Friday, October 31, 2014

ludlowville falls

of course while we were out in the finger lakes we went to see ludlowville falls, because it is a fantastic example of an erosional cave under a waterfall.  it's a place where marcellus shale eroded out from under a layer of tully limestone.

you can go look up the particulars, but otherwise you can just look at some pretty pictures.

little stone guy

you can see him way up there


Thursday, October 30, 2014

old grand prix course

a few weeks ago on roadtrip we visited watkins glen. even if you're not an auto racing fan, it's fun to go see the original grand prix course, which you can drive although it is recommended to stay reasonably near to speed limits because the whole old course is on town roads.

i've driven the course before, so my friend barb took the wheel and i made a little video.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

press 2 for spanish

i get cranky every time in am in some public place near my home and i am presented with a spanish language option.

i'm irritated about spanish language options, but not for the usual reasons. i am angry about spanish language options in northern vermont because if we're going to be offering a second language option to make things more convenient for people whose first language is not english, the most logical choice based on number of speakers is FRENCH.

french is the most widely spoken language aside from english in vermont households, both because of our long-standing french heritage and our current influx of african immigrants, many of whom speak french as a second or third language.

on top of which, we are nestled very snugly up against the largest french-speaking population in north america (quebec) and if we're going to be offering second language options, the convenience of a large segment of our tourist population is also a viable consideration.

so. most widely used secondary language, by a wide margin: french.

why are we still pressing 2 for spanish?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

seven falls

ok, i'm back to writing about things that happened a month ago.

so on my adventure day with my new friend TAT we're driving around looking at his favorite places and a lot of them are waterfalls. he says we're going to go to his waterfall., only we've been going to a lot of waterfalls so this one is special?

and bit by bit over a number of hours this story develops: he's always wanted to have a waterfall. and a friend of his was working as an agent for diamond matchstick when they were unloading some property and they had this parcel that had no real value except it had this waterfall on it, so TAT bought it.

and then one day a geocache showed up on it, and he's pretty sure nobody asked the landowner for permission, since he happens to be the landowner. but he'd have given permission for it, so he decided it was ok.

there's some other stuff in the story, but that's as much as i'm telling you.

it's a very lovely waterfall, though. it has, as promised, seven falls and the sound of the place is kind of incredible.

here's a little video.

Monday, October 27, 2014

well, i'm home.

since i just got home, i've started laundry (there s a lot of it) and cleaning and maintaining gear (my house looks like a dumping ground for used sporting goods) and maybe i will get organized now and show you some pictures and write you about what all i've been up to.

i was thinking of you, and took pictures and notes and stuff just so i could show you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


often in the morning i wake up when i wake up, have a little breakfast, and sit comfortably at my computer playing games and gradually moving toward working on projects and bit by bit it gets light out and i go out to play or something.

sometimes if i have a plan or if it's WINTER i go out to play before the sun is up, because if i wait until the sun comes up, the day is half over.

anyway, these days i have been waking up at my campsite, striking camp and then driving to the library to sit in my car and generally have breakfast and sit comfortably at my laptop playing games and gradually moving toward working on projects, which these days is planning  where i will go for my day.

then i tend to head east an hour before the sun is up and i really NOTICE that the sun comes up two minutes later each day because my navigation screens switch over to day mode at sunrise, and i'm all, like, WOOHOO!

because the day is full of promise and anything could happen.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


sometimes you don't succeed.

this morning (wednesday) i woke up and i was thinking of going mountain biking in the pack forest, some forty minutes away.

but for some days now i have been living very close to this geocache, and for you to appreciate why this is important to me, i should back up and tell you that in geocaching each cache has a difficulty and terrain rating, difficulty being how hard it is to FIND the cache, and terrain rating for how hard it is to GET to the cache. it's based on a scale of 1 to 5, with half-point gradations.

geocachers being who they are, they tend to like statistics.

