Monday, June 30, 2008

The First EVER: An Outdoorsy Carnival - July 1, 2008

Welcome to the July 1, 2008 and first edition EVER of an outdoorsy carnival. Thanks to all the participants. Do you love the outdoors and want to participate next time? Same time, same place, the first of every month. Read the rules here, submit your posts here.

Green Thumb

Tommy Smith presents Why Are Your Tomatoes Splitting - Is there hope? posted at Gardening Everyday, saying, "Find out more about this common vegetable garden problem."

Tiffany Washko presents Freedom Gardens - Grow Your Own Food posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

James presents Gardening For A Sustainable Planet posted at Ways To Simplify.

Jeff Tincher presents Get Out And Do Some Gardening, It’s Good For The Body and Soul | West Glenmoore, PA - Beautiful. Green. Home. posted at West Glenmoore, PA - Beautiful. Green. Home..

Jamie McIntosh presents Control Carpenter Bees posted at Suite101: Organic Gardens blog, saying, "No one likes carpenter bees drilling into their decks and homes. However, these insects have an important role in your organic garden."

In the Woods

I recommend watching the video whenWeird Bug Lady presents Singing froggies posted at weirdbuglady, saying, "Tree frogs"

A Keeper's Jackpot (that's me!) shares Mt. Goodnow: The Self Guided Tour posted at A Keeper's Jackpot - It's a post about a fire tower hike in the Adirondacks.

Stephanie presents Fun and Frugal in Western North Carolina posted at Stop the Ride!.

Magnolia presents Never Give Up posted at Things We Should Do Better, saying, "Where on earth are we going?"

James Hills presents the guys only post Mancation Interview: Grand Teton Lodge Company posted at Man Tripping - Guys Weekends and Mancations.

Advice Column

Joel Whitaker submitted Pennsylvania photography tutorial posted at Joel Whitaker, saying, "Learn how to capture better photographs while exploring nature."

Tip Diva soothes us with Top Ten Tips - Soothing A Sunburn posted at Tip Diva, saying, "Sunburns happen to the best of us, but there are ways to treat your red, swollen, painful skin."

Aquatic Life

Lily Wrey shares her fishing adventure A BLUE FISH BIT ME! posted at TuLips Talking.

Madeleine Begun Kane shares her Tubing Blues posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Outdoor Olympians

Ian Richardson presents Can a Golf Club Component Improve Your Game? posted at channel GOLF.

Ted Villaire presents Camping Out on Regional Rail-Trails posted at Prairie Pathways, saying, "Rail-trails provide a perfect option for overnight bike tripping. Fortunately, the Chicago area possesses a handful of good trails to choose from."

Magnolia presents Stay Upright posted at Things We Should Do Better, saying, "Amazing stunts at the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling races."

Open Air

Jeff Sullivan presents Cheap and Free Things To Do In Branson posted at Branson Travel Attractions.

axel presents Traveling And Personal Growth posted at axel g, saying, "Hiking"

bms2home and Jose DeJesus both presented Get outdoors with GO Georgia! posted at The Official Google Blog.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of

an outdoorsy carnival
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Premio Arte y Pico

Thanks TwoZanyZebra's for tagging me with the Arte y Pico Award, a prize of recognition to blogs that offer creativity and overall contribution to the blogging community.

I am passing the reward on to these five recipients:

Tulip's Treasure Box
Blaze Danielle
Designs by Nora

Once you've been selected, please follow these guidelines and pay it forward:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.

2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules!

I am providing a link to an English translation of the Arte y Pico Blog as well, in case your Spanish is rusty.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Gull Bay Preserve: Blue Heron Rookery

I love it when I find fun things to see in my area that I didn't know existed...

My sister and I ditched our plans of a repeating a small local hike to join a friend at the Gull Bay Preserve on a guided tour to the Blue Heron Rookery, a local attraction that we didn't even know existed. We were so glad we had the opportunity to check it out! The Gull Bay Preserve is located in Putnam, New York and overlooks the Southern end of Lake George. I recommend checking it out if you are local, or if you plan on vacationing in the Adirondacks. Or perhaps you have a Blue Heron rookery (nesting colony) near you.

The Gull Bay Preserve was purchased in 2003 by the Lake George Land Conservancy, making a great conservations success. Throughout the Preserve there are old logging roads and two wetland swamps representing the southern end of Sucker Brook, one of the most important wetlands in the Lake George watershed.

Our guided tour of the Gull Bay Preserve began from the parking lot, uphill for 0.3 miles to a lookout area over the southern end of Lake George, Gull Bay, and Black Mountain.

