A Hudson Valley Hike: Falling Waters Preserve

Tuna butt!
What’s that over there?
I wandered off the trail and stumbled onto a labyrinth.
Some words of inspiration.

Here are a few pics from my Easter walk with Petunia at the Esopus Creek Conservancy’s Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties, New York. If I return to the area in August (my future remains unclear at this point), I plan to volunteer for the Esopus Creek Conservancy. I met the Vice President, Susan, a few months ago at the Saugerties Farmers Market. She was clearly passionate about the Conservancy and was thrilled to be there educating the public. Her booth always had a long line of people wanting to know more about the Conservancy. Throughout the day, I heard her talking with folks interested in volunteer opportunities and saw that there was a sign-up sheet on the table. During market break-down I swooped in and told her my credentials and experience. I love this moment because people usually experience a wave of feelings that can be clearly seen on their face. When I’m standing behind an overflowing table of handmade items and they hear biologist, reptiles, amphibians, Cornell, environmental communication, SUNY ESF masters degree, outreach, volunteer coordinator, mediator, veterinary technician, etc… it’s a palpable mix of confusion, disbelief and in the end, luckily, it usually turns into excitement. The next question I usually get (while scanning me up and down) is “How old are you?” Hah! Needless to say, she was overjoyed with what I had to offer. Over the following weeks, it became clear that my current schedule would not allow for volunteering but if I return to the area, I will be knocking on Susan’s proverbial door. Anyways, back to my Easter walk…I wandered just off the path and found a labyrinth. Tuna and I tried to give it a go but she didn’t quite understand what I was doing. She was patient with me despite her confusion (story of her life). When I reached the middle, there was a shiny, little angel waiting for me. Awe! I left it for the next person to find and be inspired by. Overall, it’s a lovely place to hike and there is Hudson River access, which is nice if you enjoy dipping a toe in. There’s even a historic element to the site: an old carriage road and remnants of the ice house era. Falling Waters Preserve is kind of hard to find because it’s tucked into a neighborhood, but the webpage has decent directions. It’s also a great hike for all ages and fitness levels. So if you’re in the area, you have no reason to not visit and enjoy.


A Hudson Valley Hike: Mohonk

capture_01-1Here are some photos of the hike I took at Mohonk with my friend Ami. It’s days like this that I realize just how good I have it. The Mohonk Preserve is a fantastic place to hike and boulder (or do just about any other outdoor activity you can think of…from rock climbing to boating to tennis and everything in between). The views alone are worth all the huffing and puffing. Plus, the Mountain House is an incredible sight to behold and the inside is open to overnight AND day guests so anyone is welcome to walk around and enjoy (there is a day use fee). They have a museum, a gift shop, a spa, a greenhouse, a restaurant… The list of amenities is too long to post here but you get the idea. Bottom line: it’s an awesome place! They even have an outdoor ice skating rink with an enormous fire pit at one end (kind of defeats the purpose in my mind but it’s still neat).

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I’ve got goodies for you…

Gathering my soap ingredients. Where is the beer though? I’m guessing it’s probably in my hand. Old habits die hard.

Tomorrow is the monthly Saugerties Winter Farmers Market from noon to 4 pm at the Senior Center (207 Market Street). The theme of the market is upcycling. There will be sewing machines available and teachers there to show you how to mend your clothes or how to make them into something new, if need be. And I’ve got some fresh beer soap for you–Honey Ale–as well as new jewelry and perhaps some messenger bags if I can get around to finishing them today. First I must go sledding…priorities!

Trading off between stick blending and hand blending. A bit of old-school meets new-school.
Looks good, right?
Honey Ale all cut, cured, and ready for a new home!


This weekend

happy hYou hopefully will be able to find me at the Saugerties Farmers Market this Sunday (December 16th) from noon to 4 pm at the Saugerties Senior Center (207 Market Street). The house is going to be so jammed packed with vendors that they even ran out of tables for all of them. This is one market you won’t want to miss! They have several new vendors, a holiday wreath giveaway, and delicious prepared foods. This will be the last time you can find me pedaling my wares before the holidays so get it while the getting is good. I’m in the throws of a two month long illness that landed me in emergency care yesterday so don’t expect me to be fully functional on Sunday. But by all means, please stop by and hand me a hanky, I will be eternally grateful. As of right now I am planning on attending the market but there is a slight chance that I may not be well enough to go. Let’s stay positive and hope for the best though. If I’m not there, please know that I sincerely wanted to be. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to be powering down a bit for the next few months so I can focus on other endeavors so now is definitely the time to get the bath and body care products you need. If for some reason you can’t make it to the market this Sunday, don’t worry, you can still find Sweet Pea’s at Edelweiss in Kingston and at the Treehouse in New Paltz and I will try to make it to the monthly winter markets in Saugerties. Have a great holiday!


