Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

IMG_3374.jpg

Here at Talic, we like to think of ourselves as naturalists and conservationists, living close to the earth.  We promote sustainable living, we garden, we compost, we recycle.  We feel most at home in the wide outdoors.  We paddle, we hike, we sleep under the stars.  We have a strong belief in family values, and strive to treat all people as, well, people.  Simple – I’ll be nice to you, you be nice to me.  Big hug, everyone! 

We believe strongly in doing our small bit to right the injustices of history.  And so, we choose to honor the Native Peoples of America by celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.  Not Columbus Day.

In honor of all of those who lived on this land before us, who were wronged by our European ancestors, we will take a day to honor your history, your ways, to appreciate this great land we live on.

Growing up, I always wanted to be “an Indian.”  I played Indians, and made my younger brother play along with me.  Not Cowboy and Indians, but just “Indians.”    I read books on Native Americans, learned to make beaded necklaces.  My Dad made me an authentic looking Medicine Man headdress, my Mom sewed me skirts with fringe and beads.  I cheered for the Indians in the old Westerns, cried when they were wronged.

In my teen years, I visited my great uncle in Arizona – my first ever flight, and my dream destination.  I was going “Out West!!”  I nearly jumped out of the car when I saw a Native American young man riding bareback on a horse.  I was in heaven!

Many years later, older, and I hope wiser, I still yearn for the west.  I’ve been very fortunate to have visited Arizona often; my son lived there for awhile.  I’ve hiked into the Grand Canyon twice – once as a guest on the Havasupai Reservation.  I’ve walked through Monument Valley, I’ve prayed at the cemetery of those massacred at Wounded Knee.  I’ve climbed into Mesa Grande in Colorado, stared in awe at Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona, feel at home paddling the waters of the Adirondacks.

I have four sons, and I’m a proud witness to the next generation of outdoor lovers,  naturalists in their own right.  Jon, the oldest, busy raising his own two sons, amazes me how with his “MacGyver” bag of tricks, thinks outside the box and solves any issue.  Pete, who works with us here at Talic, traveled to Montana to become certified in Permaculture Design.  He has created our hometown’s first Food Forest, and continues to work with the school children, teaching them sustainability in the gardens, and love of the earth.  Jake, my Arizona son, climbed and hiked regularly while there, and is looking for a mountain to climb in DC, but well, there just aren’t any on the National Mall. He’s already introducing his one year old daughter to the beauty of the National Parks.  Nick, the communicator, travels the world, making lasting friends with indigenous peoples everywhere.  He spent the summer on Easter Island, and declares he could live there indefinitely!

While doing genealogy, imagine my delight when I found that my distant uncle had married a Native woman!  I tried and tried to connect her to my family, to some how make me “Indian”, but it didn’t work.  I am of European descent – Irish, Austrian, French.  My ancestors were immigrants to this country.

I have recently learned, however, that my French ancestors from Quebec were explorers and navigators in the New World, and had close friendships with the Native Peoples.  I have a copy of a book, written in French, about their travels.  I like to think that my ancestors, as visitors in the New World, were welcomed, and respectful of their hosts.

Columbus didn’t discover America, it was never lost. It was here all along, being lovingly cared for by the Native Peoples.  Thank you.  Today, I honor you all.

Talic makes it’s home at International Harvester

ihplant.jpg

Our shop is tucked away in an old industrial area, called the International Harvester complex. The complex was once a mecca of industry, manufacturing farm machinery during the Industrial Revolution that spread across the Finger Lakes, and much of America.  During the second world war, airplane parts were made here.  Now, there’s but one building left, housing a variety of businesses.

Talic Inc has it’s own building, tucked over to the side, and we love it here.  Close to the city, but removed from city hustle and bustle, too.  We have deer, woodchucks, skunks, and one day a red fox came to snack outside my window.  I especially like watching the crows come for their daily handout.

So, you would think that we wouldn’t get very many visitors, we aren’t a store front after all.  But visitors we do get, and they come to visit.  It reminds me of a local barbershop, or a neighborhood corner store.  People stop in to say hello, pass a few minutes to break up their day.

Today we had a couple come who I had met over a decade or so ago while working at the Public Library (20 years there!)  Well into their eighties, they stop every now and again, just to say hello.  I love their stories – Bob was a farrier in New York City, back when horse and carriage still graced the city streets along with Central Park.  Anne was a school teacher.  She should be a writer – that woman can spin a story!!

