Showing posts with label Saratoga Spa State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saratoga Spa State Park. Show all posts

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Glorious February Saturday morning

Today is the start of both the Presidents' Day three-day holiday weekend and of the mid-winter school break in our neck of the woods. The city of Saratoga Springs gets happily busy during holidays and today was no exception.  

I got out and about with greater alacrity than usual this morning and headed to the indoor farmers' market at the Lincoln Baths in Saratoga Spa State Park. Into my shopping bag went some honey crisp apples and the makings for an easy dinner for tonight: fresh crab cakes, local sweet potatoes, a rustic loaf of whole wheat bread, and in honor of  George Washington, a small cherry pie. 

I had planned to go for a walk while I was already in the park, so I stowed my purchases and set off on my favorite two-mile loop.

I love a winter day like this one. The sun was shining brightly on still-clean snow. The temperature was climbing above freezing and there were no frigid wind gusts. Lots of people were already out, walking dogs, jogging, pushing strollers, cross country skiing. Although I had only intended to walk, the pavement on the path was mostly clear of snow so I thought, why not jog a bit? And off I trotted. 

I wasn't really dressed right for a run, but I managed to jog nearly the whole two miles. I did slow down to pick my way across occasional icy patches, but I still made pretty good time (for an out-of-practice lady approaching 67, that is.) After a too sedentary January, to be outdoors, breathing in good clean air, rediscovering  the joy of running all over again felt wonderful. It's time to get back on a regular fitness schedule, for certain.

There are also many indoor pleasures in February. I am knitting a second pink "resist" hat at the request of a friend. Dreamily, I look at plant catalogs and think about what I'd like to change in my garden this spring. I have the pot of lilies of the valley that I bought recently from White Flower Farm to inspire me. From tiny pips, the plants have shot up and the blossoms are giving off that lovely Muguet de Bois scent. 

I've just finished reading Purity, by Jonathan Franzen, an author I usually enjoy. Didn't like this one so much. 500-plus pages of a slightly creepy dysfunctional cast of characters. Deciding I needed to cleanse my literary palate, so to speak, I've picked up a collection of Marilynne Robinson essays to read next: When I Was a Child I Read Books. And also on the night table is Convictions, by Marcus Borg. This last one I am reading along with the "theology book group" at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs. Ridiculously long name but an active, stimulating church that is involved in a lot of good stuff. This weekend, for example, they are hosting a public forum: Uniting Communities Against the Politics of Hate.  It will take place on Sunday, February 19, from 4pm-6pm. Check out the calender on their web page here for more information.

Enjoy this lovely winter weekend!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

November Saturday

I love it when the Saratoga Farmers' Market moves to its winter quarters at the Lincoln Baths in Saratoga Spa State Park. It is so much more convenient for me and the parking is a lot easier, too.
This crisp Saturday morning, Balet Farms was still braving the outdoors, displaying their seasonal florals. How pretty and simple for Thanksgiving is this arrangement of fresh greens and colorful gourds, above, all locally grown.
Dried hydrangea blossoms glowed pink in this handmade wreath, for indoors or out.

Inside the building, there was a bountiful and colorful array of seasonal foods. I love winter root vegetables. I think that is in my Northern DNA. These got me thinking: soups, stews, casseroles au gratin, oven-roasted ...
I bought crusty bread, above, from the brick oven baker in Shushan. It looks and smells awesome.

The charming French farmer from Longlesson Farm was there, selling their grass-fed Angus beef and free-range chickens. I splurged and bought a beautiful piece of beef to grill. It will go quite nicely with the fresh Brussels sprouts and tiny yellow potatoes I picked up at other nearby stalls.

Not all of the market's products are edible, although this yarn looked good enough to eat. Blind Buck Farm was offering these lovely skeins of kettle-dyed yarn. Wool like this is not cheap, but oh my, what a lovely "hand" (feel) it has. Must. Not. Buy more yarn.

I am a sucker for homemade lavender soap, but with a nod to frugality, I resisted today. Just.

In the early afternoon, the Handsome Husband and I took the dogs and headed north to yet another area state park, this time Moreau Lake. We haven't had an awful lot of rain this fall, so the lake's water level was down a bit. This meant there was enough "beach" that we could walk all the way around the lake's edge. We did get muddy feet at a couple of spots, but the view was worth it and the dogs had fun.

Near the water's edge, these wild grapes were plentiful, even now in mid-November. How is it that the critters haven't polished these off yet?

That's an active beaver lodge in the center of adjacent Mud Pond of the back bay of Moreau Lake. (Thank you, Jackie D., for the correction.)

Below, Moreau Lake was full of migrating ducks and Canada geese. After a meal and some rest, most of these birds will be moving on to warmer climes. Sometimes a few ducks stick around through the winter months, but never the geese, at least not that I have seen.

But while they are here, they provide a peaceful scene to look upon. The occasional vocalizations of the geese, calling back and forth, are the very sound of autumn, part warning, part farewell.

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time

                      ~Who Knows Where The Time Goes? Lyrics - Sandy Denny

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Walk in the Park and Beverly's in Ballston Spa

Days like this one are why I do so love being retired. We had a mundane chore to do, to take the Handsome Husband's car for an oil change and an inspection. I followed him in my car to Mangino's (we are both fans of this dealership, especially the service manager, Mike) and then we went on to Saratoga for a walk in Spa State Park.

