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Rare September Sunday Off

26 Sep

A September Sunday off to begin birthday celebrations was stupendous! Taking advantage of the precious opportunity, I was bound for the eastern side of Cayuga Lake.

Heart & Hands was my first stop for a superb tasting with Megan.  The quality is striking, a testimony to their expertise and efforts. A new release quickly became my new favorite.  Once I have a few bottles tucked away, I may divulge the selection but until then I will daydream quietly.

In Aurora, I skipped into Trader Rose Vintage. Mnetha was not behind the counter, so I made a beeline for the women’s clothing.  Within five minutes, I had tried on two great pieces and was wearing a Cheshire grin.  The cashier wrapped my purchases in tissue paper while I gave the store a final scan, determined to leave triumphantly in good time.

The afternoon stretched on as friends played music and we shared cheese, veggies and cold cans of Rohrbach’s Space Kitty.

Describing appetizers, dinner and the sky full of lake and sunset would make it sound better than most can imagine.  It was! As I talked with my friends and watched Monarch butterflies dance…

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Ithaca Reggae Fest 2018-Cayuga Lake, NY

25 Jun

Sandra Steingraber spoke to the most personal and ecological forms of water with poetry.

A blue morning began June 23, 2018. Saturday was Ithaca Reggae Fest’s big day at Stewart Park. Worries of rain nagged at exceptionally high hopes for this event held beside Cayuga Lake’s southern shore in Ithaca, New York.  The discreet weather nearly whispered “Simmer down.”

The celebration of water and life through Reggae music provided attendees with access to Native American teachings, local water advocacy groups, yogis and more!

Chief Sam of the Cayuga Nation began Reggae Fest 2018 for me.  He warmly shared stories and reflections steps from Cayuga Lake’s blue water.  His son and grandson stood beside him with pride; it was a joy to see.  He spoke of the many medicines of this earth and jokingly acknowledged the medicine of goose poop in great abundance.  Sachem Sam spoke of Indian time, being  the time in which things happen.  I found this to be a description of my own view.

While gathering resources for my table in the education village, I took a few moments to read the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Land Steward magazine.  I’m so glad! The good news is plentiful because of the amazing work and dedication of those who support the FLLT.  Rehabilitating land to reduce and absorb runoff is a proactive strategy to care for our watershed.  Developing and implementing a long term rehabilitation strategy can create benefits experienced in similar case studies.  Learn more about the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s work here.

The rains held off as Astrid Jirka of Vahana Yoga led participants in 108 sun salutations.  Massage therapists donated chair massage in the Wellness Village while bands including Thousands of One, Mosaic Foundation and Crucial Reggae Social Club welcomed in the afternoon.

Sandra Steingraber’s speech was personal and poetic.  She reminded the listener of the dynamic presence of water throughout our planet and our own bodies.  She did this by humanizing her experience.  More than an environmentalist, she is a human and a mother.  She is a creature aware of our composition and need to foster sanctity of water.  Sharing this awareness is effective, partly because it offers an invitation to entertain such a view oneself.

Ithaca Reggae Fest 2018 was plastic free.  Organizations like Plastic Tides, Mission eXXpedtion and Plastic Free July are doing great work to fight plastic pollution.  Please learn more about plastic pollution and consider taking the pledge at Plastic Free July.

Paddle-N-More had water crafts available for rent at the festival.  This year’s location was less noticeable than in the past.  Seeing others discover watersports promotes increased participation.  Recreation opportunities and meditative attributes draw me to water but for some it is science.  Cayuga Lake Watershed Network was joined by Discover Cayuga Lake, Citizen Science, NYS Parks and Recreation to name a few. Please continue to learn about the work being done by advocates for water.  What can you do? Water is essential to life. “Get up, Stand Up. Stand up for our right.” (Robert Nesta Marley.)

Listening

14 Apr

I’m listening, to the wise people around me.  Beyond the din, there are those who are committed to others, to working for more than personal gain.

