Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dog in the Mud

Yes, that is her tongue. Yes, the mud is off-gassing. We took a shower when we got home from Green Lakes, where we spent much of Monday. 
If you spend much time looking at this blog, you recognize Joli, our sweet and interesting Border Collie companion of 13 years.
JDo would most happily spend all day in the water.
Blow this image up for full tongue effect.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bluebirds at Green Lakes

Green Lakes SP staff have set out lots of bluebird boxes. Joli and I walked in the upper meadows of the park today and observed many nesting pairs. I believe, though I know it seems unlikely, that in this twin set of boxes there are two pairs of bluebirds, even though usually a second box is only adjacent so that there will still be a box for the bluebirds after the sparrows have occupied the one they want to call home. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cannonsville Reservoir

One of several impoundments north of New York City, Cannonsville is the westernmost of NYC's water supplies at the edge of the Catskills. 

Modest boating and fishing are allowed; very strict rules apply. Use is by permit; boat bottoms must be commercially cleaned before launching; boats are launched by hand; no trailers can touch the water. 

In Delaware County, this beautiful valley was once a farming community with villages, schools and churches. Local  people resisted seeing their community leveled and drowned.

The water is pristine and priceless. I wonder why anyone in NYC would buy another bottle of plastic water if they could see this place.

Very recent good news is that the EPA has banned hydrofracking in NYC and Syracuse watersheds. This reservoir and many others including our own Skaneateles Lake are safe for now from the terrible threats that natural gas exploration and development pose in this region.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Also known as shadbush or serviceberry, amelanchier is an early flowering tree with interesting growth pattern and smooth gray bark. The early redness of the leaves heightens its striking beauty. This one is along the north branch of the  Susquehanna river in Broome County NY. We have one in our garden because we like it so well. The bloom is fleeting, marking the beginning of the greening of spring. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dogtooth Violet

...or trout lily or adder's tongue, like many spring flowering plants, lives in the rich soil of moist forests and flowers before the surrounding trees leaf out, preferring the early spring sun and warmth. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Letter from Two Soldiers in Iraq

From Current and Former Members of the U.S. Military
Peace be with you.
To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks video:
We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses.
We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van, and when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to the your pain, and the pain of your community on many other occasions.
There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused.
We have been speaking to whoever will listen, telling them that what was shown in the Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war: this is the nature of how U.S.-led wars are carried out in this region.
We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and what we carried out in the name of “god and country”. The soldier in the video said that your husband shouldn’t have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.
More and more Americans are taking responsibility for what was done in our name. Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.
Our government may ignore you, concerned more with its public image. It has also ignored many veterans who have returned physically injured or mentally troubled by what they saw and did in your country. But the time is long overdue that we say that the value of our nation’s leaders no longer represent us. Our secretary of defense may say the U.S. won’t lose its reputation over this, but we stand and say that our reputation’s importance pales in comparison to our common humanity.
We have asked our fellow veterans and service-members, as well as civilians both in the United States and abroad, to sign in support of this letter, and to offer their names as a testimony to our common humanity, to distance ourselves from the destructive policies of our nation’s leaders, and to extend our hands to you.
With such pain, friendship might be too much to ask. Please accept our apology, our sorrow, our care, and our dedication to change from the inside out. We are doing what we can to speak out against the wars and military policies responsible for what happened to you and your loved ones. Our hearts are open to hearing how we can take any steps to support you through the pain that we have caused.
Solemnly and Sincerely,
Josh Stieber, former specialist, U.S. Army
Ethan McCord, former specialist, U.S. Army

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Korean Spice Vibernum

Oh, for e-roma. Remember smell-o-vision? This viburnum is filling our yard with very strong perfume. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bluebells in Root Glen

Bluebells in Root Glen at Hamilton College in Clinton.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Society for New Music

The Society for New Music presented a wonderful concert and dance recital today. The annual event features professional, teaching and student dancers from western NY, and fine composers and musicians familiar to those who follow the Society's concerts and commissions. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unsettled Weather

Winds, spitting snow, rain, clouds of black and dark gray and blue skies in various quadrants all at once, birds whirling through space...fleeting spring....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Utica is home to the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. The building is Philip Johnson's, from 1960 in the International Style. The stark exterior is a gift package that holds a huge central atrium with galleries surrounding 3 sides on the main floor and all four sides upstairs, with more exhibition space in the basement surrounding the theatre. The main space holds sculpture and is used for performances. Also on the campus is a highly regarded art school and a Victorian mansion displaying period furnishings and decorative arts.
This regionally important center for the arts is an outstanding resource that elevates Utica's place in upstate NY. We feel fortunate to live so close.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Round Lake as Spring Advances

Joli at Round Lake, one happy dog in the water. The first blush of green is on the steep walls of the lakes and we sighted 6 pileated woodpeckers this morning. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blackbird Cafe in Canton

Great cafe with good coffee, wi-fi, delicious food with the accent on local and healthy, friendly staff and patrons, and busy!  Highly recommended.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Upper and Lower Lakes WMA

Upper and Lower Lakes WMA drains into the Oswegatchie on the southwest and spans nearly to the Grasse on the northeast side. These two fine canoeing rivers rise on the western side of the Adirondacks and drain into the St. Lawrence.
The Indian River Nature Center is worth many visits for its viewing platform, boardwalks and trails. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stone House Near Carthage

Much of the north country is underlain by a bed of limestone beneath an often shallow layer of soil. 
European settlers coming up the St. Lawrence river valley got to the Carthage area before 1800.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Protect Children from Abuse

Around the base of the fountain at Columbus Circle, directly in front of the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Syracuse, the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site and Onondaga County Sheriffs Department planted pinwheels to honor the advocates who work for children's safety.
In a light breeze, the pinwheels are arrestingly beautiful: the light and color, the sound as they spin.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Great Blue Herons at Sterling Nature Center

Great Blue Herons have returned to the rookery at Sterling Nature Center on Lake Ontario. This triplex is occupied year after year along with some 30 other nests. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Columbus Circle

Columbus faces the Catholic Cathedral, his back to the hall of county justice.