Humid, mostly sunny with passing cloud and a high of 73F.
A chilly morning, with the day’s high at 60F, breezy with hazy cloud.
A high of 70F, humid and overcast with hazy, foggy cloud that brought late afternoon rain.
“Security is mostly a superstition…Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller
I first heard a little bit about the artistic director Cara Cruickshank recently through a fellow board member at Woodchuck Lodge. Every year she creates a magical, dusk wonderland in Big Indian called The Halloween Journey that seems quite hard to resist: “a community event for young, old and everyone in between”, now in its eighth season. This year’s event will take place on October 27th and 28th beginning at 5pm in Big Indian, NY.
Sounding rather like a cultural treasure hunt designed “to promote wonder instead of fear on Halloween”, the journey features legendary characters of Catskill history and folklore. Rip van Winkle, Sojourner Truth, Catskill poet John Burroughs, “fairies, animal spirits and other fanciful creatures come to life, sharing their respect for nature, inspiring wonderment and appreciation for the treasured Catskill region”.
As night falls, the patron is welcomed with a bonfire, live folk music, hot apple cider, homemade chili and seasonal treats before the adventure begins.
Tickets range in price from an Early Bird Special that’s $15, to a VIP package for $150 that includes a “private tour, after-party pass, secret treasures and treats”, to a Deluxe VIP Package that includes hotel packages and much more. You can buy a ‘Wizard Pass” for $15 or example, that will allow you to skip the queue to the event.
Halloween Journey this year is non-profit, in partnership with the Pine Hill Community Center, The Catskill Center, and 100 Thousand Poets for Change. We are sponsored by Woodstock Healing Arts, Catskill Native Nursery and Manhattan Youth.
75F, humid, sunny with hazy cloud, lazy breeze, blazing fall colors.
A cloudy, moody start, with a mix of sun and cloud throughout the afternoon. A high of 72F. Vivid reds bloom in the landscape.
Clear skies and a 75F high. Warm in the sun, but cool in the shade. Humid and slightly steamy. Fall is slightly late out of the gate.
A clear, frosty morning, rising to a high of 67F. Initial muted dashes of red amidst the yellowing. Fall has yet to show its true colors.
After an overnight frost dissolving into a misty morning, 70F by mid-afternoon and sunny.
After a foggy start, 60F by mid-afternoon and warm in the sun.
Sunflowers are astonishingly beautiful and uplifting, towering over the farm like sentry guards radiating happiness, accumulating and distributing sunshine. They’re also packed with thousands of highly nutritious, edible seeds. Once they start to droop towards the ground, you may have to compete with the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, who climb up them in search of the seeds and break the stems. When the blooms are resting on the ground, like they’re on some floral time-out, they seeds are fair game. You can either wrap the live heads in paper to stop animals from eating them, or you can cut the heads off completely even before they’re ready to harvest.
The seed is the white pellet underneath the yellow face of the bloom (pictured above). They develop a black strip as the flower dies, eventually turning a dusky, dark grey/black (pictured below). They are even delicious like this without any cooking, and packed full of raw nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin B-6 and high in potassium and magnesium. Continue reading
58F by 6.30am, balmy with clear skies and sunrise ushering in dappled cloud. 65F by mid-afternoon.
A high of 85F with morning fog disappearing into the mountains. Sunny with scant cloud. The sunflowers express how we feel about summer ending.
A high of 84F with clear skies of hazy blue. Sunday scorcher.
If you need something to do with all the heritage apples that are falling all over the Catskills now, here’s a recipe passed on to me by Tamara Ehlin of the Forsyth BnB in Kingston. This recipe is gorgeous because a sugary, chewy crust forms on the top of the cake and gradually softens all the way down to its fruity bottom.This cake is as wild as our apples.
However you add the fruit, it still ends up at the base of the cake. I didn’t put enough apples in the little loaf pictured above because whenever you do this recipe it will feel like you’re putting too much fruit in. The batter barely covers the apples and you have to press the mixture down before you put it in the oven. I made a larger cake by doubling the ingredients and it came out perfectly with all the fruit sunk to the bottom.
This recipe is good for soft and stone fruit too.
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups sliced fruit (a mix of tart and sweet works best, like sour cherries, plums, peaches, blueberries, or peeled apple)
Soften the butter and whip it together with the sugar, vanilla, almond extract. Add the two eggs and beat them in. Mix the whole mixture well. Sift the flour and baking powder and add it into the butter/sugar mix gradually. Mix until you have a batter. The batter will be very stiff. Once you have a smooth batter, stir in the apples and mix well. Add to a greased loaf tin and bake on 350 for about 50 minutes.
An 80F high, humid and bright despite hazy clouds, with a faint breeze.
Hot in the sun with hazy sunshine, with a cool breeze ushering the fall and a high of 82F. These last few days of summer end on Thursday. Fall begins on Friday with the Autumnal Equinox.