it is a sort of totally a badge of honor to have completed a grid of all the possible difficulty/terrain combinations. the name for this among geocachers is the "fizzy grid", named after an old-time cacher named fizzymagic who is generally credited with being the first person to begin to compile statistics on such a thing.

i am only missing one square on my fizzy grid; one that would be filled very nicely by finding this cache that's been on my way to my campsite or even to the outhouse i'm using these days, so i go RIGHT BY IT an average of four times a day.

problem is that it's been cold and rainy and overcast and finding this cache involves putting on your mask and snorkel and fins and going for a little swim.

so this morning i decided just to go DO it. enough whining and justifying why i wasn't doing it.

i go all suited up and into the water and it was COLD. and did i mention that even more than i am afraid of closed spaces, i am afraid of submerged objects?

so. dark, scary, cold.

and cold.

did i mention cold?

i did not find the cache. i am too buoyant to stay down without a lot of effort, and effort clouds the water. if there had been strong sunlight i might have been able to see it, but in the end i reached my turnaround time as measured by how cold i was starting to feel.

i am satisfied with my attempt. i know now what is involved to find this cache. i know what the terrain looks like underwater near the cache. i know how much light i will need, and how deep the container is.

and it's still going to dog me until i find it, but this kind of haunting is much easier than the kind of haunting in which i don't really try but stand around wondering if i could.

Friday, October 24, 2014

it's good for children

recently i was walking around in the ithaca children's garden and thinking about what a great thing it is for children who otherwise may not have the means to experience gardening to have these programs available to them.

we keep talking about teaching children responsibility and discipline and stewardship, and can you think of a better way to do this than through gardening?

and you may not think of it, but the ability to garden is a thing that is often unavailable to urban kids. ithaca isn't exactly a huge urban sprawl, but its urban neighborhoods are urban enough.

it strikes us as visitors to ithaca that while it is much smaller than the city i live near (read: forty minutes by car from), it feels much more urban to us, probably because of the presence public transportation and stuff like that.

so anyway, we were wandering around in the garden, looking at the different "zones" and we came up around the back of an area with a lot of tires and crates and mud and a hammock and nothing organized and i quipped "what is this? the anarchy zone?"

and you know?

it was.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

early morning in small towns

when i wake up in the morning for most of the year, it's dark. i like it that way, because by the time the sun rises, i feel i've gotten stuff done. my preferred way to start the morning is to crawl out of bed and have a little breakfast and do computer things in a leisurely fashion until it's light out, or until i'm ready to go do things.

it's a pleasant way to start my morning, and doubly so when i am camping.

when you are an early riser at home, you don't notice so much your neighbors waking around you.

when you are an early riser waking up in campsites near small towns and then subsequently driving to the small town libraries to sit and do your habitual morning computer things, you see tiny flickers of the quiet early hours in people's houses along the way. before six o'clock most of the houses are dark, and a few have one light on somewhere, someone rising quietly.

around six lights start coming on in houses hear and there and by seven most houses are mostly lit; people getting up, getting their kids up, days beginning.

good morning, people of tiny towns.

good day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

it's good luck.

two weeks ago in between wine tastings, we pulled into a parking lot for a trailhead. we were there to go for a nice little walk and find a geocache, and also since it was lunchtime, we started to pull out the foods. nothing terribly fancy, but i know how to picnic.

there was a young couple there getting ready to go off backpacking for a couple of chilly nights.

now, i know that every calorie you can consume that you didn't have to carry is a bonus. so i invited them over to join us for lunch. "it's good luck to feed backpackers", i told them.

the young man said he hadn't heard that.

but it is. how could it NOT be good luck?

so they came over and shared out bread and cheese and hummus.

they were funny, too. at one point in the conversation i said something about sleeping out and bivvy sacks and "when you are a middle aged lady" and i paused here to say "it WILL happen to one of you, sooner or later" and the young woman said "you never know. it could happen to both of us." and the young man said "it's not likely, but i'm not ruling it out. you never know"

we all laughed.

