Monday, September 28, 2015

Blog off...and on

     Remember that movie where Brad Pitt snarls "The first rule of Fight Club is..."? I hope Angelina pays closer attention to Brad than I do because I don't remember the first rule or much else about the film. I was never very good with rules anyway.
     I do remember the first rule of blogging: POST OFTEN! The idea being that the two or three people who find your site interesting and take the time to visit it want something fresh. I totally understand this. Like many people I'm hooked on Jacqueline Donnelly's blog Saratoga woods and waterways. My mornings usually  include scanning NOAA Weather for a sky update and a visit to Donnelly's site to see what's in bloom. Donnelly had an unfortunate accident earlier this summer that's compromised her mobility and led to less frequent posts. Normally she's prolific, putting up her exquisite flower photos almost every day. Now there's a whole bunch of us nature lovers showing withdrawal symptoms. Get better soon Jacqueline because we crave the dose of beauty you capture so well.

Jacqueline Donnelly at Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne
photo from her blog Saratoga woods and waterways

           And then there's a blog called Written In Stone...seen through my lens by geologist Dr. Jack Share. He breaks the "post often" rule big time, but I couldn't be happier. The reason is that his posts are amazing creations of specialized knowledge, research, travel and insight that require a great deal of time and effort. Written in Stone is like having free access to a college geology department. This is the opposite of the vapid internet chatter that can waste so much of your time. If you're interested in the earth sciences, reading Dr. Jack's posts will leave you satisfied with its deep thoughtful substance. Of particular interest to our area are entries on the Adirondacks and Taconics which you should be able to find in his archives.

     Dr. Jack Share on Wright Peak in the Adirondacks. From his blog Written in Stone

     I also enjoy Off on Adventure where Telemarkmike posts trip reports with lots of photos. Mike and Leesa are avid hikers, skiers and paddlers exploring every nook and cranny of the Adirondacks and points beyond. He likes the wild forest on the east side of Lake George in Washington County, as do I and many others. His detailed notes, maps and logistics are useful for planning your own adventures. This is a valuable site that inspires you to get up and go while giving you information to do it.
Mike on Anthony's Nose looking south up Lake George. From Off on Adventure.

     Gwenne finds it (perhaps excessively) amusing that she's married to a "flailer" and a "blogger". "Flailing" refers to harvesting green-chop grass for feeding the cows with a machine called a 
flail-chopper. I usually "flail" twice a day. Blogging is a contraction of web-logging. Blogs are 
on-line journals that can include text, photos, maps, audio and video. Something about the word tickles my wife's funny bone. We won't even mention her reaction when I go"bush-hogging".
     We bloggers are really just the heirs of pre-historic cave painters. It's an innately human urge to record what we've seen or thought or felt, to solidify our experience and knowledge in a form that's accessible to ourselves and others. Each individual doesn't have to re-discover fire or invent the wheel again. Sharing what we've learned is our species at its best.
     Carving and painting, paper and writing, the printing press and the I-pad mini are all just tools to a common end, ways to remember and share. Some evenings I'll read from a tattered paper copy of Lewis and Clarks journals before switching to the computer to see what trails Telemarkmike has recently hiked. Adventurers, separated by many years, communicating with the means available to them.
     At the risk of sounding like your high school English teacher, I'll suggest that writing about something is the best way to discover what we think and know about it. The discipline of recording, whether in words or images, is how people make sense of the world and pass on what they've learned to others.
     If I believe writing and sharing thru a blog is an act worthy of sainthood (or at least a gold star), then why don't I POST OFTEN? That's easy. It's because I need to eat, keep a roof over my family's head, and pay taxes. Lots and lots of taxes. Making a living has to be a priority for most of us. We can only indulge our interests in the time left. In my world, cows and crops and an intimidating queue of broken equipment clamor "me next". But I still take a few minutes out of the day to look at the stars (and the lunar eclipse happening right now!), watch the parade of clouds and weather patterns, enjoy what's in bloom and be surprised by the variety of wildlife you can see from a tractor seat. With a rag tag bunch of spiral notebooks lying around it's easy to jot down observations and ideas, including a few that may be blogable. It's the research, organization and transfer to the blog site that can seem a bit daunting at times. So the reality is more like POST OCCASIONALLY no matter what some rule says.
     In the meantime, I hope you get out into the world, write or sketch a little and nourish your relationship with whatever place you call home. Do visit Saratoga woods and waterways, Written in Stone and Off on Adventure for their beauty, information and inspiration. And there's no harm in checking in with that Wash Wild guy once in awhile. Maybe he'll do less flailing and more blogging. You never know. 

Done flailing, time to blog.

     A gallery of photos from Saratoga woods and waterways, Written in Stone and Off on Adventure.
Used with gracious permission of Jacki, Dr. Jack and Mike. Thanks to all.

Canoeing the Hudson River at Spier Falls. Saratoga woods and waterways

Heart Lake and the Adirondack High Peaks. From Written in Stone

Lake George and Washington County skyline from the Pinnacle
in Bolton Landing. Courtesy Off on Adventure.

Leesa and Rev admire Lake George. Off on Adventure.

Kayaking Lake George/Washington County shore. Off on Adventure.

Jerusalem Artichoke flower hosting a Candystripe Leafhopper. Saratoga woods and waterways.


  1. Don, Thanks for all the good words about "Written In Stone." It's greatly appreciated! It's a pleasure to connect with Wash Wild. I'll be back for more! From Doctor Jack.

  2. How good of you to feature my blog on your own excellent blog! You remind me of why I keep at it even when it seems so daunting, especially this summer when it was so painful to walk or even sit at my computer to edit photos and try to write. I did manage to post at least once a week, usually more, even if I had to glean my archives to come up with a topic. Thanks for the insight into these other blogs, all of which appeal to me enormously, as does yours, featuring New York's most beautifully bucolic county. By the way, you might be interested in checking out one of the other blogs I follow, "Northview Diary," written by a farm woman with a true gift for language who posts very frequently despite the quantity of chores an active farm requires. As you well know. Again, many thanks for your kind words, and I look forward to your further adventures there in gorgeous Washington County.