We followed the trail 1.4 miles to the rookery. Along the way we saw vernal pools, mushrooms, flowers, newts, frogs, and much more. ATVs are strictly forbidden on the trail, as they can damage the wild life.

A Painted Turtle

Upon arriving at the rookery, we were instructed to lower our voices as not to scare the blue heron. If they are disturbed they could leave to set up their colony elsewhere. Besides, human disruption can negatively affect their reproduction. A couple bull frogs provided song as we bird watched, observing several nests, many of which were inhabited. Every once in a while, a heron would make its call, a deep throaty noise, almost as if it were coughing. Below is a poor quality video I took. You can hear the bull frogs, and some fellow hikers. You can see the heron moving in their nests, but no bird calls.

There are about 30 nests in the rookery. In April, blue heron eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for 28 days. Eight weeks after hatching, the young birds learn to fly. By 10 weeks they take off and become independent. Blue heron live near water, in this case the wetlands. They feed off of fish, frogs, insects, and sometimes small birds. They are the largest species of heron in North America. They have a head to tail length of 36-54 inches and a wingspan of 71 inches (about 10 inches longer than I am tall!) They typically weigh 4.8- 8 lbs. They are an important species, as their presence indicates high water quality, and its essential to maintain the water quality of the watershed.

A kind hiker that was not with our tour group brought a telescope and set it up, allowing all of us to look through it. His generosity was greatly appreciated by all. My camera did not have the ability to get a clear zoom image of the birds, but through the telescope I was able to catch the photo below.

To see all my pictures from the Preserve, click here.

If interested, check out their website for more information and for contact numbers. They close certain trails for a couple of months starting in April, which are their nesting months, so it is wise to call ahead to make sure that you will be able to see the heron.

Information from: p

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Keeper's Keeps

The next EtsyBlogger's Blog Carnival had two topics. I chose to write about the following:
"So, you have an Etsy shop. You enjoy to make and create and really love it when others love it as well. What kind of crafts do you do for yourself? Any adventurous do-it-yourself handy work stories? Is your home filled with your creations? Do you make your own clothes, jewelry, etc.? If so, why not show off your favorite item you kept for yourself."
I've had my Etsy shop for about 8 months now. I do it for the love, not for the money... obviously :)

While I make a lot, I don't sell everything. I do mostly make jewelry, and usually what I keep for myself is something that I made for a certain occasion, or something that I didn't really think came out well enough to sell. I also try new ideas and wear them, see if anyone says something. If I wear it twice and nobody blinks, I think maybe it isn't anything that people would enjoy. Keeping things for myself serves the purpose creative accessorizing and free advertising and marketing.

Of course I don't have many pictures of what I keep for myself, but this here is a piece that I made to go with black things, since I wear many, and the black, white, and silver color combinations can go with a lot of things.

This one is something I made for my cruise in February to go with a dress and fun shirt that I brought.

My husband picks on me for TiVoing the show "Tool Belt Diva." I'm pretty handy for a young woman, learning pretty much everything from girly DIY books, the internet, and the advice of others. I ripped up the near-shag carpet in the living room and put in laminate flooring - before and after pictures shown below. For anyone considering putting in laminate flooring themselves, it's probably possible to install by yourself but it's definitely a lot faster with an extra set of hands; one person can hold the pieces together and the other can bang them into place. Depending on the size of your room it can feasibly be installed in a weekend, not including the removal and disposal of the previous flooring. If you click on the "after picture" you may see that Pepper is sticking his tongue out at you.

Before and After.

I'm still proud that I found and fixed the mysterious leak in the kitchen sink, and repaired the water damaged cupboard. I paint too (the walls, not artistically).

Before (gross) and After - Obviously the kitchen floor is my next project.

I'm going through a decoupage phase and have made outlet covers, switch covers, and coasters for my house. I'm trying to find a sealer for coasters that can withstand a hot cup of coffee. (Suggestions anyone?) My mom has a much more creative side than I do. As a kid, my mom and I made our Christmas gifts for relatives in the summers at the camper. We'd sew me up some school clothes, decorate wreaths, make candles. Actually, now that I think about it, I would love to relearn candle making.