I never know what the topic of the day will be.  Today she came just because “they were passing by.”  It had been quite some time.  We started talking about writing down stories, which led to genealogy, adoptions, and found relatives.  Before they had left, we had discussed our thoughts on the Catholic Church, how in Germany during WWII you could get 2.2 pints of beer, and the Chaplin could find you “clean women.”  The Chaplin!!

I love visiting with people like Anne and Bob.  I am a people person.  I treasure their stories, and feel honored to be on the receiving end.  Anne tells me I am a good listener.

They leave, feeling a little bit better about their day.  I go back to work, feeling a little bit better about mine.  I think it’s the human connection, having shared with one another.  And, you never know where those conversations may go.

Anne and Bob’s son Seth is a custom woodworker.  One day, he stopped by, introduced himself.  Anne had mentioned us in a passing conversation with him.  He needed a little CNC work done for a special project he was working on.  Tim was able to do the work.  Seth’s customer was pleased, Seth was pleased.  And Tim was pleased to help.  All because a very long time ago, I had a friendly passing conversation with a patron at the library.  Life is full of connections and diverse pathways.

Marketing vs. Connecting

As the owner of a small business, I am told over and over again how important marketing is to my business. In todays world of social media and the internet, a business will not survive unless you keep up with the excitement, the buzz, the day to day of the online world. Or so I am told.

At work I receive emails weekly, if not daily, on how someone can “fix my webpage” or help with my SEO. Emails asking if I would like to advertise on this site, or with this print ad.

And so, because I am pushed to advertise, to “market the business”, Tim and I set out in search of pictures for a story in one of our local magazines, Skaneateles Life. We were asked to advertise in Skaneateles Life and because we believe in supporting the local community, we did.

So we found ourselves on the east side of Skaneateles Lake last Friday, meeting up with a customer who had purchased our newest product, the Bayside. The Bayside is an outdoor aluminum rack – it’s flexible (can hold from 1 to 8 boats or SUPs), it’s stable, constructed of single vertical rails (no joints), yet it’s light and easy to use for many years of Upstate New York’s weather. OK – a bit of shameless marketing here

Our purpose was to take a couple of photos, ask the customer how she liked the Bayside and write up an article for the magazine. Instead, we shared a beer, stood on the dock and admired the lake,  the sun dipping into the distant hills. We talked about paddling, our love for the Adirondacks, rowing skulls in Vermont. We shared stories about family, and who knew who. We connected. After an hour or so, we said our goodbyes, we were headed for the west side of the lake to meet with another customer. She invited us back; said she’d teach be how to paddle a SUP!

Market or connect? I’d rather connect any day – whether near or far, Shane in Tasmania, Kathy and Bob in Baton Rouge, or Sandy on the east side of Skaneateles Lake.

Other companies can let SEO and social media consume their lives – but me? I enjoy making new friends.

Cajun Country

by Jeanne Tucker

As you can well imagine, I talk to a lot of people, even from around the world. And every now and then, we enjoy a friendly conversation over and above what Talic rack they should use to store their boats. Such was the case with a woman from Baton Rouge, LA. During our conversation, I mentioned that my dream is to visit all 50 states, and she said, “Well, if you ever come down this way, let me know.”

A year sped by, and in Nov of 2015, I really wanted to go somewhere, it had been a long summer of work. Where do you go in November? South! So I wrote to Kathy, simply asking what the weather is like in Louisiana in November, and if it was a good time to visit. A couple of emails later, she had our trip planned! She offered to pick us up at the airport in New Orleans, take us to the Plantations, the Lafayette Living History Museum and as a really special treat, she arranged for us to meet Greg Girard, the Keeper of the Basin. It turns out I’m even more Cajun than I thought (yes, my family hails from the Acadia region of Maine and Quebec, Canada). The locals we met were true Cajuns, and their hospitality showed it. We met Ray and Annie Blanchard (Ray is in the documentary Happy.) Annie could have been my aunt – she even sounded like her! Ray took us out in his homemade boat, and we toured the bayous of the Atchafalaya River Basin, as he entertained us with Cajun stories of the Basin peoples. Think about that, we were complete strangers – but they welcomed us as if we were best friends.

