Friday, February 22, 2008

A Day at the Lake and Nearby

Most weekdays I climb in the Jeep for a 24 mile roundtrip starting around 8AM. Today, despite a cold rain, the trip was made. The drive goes away from the lake and out across the county on a state route. Passing the construction site of a new Lowe's Home Improvement Power Center we slop some red mud on the side of the Jeep. The rain should wash it off. Next it's over a creek named for a family that settled here in the 1700's, past some beautiful farms, by the volunteer fire department where we vote, and through the intersection where the huge new Junior High is being built. More sloppy red mud acquired there. We are in the middle of a building boom in our corner of the country. All the housing slump means around here is that fewer New Yorkers are able to cash out and move here. Nobody is getting too choked up about that. The school district added 900 students just this past school year alone. Just wait 'til people find out we cut our already low property taxes by 65% this year in our state. Even more farm land around here will be growing houses the next few years.
Noted: the first blossoms are coming out on the fruit trees. Better put down the pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer next week if we get some dry weather. Continuing west we pass a horse and goat farm, a church that dates its existence to before the American Revolution, and then a left onto a crossing county road. That drops us into a hollow where a family raises a Shetland pony in the same pasture as their goats. They even built a small arch bridge over a stream at the bottom of their land and the goats taught the pony to cross there. Goats seem pretty smart so it's a safe guess they taught the pony this trick. Now it's a right at another church and onto a state route.
On the east-bound trip I take a different route that goes past a dairy farm, a Brangus farm, and lots of hay fields. On the south side of the road Belted Galloways graze on a beautiful plot of land. I think they're Belted Galloways but they might be BueLingos. They look like a reverse saddle shoe. Cheerleaders wore saddle shoes when I was a kid-- maybe nobody knows what they are anymore. The cows are a deep reddish black front and back with a pure white saddle. Belted Galloways? BueLingos? Some day I'll find out for sure. A few more turns and past a new home construction site and we're back at the lake and home.
Throughout the whole trip this morning there was an uncommon smell. Certainly the rain was making the air fresh, but added into that was the wonderful smell of hardwood smoke. All along the way families were warming up their homes with wood-burning fireplaces. It was just another drive in the rain this morning but it sure smelled sweet.
Now imagine this. A trip of roughly the same duration to the northeast and I would find myself in front of the headquarters of two of the biggest banks in the world. I doubt it smells like wood smoke there this morning. Although there may be some people fuming in those buildings about the acquisitions by those banks of some California-based lending institutions in the past couple years. Or maybe it's happy faces all around.
Good luck with all that.
Meanwhile, I hope it rains all day.