Sunday, May 03, 2009

Back From the North

Sorry I haven't been out and about in the Blog World this past weekend. We spent the weekend up in the Adirondacks visiting our cabin and dropping off a bunch of appliances we bought so the contractor can have them installed for us: a propane-run instant hot water heater, a propane wall heater, propane lights (they're like gaslights, and will likely be a good way to get light without needing electricity), and a shower apparatus to install in the bathroom.

When we first made our way up the gravel road to the cabin, we were surprised to find that a fairly large tree had fallen across the road - directly before the driveway to our property. So we had to cart all the heavy boxes up the side of the hill to reach the cabin instead of parking directly next to it! It wasn't until we'd gotten everything up there that we realized the obvious solution: We should have driven the Jeep up the hill. Sure enough, it went right up with no problem, even though it was a steep hill and had no gravel or anything to make it easier. We are still not thinking like Jeep owners, I guess!

Giggles over at Wits and Wiggles was talking about getting back in touch with her inner "nature girl" and I must say that I am feeling the same way whenever we go up to the Adirondacks. When I was young I was very into birdwatching and my mother was always showing me wildflowers in the woods. Living in semi-urban New Jersey for my whole adult life, it was harder and harder to find anything worth looking at. Now that I'm able to go to a location that is rich with wildlife, I'm getting back into what I enjoyed so much when I was younger.

This was another good visit in terms of seeing and hearing interesting wildlife. On our way up the main road, we saw an actual porcupine waddling along the side of the road! He looked up at us and started to head into the woods before I could get out my camera. He must have been somewhat alarmed by our presence because his quills started to rise on his back. Neither of us had ever seen a real porcupine before!

Then while we were sitting out on our deck having lunch we heard a strange call in the woods. It went on for quite awhile. We couldn't tell if it was an animal or a bird. After Googling "coyote calls" and "wolf howls" on the Blackberry I decided it was neither of those. When we got home I was able to do a more thorough search and found that the spooky sound was a Barred Owl. Go here to listen to what we heard. (Go to the Barred Owl and click on the link called "typical"). I was surprised because it was still daylight and I didn't realize owls were out during the day.

I also came across some great wildflowers - I saw a Jack in the Pulpit and also a whole bunch of Trillium. I even managed to take some pictures of it without them turning out all blurry. Here is one of them:

Here is another attempt at nature photography - the new ferns popping up among the leaves around the pond:

While I was walking along the roadway, I saw an Ovenbird, but didn't get a picture of that. I am amazed that anyone can manage to get great pictures of birds. It is a real skill. Of course, they probably have better cameras with very close-up lenses, unlike my point and shoot variety.

Speaking of Nature, we discovered that Something has been destroying trees around our cabin. Check this out:
This was a perfectly good tree. Now it has three huge holes in it. There are also several farther up in the tree on the other side. After seeing this, we noticed a bunch of other trees in the woods with similar damage, some done recently and some that was obviously from previous years. We can only conclude that it is caused by our friends, the impressive, beautiful, Pileated Woodpeckers, which I decided after Googling "Pileated Woodpecker Damage." (See below - note pile of wood chips like ours).

I was so thrilled to see them when we were up there last fall. Now I'm starting to think of them as a menace to the forest!

So much for Nature! Now I'll move on to our other adventures.

During this visit we also put the Jeep to another test. First we took it around to the other end of the Jeep trail that runs past our cabin again. Since we'd done it last time, I was feeling very brave. I even got out and took a picture of one of the somewhat challenging parts of the road. Here is the stretch of road, followed by the Jeep making its way up:

We then decided to do something even more daring. We turned down a side trail off of that road, and headed toward Lake George. We didn't even know whether it went all the way through. As we went along, it got less and less like a road and more and more like a bunch of rocks strewn along a narrow ledge; the hill sloped steeply away from the edge of the trail. At any moment I expected the trail to end abruptly with a bunch of trees and couldn't even imagine trying to back up! I also envisioned tumbling over the side of the cliff to my right if the Jeep tipped too much going over a rock.

I didn't get any pictures of this road. I was too busy holding on for dear life, closing my eyes and calling on the Diety to protect us. Even Diva was nervous - she was panting the whole time!

We did finally make it through to the road that goes along Lake George - and lived to tell the tale. And, the Jeep made it through with no problem! I guess that's what they're made for! I even made up a new motto for Jeep, based on the fact that the GPS map was showing no road where we were driving. "Just because the road ends doesn't mean you have to stop!"

I'll end with a few more pictures of the cabin and the surroundings. It was wonderful to be away from it all. We didn't even watch television while we were up there this time. However, we still got our newspapers and learned that Souter plans to retire from the Supreme Court. In the next post, it is Baxter's turn to do a news roundup so we'll get back into current events then.

Here is the cabin with its new green metal roof:

The new slate underneath the woodstove, and the new pine flooring that was installed. Now it just needs to be stained.

Birches reflecting in the pond.

Scenery along the Jeep trail.Views of Lake George.The little public beach on Lake George that is nearest to our cabin.


Suzi Riot said...

Your cabin is turning into quite a cozy getaway. SO jealous!

jmsjoin said...

