Flowers · Garden · Herbal Medicine · Magic · Nature · Photos · Uncategorized

Trip into Town

I am truly an introvert, these windy, sunshiney scattered shower days are so deeply quiet, so deeply fulfilling.  The neighbor, who is only here for two weeks, checks in periodically, to charge something electric, to shower with his wife and children, to ask if there is anything I need, or stops along the road to ask me if I have picked any wild blueberries yet.  Other than that my only human interaction is a phone call from my mom, to my daughter, the pirate in his way only answers his phone, he is incapable of calling.  The counselor told me, before I left to plan outings into public, but I hardly need it, I am feeling astonishingly strong and deeply moved, and touched by mother earth.  Herons abound.
But each time I venture into one of the towns nearby, I am rewarded with just the right things.  Today I am absolutely dizzy with congestion in my sinus, I found eucalyptus rub, and a book by Rosemary Gladstar, outlining several of her herbal remedies that are in the correspondence course on loan from my friend.  Oh yes and wasabi, ginger chocolate truffles.

Colstfoot leaves ( I believe)
Calendula Flower
Barkeaters Chocolates and Funny River Trading, both local businesses.


I have loved the quiet, and the long walks with the dogs, and the breeze keeping the bugs at bay.  Especially the breeze keeping the bugs at bay.

Today I raided my friend’s cupboards, pulling out skullcap and lobelia, and vodka to make tinctures with fresh herbs from her garden, some to dry on her screen, though she has plenty of all jarred in the basement.  Tomorrow I have to go and get more vodka, I used up the last drops, not much more than four shots worth, but I hate to leave her empty.  These tinctures designed to help me sleep.  Plus I stole a little of her mullein oil and put some fresh mullein flowers in it, to make ear drops for my daughter, who suffered terribly with ear infections as a baby, and still has to have the wax removed from her ears, and has frequent ear aches.

Herbal Tinctures
Herbal Tinctures

Off to deliver some cucumbers and squash to the neighbor, they will go bad before the family returns, and are more than I can possibly eat.

Nature · Photos

Stunning Morning

I dream of feeding whole wheat bread to salmon in a deep clear river, they see me, they know who I am, they watch clandestine waiting for the right moment to take the bread, for they are hungry.  Later I go to a crypt with a group of other people, and we drag out the oily black (black not brown) shriveled monster that has lived on despite attempts to bury it, to let it die, and we carry it up the steps of a sacred building, and up to the turrets, and we wait for a bolt of lightening to kill it dead once and for all as it is destined to die at this moment in this place.

I wake with little sleep, restless early in my sleep.

I stir the dogs with talk of walk.


I notice it right away, the way the forest is alive, not the usually sound of birds, and water and yesterday’s raindrops, and bugs, but a breathing, as though the rain has awakened the forest from a slumber and it is yawning and stretching towards the brilliant sun and bright blue sky.


I notice too how much easier this walk is than it was when I first came here.  I no longer return home a sweaty panting mess, and the dog too is more lively and energetic, and these other two, this morning stay close to me, with H. on my heels beside Sancho most of the way up.


It is a spider web morning.   That is what I call it, as I notice the webs scattered along the way, I never saw them before, it must be the light.  The forest is full of them.


I cannot stop marveling in its stunning beauty.  This morning.

This ordinary morning, this everyday walk, this unremarkable stream, this scarred wilderness.


Fishing · Flowers · Nature · Photos · Small Joys

Visiting Pirate

What a day it was yesterday, my whole body is feeling well used, my muscles are sore, but a good sore, literally every single one.  The pirate joined me up here, late Wednesday evening, I had been watching W. while her parents went out for dinner with friends.  It had rained nearly all day, but I squeezed in a short walk to gather yarrow for medicinal purposes and a good weed in the garden before the sprinkles and drizzle led to a full rain.  I sat in the sun room and taught W. some embroidery stitches; she is a quick study and I love that about her.

embroidery wscolors


Yesterday was a picture perfect day, not too warm, some light clouds in the sky and sunny.  Maybe the first day with no rain at all in weeks.  The pirate and I went out to the lake and paddled and fished for three hours.  Nibbles on every cast, perch, pumpkin seeds, sunfish, and he caught a big pike, it is a temptation to fish there, throwing back every fish, but knowing you catch one frequently, it is like an exercise in desire, in wanting, the next one will be the big one, and you are there not noticing that two hours have passed.   I noticed my legs were getting burned and even though he wanted to stay out a little longer, I turned my boat and headed back to the car, good thing too because he has a vicious sunburn.  We went into town for a sandwich and to stop at the roadside stand for a dozen eggs and then drove around trying hard to get lost in the woods with a different route home, eventually we made it back, and after a short rest headed up the hill for a walk.  The sun was still up but under the shaded road it was cool and we were protected.  He spent much of the walk moaning and complaining about the rubbing of his wool socks on the burn.