Our region had a frost last night but despite that, there was still some cheery color, above, at the park's well-loved main entrance garden.
 The air was brisk this morning but bright sunshine was already warming things up. We chose to follow what we both refer to as "the long loop", a paved path that takes about an hour to walk the full circuit.
Nature is well on its way to shutting up shop for the winter, but here and there, you can still spot bright fruits and foliage.
It was nearing noon when we got back to my car. The HH has been raving about Beverly's Eatery, a luncheonette in Ballston Spa, and although I am sometimes skeptical about his restaurant recommendations, I agreed to give this one a try. I am glad I did.
 The modest exterior of Beverly's doesn't prepare you for the seasonal choices available inside. It is a small place, maybe six or eight tables and a lunch counter, but the food is really very good. A friendly and attentive waitress took our orders and checked back frequently to make sure we had what we needed. I started with a cup of their Autumn Bisque, which warmed me right up after our walk. I am guessing it was largely butternut squash based, but there was a hint of sweetness (apple?) and a slight tangy bite to the seasoning. Lovely and piping hot.
 Now, I am prepared to concede that the HH's lunch choice may not look photogenic, but it was very tasty. He is a real potato guy (I mean, really, as in, he starts to get twitchy if  I try to substitute pasta or rice too often in my meal planning.)  So anyway, Beverly's "Good ol' Taders", on the right above, are what keeps bringing him back there. Potatoes are cooked with onions, mushrooms, sausage, and then topped with cheese. He polished these off with gusto. On the left was his order of vegetarian hash, which also contained some potatoes. And although it may not make a pretty picture, it was really good. I dove in for a tiny taste, then snuck back for two more. Beverly's cooks this with assorted vegetables, mashes them, then mixes in black beans and seasonings, and finishes off with some time on the griddle, like you would for corned beef hash.
My first choice for a sandwich had been curried chicken and apple salad, but they were out of that today. So I chose turkey and brie on toasted wheat bread. The turkey was real turkey, thick slices of tender breast meat from an actual turkey breast, and a very nicely-flavored warmed brie. None of that slimy, deli kind of turkey here. This was real food. The bread, too, was lovely: bakery whole wheat, dense and flavorful. And because today is Halloween, our lunches were accented with tiny marshmallow ghosts. Cute touch.
 Beverly's is located at 256 Milton Avenue in Ballston Spa. You can reach them at 885-2848.

They are open for breakfast and lunch only, seven days a week, from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I can't wait to go back and try the pumpkin pancakes they had on the menu today. Or another of their soups, or...almost anything on their menu.

And this is why retirement is such fun: a routine chore becomes a morning out, a lovely late fall walk together in the park, and the discovery of a new-to-me spot for a cheerful and delicious lunch. Life is good and I am very grateful for these small blessings.
Hey, folks: Don't forget the Chronicle Book Fair this weekend. On Sunday, November 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., over 100 authors will be selling their books at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, NY. The hotel is located on the corner of Maple and Ridge Streets.

Best of all, the Handsome Husband will be there, selling and signing his biography of the Civil War general, Gordon Granger. It will be bargain-priced for holiday gift-giving at $15.00. If there is a history buff on your holiday gift list, come check it out! Admission to the book fair is free.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

It made me smile

Oh, how I smiled when I saw the fall garden at Spa State Park this weekend! All of that color!
I have written here before about the gardens at the entrance to the park in Saratoga Springs (NY).  Gardener Dan Urkevich does so much with so little.
 With a limited budget and only one assistant, Dan pools his resources to make one big KA-POW! where the Avenue of the Pines meets Route 9.

 You sure can't miss all of that color when you drive by.

But park your car and stroll around this border-on-steroids and you also get the sense of a gardener who wants to make flowers fun.

Everything is so marvelously over-the-top. There is color, texture, massive blooms and enormous leaves.

For this season, Dan has blended in mums and pumpkins among the annuals and perennials that are still putting on a heck of a show.

There are New York natives, too, and the border is alive with pollinators.

In fact, what was that flicker of orange?

Could it be? YES, it's a monarch!

Sadly, this is only the second monarch butterfly I have spotted this fall. In years past, monarchs would have been flying through this area by the hundreds.

Since summer, news outlets from around the northern United States and Canada have been reporting that monarchs are very scarce. Just this week, the Ottawa Citizen wrote that a popular tourist event, an annual monarch butterfly count at Point Pelee, Ontario, has been cancelled. The monarchs are missing.

But for this weekend, I was happy to see even this one specimen dining at Dan Urkevich's brilliant butterfly buffet.

Thanks, Dan, for an amazing seasonal show. It made me smile.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Images of Farm Aid 2013, Saratoga Springs, NY

David Haight, American Farmland Trust, with wife and local farmer, Suzanne Balet Haight.

Rick Davidson, of Davidson Brothers Brewing Co, Glens Falls, NY.


The many signs of Farm Aid.


The Handsome Husband.

Inside the venue, early.

Jack Johnson.

Lukas Nelson, son of Willy Nelson.
25,000 people, at night.

Surprise guest, Pete Seeger, age 94.

Neil Young, being a bit grumpy.

Willy Nelson, final act. Great set.

Curtain call.