An 87F scorcher with hazy cloud and cool in the shade.
A high of 72F, bright with wispy cloud and hot in the sun.
A high of 70F with brief periods of sunshine.
Anne Richey, both student and teacher of the works of John Burroughs, the writer and naturalist (1837-1921) from Roxbury, New York, has published an homage to his works in the form of a collection of poetry and prose.
John Burroughs had what Anne Richey describes as an “essentially religious connection to nature. For the famed naturalist and writer, ‘heaven on earth’ was no mere cliche, but a reality”.
His parents were religious and this confounded him. Richey writes: “His parents’ Calvinist preoccupation with the heaven to come seemed to him tragically misguided and counter-productive”. In Burroughs’ time, 150 years ago, the Catskills were mostly deforested by loggers and tanners, so he had to watch his majestic boyhood home dwindle to rolling hills. The trees have now grown back, but for how long will this stalwart chunk of craggy green in the middle of New York state survive?
It’s a matter that hangs heavily in the air here in the Catskills, this mountainous region in Upstate New York, a lush, verdant environment protected only by virtue of being part of the New York City watershed. The Catskills State Park, about 700,000 acres and the surrounding area – its multitude of tributaries and it’s ecosystem – produces all of the city’s pristine drinking water. Gas pipelines snake through the state, on the flat lands either side of the Catskills, which have been protected from the ravages of the oil industry by their elevation and their status as water bearer: the ancient Aquarius in a modern Industrial Age.
Anne’s work is beautiful and unusual, like a private diary, a slim journal incorporating notes, remarks, “found poetry” and lines like the following to inspire the imagination:
“Where an ice-sheet once ground south,
the breath of summer rises
now, and the Hudson basks like a snake
in the sun”.
Find out where to find your copy here.
Anne will be reading her work and discussing it at two events, here in the Catskills: on June 23rd, 2018 at the Catskill Center Book Fair on Route 28 in Mount Tremper and on Saturday July 7th at 5pm at the Woodstock Library Forum.
Another overcast and humid day with a high of 69F.
The Pakatakan Farmer’s Market is up and running and this year. East Branch Farms are offering a variety of locally grown mushrooms and Madalyn Warren’s delicious kimchee: good probiotics for the gut. This week’s kimchee is rhubarb with ramps, wild dandelion and buchu with ramps. There’s also Honeybee Herbs and Kelley will be on my radio show on Monday on WIOX. Find these and a vast range of local goods, including local publisher, Purple Mountain Press at the Pakatakan Market on 46676 Route 30 in Halcotsville, New York. Saturdays. Hours: 9am to 2pm.
Find out exactly what’s going on from the market’s newsletter.
Please support your local community.
“Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start”. Anthony Bourdain. Continue reading
We’re all saddened to have learned of Anthony Bourdain’s passing. He was a tireless advocate for good food, travel and culture and I intend to use my radio show to continue his message by advocating for good food, featuring guests from all over the world.
Monday’s radio show – on WIOX, based in Roxbury, New York – will be about beekeeping with Kelley Edkins of Honeybee Herbs. Join us as we discuss honey products, herbs and all things beekeeping on Monday June 11th at 9am. Click here and scroll down to the middle of the page to find the Adobe Flash Player button. Click the button to stream the show online.
Behold, the Bull & Garland Scotch Egg. As a native Brit, I have to say, the egg couldn’t be any more authentic than if we were in England, at a pub, enjoying the rain and warm beer. I don’t know how they get the egg to be runny, but it’s a joy to see the hearty, local, orange yolks running over the warm sausage meat. The grainy mustard isn’t even necessary because the dish is delicious all by itself.
A soggy morning at 55F with trees sprinkling overnight rain into the cool breeze. Flashes of sun through the clouds in the afternoon for a high of 64F.
An overcast morning at 60F with a chilly breeze and hazy horizon, rising to a 65F high with brief interludes of afternoon sun and intermittent light rain showers.
A foggy, dewy, humid morning trawls into the afternoon for a high of 80F and a double shot of humidity. Steamy.
