Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Homecoming, Adirondack Style

Those of you who visit this site from time to time now have the option of receiving email notification when I have finally gotten around to posting a new entry. See the option off to your right. Thanks for stopping in!

We are back at our little cabin in the big woods, the Adirondack hideaway we refer to as "Beaver Meadow Heights." For weeks leading up to our departure from Florida, North Country friends
sent dire warnings. "Got another six inches of snow last night. Driving winds. Bitter cold. Will it ever end?" wrote one. Another penned, "All the snow has slid off your roofs, but the pile is so high you won't be able to get in your door." Just in case we weren't taking the warnings seriously, a stiff wind practically blew us from Florida to Thurman, accompanied by driving rain. Terrible storms flared all around the southeast, but mercifully were not close to our travel route.

We followed the swollen Schroon River out of Warrensburg, awed, as always, by the force of the water roaring toward the Hudson. Familiar landmarks led us home -- Sugarloaf Mountain, Thurman Station, Thurman town hall; then Martin's Lumber, Crane Mountain. At last we were at the foot of our driveway, surprisingly able to navigate the slope, spraying mud all the way up the hill. The snow pile in front of the house had shrunk from its mammoth proportions, and we were able to get into the cabin.

Far from a turn-key set up, our cabin remains unheated during the winter, and the water pipe to our spring is drained. A stack of firewood was waiting for us, however, and within hours the woodstove had taken most of the chill from the living room and had moderated the temperature in the back part of the house. Buckets of snow now melt behind the stove to supply utility water until we can access the supply from our spring again. We have begun settling in and catching up on emails -- albeit by dial-up connection.

Cold, banks and buckets of snow, dial-up Internet--it doesn't matter. There's no place like home. Most of the snow is gone and mud season is well underway. It's spring in the Adirondacks, and we are here, looking forward to a joyous summer.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

When Good Things Happen to Good People

Okay, I know I'm borrowing heavily from Harold S. Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". Hope he doesn't mind. I'm so busy bubbling I just couldn't think of a truly original title (if there even is such a thing).

On Friday
evening my Thurman neighbors Gary and Wini Martin learned that Gary, who owns and operates Martin's Lumber, a Certified Tree Farm and sawmill -- a classic mom and pop business run with the help of Wini's brother Bill -- had been selected as one of just ten semi-finalists in the I Love NY "Greenest New Yorker" competition for 2011. What a tribute--and one Gary well deserves! He honors the rule our parents' and grandparents' generations lived by: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or go without." And he remembers hearing his grandfather saying, "Take care of your woods, and your woods will take care of you." A small boy at that time, Gary didn't understand what his grandfather meant, but today he does, and he works daily at taking care of his tree farm, selectively cutting and utilizing every bit of wood from the trees he saws, right down to the sawdust.

Not to be outdone in the "green" department, Wini, when she isn't out helping him saw, turns junk mail into jewelry--transforming glossy ad fliers into exquisite beads for earrings, bracelets and necklaces. She also custom designs commemorative gifts from wedding/engagement/save the date announcements and other special paper items.

As a team, they have carved a special place in the Th
urman landscape, hosting open houses during maple weekends, and on a daily basis welcoming customers as guests, sharing a fresh-baked cookie and a cup of coffee and guiding them on a woodswalk to show just how Martin's Lumber protects and preserves the forest for generations to come.

So what's next? The public gets to vote Gary into the top three candidates for "Greenest New Yorker" and
you can vote, too, once a day, every day through April 17th. And do you visit Facebook? Log on and tell us what not-for-profit "green" organization you think Gary should select to receive $500 given by I Love NY if he wins. We've listed some ideas, but you may add your own. It's fun when good things happen to good people. It's GREAT when you help make those things happen.