Above is the most popular Daily Catskills image of the year, a picture of our Black Lab Alfie, who regularly gets a 60% engagement rate on his own, modest Instagram account. Videos on Instagram of Alfie in his element – snow – regularly get many hundreds of likes on our own social media. We adopted Alfie from the ASPCA in Kingston in 2014 and we began hiking the Catskills 3500 just to wear him out. He’s had his portrait taken by NYC photographer Shannon Greer and we wrote a post here about him that was so popular it was picked up in New York City by Mrs Sizzle. I’ll be writing Part 2 of Alfie’s life in the New Year. He loves snow and swimming regardless of temperature because he has a thick layer of furry Labrador blubber and webbed feet. He loves hiking and turns six years old in April. If I could take him skiing, I would. There’s a chance you will find us snow-shoeing the hiking trail from Giggle Hollow to the top of Belleayre Mountain this winter to catch a glimpse of the skiers flying down Cathedral Run. Alfie appreciates his country life here in the Catskills and is such a good dog, he gets fresh, warm marrow bones straight out of the oven. I sometimes think he’s the only reason that we have readers at all.
We rang in the new year 2018 with record plunging temperatures. The thermometer registered a face-cracking -19F in the first week of January 2018.
This wasn’t a record year for snow, but it might have been for rain. The Catskills is, literally, a mass of streams, creeks, rivers and tributaries supplying millions of New Yorkers with their drinking water, so it’s hardly a surprise that it rains a lot up here, but this year it felt like it rained more this year.
In March, we had a snow storm that cut power in the region for days, even weeks for some like those down in Orange County. Our generator saw some action and we were shut in for two or three days. This is rustic, mountain life and everyone prepares for it.
This was a banner year for mushrooms all over the region. Here at Upstate Dispatch, we got a carpet of Chanterelles pictured above. We had a notably disappointing autumn this year. We’re hoping Fall 2019 will show the Catskills’ Colors in all their glory.
This year was a record year for women running for office and I interviewed Joyce St George who ran for NY Senate District 51. I also interviewed Julia Reischl who won a seat on the Town Board of Middletown. Find all Catskills Conversations here, including my interview with writer Linda Leaming, with whom I became friends after interviewing her on WIOX Radio where I’ve had a show for more than six years. Originally from Nashville, Linda also moved to a mountainous region in a foreign country (Bhutan) and married a one of its citizens. We have a lot in common.
Jim Jarmusch made a movie in Fleischmanns over the summer. Stars like Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Adam Driver were all spotted in an around Fleischmanns, the village that was turned into “Centerville” in August.
In other news: our original white hive of bees appear to have survived the winter. On a particularly warm day before Christmas, they were spotted out and about in the field sunning themselves. We caught a swarm from this hive in July and re-settled them in a Warre hive (pictured above), which it looks like, did not survive the winter.
Seasons Greetings from Upstate Dispatch and Happy New Year!