Lilac blooms don’t last long, at high elevations at least. A reminder of the fleeting nature of the seasons, the blossoms begin to brown and drop off barely week after the all buds on each stem have opened. It makes sense to snip a few to put in a vase or soak a couple of cups in syrup. Lilac syrup makes a subtle floral soda and pairs well with gin.
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of lilac blossoms, flowers only, not stems
You can make more syrup, but the ratio must be the same: 1:1 of water and sugar. Slowly boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved and let it simmer gently for on low for a minute until it’s syrupy. The thicker you want your syrup to be, the longer you should simmer it. Wait until the mixture has cooled a little: you don’t want to burn the flowers, but you want the mixture to be hot enough. Rinse the flowers in cold water and add them to the syrup. Stir the flowers gently into the liquid until they are soaked in syrup. Cover and steep overnight.
In the morning, strain the syrup a couple of times and bottle. Unless you preserve the syrup by canning or other means, it will last for a few months in the fridge.
Mix on ounce of syrup with six ounces of club soda and pour over ice.
Early morning fog lingers on the peaks, but otherwise blazing sunshine, rolling cloud and a high of 85F.
A warm sunny morning with a gentle breeze and a high of 83F. Feels hotter. Hop bines reach towards the sky.
Another scorcher: 85F with blazing sunshine.
A high of 87F with hazy skies. A scorcher.
A high of 80F with hazy cloud and bright sunshine. Balmy.
A high of 65F, bright with hazy cloud and warm in the sun. The forest fills in with chartreuse.
A high of 82F and sunny with hazy cloud. Dandelions attract bumble bees.
A high of 63F with continual rain with the mountains shrouded in mist and fog.
A high of 70F with huge, scene-stealing clouds and intermittent rain showers. Humid with early evening fog descending into the valleys and rising off the Esopus. Shoots a-shooting. Buds a-budding and the maple leaves unravel first. The forest comes alive and the soft earth ejects a few ancient objects.
57F and raining all day. Seeds sprouting. Ramps thriving, but the memory of a long, hard winter is not yet cold. Harvesting wood to season for next year.
64F by 10am, sunny and warm with cotton wool clouds with a high of 75F. Be careful when moving rocks. Snakes doze under warm stones.
A high of 85F, overcast, humid with morning sun and then frequent, refreshing afternoon rain showers being the only thing that stop the flies from dive-bombing our eyeballs. Hazy like mother nature accidentally dropped a bag of flour somewhere on the horizon.
An 85F scorcher with gauzy cloud and a gentle breeze that keeps away the swarming mayflies. One solitary daffodil survived the wintery spring.
A high of 45F and overcast, with icy rain, a flurry of snow, the occasional flash of late afternoon rain and mist settling in the mountains. The leaves of the Trout Lily spring up over the forest floor like spring’s green army.
A sunny morning filled with hope and enthusiasm, with a high of 65F by afternoon, followed by late afternoon showers and more gloom with brief flashes of sunshine. A vivid, beautiful sunset chased by mist sinking enigmatically into the valleys at dusk.
2018 is allegedly “Year of the Woman” and many women I know have been spurred to run for office. Go ladies, and thanks for your dedication. Joyce St. George will be the guest on my radio show on Monday April 30th at 9am. (You’ll find the show streaming online by clicking here and scrolling down to the grey bar above the address and clicking on it.) We’ll be talking about as much as we can: about being a woman in politics, her career in law enforcement, and her run for state senate.
Aside from being a fellow colleague on the radio with her show “Conflict Revolution”, a show that brings different people and perspectives together to discuss differences and find common ground, Joyce is a powerhouse with an intimidating resume. She began her career in the 1970s, when she became the first female investigator to serve in the New York State Attorney General’s Special Prosecutor’s Office on Anti-Corruption. Following the dramatic testimony of Frank Serpico, Joyce and her colleagues rooted out corruption within the criminal justice system in NYC, investigating police officers, judges and district attorneys. That was only the beginning of her career and I’m wondering why nobody’s made a movie about Joyce herself.
Joyce is approachable, affable and engaging with a big heart. With her husband Frank Canavan, she works with the Margaretville Food Pantry that serves 500 local families. Joyce was hired by FEMA to provide crisis services in Delaware County following the floods from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and served on the Flood Mitigation Council for the area.
