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Essex Column

This Friday evening, the Adirondack Art Association will have an opening party to celebrate the first show of the year. Wine and cheese will be served, and many of the artists represented will be on hand if you’d like to get to know them. Say hello to Janice Koenig, the new gallery director who recently returned to her native Essex from sun blasted, water deprived and rock strewn Arizona. The gallery’s back porch overlooking the lake is a fine spot to enjoy the evening, which starts at 5 p.m.

Although the reds, oranges and yellows of the fall foliage season get most of the attention, I’m really enjoying the wide variety of greens in the landscape right now. The range from the acidic viridian of white pines to the flamboyant fluorescents of sugar maples humbles us Sunday afternoon watercolorists, many of whom find mixing blue and yellow a sure recipe for dull brown. It’s the most challenging color to create, and one I solve by buying lots of greens and then doctoring up with reds, yellows and blues.

At Juniper Hill, I’ve been plowing with an Australian designed implement with two long curved shanks that sink deep into the soil, breaking up hardened layers down below. Cornell University owns the plow and lends it to farmers all over the state to improve water drainage and plant growth. Cornell’s nearby Willsboro research farm brings lots of professors and experts here, and local farmers can easily tap into their knowledge and generosity with equipment if they’re interested. Cornell owns a small, Spartan and musty camp on the lake where visiting academics can unroll sleeping bags and spend the night. It’s down a long dirt drive, and hard to find in the dark. Some years ago, a professor arrived late and stayed in the cabin, and the next morning described how pleasant it was, with a fully stocked refrigerator, big TV and comfortable beds with fresh sheets on them. There was much consternation when they realized he’d innocently crashed at a neighbor’s cottage, not Cornell’s. He couldn’t remember all the twists and turns he’d taken to get there, but he had made his bed and washed his breakfast dishes before leaving. I don’t think the owner ever noticed.

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