Saturday, September 16, 2006

The sun finally came out from the low-hanging clouds today to give my group from Long Island some beautiful fall foliage views from Crane Mountain. They were such a fun group (2 couples) that I hated saying goodbye when the trip was over.

Things are perking along with the business, and it continues to be very hard work with most of my time spent on marketing. My internal CEO is in my ear all the time saying that the financial manager has to have some time, but there are only so many hours in a week, and that sector of the business has had to be neglected. I'm enjoying the challenge of running a business so much, though, and I do work so hard at it that I figure that everything is going to work out eventually.

But if I had one wish (or maybe two), I'd wish for more time outdoors studying the natural world. My other wish is that I'd have more time to do some non-business writing--fiction writing, blogging, and journal writing, I mean. Okay, a third wish--that I can be fortunate enough for the business to be able to afford a dedicated business vehicle that I could use to ferry my clients around. That would be great, but the insurance (both auto and business liability) would be very expensive. Still, I can dream.

The sun is very low in the sky and is shining on the sugar maple outside my office window right now--red, orange, yellow, and green all lit up--so beautiful!

Today is Ken's birthday, so I'm taking him out tonight to celebrate even though we're going to the "big city" of Glens Falls for an official celebratory meal on Tuesday. I don't know where we'll end up tonight, but I hope the kitchen wherever we go is ready for me. I have a huge appetite after mountain climbing.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Unbelievable but true: I wrote the following entry last Saturday, August 26, on my laptop in North Creek, but wasn't able to get around to posting it until this morning. I was going to delete it but decided to put it up anyway. So here it is:

Last Saturday in August and Café Sarah’s is buzzing. I’ve had to wait (imagine!) to get a blogging perch at the counter area that overlooks Main Street.

Nights have been cool, actually downright cold at times. I’ve loved it as far as sleeping is concerned, but I’m wondering if my garden peppers will ever turn red and if I’ll get any more full-grown summer squash and cukes. I’ve got dozens of tiny squashes all ready to pop, but they need warmer weather, especially warmer nights. Yes, I can confirm the fact: It’s difficult growing vegetables here.

Maybe that’s why I’ve had a lot of satisfaction with my container garden on our deck, and I’ll definitely repeat the experience next year, with some adjustments. I’ll plant more tomato plants that are resistant to fusarium wilt and verticulum wilt. These diseases haven’t wiped out my tomatoes by any means, but they have diminished the productivity of two varieties I’ve planted. Next year, I’m planting more tomatoes and squash, and more lettuce and mesclun. I’d love to get into the perennial flower thing, but I’ve enjoyed our wildflowers so much, I’m wondering if I’ll ever bother to make the time, given my work restrictions.

I started the tomatoes too early and the eggplant too late, so next year they will both be planted on April 8-12, along with the eggplant and the peppers.

My favorite Adirondacks month will be here this coming Friday (yippee!), and I hope to jam it with time spent outdoors under blue skies. Besides guiding clients in the wilderness, I want to expand my safari possibilities by exploring lots of new mountains and trails. And I’m going to try to snatch some time for paddling with Ken. We both need to just steal the time and do it. What are we here for anyway?

When I drove into North Creek this morning behind a mini-van with New Jersey plates, all packed to the gills, I was seized by a moment of sympathy for the vacationers inside. They have only one or two weeks here with the mountains and lakes, and then must pack up their memories for another year and return to what is to me, the sterile urban/suburban environment. Don’t get me wrong: I love spending time in cities, but from an environmental point of view, they’re a wasteland.

One of the realtors in town just this minute said hi and we compared notes on all the folks building on our mountain road. All I can say (to myself) is ohmigod. It’s dizzying—there’s going to be a whole lot of building for the next year or two. (Five different houses within about three-tenths of a mile from our place. Of these, three are weekend people.) And the year-round people are really, really nice folks. Another good thing is that no one has a house lot less than 7.5 acres (as mandated by the Adirondack Park Agency), and the other, as this realtor pointed out, everyone she knows who is building spent a long time hunting before they selected our road, so perhaps most of them will do their best to try to maintain its wild integrity.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm dreaming of a lazy paddle in my Hornbeck boat on a quiet lake that everyone has left behind.

