Thursday, July 28, 2011

North to Westport

On this past rainy Monday afternoon, the Handsome Husband and I headed up into the 'dacks* toward Westport (NY) for an evening at the Depot Theatre.
Our original plan had been to make a day of it, stopping at the King's Garden in Ticonderoga (for me) and maybe hitting a beach somewhere along the way. The weather did not cooperate.

We stopped in Schroon Lake for dinner and then went on to Westport, where despite the rain, some folks were out boating on Lake Champlain.
The HH** and I have become fond of Westport and its charming Depot Theatre. We've been there a couple of times before and this visit was to see the second of an Alan Ayckbourn trilogy, The Norman ConquestsThis one is called Living Together. We've previously seen the first one, Round and Round the Garden, also at the Depot.
The "depot" part of the theatre is actually still a working train station, with some limited passenger service between NYC and Montreal. As above, freight trains also pass through.
There is a view back over the fairgrounds with Lake Champlain beyond. Lots of vintage railroad accoutrement dot the platform area.
The resident cat posed prettily along side an old freight scale, now weighing only geraniums.

The Depot actors are mostly Equity members (professionals) and so the quality of the show is quite good for such a small venue. I also happen to like that they threaten theatre-goers with bodily harm if they even think about trying to take a photo or to try texting during the performance.

This play runs through August 7, so if you're itching to get out of town for a few hours, I recommend a trip to Westport. The show is pretty funny. Click here for more information.

* 'dacks = Adirondack Mountains
** HH = Handsome Husband


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knitting Club at Malta Library (updated)

Yesterday, I went to my first knitting club meeting at the Malta library.  There were seven other ladies there, very pleasant and friendly. 

We all did a bit of sharing: advice, resources, encouragement.

Here's my on-going project from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, which you can see on the "my picks" link, above right. I'm using their log cabin knitting technique to make an afghan out of a plethora of leftover yarn. One day, I may actually finish it.

Groups like the Malta knitting club have been growing in popularity over the past few years. It gives me hope for civilization, that there are still people who want to create things by hand while enjoying the company of other like-minded folks.

If you live anywhere near Malta, NY, please feel free to stop by at the next meeting. See the information, below.
Knitting Club
Where: Malta Branch, Round Lake (NY) Library
When:  The last Tuesday of every month.
Time: 4:00 pm

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flowers, cows, and views: must be summer in Vermont

Today was an "open garden" day in Manchester and Arlington, Vermont, as sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.

I hied myself east along the Battenkill River and went first to "Rogerland" in Arlington. Among the varied gardens and features on this 20 acre property, I liked the Alice in Wonderland garden best.

It included Alice and the White Rabbit, of course, along with...

...evidence of a strange tea party.

The nearly life-sized chess set on a polished granite chessboard, below, looked like it would be a lot of fun to play.

My next stop was in Manchester Village at a lovely but more modest cook's garden. The owner is also the author of  The Complete Kitchen Garden, copies of which she was happy to inscribe and sell to visitors. I like best gardens like this one,  gardens that look like real people made them with lots of love and hard work.

She even had bees.

En route to garden number three, I encountered a charming reminder that I was truly in Vermont. Traffic was stopped for a few minutes while a farmer sent his herd back to pasture following the afternoon milking. 

Garden number three provoked this thought: I clearly have not lived my life right. I mean, what a spot!

The property includes a five acre sculpture garden. Some of the pieces I quite liked, such as these whimsical jacks game pieces.

These goats were fun, too, posed as they were on a rock outcrop.

But I liked these fat sheep, below, less well. They felt awkward and intrusive sticking up into the view.

My last stop was at the vegetable garden, part of this same property. What can I say? This is a garden I wouldn't mind weeding!

Heading back home, I noticed a sign inviting the public to a flower show in the Schuylerville (NY)Town Hall. That was fun to browse through, too. I picked up a handout from the Schuylerville Garden Club, thinking I might be interested in joining. So when do they meet? Wednesdays at 1:00 pm. 
Must not have many members with day jobs. Perhaps next year...

You can click on the photos to enlarge them.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guess what's chic and trendy now?

In the mail today, unsolicited, came a Pottery Barn catalog. 

 I casually flipped through it and then, wait, hold on. What did that say on the page I just passed?

Yeah, there on the bottom of page 23.

Glens Falls? Yup, there it is, a genuine replica of an 1877 Glens Falls Insurance Company sign from the Chapman Museum.

For only $349, you can have one of these to hang in your own dream home.

