May 17, 2012

And it is off-we-go as Admiral Fox starts up her RoadTrip Zumba

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - Admiral Fox talks about her latest leap-off-the-precipice idea in her new blog, RoadTrip Zumba (LINK:Take a Zumba trip here...). She is far more able to explain at that website exactly what she is up to.

Rolf Potts with friends
But I know this: Whenever we take trips (or plan trips), there will likely be a Zumba factor involved. And chances are good that I will be traveling along, roadie-style, with my video and still cameras in hand.

The idea sprang in part from a columnist/traveler/writer/blogger I have been following for several years named Rolf Potts: (LINK: The Rolf Potts website). He came to my attention via a student who thought what Potts did was, well, cool.

The student was right.

Potts travels with a camera man a lot of the time, filming Pott's adventures, sort of a 21st Century Boswell. Some of that film gets translated in often hilarious videos. And Potts also writes about where he has been in addition.

Can you see where this is all going?

The sign makes it official
The Admiral decided that she would launch RoadTrip Zumba this spring and summer, continuing it on in the fall. The only place I know we are going this fall (before we head to Mexico) is Nova Scotia. Do you think there is Zumba there?

Yup. It's already been checked out.

And the beaches of Nuevo Vallarta will see some Zumba this fall and winter, too.

The first RoadTrip Zumba session Monday was at the Hector Wine Company (LINK: HWC website), just up the road - with lots of smiling faces for the group shot.

When the weather gets better (read: Warmer), there is talk of Zumba on the Hazlitt's Beach.

Zumba group at the Hector Wine Company

May 12, 2012

First kayak expedition of the season a success - and no splash

GLEN CREEK, Watkins Glen, NY - Getting into my kayak is never a problem. Getting out? Well...

But today's first-of-the-season trip from the launch area at Clute Park, up Glen Creek and then past the rustic Watkins Glen Yacht Club ended without the customary splashing I am used to.

End of the line, without walking
And because I couldn't find my water shoes this morning, it was especially complicated climbing out of the kayak, even at the low docks. But I made it.

My shoulders are a little sore, but I was rewarded with calm water to paddle on, even if the wind was stiff out of the south. Next trip, besides water shoes, my binoculars and cooler (for hydration beverages) I need to remember an umbella.

An umbrella?

Si, the umbrella makes a great sail when heading downwind.

Up Glen Creek, I paddled as far as I could, running aground probably just 300 yards of so from the main channel.  I wasn't interested in any portaging in case there were some pools farther up where the kayak might have floated.

Unlikely eagle
Still, I saw lots of birds, a few fish, but not a single crocodile as I probably would have in Mexico. They make kayaking there quite interesting.

Two of the birds seemed at first like they might be eagles. But on closer inspection, I believe they are actually vultures. I made sure I kept moving so they didn't get any ideas. They did not like having their pictures taken, either.

My kayak and the Admiral's are safely (we hope) locked in the new rack at the Watkins boat ramp, barely a five-minute drive from our house. When the Admiral gets back from Zumba this morning, I'll see if she's up for a tour of Glen Creek.

Maybe she'll be able tell what kind of birds those vulture-eagles are.

The new kayak racks

May 10, 2012

Video 'Saving Perro Morro' finally up on YouTube

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - After some struggles, I was finally able to post the documentary, Saving Perro Morro up on YouTube.

It's a film about Adm. Fox and Barbara Cook's trip to Mezcales, Jalisco, Mexico last November to help with a spay and neuter clinic. The three of us were there for a week, with Barb and Sylvia working in the clinic while I ran around filming and trying to be a one-man movie crew.

Cats in the recovery room
Back in Watkins Glen, I did the editing and production work here at North Glen Avenue Studios.

But up until today, I was unable to share it, unless I gave someone a CD to play on a DVD player or a computer.

Gracias Dios for the upgrades to YouTube that made this possible.

The is the first documentary produced by *subject2change Media made since Adm. Fox and retired from CSU, Sacramento.

More in the works. Woo-hoo!

