Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thee was looking out of the wrong window, Dear.

Christmas is over and our company has headed home. It was wonderful to see our soldier-daughter and her soldier-husband for the holidays, our first visit with her since her return from Afghanistan.

Likewise, it was good to see our youngest son, my two sisters, assorted nieces and nephew, and some old family friends.

But today, there is nothing to bake, nothing to wrap, and no mailing deadlines to meet.

Here in upstate New York, the day is sunny and clear but the wind doth howl and the temperature is hovering around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The bird feeders are busy and the dogs don't want to stay out long.

One might succumb to post-holiday blues or cabin fever on a day like this, or one can sit in peace and enjoy the quiet aftermath of the busy holiday. It all depends which window one chooses to look out of.

Here, I re-gift to you a good present. Over at A Way to Garden , Margaret Roach has a link to a wonderful video of the late Ruth Stout. Whether you garden or not, this dear lady has some wonderful advice about gardening (naked) and living a free-thinking life. The three linked videos conclude with the quote I have used to title this post. I recommend watching these (especially parts two and three) when you have a quiet moment to spare. You may just start the New Year with a fresh way of looking at life.

Keep warm and safe travels...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Home for Christmas

Our soldier daughter came home for Christmas last night. This will be the first time since 2006 that we will celebrate the holidays with her. This time, she brought along her new handsome soldier husband. I thank his family for so graciously sharing him with us this Christmas.

When our two soldiers arrived last night, it was the first time we'd seen our daughter since she deployed to Afghanistan. (I want credit for not crying. I came close.)

As you gather with friends and family this year, please think of those military families who may not be together for the holidays. My daughter says that the USO does a great job helping soldiers both here and in far-flung regions enjoy a holiday meal and some good cheer. Won't you consider supporting them?

Peace on Earth and Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yessss! A snow day!

Yippee! No school today. Mother Nature granted my wish for a quiet day at home.
No doubt I should be addressing Christmas cards and vacuuming neglected corners instead of blogging, but what the hay.
Our chief dog, Daisy, and her deputy backup, Shea, were excited to watch the birds swoop in and out of our yard as they (the birds) visited our feeders at the height of the storm.

The HH* said I should be sure to publish these photos to prove that Shea does not always cringe, as she did in this October post.

I like this photo because Shea's wagging tail is just a blur.

Thanks to my sister, MEC, and to young friend Matt for encouraging comments regarding my photos. Maybe if I offer to make Matt dinner one night he'll give me another lesson in how to use my camera more effectively...
The best perk of having today off was a good long phone visit with our daughter Molly, now in Tennessee. It's so good to have her back on this continent after months of her deployment in Afghanistan. Can't wait to have her home for Christmas.
Keep warm and safe today, dear ones.

*HH =Handsome Husband

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hoping for a snow day

We had some snow last Saturday and awoke Sunday to some very beautiful scenery.
Below, I just caught the moon as it was setting behind the trees in our little woods.
I was pleased with my photo until I opened Margaret Roach's A Way to Garden blog and saw her photo, below, of the same morning, about 50 miles southeast of us. (How is it that even the tops of her trees look neater than mine?)
But it was indeed a beautiful Sunday morning, inspiring at least two of us to pause and savor it.
Standing on my back deck in the clear cold air, the line from Cat Stevens' Morning has Broken, about God's re-creation of the new day, came to mind.
Tonight, a new storm is predicted to move in. I wouldn't mind a snow day tomorrow...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What's your code? The Christmas challenge, part 3

In the decidedly un-Christmassy (but excellent) HBO series, The Wire, characters Bunk and then Omar had this mantra: A man's gotta have a code.

So as I plunge into the holiday season this year, I ask myself, what's my code? How will my values be reflected in my spending choices?
Here is my informal checklist. With my gift-giving this year, I want to:
  • Give things to those who need them.

  • Give time, affection, hospitality to those who do not need stuff.

  • Try to support local businesses, artisans, farmers.

  • Will my purchase support a good cause?

  • Think quality. What items will last to be used again vs what will end up in a landfill.?
  • Can I repurpose existing goods?

  • Will my gifts be a nice treat, provide creative or intellectual stimulation? Will they keep someone warm?

  • Will the recipient enjoy the gift or feel burdened by it?

  • Can I be a wise steward of our family finances or will my heart sink in January when the bills come in?