Mt. Goodnow: The Self Guided Tour

Tower number six of the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge for my sister and I was Mt. Goodnow. We proved to be hard-core hikers taking on our second fire tower hike of the day. Luckily for us, Mt. Goodnow was on the way home from our morning hike up Mt. Arab and drive down the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail. This trail is named for the dangerous route that Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt traveled from his hike up Mt. Marcy and stay in Tahawus to the North Creek train station after learning that he was to be sworn in as President after the assassination of William McKinley. To read my previous post of Mt. Arab, click here. To read about my post on Tahawus and the Upper Works, and to see where Roosevelt stayed, click here.

Mt. Goodnow is located in Newcomb, New York, and was named after Sylvester Goodnow who was the original owner of the mountain and had homesteaded the base of the mountain in the 1820s. The mountain was later purchased by Archer and Anna Huntington who out of love of the Adirondacks donated it to the College of Environmental Science and Forestry so that it could be preserved and maintained. The Huntingtons were a wealthy couple, Archer was a Spanish history scholar and his wife Anna was a sculptor. Some of her works can be seen in Brookgreen Gardens nears Myrtle Beach, SC. Below is a picture of one of Anna's sculptures taken by Sister on her vacation in Myrtle Beach.

"Diana of the Chase"

The College of Environmental Science and Forestry was kind enough to produce informational booklets about the mountain with a description of the history of the mountain and some stops along the way. The first station marked the tall sugar maples and white ash trees. It is suggested that a disturbance, such as wind, firewood gathering, or logging created a hole in the forest canopy allowing these trees to grow quickly, shading out the competitors. Perhaps the shade tolerant American beech trees will take their place some day. The trees towered above us, the actual tree tops out of sight due to the fog.

We stopped for a while to take pictures of the boulder hugging yellow birch. The self-guided tour booklet proposes that the boulder, covered in moss, lichen, and ferns provided conditions satisfactory enough for the yellow birch tree seed to sprout! It was gravity that pulled the roots down over the boulder, and it's predicted that the tree can survive another 300 years.

Tree hugger hugging

This is the old Huntington barn, which we used as shelter from the rain for a while. Up in the loft remains a fire hose, its opening peaking out the window of the loft. Several feet down the mountain appears to be the foundation and remains of Archer's cabin.

Just below the summit is a bedrock that we were able to catch some pictures through the breaking clouds from on the way back down. The bedrock, according to our booklet, is constantly changing, with minerals gradually be weathered from the edge. An earthquake centered at Goodnow Pond registered at 5.2 on the Richter Scale at 6:20 am on October 7, 1983.

Alas, the tower. Look closely up at the cab of the tower, that's me waving down to Sister. There is a 360o panoramic view from the top, but with the rain and clouds, we could not see it. I recommend checking out a 360o panoramic view provided by Carl E Heilman II. This was the first tower we were actually able to get up into the cab of, and only the 3rd tower we could climb all the way up. Inside the cab is a display with the job description of the observers, and a list of those who manned the tower from 1922-1979.

Click on each picture for a zoom image

I have many, many more pictures available on my Flickr page that I recommend checking out. The photoset includes pictures and more detailed descriptions of our morning hike up Mt. Arab as well.

Information from:
The self-guided tour booklet provided by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry
and from the following websites:

Monday, June 16, 2008

An Outdoorsy Carnival

My first ever edition of An Outdoorsy Carnival will take place on July 1, 2008. If you would like to participate, submit your post here.

Where it asks you for a permalink, just copy and past the URL of your blog POST (not your blog address, though there is a spot for that too) . Your name can be you name or your alias. Your email is necessary to get your submission receipt, and it remains hidden. (You won't get spammed). You can add comments, but they aren't necessary.

Here are the details:
Each carnival will take place on or about the 1st of each month, at least to begin with. Any posts about outdoor-related activities go, please submit your post within the appropriate category. If it fits into two categories, choose the best one. You may submit more than one post per carnival, but only if they are in different categories.

Categories include:
  • In the Woods: hiking, trails, camping, etc
  • Aquatic Life: swimming, boating, canoing, kayaking, waterfalls, lakes, photography of water, and so on
  • Green Thumb: lawn and garden, gardening, flowers, plants, veggies, photography of such, etc
  • Outdoor Olympians: running, biking, outdoor team sports
  • Advice Column: where you GIVE outdoorsy tips and advice, not where you ask for it
  • Open Air: If you are not sure where to file your post, use this category. I may add more categories if it seems there are popular topics within Open Air.
If you are having trouble figuring out how to submit a post, contact me or leave a comment.

What's a blog carnival? It is a post on a host blog about a particular topic. It provides links to the posts that the other participants submitted. It's a fun way to share your posts about a particular topic with other bloggers and blog readers. Still confused? Here is a carnival that I hosted before.

