A high of 78F, humid and sweaty with continuous rain showers.
A high of 78F and soggy with intermittent rain showers and brief periods of sunshine.
Compared to any of the Catskills 3500 hikes, Rochester Hollow is a gentle, family-friendly hike with not much of an elevation gain from the parking lot (about 850ft), and good for dogs in hot weather because it follows a creek for the first couple of miles.
Compared to Giggle Hollow, across the valley to the south west on Belleayre, its name is rather boring, but the trail is far from dull and is the home of a memorial (pictured above) to the late naturalist John Burroughs with a small stone seating area. Though the Rochester Hollow trail is relatively gentle, it’s still a worthy trek, the whole trail being a lasso-shaped loop that’s made up of three intersecting trails blazed red, blue and yellow for a total, round-trip length of 6.5 miles that can be completed by an experienced hiker in about 3 hours. Continue reading
78F and sunny with hazy clouds and a cooling breeze.
Finally, a chance to meet Laura Silverman when she conducted a nature walk at the Foxfire Mountain House on Sunday. Laura has recently opened The Outside Institute and has been a guest on the radio show on WIOX and featured on this website, but we had never met in person – a common dilemma in today’s working practices. The Foxfire property – an inn and wedding venue – abuts the Catskills Forest Preserve and we had a tour of local flora and fauna that included a brace of skittish turkeys, bullrushes, ancient grape vines, mugwort, wild thyme, sumac, a lonesome tinder polypore, milkweed and some poison ivy. Poison ivy is difficult to identify, but essential if you don’t want to be itching or burning your way through summer. Did you know you can eat bullrushes? The walk was followed by cocktails using local ingredients in Foxfire’s gorgeously appointed bar. The Outside Institute has published a field guide to the Hudson and upper Delaware valleys and we’re currently working our way through it.
88F, humid and breezeless, with brilliant sunshine. A sultry day.
The John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday July 15th, 2018 at 1pm.
The meeting will be open to the public and, after agenda items are discussed and trustees are voted in for another term, there will be a modest, family-friendly hike to the gorgeous new summer house, free gifts for attending (book, refrigerator magnet or CD) and light refreshments. Continue reading
It’s Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) in the Catskills. We have many voracious pests like the Emerald Ash Borer from Asia that is decimating the ash tree population of the Catskills. Ash trees are expected to be mostly extinct in the region in a few years’ time. Hemlock trees are also under threat from Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. The biggest way that invasive insects are transported is via wood like firewood. Never bring firewood to the Catskills from elsewhere for camping or cookouts. Always buy it here.
This week there are 17 events in the Catskills to highlight the growing problem from invasive species and help landowners and residents identify them.
Click on the Catskill Center’s link here to find out full details of all this week’s events that begin tomorrow, July 10th at 10am with a Mile A Minute Pull in Narrowsburg. This fast-growing vine threatens other native foliage by shading it out.
Scattered dark clouds and passing rain showers. A high of 86F, humid and sticky.
Hot and humid, with multifarious cloud cover and late afternoon thunder. A high of 88F.
Another scorcher, humid and sweaty with a high of 94F. Much cooler in the woods.
Another sweltering day with a high of 94F that cooled off to a balmy 79F with a stiff breeze waving the trees and scattered showers. Steamy.
A 94F scorcher, humid, sticky. Hottest day of the year so far. Time to spend a few hours in a creek.
A high of 84F, hot, sunny with clouds of cotton wool sailing high overhead.
An experienced, local beekeeper recommended that, because we have a developing, young hive, we should smear a small dollop of high-quality, raw honey on the landing pad for the bees to eat. This turned out to be another mistake and invited an attempted invasion by a group of opportunistic bees that were twice the size, just proving that beekeeping is such a personal endeavor subject to just about any possible variable. The survival of each hive is unique depending on location, weather, surrounding vegetation or position and each beekeeper should necessarily develop their own style.
The next mistake we made was at the time of the attempted robbery in trying to adjust the entrance reducer while they were defending the hive from the attack to prevent any more robbing bees from entering, but we just got attacked ourselves.
Hive robbing is a common problem during drought or hot conditions. A weak or young hive is especially vulnerable to attack when it hasn’t rained for a while, flowers are wilting or there’s little to no pollen around during that time between spring’s early blossoms like apple and the summer flowers like milkweed that’s just coming up now.
