Monday, April 30, 2012
Pat's Little Piece of Paradise
Some people really know how to live. And my friend Pat (seated left on bench) has the perfect place to do it in: this sweet little cabin in the heart of the Adirondacks. Deep in the woods an easy walk from Thirteenth Lake, her snug little house has everything a person needs for off-the-grid living: solar panels to provide the small amount of electricity she uses; rain- and snow-water cisterns for washing and bathing (she carries in jugs of water for drinking and cooking); propane-powered stove, refrigerator, and hot-water heater; a composting toilet indoors and an outhouse outside; and a little woodstove that provided plenty of warmth on the bright but cold and windy day this Sunday, when Sue and I drove up to spend the afternoon with her.
If the day had been calmer and warmer, we probably would have all gone for a paddle around Thirteenth Lake, but because of the cold, we settled for a walk along its beautiful shore instead, as Pat's lively Golden Retriever Grady led the way.
After lunch, we took to the more mountainous trails of the nearby Siamese Ponds Wilderness, hoping to lay our eyes on the moose that Pat has seen plenty of signs of in this section of woods.
The trail encountered several streams that we crossed on rustic handmade bridges.
Our destination was this wilderness body of quiet water called William Blake Pond. Whether named for the 18th-century British poet or some local chap, none of us knew which one.
We never did see any moose, nor any signs of one, but we sure saw lots and lots of Hobblebush. I have never seen so much in all my life. There were tons of buds just waiting for warmth to open, and when they do, this woods will be filled with clouds and clouds of white blooms.
We also saw more Round-leaved Violets than I have ever seen before, although they were starting to fade, their vivid yellow color seeming to drain away, leaving petals streaked with white. This big furry fly was not dissuaded, however, and plunged right into the flowers, looking for nectar or pollen.
I haven't yet figured out which species of fly this is, except to guess it's a tachinid because of its bristly body and large size. Searching the web, I found several species that look a bit like this, but I couldn't find an exact match. Because of that broad band of yellow across its rear, I will dub it "Butter-butt Fly" until I learn its real name.
Going up the trail, we never noticed these opening buds of Painted Trillium. But maybe they hadn't yet opened on this chilly day until the sun rose high enough to warm them. Descending the same trail we went up on, we were surprised and delighted to find them.