Meet Alicia Mae

It's time for the EtsyBlogger's featured artist of June. I enjoy doing our monthly features because I learn more about my Etsy acquaintances. I'm learning this month that Alicia Mae and I have similar interests... We've tried our hands in a variety of crafts (though I could never be a painter), our full time jobs in the scientific world, our love of nature.

She has over twenty years of crafting experience, always expander her crafty horizons. She has always loved painting. Woodburning is a craft that her mother taught her. Cross stitching was a hobby in her teenage years, and the summer camp activity of bracelet weaving brings back nostalgic memories. She even works with polymer clay, inspired by her aunt. After completing her PhD, she had some time to make a lot of beautiful things that can be found in her three Etsy shops.

Meet Alicia Mae, and shop fast! She has a moving sale going on, lots of good deals!!!

Tell me a little about yourself.
My day job is editing scientific manuscripts, which lets me work from home and bother our two cats. I live with my boyfriend and we are planning a move to Northern New Hampshire in the coming weeks.

I see you do a variety of crafts, but which is your favorite? Why?
Painting...anything painting. I love color and there's just something about starting with a blank surface and ending up with something new and special that makes me feel like I accomplished something.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?

Nature, others' art. I love to remember colors or textures I've seen and either replicate or integrate them into what I do.

Tell me about your favorite thing you've ever made.
The OOAK Woodburned and Handpainted Celtic Knot Heart Trinket Box. An absolute wonder that I ever completed it, LOL! The knotwork was so intricate and I didn't have a template for portions of it. It took many pencil marks before the woodburning was done and then the painting was so intricate. I had my little brush with only 5 hairs and constantly cleaning out the burnt lines with paint that went too far. But it came out gorgeous!

What do you do when you are not making crafts?
Writing about health topics, reading a number of topics (science, health, religion, philosophy)

Visit Alicia Mae at:
Links to her blog and Flickr:
And her three Etsy shops:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mt. Arab Fire Tower Hike: "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires."

Our two-for-one fire tower sister hike on June 1st began with Mt. Arab. Because of its spectacular views (in good weather) and easy trail, Mt. Arab is a frequently hiked mountain in the Adirondacks. The name Arab is believed to have come from a bad translation of the French word "arable" which means Maple (Mountain).

Our hike to the summit began around 10 am. We stopped along the way to take pictures of trilliums and the greenery. Typically taking pictures is our excuse to rest, but these were truly picture taking sessions; I'd love to attribute this to us being whipped into shape from all of our recent adventures, but I'm sure the mere C+ difficulty rating of the hike contributed.

The weather was disappointing varying from misty to drizzle, except at the top where we had encountered some showers. The clouds and fog obstructed our view, however, just short of the summit, I was able to capture a picture of the Mt Arab and Eagle Crag Lakes.

Behind us admiring the view stood a wooden bench dedicated to Betty and John Loughran, a couple who found the mountain for someone in 1929, though I was unable to figure out for whom they found it for... They obviously were not the original founders since the first observers were in the tower in 1911.

We took cover under the roof of the observer's cabin and enjoyed some lunch and read about the views since we could not see them. This was our first climbable tower in about a year so we eagerly went to the top and took pictures of down below.

The original wooden tower, constructed in 1911, was replaced by the current one in 1918. Aside from watching for forest fires, the observers had several duties, including maintaining the trails, watching for planes during wartime, and educating hikers on environmental conservation and preventing forest fires. They would give all hikers that reached the summit a card, signed by them, to prove that they had reached the summit. During years of the ad council's popular PSA campaign of Smokey the Bear, the observer would pass out silver coins featuring Smokey the Bear and his slogan, "Only you can prevent forest fires"

The tower has been maintained by The Friends of Mount Arab, a group which was formed on Earth Day, 1997. The St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council formed this group, along with other organizations such as the DEC, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Town of Piercefield, and discussed what to do about the deteriorating conditions of the tower and cabin at the summit of Mt. Arab. Thank you Friends of Mt. Arab for maintaining this piece of Adirondack History and for keeping the tower climbable!

You can see all my pictures from that day, including those of Mt. Goodnow. on my Flickr page, or by clicking on any of the pictures above.

