Tag Archives: Finger Lakes

B is for Butterfly

28 Apr

There is a little boy named Cedric who shouts my name three times when he sees me.  His joy for life is incredible and refreshing.  He knows all of his letters and just turned 3. One of his favorite books came from the Family Reading Partnership, located just outside of Ithaca, NY.  “Love Those Letters” introduces children to letters, encouraging practice of sounds and providing matching imagery.  Cedric or Ceddy quotes the book in conversation, saying things like “J is for Jumping.”

              Cedric enjoys a round hay bale on a chilly day.

In the book, B is for Bike, but as butterflies have been on my mind since January, at least, I realized, B is for butterfly.  Beyond their personal or metaphorical symbolism, butterflies are a unique part of the web of life.  Discussing our upcoming efforts to support butterflies, I discovered many people are very concerned about bees. Also, bugs, like ladybugs.  Chattering away one day about butterfly efforts, an entomologist from Cornell University told me she could explain why ladybugs are ‘more important(?!)’ than butterflies.  I’m still waiting to hear her contributions to the discussion but I began hearing a buzz in my ear from all of these Bs.

A force known as Bill Castle, co-owner of Pollywogg Holler passed away recently.  He was happy to hear my ideas about butterflies and he loved to host people. B is for Bill and Barb, his beloved wife.

    Bill Castle poses with a bee at his golden wedding anniversary.

I’ve always worked in hospitality and tourism, often in the world of wine.  This year, I’m on the east side of Cayuga Lake at Aurora Ale & Lager Co.  The views are amazing and the beer is fantastic!  The nano-brewery has a casual atmosphere where people come to relax, enjoying time at a slower pace than typical of our hectic lives.  Musicians are beginning to gather and regulars are visiting us often.

Guests do get hungry, so I’m hoping to arrange for a caterer specializing in barbecue to visit the brewery. B is for beer, barbecue and brewery.

Catching up with a friend, I told him my ideas about bees, and bs.  He said he is building bat houses and planting his favorite trees, birch trees…Really?! Ha, ha, b is for bats and birch trees, too?!

The synergy of interests and ambitions kind of amazes me! In these difficult times, it is the simple things that can inspire and support us.  The little insects that foster reproduction of plants through pollination, the warmth of a smile and strong handshake or hug, the time spent watching a sunset with friends and sharing finely crafted local products.

We hope to host informal talks regarding bees and butterflies this season.  I’m looking forward to the delivery of monarch larvae in June, so we can begin raising monarchs in a small nursery at the brewery.  I would love to see people caring for monarch larvae across New York state! This is a great project for people who would like to help support monarchs and witness their metamorphosis.  There is so much good that we can do and share.  I’m looking forward to it!

B is for butterfly.

Winter Entertainment

3 Feb
Sun sets on Lake Ontario behind spectacular Chimney Bluffs and the author.

Sun sets on Lake Ontario behind spectacular Chimney Bluffs and the author.

Winter in the Finger Lakes requires a bit more planning and effort than during our warmer months.  Though slick roads or white-out conditions can keep one at home, making time for fun and education can improve one’s mood and health greatly.  Cold and wind have pushed me inside after many brisk walks.  The Tompkins County Public Library is stocked with resources to exercise and relax the mind.  From exotic cooking shows like Made in Spain to local books like “Memoirs of a Fall Creek Boy” and “Underground Railroad Tales: With Routes through the Finger Lakes Region.” I revel in the facts, stories, sights and meals. (Read this article about author Emerson Klees, for writing advice and other local historical books he has written.)

Sunshine becomes a rare treasure in upstate New York.  Vitamin D, bright colors and imagery can warm one’s view and outlook.  Sun graced snow covered fields and wetlands early this week, making a snowshoe at the Montezuma Audubon Center  idyllic.  Caution was necessary as trails were not easily followed with the fresh snow cover.

A rare road trip with friends to attend live music in another city offered greater fuel than one might think!  Joyful dancers embody courage and hope of the human spirit.  Local DJ, Mike Judah spreads positivity internationally through Reggae Explosions on WICB, Ithaca College’s radio station.  He asks listeners to be conscious and loving in their actions, while sharing the affirmative messages of Reggae music each Thursday morning from 10-12 am.