The light of the afternoon sun on the side of the mountain was beautiful, the dogs scared up turkeys and chased them up the side of big hill and then they splashed across the creek to rejoin us.  We continued up to the base of the hiking trail, up the side of the mountain, where the cave is, a spot where the creek cuts through rocks going under on one side and spilling out the other.




Flowers · Nature · Photos

Day 3 and a Morning Paddle

It is a challenge, getting a canoe on top of my car which does not have a roof rack, but after several tries, I am golden.  It isn’t a long drive to the place where I am going to flat water canoe, and I drive there slowly, but I have done it well.  I almost fall in the water getting into the canoe, almost but not.  And then from there on, I am blissful.  The day is overcast, so I am concerned it will rain, but thankfully it doesn’t.

The water is calm and after I paddle away from the camps, and into the little coves, it is deeply quiet.  Loons call to each other, but far from where I am, the lilies float as peacefully as I.


waterlily betterrock


I worry, when I am with others that I am not confident, and I become concerned that I am doing it wrong.  I know where this comes from, the critical voices of so many, including myself.  The odd thing is when I am out here alone, I know I am not perfect, but I am okay with it.  What I mean is, that I have a less critical view of myself, when others are not nearby.  I don’t care if I dribble water on myself, and my shorts are wet in the seat.  I don’t care if my paddling is uneven, I don’t care if I get there quickly, and ironically the boat almost steers itself, and I am deeply at peace.  And also, I take the time to play with turning the boat, stopping the boat, all to take pictures, but it helps me to learn to try it, and not to hear judgment.  And yet somehow in this life, I find judgment from so many, but it is in the absence of this negativity that I do my best.


An hour, perhaps two, my shoulders ache as I pull into the shore, and loading up the canoe is so much easier, on the way home, I think I must have a goofy grin on my face.  This. Now. This. I. Can. REALLY. Dig.

Flowers · Fungus · Healthy Eating · Nature · Photos

Adirondack Summer






I watch the rain forecast and the flood warnings carefully and in the end decide it is safe to drive my usual route past the dam and along the creek.  The water is high below the damn, and the reservoir does not in any way resemble its December dry creek bed.  It is a lake now, and close the the road where once there was sand.  The creek is high and fast, but not unlike I have ever seen it.  It is good to be in the quiet place, where I help my friend who is recovering from surgery.  I want to be useful.  I do not want to be the irresponsible and lazy 22 year old that once lived with her.  We eat whole grain pasta with garlic scape pesto and beet greens and chard sauteed with garlic scapes with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  I give her daughter a drop spindle and bag of roving she sets to work learning.  I drink less than I usually do when I am here, she on pain medication, me determined to not spend the next 45 days of my life hungover.



In the morning the skies are grey, and I grab a rain coat and the dog and we begin the trek up the long hill.  The song of the stream serenaded me in my sleep and I am well rested, windows wide and cool oxygen rich air deepened my slumber.  As I walk fast up the steep hill, I immediately regret not bringing my hat, the black flies and mosquitoes are nearly nothing, it is the deer flies that pester us both, up and back.  Soon I pick a piece of cedar and swing it over my head and along the back of the dog, keeping the flies at bay.  He is slow on the way there and often looks back towards home, but I keep on until we get to the barn.  I think, erroneously that the way down is easy and burns nothing, but my legs and lower back tell me otherwise, I can feel it in my muscles.  This is good.  I stop to take pictures of bladder campion and find a wild strawberry that I promptly eat.  Delicious.


There is literally no deep and meaningful thought in this, only hope, potential, and wanting this summer to be special, and productive.



Dreams · Flowers · Musings · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

being in the right place

My Mom has made her annual visit this week, and we decided to take a trip to the place she was born, her father was born, where relatives once lived in house after house, where I lived as a child and where my sister spent the months and years after my father passed away.  I dream of that place, at night,  my visual memory a powerful gift that reminds me in the often broken and disturbed sleep, of places I have seen long ago, but do not remember with my verbal brain.  I could not tell you of these places, I only see them in my sleep.