Own it already!

Owning who I am has always been a continuous uphill battle. We live in a culture where people value who you are by the job you have. The first thing everyone asks when they meet you is “What do you do?” This is the question I dread and instead of seeing it as an opportunity to declare who I am (not what I “do”) I usually shrink away and tell them “nothing.” Since I’ve made the bold stroke to turn my life upside down a few months ago, my identity was tossed upside down with it. Who the heck am I and what the heck do I do? Deep down inside I know the answer to both. The hard part is publicly owning and embracing these things. Like if I declare them out loud I’m somehow giving away too much or I will jinx the good thing I have going in my mind. And I know I’m not alone in this. A few weeks ago I asked my housemate what her passion in life is. After she stammered a bit she weaseled her way out of the question. The next day–a full 24 hours later–she was finally able to move it from her mind to her mouth and set it free by telling me (with great discomfort, I might add). I think there is some sort of unwritten obligation that once you’ve declared something, you must then set it in motion immediately–even if you aren’t ready to do so. But that’s silly and isn’t the case at all. That work comes later. The first thing you need to do is own it. Get comfortable with it. Be able to declare what you do when someone asks you. Don’t tell them what you do for a living if it has nothing to do with who you really are. Create a title for what you do and a little description about it. Practice it in front of your pets. Then practice in front of your friends. Then let it rip the next time a new acquaintance asks.

Where is this coming from you may ask? Why this post now? Well, if you follow this blog you already know that I’m working on a series of online classes. Well I was speaking with a lawyer–the same one that works with Jennifer Lee on the Right-Brain Business Plan book and all the wonderful stuff that has come after it–about my classes. Just speaking about these classes to him was a uncomfortable. I stammered a lot and couldn’t find the right words for what I know is supposed to be my life’s work. How can this be? How am I not able to describe what I want to do with my life to someone else? I realized that it’s because I’m not fully invested in my dream. I’m treating it like I’ve treated everything else in the past. Well…I’ll just dip a toe in to see if the water is fine and if it isn’t to my liking I’ll just walk away. No harm, no foul. It’s taken me countless years of painfully and expensively trying to figure out what I’ve been put on this earth to do and now that I’m 100% sure, I’m doing that lame-ass fear of failure dance! During that phone call I decided to stop the madness and just own it–with every fiber of my being. There is no half-assing my dreams anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of failing. That fear is what keeps people from doing what they love. But you can’t fail if you embody and own what you love. You can’t fail at it because you already are it.

The lesson in all of this is to ask yourself if what you are doing with your life is really what you are meant to be doing. If not, figure out your life’s work and own the heck out of it!

Now on a lighter note….enjoy these photos of the beautiful Hudson River. Petunia and I were standing almost in the middle of it during low tide.





Making History

This is the barn that I call home. So now I can do things like leave the front door open and when people ask me if I live in a barn, I can actually say yes.

For those who are unaware of my situation, I will get you up-to-speed. I recently quit a wonderful job in Ithaca, NY to move into a converted barn in the Hudson Valley with two of my closest friends. There you have it, that’s pretty much my situation in a nutshell. No job, no money, just a dream. So far, it’s been interesting. I’ve experienced some ups and downs but that’s to be expected in life. The past two days have been up. I just completed my taxes and it looks like I’m getting a nice refund and interestingly enough, Sweet Pea’s Groceries was profitable in 2011. My housemate reminded me of something when I declared my shock, she said that it usually takes three years for a business to break even. I’ve only been at this for two years and I made a profit so I’m pretty happy. I’ve also had some job offers recently so that is obviously a major plus. But all of this is not the reason why I’m writing…I digressed for a brief moment. I wanted to tell you about where I live.  I live on a large farm (they only use it for hay now) with several historical buildings on the property. The Historical Society is thinking about opening one of the buildings up for public tours hopefully in May. That means that we may also throw open our doors to the public so they can tour where we live–which thrills us because we are all doing very cool things in here. One of my housemates paints murals and her work has graced the front cover of the Chronogram Magazine, another is a painter with her own show coming up in August, my roommate is an actor with an enormous collection of movie props from all eras, plus we have a mural artist/woodworker who rents one of the artist studios, and then there is me.  So there’s a lot of neat stuff going on and everyone seems to be curious about this place. So hopefully I will have interesting news come May about potential public tours of at least our property but I know that all of us are hoping to open our doors, even if it isn’t a formal Historical Society tour.

Oh and one more thing… Alicia, if you are reading this, I vote that we have a Hudson Valley leg of the Awesome Farm right here. You will have to split your time–50/50–between the HV and Finger Lakes farms so you can manage us. That’s similar to the way you should split your time between both of your spouses.