Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Christmas Already? Yarn Along

I haven't participated in the yarn along for the last few weeks because I was working on a surprise! I purchased yarn to make Maddie some socks for her birthday and shortly after that my mom purchased the same yarn for my birthday present! There wasn't enough to make us all tall socks so I made tall socks for Maddie and then 2 pairs of Rose City Rollers for myself and my mom. Now we all have matching socks! The picture above has Maddie's toes and mine with Momm's socks ready to head to Idaho. It was a great surprise! 

And so on to the next project....more socks! I decided to make all my day care kids a pair of socks for Christmas, Since I am using worsted weight yarn and they all have tiny feet this is coming along fairly quickly. I find that I am finishing a pair in about 2 days, sometimes 3 if I am busy! So 2 pairs down, 4 to go! 

I am reading a biography of Beatrix Potter. I was interested in reading it after listening to the first one of the cottage tales of Beatrix Potter. Its been fun to read about her childhood. She did many things that Maddie would love to do! Maddie was given a new magazine by Poppa Bill called Nature Friend. It arrived this week. Maddie and I have been swapping it back and forth to read. We are really enjoying it! 

What are you knitting and reading?

Joining Ginny at Small Things today!

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Today we went to a county wide 4H meeting at the Mabee Farm. We are learning to use a handheld GPS to make maps with photos. Today we just tried to use the handheld devices and figure them out. We are getting there....maybe. While Maddie was following the GPS Brian and I were exploring the plants near the trail. We hope Maddie can use the information later! 

Maddie finding satellites...Bonnie is too! 

Getting help from another 4H kid
Maddie's geocache! 

Somehow this goes with the computer!

A gall on a goldenrod. There were a lot of big ones!

A field of teasel!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Birthday Hike (well, walk maybe!)

Maddie's birthday was yesterday! We started the day with doughnuts from Nibble and Mamaw Louise then headed out to the Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station for a hike. We started out at the visitor center which explained how the preserve came to be a preserve as well as explaining some of the research currently underway. Plus they had brochures for Brian! While we were there Maddie officially turned 12.

Officially 12 on the porch of the visitor center

Then we headed to the trailhead for the Lincoln Pond trail. This was more of a walk compared to what we did on the weekend! It was beautiful however and we got to identify some trees, saw a blue heron and chipmunks and heard a cardinal who was upset with us for being in his woods! We also saw a plant we had never seen before and found out that it is American Ginsing, a rare plant. The researchers are doing a project to find out which animals are eating it and if that is part of the problem the plant is having in being able to re-seed itself. It would appear that is the case. It was beautiful despite being cloudy. When we arrived at the trailhead there was a state forest ranger truck and a couple of guys in uniform talking with someone from the preserve. I asked Maddie didn't she want her picture with them? She said "Momma! I am 12 now. Don't embarrass me!". 

The research station

Anselena Adams doing her thing! She had no idea I was taking this!! 

Lincoln Pond

American Ginsing! The red really popped out at us. My pictures don't do it justice. Maddie will add her pictures to her blog and those are bettter.

A gall! We are so excited to be finding these.


The orange and red colors of a few things really stood out in the grey day.

We believe these are Ostrich Ferns. The trail map said to keep an eye out for them and they certain make you think of that animal!

The wetland part of the walk.

I'm pretty sure these are raccoon prints.

A patch of jewelweed. Brian said he felt like a real naturalist since we were able to identify the plant without flowers.

Another view of the research station.

We will be going back here to try other hikes. There was a waterfall somewhere that needs investigating. And I am sure there are more trees to identify! 

In the evening we went to Perreca's for dinner and enlivened their slow Tuesday night by telling them it was Maddie's birthday. They tried to write Happy Birthday in chocolate on her dessert plate and succeeded well enough for us! They also sent her home with a special italian style cookie for later. Not that she needed it...she got the 1/2 pound cupcake for dessert which she couldn't finish! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birthday Camping!!

Maddie's birthday is coming up. One of her presents from us is a camping trip to the North Lake-South Lake campground in the Catskills. What a beautiful campground! It is very large but the layout was made into loops containing 25-30 campsites within the loop making it feel much smaller than it actually is in reality. Glacial erratics are everywhere. Our campsite had no neighbors to one side and that area had 5 large erratics and many smaller ones. Maddie loved jumping from rock to rock investigating what was on and under them including a chipmunk hideaway. The campground contains many hiking trails that are part of the Art Trail created by the Thomas Cole Foundation and highlights many places visited by artists in the Hudson River School.

We hiked to Klatterskill Falls on Saturday morning. This was quite a climb but certainly worth the view when we got there! It was very crowded however and it took all of our patience to deal with the people surrounding us.We took our time and enjoyed the many views on the way up to the falls and inspected the jewelweed very closely.This was the monthly challenge from the Outdoor Hour Nature Study site. I read about it in our Handbook of Nature Study before we left and made sure to bring it along for study after we inspected it! We were able to observe all aspects that were discussed which was really neat! We saw bees flying in and out, we got the seed pods to "explode" and we plunged some of the leaves under water and watched them turn sliver with some purple on the edges then pulled them out to find they were practically dry! So not only did we see some beautiful views but we learned something new as well.

apple eating for breakfast! 

Our backyard for the weekend

The campsite

We got several of these as we went from spot to spot. Who knew the leaf rubbing materials would come in handy for something else?
The walk to the trailhead

First waterfall viewed from the road. Then it was an uphill climb to Klatterskill!

Orange spotted jewelweed

First waterfall right off the road

I love that rock sticking out from the right side of the bridge! 

How can she be 12??

Ready to go up!!

Pale jewelweed

Jewelweed Gall

Momma has to admit she was glad this part was closed. We had been steadily going up but the looks of that was heart stopping! 

Rock sculpture towers everywhere!!!

Klatterskill Falls!!! 

Maddie attempting to get some shots of the falls without people in the picture. She did succeed or came very close on quite a few.

More of the falls.

Doesn't that rock look like a turtle?? Its has been there for quite a while too because we noticed it in one of the sketches on the art trail sign.

Another rock tower!

After an ice cream cone and then lunch (it is, after all, Maddie's birthday!) we went to North Lake within the campsite to hike another trail to see the view from the former Catskill Mountain House. It was not as clear a day as we would've liked and so we couldn't see as far as it is possible but we still could see quite a distance! The Hudson was below us and mountains in the distance. While we were there both a hawk and a turkey vulture flew right next to us! 

North Lake

View from the former Catskill Mountain House

Another medallion!!

Then we went back to our campsite and hiked over to the other side of North Lake to view a spot where Thomas Cole painted "Lake with dead trees". The most of fun of this spot was that 2 artists were setting up to paint! Maddie got out her aquascope and discovered a crayfish.

Artists setting up!

Aquascope in use

At this point we got a little worried because the wind kicked up and the air had the distinct feeling of a storm coming!

Fortunately we only had a little bit of rain late at night which barely got things wet. We were glad of that. We tried to go back to North Lake again on Sunday morning before we left but the wind was really strong, the lake was choppy and it was cold. We decided to hit the road! 

Maddie found a freshwater clam. We took pictures because the resident was still home and alive! 

Maddie tried to use her aquascope again but the water was too rough.

It was all still pretty though!!

On the way out we stopped to check out the Yellowjacket hive we saw the day before. Maddie took pictures of it but we saw it had some damage. We think the wind and rain of the night did it. The we took another minute to see the totem pole at the entrance to the campground.

This is one of our new favorite spots and we will be going back for sure!