A balmy morning at 65F by 9am. The morning fog rolled away to reveal trees, bushes, forest floor and fields liberally bestrewn with lacy spiders’ webs, as if the forest had been dressed for halloween overnight.
Another moody day: a high of 79F, muggy and sweaty with sultry, stormy clouds and distant rain over Slide Mountain. Mother natures continues to flick red splotches into her green canvas.
A high of 75F, humid and overcast with scene-stealing, multifarious clouds leading to isolated showers and a balmy evening. Dashes of red appearing on the landscape like hot pepper seasoning. Moody.
Another chilly misty morning warming up to 82F and sunny with a hazy cloud transforming into ominous, grey armada that issued early evening rain.
79F by mid-afternoon and sunny with hazy cloud. Cool in the shade. Splashes of red dot the landscape.
A high of 74F, warm in the hazy sunshine, but chilly in the shade. Wild leeks, the infamous “ramps”, issue their unique seeds, like tiny, opaque spheres of shimmering onyx.
A high of 65F, alternating sunshine and cloud, all swept through by a strong breeze.
Cloudy, overcast and soggy after overnight rain with a high of 57F and some late afternoon sun. Squash blossoms.
Hot, sunny with faint whispers of cloud and a high of 75F. A glorious Labor Day.
Rainy and 61F by mid-afternoon with swirling mist and more rain.
A morning of warming sun smothered by clouds late afternoon with a 70F high. A chilly harvest.
Burlesque is back in the Catskills. Tonight at Union Grove Distillery beginning at 8.30pm. Buy tickets here, or they are available on the door. Seating is first come, first served. Just Shop Boutique, across the road, is open until 8pm.
John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge hosts its penultimate Wild Saturday at 1pm at Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury entitled Face to Face with Raptors, in which Annie Mardiney, federally licensed wildlife “rehabilitator”, shares her deep passion by bringing hawks, owls, and falcons to show visitors.
Family Day at the Catskill Interpretive Center: bird watching, hiking, crafts, rock painting, learning to identify animal footprints and more from the natural world.
Logic and Structure at the Painters Gallery in Fleischmanns, a group show featuring Beth Caspar, Susan Spencer Crowe, Joan Grubin, Robert James, Wanda Kossak, Don Muchow, Margaret Neill, Paula Quinon.
Saturday night sees the annual lighting of the fire towers at 9am. Find out where the best places to view them are. The Catskills Fire Tower system celebrated 100 years of watching for wild fires over the Catskills this summer.
Sunday is Bovina Farm Day, featuring farm animals, a corn maze, the scarecrow contest and vendors selling and sampling locally produced products.
Apple pie contest is between 2-3pm. $6 per car and a full day of family fun!
From September 6th to 12th: Watershed Stories from the Catskill Center, . Led by Lisa Jacobson, these workshops were designed to provide a unique holistic, visual and written product based on “Art as an EcoSystem”. To do this, participants recycled beautiful old books into a retelling of water, the New York Watershed and its interconnections with everything else.
September 7th: Catskill Cuisine with Chef Rob Handel at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper.
A new bus service to bring people to the Catskills.
80F and brilliantly sunny with few scudding clouds and a strong, cooling breeze. Very hot in the sun and nippy in the shade. Goldenrod season.
There are several reasons to get excited about Lion’s Mane. First of all, it’s arrestingly beautiful, and when you spot it in the forest it appears to be luminous, as if a beam of light is shining through the forest canopy directly onto it. Lion’s Mane cascades over a log like a dreamy waterfall, frozen in time, with it’s milky stalactites. It’s also called the pom-pom mushroom for the obvious reason.
Second, it can’t really be mistaken for anything else. Some guides tell you to compare it to the poisonous yellow-tipped coral because when Lion’s Mane gets old the tips turn yellow, but the coral grows upwards. Even as a novice mushroom hunter though, I was pretty certain that what I had found (pictured above) was the real thing and that thought was backed up by two others more experienced than I am. (I have just eaten it, so if it’s not, it was nice knowing you.)
Furthermore, you can cultivate Lion’s Mane and it is widely said to have medicinal benefits, like Shitake and Reishi. Experts say that it improves neurological function and alleviates anxiety.
On top of that, it’s utterly delicious, tasting (raw) like a more meaty, fragrant, cooked lobster, with exactly the same texture.
If you’re looking to eat less seafood, you can buy kits to cultivate this exquisite delicacy and grow it yourself. Once you’ve tasted it, it’ll seem like a no-brainer. This mushroom is about 20% protein.
To prepare it, I sliced off the top part that had a lot of forest debris in it. Then broke off about five clumps of the tendrils and washed them thoroughly. (You never know what animal might have peed on it.) Then I separated the tendrils until I had what looked like about almost a cup of loose lobster meat and sweat it in butter. Then I added three beaten eggs and scrambled the mixture. You can see a piece of raw mushroom top left (below).
