Welcome to Balsamea

Thanks for visiting.

Balsamea Old Logging Header East End 20050904The word Balsamea comes from Abies balsamea, the species name for the balsam fir tree (the ones with the pointy, conical tops in this picture) — the iconic Christmas tree.

Balsamea is a parcel of dense forest named for balsam fir because it is the most prevalent tree living here. This is typical of our northern Adirondack forests, in the southern edge of the North American taiga (boreal forest).  It is in the northern reaches of the Adirondack Park, in far northeastern New York State, near Lake Champlain and the borders of Canada and Vermont.  Balsamea is surrounded by other forested properties.

Journaling in the camper at Balsamea, before the house was built.

Having named Balsamea, as its resident scribbler and chief name-maker, I became The Balsamean™, and this blog is one form of my Scribblements from Balsamea™.  These include various kinds of nature writing on aspects of life at Balsamea and nearby forested places, hike reports, sightings, special places in the wild, environmental issues, my sylvan lifestyle, the dog who adopted me as a stray in 2007 (Buddy, the Prince of Balsamea), and sometimes you’ll see articles on social or cultural issues, or just fun stuff for play and laughs.

Satire likes it here, probably more than in typical personal blogs where almost everybody tries to keep the happy face on.  I usually do that, too, but you’ll detect it when I’m slightly — or not so slightly — veiling the dark side with satire or nuanced language.  I want you to detect it without getting kicked in the face by it.

At least three times every day of the year, in all weather, at random times of day and night, Buddy and I walk around these woods, and do various kinds of work in them, such as continual development and maintenance of a network of nearly two miles of trails that I created.


When in doubt, have a campfire.

Observing and learning about nature here is an endless process, and an important activity for me.  However, I am a strictly amateur naturalist, interested in everything, an authority on none.

The only hunting I do is with a camera, aimed at anything here from the moon to the spotted salamander under a big rock, and a few trespassers.

All things here, all flora and fauna, all rocks and soil, are protected and loved.  I practice a limited, amateur silviculture, and I rescue or protect many young trees from being wiped out by hungry, overpopulated whitetail deer.  I avoid destroying wildflowers, and I encourage them, including their growth in the lawn around the house.

Sep 2012 fall color 22


I enjoy campfires, year-round, but preferably in cool or cold weather.  (I don’t take hot weather well.)  That’s why Balsamea has five stone fireplaces in campsites under development, scattered throughout the woods.  The oldest one, in the picture above, I built as a perpendicular extension of one of our four old rock walls.  Guess where I got the rocks for the fireplace.

A recurring unbidden muse inspires visions of children being here after I am gone … kids becoming Balsameans … using Balsamea for retreat, refuge, recreation and education.  I want Balsamea to do for them what it does for me and much more.


I dread with visceral pain in body and soul the possibility of bulldozers and buildings, monoculture lawns and dandelion-killing herbicides laying waste to this land.

It is not only land and forest.  Balsamea is a precious lifestyle opportunity to cultivate a little forest, and to be cultivated by it, in mind and body.  For me, Balsamea is about loving the forest and leaving it better than I found it, knowing without doubt that it does the same for me; ever more so.

phss6-02-20061208 DK at Sunset Campfire  2-Turkeyfoot Fire 20120916B


Buddy, Prince of Balsamea.  Born in 2005 or 2006.  I am well trained now as a companion to him, but I still have plenty to learn.


Trail Map 2012, prior to the 717 Storm

(Click to enlarge.)  Balsamea’s forest havens and amateur trail map, as of early 2012, before “717,” the big storm of July 17, 2012, whose damage was compounded by a similar storm on January 31, 2013.  In 717 alone, more trees came down than in all of the prior seven years combined.

Take a look at my post about Biophilia, a serious treatment of the topic.  Relationship with nature is a frequent topic in this blog.

You can expect to find articles here about the flora and fauna of Balsamea (with many pictures), and the rocks and soil and everything from the farthest stars of the sky above us to the bottom of our 600-foot-deep water well.

Sometimes I’ll test my ability to capture your interest with a special picture, like this one of the moon and me in August 2005.  Or I’ll tell you about a place I like, such as Moose Pond in St. Armand, NY (town website), where this moon picture came from (about 35 miles from Balsamea), or the public lands and waters of places like Debar Pond (my post) in Duane, NY.

Man Moon Welcome

I blog for my entertainment, so if it seems that I’m having more fun than you, that’s normal here.

I invite your comments and questions, public or private, about almost anything.  (If you get too personal, I can dodge it.)

Of course, your participation makes this a better blog.  Obviously, you can enjoy a visit without saying something about it.  Still, it would be great to know at least what led you here, if you know.

In any case, seriously: Thank you for reading.  It’s an honor that you stuck with me all the way through this long page (about 1,000 words), whether you honor me further by typing something or not!

Copyright © 2013 TheBalsamean.com ™ 119x108px

After all that, if you still want to continue getting acquainted, I suggest you read this page next: Being a Balsamean (also available under the About menu).

Have a great day.
Get outside for a while.

Deposit thoughts here; high interest rate guaranteed:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s