Mt. Arab Stats:
Round Trip Time: 1 hr 30 minutes (depending on picture taking and lunch break)
Round Trip Distance: 2.1 miles
Elevation Change 760 ft
Elevation of summit: 2545 ft
Difficulty: Easy with varying grades

Information from:
Explore Mt. Arab
Mt. Arab Fire Tower Waymark
History of the Fire Observers

Saturday, June 7, 2008

EtsyBloggers June 9, 2008 Blog Carnival

Welcome to the June 9, 2008 edition of etsybloggers. We recently switched from one topic per week to two topics every other week. The two topics for this edition of EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival are: your craft studio and outdoor fun. Thanks to all the participants!

Shannon Saylor presents summer fishin' and 4-wheelin' posted at

Lily Wrey presents June 9 EtsyBloggers Team Blog Carnival "OUTDOOR SUMMER ACTIVITIES" posted at TuLips Talking.

Brigid presents How I Spent My Memorial Day posted at Grey Eye Designs studio.

Ashleigh presents My favorite activity on a nice spring day... posted at M i l l i p e d e B e a d.

Deb Baroff presents Outdoor Summer Activities - Take a Hike posted at Stroll Through Storyland.

gabrielle presents Summer Fun posted at Mintage Home.

Edi presents Organized Chaos posted at Memories for Life Scrapbooks.

stevie presents Stevie's Summer 2008 posted at SugarLoveHoney.

Dayna Williamson presents My sewing workspace posted at Scottie Acres.

Two Zany Zebras presents Mini Staycations posted at Two Zany Zebras.

Andrea presents A Peek Into My Creative Space posted at Rock-a-Baby Clothing Co..

Jackie presents Fire Tower Challenge: Mt. Adams posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.

Linda Wheelock presents Fun in the Sun..All Things Summer posted at Spotted Cow Soaps.

Stormy Designs presents A Look Inside My Workspace posted at Stormy Designs.

Maureen Blakeley Impawsible To Resist presents Etsy Bloggers Carnival for June 9/08 - My Studio posted at Impawsible To Resist.

Ashley presents Here Comes the Sun posted at Wax Dribbles & Melt Pools.

Becky presents Miss B's Port-A-Studio posted at The Fab Miss B.


Jen (bfbeads) of Baby Friendly Beads presents My Studio by "bfbeads" posted at Mama's Magic.

Alicia Mae presents Summer fun posted at AliciaMae's Xanga.

Kelly King presents Blog Carnival - My Studio posted at Colorfuldayz

Rainy presents My Studio Blog Carnival posted at RainyDayArt.

Nora Demirjian presents My New Room and New Studio posted at Nora's Blog.

Katie presents Summer Vacation posted at Doodlesprouts.

HomeMadeOriginals presents My Studio by Home Made Originals posted at Home Made Originals.

Jana presents Glimpsing a Crafter's Studio posted at Serendipity Collections.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of etsybloggers using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's a Carnival!

On Monday, June 9th, I will be hosting the EtsyBlogger's Blog Carnival for the first time! The weekly carnival recently got changed to biweekly, with each carnival having two choices for topic. As the host, I got to choose the two topics. I tried to keep them relevant to the time of year (June) and crafting since all participants are members of, a place to buy and sell things handmade.

Topic number one: The great outdoors.
I figured that summer is coming and we are excited for time off and outdoor activities. The US economy is in a slump; gas prices are at an all-time high and continue to rise. With money tight and oil prices high, many families are doing the stay-cations this summer, vacationing in their own area. I thought outdoor summer activities (hiking, camping, as well as gardening, family cookouts, county fairs) would be appropriate since it's June and almost officially summer. For this topic the Etsy blogging participants can submit a post related to the outdoors. What they've already done, what they plan to do, what they'd like to do. Anything outdoorsy goes.

Topic number two: Where the magic happens.
I invite EtsyBloggers to share their studios with us. Whether its their living room or a whole room dedicated to their work, I'd love to read about where you do your crafting. If you are organized,brave, or have no shame include pictures if you wish.

Bumbed out because you are not an EtsyBlogger, therefore cannot participate?
I'm considering starting my own Blog Carnival in addition to participating the the EtsyBlogger's carnval, involving my interests outside of crafts and jewelry making. Take my polls on the right to get your vote in.

Don't like any of my interests but want to join a carnival?
Click here to participate in one of the many established carnivals or to organize your own!

That's great, but what's a Blog Carnival?
A blogger hosts a post providing links to other blogger's posts related to a similar topic. You can read about things of similar interest, increase traffic to your blog... They have even been known to cure blogger's block by providing you with a topic to blog about.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Under the Sea

Thanks StoryBeader for featuring me and other EtsyBloggers in a fishy treasury!
My item is the Go Fish Gold Fish Necklace in the bottom right corner.

To view the treasury click on the screen shot.