Tune in to WIOX on Monday April 30th at 9am.
All candidates running for office are welcome on the show. Please email your request to: email@example.com.
Update: an earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Joyce was running for State Assembly.
44F at 10am and gloomy with mist rising off the Catskills and a light drizzle. There’s a burn ban in effect until May 15th, so the sky is keeping us well-watered and the sun decided help by completely disappearing. Wild leeks love the weather.
Spring so far has been like a Bronte novel. First, we had snow right up until April 20th, and now we have continual rain on our face and gloom like we’re in England getting our hair salted and ruffled by sea winds. Any minute now, we might expect Heathcliff to run over the fields yelling for Cathy, but wet is good. We like to keep our many “kills” flowing, but it’s still chilly out there and expected to worsen: on Monday we will welcome more snow. To put it mildly, we’re not breaking out the salads. Locally, menus are changing with the season, but there are still good, hearty options in some places. The best Catskills comfort food has to be the Zephyr for its rib-sticking chicken pot pie, pictured above (and its decent prices, especially its good value prix fixe). So much of restaurant food is salty and loaded with butter, but the Zephyr’s isn’t. It uses tarragon in its pot pie and corn to add sweetness. It’s unfailingly delicious every time: a steadfast fixture on the Catskills food scene.
The Zephyr also does a good cream of broccoli soup loaded with smoked cheese and the most perfect chunky zucchini fritters (pictured below) with three kinds of sauce. One could live on these alone. Continue reading
A high of 55F, dull and overcast with yesterday’s rain lingering on leaves like jewels.
A high of 55F, humid, misty with continual rain. Rushing rivers.
60F on the peaks at 9am, wisps of cloud floating in a wash of blue, and breezy, with varied birdsong. A high of 67F and hot in the sun. 100F in the greenhouse.
A high of 62F, a cloudless, blue sky with a strong, cooling breeze.
Sun! 48F by noon with a high of 55F and brilliant sunshine fading to a hazy horizon. One lonely cloud takes a wrong turn. Spring waits in the wings, cooling its heels, like the introverted understudy, while the farmer prepares for the best.
More overnight snow squalls deposit a few inches of snow. Winter is the party guest that won’t go home, but won’t help with the dishes. He makes himself a cup of coffee and bangs on about how cool he is. True, he was handsome once, and was so photogenic. But someone please put him a taxi. Pay his fare if you have to. 35F by noon with a brisk chill in the air and overcast with cloud rippling like my brain on cabin fever. A high of 37F.
The Shavertown Trail that runs over the summit of Perch Lake Mountain in Andes is a moderate hike suitable for all ages that offers its rewards early on: stunning views from Snake Lake about a mile up from the trailhead. This hike is perfect for a large family party or house full of visitors of assorted ages. The first mile is the most strenuous, after which less fitter members of the group can loiter at the lake and picnic – if spring ever visits us again – while admiring the views over the Pepacton Reservoir. Those who need more of a workout can can go further. After the lake, the trail is a solid, long hike for 1.5 miles through a dense hemlock forest to a loop which turns you around to hike back to where you started. The entire trail is 5.3 miles long and the elevation gain is only 700ft.
This guided hike – led by volunteers of the Catskill Mountain Club – was supposed to be a spring hike, but winter is hanging on like the overbearing party guest who has outstayed his welcome. Yes, he’s handsome and charismatic, but cold, and exhausting. Plus, the house is a mess. Continue reading
A high of 33F and mostly gloomy and overcast with brief bursts of sunshine. Fast moving clouds brush over the peaks to dump a few inches of snow then swiftly move on.
Get hooked on fishing this weekend: Trout Tales starts this afternoon (April 7th, 2018) for an entrance fee of $10, take a wander around historic Spillian (pictured below in better weather) and listen to an afternoon of lectures dotted around the property that culminates in happy hour drinks, dinner and an evening of stories. Most interesting will be the Women in Fly Fishing, as the practice does seem to be dominated by men, like most of history. Hear stories from the ladies of the fly fishing world, including one record holder, Heidi Nute. For the foodies: learn to cook trout on a campfire.