 and he helped himself to more cheese.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

rock pile

last month on my adventure day with TAT, he kept referring to some mysterious cabin as the place where we should eat lunch.

i didn't give it too much thought.

it's like that when you go off for an adventure day with a near stranger who has the agenda of showing you cool places.

i'm not telling you exactly what town this thing is in, because it's open to the public but largely unpublicized, so while visitors are welcome, too many visitors would kind of spoil the vibe of the place.

basically, it's insanity of the nicest kind: one family decided to build a rock pile. they built it kind of like a mayan-style pyramid and when they were done building it, for good measure they put a cabin on the top of it.

a cabin furnished with a fireplace and a table and chairs and a gas stove and a patio and a grill and wineglasses and everything.

you have to bring your own water, but they provide the firewood.

and even the tootsie pops.

and they've cut trails on their land, which are also open to the public.

Monday, October 20, 2014


right now it is saturday evening. i'm scheduling this to post monday morning, but right now it is saturday evening.

this afternoon when i got done paddling, it was already getting chilly, so i has happy to to have ordered a pizza last night, which means i could order one today.

puterko's pizza. indian lake. i got a fouteen inch pie with eggplant and artichoke hearts. weirdly, eggplant and artichoke hearts are not premium toppings at this place, but regular toppings. the pizza is a little on the pricey side (my definition of pricey being any two topping pizza that goes for much more than a dollar an inch), but the sauce is good, the crust is good, and it tastes nice and wood-fired smokey. i don't even know if their oven is wood fired, but the pizza has a nice taste like that.

tonight it's supposed to be chilly out.

i believe it, since a few minutes ago the rain shower i was "enjoying" turned to snow.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

theoretically, this conversation happens.

judging from the empties i find, some form of this conversation happens more often than i would like:

"hey! let's you and me get drunk and wander around in the woods with loaded firearms."
"i don't see how anything could go wrong with that. ok."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

orange and camo

i keep seeing guys in full camo wearing hunter orange vests and hats. not camo orange vests and hats; just out and out flat orange.

deer have color vision, although they are not trichromates, which essentially means they're essentially red-green colorblind. it doesn't mean they can see orange. it means they can't distinguish orange from red and it means they can't distinguish red from green.

...we think.

because without actually being a deer, we can't know exactly what a deer sees.

wow. is it just me, or did it just get solipsistic in here?

anyway, what we think about deer vision is that they are EXCELLENT at seeing the outlines of forms, which is where the camo comes in. it breaks up the outline of the human form. if you're wearing a BRIGHT ORANGE VEST over your camo, you can bet your bottom dollar that the deer will see the outline of that.

"look bob. it's  a mysterious vest and a floating hat. what do you think that means?"

Friday, October 17, 2014


i use an old people pill's easier than messing with all the bottles and it helps me remember if i've taken TODAY'S pills, because it has the day of the week on the little cover.

so not stylish, but convenient.

and this morning i was filling the compartments with two weeks' pills and i got EXACTLY the right number of pills to do the job in my hand.

hmmm. sweet coincidence.

then with the second set i got EXACTLY the right number.

wow. maybe i have skillz.

same with the third.

i am a star. look at me go.

the with the fourth set, not only did i not get the right number, but it took me three tries.

i suck.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

daggett rock

ok, so i'm going back to things that happened last month, because i'm only getting to sort out the pictures now.

if you're reading this blog because you like a nice linear telling of events, you are not going to enjoy this.

anyway, last month i was at a geocache party and i ran into TAT, whom i had met at another party some months ago, so we weren't totally strangers and i was looking for a car to ride in to go geocaching during the day because i wanted to leave my car and equipment to the friend i had brought on the roadtrip so that she could go off and go biking or kayaking or leaf-peeping or whatever her little heart desired and so TAT and i were going to go off caching in his car and find a crapton of caches.