I'm dreaming of reading a book in the late August sun while the dragonflies buzz around my ears and land on my knees and shoulders.

I'm wishing for time to bake a green apple cake and an hour to pick ripe blackberries in my meadow.

I'm wishing for a long lunch with one of my good buddies, where we talk about everything's that's happened to us this summer. But my friends are still too busy, as am I. Slower times will return as the tourists pack up their bags and return to their lives in the city and suburbia far to the south. By November, it'll be so damn quiet around here, I'll be talking to myself for company.

But that's forever away because September and October are going to be very busy. I hope. For more details, check the website.

Those of you who own a business probably know that the experts tell you that you should spend at least 25% of your working hours on marketing. I'm a bit out of balance because I spend 80% of my time on it. Perhaps this is the norm for new businesses. The other 20% I spend with clients. Somewhere I squeeze in a few moments to pay the bills for the business. I need more time working on the financial part of the picture. But there is no financial picture without customers, so I continue to work on marketing.

I definitely need to spend more time gaining in expertise in a number of areas.

In other news...Wait a minute, I don't think I have any other news.

I'm reading Chill Factor by Sandra Brown. I can't believe I am--It's the kind of bestseller potboiler that usually has me so bored by page 50, I return it to the library without going any further. But it's still in the house, so I may make it to page 75. I do love stories in which all the action takes place during a blizzard. Better yet, Chill Factor is set in the mountains of North Carolina.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's supposed to go down to 40 degrees tonight! I've been bringing the peppers and eggplant in at night--I only wish I could do the same with the tomatoes, squashes, and cukes. (Yes, Ann's words are haunting me again:"You know, we get frosts in August up here!")

Despite the chilly nights, I'm finding I'm liking August. I've been on numerous hikes and have mistakenly left my bug spray at home. It's been no problem, though I'd never forget it if I were venturing into wetlands, of course.

The business is really percolating these days. A few more clients, yes, but what I'm really referring to are the prospects lining up for the future. Some teaching, some guiding for inns, some workshops--exciting and interesting.

What I find missing, and what I find frustrating, is that I want to write but can't seem to figure out a way to do it. Problem is, when I'm at my desk, I persist in working solely on the business. I can't seem to make my brain switch over to a writing project that I want to work on. Part of what keeps me working only on the business is that the work of it never ends, and there is always more that I can do or should do. By now, I am certain that this is going to be a constant.

So I am stumped at the moment. How do I get myself to take time out for writing? I need to work at my desk because of the computer. So writing somewhere else is not an option. People often recommend that I try the early mornings. But when I'm outdoors so much, I seem to need some extra sleep. In addition, in the early morning my brain is all business and what I do is set goals for the day and I start working on those.

Late afternoons until I start dinner is a great time because I love to write then. That's when I usually write the blogs. So maybe I could finagle a way to get myself to work on a writing project then, not everyday, but a few times a week. ???

What do you think? Please write in and reveal how you've handled squeezing creative work into a busy schedule.

And now that I'm begging for advice, there's another issue I'd like to put out there. Since late winter, I've tentatively explored blogging for a major recreational business concern in the area. The general manager was interested and wanted to see what I could put together. Needless to say, starting a business has made it impossible for me to devote time to putting together a full proposal. Here's the dilemma: One part of me says that I should channel all my energy into growing the business, and any extra writing I do, or blog creating I do, should be for the business. This part also says that if there is extra time it would be better if I write articles and, gosh, maybe even books, related to the business that would build my name and my expertise. This part also points out that I wouldn't earn much for the recreational concern's blog and it would be a lot of work that would sap my energy for my own writing and the business.

