Tag Archives: Mountain Life

Fall Festivals in the Catskills

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

On Friday October 7th from 4pm to 7pm on Main Street in Margaretville, come and enjoy a harvest festival with a range of activities including pumpkin carving with the Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild; demonstration on how to press your own cider apples; a costume parade and contest for adults, kids and dogs.

Union Grove Distillery will be offering samples of their vodka. Stick in the Mud will have waffle dogs as well as their super fun Belgian waffles on a stick. There will be chili and cornbread for sale from local chefs. Catskill Candies and Confections will offer samples of their chocolates. The Margaretville Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop will be open late and running a special bag sale.

Plein Air painter Alix Travis will be creating artwork depicting the evening’s activities. Entertainment will be provided by Ben Rounds. Stores will be open late as part of this First Friday event sponsored by the Business Association of Margaretville. Admission is free.

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Catskill Center Hosts Fall Gala

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The Catskill Center is hosting a fundraising gala at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper on Saturday, October 9th from 5pm to 8pm. Find tickets here.

The Catskill Center promises an evening of delicious local cuisine, libations and musical performance by Spirit of Thunderheart, five native American drummers, Donna Coane, Debbie Fichtner, Brenda Martin, JoJo Griffin and Wynona Decker. Spirit of Thunderheart are awardees of the 2014 Native American Music Awards’ Best Traditional, 1st place and the 2015 Best Group of the Year, 2nd place. There will also be music by Skye, which is Celtic cellist Abby Newton, guitarist Lynn Hrdy, and keyboardist Selma Kaplan.

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Catskills Weekend: 10/1-2/16

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Saturday Cider Pressing: The Hubbell Family Cider Mill on Route 30 in Halcotsville, which has been pressing apples since 1878, opens its doors to the public on October 1st and every Saturday in October. The press will start promptly at **12.30pm***, so please be on time. I will be interviewing Burr Hubbell and Andrew on WIOX Radio on October 3rd at 9am to discuss the history of the Catskills apple and farming in the region. Hubbell Family Farm, 46124 State Highway 30, Margaretville, NY 12455.

***The time for the cider pressing has moved forward to 12.30pm from the originally stated 11am.***

Pony Palooza at Rosemary Farm: A pony party at the horse sanctuary with games, food, music, and ponys. There will be demonstrations with the horses; local vendors with special offerings, pumpkins and corn; horseshoes, coloring and a chance to meet, pet and maybe even hug your favorite RF horse. Tickets are $7.50 in advance, $10 at the door, with limited admission. (Note that the Tack Sale is outside the ticketed area, you may come and shop for free). Rosemary Farm Horse Sanctuary, 1646 Roses Brook Road, South Kortright, NY 13842.

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The 13th Annual Lark in the Park run by the Catskill Center, a non-profit devoted to conservation and development in the Catskills, begins on October 1st and runs to October 10th. The event offers hiking, paddling, cycling, fishing, nature walks and lectures as well as cultural and educational events throughout the entire Catskill region.

And, finally, an artist’s reception on October 1st from 1pm to 3pm in Margaretville – see below for details:

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Daily Catskills: Fall Watch

© J.N. Urbanski 1.10pm

© J.N. Urbanski 9/28/16 1.10pm

Come late August a red leaf or two fell here and there. For the first half of September, there appeared a light dusting of red across the mountains and a lightening, as if the landscape was turning into an antique before our eyes. Mid-September was quite foggy and enigmatic. This week and some of last, individual trees are blushing individually amongst the greens, creating sparse pockets of vivid, fiery red. Overall, fall is happening later than it did last year and you can go to last year’s Daily Catskills in September to judge for yourself. While you’re there, take a look at October too.

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Catskills Conversations: Leigh Melander

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

JNU: What first brought you to the Catskills?

LM: I wanted to create this magic place where people could come, play and plan ideas, celebrate stuff and figure out who they were in the world. I had been living in California, being originally from Pennsylvania, having bounced around the country a bit. I had finished my doctorate in California and was doing something called the Imaginal Institute, which was the precursor of Spillian. It consisted of programs around myth, imagination, story and narrative. We would do weekend conferences for which I was renting other peoples’ places and I didn’t make any money at all. I figured out that I needed to own the building that it was happening in. We had been out in California for about 10 years at that time and I was really getting homesick. My family is still on the East Coast in State College where I grew up. I missed them, the east coast, the water, the history and the hemlocks. It came into relief when 9/11 hit, because it became clear that things could happen where I couldn’t get home.

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Weekend Links: Food & Nature

© J.N. Urbanski 7.30am

© J.N. Urbanski

This is your brain on nature from National Geographic.

“Rewilding” the English landscape from the BBC.

The Leave It On The Lawn Campaign for soil health from the DEC.

The UK’s first food waste supermarket.

The dark side of “agritainment” by Civil Eats. “Farmers in Sonoma County—real farmers with dirt under their fingernails and aching backs—make an average of $12.21 an hour, or just under $34,000 a year. The average household income in the U.S. for small farmers (the 82 percent of U.S. farming operations that have annual sales of $100,000 or less) is $81,000. Around 85 to 95 percent of that income number comes from off-farm day jobs”.

Daily Catskills: 9/22/16 Autumnal Equinox

52F at 8.30am with fog burning off the sun. 80F and sunny by the afternoon. Dashes of red on the landscape. The fall show begins on on the first day of autumn.