parenthetically, TAT has a real name, but among geocachers we are often known by our geocache names and many of us (like me) use as our geocache handles the aliases we've had since the dawn of the internet or even earlier when we adopted camp names or as children were experimenting with aliases.

i've been "flask ehrlenmeyer" since about 1976.

anyway, i'm in a car with TAT and he says we can powercache as planned OR we can go off and he'll show me some of his favorite maine geocaches. he's sort of apologetic about that second choice, as if it might not be as good as finding a crapton of caches.

but really, i can go out and find a crapton of low-hanging fruit just about any old day.

and TAT is kind of a big deal. he is my favorite kind of Important Person, in that he is sufficiently unimpressed by his own importantness that he seems mostly unaware of it. if you hear about it, you mostly hear about it from other people.

so i'm all, like, what? are you KIDDING? of COURSE let's go to your favorite maine geocaches. this is an OPPORTUNITY.

he takes me to some very pretty waterfalls and then he takes me to daggett rock.

now, if you've been in a room with me for more than an hour, you probably know that i am fond of rocks.

and this rock is a stunningly large glacial erratic. i recommend that you read about it here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

price chopper

yesterday i went to the price chopper on route 15 in essex. it's not my usual grocery store for reasons that mostly include convenience, but yesterday i happened to have been in the neighborhood and did my shopping there.

when you shop there you are often asked by friendly workers if they can help you find something. they appear to have a store culture in which they care if you have a pleasant shopping day.

so yesterday i got all my shoppings done and then realized that i had not remembered to bring my wallet in from the car.

and then when i went to ask the customer service lady if i could park my full cart somewhere safe i realized that i had left my wallet at home, in the bag i had taken with me to go somewhere the day before so the nice lady found a safe refrigerated place for my cart while i drove home and when i asked her if i should ask for her when i got back, she said that she would make sure the people working the front end would know about it and where to find my cart.

...which is exactly what happened.

when it boils down to the elementals, they weren't required to be so kind or helpful in the face of MY mistake.

but they were.

which kind of inclines me to shop there sometimes, convenient or not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

republican ticket

in a couple of weeks it will be election day.of course the campaigning will only rachet up and never, ever decrease. not ever. it's interesting, though.

in my state we are almost certainly going to re-elect the smarmy sleazy democratic incumbent governor.

i'm going to vote for him for the single reason that the national republican party is a scary, scary organization and the governor's job is too close to national politics and i am afraid.

 the republicans in this state have a hard time getting candidates to run, so the best they can drum up is scott milne. i have written about his mother, the recently deceased marion milne.

she was a giant. he is not.

scott milne's campaign seems to consist mainly of two messages: 1) i am not governor shumlin, and 2) everything is unfair. the campaign is stacked against me.

i want to tell him to pull up his big boy pants.

in other parts of the ticket, phil scott, the incumbent (republican) lieutenant governor is running for re-election, and he's going to be elected probably by a wide margin. i think he could get elected governor if he'd run, but i think he's found a job he's good at and he's sticking to it.

everyone around him flings poo and he goes about the quiet business of getting stuff done.

phil scott is a big boy wearing big boy pants. he does not badmouth the (democratic) governor with whom he serves, and where he disagrees wildly with the governor he is quick to say he does not like the plan, but he is willing to try it and see how it goes.

and then he does not sabotage the plan.

you know he's going to be re-elected because lawn signs in his support are seen on the lawns of both republicans and democrats.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

ten minutes on antler hill

no, i do not have a grape pie hangover. i still have three slices of grape pie left and i have a couple of quarts of grapes that i think i'm going to make into pie filling.

things have slowed down for about a day, so i thought i'd take a few minutes to write a few geocaching logs and to process some photos and video as long as i'm here doing laundry.

remember a couple of weeks ago when i said i was at that fabulous party in maine? well, i've only just gotten to the pictures from that, so i spent the morning processing some video from that.

the short version of the story is that we were driving around on antler hill off of the jim pond road (look up the maps yourself) and it was fantastic scenery and at one point we got to a place with a good view where we had some lunch and we decided to stick the gopro to the hood on the way down so you can see.

here's ten minutes on antler hill.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

too much excitement

i have a grape pie.

we are camping in the national forest. we went to a bassoon recital. we ate at a turkish restaurant. the vineyards are pretty.

i will have a lot to tell you about, but i am still twenty minutes from my tent and it is dark and tonight the temps are going to be in the thirties.