Susan Peterson Gateley of Silver Waters Sailing welcomed me and my friends to a water chestnut pull on the Red Creek Marsh Unit in Wayne County many years ago.  We met two women, dressed in work clothes whose boats were quickly filling with long, leafy vegetation they were extracting from the marsh.  As we began to move the wet, tangled masses to the back of pickups, I reached in quickly and grabbed the plants, only to feel sharp thorns plunge into my hands! Chuckling lightly with amusement and compassion, I was advised not to repeat my behavior and handed a pair of gloves.  Novice volunteers worked quickly together to load the invasive plants before heading off for a late afternoon kayak and picnic.  The gratitude of the volunteers and kayakers was immense, they were so glad to participate in a positive, healthy activity with other friendly people.

Each year the water chestnut returned, but with increased management, including staff from the Finger Lakes Institute, the invasive may be temporarily controlled.  If left alone, the plant could cover the waters, blocking out light and making passage for animals and boats impossible.  Though quite glad to have this quiet marsh in improved condition, many problems are harder to identify or positively affect.  Mrs. Gateley covers many of these pollutants in her movie Lake Ontario: A Quest for Hope.

Cayuga Lake has a steward in Hilary Lambert of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network.  Hilary works with residents and municipalities around Cayuga Lake for clean, healthy water. Her team has made great strides with GIS technology, recently releasing satellite imagery of nutrient runoff into the lake.  Meet at The Space at GreenStar today in Ithaca to learn more about HABs and other sources of non-point pollution.

Dragon boats brought Hilary and I together for the first time.  We inspected the lot before they were launched in Cayuga Lake.  It only took a few moments to realize she was a savvy advocate for water. Tomorrow, we return to a rest area north of Taughannock Falls to tidy up an area that is a first impression of our area for many.  Now under the adoption of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, the area lies in an area with a steep incline and stream upon Cayuga Lake’s western shore.  This site’s cleanliness has improved! I’m quite surprised to see it in fair condition. Though we are expecting scattered showers, we’ll eliminate any trash and celebrate our progress with a hike at Taughannock Falls and snacks from GreenStar!

Another amazing woman has entered my life.  She is 103 years old! She is sharp and educated, living a life of civic engagement and within a thriving rural community.  Talking with her about her life and reading local works has opened a vivid world of regional understanding and cultural possibilities.  She often says she could use another fifty years for everything she would like to do.

What will we do and share?

More details about this amazing woman and tomorrow’s cleanup!

 

 

 

 

Empathy, Gratitude and Compassion; True Gifts Any Time of Year

8 Dec

My grandmother was sweet, incredibly kind and joyous.  At a young age, she was surrounded by grandparents who doted upon her.  This attention and leadership from elders certainly helped mold the person she was to become.

Marguerite Robinson Campbell Reich, Peggy, Mom, Gramarite.  She lived near “The City,” fondly looking over her beloved Palisades and even the Empire State Building. A true adventuress, she was fascinated with knowledge, reading and travel. Life was a grand adventure to her, always adding in a little sparkle or whimsy to enliven a scenario. As magic makers might, she wove her view well beyond her physical life. Artwork and phrases that spoke to Marguerite became household adornments or features of love notes. Writing autobiographical tales in narrative occurred more than once. Newspaper articles, Hershey’s Kiss ribbons and pressed flowers became thoughtful gifts. They surface in my notebooks, jewelry boxes and dresser drawers, filling my life with her unrelenting appreciation for life and commitment to grace.

 

Compassion, Affection, Respect and Empathy are key ingredients for relationships. C.A.R.E. Recipe. -Author Unknown.

As we approach the holidays and endure our various challenges, this recipe can help everyone! Compassion, Affection, Respect and Empathy.  When outraged or confused by someone’s behavior, please consider their perspective, goals and challenges.  Respect others as we travel about for our holiday shopping or festivities.  Consider others may not enjoy the season and understand strong emotions the holidays may bring.

One Christmas Eve when I was little, my dad took me with him to deliver food baskets.  Puffy, white snow was falling and covered the ground.  We took a basket of food to an elderly couple in a small home.  I seem to recall it being very cold but my dad’s visit filled the room with warmth.  The couple’s gratitude is unforgettable.