© J.N. Urbanski 9.40am

© J.N. Urbanski 9.40am

Autumn Happenings

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

© J.N. Urbanski Noon

In some ways, Autumn is a better time for Catskills living. The region relies greatly on tourism because it remains under-developed. In order to keep our waterways clean so that New Yorkers can drink the Catskills water unfiltered, industry is heavily regulated. As a consequence of this, friends and neighbors are never more busy than they are in the summer with events and visitors. The wedding industry is booming; hairdressers, chefs, caterers, make-up artists, photographers, hotels and inns are realizing good trade in this speciality event. Autumn is creeping in and although there are still events during this time, there is a general, collective sigh of relief occurring as the business winds down. Country life remains hard work year-round though. We’re not running through sun-drenched hay fields like its a shampoo commercial, but it will be nice to play catch-up with friends and colleagues in these coming months.

The Hubbell Family Cider Mill on Route 30 in Halcotsville, which has been pressing apples since 1878, opens its doors to the public on October 1st and every Saturday in October. All are invited to come and watch apples being pressed. Details will be released closer to the time. I will be interviewing Burr Hubbell and Andrew on WIOX Radio on October 3rd at 9am to discuss the history of the Catskills apple and farming in the region.

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The Catskills Pinhole Camera Project Cont’d…/

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The Catskills Pinhole Camera Project was launched three years ago and Upstate Dispatch participated last November, writing about it here. My pinhole camera was attached to a tree facing west through our forest for about a month and the above image is the processed result: a month of vivid, winter sunsets through bare trees.

The Painters Gallery’s Wanda Siedlecka started the project with her friend Przemek Zajfert and the entire community was invited to join. Everyone who asked for it received the beautifully packaged camera with instructions.

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Their exposures were processed for free by Zajfert, a photographer from Stuttgart, who has mastered photographic and cinematic techniques from the time of their invention and early stages of development. Last Spring, the first one hundred exposures were exhibited at The Painters Gallery in Fleischmanns and future exhibitions are planned.

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Food & Farming: Links

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Some old and new links on farming:

How dairy farming works: inside the milk machine by Modern Farmer.

An article in the UK’s Guardian suggesting that half of all produce is thrown away mostly because it doesn’t conform to fruit and veggie standards of beauty.

Another article on turning waste into electricity in Northern Wales from the Guardian.

Civil Eats on why farmers quit.

Our best shot at cooling the planet might be beneath our feet from The Guardian again.

News of a commercial farm within a residential development on Staten Island from Modern Farmer.

Register for the Young Farmers’ Conference at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York.

Wildlife Program at Woodchuck Lodge, Roxbury

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge runs a “Wild Saturday” program at the lodge in Roxbury. The next event will bring visitors “Face to Face with Raptors” at 1 p.m. Saturday, September 3rd. Meet wildlife rehabilitator Annie Mardiney and some of her feathered friends at this free program, sponsored by Vly Mountain Spring Water. The program will be held under cover if it rains. Woodchuck Lodge is located at 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury 12474.

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Catskills Weekend: Labor Day Edition

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Friday September 2nd 9 – 9.30pm: The 3rd Annual Lighting of the Fire Towers

From a high place in the Catskills, witness the 3rd Annual Lighting of the Fire Towers when from 9 – 9.30pm, we are invited to find a place with a view of a fire tower or towers on the horizon and watch their cabin light up the night sky.

Saturday September 3rd, 10am – 3pm: Tour of the Sculpture Garden at the Catskill Interpretive Center

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is the gateway to the Catskill Park. Located on a 60 acre site, the Catskill Interpretive Center includes sculpture installations which are chosen by jury and displayed for a year. Come and see the 2016/2017 installation and get a tour by the artists who created the sculptures (not suitable for children under 8 years of age).

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Mushroom Gravy With Foraged Bolete Mushrooms

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Bolete Mushroom Gravy

2 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon of ground celery
2 tablespoons of local butter
2 tablespoons of whole milk
2 cups of boiling water
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of sage
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tablespoon of all purpose flour

This recipe calls for chopped mushrooms, but if you like your mushroom gravy lump-free, then you will either need to use minced mushrooms instead of chopped, whizz them in the blender or you will have to purée the gravy with a hand blender once it’s cooked.

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Foraging: Boletes

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It’s mushroom season and while foraging I found a huge stand of bolete mushrooms growing under maple and oak trees on the edge of my forest. I’m a novice forager, so I had FOUR separate people confirm that what I had was edible. Before proceeding to eat any mushroom, you must first be certain of its identity. Seek the counsel of experts as it’s simply not worth making a mistake in this case. Even as my mushrooms are cooking, I’m still worried about eating them. A couple of neighbors have applauded my courage, so it’s safe to assume I will have what I cook all to myself. I will keep readers posted as to the state of my stomach. Over the next month or so, I will be taking some foraging classes, but in the meantime, I wanted to get started and make the most of what my garden had to offer.

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Catskills Sandwich: Peekamoose Pastrami

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Anything at Peekamoose is delicious and well made, but the Pastrami is arguably the best pastrami in the Catskills. Thick and juicy, it arrives with a side of mustard and a handful of tangy caperberries. Exceptionally for last night, it came on this bun but you can also find grass-fed beef pastrami on the charcuterie plate with pork, cherry and pistachio terrine, chicken liver pate, pickled red onions and house made bread (which you can take home and use to make the world’s best leftover sandwich).

The Catskill 35: Twin Mountain

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Twin Mountain is so named because it has twin peaks, and they are twin pains in the backside on the final ascent from either direction. After almost two-month hiatus, Twin was my 29th Catskills peak and this one seemed liked the most challenging yet. Hikers say Sugarloaf is the most difficult, but not so, in my humble opinion. I ascended Sugarloaf in icy conditions in February and last week’s summer ascent of Twin was much worse. From Pecoy Notch, on the last 0.7 miles to the summit of Twin, the path turns into mostly sheer rock face like this below:

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