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Quick Links

First Day of Spring
Patricia Adams
details

Hand-me-down dreams of a
White Christmas

Susan Deer Cloud

here

Winter Fun
Lloyd Barnhart
here

Shy Bird
Susan Deer Cloud
here

Quieter Times in Their Hands
Susan Deer Cloud
here

Laraway Hollow Flora & Fauna 2013
John Kelly
here

Book Review: On Nov 11,
2013 the Theology Group
discussed Reza Aslan's book
ZEALOT

Tim Foote
here

Swims with Frogs: Memorial Day 2012 at the Beaverkill Campsite
Susan Deer Cloud
here

Summer's End
Lloyd Barnhart
here

The Wind River
Lloyd Barnhart
here

The Herbivore Wars
John Kelly
here

Spring Sneaks In
Linda Chisari
here

In Celebration of Darkness
Patricia Adams
here

Big Mama of the Beaverkill
Patricia Adams
here

Birds, Beetles, and Bears
John Kelly
here

A Wee Bird
Patricia Adams
here

Writers corner

 

Nature Watch:
Spring Colors in the Beaverkill
Contributed by Patricia Adams, May 21, 2016

This spring has been slow, with snow falling as late as May 15, but perhaps this has enhanced the colors that we’ve seen. Rather than spring bursting out in full color, the greens have slowly gotten richer while the yellows and whites deepened. Yellow primrose and blue violets blanketed the forest.

The fresh green grass provided a perfect background for new visitors in our back yard. For the first time we saw Scarlett Tanagers, who at first look like Cardinals but are much more orange and brilliant. Migs Wright and I were walking up by Beech Hill Road and a beautiful tanager hoped along beside us for at least a quarter of a mile. One afternoon we saw two Indigo Buntings sharing the yard with a couple of Robins and at lease six Goldfinches. They were all eating dandelion seeds. We’ve had one of the largest crops of dandelions as well.  Two Baltimore Oriels are back, fusing at one another.  We usually have two nests, at opposite ends of our lawn. We haven’t seen a bluebird, although others have seen them in the valley.

A beaver has been working hard in the stream that flows by Sally Shea’s. He/she has a series of dams that seem to grow almost daily. However, I’ve never see the beaver at work. But last week I did see a head moving through the water, so I crouched down to watch what was happening. This animal smoothly swam up past the dams holding green grass in its mouth. It dove down into a hole by the side of the stream and then surfaced. But it wasn’t a beaver, it was a Muskrat. I watched as she made three trips with grass to her den, so must have a brood there. We’ve also seen a muskrat in our pond. (Which unfortunately will have the invasive lilies blanketing the pond again this year. We do have a clear reflection pond from October to May, but the lilies return regularly.)

The peepers have left but we have a whole new crop of singing frogs along the banks of the river. We keep watching for newts but have only seen a few. Snakes have emerges but are moving slowly.
Above I’ve been watching the pair of Blue Heron’s we see each year and I’m trying to figure out where they have built their nest. Last year it was in the tall hemlocks on the West side of the river just down the river from the bridge. We also have a pair of eagles that fly up and down the river, but no idea where they have their nest.

On the ground and in some bare branches I saw hundreds of spider webs on Mother’s Day. I was amazed at how quickly they had appeared. But was even more amazed at how quickly they disappeared; they were all gone on Monday morning. We did have a heavy rain that night but how ephemeral those delicate looking but strong little webs are John Burroughs said, “To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday.”  I’ve found I learn a great deal by taking the same morning walk along the Beaverkill.

 


SPRING TONIC
by Lloyd Barnhart
posted April 10th, 2016

A long, hard winter
Kinda wears a man down;

Puts him in need of a tonic
To perk up his body and nourish his soul.

Best choice by far is a meal of fried trout;
Brookies, fresh caught from a mountain stream,

Sided by a slightly wilted salad
Of fresh picked dandelion greens.

First, fry up a batch of good bacon
And save the grease;

Use a tablespoon or two for your salad
And the rest to fry your fish.

Dry coat the trout for frying
With flour and cornmeal.

Add some crumbled bacon and sweet onion to your greens;
Toss with a dressing of vinegar and warm bacon grease.

Fry your trout to a crispy brown;
Serve with that salad and hot, black coffee.

Trust me……
You will feel much better after a meal like this!!

