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  • Please WAIT! Then SCROLL DOWN for Lilacs and Old Houses.  Ezload Graphics.   [ Are you in this picture? ]
    Worn brown house, Rt.9N, AuSable Forks. Worn brown house, Rt.9N, AuSable Forks. Perkins cellar at Sugar Camp. Perkins cellar at Sugar Camp. House in ruins Essex.
    Weathered clapboard farmhouse on Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands. Lilacs and Old Houses   At Gypsy Camp, Sugar Camp and on our country roads nearby.
    Adirondack Photographs: Our changing seasons. The passing moods of the natural community in the timeline of new life, reseeding and decay. (Images that give you the feel of the High Peaks, along with the information you need to find it on your own.) CLICK & GO!  (On this page.)   Adirondack Letter #15: "A Lilac Story."   Lilacs and Old Houses in nearby Jay and AuSable Forks, NY   Lilacs at Fourpeaks Perkins Farm (Sugar Camp) and Melvin Farm (Gypsy Camp)   Lilacs and Old Houses in Essex, NY   Lilacs and Old Houses on Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands   More stuff in An Adirondack Miscellany.   (On the next page.)   More Adirondack Nature Photographs (13 photo galleries).   List and Links to all the Adirondack Letters in this series.  

    "A Lilac Story: Lilacs and Old Houses." Adirondack Letter #15
    Dear Fourpeaks Visitor,

    Driving along our country roads late Spring we look with interest
    for each old farmhouse as it appears before us, alone in an open
    field, now fresh green, or by some ancient trees and subsidiary

    Worn brown house, Rt.9N, AuSable Forks. Worn brown house, Rt.9N, AuSable Forks. We're looking for purple lilacs, the most common, the easiest, the
    most persistent decorative plant in our Northern climate. Always
    right in front, occasionally a bit to the side, sometimes so big
    it all but covers the entranceway. The oldest of them reach the
    second story. The more vigorous fill the earth around with young
    shoots. The air is sweet and heavy with perfume from them.

    Lasting longer than the houses they were planted beside, we see
    them sometimes abandoned on the roadside by themselves, grown old
    and unruly now, a cellar ruin not far away.

    Perkins cellar at Sugar Camp. Perkins cellar at Sugar Camp. When we got this place years ago we found them at Sugar by the old
    foundation, coming out after bloodroot and trillium. Popple (our
    quaking aspen), an agressive volunteer, had started to overtop
    them, so we cut them out. We took out a pine too, and trimmed back
    a nearby maple to give them more sun. When they're in bloom, we
    think about the Perkinses, who built the place, planted
    everything around, and lived on the land here over a hundred
    years. Their aster bed comes alive late August.

    We heard their story from Burt Williams who had the next farm up,
    right where our jeep road crosses Stonehouse Road (named Perkins
    Road those days) and heads up to Ridge Camp below Rattlesnake.
    Their sugarbush was extensive. It ran a quarter mile up the brook
    to where the largest, the most ancient maples may still be seen at
    Logging Camp. We tapped those trees for years and made syrup not
    far from their old Sugar House. The pans are still there. We have
    Burt on two hours of tape from a tour he gave us in the early
    70's. I'll transcribe it and get it online soon.

    There's another lilac by the old cellar at the Melvin Farm just
    below. We never noticed it till we moved in Gypsy Camp and started
    clearing around the old maples and butternuts there. We chopped
    out the undergrowth and cleaned around to give it room. It lives
    now just under a big maple and will probably fill in toward the
    cellar in years to come.

    There's a substantial lilac growing high on the river bank by
    the flats at the bottom of Stonehouse Road. Never was a house
    built there as it's a flood plain. But it extends over fifty feet
    along the bank and it almost ten feet high so it must be very
    old. Someone had to have planted it there as lilacs only propagate
    by root sprouting underground. Or maybe, like Paul Johnson's
    rare irises that made it there floating downriver two miles
    in the torrential flood we had in '99, our river lilac may have
    gotten there the same way from someone's front yard years ago.

    Choosing a lilac? First Summer we had The Cabin, I came back from
    a trip to Maine, the pickup loaded with stuff for the new place.
    Handmade cedar furniture (still there) and many plants in small
    tubs. Several red pine and blue spruce, a single larch (all
    still there and doing well) and some lilac. The lilacs struggled
    beside the camp porch for over thirty years, got no bigger than a
    few feet high and hardly bloomed at all. I mowed them down just
    last year and killed the roots. A fancy variety of French
    lilac--they just weren't right for our all too brief Northcountry
    season. This Fall I'll dig some plants from over at Perkins
    farm. Look for them to bloom in just a few years.

    House in ruins Essex. Weathered clapboard farmhouse on Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands. The old-fashion purple lilac grows where people built homes and
    planted them around for beauty. We enjoy their blooms still.
    Sweet-smelling and vigorous, they say (much better than any
    gravestone), "We lived and worked here and loved this land.
    Remember us."

    Thanks for reading this. If you've ever been a guest here, go to for an attractive offer to visit us
    again. If you've never been--check our up-to-date Availability
    Calendar and make some time. There's
    a lovely quiet season coming up.

    Till then please visit On-Line: "Explore our 700-acre rest and play-ground." Upscale Camps in a Hidden Valley. Walks with views & Beauty spots. Meet our guests! (Photo Guest Book) NEW! "Stay Awhile In Style"

            Your Adirondack Guide,

            Martin Schwalbaum

          Member Whiteface Mountain Visitors Bureau        
       Member Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau

    This is   #15  of a really occasional   Letter,  "Hints of
    Balsam and   Pine  from our Corner  of the Adirondacks,"  for
    Fourpeaks guests   or  anyone  who   ever   inquired about  a
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