Beaverkill Community Church – Annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Caroling (and a party)

An early reminder to mark your calendars, the Beaverkill Community Church will once again be hosting its long-running Christmas Eve “Caroling by Candlelight” gathering. Singing begins at 8:00pm – afterwards all are invited to take the short walk up Craigie Clair Road to the Adams’ home, where festivities will continue. All are welcome, and its a great chance to bring visiting friends and family to meet the local residents.

For any additional details please email us at contact@beaverkillfriends.org.

DEC preps for new Covered Bridge Campsite Management Plan

Bill Rudge, Natural Resources Supervisor (Region 3) from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, visited the Beaverkill Covered Bridge Campsite this past Friday – to meet with FOBC representatives and discuss the DEC’s forthcoming Unit Management Plan for the campsite area. FOBC members Eric Hamerstrom, John Adams, Ramsay Adams, Patricia Adams and Josh Grier met with Bill to review intended areas of improvement and maintenance of the campsite area, and to offer additional ideas for the Plan to address.

This initial meeting was to give the DEC an sense the current concern and interest that local residents have about the campsite and bridge recreation area, in advance of a formal proposal from the DEC being presented to the general public for review and comment.

Ideas presented to Bill included (a) relocating the shower house from the west side of the river (therefor more accessible to overnight campsite patrons), (b) renovating both comfort stations to include showers for both campsite and day use visitors, (c) burying all power and telephone cabling visible on the site, (d) building a “interpretative trail” starting at the base of the bridge and heading downstream on the west side of the river, complete with informational plaques highlighting the history of the Beaverkill River and its importance to both NY State recreation and commerce since the 1800s, (e) renovating the “Ranger House” at the foot of the bridge and possibly building a pavilion structure, and (f) establishing a more organized and reliable system for day users to park cars and gain access to the day use area – particularly on the weekends each summer when we have noticed a significant increase in day use traffic.

Mention was also made of accommodating the fly fishing community by clearing and improving the two miles of public fishing access that is appurtenant to the bridge and campsite locations – the only significant stretch of public fishing access on the Upper Beaverkill River.

When the DEC makes it formal Plan available for public access, review and comment we will email the FOBC membership to make sure everyone interested has a chance to get involved in the process. This is a great opportunity for the Valley to see a new round of improvements from the State conservation resources.

Country Living

contributed by Peter Malik

We all know that nature is not always cute and benign. While direct clashes are not that common in our parts they do happen. So it was earlier this week when I arrived at the house. Upon opening the door I encountered knocked-over lamps, torn clothes, even a chair on its back. All over the floor and furniture were whiteish spots and splashes — some small, some quite big — which were clearly bird poop. Then I saw the door to the fire place open: and since we always close it before leaving it didn’t take a genius to conclude that the avian intruder entered the house via the chimney.

The startling thing was that the carnage was literally in every room, on both floors. As I cleaned, stripped beds and generally started putting things back together I kept thinking: is the bird still somewhere here and alive? Or dead? Unlikely it found a way out via the chimney again … It all felt anxiously exciting and somewhat spooky. Fast forward a couple of hours, no bird found and the house more or less back to normal; and then it occurred to me to look into the basement, the only place I haven’t been yet. Sure enough, there it was: a beautiful, large hawk, lying next to the boiler, interestingly with no signs of any injury.

The coda is disappointing. I took it to the compost, planning to return a bit later to take a picture that I can send to someone better than me at birds. But when I came back I found not a trace. A coyote or some such chanced upon a meal and took it home (the chance the hawk woke up and flew away is remote I think). So I will never know who the visitor was … maybe it’s enough to know that it was one of the faces of nature.

Two Events for July 20

Hello Friends, Please come enjoy the garden on our Open Day Saturday, July 20th from 10:00-4:00. We’ve been working hard to get the place ready for you!

Here is the link for information and directions. You can buy tickets online or just come and sign in here. (All proceeds go the Garden Conservancy.) You can go to any or all of the three gardens in Delaware County chosen by the Conservancy.

https://www.gardenconservancy.org/open-days/garden-directory/henderson-hollow-farm-mermer-blakeslee-eric-hamerstrom

Please feel free to forward this to anyone you know who loves gardens. Looking forward to seeing you, Mermer and Eric

Admission to this garden is $10 per person.
Children 12 and under are free.

Bridge Restoriation Update: The Boris Brothers and the Acrow Bridge

Contributed by Virginia Lawrence

Supervisor Joe Boris for the Bridge Rehabilitation Project
Master Carpenter John Boris standing in front of the Acrow bridge

Yesterday I walked down to the Covered Bridge in the early morning where I spoke with the Supervisor, Joe Boris, who explained that in the next two or three days the construction team was going to remove some shims, and that something (?) would be lowered by about 3 inches.

When I got home, I realized I didn’t really understand what was going to happen, so I went back to find out more.  During the course of three more trips to the covered bridge the Boris brothers, Supervisor Joe and Master Carpenter John, explained the bridge rehabilitation project in a very clear way.