May 9, 2012

An old swing set, wood from the scrap pile and voila - kayak rack

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - Adm. Fox and I have had our small kayaks here at the N. Glen Avenue house since last spring but never actually got them out of the storage shed and onto the water all last season.

It just seemed, well, like too much work to haul them out of the shed, load them onto the roof of the Lexus and head to a launch ramp.

This afternoon, our neighbor Billy and took most of the 'too-much-work' complaint right out of it.
The base unit

A friend (who also has kayaks) found an old wooden swing set that looked like it would make a good base for some kayak racks. Then Billy and I rummaged through my old deck boards and came up with the balance of the lumber.

The result? A kayak rack right at the launch ramp in Watkins maybe 50 feet from the water. And it is capable of holding at least eight and maybe 10 kayaks.  It took the two of us about an hour or so of banging the nails in to put it together. We tried to use some screws but the wood is harder than the shale rock around here to drill through...

Both of our kayaks will be set up at the rack and ready to go tomorrow. In fact, if the weather cooperates, perhaps tomorrow will be our first day on the lake for the 2012 season.

Of course the other change this year is that I have my little red Nissan truck ready for hauling, which makes getting kayaks down to the newly constructed racks much easier than fooling with the Lexus' roof racks.

Now if I can just remember where the @^#&#@#$^&#*(* I put the kayak paddles and life jackets.

Ah, I can look manana...
Neighbor Billy swinging the hammer

Almost finished product with Captain's kayak in place

May 5, 2012

An asparagus-filled afternoon at the 'Asparaganza'

INTERLAKEN, New York, USA - It was a spur-of-the-moment idea - barrel over towards Cayuga Lake to the Good Life Farm for its Asparaganza festival, a fiesta celebrating, well, asparagus, plus lots of other great stuff: music, wine and plenty of non-asparagus treats and activities, too.

With this batter, carp would taste good
We met up with brother-in-law David and his amiga Caryn there. It was a mini-family reunion while we shared a bottle of Red Newt reisling (excellent, by the way) listened to a local band and ate some fantastic deep-fried asparagus.

I think the secret to the asparagus tasting sooo good might have been the batter. But still...

The accordion was a nice touch for the Trumansburg-based group Toivo

The Good Life Farm is one of many places I need to spend more time. They grow all kinds of non-asparagus foods, have their own wood lot and the place just feels, well, like home. I didn't get a chance to meet the folks directly involved in the operation of the place. Maybe next time we cruise through Interlaken.

LINK: The Good Life Farm - check it out...

At the Asparaganza, there were also more children in one place than I have seen anywhere around this part of New York outside of a schoolyard. And lots of the children were very young, running around like, well, kids.

The weather even cooperated with sun, light breezes and temperatures in the 70s.

Life is good it seems, at the Good Life Farm.

May 3, 2012

Plants starting to pop up while the fog settles on the lake

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - After spending several hours this morning moving flower and vegetable pots around - plus thinking, Why am I doing this when I could be out kayaking? - I was rewarded with the first sprout of the season making its debut out on the big-ass deck in front of the house.

Exactly what kind of plant it is, I can't say. The names I wrote on the outside of the plantable, biodegradable starter pots washed off in the rain.

Plant Zero
It is a tomato plant, an egg plant or cilantro. (No it can't be a weed, I won't allow it...)

Whatever it is, it is now officially named Plant Zero, with all other seedlings to follow in its pioneering path.

That anything sprouted - given that the plants have been in freezing weather on and off for weeks - is just amazing.

Still, if this seed made it, there is hope for the other 100 or so brothers, sisters and cousins planted hither and yon in these containers, regular flower pots, tubs, and two Earthboxes.

Last year the one small Earthbox provided us with as much bountry and a two foot by 12 garden patch.

That's why I bought a second one which will be for tomatoes and eggplants.

As I discovered Plant Zero, I saw that the warm temps today (83 degrees and rising) were clashing with the cold water of Seneca Lake to form a really neat bank of rolling fog. Even though the air is very clear, I can't see the east side of the lake.

When I was downtown an hour ago, I thought one of the salt plants was putting out steam.

Wrong! Just Mother Nature letting off a little steam of her own.

Fog on the south end of Seneca Lake