I found myself back in Sherman, New York this weekend. It’s getting to be a more frequent weekend destination for me as I get more and more deeply involved in the Great Blue Heron Music Festival.

This weekend, we went up for the rain day of their annual spring celebration, May Day. But in the typical fashion of Nathan and myself, we went up a day early to see if we could help out. This particular Saturday, the Rockcastles were finishing inoculation of their Shiitake mushroom logs (part of their other business, Green Heron Growers).

The Green Heron Growers have gotten the process of Shiitake mushroom production down to a science, and we were producing about a log a minute. Logan, Steve’s son and veteran Heroner, would drill holes in logs for Nathan and I to stuff the mushroom material in before Steve and Julie would seal the holes with paraffin wax. Once learned, the simple process flowed smoothly and we finished all of this season’s logs off. (I believe the logs we inoculated this weekend won’t produce mushrooms until next summer).

After the mushroom experiment, and putting in some hours prepping the property for May Day, Nathan and I cooked some food for dinner (a habit Nathan and I have been practicing pretty consistently at the Heron). Nathan made some sort of jerk shrimp and chicken, while I made some of my famous Smarto-style wings.

This is an HDR photograph looking from the stage down towards the Rockcastle’s house. This was taken with 7 exposures, (center and +/- 3 x 2/3 EV), tonemapped in PhotoMatix and touched up in Photoshop.

After a long day, we finally retired to Dragon Run. During the festival, this area is crowded with the most active part of the festival grounds, and is of course, no vehicles allowed. But, being the off-season, we were able to take the Toyota back and camp in prime real estate very easily. I wish I could say we had the energy for a camp fire and late-night meal, but we were so tired from the day that we passed out in the tent within a few minutes of getting to our camp site.

Another HDR photograph, this one of the Blue Heron stage. This was also taken with 7 exposures, (center and +/- 3 x 2/3 EV), tonemapped in PhotoMatix and touched up in Photoshop.

After a delicious breakfast consisting of Green Heron Growers’ egg omlettes, crispy bacon, Steve’s home fries and English muffins (apparently, no dieting allowed at Heron), we got back to May Day tasks which took us all the way to lunch – the May Day potluck.

Of course, I spent the bulk of the time around the barbecue preparing the rest of my spicy wings, while Nathan was busy preparing food of his own. Meanwhile, Julie gave the group a welcome as over 100 people trickled on to the property for the day. They even brought in a Bluegrass band for the occasion.

After the food was finished, they performed the annual May Pole tradition:

Logan and I took a tour of the property on Saturday while I recorded location data of the trails. Combined with my typical wandering around the property, here is a synopsis of my Great Blue Heron Excursion:

And of course, the obligatory “This is Sparta” sense of accomplishment: