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NEW YORK FOLKLORE NEWSLETTER Fall/Winter 1998
NYFS Newsletter 1998-vol19-no4-1
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Fall/Winter 1998 Newsletter

Wintering in the Adirondacks

The following are remarks made by several panelists, all Adirondack residents, at a November 1995 forum held at the Adirondack Museum on how people get by in the winter in this frigid region of the state.

Lawrence Caldwell, 67: [Recalling growing up in a remote area north of Hinckley Lake:] We did eat meat. We ate lots of meat. We ate it from the first day of cold weather until spring. Deer meat. I hate it.

Jim Pine, in his 30s, Blue Mountain Lake: After cold weather or snow in our store it’s a big competition in the morning to come in and say what temperature you had or how much snow you had. And it seems like exaggeration is the key to winning the game. It starts out at what the temperature actually was, and whoever wins has to be able to lie just enough to win but not seem like they’re lying. And every time there’s cold weather or snow in the morning it’s a challenge to decipher who’s telling the truth and who’s not telling the truth. But that’s one of the funnier things that seems to happen in the wintertime.

Mary Cummins,in her 80s, Blue Mountain Lake: I did shoot a bear once. Never again. He just groaned like a person would. I just couldn’t stand that.

Julie Butz, age 12, and her mother, Ellen Butz, Blue Mountain Lake: JB:In the winter, I was out feeding the birds, and I wanted to see if I could get some to eat out of my hand. While I was feeding them, one landed on my head. And since I was wearing a hat I thought, I’ll put some birdseed on my hat to see what they’ll do. And I had birds all over on my arms, my head. They were chickadees.

EB: Eight degrees and she was out there without her gloves because she said they don’t like you with gloves. Standing there like a statue. I was sure she was going to come in and her fingers would break.

JB: My hands weren’t cold. There were more birds on my hands, and it was about as much insulation as if I was wearing gloves.

Jim Pine: Out near Snowy Mountain a friend of mine lives. And we would go snowshoeing. It’s really steep behind his house, so we’d have to snowshoe around the two little valleys there to get up to where we wanted to go. And when we’d come back, the shortest way was to come down the real steep part. So we would take our snowshoes off and just jump and just keep landing in the snow and coming all the way down. Which was fun, but we thought there might be a better way to do it. We had some old pack boots that we had and some old skis I had, and we cut off the skis so that the tip was in the front about a foot long. And we’d take the pack out of the boot, and we would drill through the boot into the skis, so that on the bottom of your boot your had a little sliding-type material. We would put them in our pack, snowshoe the way we normally would, and when we would get to the top, we would change our boots. It was really heavily wooded and steep and pretty deep snow. We would just slide a little bit and then jump and slide and jump and slide and jump and then grab trees and spin around the trees. So, it was sort of like skiing but more like trying not to run into a tree. It’s a lot of fun, just to get out and to do that.






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“It was really heavily wooded and steep and pretty deep snow. We would just slide a little bit and then jump and slide and jump and slide and jump and then grab trees and spin around the trees. So, it was sort of like skiing but more like trying not to run into a tree.
—Jim Pine




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