Son of a gun don't disturb those trees, everything Is gorgeous. You are pretty lucky that is gorgeous. Fiddle ferns, have you ever eaten them? Don't touch them but do you have any Lady Slippers?
I spent a lot of my childhood on farms and in the Maine wilderness collecting wild flowers and ferns etc. to be sent to Connecticut and sole to florists for dry flowers. I will say it again, gorgeous!

giggles said...

Oh my goodness.... WOW!! This nature girl is way jealous of the nature YOU are able to enjoy!!!! Your place and pictures are gorgeous!!!!!!! Oh, wow. just wow. I have never seen a porcipine, either! Nor a piliated and that is a bird I want to see before I die. I know they are around...but...

Thanks for the shout out.... My oldest's teacher (who is not a professional photographer that I know of) took the pic of the peeper. She actually took many and I suspect only a few turned out...but she did good! She, I think, may be taking photog lessons from the guy who writes Notes from the Wildside blog that's on my roll. Now, he's the real pro!

Fran said...

What a lovely spot. I must say, we have some real beauty up this way and you have found a perfect corner of it!

I do hope that we get to meet one of these days when you are in the area.

Unknown said...

At first I thought this was a Hank Hill propane commercial (kidding). How wrong of me. I love your nature pics and it looks like a great place.

Dave Dubya said...

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful nature tour.

It is a wonderful soul cleansing experience to roam the woods.

Anonymous said...
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D.K. Raed said...

Wow, MauiG, I was just gonna tell you how lovely your cabin is and how much it makes me miss the mountains ... but after scrolling down (and down and down) through that last comment, I felt like I'd wandered into the wrong place!

I had no idea woodpeckers could do that kind of damage. I have seen a wild porcupine exactly once and got scared about our dogs getting involved with its quills. Now about those propane appliances ... be careful ...

Fran said...

I'm keeping this short!
I did the bloody meme- and its all YOUR fault!
I mean thanks for the award (tee hee).

Randal Graves said...

Very groovy shots! Don't forget your chainsaw massacre for the next batch of fallen trees.

Annette said...

Beautiful pictures.. That is so neat and you will really enjoy being able to get away from it all and having the place to do it in. Nature and all her environs to enjoy and share with... and we do have to share with them.. that's the best part of living in the midwest .. it is quiet, peaceful and I get to enjoy nature..

Nan said...

Great photos.

From what I've seen, pileated woodpeckers don't go after trees unless the trees already have problems, like carpenter ants. The cool thing about those huge holes is that other birds, like wrens, use them for nesting.

Mauigirl said...

Suzi, it would be even better if we could actually stay there! We are waiting for the contractor to stain the floor and then, finally, we could bring in furniture!

Thanks, Average Patriot! No, I haven't ever eaten the ferns but have heard of eating them. I should get some nature book that tells you how to prepare them. As a city slicker, I have a fear of poisoning myself and my loved ones so have not been brave enough to try it!

Giggles, thanks! You should have seen all the blurry pictures of Trillium I took before I suddenly realized the camera had a closeup seting! That peeper picture your child's teacher took was amazing. I didn't even ever see any of them in person, only heard them.

Fran, me too - once we actually get to stay there and just relax I'm sure we'll finally get to meet!

Mathman, LOL, I know, it's hilarious, isn't it? I keep making jokes about getting propane and "propane accessories."

Dave, glad you enjoyed it! I'm going to try to take more nature pictures so will post them as they come along.

DK, I deleted that comment - he or she has posted this before, must be a troll! As for the porcupine, I was very glad Diva was in the car with us and not able to run after it! The propane appliances all have oxygen sensors with shutoffs and one of them will be mounted outside. Also have carbon monoxide monitors so hopefully we'll be safe. I'm pretty paranoid about that stuff!

Fran, thanks for doing the meme! I liked reading what you wrote!

Randal, we are totally going to buy a chainsaw. Having so many trees all around us, it is probably necessary up there!

Annette, I always wanted to live in a place that had nature around me - it's nice you already do. During the 5 years we lived up in Penfield, NY, is when I got interested in the birdwatching and all the other nature things. That was something I always missed after we moved away.

Nan, thanks, that makes me feel better about the tree. I assumed probably there were bugs in it or something that they were after but it was still a surprise! Hope we do get some wrens - had them in our back yard in NJ last summer and it was so much fun to see them every morning and listen to their songs.

Bee said...

Can I come live with you? ;)

That looks like a just wonderful place! I've never seen a porcupine up close and personal. Muskrats, sure. Skunks, racoons, possums, yep. No porcupines, though. How cool is that!

Loren said...

Love that trillium. We don't have that variety here in the West, apparently.

If the Pileated Woodpeckers are doing that to the trees it's because they have insects in them and, probably, a fungus that makes the wood softer than it would otherwise be.

I've never seen a PIleated Woodpecker as low to the ground as in that first photograph, though.

Fran said...

This place looks so inviting~ & you are getting it all spiffed out (nice color choice on the slate).

Might I suggest you kidnap me?

Also, fun you get to play in the jeep using it for what it is designed to do.

I'm serious about the kidnapping!

Liz Hinds said...

It looks idyllic!

I would have had my eyes closed too! Glad you survived to tell the tale.

Christopher said...

The cabin looks sweet. So does that red Jeep ride. You two are living large, girlfriend!

See ya' on Facebook.

Distributorcap said...

how nice those look.... even the woodpeckers make nature so wonderful