Quite close by is The Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies, “the North American seat of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.”  A new contact shared a picture of the ceiling there which stuns! Meditation there is a special experience to discover and enjoy in these cold, worrisome times.  I plan to go there soon! (Along with The Johnson Museum!)

My interdisciplinary studies of adventure education and media arts push and pull my social media and outdoor tendencies. After graduation, time near waterfalls were often spent composing tweets.  I’ve reduced my social media activities in order to spend time in nature as uninterrupted as possible.  At times, I do enjoy taking pictures but oftentimes I will spend my digital connection time outdoors attending to emails. When I’m indoors, I may be devouring images of nature and details of other adventurers, many on Instagram.  Mud covered sneakers and boots inspired my name on Instagram and Twitter.  Find me @mooredirtyboots.

Cold weather has proven to be a great time for planning events, developing partnerships and organizing photos! A new theme for my blog and other digital maintenance will highlight future and re-discovered photos well.

This summer’s projects are beginning to take shape, coloring partners’ outlooks vividly with images of people cooperating to improve and share the places where we work and play.  There is a great deal of work to do but winter is long.

What helps you to thrive during Finger Lakes winters?  Or if you are somewhere sunny and warm, feel free to brag nicely in the comments.

Inconspicuous Killer

5 Sep
Brown dog stands in calm, blue water.

Hope, a chocolate lab mix,  looks for fun in a favorite play spot.

September begins quietly, with a heavy heart and golden leaves.  Avid explorer and enthusiastic playmate, my dog Hope fell victim to Lyme disease and complications from Lyme disease this summer.  A vibrant three year old, she was as active as ever until she began a sharp decline.  Visits to various veterinarians and attempts to treat her were unable to thwart the disease processes within her.

My previous post entitled “June!” warned of dangers linked with adventures in the Finger Lakes.  Though wary of ticks and other dangers present in our local environment, my prevention practices did not keep my pet from becoming exposed to this deadly virus.  A visit to Tompkins CountyNY.gov  reveals staggering statistics regarding the increase in Lyme cases in humans since 2007.  There is cause for alarm and vigilance in protecting ourselves! Though there is a vaccine available for dogs, some people are uncertain of its efficacy or safety.  Given the prevalence of the Lyme virus in our area of the Finger Lakes prevention is a practice to be investigated fully immediately.

Dressing appropriately and routinely checking for ticks is necessary but one must do more.  Applying an insect repellent to clothing is a wise choice.  Ingesting garlic or turmeric has also been suggested.  Eliminating my exposure to the outdoors is impossible, yet peak times for tick activity and cycles should be considered.  Running and lying in tall grasses should be avoided like suntanning with baby oil. Once these activities were enjoyed but now the dangers are simply too high.

Hope was likely exposed to the disease that killed her on one of the walks we shared.  The few moments of intense freedom, when we retreated to the woods to run free and absorb the sights, smells and terrain together.  She run’s in my mind’s eye, up ahead on the trail, looking back to be sure I am following.

Reflections of a brown dog.

A ripple surrounds a brown dog as she looks into the clear, still waters of  Lake Ontario.

June!

15 Jun

June in the Finger Lakes is exciting! Happy to see green hills, ferns, flowers, trees with leaves, fresh produce and students anticipating summer, it is easy to forget the threats we face individually and on a larger scale. Ticks carrying Lyme disease are silent, tiny enemies that need to be avoided with diligence. Invasive species threaten the balance of ecosystems and chemicals from a multiplicity of sources can contaminate our fresh water resources. Learn what you can do to enjoy the outdoors safely and encourage the health of our local and global environment.

The Finger Lakes Institute of Hobart and William and Smith Colleges is doing great work in our region, engaging students and communities to become aware of their environment and ability to impact it negatively and positively.  Working as a Watercraft Steward for FLI allowed me to train with leading educators and others committed to preventing the transport and spread of invasive species.  “Clean, drain and dry” became more than a slogan for thoughtful boaters and more of a step by step directive for those who may be contributing to the spread of invasive species without even knowing it.