Armed with my code, I set out today to do some shopping. Here's where I went:

  • to three garage sales (made purchases at two)
  • one consignment shop (did not buy anything)
  • three thrift shops (made modest purchases at each)
  • to a very good used book store (bought four books -cough - not necessarily all as gifts.)
I stuck to my code. I purchased from local businesses, I have an eye to repurposing some of the items I bought, I have not sent money overseas, I have not added to the waste stream, and I spent very little money.
Mission accomplished.
Note: One bonus at Old Saratoga Books is Sam, the store cat, who will quite happily sit on your lap while you browse through a book. Much better shopping experience than long lines at the mall.
Photo credits go to Old Saratoga Books, from their website and blog.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rethinking the holidays, Chapter 2

Having a wonderful time; glad I'm not there...

Just looking at this picture gives me the heebie-jeebies. How did our society become so bovine?

Hey, folks, remember that trade deficit with China? It's in your hands, baby. Ya don't gotta buy all that stuff. You really don't.
To be clear: I think giving small, meaningful gifts at Christmas is a charming tradition, one I plan to continue. But let's pause and think before we grab some piece of foreign-made, possibly toxic, crap just because we think it will make our gift recipient think better of us.

NPR's Planet Money has this take: "Economist Joel Waldfogel says giving gifts people don't want isn't just bad for the recipients, it's bad for the economy."
Check out Mr. Waldfogul's book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays. And when I say "check out", that's just what I mean. You do not have to buy it. Use your local library and borrow a copy on inter library loan if they don't own it. You can do this on line in most places.

Here are some other reading suggestions to help you re-think how you will spend your time and money this year and beyond:

A book that actually lives in our own home library is Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season , by Jo Robinson and Jean C. Staeheli. This book changed my thinking when I read it a number of years ago.

All of these books can be borrowed through public libraries or purchased used at modest prices. A few simple web searches can help you find other interesting books along the same lines.

Yesterday, I asked my youngest son what he might like for Christmas. This 22 year old bachelor who lives on his own in a humble apartment (and to my mind could use a number of things) answered, " A pan of lasagna and a batch of chocolate chip cookies."

Ah, my sweet. Music to my ears.

Stay turned for more holiday suggestions that won't hurt the environment, your bank account, nor the nation's economic trade imbalance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making the holidays more green and less red

So come this Friday morning, this is where I won't be. Not that we ever were a family that went overboard for Christmas. My poor children, now grown, not a single video game ever came their way on Christmas morn. Somehow, they survived.

Throughout this season, I hope to share some ideas for making the holidays more meaningful, more green, and more loving. Please feel free to chime in and share your good ideas, too.

Let's call this first installment: Charitable Giving.

Most of the people I know don't actually need very much new right now. My two lovely sisters and I often talk about getting rid of stuff, not accumulating more. Perhaps you know folks like that, too.

So how about putting your gift money toward a meaningful charitable gift in honor of a family member or friend? Think about what your loved one values, and pick a charity that reflects that.

Not sure which charity is a good one? There are some excellent research tools on line. Check out Charity Navigator, or the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Guide, for a start.

So here's my riff:

For that friend who is always a gracious hostess: a donation to a homeless shelter would be fitting.

For the art lover: support a small local museum or an arts and crafts program for needy kids.

For the gourmet cook: donate to a food pantry or a soup kitchen.

For the animal lover: the SPCA could use some help.

You get the idea.

We've all heard that times are pretty tough for non-profits right now. So please consider doing some real good this year. And you won't even have to get in line at 4:00 a.m. in order to do it.

(Hint to my family members: as a teacher, I've had a soft spot for Girls Hope Boys Hope for some years. Also, my little village church is struggling to pay its bills. And their roof needs fixing.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moondancing and giving thanks

I took this photograph earlier this month as I was staying at work later than usual. I was attending the induction ceremony for the new National Honor Society students from our high school that evening. Daylight savings time had just "fallen back" and the late fall day had been clear and warm. Seeing this spectacular moonrise, I drove to a nearby overlook behind the high school for a better view. It was so beautiful that I lingered there for quite a while, quietly breathing in the cooling Adirondack air.

For the NHS ceremony this year, the list of new inductees included two of my former students. As a special education teacher, this is not something that I get to see very often. Both boys have worked hard to overcome their very different learning challenges and their induction was indeed a wonderful moment to witness.