Gee, I think I just convinced myself that I shouldn't put time into another company's blog! Thanks for "listening."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More photos added to last night's post. Blogger is impossible in the evenings!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Looks like this post is going to be written in fits and starts, according to Ken's work schedule and dinner preparations tonight.

The past couple of days have been a bit frustrating, business-wise and in the neighborhood. Two "doors" down from us an orchardist from the Great Lakes region bought acres upon acres of gorgeous land, which includes the famous hill and "ledge" that I'm always photographing and writing about. He brought in his own excavating equipment and put in what Ken describes as "a $100,000 road."

We hiked this road on Sunday morning and surveyed the damage. At first Ken insisted that this byway could not possibly be a driveway because of all the money put into its construction. The equipment tore apart an entire hillside and made this incredibly wide, winding road that leads to a huge lot which appears more than large enough to hold a trophy Mcmansion.

As if that were not obscene enough, the road winds beyond the house, farther up the hill, to the very edge of the ledge that has the amazing view. His entire acreage has been ripped apart, literally. The hillside, as the photos show, was partially destroyed. It's unbelievable to me, but somehow this orchard owner bought I don't know how many acres and managed to tear it all apart.

What is so mind boggling about this behavior is that he did this in the Adirondack Park, a place that has been dedicated to wilderness preservation since the 1890s. Ken and I deliberately did not build a house here because we did not want to destroy any more of the land or squander any of its resources. People in our neck of the woods, even those with money, build cabins and leave the land wild.

He'd better hope he's a weekender because I don't have a clue who'll be friends with him. When I said this to Ken, he looked as though he was going to start naming people who are in this guy's league. His mouth hung open a while, but no names came out. He couldn't do it. Could the orchard guy be among the first of a new breed here? Is he winging in on the heels of the massive development that is being planned for Gore Mountain and North Creek? You know the kind: trailside chalets, a 300-room hotel, an equestrian center, loads of shops and manicure parlors.

Pondering what could be our last visit to the ledge

Ken and I hiked this huge scar all the way to the ledge. The bulldozer went to the very edge of the edge. No, don't tell me--are you thinking what I was thinking at that moment?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The heat has finally broken. I can't believe how bothered I was. A large part of the difficulty was that if it was too hot to safari, I wanted to be upstairs in my office working. But it was unbearable lots of the time up there, and the rest of the time, I just put a fan on and sweated it out. An air conditioner upstairs? I hate to dedicate a window to it, I hate to "waste" the energy, but maybe next year. Working in the living room is not productive. It's just not a work room. I look out to the mountains, read what's on the coffee table, walk to the kitchen to get tea and limeade, fall asleep on the couch...oh, well.

One positive about the heat: the tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and peppers are actually ripening! I even have a red tomato on the vine, and lots of ripe grape tomatoes. (This after Ann told me that tomatoes and peppers just don't ripen up here: I think she forgot to take global warming into account.) Last night I feasted on zucchini and summer squash and they were so tender. I heartily recommend growing them in large pots. And, for me, it's so much fun to have grown them from seeds.

Since the business has been very quiet, I've been improvising. Brainstorming lots of related work that I can do that will introduce more people to the business and get Adirondack Safaris better known. I hope it's going to work out that I can lead a series of "Autumn Leaves" after-school workshops at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake in September and October. I have done all kinds of art projects with leaves in my life, and I think it will be really fun for kids.

And I'm in the midst of putting together a series of wilderness hikes "For Women Only" in August, and again in September. Only problem, I have to pay to advertise them, and I've overspent the marketing budget again and again.

I just can't help posting puppy pictures.

Gracie and her eleven puppies are continuing to do well--go Gracie!

No, Ken and I are not getting one. We're waiting for the day when Gracie and Hudson, the LaBars' yellow Lab, have puppies. I want a mellow yellow little girl pup.