Intermittent scattered, light, sprinkling rainfall, a high of 73F and a cooling breeze. A colder evening: 62F at sunset and heavier rain. After the near-daily rainfall in July, it’s turning out to be a rainy August too. Good weather for foraging mushrooms.
It’s been quite a summer already, which I hope marks the end of a tumultuous two years. Upstate Dispatch has moved to a new HQ in the gorgeous Dry Brook Valley. I’ve spent the rainy July selling up and moving, which included the transportation of a beehive containing the badass overwintered bees who have survived the move, and Alfie, the black lab, has ruptured his MCL and needs surgery. He’s been hopping around on three legs.
I’ve just finished unpacking and exploring this lush, new area over the mountain which is so different from the Red Kill Valley and planting a garden, finding out what grows best on this land. The almost-daily July rain brought a bounty of mushrooms that need to be identified, but one key benefit from all this rain is that I will have a huge crop of melon for the first time.
The most noticeable part of these pastures new though are wild plants in huge numbers: ramps, reishi, burdock, bergamot, mullein, dandelions and welcoming, calming wild camomile growing in abundance that is just flowering now. I find that symbolic after such a challenging two years. The camomile plant is known for its almost extreme hardiness and a wide variety of properties beneficial to health. Steeped in hot water, camomile flowers are calming and good for the stomach. You can also make a facial moisturizer by mixing the concentrated tea in an inert oil like sunflower, or coconut oil. I grew it in the garden before I realized it was all over the place and it doesn’t seem to be taking well to being treated kindly!
Speaking of facial moisturizer, I’ve been testing Heaven on Main Street products, in my search for natural, local make-up and face cream. A trip to Catskills Harvest in Andes made me realize just how many local artisans we have making soaps, potions and lotions here: more than ever before, it seems.
My next stop will be Island Girl Henna in Delhi to treat myself to a full-sleeve temporary henna tattoo, but I just have to come up with design ideas. Updates on all this will be forthcoming.
But lastly, here I have landed, in the Dry Brook valley, home of possibly the most gorgeous hike I’ve ever experienced, my first Catskills 35 hike, which begins at the end of Rider Hollow Road, a truly magical place: the hike to Balsam Mountain and it’s glorious view. I leave you with my account of that hike to read here. Daily Catskills will resume in August.
Humid and misty with a high of 89F and some late evening rain. Shimmering cloud cover and thick fog nestled in the valleys at sunset.
Another scorcher with fat clouds threatening rain. A high of 91F.
Another scorcher: baking in the sun, dry with mixed clouds. A high of 86F. Broccoli emerging.
It’s been a week of gorgeous sunsets. Today’s high 89F with picturesque cloud.
A high of 81F and still no rain. Hot in the sun. Farmer’s market in full swing.
More blazing sunshine, thin hazy cloud and a high of 79F. Spot the deer…
A high of 73F and blazing sunshine. Quiet, enigmatic sunset on the peaks.
Bright and sunny. A high of 66F. A light breeze and no rain. Rivers running under a full strawberry moon, lavender sunset.
A high of 68F, overcast and rain for most of the day. An overnight dip into the forties: a low of 45F. A good year for apples.
A high of 89F and mostly sunny with a sheet of glassy cloud moving in late afternoon, bringing evening thunder storms and heavy rain for most of the night.
Hot and humid with scattered clouds and 75F by noon. A high of 82F. The tilt of the earth (in relation to the sun) causes the seasons: the northern hemisphere is getting direct sunshine today, our longest day of the year, the day with the most daylight. Summer begins.
A hot morning with milky, glassy clouds clearing and the returning for the afternoon, threatening rain. Steady rain at 9pm for an hour or two. A high of 82F.
Overcast with thin, dense cloud only threatening rain, and humid with a high of 79F.
A high of 73F and mostly sunny with a vague threat of rain.
Mostly clear skies, humid and hot in the sun. A high of 69F. Mowing resumes.
A bright morning, steamy sunrise and sunshine for most of the day. Dramatic clouds move in before dusk. A high of 70F.
A wet landscape after overnight rain, humid and overcast with intermittent rain showers and occasional bursts of sunshine. A high of 73F.
Cooler with a mix of sun and clouds. Some grey clouds threatening rain. A high of 79F.
Sunny despite dappled cloud cover. A high of 73F but a cooler evening.
Even less humid, and bright despite prevailing opaque cloud cover laced with skinny, smoky, grey twirls like stray campfire. Brief periods of piercing sunshine. A high of 73F.
A milder day, but still humid and sunny with some cloud with a high of 80F. Clouds clearing late afternoon.
Slightly less humid than yesterday, a mix of sun and swirling clouds threatening rain. A high of 81F. Late afternoon thunder, torrential rain storm and thick, late evening mist rising out of the valley.