I have tucked that evening into my list of blessings to be thankful for this year. With the full moon rising over the lake and mountains, watching the proud faces of my former students and their parents, in that moment the world felt full of promise and beauty.

Turn back the calendar to August 2008 and here is another moonrise I photographed. The setting was San Gimignano, Italy, a medieval hill town in the Tuscan countryside. The HH* and I were visiting and vacationing with our daughter, an army specialist, who was stationed in Italy at that time.

Since then, our Molls has completed a deployment in Afghanistan. She is, as I write now, briefly back in Italy but will very soon be returning to the US. Her safe return from a war zone is quite high on my list of blessings for which I am giving thanks this year. But I will also give thanks for this special memory, for this magical night a year and some ago, as we stood together in the stony plaza of a medieval hill town, watching an eclipse of the moon over an ancient landscape.

Our son-in-law phoned last night to say our Molls is due home on December 2. That just happens to be the night of the next full moon. That will be, in the words of Van Morrison, a marvelous night for a moondance.

For all of the fresh young faces in my life: for my own three grown children, for my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law, for grandchildren Margie Moo and 'Lexi Loo, for our nieces and nephews and their beautiful children, for the students I have been lucky to know and grow with, and for the HH who shares it all with me, I give many, many thanks.

*HH = Handsome Husband

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bee Balm Gal - the comic strip version

We had a staff development presentation at school today.
We sat passively in rows all morning.
The presenter talked a lot. Sometimes, she turned her back on us and read aloud from her power point slides.

Her presentation was about new ways we could get our students
to become more engaged in their learning.
( Sigh.)

Note: The Bee Lady image comes from:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indo-German Adirondack Chicken Chowder

After yesterday's trip to the Ballston Spa Farmers' Market, here was the soup we had for supper last night. I'm calling it Indo-German Adirondack Chicken Chowder. Odd name, pretty nice taste.

My influences, I think, came from Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden. Her blog planted the appealing idea of curry on a drear winter night. I was also inspired by the yummy corn chowder made last weekend by my young friend over at Artistic Eatables.

At any rate, here's what went into the pot:
  • onions, garlic, and celery, sauteed in olive oil.
  • cut up Adirondack Blue potatoes and three white carrots with one conventionally colored orange one.
  • the diced up remains of a chicken-Reuben casserole (the main ingredients of which were boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.)
  • I added equal parts chicken broth and organic creamy butternut squash soup.
  • Then I added some cumin, coriander, and a healthy shake of curry.

I let all that simmer a bit and then served it up with some warmed bread.

I will wager that this exact soup has never been made before. (Does anyone in their right mind put sauerkraut and curry in the same dish?)

Somehow it all blended nicely. The HH* only had one complaint: he didn't like the fact that the carrots were white and the potatoes were blue. He granted that the taste was good, but requested no more camouflaged vegetables...

* HH = Handsome Husband

Saturday, November 7, 2009

At the Ballston Spa Winter Farmers' Market

I love going to the local farmers' markets on Saturday morning, when I can remember to get myself up and out for them. This year, our village market is going to try to keep going through the winter by opening once a month in the cooperative extension building. In nearby Saratoga Springs, they have a somewhat larger market that is open every Saturday in winter
Upstate New York has a short growing season, but there were still some good eats to find at today's market in Ballston Spa. Here's where my money went this morning:
  • Mr. Martel of Blue Moon Sharpening Service put a new edge on three of my favorite old kitchen knives. With turkey-carving season upon us, I try to get my knives professionally sharpened around this time of year.
  • For produce, I chose some lovely baby lettuces, a small acorn squash (along with a free recipe for Apple Filled Squash) and two varieties of potatoes, one with gold flesh and some Adirondack Blues. I love the name.
  • Baked goods, from three different vendors, included a chocolate almond zucchini dessert bread, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (proceeds to go for the young seller's college fund - how could I not?) a whole wheat crisp bread, and a seasoned French bread made with local and organic ingredients.
  • I also bought a homemade asiago cheese, artichoke, and spinach dip, intended to be served warmed.