The hill we once sledded down, flattened for a new house.  The area where we once lived, nearly unrecognizable, but between my mom, my sister and then me, the memory of passages and ways returns.  My Mom tells me to turn around, but I remember this other way.  We argue over trout streams I fished with my grandfather, and confused about the turns in the road that were forgotten.

There it is, I tell her, nope, its not its up ahead, but I am right and we turn around and park on the sandy bank.  We walk up a rocky, grassy driveway that is trickling with water.  She finds a wild strawberry, I am jealous, remember the taste like it was from my breakfast.

photo by my sister AGR the old homestead
photo by my sister AGR the old homestead

And there is the home my grandfather was born in, just a half mile or so from the now renovated old school house he, and then my uncles attended.  My mom born in a lumber camp back in the woods behind this house, whose owners clearly use it, love it.

Indian Paint Brush, orange wildflower
Indian Paint Brush, orange wildflower



The dogs romp in the damp grass and roll in the watery lawn.  Indian Paintbrush simple, beautiful dots the tall grass with daisies, and foxglove which could be a hundred years old or more.  We do not stay long but take many photos.


We drive on and after passing a house which was once my great Aunt Lucy’s house we drive up the hill to an old house above the small town and stop.  My Mom goes to the door and an old man steps out I hear him from the car.  I know you.  You are Vel.  He kisses her and hugs her pleased as punch to see her.  I get out and as I walk up he points at me and says, You are a C. (my mother’s maiden name).  I see in this man’s face, son of my Aunt Lucy, her eyes, my grandfather’s chin, all of our noses match and above his eyes, the double lines that have marked my forehead for most of my life, a perfect match, how I have cursed those lines as a scowl, but in his smiling face I see they are just a part of my family lineage, just lines on a forehead.

We had not planned it, had planned against, but later as we drive up the hill, I see the house of a woman my mom has known for most of her life, childhood to now.  A falling out split them apart.  My sister and I want to stop and she says okay.  We chat for only a few minutes but then her husband comes home, he hobbles, old, up the hill to say hello.  And a few minutes later, her grandson, and grand nephew drive up in a tractor.  The minute the grandson starts to walk up the bank to us, my mom gets tears in her eyes, and I am astounded, he is the picture of his father, even in the way he walks, and for a moment I am 12 again, we played together, hours and hours, and lived like cousins, had Thanksgiving and Easter together, our dad’s hunted together, my brother and the boys hunted together, sleep overs and farting contests, and days picking berries in the hot summer sun, and swimming in the rocky reservoir that now hides the house my other cousin once lived in, as a boy, and riding bikes on the same roads we traveled today, hiding in old houses in the pouring rain, while this now old woman beside me, drove out looking for us.

As we get ready to leave, we are saying our goodbyes.  I shake hands with the boys, and am pleased that this 14 year old’s shake is that of a man’s strong, firm, calloused hands, and his blue eyes straight into mine.  And then the husband, my dad’s best friend of many many years hugs me.  Sometime last year he told my sister that he missed my dad, and she started to cry, and there in his yard, he kisses my cheek and says quietly “love you” and I feel teary eyed and for a moment as though my own father has said this to me.

This day has been good for me, there is something about this place, it is home, still.  There is something about family, you can see yourself in their faces, though you have not seen them in decades, there is something in the old friendships that makes you know you are loved even from a place where the ghosts walk.  And suddenly in this day, I realize that I was always loved here, the place I wasn’t loved, was in my own heart, and in the place I settled in because of whom I was with.  I tell my sister, I thought they did not care for me, but now I see that they did.  They always wondered why you never visited, she says.  And the sparkle in my cousin’s eye, as he looked at my mom, made me see she too was loved in this place this place where all feels right.


Festivals · Magic · Nature · Photos

Trees in the Woods


I am pissed really at this man, but pissed because the roads are muddy and I am afraid to get stuck in them.  Next time we bring the four wheel drive SUV, bitching.  He is really patient and so good to me.  Later he will pat my hand and kiss it as I apologize for being snotty, but I say, I am so happy I walked by myself.  You just needed some alone time, he says, bright eyes shining.  But right now I stay in the car while he walks, waiting until I cannot see him to walk by myself.  But he waits for me and hugs me, sorry your car got muddy, you did a great job driving through it though!  Go ahead I tell him, I am not walking with you.


