - or maybe four? - I left this one behind.

These colorful vintage tins were tempting. They'd be great for storing craft supplies.  

Nostalgia is a big factor in antique and thrift browsing. My eye was drawn to these dishes that are similar to some pieces my mother once owned.

I love the colors of old Chinese porcelain. but it's too rich for my blood. And when would I ever use it?

I did like these green dishes with the butterflies. Hung on the wall, they would be lovely art.

Don't know why but I rather liked the funky pink toy kitchen pieces. They would be fun in the guest room our granddaughters occasionally use.

I always notice old textiles, especially handwork. I hope this piece finds a loving and appreciative home.

Ditto this great red and white quilt.

I am a fan, too, of dog art. These two pieces, above and below, were not very expensive.

In the end, I only bought one thing: a pretty platter, of no great value, but it is something that I will actually use. I want a pat on the back for being somewhat abstemious today.

The Round Lake Antiques Festival is an annual event. Make a mental note to check it out next June. All money raised benefits the Round Lake Library and other good stuff in the village.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Once a month, a small group of ladies and girls meets at our local library to knit.

The young girls who come are brought by a non-knitting mom, who waits in another part of the library for them. Young Miss R. started coming first and she now brings along her younger sister, Miss S. We have had some other girls come in the past, as well, inspired by an after school learn-to-knit class run by a Malta Avenue School teacher.

These are brave and charming girls who are not too shy to ask for help when they need it. (I think the girls like the snacks, too.)

Knitting projects vary. Some are small. Above, Linda is working on a hat.

Here, Martha is making socks.

This week, I, too, am attempting socks. I am using some ancient yarn from my yarn archives. I probably bought this yarn in the 1970s. It is so old that the color palette is coming back into fashion again, heaven help us.

This beautiful work, above and in the first photo, will be an afghan.

Trish likes to knit scarves.

I have learned some useful knitting tips from this group. But what I value most is the time to reconnect with some good folks. One lady has just lost a dear sister. Another is dealing with a major health challenge. We sit together and chat and knit, offering advice on a knitting conundrum or quiet companionship. In this way, we carry on a tradition that must go back to the
Neolithic Revolution: women with their needlework, sitting together and sharing skills and news and worries.

And the young girls? They are good listeners. I suspect that they are learning a lot more than just knitting. As it has always been; as it should be.

The knitting group of the Malta branch of the Round Lake (NY) Library meets on the last Tuesday of each month from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  All levels of skill are welcome. Click here for more information.

A further note:  Many libraries and independent knitting stores  across the world sponsor similar social knitting groups, along with classes and related programs. Check out what is available in your own neck of the woods. Times are often listed on store and library websites and in newspaper weekly calendars.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Tulips, maybe

Chipmunks. In our yard, we have plenty of chipmunks, along with voles and squirrels. I have given up trying to grow tulips because all of these varmints will eat them.

But then I started reading Garden Rant.

Posts by gardeners who blog there, such as Elizabeth Licata (see, for example, this one) and Michele Owens (see hers, too) emboldened me to try another tack.

Last November, I saw a few bags of leftover tulip bulbs marked down to half price at a local store. What the heck, I thought, I will try them in pots like Elizabeth Licata does.

So unceremoniously, I stuck the bulbs in some pots, watered them well, and set them in our unheated garage. I covered the pots with other heavy pots turned upside down to discourage rodents. And then I pretty much forgot about them.

Until this week.

Shoot, I thought. I should have watered those poor tulip bulbs.

But when I removed the inverted coverings ...

Awww, they managed to survive the winter despite my neglect. Big Smile, indeed.

Both pots have been given a good drink of water and the covers will remain off.
As soon as the weather warms up just a little, I will move the pots to our porch. Or maybe inside.

For not much money or trouble, I will have some tulips to enjoy before long.

Thank you, Garden Rant, for the inspiration. (I loved this more recent post, too!)