Fire And Ice

Winter Aconite in full bloom for the past week 2019
Winter Aconite in full bloom for the past week, 2019

My father first identified this flower for us. We were stunned to see it bursting through the snow. I started keeping track of the date each year when we first see it and last year it was February 22nd. I posted a picture of the Winter Aconite then and in that post I see I mentioned “the amount of plastic that scientists found in tiny fish at the bottom of the ocean.” This morning I read about a big fish, a whale in the Philippines, with eighty-eight pounds of plastic in its stomach.

We could all have a much lighter footprint.

I have neglected the website,, long enough and am in the process of taking it down, reducing my digital footprint. I’m keeping a few things and this morning I finished moving my favorite piece, Shelley Valachovic’s artist journal entitled “A Year In The Woods,” to a safe location.

Shelley and Pete's handmade home in the woods.
A Year In The Woods – Illustrated and written by Shelley Valchovic.

This is a blueprint for a lighter footprint and so much more. Shelley’s watercolor illustrations of the local plants, fruit, leaves and mushrooms that surround them in their Adirondack home are gorgeous. We bought the original of the image below at a show of Shelley’s work in Troy. Shelley’s text, the beautiful journal entries, charts the Adirondack seasonal offerings. Here is a passage from mid March.

Ball Galls on Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Ball Galls on Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

“The chipmunks came out today all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, two of them running like madmen between the shed, the lodge, the fireplace, and back to the shed again. They must have calendars in their underground winter hideouts, for they are right on schedule. Or perhaps they can sense the thaw, feel the softening of the ground, or maybe their ceilings have started to leak.”

I’m guessing that Shelley and her partner, Pete, are syruping down today. In her March entry, she notes that water freezes at a higher temperature than sugar, separating the goods before you boil it down. See “A Year In The Woods.

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