So supper tonight will be a hearty chicken soup, starting with some leftover chicken, to which I will add some vegetables and my newly purchased local potatoes. I will serve it with the locally made French bread and warmed cheese spread, with a choice of one of the chocolaty things for dessert. And tomorrow, maybe I will try that apple filled squash recipe... Yum!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On Galumphing Golden Retrievers and Tow-headed Tots

On Saturday afternoon, I took our wee beasties to Saratoga State Park where there is a corner used as an unofficial dog park. Most of the dogs there have heads bigger than our entire dogs, but our gals still enjoy a bit of off-leash time there. So here's my vignette of the day:

Thirty-something guy is throwing a tennis ball to his tall galumphing golden retriever, who eagerly chases it time and again. The guy stops to rest the dog and chat with an acquaintance. Dog waits a minute, eyes fixed on his owner, then perceives there is no ball toss imminent. Dog turns away and spies autumn leaves drifting down from nearby trees and begins to attempt to catch those in mid-air. Dog spends the next few minutes happily leaping about, snapping left and right as the leaves flutter past...
We have two sweet little fair-haired girls in our lives: lovely granddaughter Margie Moo on the west coast and equally lovely step-granddaughter 'Lexi Loo in Oklahoma. The trouble is, they both live great distances from upstate New York. With their ages at 2 1/2 and 4 respectively, grandmothering from afar takes some planning. I am always trying to think of some little thing I can send them for upcoming holidays to let them know that they are in my thoughts.
So here is what they'll be getting from Grandma for Thanksgiving:

We have here a small storybook each; two Tom Turkey and Priscilla the Pilgrim Girl sticker paper doll books, and each will get a sweet little handcrafted wooden turkey made in Germany. But shhhh - don't spoil the surprise!

How do you keep in touch with your far away little ones?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows' Eve, All Quiet

I hear tales of folks who get 300 Trick-or-Treaters at the door on Halloween, but divide that number by 100 for our visitors tonight. Yup, just three. Two neighborhood brothers and their friend stopped by around 7:15 and we were all done. Anybody want a Kit Kat?

It could be that the drizzly weather discouraged some families, but I think Trick-or-Treating may be on its way out. Most people I know don't really want their kids out wandering around in the dark scarfing candy.
And then there's today's local news that we may have two unsolved murders of teenage girls in our neck of the woods. That probably gave a few parents pause...
Scary masks and costumes are one thing, but when the evil is real, it is not so amusing.

I hope all of the little Disney princesses and superheroes in your life are home safe and sound.

And enjoy that extra hour we get back tonight...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Too early for Santa at the supermarket

Boos to my local Price Chopper supermarket for making their cashiers wear Santa hats before Halloween.
Today, October 25, on my regular Sunday afternoon shopping trip, I would have expected Halloween stuff to be pushed, maybe even an early Pilgrim girl or turkey decal. But Santa hats? What is this supposed to be inspiring me to do - buy my yams and plum pudding two months early? Oy vey!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What I bought for $8.00 at three garage sales: What's it worth?

I am a little behind with my posts, but a gray rainy Saturday is a good time for catching up on blog entries I've been thinking about.

On Columbus Day weekend, I dashed out for a few end-of-season garage sales and spent a whopping $8.00 on the items you see below. I thought it might be fun to see how I did.
The first items I bought were two Revere copper-bottomed saucepans for a buck each. (I probably could have dickered, but even I have some pride...) I had been thinking that with the holidays coming up, I should buy a couple more saucepans and voila - along came two that matched what I already owned. Purchased new, individually, the 2-quart pan can sell for $29.99 and the 3-quart for $34.99. So for what could have been as much as a $65.00 retail purchase, I paid just $2.00 for items in perfect condition.

The little orange stoneware pot was an impulse buy for fifty cents. It is marked "Oxford Stoneware Made in USA". It's bright orange color seemed right for the season, good for a small bouquet at Thanksgiving or to fill with candy corn for Halloween. I did find a similar bowl in turquoise on a dealer's website for $30.00 (plus shipping and handling and insurance).

About the similar (but turquoise) bowl, the dealer says: "The bottom is marked Oxford Stoneware, which you’d think would date it to 1913-1934, the period during which Oxford Pottery Company operated in Cambridge, OH, before being acquired by Universal Potteries. However, Universal continued to produce stoneware under the Oxford name until it ceased doing business in 1976."
So I don't know the age of my pot or just what it's worth, but for fifty cents, I can hardly feel that I overpaid.

Next, let's look at the old platter with the tiny green botanical trim. It's a bit stained and crazed, to be honest, but it called to me. It was also my most expensive purchase of the day at $2.50. Marked "Buffalo Pottery", it's their "Princess" pattern. At Replacements, Ltd. where they offer only a few odds and ends of this pattern, prices range from $32.98 to $209.95. Even a damaged lid without its bowl costs $99.95. I made out OK with this piece, too, it seems.

