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Adirondack Explorer

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Tale of Two Sugar Making Seasons

The 2019 maple sugaring season has, for most, just ended in the Northeast. And so sugarmakers are tallying up their sap and syrup volumes to see how they made out. My sense, as a sugarmaker myself, is that most did well. In tallying our own numbers, it was interesting to look at this year compared to last, as things unfolded in very different ways. In 2018 we collected our first sap on February 19, and our last on April 4. Within that 45-day window, we collected sap on 25 days. This year we collected our first sap on March 12 >>More


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

American Robins: Harbingers of Spring

“The early bird catches the worm.” It’s an old adage that most likely refers to the American robin (Turdus Migratorius). This year, I first saw robins in late March, right around the time that maple sap started running. As I write this, they’re still showing up, almost daily, apparently looking for fly nymphs resting on the ice and snow alongside the river. Just up the road, they’re already hopping around on bare areas in lawns, gardens, fields, and pastures; cocking their heads from side to side as they try to find a big, fat, tasty worm to » Continue Reading. >>More


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Wild Edibles Program In Warrensburg May 18th

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County is set to present a program on wild edibles on Saturday, May 18th from 9 am to 4 pm at the CCE Education Center in Warrensburg. This interactive class, open to the general public at the cost of $20 per person, will cover identification, harvest, and preparation techniques of a number of safely edible wild plants. Note that this class will be held, rain or shine, so make sure to dress accordingly. Participants should plan to pack a lunch. Registration is required and can be done by calling the CCE office at (518) 668-4881 >>More


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Springtime Forging: Free Range Shopping

Despite a very long winter that has not yet left this area, spring is now gracing us all with the presence of dirty snow banks and ice. It is those ugly snowbanks that are a harbinger that spring’s Free Range Shopping is coming soon. What is Free Range Shopping? It is a means of freely foraging nutritious and delicious food. By mid to late April, as top layers of soil are visible and warmed by the sun, delicious morsels will be offered. Some of the earliest available plants will include dandelion, sunchokes, and ramps. Dandelion, taraxacum officianle, roots may be >>More


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Northeastern Wolves: Then and Now

On a moonlit night two hundred years ago, a dog-shaped shadow slipped through the Vermont woods. The large, shaggy canid emerged onto a hilltop pasture, raised its muzzle, and howled – a deep, throaty howl that reverberated through the hills. A chorus of wolves responded. Wolves were common in the Northeast and most of the U.S. when European settlers arrived. And it didn’t take long for the settlers, who were steeped in folklore that portrayed wolves as evil, to wage war. Towns enacted bounties, to which livestock owners were legally bound to contribute, for every dead wolf brought in. In >>More


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Race to the Bottom: Water Bears and Moss Piglets

Pint-size pets were practical, once upon a time. A hunter using a wolf-like dog to ferret out game would bring home less bacon than one who used a terrier for the same tracking services. Presumably, small hunting dogs mating with dust-mops is what gave rise to Shih Tzus and other foofy mini-dogs, which sadly are no longer in high demand now that Roombas can do the same job for cheaper. Recently there was a “teacup mini-pig” craze, but we but dumped them when they turned out to be ordinary piglets which would soon outgrow teacups, buckets, and bathtubs. Now it >>More


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Conservation Minute: The Backyard Conservationist

Whether you own acres of land or have a small flower garden, you have an important role to play in creating spaces that support wildlife. As our forests become more fragmented, its critical to start looking toward our front and back yards, and even our patios, to consider managing these spaces for biodiversity. There are countless ways we can encourage wildlife to thrive in our yards, but plants are the most important resource to consider. Many insects and wildlife species have specific dietary and habitat needs. If their needs are not met, then your property cannot support those species. The >>More


Monday, April 1, 2019

Cooper’s Hawk

Once, when I was living in a house on the edge of a forest in Western Massachusetts, an early-spring storm blew in and left about a foot of snow in its wake. Worried about the birds, many of which had just returned to their northern breeding grounds, I spent the day replenishing the feeders and scattering extra seeds on the deck and in the yard. I watched through the sliding glass doors, as dozens of songbirds flitted in and out my view. It was a mesmerizing scene. My reverie was broken, however, when a large bird torpedoed out of the >>More


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Paul Hetzler: Let Them Eat Trees

Nearly all historians agree Marie Antoinette probably never coined the phrase “let them eat cake,” a saying already in popular culture before her time. The saying was ascribed to her by opponents to bolster her reputation as a callous and arrogant aristocrat. She would have seemed far more benevolent if she had said “let them eat trees.” From remote villages to five-star urban restaurants, people around the world consume all manner of delectable dishes featuring second-hand wood. Although that is not generally how it is featured on the menu. Mushrooms such as inky cap, oyster and shiitake have a voracious >>More


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Exploring the History of Maple Syrup

I don’t think there’s a more magnificent forest tree or more glorious shade tree than the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); a deciduous tree that matures in 30-50 years, generally growing to between 70 and 90 feet tall, with a crown that turns a brilliant, fiery yellow, orange, or red at summer’s end. The sugar maple is the official state tree of New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It’s also the national tree of Canada. And the maple leaf is the Canadian national emblem. For sugarmakers, this is maple season. Having tapped thousands of » Continue Reading. View original post.