As mentioned above, we visited Greg Girard – a gentle, passionate man who has devoted his life to saving the Atchafalaya Basin. He too was born and raised in the Basin and his love for it shows in every word he speaks, every breath he takes. A photographer, woodworker, writer – this man is simply amazing. If I had the opportunity to visit him again, I’d go in a heartbeat. 

But I can’t. Louisiana is under water – again. Our friends, Kathy and Bob, have a camp on the Tangipahoa River and this spring the river over ran its banks. It’s not like here at home, where the house sits on the river bank. This camp is well 75’ up a hill from the river. And yet, the water rose, and reached the decking of the house that sits on 12’ stilts. I couldn’t imagine it!

I stood at the bank of the river, I walked the long hill up to the camp. Underwater? Just how does the water go that far?  And then, this August, it began to rain again. It rains a lot in Louisiana, but never two feet in 48 hours! I talked with our friends – and Bob says this time it is much worse. The water entered the camp, and didn’t stop until it was five feet deep. Five feet deep – inside the house! That means the river rose 80’! The interstates that we rode on are under water. Baton Rouge is an island, unconnected from the rest of Louisiana. Lafayette, where they just filmed the remaking of the movie Roots (we watched them work on the sets), has been flooded. And yet Bob says, “We’ll be okay.” I can’t imagine.

We read in the papers and watch on the news about the flooding, the devastation. And it’s easy to walk away from it. It’s worlds away, down in Cajun country. It doesn’t affect us, up here safe in drought stricken New York State. We wish we had some rain! But, it’s really not that far away. It’s our fellow countrymen, it’s our friends, that are struggling to survive through this disaster. Back when Katrina hit New Orleans, our friends Kathy and Bob opened their home to strangers. They had people sleeping there for days, weeks, feeding them, housing them. Baton Rouge is a good hour or more from New Orleans, depending on the construction and traffic. And yet, strangers found their way, and the good people of Baton Rouge opened their doors. Just like Kathy and Bob opened their doors to us, a couple of Yankees from Upstate New York, who simply wanted to visit their state.

Please pray for those affected in Louisiana. It’s time we all help Baton Rouge. Pay it Forward. Lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. Love you Bob and Kathy.

First Day of Fall

Today, Sep 22 is the first day of Fall. Time to put the summer clothes away and get out the rakes. Wait, STOP!! Here in the Finger Lakes, we still have many more days of summer to enjoy. Days are sunny and warm, nights are cool. What’s better than that?

And it’s the perfect time to take a kid out for a hike or paddle on the weekend. Give them a break from the long school day, and make a difference in tomorrow’s future. You’ll enjoy it too – look at the world through the eyes of a child again

Don’t have a young child or grandchild? Borrow one! So many kids today are hooked on electronics – Minecraft, Pokemon, TV. Bring them outdoors – show them how to play.

We have two grandsons, Trenton 11, Braedon 8. Trenton has been hiking in the Adirondacks since he was 4. He loves Minecraft, and talks Minecraft lingo nonstop. But when it’s hiking time, everything electronic stays home. It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive to the mountains. We make up stories, make up our own Mad-Libs.

And once we get to the mountains, it’s like Trent takes a deep breath, and relaxes. He disconnects and comes alive right before your eyes. He talks to the people he passes, he admires the smallest details in the trees, under the logs and rocks. (On his first hike, he carried a backpack nearly as big as he was, filled with snacks and Hotwheel cars. And he took them out and described them to the climbers who passed by.)

We started out small, Bald Mt in Old Forge, NY. Then Bear Mt, and Blue – Ampersand was a favorite. We’ve done some of the Saranac Six, and are working towards getting our 6er patch. Trent has liked it so much, he asks if he can bring along a friend, and of course if the parents allow, we take them along too.

Braedon went on his first climb when he was 5. He’s a wee bit more apprehensive about leaving home – but this year he came along with Trent. The boys, Gramma and Grampa. It was a perfect day! We laughed, we joked, we simply enjoyed the beautiful outdoors.

Today’s life is so busy and rush rush rush, we don’t get to see the boys as much as we’d like. They have school and activities – plus, we work long hours here at Talic. But every now and then, we get to head to the mountains, and leave the fast paced world behind and laugh.

What can be more perfect than a Mad-Lib story on the drive, and an apple on the peak? I need a noun. Now an adjective.

