Buffalo in the Adirondacks? Also known as bison, these animals are not native to the Adirondacks.
But, like so many others, it turns out they like it here.
The Adirondack Buffalo Company is based in North Hudson, on the lovely Blue Ridge Road.
Let them roam
The closest we can get to the buffalo is the coin operated telescope on the deck. These are giant animals with strong protective instincts and weak eyesight.
Not petting zoo material.
As of May 9, 2016, the American bison is our national mammal. And a fine choice it is. A male bison, or bull, stands six-feet tall and weighs up to 2,000 pounds. As in a "ton."
Baby bison are born from March to May, and start out red. That's probably so Mom, with her poor vision, can spot them more easily. As they get older, they become more brown, as seen on the left in this picture.
There's a lot of suspicion and pointy things in this picture.
As seen in their spring shaggy coats, bison can grow so much thick, insulating, fur that snow can land on their backs... and not melt. Their practice of eating the grass and churning it up with their hooves keeps the vegetation healthy, and fertilized. They are very low maintenance. Bison survival is all about being "left alone." As seen above, the females watch the babies (far left) and the males watch for danger.
As Steve Ossenkop says, "They pretty much take care of themselves."
From the herd
Steve became interested in bison through a friend. When he and his wife Dorreen bought their 120+ acre farm in North Hudson, they decided that what it was missing was a buffalo herd.
I must admit, I kind of want one, too.
In addition to all kinds of buffalo meat products, their store is a wonderland of interesting Adirondack and Native American items. I loved the row of birdhouses and trucks at the entrance. They have that "elves live here" ambiance I want in a birdhouse.
They have a wide variety of woven clothing, household decoration, handmade quilts and table runners, knitted hats and afghans, along with rustic wooden pieces like candle holders and knickknack shelves.
I loved browsing the store. They have caught me at a good time; we are moving soon. I remarked on their many nature-themed sofa pillows, which would look great on my green couch.
These were made by a local craftsperson, and she "made them like envelopes," Doreen explained. "So you can throw the covers in the washer and not mess up the pillow part." There were landscapes and forests, eagles, ducks and owls, along with wolves, bears, and horses.
Many items have a Native American motif, and some are made by Native Americans. Framed art and artisan crafts are also part of the stock.
Bison are a totemic animal for Native Americans, integral to tribal culture from both a practical standpoint (food, clothing, shelter, even tools and fuel) and their spiritual significance. That is why, even though bison were not native to the local Six Nations people, Steve and Dorreen have reached out to local Native Americans, both as vendors and customers.
They have gathered a wonderful collection to choose from. Lamps with handmade bases and wooden Adirondack bedframes are perfect for that cabin, while I enjoyed browsing their collection of painted river rocks and embossed "worry stones" in many mineral shades.
And the goodies. My goodness, there were lots of delightful goodies: baked goods, old fashioned candies, trail mix and snacks, cold drinks, many varieties of coffee, and their own line of condiments, pickles, sauces, and jams.
There was even a rack of used books. Trade in that novel you just finished, and pick up another one from the rack, for just a few dollars.
This is a wonderful destination in itself, but also part of a highly scenic drive along Blue Ridge Road. Just a few minutes before the store there is the easy hiking path which leads to Blue Ridge Falls, with lots of vantage points to view a long section of tumbled rocks and lively water.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day for the summer and fall season of 2017. This is a great stop before reaching that cottage, rental, or motel room with kitchenette where you can settle in and enjoy all the area has to offer.
Summer grilling and some bison ribs, steaks, or burgers? With Adirondack Buffalo Company's own ketchups, mustards, and pickles? With pie and pound cake for dessert? Yes, please.
I got a peach pie and a couple of new sofa pillows in black bear and bison. They will just have to stay at opposite ends of the couch.
I will be back.
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