Tomorrow Sunday April 8th, join The Catskill Mountain Club to hike the Shavertown Trail in Andes, the summit of which affords sweeping views of the Pepacton Reservoir. It snowed last night, here in the Catskills, depositing about six inches, so dress for the cold. Bring plenty of water. Pre-register here by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spillian, 50 Fleischmanns Heights Road, Fleischmanns, NY 12430.
A high of 51F and brilliantly sunny with snow lingering on the peaks.
Art is meditation, says William Duke who runs a Life Drawing class at Streamside Yoga in Andes every Thursday night with a live nude model from 4 to 7pm. Charge is $10 to pay the model and there is usually some serious regular talent at this event, like Sandy Finkenberg, Peter Mayer and William Duke, Steve Burnett or Gary Mayer. Continue reading
A high of 45F with a chill in the air and bright despite being overcast with a rippled blanket of grey.
There’s so much content in Upstate Dispatch, literally thousands of posts and hundreds of photographs over three years of writing. The temptation for writers is to keep chugging along at a pace, churning out better work, but sometimes it’s a good idea to pause and reflect on the past, take a break, regroup, do some reading. Here are some links to past work in the Catskills Conversations series that we have just resurrected with a podcast featuring Mike Cioffi of the Phoenicia Diner.
Other past, popular Catskills Conversations:
Jeanette Bronée, wellness coach and author of Path for Life and Eat to Feel Full has been on my radio show a couple of times talking about mindfulness and new year’s resolutions.
Laura Silverman of Glutton for Life just last year started The Outside Institute.
A really lovely interview with Jeff Vincent, of Catskill Mountain Wild, a licensed guide company based in the Catskills.
Talented chef, Rob Handel, former chef of Heather Ridge Farm and now based at Fin Restaurant talks about his life in food.
Bill Birns, local write and historian.
Farmers Kristi and Steve Burnett based in Bovina.
A high of 27F, morning snow flurries petering out by lunchtime. Still bright despite moody cloud cover.
A high of 48F, humid, overcast and grey with thin strips of aquamarine on the horizon.
A bitter high of 20F, face-deadening cold, but bright, almost cloudless sunshine for most of the day.
A high of 52F, gloomy all day with the occasional whip of wind and a chorus of tinkling as the snow drips from high places. An anonymous critter’s regular commute back and forth from a large cave into the hemlock stand melts slowly to reveal a trail of crushed ash leaves.
A high of 28F and overcast with a glassy, grey sky. Thick snow on the peaks.
20F by midday and still with cloud cover moving on by the afternoon exposing a vivid blue sky.
A morning temperature of 10F with blistering, face-numbing, phone-freezing winds, rising to 17F by mid-afternoon with brief flashes of sun. Bitterly frigid.
A high of 35F, and overcast with shimmering cloud and continuous snowfall. A quick Urdhva mukha svanasana. Yoga on the go.
A high of 31F and overcast with brief flashes of sun through the rippling clouds.
A high of 29F and gloomy with rippled, moody clouds and a bitter chill. Late afternoon flurries cover iced ponds.
A balmy 43F by mid-afternoon, bright and humid after frosty morning. The dried husks of summer’s blooms, crowned with snow, wave in the breeze on tall stalks like stakes marking the spot where spring once was.
Tune in to WIOX on Monday November 27th at 9am to my interview with Brian Flynn, who is running for Congress next year for New York’s 19th District.
Brian is a lifelong progressive and small business owner. He has spent his entire adult life fighting, effectively, for the type of progressive change that makes a real difference in people’s lives. Brian’s activism emerged from a very personal event almost 30 years ago. His big brother, JP, was killed in the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. This experience taught Brian that you can bring about meaningful change in Washington – if you’re organized, tireless and never stop fighting for what’s right. And Brian has been fighting for change ever since. He has marched in the halls of congress and the UN, held big businesses accountable, ensured terrorists are convicted, supported public education and fought for environmental protections. As a union member he’s walked picket lines. He’s worked on factory floors and worked to raise the wages of hundreds of American workers. He knows what it takes to get things done and he knows that we can never stop until it gets done. Brian lives in Hunter in Greene County with his wife and two children. You can find out more about Brian by visiting his website www.brianflynn.us