Here, I offer for your consideration this milk glass bowl for which I paid $1.50. Compare mine to one listed at Eddie Ross's Etsy store for $45.00 plus $14.00 shipping. They are identical.
The last and most humble of my purchases was this cheerful yellow bowl, in perfect condition, marked dishwasher and microwave safe.

This, too, was $1.50. But for an extra serving bowl for the holidays, I didn't quibble. New, I'm guessing I could find something similar at a discount store for $10 or $12.

So how did I do for eight bucks in about an hour one cool autumn Saturday morning? I estimate the total retail value of these items (not including tax or shipping or insurance, which could be considerable)
to be approximately $250.00. And that's what's so fun about garage sales.
Now tell me about the great buys you have found at yard sales or thrift shops. Please share!

Note to my children: When I kick the bucket, please don't just chuck all of this stuff in a dumpster. That old platter may be worth more than you'd think... Love, Mom

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Richard Russo in Glens Falls, NY

Last Friday night, the Handsome Husband and I rambled up to Glens Falls, NY, to hear author Richard Russo speak at the lovely Crandall Library there. We both like Russo's writing, having been introduced to him years ago through his early book, The Risk Pool, which takes place in this general part of the world. Over the years, we've foisted copies of his novels on visiting relatives, leaving our own library somewhat depleted of his work.

On Friday, we restocked a bit, buying Russo's new book, That Old Cape Magic (HH* has already finished it). We are now the happy owners of a signed first edition. We also purchased a paperback copy of one of my favorites, Nobody's Fool, which Russo also signed.
In response to an audience question about what he likes to read, Russo mentioned that he had been a judge for the 2009 PEN Hemingway award for a distinguished first book of fiction. He rattled off a list of his recommendations from the first novels and short story collections that he read this past year. You can see them here at the Red Fox Books (Glens Falls) website.
I plan to add them to my own reading list.
Russo was a good speaker. He's been on a long tour promoting his latest book. When asked, he said that he wasn't tired of being asked the same questions over and over, but he was very sick of his own same answers.
And as for the speedy reading HH*, he gives That Old Cape Magic a thumbs-up.
* HH = Handsome Husband

Friday, October 9, 2009

Molly Red Riding Hood

Twenty years ago this month, my biggest worry was that I needed to finish my then four-year-old daughter's homemade Little Red Riding Hood costume in time for her nursery school Halloween party. That was then...
Last night, we heard from our now grown up soldier daughter that she had reached Germany safely, on her way back to the USA after completing her first tour of duty in Afghanistan. The real dangers of this world have been all too clear to us these last months. Far worse than fairytale wolves lurk in the far hills of Afghanistan.

I slept better last night. I am so relieved that our daughter is safe. I continue to pray for the sons and daughters of others who are still in harm's way. And I thank them for putting their lives on the line, trying to keep the big bad wolves away from our homes.

I am very proud that, like the brave Little Red Riding Hood, our daughter has faced a dangerous and difficult assignment and come through it. Welcome back, Molls. We love you very much.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to find tag sale bounty even when you're not really trying...

I love garage sales. I just do. They are like treasure hunts. And since my flinch point is quite low, I rarely spend more than a few dollars (and often much less) for things I enjoy having. There is the added satisfaction of reusing or repurposing something that is no longer wanted by someone else. Even our family dogs are second-hand pets.

Driving back from Vermont yesterday, the HH* and I eschewed the popular Hildene Craft Fair (too rainy, too expensive) and stopped instead at the odd tag sale and library used book sale we happened to pass. We weren't really looking for anything in particular. We just had time to dawdle along the pretty Vermont country roads in autumn. Why not stop and look?

I found a pretty little needlepoint pillow with a dog motif, and since I am a dog person, it appealed to me. Although the breed doesn't match either of the dogs in our pack, the pose is reminiscent of both:

Daisy, the used American Eskimo Spitz, we adopted a few years ago from The SPCA of Upstate New York and ...
Shea, the Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix, who came to us from the streets of Puerto Rico via Adirondack Save-A-Stray. (She's not looking too happy here because she thinks I might be trying to put some of the anti-flea and tick stuff on her that she so dislikes.)
Another good find yesterday was a 1940 Gladys Taber book (speaking of dog lovers) that my husband spotted, knowing I would enjoy it. This one is Harvest at Stillmeadow and I think it is the first one she wrote in the Stillmeadow series. It is also a first edition. It cost three bucks. Dogs, autumn, New England, we had a theme going here.
Bargain number three in the top photo is a pristine copy of Barbara Milo Ohrbach's Antiques At Home for which I paid a whopping $5.00. But since a new copy retails for $32.00, not too bad. Used copies can be bought for less but my copy is autographed by the author and my money went to support the Martha Canfield Library in Arlington, Vermont.