Overcast and very humid, with grey, turbulent clouds until an early evening rain storm with flooding in some areas. A high of 83F.
Day 3 of hay-making: baling hay with ominous clouds becoming thicker towards 3pm, threatening rain. A high of 81F with the sun making an appearance late afternoon. The barest sprinkle of rain for a few minutes at 7pm.
Another sweltering day of sunshine and scanty cloud. Humid, sweaty with a high of 86F. Downed hay drying in the sun.
A sweltering day and mostly cloudless with a high of 86F. Hay season commences.
Muggy and overcast again in the morning with enormous, looming clouds dissolving to a fine gauze by mid-afternoon. A high of 73F.
Overcast, and grey but that’s a color goes beautifully with all these vivid greens. Thick, tumultuous cloud cover making it humid and a high of 70F. Light evening rain. An enigmatic day in the mountains.
This year, Catskills Historian Dr Bill Birns celebrates 50 years of living and working in the Catskills, mostly as a school teacher. He has quite a following here in the Catskills and in Part II, we talk about Writers in the Mountains, what he’s reading, writing and how his post-pandemic life is unfolding.
I’m posting yesterday’s interview on YouTube, unedited, so we can tell you that Bill will be at John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge this Saturday June 5th, 2021, as a docent after their Wild Saturday presentation.
Thickly overcast with deep cloud, raining and a high of 72F. Humid and sticky.
A wash of thin gauzy clouds clears by mid-afternoon: humid, sunny and a high of 73F.
A mixed bag of weather: a misty, humid morning with some rain and thick, moody cloud that dispersed mid-afternoon. A mostly sunny afternoon for a high of 67F, dropping to a chilly and clear sunset and an overnight low of 44F.
Another rain day, same as yesterday: overcast with a high of 46F. A wet, soggy Memorial Day weekend more suited for indoor activity and a low of 42F and seedlings under cover.
Heavy rain all morning and cold, rising to a high of only 46F, low of 41F. Mist in the valleys mid-afternoon. Intermittent rain in the afternoon. Chilly.
Getting chillier: dull and overcast for most of the day with a grubby, matte blanket of cloud. A high of 54F and afternoon rain continuing into the evening. Overnight low of 41F.
Getting cooler: a high of 70F with mixed sun and clouds. Canada mayflowers join the forest crew of spring ephemerals.
A hot start to the day, 73F by 9.30am, rising to a high of 86F: the afternoon sky looking like it was stolen from a film set. Much-needed rain begins at 5pm and continues intermittently until just after sunset.
There are all manner of syrups and mixers that you can make with spring blooms: but one plant we haven’t covered here is lilac because it has such a short window of blossoming. It has reached its prime in the last week here in the Catskills. Lilac has such a distinctive, unique flavor and pairs well with any citrus, but tastes better in lemonade. To add a little body, add some thyme to the mix to make this a mixer that works better with gin.
For A Lilac Lemonade (with or without thyme)
Pick a ziplock bag of blooms for every mason jar. Cut them off the stalks. Stuff only half of them in the mason jar if you’re adding thyme. Add a quarter cup of freshly picked thyme, then add the other half of the bag of blooms. Steep in the fridge overnight and strain in the morning. It will go bright pink.
A warm sunny morning, rising to a high of 77F. Blazing sun despite some cloud cover.
Sunny and bright despite the clouds that become ominous early evening. Breezy and warm with a high of 68F.
More gorgeousness. A high of 81F with a mix of sun and clouds, early evening rain and fog on the peaks. A sultry day. Grasses are high and filled with ticks. Hay season on the horizon.
Sunny despite the milky blue cloud cover. Humid with a high of 82F. Balmy. Planting of seedlings continues.
A bright morning warming up to a sweltering high of 87F, well, sweltering for this time of year. Bees doing their first swarm of the season (the dark mass at top right).
A day of mixed cloud, but still hot in the sun, with a high of 83F. Another scorcher. Lilac blooms.
A high of 83F, humid and hot. Cool in the creeks.
A spring scorcher: a high of 76F and mostly sunny.
A warm morning, mostly sunny and a high of 73F. Brief mid-afternoon rain with the cloud cover breaking up into jigsaw puzzle pieces at sunset.
Warm and humid with milky blue clouds. A high of 71F.
A warm and sunny Saturday. Rolling clouds with grey undertones and a high of 71F.
Clear skies all morning with the odd faraway cloud and a hazy horizon, with clouds moving in mid-afternoon. Warm and humid with a high of 69F. Fields full of new white wild flowers to take over from the dandelions. Lilac budding. Brief early evening rain produces a double rainbow.
Balmy, with huge clouds looking like an armada of space ships and a high of 64F. Rivers still running high and spruce tips busting out.
Rolling clouds, a high of 61F with the landscape of greens becoming greener by the hour in the warm sunshine.
Periods of sunshine with billowing cloud and a high of 55F.