The last remnants of snow linger in the shadows on the lower peaks, but the honey bees are out and busy. Bright sunshine, a high of 70F with a cooling breeze. The warmest day of spring so far.
A high of 45F with a chill in the air and bright despite being overcast with a rippled blanket of grey.
Local eggs from Two Stones Farm in Halcott Center including one from a copper marans. The yolks were large, fat and bright. Local eggs are really meaty, rich and filling, the perfect substitute for meat if you’re trying to reduce or eliminate your intake.
I recently got back in touch with an old guest on my radio show, writer Linda Leaming, an American who moved to Bhutan twenty years ago. Linda and I are beginning a podcast series of interviews that we will conduct between here in the Catskills and her home, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, because we have found that there are many similarities between our lives. We are both living in stunningly gorgeous, mountainous, rural regions in countries in which we were not born, with different cultures, and in doing so, we’ve learned so much about ourselves, the world and have much to share about this experience. Continue reading
Sun! A high of 37F with brilliant sunshine through ribbons of passing cloud. The nor’easter has moved on.
A nor-easter all week: another whiteout. A high of 31F and relentless snow since Monday 12th. Shovel, shovel, shovel. Snow banks getting higher and higher. Icicles get longer and longer.
A high of 32F with fluffy snow continuing to accumulate, chest high in some areas. Snowshoes sink a foot into the drifts. Feet of snow turn a hemlock forest into a magical glade.
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 40F with continual flurries of snow and overcast with a shimmering cloud.
It’s been an interesting week, in terms of weather. We’ve had high temperatures that have dried laundry in hours, rain, freezing low temperatures, snow and then more soaking rain. It’s still a bit squidgy out there today as the snow melts. Upstate Dispatch has been transformed into an editing suite most of the week, with the highly addictive ProTools, preparing a podcast series.
Here are some of the week’s links and happenings, locally and internationally.
Fly fishing clinic at Westkill Brewery Sunday February 25th. Beer and fishing? The two go together like cheese and biscuits.
Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint 101 Class at Hudson Valley Vintage in Rhinebeck, NY. Milk Paint has been around for over a thousand years and contains only five 100% natural ingredients. Leave the class with a painted project.
Yoga in the Catskills: near Phoenicia, NY.
Progress made in sustainable agriculture in Holland from National Geographic. “How The Netherlands Feeds The World”. And hydroponic greens grown by AeroFarms in Newark.
The Greenhorns and their farmer’s almanac.
“A man is worked upon by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.” Frederick Douglas
A high of 41F and overcast with late afternoon rain giving the mountains a thorough soaking.
15F at 9am with a snow flurry glittering in the sun. 21F by mid-afternoon and partially cloudy with a bitter wind.
Bright sun poking through hazy cloud with a high of 20F and a continual flurry of glittering snow. Large puddles of mud with frozen crusts crack underfoot and trees creaking in the cold.
A high of 84F with clear skies of hazy blue. Sunday scorcher.
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
The Outsider’s Kitchen & Cafe opened last week on Route 30 between Margaretville and Halcottsville at the old station by the railroad tracks opposite the golf course. Chocoholics can go right to the funny cake based on a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe: a delicious blend of crunchy cake topping, with a rich, sticky, gooey filling, all in a pie crust. The more health conscious can get house made orange, coconut, almond granola, with yoghurt parfait, or you can buy it packed dry to go. It’s granola with a citrus zing that’s complemented by the earthy coconut. There are also scones and muffins available too. For lunch: large, thick, square portions of breakfast pizza look like they can cure all sizes of hangover; thick sandwiches on ciabatta, salads and soups are offered along with the usual beverages like coffee and tea. There’s ample parking and a nice view of the golf course. A very welcome addition to the Saturday errands route: take the garbage to the transfer station and stock up on produce at the Pakatakan Farmer’s Market.
60F by mid-afternoon, overcast, dreary and continual rain with occasional sunny breaks in the cloud.
After a day of intermittent snow flurries: an evening whiteout.
Torrential overnight rains continued into morning and throughout the day with a high of 50F. Mist hanging over a drenched, humid landscape: large puddles, rushing rivers, streams, gullies. New green shoots point upwards like the beaks of little hungry chicks.
Meet the farmers at tomorrow’s Cauliflower Festival in Margaretville.
The wonderful New York New Jersey Trail Conference gives us its Top Ten hikes to view the fall foliage here in the Catskills. Here at Upstate Dispatch we have our own list, coming shortly.
A Saturday afternoon writer’s workshop at Spillian culminating in dinner at the glorious 100-year old, fully restored mansion of the former Fleischmanns’ Yeast and & Gin family. Call 800-811-3351 to reserve your place.
Adult coloring books from The Writers Circle, something to bring with you when you visit the Catskills for some autumnal peace and quiet.
Upstate Dispatch gets a YouTube channel for its shorts on local food, farming, life and work for residents and visitors in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York.
It’s been another beautiful Catskills summer. In the last few weeks, red leaves have been scattered sparingly on the forest floor like clues to a treasure hunt, leading me to my autumnal prize. A spectacular show, like the forest’s own Mexican wave, a static riot of color will commence later this month. A benevolent Mother Nature now has a cool wind in the works while Old Man Winter waits behind her gleefully rubbing his hands. I hope she flicks an acorn in his eye.
It’s at the waning end of this glorious summer that Upstate Dispatch celebrates its birthday. It turns a year old tomorrow, September 9th. I would, firstly, like to thank you for reading and all your wonderful comments, feedback and admiration. Readership support means such a great deal.