Tag Archives: Photography

Catskills Geology

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

All over the Catskills you can find ancient shells, clam-like fossils and other marine life partially buried in the sandstone because, during the Devonian period, the Catskills were at the bottom of the sea, somewhere around the Bahamas. The Devonian Period was 400 million years ago and since then the Americas have moved farther north to the position they are in today. On hikes to places like Slide, Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain, the rocks look like they had pebbles thrown at them while they were molten. According to Catskill Mountaineer, Panther Mountain sits on top of a meteorite hit that happened 375 million years ago. In the middle of the picture above, taken on Slide Mountain, you will see what looks like the remnants of a curling shell.

Johanna and Robert Titus, local Ice Age experts, have written a book on the subject and you can also find a podcast of an interview with them that is available at the Catskill Center.

Food & Farming Links

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

When farmers retire and sell, “typically it’s a large corporation that purchases that land”. American Farmers are rapidly retiring. Who will succeed them? From Modern Farmer. “The lack of replacements for aging farmers is a real concern. The average age of U.S. farmers is 58.3 years, and over the next 25 years, more than one-fourth of all farmers are expected to retire, which would require an additional 700,000 to replace them.”

The UK’s Guardian asks: “can we feed 10 billion people on organic farming alone?”

A brief history of farmed chickens, also from The Guardian.

“Scientists have turned the humble spinach plant into a bomb detector”. “Bionic” plants that can detect explosions from the BBC.

What the oldest woman in the world eats every day from Huffington Post.

Women Who Farm.

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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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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Catskills Weekend: 27th & 28th August

© J.N. Urbanski 11am

© J.N. Urbanski 11am

Saturday August 27th starting at 10am: Great Catskill Mountain BBQ Fest in Fleischmanns

A day-long Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned BBQ competition and festival for professional and amateur pitmasters. It promises to be an “exciting day of competition, fun, food, music, vendors galore and all things barbecue in Fleischmanns Park in Fleischmanns, NY”. Proceeds will benefit the Fleischmanns Community Pool Project. More details here.

Saturday August 27th 1.30pm to 4.30pm: Bees, Honey & You in Margaretville

Will “The Bee Man” will discuss the inside & outside workings of honey bee hives. Participants will gain a better understanding of the crucial relationship between human beings, nature and our environment. Learn why bees are vital beyond the production of honey. The program will end with a Q&A period and a jar of honey. Blue Deer Center, 1153 County Highway 6, Margaretville, NY 12455. More details here.

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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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Things To Do With the Humble Spud

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

One of the stars of the garden this year was the humble spud. To a British lass, there’s nothing more comforting than a roasted spud covered in butter, thyme and sage, evoking memories of lazy, English weekends. The erratic tones of English football commentary on the television was only interrupted by the occasional hissing and spitting of a Sunday roast in the oven, the smell of which saw us salivating slowly over the course or four of five hours. This year, we have more than we know what to do with, so will be trying to think up ways to cook this essential vegetable. As a much-maligned carbohydrate, the modern potato has a bad reputation and the term “couch potato” further conjures up negative connotations, but this vegetable is actually very nutritious. They have Vitamin B & C, thiamin, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and copper. Potatoes are the easiest vegetables to cultivate, especially if you don’t have a lot of room to spare.

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Catskills Conversations: Elaine Mayes

© Laura Sue King

© Laura Sue King

UD: What brought you to the Catskills?

EM: I had a friend called Helen Levitt, who was a wonderful, well-known photographer. I went on summer vacation with her almost every year beginning in 1980. We went to other places, like Cape Cod or New Hampshire and other spots and then in 1994, she came to Catskills. I didn’t come that year or the year after because I was working on a project in Hawai’i. In 1996, I started coming to stay with her in the summer time. That’s how I got introduced to the Catskills.

In 2005, I bought a house across the road from where we were staying every summer. It was a house I had been watching every year and nobody was in it and I used to wonder about it. Anyway, so I started looking for real estate and I looked for two years. The second year, this house was for sale and, almost as a lark, I made a low offer and got the house.

