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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fishing season of 2018 has come and gone with a sizzle rather than a bang, as here on October 15, the last day of the regular trout fishing season in New York, we remembered having a most unusual year.
It’s surprising to see the conditions of nature at this writing: we still have not had a frost. The Harvest Moon at the end of September came on a cloudy night, and therefore didn’t produce any frost as a typical cold, clear night would have during that full moon. I can’t ever remember not having frost by October 15 – and we’re still enjoying begonias and a huge bed of nasturtiums in the garden blooming merrily. In addition, we’ve found that fly-fishing activity this time of year has also been affected; fishing at Hazel Bridge on the Willowemoc, which is usually topnotch in late September and October, has been flat. Generally the frosts of late September bring a hatch that encourages the trout to rise, and fishing is productive in that long pool below the bridge; we’ve often fished it up till Veteran’s Day with good luck.
On my morning walk I cross the Covered Bridge and take the path that goes down the hill along the river. Hemlocks cover the bank there and underneath the trees is a carpet of stripped pinecones and pine nut seeds, left by red and grey squirrels. I’ve never seen them there but the evidence of major feeding is undeniable.
Our dog Lucy and I follow the path down along the river to a favorite stopping point where there is a nice variety of trees standing together; an oak, a maple, a sycamore, cherry, white pine and hemlock. We stop there so Lucy can have a swim and I scoop up a splash of Beaverkill water.
It was wonderful to see so many of you at our first ever Memorial Day Friendraiser! (And to those who couldn’t come – you were missed!)
The start of the summer means something different to each of us – but what I believe we share, is the joy and delight of being in our beautiful region enjoying good food, laughter, friends and family.
If you are new to our community and haven’t signed up for the email list or officially joined friends of the Beaverkill, you can do so on our website. And as a reminder the $25 to join FOB goes to help us put on community events, take care of the church, bridge and other key landmarks, and protect the beautiful natural environment that makes the Beaverkill a place we love to live.