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.