Category Archives: outdoors

In Need of Nature

Bridge over Battenkill

When I was younger I didn’t care much for anywhere rural. I didn’t always live in huge cities, but being somewhere really dark and removed from a town made me freaked out at night. My parents had a small cabin in northern Arizona and I would only ever go when I could bring a friend to keep my mind off the creepy woods.

My parents took me into nature, we went camping and fishing, and I really did enjoy it, but I never thought I’d want to spend considerable time there. As soon as I could live on my own I went straight to NYC!

I’m pretty sure “jubilarian” is not a real word.

Last weekend I went to my college reunion. I only live 3 hours from the city, and I’ve been back several times. But for some reason, this time was different.

As soon as I got to the George Washington Bridge I knew something felt different. I felt a little claustrophobic and quite annoyed. I started thinking how if anything really bad happened, people would never be able to get out, there’s just too many people there. (Sorry, the Girl Scout in me thinks of weird stuff like that.)

Walking through neighborhoods I kept thinking, “These people have no gardens, or lawns, and they have tiny kitchens, and how can they store all the food they put up in these tiny apartments??” (Clearly, I’ve started to lose my mind a little!)

The city really does have so much amazing stuff to see and great places to eat and I’m glad I live close enough to return regularly, but I honestly couldn’t wait to get back to seeing wide open spaces. I knew I’d miss my friends, but I just had to see some nature.

No driving faster than you can walk!

Once I crossed back onto the Palisades Parkway I instantly felt better. You could see trees and grass and beautiful views for miles. I was so thankful.

Then this week we spent a whole day in a more rural part of our area going on two field trips. Jack got to play by the water, we saw an old covered bridge, we saw beautiful green hills, and baby cows.

There are historic markers like this all over our area, I love reading them.

Today Jack played in the mud with a friend at the market while I worked. He was filthy and happy and I loved it. I’m not saying that in Brooklyn there aren’t parks or mud puddles or edibles growing on stoops, it’s just that I need those things on a much greater scale now.

Although many parts of my personality remain the same, I’m glad some parts have changed. I’m glad Jack gets to live where we do, and selfishly I’m really glad to live here too. I’m glad that no more than 10 minutes away I’m right in the midst of farms.

Nature is truly my Xanax.

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Jack and I made a snow zombie who was drooling yellow goo out of its mouth. We made sure to kill it with snowballs and vicious karate chops.

Trees, Worms & Other Cool Stuff

This week was pretty hectic, but in a good way. We got to do a lot of fun things.

Lake Moreau, frozen

Monday we watched Dianna boil down maple syrup in her front yard. Jillian posted about it here. It was cool to see the sap coming out into the buckets and we got to taste it before it was done. It only tasted like lightly-sweetened water, so it’s hard to imagine that at the end of the day it’s super tasty syrup.

Tuesday we went up to Lake Moreau to take the Hug-a-Tree class with our friend who works at the park. I’m glad we went since we often go hiking in the summer. After the class we walked on the frozen lake. It was sort of scary but it was fun hearing the ice “sing” as it was expanding.

rainbow trout

Wednesday we took a walk into town and stopped by the candy store. Jack told me I’m the “best mom ever” for letting him get candy.

Thursday I took Jack to a 4H class on insects. They talked about compost, worms, pollinators, and all sorts of “buggy” things.

tie dye worm

If it isn’t too snowy, Friday we are going to Albany for a science fair.

Weeks like this are great but I’m just glad every week isn’t as busy as this! I appreciate some good downtime too.

Farkle, the perfect after-dinner family fun game, especially when I win. 🙂

On a Walk

Double rainbow over The Factory.

It’s seems like spring here (honestly I can’t complain too much, but I worry how this summer is going to pan out) so Jack and I decided to take a walk through town today.

It was raining on and off during the walk and we got to see a double rainbow. Actually Jack noticed the rainbow as I was trying to navigate the slushy ground on the nature trail we were walking on.

As we were out Jack kept making “predictions” about the rain. He’s wanted to guess if it was going to come back and if it would be stronger rain than before. He said he knew it would stop raining at some point because he could see where the sky was “torn up.” Basically meaning he could see that in between the rain clouds were patches of blue, sunny sky.