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Plein Air Painting at Lazy Crazy Acres

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Lazy Crazy Acres Farm is one of the most inspiring and eclectic places to paint. Signage of all kinds competes with farm equipment, animals, barns, outhouses, thick vegetation, stunning views and a babbling brook running through it. Plein Air painting is a practice that requires speed and focus because your light source is literally moving overhead. If you’re in it to capture shadows and light, time is of the essence.

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

June Events in the Catskills

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Today Friday 10th through Sunday June 12th, the Catskill Center is hosting Taking Flight: Birding in the Catskills.

Saturday June 11th, the Catskills own live radio event, Catskill Cabaradio will be hosted at the Pine Hill Center, in Pine Hill. Hosted by Elly Wininger, the event will be “an evening of music, drama, local lore, and laughs”, exploring the theme of “Food in the Catskills” with some of the region’s most celebrated and unique residents. In addition to growers, purveyors, chefs and food activists, there will be performances by a crop of regional talent including musician Chris Maxwell, poet and storyteller Margot Farrington, and young Maxwell Barnes, saxophonist. The potluck dishes are some of the best cooking in the Catskills.

Voices of Wisdom Gathering at the Blue Deer Center on June 11th and 12th. The gathering will start on Saturday at noon. People will sit by the fire and each of the two elders will speak in turn, offering the wisdom that they see is needed in that moment. The talks and conversations will be followed by a potluck dinner. The Blue Deer Center is

The 5th Annual Living History Cemetery Tour hosted by Middletown Historical Society will be held at Halcott Cemetery in Greene County near Fleischmanns on Saturday, June 18th. Tour goers will visit eight departed residents, portrayed by local actors, who will talk about their lives, loves and losses. Meet a fugitive “calico Indian;” a little girl remembering her Halcott childhood punctuated by tragedy; a farm couple whose long life together was ended by a charging bull; a young World War 1 soldier who fell to the Spanish flu. Tours begin every 20 minutes starting at 4pm. Reserve a tour time by calling 845-586-4736 by June 15th.

Straight Out Of The Ground Farm is hosting a farm dinner on Saturday June 25th for $55 a person. Make a reservation here.

Amy’s Takeaway in Lanesville is open all weekend this weekend from Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th, 2016, 11am to 7pm with a special menu.

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Catskills Fish & Chips

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

To your average British immigrant fish and chips is the ultimate comfort food and Arkville Bread Breakfast’s version last Saturday was perfectly fried and, although not specified, tasted like haddock that was steamed to perfection in a beer batter. It was a distant memory even at the time because it disappeared down my gullet quicker than you can say pudding. Accompanied by tartar sauce, delicious mushy peas and jacket wedges, it was so delicate it almost slipped through my greasy, quivering fingers. Quite possibly the best fish and chips in the Catskills.

English Food in the Catskills

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

If you like a proper British slap-up meal, this Saturday and Sunday May 21st and May 22nd, Arkville Bread Breakfast, home of the best fish and chips in the Catskills will be serving it up. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, full English breakfast will be served. Plus on Saturday, a full British lunch too. ABB is open until 2pm Saturday and 1pm Sunday.

Menu

Full English Fry-Up
Bangers & Mash
Eggy Bread
Bacon Butties
Sides include Bubble & Squeak, Heinz Beans, Black & White Pudding
Scones

Get Ready.

43285 State Rte 28 (on the other side of the tracks at the crossroad of Rte 38)
Arkville, NY 12406
Tel: 845-586-1122

Farm to Belly: Rhubarb

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

If you let your rhubarb go to seed every year for two or three years without harvesting, it’ll become so strong and well established that you’ll end up with robo-barb: a fat, thigh-high bush with stalks as thick as broomsticks. It will be worth the wait to eat rhubarb from a three year old plant. I’ve tucked a little one-ounce shot glass from Amsterdam to help with the comparison here (pictured above). Pick stalks that are ten inches long at least. The shorter one here pictured above was taken by accident. Take only half the plant, as you need your rhubarb plant to go to seed before the winter. The best thing about rhubarb is that the animals hate it more than the asparagus, so it goes untouched year after year. Its season varies from April to June and although it’s considered a vegetable, it’s used like a fruit. It can go to seed as early as a month after the first harvest. Some brave souls eat the stalks raw. However, the leaves are poisonous, containing oxalate, so cut them off with at least an inch of the stalk and discard immediately.

