Weekend with Dad
May 27, 2008, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Family

First the farming: We had another good market day on Saturday, joined by Matt and Nathan right at the end, then followed by lessons in chopping wood from Nathan and some last minute quick-before-the-sun-sets gardening. Matt seeded morning glories and calendula along the south and west sides of the house while I composted most of our poor seedlings, started a few new seeds in Kingbird potting soil and transplanted what I could to more of their soil to see if I can rejuvenate anything in time. Depressing. I’ve talked to Peaceful Valley, who sold us the potting soil, a couple times now, without any results yet. I finally pulled the authority card and mentioned that Michael, who works at Cornell breeding new vegetable varieties for organic farmers, had looked extensively at the seedlings and the mix, was convinced that the mix was deficient and insisted I call the company about it. That seemed to get the beginnings of results.

My dad was here to visit Sunday and Monday, so we had an excuse to be tourists and begin to see parts of the area we haven’t yet. He got here from Syracuse Sunday morning, and we met in Ithaca for brunch at the Carriage House, which was delicious (as I’d remembered from one or two visits with Matt and Lisa in the past). Then we checked him into his B&B on the road between Ithaca and the farm and continued on to the farm for his tour and eventually dinner– roasted Kingbird chicken with veggies and a salad from Saturday’s market. He surprised me with stories of splitting wood and generally living more rurally than I had remembered in the parsonage in Calais where I was born (a two- or three-story old house with a wood cookstove whose chimney set fire once while they were there). My mom’s stories had been about the failed garden (all the corn was like the mini salad corn you get in Chinese takeout) and driving behind snow plows when she had to get safely to and from her far-flung clients’ houses in the winter. He asked good questions, and it was fun to show him around and pretend like I know things. Dinner took a long time to prepare, and the bird was fattier than I had hoped, since he can’t digest fat right now, but he was a good sport despite being exhausted from travel and poor sleep on top of his recent surgery.

Yesterday, we met him at the B&B for breakfast and then headed to the Johnson Ornithology Center northeast of Ithaca. He said it was “like Mecca.”


There are some impressive bogs there in the Sapsucker Woods.


While my dad took pictures of birds, I took pictures of copulating ladybugs.

Copulating Ladybugs

But we did see a downy woodpecker,

Downy Woodpecker

a nesting thrush,

Nesting Thrush

and a red-tailed hawk.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Afterwards, we went to lunch at the Moosewood Cafe at his insistence, slightly reluctantly on our part because we’d heard that it was disappointing, but the food was actually quite good, if remarkably gluten-tastic. I had a small hissy fit because the frittata I wanted had flour in it…

We drove up Cayuga Lake to Taughannock Falls overlook, then through Trumansburg and over on the almost-straight-as-an-arrow route 1 through great farmland and the Finger Lakes State Forest to Seneca Lake and down to Watkins Glen, where we stopped at Goosepoop Beach for a while just like the first time Matt and I drove over there a couple summers ago (or whenever it was). Luckily, no looped goose-in-distress noises were being broadcast over the loudspeakers this time. They seem to have given up on the growing goose population, and now seagulls have decided to join the party. Very pooptastic.

We had an early dinner at Mustard back in Ithaca and then sent Dad off to Syracuse again before heading home to the farm. After a long, mostly hot and sunny day, we were greeted by rolling banks of fog once we turned onto our road.


It was a beautiful, if surprisingly chilly, evening, and it ended on a high note: I took my first real (read: warm, even almost hot) shower in the strawbale. Victory! Amazing what a long sunny day in late May can do for a solar hot water system.

1 Comment so far
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Hi Bekah,

I saw all the pics, which are spectacular (!) and read some sections of your blog. Thank you for putting all of this up!

I’ve put a couple of photos from today in Helsinki (now I’m in Jyväskylä where I’ll be working on Finnish for 8 weeks), and a few from Australia (landscape shots) up on my Flickr page.



Comment by Jim Wilce

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