Author Archives: JNUrbanski

Daily Catskills: 05/11/23

Baking in the sun with a high of 78F and an empty sky, save for the odd wisp of stray cloud, and throngs of dandelions taking flight in the light breeze like the tutus of tiny ballet dancers. The sky becoming more crowded late afternoon. A pre-summer scorcher.

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Daily Catskills: 05/04/23

“Empty your mind. Be formless, be shapeless, be water. You put water in the cup. It becomes the cup. Put water in the teapot. It becomes the teapot. Water can flow, drip creep or crash. Be like water, my friend.” Bruce Lee (who never labelled Tree Juice Maple Syrup). Yet more water falling from the sky causing impatience, and a high of 55F.

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Daily Catskills: 05/01/23

Rainy, overcast and chilly for most of the day with a high of 54F, but you would hardly believe that on the peaks at sunset, under a shining sky layered with milky blue whipped cloud. A glorious end to an unremarkable day.

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Daily Catskills 04/27/23

More gloom with brief flashes of sunshine, and a chilly breeze for a high of 57F. Late afternoon, a giant, gray, spaceship-sized cloud moves in that sprinkles very little rain, and moves on quickly leaving a few scattered remnants of itself behind to bask in a blazing, fiery sunset. A remarkable evening.

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Daily Catskills: 04/25/23

Cold, with a high of 48F and a chilly wind. A mostly gloomy day with the sun emerging late afternoon like it had spent all day a work. A beautiful evening.

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Daily Catskills: 04/22/23

A blazing sunny day. A high of 66F, but seemed much hotter, with fine cloud like a shroud until after 4pm when a thick pack of wadding rolled in and brought rain that got heavier in the evening, thunder, lightning, and a surprise tornado. Rain for the rest of the evening.

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Daily Catskills: 04/21/23

A scorcher: boiling hot, sunburnt arms, some interesting scanty cloud mid-afternoon that made the sky look like it’s going bald, and a high of 81F. Feels like summer, but the foliage is saying early spring. Daytime photo shoots for work, and soccer in Fleischmanns Park until sunset. (Dinner at Sam’s).

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Daily Catskills: 04/16/23

A bright, dewy morning with last night’s rain steaming into the sun. A warm, muggy day, with partial cloud cover and a high of 72F. A mass of clouds appeared just before sunset like a circus troupe had rolled into town for the evening, and tumbled around in the sky until sunset.

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Happy Winter Solstice from Upstate Dispatch

It’s the Winter Solstice 2022, the shortest day and longest night of the year, and the first day of Yule, an ancient pagan festival of lights lasting 12 days, just one of many such festivals in the northern hemisphere. We wish you seasons’ greetings on this day, and warm tidings. Yule is all about keeping the fire alive, and making sure you and your community stays warm. May you all have some extra light in your life this season, and some time outdoors with fresh air, a big fire, delicious food, and good company.

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Fruit Smoothies

I’ve been asked to put my smoothie and tonic recipes on the website. Along with my curry sauce, this food has stopped me from getting sick these past few years.

Apples and blueberries grow really well in the Catskills region and there are plenty of U-pick places, like Blue Sky Farm & Winery in Stamford, who have 5 acres of blueberries. You can pick as many as you’d like and freeze them for the winter. I picked 20lbs of blueberries this summer and I have almost finished them. I put them in a smoothie – straight out of the freezer – that I eat every day.

I also make a high-calorie smoothie for the maple tapper in my life. Jake – who is 6 ft 6 – has to hike all over the mountains working in the forest, fixing lines and tapping trees in freezing cold weather. This smoothie gives him energy and stops him from getting sick. It’s made in a Nutribullet.

The curry sauce recipe that I developed over the winter has also helped keep illness at bay, but you will find this in the winter issue of the print version of Upstate Dispatch, sold at Roxbury General, Diamond Hollow Books and Tree Juice Maple Syrup.

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Upstate Dispatch Winter Print Issue

We’re very proud to announce that the Winter 2022 Issue of Upstate Dispatch was published last year and is available for sale. It’s been a serious challenge to be a novice publisher, but the outpouring of enthusiasm has been hugely encouraging. As a writer, I was convinced that readers still wanted some print materials and I was right to take the leap.

There’s so much distraction on the internet that avid readers are moving away from it. The last month has shown me that readers consider a book or magazine to be a rare treat and a small luxury in trying times. I worked hard for eight years on the website, bringing a wealth of information on the area to thousands of readers, and I was dedicated to making the magazine beautiful. I hope you’ll invest in a copy.

Find copies at the Tree Juice Maple Syrup store, 59 Rider Hollow Road, Arkville, NY 12406, Diamond Hollow Books in Andes, and Roxbury General store, in Roxbury, NY.

You will soon find the magazine in select independent book stores in New York City, but for now, those outside the Catskills area can order their copy by emailing [email protected]. The price for mailing within New York State is $20, plus $5 postage and packaging.

Please watch this post for changes as we expand our availability.

In the magazine, you’ll find winter recipes, interviews, essays, recommended reading and some of the best images of Catskills winter hiking in one beautiful issue.

Andes Academy of Art

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The first piece of art I bought was in a basement underneath one of the pylons of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1998. The interior of this labyrinthian basement had been painted white and divided into booths by artists who couldn’t find representation. I bought an oil painting by Lisa Creagh for $900 and paid for it in installments over three months. Brooklyn artists would inhabit empty shopfronts in the desolate parts of Brooklyn, like Greenpoint and Williamsburg near the waterfront back in the nineteen-nineties. That memory returned to me when I went to hang my work in the basement at The Andes Academy of Art in Andes.

The Academy had its first exhibit of small works beginning with an opening reception on October 29th, 2022. I was honored to be included, and excited to be part of this talented group, offering one of my bird illustrations in watercolor. Also included is work by William Duke, Gary Mayer, and the inestimable Sandy Finkenberg, among others. Life drawing alongside Sandy and hearing her greatest tips has been a highlight of my year. The extraordinary artist Peter Mayer, who as a life drawer has a unique talent for capturing a subject’s stance and posture (“if you’re having problems getting it, start with the feet”, he told me), draws small figures on massive pieces of paper that have been papered to the walls in the bathroom at the Academy.

Thanks to William Duke for bringing us together; the camaraderie is real, as artists almost never get together in large groups like we have been. The life drawing class has been a bit of a lifeline this year and we’ve reached our fifth year of sketching, having started out in 2017 at Willow Drey Farm.

A broadsheet is published monthly, called State Of The Art beginning November 2022 which details art news in the Catskills.

Andes Academy of Art, 506 Main Street, Andes, NY 12444. Open Saturdays 2-4pm until December 10th, 2022.

Daily Catskills: 10/27/22

A cloudy morning, clearing up to a sunny afternoon with a high of 57F. Fall is over at higher elevations, but there are still hardwoods hanging on to their leaves downhill.

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Daily Catskills: 10/26/22

Misty and humid with blustery afternoon rain and a high of 71F. Fall is on the wane, but the oaks, beech and ironwood are still hanging on.

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Daily Catskills: 10/24/22

Mostly overcast with a low blanket of mist, and humid with the occasional peep of sun, a sprinkle of rain carried over from last night and a high of 65F. 2022 is having a spectacular, drawn out fall and now we are deep into the earth tones of the giant oaks: copper, gold and brassy brown.

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Daily Catskills: 10/23/22

Overcast with the odd glimmer of sun and still balmy for the season with a high of 61F. The fall colors are now the golden, brassy, maroon and copper tones of the oaks and ironwood, and some of these trees are still green.

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