I was pretty impressed that he was so perceptive. Kids are weird in the way that they make you pay attention to things you normally don’t even think about.

You can barely see the rainbow peeking through the trees.

We ended up walking almost 2 miles. By the end Jack was telling me he wished we had a teleporter so we could already be home. (Thank you Star Trek!) We were both a little tired, and pretty wet, but we were glad we got out for some fresh air.

I’m glad for these little outings. I hope Jack continues to ask to do stuff like this with us as he gets older.

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Gingerbread farm we made at the Kilpatrick Christmas party.

Well we did it, we survived the holidays and rang in the new year. I knew that somehow I’d get all my homemade gifts finished in the nick of time. Seriously though, this year I’m going to craft things all year long and just squirrel them away so I’m not so frantic near the end.

I also decided upon a new tradition. Going forward I’m going to make a handmade gift for Jack that he can open on the morning of Christmas Eve. We were never allowed to open anything on Christmas Eve when I was little so I’m the same way with regular presents. That’s why it will only be handmade and something really special.

The hat in action.

I’m proud to say that Jack loved his surprise Angry Bird hat and has been wearing each day since he opened the package.

Christmas morning Chris went to work and Jack and I had a nice breakfast together. I got to enjoy two lovely, homemade gifts during breakfast. Jillian had made me some tasty foccacia bread and Christina gave me a jar of home-roasted coffee. I had them with some tasty farm eggs and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Chris actually had New Year’s Eve off from work so we ordered Chinese food and watched Green Lantern. This was followed by Portandia and Star Trek: Next Generation, while I furiously tried to finish a cowl I was knitting. At the stroke of midnight I was binding it off. I really like how it turned out.

New Year’s Day we slept in, made homemade waffles with KFF strawberries, real homemade whipped cream, toasted pecans and local syrup, then took a walk through the Village with our pups. At night we went to Albany to see Hugo (which was awesome and reminded me of my days working at The Film Forum) and surprised Jack with a trek over to The Melting Pot for some chocolate fondue.

Monday Chris was off again so we took down all the decorations, put the tree on the curb, and cleaned the house. Now it’s time to look ahead to what we are going to do with the year.

I pondered writing out very specific goals for myself here (and I still might in a future post) but for now I’ll just say that my theme for the year is “stewardship.” I want to be a better steward of all the amazing things in my life.

I want to be a better steward of the land by planning and working my garden better this year and by continuing to improve the market experience for KFF. I want to be a better steward to my kiddo by being more patient and doing more fun/creative things with him on a regular basis. I want to be a better steward to the important people in my life by being more kind and understanding. I want to be a better steward to myself by exercising more, namely running.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful, eventful year!

~as of late~

Finally sitting in my car after finishing the Warrior Dash.

The Victoria Pool at Saratoga State Park. Our friends just got married there, it was so beautiful.

Warrior Dash medal, gorgeous centerpiece I got to take home from the wedding, and my donation jar for the garden veg I brought to a recent derby meeting. Made $5.98.

Red Oak Leaf lettuce at the market. The most beautiful lettuce, it looks like a bouquet.

KFF radishes and my cukes.

New shelves for our cookbooks and preserves.

 

…and we’re back.

Christina took this picture of me the morning of the Dash as I was picking up my CSA share.

This weekend I did the Warrior Dash at a mountain about 2 hours south of here. It felt really good to get beat up like that, especially since I haven’t been to a derby practice in ages.

I went alone and although there were lots of groups who were having great fun together, it was kind of nice to be alone. I was able to stay focused and just push myself mentally.

There were a few obstacles along the way that I was worried I couldn’t do. Had I had someone with me, I could’ve counted on them to encourage me, but since I was alone I had to force myself to just be brave and keep going.

I completed all of them. I swam through chest-deep mud water and had to hoist myself over floating logs. I climbed a two-story high rope wall, crawled through mud under barbed wire, and jumped over fire.

I finished in just under an hour and 10 minutes. It was so much fun, I’m definitely doing it again next year.

This is me after. As dirty as I am here, I had actually just rinsed off a bit at the shower station.