Showing posts from May 28, 2017

Craft: Build a Toad House

Are you overrun with toads? 

Give them a home of their own.

Here is a quick Toad House to make those warty creatures have a comfortable place of their own.

Recycle old or broken terra cotta pots and get that toad settled in. Remember that toads can eat upwards of 1,000 insects in a day. They also eat grubs, slugs and bugs!

© Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) available online or bookstores/museums.

Fairy and Troll Festival in Adirondack Foot Hills of Burke (NY)

For over eight years Fairy Godmother Gina Strachan helped organize the annual Medieval Festival at Sellars Field in the Adirondack foothills of Burke, NY. Now for the first time Gina and her fairy followers are organizing a Enchanted Fairy and Troll Festival that coincides with National Trails Day, June 3, 2017. 
"It started with a competition to design hobbit homes," says Strachan. "We now have 14 homes that will be placed along a wooded river walk. We had entries from school art departments, community organizations, as well as individuals. All the homes are to be made out of nature. People could use hot glue, screws, but made from natural products. People walking the trail will be given a marble to vote for their favorite fairy house. At 5:30 pm, the winners will be decided by popular vote and age category." 
Strachan's focus is always to get people outside to enjoy nature. 
"Children will have to follow the Bee Line and find two pieces of gold," e…

The History of the Adirondack Fire Towers

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, enormous forest fires were threatening residents and landowners. New ways had to be looked at to try to protect and report how these fires could be managed. Two different fires, 1903 and 1908, which damaged over 1 million acres of woodlands, became known as the "Great Fires" leading to an organized system of forest fire management throughout the Adirondacks.

The first Adirondack fire tower, made of wood, was built on the summit of Mount Morris (now known as Big Tupper Ski Area) with other towers being constructed over the course of the next five years. There have 120 fire towers at various locations around New York State with 57 of them within the boundary of the Adirondack Park.

The log and wood structures were slowly replaced by steel towers between 1917 and 1930, which could be more easily maintained. A full-time work force from Forest Rangers to Fire Observers were organized to manage fire districts.

Smokey Bear's Connection to World War II and Disney's Bambi

Smokey the Bear, the iconic American symbol for forest fire prevention, actually was preceded by an earlier fire prevention strategy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt first started a fire prevention campaign when millions of acres of National Forest were being lost due to careless people. The campaign started with Uncle Sam and took a religious turn before tapping into the war movement.

When Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and Japanese submarines fired shells exploding a Santa Barbara, California oil field - the war was brought to American soil.

With young men and experienced firefighters enlisted in the war and stationed away from the home front, fear grew that these attacks would continue to destroy lives, property and National Forests.  Citizens were encouraged to take a personal interest in fire prevention and organize community prevention efforts.

With the success of Disney's 5th animated movie, Bambi, the fire prevention campaign shifts from one of …

Why you won’t see a paper poppy craft for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day on Adirondack Family Time

I’m all for a good craft. My bathroom shelves and corners of every room in my house are filled with scraps of paper, string, and other tidbits waiting to be transformed into a fun afterschool activity. The one thing you won’t find on my website is a craft for a paper poppy for Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. 
The paper poppy as a symbol for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day is sacred. In my opinion it shouldn’t be lumped into the same type of holiday craft madness as Valentine’s Day or Christmas (Oh, I have crafts here.  I like cutting and folding paper with the best of you. I like recycling, reusing, and repurposing.)
There are so many blogs and websites posting crafts on how to honor veterans by making a paper poppy. I don’t mean to disparage those websites. I feel that the crafter's heart is in the right place. I just feel that the focus is off. 
By making your own paper poppy, you aren’t able to connect a child or family member to the true meaning of the …