Rehabilitation Project

John said that the bridge was constructed with a slight arch from end to end known as a camber.  He illustrated this concept by lacing his fingers together palms down.  When the bridge is resting on the two foundations at either end the weight of the bridge pushes down (he pushed his hands down), the trusses tighten, and the whole structure becomes rigid.

The diagonal lattice pieces were held together with wooden dowels, “trunnels” or “treenails.”  In order to replace the damaged timbers it would be necessary to remove the trunnels.   However, the camber  of the wooden bridge would first need to be loosened by raising the wooden bridge off its foundations.  Again, John illustrated with his hands.

The wooden trusses are pegged together with wooden dowels, known as either “trunnels” or “treenails.”
Photo Virginia Lawrence

Here is where the Acrow bridge came in.  An Acrow bridge, made of steel trusses, was assembled inside the wooden bridge.   It rested on the new stone ramp at one end and on Ragin road at the other  Once in place, it was raised with shims (small wedges) so that the wooden bridge was lifted off its foundations by about three inches.  With the wooden bridge hanging in place, supported by the Acrow bridge, the structure was no longer rigid.  The trunnels could be removed and the timbers replaced.

The gray steel structure behind the construction worker is an Acrow Bridge, a temporary extendible bridge.
Photo Virginia Lawrence

Timeline

In the next few days (July 19-22) the shims under the Acrow bridge will be removed, the Acrow bridge will be lowered about 3 inches, the wooden bridge will settle back onto its foundations, and lattices and trunnels will be tight again.  Joe told me the difference will not be visible. 

The Acrow bridge is due to be removed sometime in August, and that will be easy to see.

Location

John Boris says that he’s worked all over the place in the State of New York, but that this specific location is his favorite.  He has seen eagles flying over and trout jumping out of the river.  He loves being here because of the site’s peacefulness and beauty.

Footnote

Town’s Lattice Truss

Bridge Restoration Update: The Stone Ramp

Contributed by Virginia Lawrence

I was descending into a giant gravel pit.  July 18th.
Photos Virginia Lawrence

Having only website photos to keep myself up-to-date on the restoration of the bridge during my 10-month winter absence, I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked down there yesterday evening for the first time since my return.  As I came down the hill into the campsite, the bridge was not fully visible at first.  My impression was that I was descending into a giant gravel pit. 

Eric Hamerstrom had explained in February that a new temporary ramp had been built up to the height of the bridge floor so that long steel truss supports could be slid into place through the bridge. They were to rest on the new fill at one end and on Ragin road at the other, and would support the bridge from inside while the damaged wooden timbers were replaced.

There were plenty of photos of this ramp, of course, but the ramp itself never caught my attention.  I was more interested in the progress on the bridge.

Yesterday (July 17th) was Sunday, and in spite of the ongoing construction, the picnic area was full. I had seen a convoy of a vehicles drive in around 11am.  When I walked down there at 6pm the beach goers just packing up to go home.I went back down this morning (July 18th).  The beach goers were gone, but the construction workers had begun to arrive.

Straight ahead the Rangers’ garage.  The roof of the
Rangers’ cabin is visible at the left.  July 18th.
Stone ramp seen from the downstream side.
The gravel-covered beach is fully visible at left.
Stone ramp seen from the upstream side.  About 10
Sunday beach goers are still gathered round their picnic tables.
Closeup of the stone ramp seen from the upstream side.  
This stone ramp extends from the bridge to the
driveway of the rangers’ cabin.

Maple Syrup Saga

It just goes to show you, you never know what surprises are in store with you each sugar season. Whereas a few days ago, we thought we would fall short of our seasonal average by roughly 25%. However, with the excellent sapping conditions over the last few days and taking the time to clean the equipment we’re back making medium grad maple syrup and, in addition, we expect we’ll reach our seasonal average of about 35 gallons with 175 taps.

Considering the recent excellent sap flows (both clarity and volume) we decided to not to remove the bags/spiles yesterday extending the season for one additional day today. So, with the afternoon gather today, we’ll remove the 135 bags and spiles. Remember, Judy and I took down and removed 40 buckets and spiles on Tuesday. We cleaned the 40 buckets yesterday with hot water and bleach while we boiled to get a bit of a head start on the clean-up tasks.

Yesterday while Joan tended the evaporator (once fired up it can’t be left) with the help of Maureen (the “Machine”), Kevin, Judy (the faithful regular), Afrika and Heidi (the supervisors) we gathered another 80 gallons of clear as water sap. By the time we had boiled off that 80 gallons along with the 165 gathered the evening before we added another 5 gallons of delicious medium grade syrup to our total to date. A ratio of roughly 50 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup. We are tired, but, as the old times say and my buddy, Jim always says, “make hay (syrup) while the Sun shines (sap flows)”!

With the anticipated warm temperatures we will definitely take down the remaining 140 bags and spiles with the final gather this afternoon. The sap ran into the night last night and we expect another decent run today. So, our plan is to gather as late in the day as possible, say around 5-5:30 pm to get every last drop of 2019 sap and have enough daylight to remove the spiles.  

Full Report