I stop to take a photo of a salamander and he is far ahead of me.  I stop to talk a picture of the trees and to pee under the pines and he is gone.  Crows gurgle up above, birds are whistling.  I keep walking waiting to catch up with him.  I stop to take pictures of the trees, the woods are both quiet, quiet, quiet and alive with the sounds of birds, of nature, and life, so full of life.  Like faeries and wood sprites are looking out at me, unafraid.






I reach the end of the road, I look for his tracks in the sand, all along the road, and then at the end, I pass into the woods at the end, and I look intently into the mud.  No tracks.  I turn back.  I do not even see my own tracks in the sand.  I make my fast pace back to the car, after a while he texts me, where are you?  I am on the road walking back, I say.  Where are you.  Waiting for you.  Where I say, on the road by the path.  I get to the spot I think he is, and no he is not there.  I text him, where the heck are you?  I keep walking.  Finally just a few hundred yards from the car he is there popping out of the woods and scaring me.  I laugh.  What the hell?  I ask him, what kind of walk was that?


At the car there is a map and he shows me the half mile he stopped at, and went off into the woods, I walked to here, I say pointing, to the end of the road, a full mile further than he did, and then back again.


Birds · Changing Seasons · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Treasure

First Robin of Spring


March in all of it’s bi-polar madness, warm days, sunshine, snow and cold pouring rain.  The time change is brutal, I curse the person who invented alarm clocks, and then the one who invented clocks, squeezing human beings into a construct of man when we are creatures of nature.

Tuesdays are especially brutal, I have to be at work 40 minutes earlier, when the perfect time for my internal body clock to arrive at work is a full hour and a half later.  I open the door to the drizzle, a steady one, if I were living in a rainforest, I imagine this rain would have its own name.  And then I hear the song of it, and in the rain with my boiled wool sweater and steam punk style brimmed cap, I search for the singer.  And then there it is high up in the maple tree.  I know you cannot tell what it is by this picture, but the song said it all.

The first robin of spring.

Changing Seasons · Flowers · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Steampunk · Treasure

Snowdrops and Steampunk


“Therefore trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions.”  ~ Longfellow



If March were a human being, it would have bi polar disorder.  Two days ago I woke to an inch and a half a snow on the ground with more steadily falling, within a few hours, it was all melted away.  Some days in March have a cold bitter wind, but today despite a cool breeze, the sun was shining, the skies were blue.  We missed the first half of the lovely day, on another adventure, but in the afternoon, the pirate suggested going out to enjoy just wandering around the yard in the sunlight.  I love this thing about him, this thing that loves to look at the things growing in the yard.

I told him this morning as we were watching a story on the news about the time change, that I would love to have a box full of clock parts.  We wandered, separately and then together and then apart again.  I am looking for ideas for making art books, for ephemera for collage and mixed media.  Then he calls me, excitement in his voice.  I look over his shoulder and find a box full of pocket watch parts.  I am thrilled.


This is a box of great treasure.


Day in the ADK’s

The day is foggy and drizzly but after we run some errands in town we set out for a walk.  I have written before about the difficulty of the way up the hill to the barn at the end of the gravel and sand road.  The beavers have built a house and a considerable dam which the town has come in and dug out to keep it from flooding the road.  Large trees are half chewed, and we laugh about how her father would love to be here with us just now, to speak of the beavers and all the effort to prevent them.  I smile with the memory, realizing my daughter was still breastfeeding when I was given the Lake George Beaver Tour.  A little further on I exclaim, I smell pickles!  Why do I smell pickles? And she tells me, beavers smell like pickles.

The mist has shrouded the mountains behind the barn.  I could walk here every day for a year and take a picture of this barn, just for the sake of it.  We see bear prints in the sand on the curve upwards towards it.  The long claws and the pads pressed in.  Her dog injured from an encounter in which she chased the bear away from her children.  I pat her, and fuss over her, calling her fierce bear chaser, and tell her she is a good dog for protecting her family.  Later she lifts her paws and asks for more love, I give it freely.

The long down hill is easy, I am sweaty and have unzipped and removed coverings the whole way up, and do not put them back on again as we head down.  At the bottom we both switch into our suits and climb into the hot tub.  My skin and body are cold and the warm water makes me realize just how.

It is this kind of ordinary that makes me happy and content.

foggy barn2 foggybarn