Another year, our living room was covered in donated stuffed animals that we loaded in our van to deliver to a collection and distribution point.  It may have been a school.  I remember a huge stage with piles of toys for children.  The spirit of Christmas was present as we imagined the children opening their gifts.

Truly taking the time to be with family is an amazing gift! In the face of difficulty, being with loved ones proves most important.  Does your use of devices separate you from those around you? Are your family your loved ones or merely obligations? Erin Marteal wrote a fantastic article entitled, “Gratitude Pairings, Naturally.” First published in Tompkins Weekly, Erin, Executive Director of Ithaca Children’s Garden gives numerous suggestions for creative pairings of activities and foods to share with gratitude.  I’m looking forward to visiting the Fuertes observatory-per her recommendation.  As well as constellations of homemade cookies and thermoses of host chocolate!  Consider some of her ideas and work out a few of your own.  You might discover what fun it is to gather items for a wreath or wail your sibling with a snowball. Have you ever made snow angels?!

New Park Retreat and Event Center is opening their doors this coming Thursday, December 14 5:30-9:30.  Guests will be treated to live music and refreshments, with donations benefitting local food security organizations including The Backpack Program, Fresh Snack Program and Friendship Donation Network.  

New Park Retreat & Event Center celebrates the holidays with an open house December 14, 5:30-9:30 at 1500 Taughannock Blvd. Ithaca, NY.

Hope to see you there! I’m heading back outside to look at the stars! Happy Holidays!

 

 

Developing Adventures at New Park and Beyond

2 Nov

Feelings of adventure include confidence, doubt, curiosity and informed foresight.  Driven forward by this momentum, I drove to New Park to see what the fuss was all about.

Down the road from Taughanock Falls, this hidden gem of an estate lies behind a long wooden fence.  Arriving promptly for my appointment, Director of Operations, Martin Horn welcomed me warmly and began to describe the grounds.  My ability to speak left me as I observed the surroundings.  Magnificent details shine as part of a whole vision of vitality, excellence and comfort.  A custom glass rendition of the Finger Lakes inside a shower, elated me! Vintage telephones, a telephone booth and fluorescent lit jukebox also captured my attention.

Three sculptures of Jay Seaman accompany guests in an open outdoor area between buildings.

A copper musician plays the trombone in celebration and joy in the garden at New Park.

Jay Seaman’s sculpture appears to catch a ribbon unfurling.

Jay Seaman’s oxidized copper jester sculpture blends into the garden discreetly.

Created by Jamie Kehoe, New Park offers a unique, natural and luxurious venue to enjoy the Finger Lakes in numerous ways.

Event space at New Park Retreat

This welcoming space boasts cozy, woodland views while hosting guests gathering for celebrations, workshops and retreats.

A spectacular site for a destination wedding, New Park Corporate and Wellness Retreat can also meet needs of individuals and small groups.  More than a lodging facility, New Park provides a relaxing space to create memories through active means.  Try paddle boarding, indulge in a wine and cheese seminar amidst a woodland walk or learn about birds, water, African dance or butterflies! Sharing magic, through art, hospitality, education and celebration continues to guide activities at New Park.

Monarch Eggs Have Arrived!

6 Sep

                         Monarch eggs arrive in the mail!

Monarch eggs arrived last week! A six gallon fish tank with a screen lid is an enormous habitat for the speck sized ovo from Rose Franklin of Butterfly Bushes in Pennsylvania.

I’ve been studying Monarch migration patterns and feeding needs for months, so I’ve been developing a deep appreciation for milkweed.  Milkweed serves as a food source and habitat for Monarchs.  There are many kinds of milkweed, some being more appealing to Monarchs than others.  (This area needs further investigation.)

Observing milkweed stances has become a bit of a hobby this summer.  Wether unwinding morning glory vines from milkweed plants or searching for Monarch eggs and caterpillars, I’m curious what I will find next.