A chilly morning, with a high of 59F and overcast with afternoon rain. Summer’s got the blues.
A high of 72F and overcast with periods of sunshine. Crisp overnight lows and chilly mornings.
After another overnight low of 45F, a high of 74F and sunny with wispy cloud. Hot in the sun; cool in the shade.
Another high in the low 70s, warm and sunny. Monarchs munch the milkweed.
A 70F high and sunny with a distinct chill in the air. A little taster of Autumn.
72F and mostly sunny with billowing clouds. A warm breeze in the hemlocks.
After heavy overnight rain, a high of 76F with an armada of clouds sailing through the blue. The wild, post-rain proliferation of mushrooms continues in the cool shade of a hemlock forest.
Most of the trail to Slide, almost to the top from the Slide Parking Area, is like rubble, as if an ancient giant smashed the top with Thor’s hammer and a plethora of rocks tumbled down the side and piled up in the dirt below. You might appreciate the step aerobics-type exercise on the way up, but the descent can be precarious. Hiking poles are a great help on this type of trail. The hiker needs to be as nimble as a mountain goat in order to make good time, or take some extra time to make frequent stops on the way down to sit and ruminate amidst the ancient geography. The Catskills were once – millions of years ago – on the seabed in the Bahamas. You can find marine fossils, pebbles and small pieces of harder stone embedded in the rock. This is a good hike for dogs, because there are plenty of small, running streams to provide refreshment. There are some stone steps built into the rubble at various points to ease passage.
Slide is easier to navigate on foot in the winter when it’s covered in a thick layer of ice or snow and you can glide over the top in spikes or snowshoes, but the summer reveals its fascinating character. This is no ordinary hike and Slide Mountain Wilderness was a favorite of local legend, essayist and naturalist John Burroughs, a protégé of Walt Whitman. There is a plaque dedicated to Burroughs at the summit, on a rock under which the author frequently slept. He wrote: “Here the works of man dwindle, in the heart of the southern Catskills”. Be careful not to miss the plaque if you’re finishing your hike at the summit of Slide Mountain. Continue reading
81F by mid-afternoon and humid, with cloud sailing over the hazy mountains through a sky of swimming pool blue.
Another gorgeous misty morning, humid with wisps of cloud. 81F by mid-afternoon, mostly sunny and breezy with rippled cloud obscuring the solar eclipse.
80F by mid-afternoon, hot and sunny.
Surprise! More heavy rain. A high of 80F, with oppressive humidity, a heavy blanket of cloud and mist swirling over the mountains like the ghost of summers past. Steamy.
80F by mid-afternoon with distant, sailing clouds. Blackberries ripening in the sun.
A chilly, but humid morning at 66F, with mist and clouds dueling under the rising sun.
After heavy overnight rain, a chilly morning with foggy cloud settled over the landscape like a blanket. A hazy, humid day with a high of 75F.
A chilly start: 58F at 8am, rising to 75F by mid-afternoon and soupy with clouds like churning milk.
An 84F high and sunny despite those ubiquitous clouds and their ever eccentric formations.
A sunny morning, despite big, bossy clouds. 78F by mid-afternoon with a cool breeze through the trees. A lovely day with some evening sprinkles.
Come to a party at Ella’s Mercantile in Halcottsville on Saturday August 12th beginning at 4pm.
Booze your way to good health with Laura Silverman’s recipe for a thyme cocktail for Well and Good Magazine: “if you feel the inkling of a late-summer cold coming on, it’s the perfect reason to get out your cocktail shaker”. If you need a reason, that is.
I’ve said it before, Pakatakan Farmer’s Market is full of scrumptious food and beverages like sausage pie, vodka, kimchee, restorative herbs and fresh royal jelly in addition to your farmer’s market staples like meat, vegetables, dairy, baked goods, mushrooms, and more booze. Nearby, just up the road, you will find Outsider’s Cafe for breakfast too.
Peace, love and food trucks in Bethel.
A blueberry pie eating contest in Woodstock next Wednesday.
79F, dark, humid and smothered with rippled, blue milk glass clouds. If today’s weather were a movie, it would be a moody film noir: sultry and begging for a wet ending. Update: it got its wet ending: a thorough rain shower mid-evening.
This week is National Farmer’s Market week. The invaluable, local farmer’s market that is sorely missed all winter is more than just a Saturday errand, it’s a living legend, a place where all the hard work, sweat and tears of production finally gets its showcase. Shopping at farmer’s markets greatly stimulates the local economy, creating jobs and increasing access to fresh, healthful food. Continue reading
77F by mid-afternoon: a wrestling match between the sun and potbellied clouds that had waned by the evening.
Mostly sunny and bright despite with an armada of voluminous clouds. 74F by mid-afternoon. The rain takes a holiday.