Who knew our old hometown of Glens Falls (NY) and the Chapman Museum were such trend-setters?

Good for the Chapman. I hope the museum got a nice chunk of money for the use of the image.

Note: The Pottery Barn catalog was the August 2011 edition. You can click on the photos above to enlarge the images.


Monday, July 11, 2011

I promise I won't use the word "staycation"

A hot, muggy day.
An afternoon swim in Saratoga's lovely Victoria Pool  ...

...with the Handsome Husband.

 Add a book and a gin and tonic from the poolside bar.

Relaxed, happy wife.

So civilized.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summertime Blues

A few years ago, I drove with my sister Mary to Cape Cod for a brief  over-night visit with her mother-in-law. It was lovely summer weather on the day we were there. I excused myself part way through the afternoon and walked a bit around Louise's neighborhood. The homes were mostly that lovely weathered gray cedar shingling you see in New England and in nearly every yard, blue hydrangea shrubs were in spectacular bloom.
Back at home, we had recently yanked out part of an arborvitae hedge that had encroached on our front walk. This had left an unattractive gap and so I thought of all those gorgeous blue hydrangeas I'd seen on Cape Cod. Wouldn't one of those just fit the bill?

It's taken a couple of years for the shrub to settle in and grow tall enough to look like much. But oh how it makes me smile now. I can almost smell the ocean.
In memory of Louise Cafarelli.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Civil War, with Cocktails

The Handsome Husband has long been a Civil War history buff, so it was an easy step for him to become involved with the Friends of the Ulysses S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site in nearby Wilton, NY.  Last night, we attended a fundraiser at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs which was a benefit for the Friends groups for both sites. As we arrived, we were greeted by members of the 77th Regimental Balladeers, above, piping and drumming us in to the cocktail hour. (I found myself walking in step to the music as we approached. It was hard not to.)

Mixed among the dinner crowd were reenactors of every stripe, so to speak. A couple of gentlemen were dressed in Zouave uniforms, like the one above. Who knew some American Civil War soldiers wore fezzes and turbans and baggy pants? Not I. You can read more about Zouaves and "Zouave Fever" here.

There were also more familiar uniforms, as below, to be seen among the crowd.
Mark Twain was among the guests (aka, John Pogson.)
There was a silent auction with many items to tempt a Civil War buff...

... and lovely ladies in hoop-skirted period dress.

The Balladeers performed through the dinner hour. Our friend, Gisella Montanez-Case, pictured in the center, below, sang a moving version of Nearer, My God, to Thee.

I enjoyed the evening and recommend visiting both Grant Cottage, located on Mount McGregor in Wilton, NY, and the NYS Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, (current exhibit, Civil War units.)  In these cash-strapped times, both of these sites welcome  both volunteers and financial help through their Friends organizations.  Check them out.

On this 4th of July weekend, giving a thought or two to those who have served, fought, or died to keep this a free and independent nation seems like the right thing to do. Thank you, Molly, Jason, James M., James F., and David. Rest in peace, Ben Osborn.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Off the Couch

Earlier this spring, our (much younger, slim) friend Alyssa mentioned on Facebook that she had started a new fitness program, the Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan. I was intrigued by the name and so googled it to see what she was up to. It sounded quite appealing and I thought, if I were younger and had ever been in shape... 

But the notion continued to roll around in my head. Well, I thought, I don't have to run the 5K, I could just aim to walk it regularly.

Quoting from the Cool Running website: Each session should take about 20 or 30 minutes, three times a week. That just happens to be the same amount of moderate exercise recommended by numerous studies for optimum fitness. This program will get you fit. 

Hmmm, this was sounding more do-able.

Step one: New, comfortable walking shoes. Check.

Step two: Leash up the hounds and head for the Shenantaha Creek Park trail.

Step three: Walk briskly for 15 minutes in one direction, turn, walk briskly 15 minutes in  t'other direction.

Day one: Done!

Cool Running has all sorts of training tips and online resources for folks who are working up to running 5K. I have started by using their online training log to record my brisk walks. By putting even this modest effort on record, I hope to stick to my plan. Who knows, I may work my way up to jogging a bit of that 30 minutes by the end of the summer.
(By the way, 5K sounds better when you think of it as its 3.1 mile equivalent.)

Goal: The 5K Randy's Run in Lake George next spring. At least at a brisk walk...

Note: There are many online resources for folks of any fitness level looking to improve a little or a lot. In addition to Cool Running, I liked this one from the Mayo Clinic, which includes plans "if you're strictly a walker."