Read June’s monthly newsletter to discover the variety of projects FLI’s staff members are involved in around the area.  FLI Happenings

Individuals and small groups are also working to shed light on environmental concerns and to bring people together to discuss impacts and solutions.  Susan Peterson Gately is an environmental educator, sailor and author who has launched a KickStarter campaign to fund a video about Lake Ontario from her vessel, the Sarah B.  She hopes to share facts about the lake, current pollutants and possible improvements that can be made to improve the health of the Great Lake north of the Finger Lakes.  View her campaign,  Lake Ontario A Love Story and consider supporting this passionate scientist and advocate now.

Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity and Nature Preserve.

Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity and Nature Preserve.

Meadows and forests feed my sanity yet enjoying them must be done with care as Lyme disease carrying ticks are prevalent in the Finger Lakes region of NY.  Dressing sensibly is a necessity, even though one may prefer shorts to long pants, creating a barrier to ticks is logical.  High socks, proper shoes, a tucked in shirt and a hat are wise gear to choose.  One may also apply topical deterrents such as essential oils of lavender and/or eucalyptus.  Dogs can share in the protection if safely applied to a bandanna to be worn around the neck.  Essential oils can be strong so do not overuse them!

Permethrin was recommended to me this morning for tick prevention.  A quick search brought up product details and other suggestions that may be more gentle than those applications containing DEET.  What have you found to be useful in warding off ticks and other pests?

As you get out and enjoy this amazing place to visit and call home, please do so with care.  We are connected in ways we may not yet understand. Have fun!

 

Creme de la creme

18 Dec

Homemade triple berry pie brought back the vibrant flavors of summer. Summer in the Finger Lakes is delicious! Wild blackberries, corn on the cob, yellow squash, ice cream, cheese, wine, beer and more.  There is so much to enjoy this time of year one wishes the season would linger much longer. Fall brings a different blend of abundance that is a fine consolation.

Not only are the taste buds happy with premium local food and drink but the visual aesthetics of the Finger Lakes region are satisfying.  In especially rural areas, neat fields cover the landscape in grid-like patterns, only being interrupted by vineyards, dairy farms and the lakes. Keuka Lake proved to be an excellent locale to enjoy scenery, good times with friends and the bounty of the surrounding hills.

Domaine LeSeurre one of Keuka Lake’s newest wineries is producing amazing wine via a blend of New and Old World wine making techniques. Celine and Sebastion LeSeurre originated in France, met in New Zealand and launched their winery in Wayne, NY alongside Keuka Lake. They recently released their first red wine, a Pinot Noir, that I was happy to try during a recent stop to their tasting room.

Domaine LeSeurre released their first red wine earlier this month, a stunning Pinot Noir.

Domaine LeSeurre released their first red wine in 2014, a stunning Pinot Noir.

Visiting friends were thrilled to try this amazing new Pinot Noir! An enormous full moon rose above the hillside to cast its reflection upon the lake as we enjoyed the fine wine of Domaine LeSeure and an assortment of local cheeses from Heron Hill’s Blue Heron Cafe.

The full orange moon begins to rise over the Bluff and reflect upon the water.  Abandoned chairs hold wet towels.

The full orange moon begins to rise over the Bluff and reflect upon the water. Abandoned chairs hold wet towels.

Keuka Lake becomes quiet as the full moon rises and night advances.

Keuka Lake becomes quiet as the full moon rises and night advances.

Colder temperatures helped turn my attention to Coltivare in Ithaca.  This farm to bistro project, launched by the TC3 foundation in downtown Ithaca plans to be a leading example in hospitality and culinary operations.  A sixty acre farm located in Dryden, near Tompkins Cortland Community College, will provide much of the produce used in the restaurant, Coltivare.  The farm will also provide experience for students in the Sustainable Farming Systems and Culinary programs. This unique project emphasizes sustainability throughout the agriculture, culinary and design practices.  Re-purposed barn board and brick dominate the interior of the dining space, while tin and stainless steel lighting fixtures offer pleasant  accents. The inviting atmosphere may help beat cabin fever while the impressive menu is sure to delight.  13 local beers are on tap, and wines from leading local wineries are certainly available too. (Plans for 3 local ciders on tap are in the works too!)

Winter in the Finger Lakes can be rough. Cold temperatures or heavy snowfall make travel brutal at times. Err on the side of caution but consider the changing weather and seasons as opportunities to explore and have new experiences.  Whether you are inspired to read, snowshoe or snowboard, here in the Finger Lakes the options are endless!