Our bees successfully fought off their attackers last week, but the bandits have returned today and there’s chaos at the front of the hive this afternoon. It makes for very angry bees and we’ve had a couple of bee stings today. We’ve left them alone to defend themselves and hoping for the best. To defend the hive they are darting around the front of the hive like bullets and “bearding” around the hive entrance. Beekeeping is not easy.
81F and mostly sunny, the wild roses have migrated from the road into our 3-acre field, specifically into a patch that we never mow because it’s too rocky. We’ve stopped mowing half the field to help out our new bees and getting a riot of color from the new wild flowers.
Summer Solstice has arrived, the longest day of the year and the shortest night, when the northern hemisphere is tilted as far north as it will go as it orbits the sun. After today, it will begin to swing backwards again until it’s the southern hemisphere’s turn to get all the light.
It’s time to light a big fire, hold hands and drink some vodka like the Swedes do. Over in England, they’ve been frolicking around some very old stones all day.
Go to CNN to find out about all the different celebrations happening on this day all over the world.
An 87F scorcher with hazy cloud and cool in the shade.
A high of 72F, bright with wispy cloud and hot in the sun.
A high of 70F with brief periods of sunshine.
A 72F high and mostly overcast with high winds scattering clumps of trees over fields, paths and roads. Down on the forest floor one type of large, gilled mushroom wildly proliferates.
An early rising scorcher, with a high of 82F, cooling quickly under cloud cover by afternoon.
Another overcast and humid day with a high of 69F.
A high of 76F and overcast with thick, milky cloud. Humid. Sultry.
The Pakatakan Farmer’s Market is up and running and this year. East Branch Farms are offering a variety of locally grown mushrooms and Madalyn Warren’s delicious kimchee: good probiotics for the gut. This week’s kimchee is rhubarb with ramps, wild dandelion and buchu with ramps. There’s also Honeybee Herbs and Kelley will be on my radio show on Monday on WIOX. Find these and a vast range of local goods, including local publisher, Purple Mountain Press at the Pakatakan Market on 46676 Route 30 in Halcotsville, New York. Saturdays. Hours: 9am to 2pm.
Find out exactly what’s going on from the market’s newsletter.
Please support your local community.
“Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start”. Anthony Bourdain. Continue reading
Bright despite being overcast with a cool high of 68F.
A chilly, windy morning with intermittent cold showers, overcast and humid. A high of 61F. And overnight low of 48F. A little hop backward for spring.
A soggy morning at 55F with trees sprinkling overnight rain into the cool breeze. Flashes of sun through the clouds in the afternoon for a high of 64F.
Upstate Dispatch is now the proud owner of a nucleus (“nuc”) of bees developed for us by a Hudson Valley beekeeper and after picking them up, and driving them home, through the Catskills for over an hour, they were pretty agitated. Not for them the excitement of driving over the top of Kaaterskill Peak, past Kaaterskill Falls in enigmatic fog. We installed them in their new home, gave them sugar solution and fresh water, but they remained pissed off for several hours, buzzing around the hive frantically and attempting to sting us. When bees are pissed off, they fly angrily, darting around like little black bullets, all in perfect unison.
When you pick up your bees, you should do so at twilight, after they have come back to their nuc or hive to rest. Drive them under cover of dusk and install them in the hive after dark. We did none of this because the timing was all wrong. The nuc was suddenly ready, without ample warning and we weren’t able to plan very well, but this is the essence of farming. You do the best you can and Mother Nature does whatever she wants. Continue reading
An overcast morning at 60F with a chilly breeze and hazy horizon, rising to a 65F high with brief interludes of afternoon sun and intermittent light rain showers.
A foggy, dewy, humid morning trawls into the afternoon for a high of 80F and a double shot of humidity. Steamy.
Lilac blooms don’t last long, at high elevations at least. A reminder of the fleeting nature of the seasons, the blossoms begin to brown and drop off barely week after the all buds on each stem have opened. It makes sense to snip a few to put in a vase or soak a couple of cups in syrup. Lilac syrup makes a subtle floral soda and pairs well with gin.
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of lilac blossoms, flowers only, not stems
You can make more syrup, but the ratio must be the same: 1:1 of water and sugar. Slowly boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved and let it simmer gently for on low for a minute until it’s syrupy. The thicker you want your syrup to be, the longer you should simmer it. Wait until the mixture has cooled a little: you don’t want to burn the flowers, but you want the mixture to be hot enough. Rinse the flowers in cold water and add them to the syrup. Stir the flowers gently into the liquid until they are soaked in syrup. Cover and steep overnight.
In the morning, strain the syrup a couple of times and bottle. Unless you preserve the syrup by canning or other means, it will last for a few months in the fridge.