Yes, it’s Fall this week. But Fall is the perfect time to grab a kid and get outside. Hike. Paddle. Relax. Breath. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Fall is perfect.

Summer’s Not Over!

You can’t seem to turn on a TV, listen to the radio or open a newspaper without being told that summer is over and “back to school” season is upon you. Don’t listen to them! Staples doesn’t own you, OfficeMax can’t tell you what to do and Walmart doesn’t control your schedule. There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors and fantastic weather!

No matter where you’re reading this from, I’m willing to bet there’s a beach, mountain, forest, hiking trail and/or waterfall you haven’t visited yet within driving distance. So grab your boat, bike, camera, hiking boots, bathing suit or all the above and go play!

5 years from now you’re not going to remember the sale on notebook paper and pens you scored at Target – but you are going to remember packing up your car and conquering a new piece of the great outdoors. Whether it’s paddling, biking, camping, road tripping or whatever else you do outdoors – you still have 4 weeks till Labor Day, make them count!by Jeanne Tucker

The National Park Service’s Turns 100 Years Young!

Aug 25th, the National Park Service is turning 100! For those that don’t know, their role is twofold – preserving the National Parks across the country and making them accessible to the public.

If you know me at all, you know that I love traveling. In fact, top on my bucket list is to travel to all 50 states – I’ve been to 32 – only 18 left to go! And a high point of that traveling is exploring nearby National Parks. I go with my family to slow down, relax and reconnect with myself. We have hiked to the bottom of the awesome Grand Canyon, twice. Hale’akala in Hawaii at sunrise never disappoints and Kenai Fjords in Alaska is breath taking. My husband Tim’s favorite National Park is Arches in Utah. But I’d have to say one of my favorites is Acadia National Park, in Maine – there’s just something hypnotic about the crashing waves, the singing, multi-colored rocks at Pebble Beach.

In celebration of 100 years, the National Park Service has started the Find Your Park movement at www.findyourpark.com. Through this site, you’ll be able to discover more about any of the 412 parks the National Park Service protects (only 58 of them are called “National Parks”, of which I’ve been blessed to visit 22 so far!). The movement’s goal is to inspire the next generation to love the outdoors as much as we do.

I encourage anyone to just get up and GO to a National Park! Take an impromptu vacation, those trips turn out better than the best laid plans anyway.

by Jeannie Tucker

Discover Our Classic Kayak Storage Rack!

Welcome to our first official blog post! And as our FIRST post, we thought it’d be appropriate to highlight our FIRST ever kayak storage rack: the Classic Freestanding Storage System.

Penobscot: our very 1st kayak storage rack

Tired of Ugly Kayak Storage Racks?

Cheap, utilitarian kayak storage racks are generally made of powder-coated metal. Sure, those ones serve their purpose, and might be a solid choice for someone looking to try out kayaking for the first time. But for those of us who ride the waters often, we want to display our boats like trophies. Our Classic freestanding kayak storage rack offers exactly that.

Why Our Freestanding Kayak Storage Rack Is so Cool

These beautiful designs were created in 1999 by our founder, Tim Tucker, to store and display kayaks and various other boats. Our freestanding kayak storage rack does not require a wall for support, or any other structure. In fact, the gorgeous material we use to keep these structures standing on their own is southern yellow pine, maple, and birch plywood. Not only are these some of the strongest woods available, they add an upscale mentality to your storage display, making it emotionally and aesthetically pleasing.

It Doesn’t Stop at Beauty, It’s Versatile Too!

Besides aesthetics, our Classic kayak storage rack offers versatility benefits. Our freestanding frames are way more modular than our competition (who might offer 3-4 spaces at most). Our systems can be arranged to carry any number up to seven boats! Our brackets can also be adjusted so you can arrange the frame to carry a variety of different types of boats. We have brackets that suit narrow touring kayaks, wider, stable kayaks or boats, and even large canoes. All of these boats can fit onto ONE Classic rack.

 

Our Classic kayak storage rack is extremely modular!

So if you’re looking to display your trophies on the proper mantle, check out our Classic Freestanding Storage Systems. You won’t be disappointed. Prices range from $445 (2 boats) to $1,199.55 (7 boats ). Thanks for reading, and check in again next month for more updates on Talic products and outdoor adventures.

And remember: Be Good To Your Toys.