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Daily Catskills Goes to Print

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Upstate Dispatch’s Daily Catskills Project goes to print next week and an edited selection of photographic works by J.N. Urbanski will be shown in a spring exhibition at a location to be determined in the next few weeks. Watch this space for details.

At least 50 images picked from Urbanski’s contributions to Daily Catskills will be available for sale, framed and unframed.

It’s been a long, demanding project. With the help of contributing photographers Chase Kruppo, Erik Johanson, Fernando Delgado, Melissa Zeligman, Margaret Helthaler, Lydia Brunt, Gavin DuBois, Lori Robin, Jeff Vincent, Niva Dorell-Smith and Mountain Girl Photography & Design, Upstate Dispatch posted an image a day, shot on the day it was published, every day for 18 months. Special thanks go to Margaret Helthaler for her help over the past year.

After a short break in April, the project will resume online again. In April, we’ll begin Daily Catskills Lightbox, a selection of photographic work that did not make the cut on the day.

Stay tuned!

Hillsound Trail Gear

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It certainly wasn’t the plan to complete the Catskills Winter 35 (hiking every peak over 3500ft between the dates of December 21st and March 21st). In fact, the plan was to do the four required winter peaks of the regular Catskills 35 and resume in the spring, but like many carefully laid plans, this one failed. Being a city girl, before moving to the Catskills, all my walking was of the pavement persuasion and, truth be told, I only started hiking to wear out my puppy. I am not prepared for spring at all (and never was), but thanks to my friends at Hillsound, I am perfectly winterized with crampons, ultra crampons and gaiters, which are nifty contraptions, like hiker’s leg warmers that don’t wrinkle. Gaitors have stirrups that prevent the gaiter from rising up so that snow does not go up the trouser leg.

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A Local Guide to Catskills Products: Local Sugar

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

We published a piece about local sugar that you’ll find here in September 2014. Below is a more comprehensive list of the Catskills maple syrup producers. Tree tapping began much earlier this year, with tapping beginning in the southern Catskills as far back as Christmas. New York State’s Maple Weekend takes place on March 19th and 20th, and again on April 2nd and 3rd, 2016. There’s no reason not to get local sugar. At last count, for every dollar spent locally, the community benefits to the value of five to seven times that dollar, and all that money stays in the community. If you spend $20 on a bottle of maple sugar, it is the equivalent of putting $140 back into your community.

Maple syrup also has many health benefits:

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The Catskill 35 (W): Sugarloaf Mountain

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The Pecoy Notch trail must be magical in the summer because even in the winter, when it’s bare and cold, it’s charming in a way that other gaps and passes are not. The first 0.25 miles is a gentle incline and before you have time to be surprised at how quickly you arrived at it, you’re upon Dibble’s Quarry, a defunct quarry that runs down the side of the incline, on which someone has built a large stone stage and several over-sized stone chairs in which to relax. Behind the stone stage there’s a small room that looks like it’s on its way to becoming a small stone cabin equipped with stone picnic tables inside and out. Downhill, there are various lookout notches and seating built in the side of the hill from stone. The entire landmark is essentially a bluestone auditorium with a stunning view of Kaaterskill High Peak. Before you come to Pecoy Notch itself, which is a notch between Twin Mountain and Sugarloaf, you pass a frozen lake and then a frozen swamp, which adds an unexpected air of mystery. From the frozen swamp, you can clearly see the two mountains. The Notch from there to the next mile markers is a dense thicket of spruces with a soft forest floor covered in gnarly tree roots and fir needles. After the quarry, but well before the Notch, there’s a half-frozen, roaring waterfall that cascades across the trail and over the edge of the mountain. This stream is is a little tricky to cross, but shallow enough, and there are just enough boulders to help you pass.

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