Mix on ounce of syrup with six ounces of club soda and pour over ice.
Early morning fog lingers on the peaks, but otherwise blazing sunshine, rolling cloud and a high of 85F.
Humid, gloomy with thunder waiting in the wings all day and a high of 72F.
A warm sunny morning with a gentle breeze and a high of 83F. Feels hotter. Hop bines reach towards the sky.
A sunny morning and a scorching day with a high of 87F. Clear night sky to watch a full moon rise.
Humid and soggy with yesterday’s all-day rain. Another foggy morning. A high of 77F with clouds becoming sparse by afternoon.
A high of 87F with hazy skies. A scorcher.
A high of 80F with hazy cloud and bright sunshine. Balmy.
An overnight low of 52F and a gloomy morning turned into a sunny summer’s day with a high of 80F and scant cloud with a light breeze.
Simple syrup season is here – the time where we have lilacs, forsythia and other blossoms to soak in sugar water to make floral or fruit sodas and cocktails.
My rhubarb/vodka cocktail is called a Catskills cocktail is because we have burgeoning rhubarb with very little effort on our mountaintop here in the Catskills. Alan White of Two Stones Farm told us years ago to grow what thrives in abundance on your property and swap with your neighbors. So we’ve been growing rhubarb as thick as broomsticks for years. Animals avoid the leaves because they’re poisonous and because the rhubarb itself is bitter, but the fruit provides useful nutrients and fibre. The tartness of the rhubarb pairs well with the vodka. I also like to add a sprig or two of rosemary when cooking the syrup as I think the flavors pair well. Just the soda alone – the rhubarb juice and the sparkling water together – is delicious and refreshing. You can also use the rhubarb syrup as you would a liqueur in Prosecco or Champagne. Continue reading
Continual rain until mid-afternoon, as summer falters. Overcast and dripping wet with a high of 59F.
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In the midst of cabin fever the winter before last I was out in the freezing, driving rain with the dog and decided to make a trail out of an old logging road on our property. We’d been using this trail through the forest, the dog and I, for some time and, unexpectedly – because it was about -10F at the time – the urge to start a trail came over me. To this day, I’ve no idea what prompted this move, but back then I just didn’t want to go back inside. I traipsed around in the forest for a couple of hours collecting large stones with which to line the trail until I was soaking wet and my woolen gloves had numbed my hands. Over the past year, we’ve added to it by lining the trail with a branches that look like they might one day thicken like a hedgerow. Continue reading
A high of 56F with rain all day until 4.30pm. A drenched landscape shrouded in mist. Apple blossoms begin to open.
A high of 65F, bright with hazy cloud and warm in the sun. The forest fills in with chartreuse.
A high of 82F and sunny with hazy cloud. Dandelions attract bumble bees.
A high of 70F with huge, scene-stealing clouds and intermittent rain showers. Humid with early evening fog descending into the valleys and rising off the Esopus. Shoots a-shooting. Buds a-budding and the maple leaves unravel first. The forest comes alive and the soft earth ejects a few ancient objects.
A high of 82F with a brilliant blue sky filled with plump clouds. Bumble bees buzzing. May flies out in force.
A high of 75F with hazy clouds and hot in the sun. Trout Lilies begin to bloom.
I first encountered lion’s mane mushroom last August on a hiking trail. It was growing on a dead log and I took half of it home and sautéed it with scrambled eggs. It was delicious, meaty and delicately fragrant with the texture of lobster. The mushroom is a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients and is said to improve neurological function and alleviate anxiety.
A high of 70F with scudding clouds and mostly sunny with more yellow blooms arriving to keep the solitary daffodil company.
57F and raining all day. Seeds sprouting. Ramps thriving, but the memory of a long, hard winter is not yet cold. Harvesting wood to season for next year.
64F by 10am, sunny and warm with cotton wool clouds with a high of 75F. Be careful when moving rocks. Snakes doze under warm stones.
A high of 85F, overcast, humid with morning sun and then frequent, refreshing afternoon rain showers being the only thing that stop the flies from dive-bombing our eyeballs. Hazy like mother nature accidentally dropped a bag of flour somewhere on the horizon.
An 85F scorcher with gauzy cloud and a gentle breeze that keeps away the swarming mayflies. One solitary daffodil survived the wintery spring.
77F by the afternoon, with mostly clear skies. Birds chirping. Blooms and leaves continue to bud like they weren’t covered in snow yesterday. Most of the snow melted by dusk, even on the ski slopes.