Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where in the World is Upstate NY?

Jodi at Bloomingwriter has challenged her blog friends to share a little about the area they call home, and several have taken up the challenge. You can find all the posts by clicking on her blog link. This is an interesting way for us to learn a bit about the vast and varied world we share with other gardeners.

Everyone has heard of New York City, but some people don't realize that it's only a very small part of NY state. Posted by Picasa

As you can see, NY City (AKA The Big Apple) is at the bottom tip. Once you get past the suburbs (roughly most of the cone shape), everything above that point is considered 'upstate NY' (that's my best guess).
It's actually a tourist's paradise, with loads of attractions: Two beautiful mountainous areas - the Catskills and the Adirondacks; the Finger Lakes area above Ithaca (the home of Cornell University), where there are wonderful vineyards beside gorgeous lakes; The Thousand Islands area is up the top on the St. Lawrence River; and the most famous of all, the spectacular Niagara Falls way out west, near Buffalo; not to mention NY state borders 2 of the Great Lakes - Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, with the historical Erie Canal stretching between Albany and Buffalo; Gorgeous Letchworth State Park, below Rochester, deserves a mention, with the Genesee river cutting a canyon through its 17 mile length. This gorge is known as
"The Grand Canyon of the East".

But centering in on our little corner of the world - we're in the brown area you see on this map. The CL stands for Central Leatherstocking. If you're curious to know what the other regions are called, this link will answer you questions. Posted by Picasa

The Leatherstocking area is rich in Revolutionary War history. We're close to the Mohawk Valley where many historic battles were fought. The picturesque village of Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, is not far away and is packed with tourists during the summer months. This was also the home of James Fenimore Cooper, author of the well known book, "The Last of the Mohicans", which was also made into a movie. Erie Canal Village, in Rome, close to Utica, is full of history and a great place for a family day trip.
This is just a small sampling of the many interesting sights to see in this pretty area of central NY.
I did another post in April of 2006 about NY state which you can find here if you're interested in reading a little more about our area and seeing a few more photos of the farm.

Here's the sight we awoke to this morning...a winter wonderland! Most area schools were closed after another snowstorm yesterday and overnight. As tired as most of us are of the long, cold winter months, a world covered in fresh white snow never fails to delight me. It's gorgeous! The birds were busily filling their tummies at the feeders, and the breathtaking scenery beckoned me to pile on the layers of clothing, grab my camera and go outside to capture some of the beauty. It was hard to decide on just a few snow pictures for this post!

This photo was actually taken back in November, but I've included it to illustrate just how long our snowy season lasts. Sometimes we have snow in October and we can usually count on some in April too.

All good things come to those who wait, and spring does eventually bless us with bright green grass and dandelions....after the mud!

This is the time for field work on our farm....planting corn, oats and alfalfa. Posted by Picasa
We no longer have a dairy herd, so the crops are grown to sell.

In the nearby woods I find gorgeous patches of marsh marigolds and other wildflowers.

There are always geese honking on the river that runs below our farm. I see mating pairs and search for their nests, hoping to see the eggs, but haven't been lucky enough to find one yet.

If you look closely, you can see the river below the farm in this photo.

In July the orange daylilies bloom gloriously by the roadsides, beside the fields of corn. Posted by Picasa

The colors in our gardens change through the seasons. In June these early daylilies blend beautifully with the wild harebells.

Early July brings the first blooms of the Gloriousa Daisies/Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and the Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum), among other lovelies.

A little later the mid-season daylilies add their Wonderful colors to the mix......

......and very soon the gardens are alive with blooms of every description!
Our soil here varies throughout the yard. That garden in the background, and the fence garden down by the road both have heavy soil with some clay which we're gradually amending. This triangular garden just across the driveway has much better soil, and further up toward house the soil is much drier. We're lucky to have wonderful compost heaps up behind the barn, and keep adding some each year to the gardens. Posted by Picasa

September brings a tinge of sadness, with thoughts of summer's end and another long winter to endure, but there are still some beautiful October days to look forward to before the frosts kill off all our wonderful color. We do sometimes get frosts in September, but last year, much to my delight, the hard frosts held off all through October.

But before we leave summer behind, let's look at the wildflowers around our neighborhood that make walking a pleasurable experience. The Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) and Goldenrod (Solidago) make gorgeous displays in the fields. No need to grow these in my gardens!

