8.10.2017

go north




We went north.  A stop in NJ for a couple days to stay with family and meet new cousins (well, they are 7 months old, this set of twin girls, but they are certainly new to us).  We walked across the Delaware river via a little bridge that spans the river right about where Washington crossed it long ago.  Looked at old houses, watched turtles sunning themselves.  Claire and her cousin running around on the grass.  We had a bit of time with papa's siblings and with nana and pipop and then we headed further north, up to my grandfather's land in the Adirondacks.  The last time I was up there was when I was 6 months pregnant with Claire and we were a month out from closing on our house.  On the cusp of real grown-up-hood, as it were.  It was way past time to get back up there.  He died last May, my grandfather.  My grandpa Joe.  Sometimes I still don't think he's really gone.  At nearly 97, I'd kinda started thinking he was going to be around always.  But no.  My grandmother, grandma Helen, died when I was 12.  I wish I'd had the opportunity to get to know her as an adult (myself as an adult, that is), because that changes things a bit, doesn't it?  Enriches the relationship, adds new depth, new layers.

But instead she lives on in my mind through my childhood memories of her, and that is sweet too.

All this to say, we got back up there.  Introduced Claire to the place.  To the lake, to the paper birches, to the predominantly pine forest that smells amazing and is so thickly adorned with ever so many species of mosses and lichens and mushrooms, to the amazingly clear star-gazing milky way sky.


We camped on the property, just a short walk through the woods from the cabin, where two of my uncles and my dad happened to be at the time.  So it was camping, but with the use of a bathroom and kitchen.  We had a little rhythm.  Warm drinks by our fire in the morning, then a walk to the cabin to make breakfast before exploring for the day.  Lunch on the go and then back to make dinner and have another fire (or two).  The first day we stayed close- Mike fished a bit while she and I swam at the lake, then the three of us drove over to the cemetery to visit with my grandparents and took a scenic loop back.  The next day a drive up to Blue Mountain Lake to the wonderful Adirondack Experience Museum there.  An outing to the nearby Natural Stone Bridges and Caves in Pottersville, and then the day spent driving through the Keene Valley area along the Ausable River and up towards the High Peaks region, cutting east in time to catch the ferry in Essex to cross Lake Champlain so we could drive back through western Vermont.

There was campsite mancala, and birch bark collecting.  She quickly found a new stick horse and named her Rosa.  We found the big white pine I remember from my childhood- one that it took all three of us stretching our arms wide around in order to circle it completely.  There was gem mining at  Natural Stone Bridges and Caves, and much rock collecting (by all of us) in various riverbeds.  One night we put her in complete control of the fire- building it, lighting it, tending it.  And aside from burning her finger just a touch upon lighting it, it went really well.  She's a capable fire-tender, this one.



wise old white pine.  took all three of us to circle our arms wide around it's base


mossy log path across a low, wet area on my grandparents' property



walking along the power lines, at the top of the property





I used to swim out to the floating dock here and do the very same thing when I was her age

Loon Lake

this house, and the motel adjacent to it, are right on the lake and belonged to my grandparents years ago.  the cabin and property are directly across the street






The Adirondack Museum has an amazing child-size log cabin with an outhouse, woodshed, washing area, clothesline, etc.  It was pretty much the place of her dreams, and she could have happily stayed there all day.  All week.  We learned we were only about 2-2.5 hours away from the town and homestead where Almanzo Wilder grew up.  Maybe next time...




home sweet home for 4 nights



















The above pictured 1948 GMC Woody used to belong to my dad.  He sold it to his brother, my uncle, many years ago.  It is well taken care of and lives in the barn in upstate New York.  Sometimes I think that if he hadn't sold it, it's what I'd be driving around now.  Probably not, but it sure is pretty.

After the Adirondacks, we headed back to NJ for another slightly longer stay with family.  More visiting, more meals with family, more time with sweet cousins.  A trip to our favorite farm.  Make that farms.  Howell Living History Farm is a special place.  Mike and his siblings spent quite a lot of time there as kids and we started bringing Claire there when she was about 1 and a half or so.  It's where we get her bonnets (even though we recently found out we can order the same mass-produced ones on Amazon).  It's where Mike's parents get their honey and maple syrup.  We've been to fiddle contests there and gone on hay rides and steam-engine pulled tractor rides.  We've helped to harvest corn and watched the draft horses plow the fields.  I take lots of photos whenever we're there.  Often the same photos.  Red barns.  Slanted windows.  Buckets.  Piles of grain.  Sheep.













After our visit to Howell Farm, we rested for a bit.  Read lazily around the house and such.  But later on it was back out to another favorite jersey farm.  Chickadee Creek Farm, which is run by a dear friend who is essentially, basically, our sister in law.  She has an amazing thing going.  A large market CSA with 400+ shareholders, a big berry, flower, tomato, etc. U-pick operation just for members (where we went to pick berries, berries, berries!), and a smattering of other projects.  She was recognized last year as the National Outstanding Young Farmer of the year.  As in for the whole country.  She's kind of awesome.  We picked lots and lots of her berries.




And then the next day we drove home.  Eating some berries along the way.