Monarch caterpillar crawls around milkweed plant.

    Monarch caterpillar crawls upon milkweed in a hay field.

Learning about the multi generational migration of Monarchs makes me wonder where these ovo will fit into that cycle.  Their metamorphosis is estimated to be completed in 28-32 days.  Six days into their cycle they now look like super tiny black worms.

Monarchs are being released through various programs around the state.  Some of these programs are well established.  Read about the butterfly breeder who recently released nearly 150 Monarch butterflies !

Cornell’s Dyson School has an annual Monarch release that includes tagging the winged creatures! Professor Jack Little directed students in the proper technique of tagging, while many observed the butterflies release.  Follow this link to view pictures of the event.

Our Monarch eggs have changed into tiny worms and now small caterpillars!! New pictures soon!

Editor’s Note: Due to the severity of Harvey, publishing this post was delayed with respect for those affected by the disaster.  Grateful for pleasant weather in New York, we continue our work with concern and awareness for our shared existence.

Finger Lakes Culture Bubbles Like A Spring (or Sparkling Wine!)

14 Aug

Grassroots creates a showcase of talents throughout handmade arts to music, dance and more.  The festival experience is rich, extensive and often exhaustive.  An experience not to miss.

Juggling many responsibilities, I was only able to catch a few performances. I’m thrilled Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People was one of these bands! Their performance enlivened and uplifted the afternoon’s crowd, dancing in mud near the stage.  I’ve been playing their videos and talking about this band since Grassroots.  Luckily, I found out about a soft/grand opening for F.L.X. Live in Geneva with Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People headlining! A hot ticket with limited availability, I scooped mine up quickly at Area Records in Geneva.

Tickets for an exclusive show!

Two tickets for Danielle Ponder and The Tomorrow People for the soft/grand opening of F.L.X.Live!

The band’s performance in the brand new, intimate venue was epic.  Danielle Ponder’s powerful performance and her tight, happy band bring dazzling energy and stir the willing into a dancing frenzy! This impromptu visit to Geneva was excellent.  Dinner at The Red Dove Tavern was impressive and casual.  Beginning our evening with Rose Cava and Champagne set the tone for a fabulous time. Professional, friendly service welcomed us to the noisy tavern, while our food mesmerized our attention and tastebuds. Cavatelli in a lemon artichoke broth with shrimp pleased me while my friend had flank steak sandwich and fries.  Peach cobbler and great coffee made the pleasant surprise complete.

A yoga eco hike along Lake Ontario’s shore at Sterling Nature Center worked any muscles I missed dancing the previous night! Leading this hike with Karen Haas of Bayview Wellness Center is incredible fun.  Poses throughout our hike lent themselves to each place we visited August 6 at 9am.  Our group was diverse, with participants in their early teens and the span of adulthood.  Men and women came from Baldwinsville, Fulton, Oswego, North Rose, Fair Haven and more to gather together for this yoga walk.  From the smiling faces, pictures and sincere thanks, I think people enjoyed themselves. Practicing group yoga on a pebble beach in synchronicity with our breath and crashing waves was awesome.

A downed tree provided a challenge for each of us, that many conquered with group support.  Walking up a steep trail to a large meadow looking off MacIntrye Bluffs over Lake Ontario warmed us before a series of poses a safe distance from the edge.  These poses were challenging, my legs often wobbling and my hip muscles screaming! For some reason, the pain was comical to me.  Karen humored me, instructing the group to place their arms upon each other’s shoulders and move into a warrior pose where it was as if we were an eagle about to soar to Canada.  Brilliant!

 

 Before long, I was setting up  at Aurora Ale and Lager Co. on the east side of Cayuga Lake.  An old farm is the perfect setting to enjoy the beers of this nano-brewery. Their Mango Infused Goseface Killah Gose recently won Bronze at the New York Craft Beer Competition and Governor’s Excelsior Cup.   

All of this is making me hungry and thirsty! Where to next? Somewhere lovely, for sure.

Coming soon! Updates regarding our Monarch butterfly project.