Monday, October 06, 2014

this is your pie

yesterday we hiked up the gorge in watkins glen state park. that's a lot of stairs. when we got to the top we were thinking we might take the shuttle bus down on account of knees and also to save time because we had other things to see.

at the top we met a pair of older ladies who had wanted to take the shuttle thinking it was free, but had come without cash and it was only three dollars, so i said i'f cover them.

they said it would be ok but they wanted to pay me back in the parking lot where their money was.

when we got there i said "you know what? forget about it." and i told them the story of the grape pie.

this is your pie, i told them.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


yes, i know we are past the equinox.

and suddenly we are past peak foliage in my neighborhood, too, but it is definitely autumn.

so (in case you read this on RSS or something) i've gone to the autumn colors, at least until the snow falls.

but you know what, i left home before peak foliage to go play in maine, where it was peak foliage. then i was home for some days during OUR peak, and now i am out in the finger lakes enjoying more foliage.

plus grape harvest.

and fossils.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

your face will freeze that way

thursday i went to see the dermatologist to have a little thing frozen off of my face.

it's pretty much the same patch of actinic keratosis i had last year, only it's back. and the only thing that makes is really worrisome is that it's one my face, because FACE.

if it was on my butt nobody would care about getting it taken care of now, NOW, NOW because if they have to, they can just carve a whole chunk out of your butt and nobody will know the difference.

so if this latest freezing of it doesn't work, they're going to want to move to some kinds cream thingie which is basically diluted chemo in a facial cream.

i'm hoping for the freeze to have worked this time. she was "more aggressive" with the freezing this time.

i wish to pause here to remind you that the application of liquid nitrogen to the face is very uncomfortable. it is not huge on the giant scale of pain, but it's very intense discomfort on a very sensitive body part. it is breath-takingly sharp in its discomfort in a way that, say, a torn rotator cuff or a bone bruise is not.

anyway, you remember that thing people say to kids? you face will freeze that way?

yeah, well.

Friday, October 03, 2014

old red spring

recently i was in saratoga and we happened to go by the old red spring, and of course i had to taste some, because i am a big fan of spring water in general.

now of course saratoga is THE place to go and "take the waters" and if you go there you can even download and print up a snazzy tour map to help you get to all eighteen public springs and i might do it one day just to have done it, but i tell you: i will not need to taste the old red spring again.

here is what i initially wrote about that:

augh! bleaagh! euuugh! wah. wagh. egh. af. ef. blah. 
bleargh. ffft. fwt. fwt. 
that. is the second worst thing i ever tasted.
but don't take my word for it. you try some too.

if you INSIST on trying this thing and you cannot make the trip to saratoga, find an old iron bridge in need of repair.

lick it.

alternately, scrape off some rust flakes and just hold them in your mouth.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

the "d" is silent

downtown guildhall, vermont.

i think the sign speaks for itself.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

venture vermont: medallion

so d'ya remember a couple of weeks ago when i said an exciting thing happened, but that i was too tired and then too busy to post pictures, so i wasn't going to tell you just then?

well, my 2014 venture vermont challenge medallion arrived in the mail.

i may not have posted about it, but i sure carry it around in my pocket.

to recap: i love activities. i love shiny round things. i love state, municipal, and national forests, parks, and grasslands.

and this pretty shiny round thing entitles me to free day use at vermont state parks through all of next season.



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