I love the mix of glorious greens against the clear blue skies. And there's our farm down the road.

This field of Goldenrod is still going strong in late summer. Posted by Picasa

The sumac is sporting its lovely dark red seed heads, and the hay has been baled.

September brings some of the loveliest days...

......but near the end of the month the first leaves begin to change.....

....and a couple of weeks into October our woods are alive with the blazing colors of Autumn, or fall, as it's called here in the US. Posted by Picasa

Here's that same lane shown in the picture above with the field of Goldenrod, but in this photo it's a month later.

The red behind our barn is Sumac in its fall splendor.

But here we are back to today's snowstorm, still yearning for spring, and the growing cycle to begin once again.

I find I can endure the long, cold months, with their snow storms, frigid winds, and even the wicked ice which makes walking a dangerous adventure, if I can only keep those dreams in my mind centered on the delights awaiting us when spring emerges once again after the long sleep.
Our gardening friends in the south covert our lovely summers, and we covert their mild winters, but all in all, I have to say this valley is a beautiful place to live and garden....which is why, after the winter is finally past, I can smile and say, "I love NY!" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And Counting.....

Yes, I'm counting those years!

It hardly seems possible that thirty-some years have passed since our son was born. But here he is, just a week after the youngest grandson's birthday, having yet

another birthday!

'C' was pulling silly faces for the camera here :)

'K' gave me a me a sweet smile though, as did his daddy.

Fun with Dad in the backyard Posted by Picasa

Here they are at C's birthday party in November.
It's rare to get a photo of Andrew by himself these days :) Posted by Picasa


We hope you have a wonderful day!

Much love,
Mom and Dad


Friday, February 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - February '08

The pickings are slim for February's Bloom Day here in snowy upstate NY I'm afraid. Nothing is blooming outside. Like other cold climate gardeners I'm looking out the window and sighing. I need to go shopping for something.....anything with some bright blooms to add a little color to this white world of winter!
Happily though, I do have one plant showing some new color.
It's the palm I posted a photo of for January's Bloom Day.

The first flower cluster bloomed at the end of January and then dropped all its tiny yellow balls just last week. I was afraid I'd be left high and dry for this month's GBBD, but I'm pleased to report that the little palm came through with another bloom just in time!

There are 3 more clusters to look forward to, so I certainly have to give this plant a big E for effort :)
I saved some of the little yellow balls because they look like seeds to me, and plan to try germinating a few in a damp paper towel to see if they're viable. I don't really want another palm, but I'm curious to see what will happen.

Apart from that I mostly have green plants. There are a few 'starts' just taking root, passed along from gardening friends, and some established plants here and in other parts of the house.

Upstairs in the bedrooms most of the over-wintering plants are still surviving. There are still some blooms on the white wax begonia, and a few on the Marinka Fuchsia. Posted by Picasa

The faithful Poinsettia is still looking good, and decorating my dear husband's new computer corner.
Yes, he now has his very own spot, due largely to the fact that we both wanted to use my computer at the same time! Now, I don't mind sharing, but he was cutting into my valuable 'blog reading' time and enough is enough I say! So now we're both happy.
This is a guy who didn't want anything to do with computers when I first got mine, and now he has his own e-mail. He seems to have settled quite happily into the world of technology :)
I hope we'll see some Snowdrops by the time the next GBBD comes around, but you never know with our weather. We might still be under mounds of snow! Until then, I'll just have to vicariously enjoy the blooms of gardening friends in warmer climes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fantastic Four!

This little fella had a birthday today!

We had planned to go to his party last Saturday, but ended up not being able to because of illness. This is the first birthday we've missed of either of our grandsons, and we were very disappointed not to be there. They did have fun even without us though ;)
We hope to go for a visit soon!

However, we sang Happy Birthday to him on the phone tonight and heard all about his dinner at Micky D's. which was his choice of eating place :) Little boys sure love to eat there!

We had fun at an airshow in July of last year.

And lots of fun.....

.....on their swingset..... Posted by Picasa

.......before the show. well as in the sandbox.

Happy Birthday
Fantastic Four-Year-Old!
xoxoxoxo Posted by Picasa