And lastly, the library book sale yielded a nice assortment of books for my young granddaughter who loves to be read to. Who Beats the Heat and Cactus Hotel will be perfect for her since she lives in the high desert and already knows lots about the animals that live there.
The HH* bought an armload of books, too, which always makes him happy.
Our last Vermont bargain was from the good ladies of St. James church
who were selling ready-to-eat homemade meals. I bought two, at $4.00 a piece. Last night we ate a delicious white bean, pork, and roasted vegetable stew for our supper. As I write this, stew #2, beef with vegetables, is heating up for our Sunday lunch. Yum.
What bargains did you find this weekend?

*HH = Handsome Husband

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The changing fruit of modern family trees

The HH* and I drove over to Vermont today to have lunch with Barbara and Larry, the parents of our daughter-in-law. These good folks live in the Midwest but they are visiting friends in Vermont this week. By coincidence, Barbara and Larry's friends have a vacation home in the same town where my first husband now lives with his fiancee and her daughter. Dan, my ex, is the father of my son who is married to Barbara and Larry's daughter. (Lost yet?) Anyway, we all met at Dan's place for lunch. It was a pleasant meal and it was good that we were all able to get together.

It occurred to me that the granddaughter we all share will have her work cut out for her, figuring out how all these people are related to her and to each other. But I am glad for her that we can all get along and that she will not have to put up with the scenes and secrets that so many blended families are cursed with. In-laws, step-grandparents, step-aunts, family can come in many shapes and sizes. I look forward to many reunions of this particular group of people: at Margie's high school and college graduations and at her wedding, at the very least. Save me a seat, please.

*HH = Handsome Husband
The photo above is of an old apple tree at the back of Dan's house in Vermont.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cruising the Champlain Canal in the rain

A couple of weeks ago, I was the high bidder at a silent auction fundraiser and got two tickets for a tour boat ride on the Champlain Canal. Yesterday, despite a steady drizzle, we drove to Schuylerville and spent an interesting hour and a half on the M/V Sadie piloted with relaxed skill and charm by Captain Foster. (This photo, taken before our ride, is of an earlier, smaller generation of the canal.)Champlain Canal Tours have two boats but due to the damp day, only six of us wanted to go out so we took the smaller Sadie, which looks a bit like the African Queen.
First, we headed south, down through lock C5. This took us from the canal into the Hudson River. Here, we are approaching the lock from the north. To the side, our captain pointed out the little one hundred year old boat, a buoy tender, which is still used for repair work on the canal.

Here, we are entering the lock.

In the lock, Captain Foster, formerly a Boston Harbor tugboat captain, explains how the lock works and adds some good historical details. He reminds me so much of my Maine coast raised grandfather and father and his raconteur brothers that it almost hurts: the New England accent, the easy comfort around boats and machinery...
Here, Captain Foster uses a homemade hook to keep the little boat from bouncing around in the lock as the water empties out into the Hudson below. Lock C5, our guide tells us, is the deepest in the Champlain Canal.
Here we cruise out onto the Hudson and head down river for a bit. Even in the rain, there is beauty in the gray afternoon light...

We cruise around Schuyler Island and head back up river.

Some leaves are beginning to turn...

Here, we approach the lock again, this time from the south, and wave to some hearty folks out fishing despite the rain.

Entering the lock from the low end...

Once the doors close, water begins to bubble dramatically as the lock fills to raise us up.
As we leave the lock...
a Canadian sailboat waits to enter it, heading south.We continue north to see the falls that the lock was built to get boats around. There are stone pilings and cables with buoys to help boats avoid going over the falls accidentally.
We see the remains of an old railroad crossing....
and more early fall foliage in the mist.

After our cruise, we headed back home to have a supper of steaming, spicy chili, cooked in my old dutch oven. It hit the spot.

Click on photos. Most will enlarge. I do not know why some will not. (Sigh.)