 

FRISBEE
A Local Inventor Wonders Whether He Tossed Away a Fortune

Tim Foote, Sports Illustrated, November 25, 1985 - posted 10/01/15

... Our version was launched in the summer of 1937. My brother and I lived in upstate New York, surrounded by woods, a spacious though rather rough lawn with a long looping driveway once covered with tons of loose stone. We had no one to play with, except for some cats and an old setter. In those days, though, everybody knew how the impoverished Dean brothers, Dizzy and Daffy, had become star pitchers simply by playing two-man ball on their Missouri farm with a hunk of 2X2 as a bat, and rocks for a ball. Within three years we managed to throw most of the loose stone into the woods, often at high rates of speed. It was when stones became scarce that we invented the Frisbee. ...

full version in pdf format

 

 

TROUT FEVER
by Lloyd Barnhart
posted May 31, 2015

It was always suspicioned
That he had contracted the ailment from his grandfather,
Who had suffered from its chronic form his entire life,
And was therefore contagious.

They had played together
In cold mountain brooks
And caught native brookies
With their hands and rudimentary fishing tackle.

As he matured, the fever intensified:
He moved on to bigger streams and bigger fish.
He soon learned to outwit browns and rainbows alike;
No trout were safe from him!

He became enamored with fishing tackle:
He would do anything to catch a nice trout.
He traveled anywhere and everywhere in their pursuit;
He even took up fly fishing!

But, then, like his grandfather, he grew old.
He no longer wished to travel long distance to catch trout;
He longed for simpler times;
He longed for small streams and native brook trout!

And so, his fever abated;  He returned to small mountain brooks:
He returned to Beaverkill tributaries...Spring Brook, Berry Brook, et. al.
In search of those precious native brook trout.
And his grandson went with him!

 



The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper

by Timothy Foote, review by Virginia Lawrence

posted January 16, 2015

 
Front cover.  Big Ben at the wheel weariing an
old-fashioned boater hat and a mask
as a disguise.  Drawing Norman Chartier
Click on image to enlarge.

A group of desperate and daring raccoons organizes a bold hijacking scheme when their lush food supply is threatened by a pair of efficient young garbage collectors.

continuation

 


The Day After

  contributed by Patricia Adams, September 15, 2014

Walking through the campsite just after it is closed for the season on Labor Day is always a mixture of  memories/nostalgia and a nice sense of quiet and calm after the busy summer. All summer there is the sound coming from the campsite of parents calling, children shouting,  dogs barking and vehicles moving, a pleasant sound that suggests people are having a good time together by the river. On my first walk ‘the day after’ I can see little doll size play houses a child has left – sticks holding up a flat stone for the roof, pinecones placed around for trees. There are also numerous ‘cairns’ – collections of stone left by someone working on their own pattern in nature.  Flat rocks are placed to make paths to the river edge where little pools, a perfect size for toddlers have been built.

continuation

 

Late Summer Bouquet

by Lloyd Barnhart

September 5, 2014

 

For white, there is lace...
Queen Anne's, that is.

Early white asters, and
Daisy fleabanes jump in as well.

That bit of yellow in the fleabanes
Complements the vibrant yellow of Goldenrod.

For a splash of something brighter,
Add some Joe-Pye-Weed.

For an earthier look,
Include a few deep brown Cattail spikes.

Arrange these natural beauties in a tall vase
For a centerpiece to brighten up your table.

And, worry, not, about picking these wildflowers;
Mother Nature has produced many, and likes to share!

 

ALIEN ANIMALS

by Lloyd Barnhart

May 30, 2014

Awhile back, I thought we had flying horses hereabouts;
They turned out to be screech owls!

A few days ago,
I thought we had chimpanzees in our trees:

As I sat in early morning darkness,
Hoping to hear a turkey gobble,
I was startled by the first "HOOOAH!!"

That was soon followed by a dueling chorus of
Barks...chuckles...huffs and whoofs.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up;
Shivers ran up my spine!

I was relieved when the tree toppers let loose with calls
That identified them as local friends, not alien foes.

"WHO COOKS FOR YOU?"
"WHO COOKS FOR YOU ALL?"

Aha...It was a pair of barred owls
Singing their good night song.

 

First Day of Spring

by Patricia Adams

posted March 21, 2014

March 20 was a typical Beaverkill spring day. It rained hard the night before and in the morning the roads and paths were sheet ice. It was cloudy, and occasionally spit snow and then everything seemed to relax and snow flakes drifted down. Then, within a half hour, the sun broke through in a soft blue sky. I could feel the warmth of the sun and suddenly the blackbirds were calling and the doves were sweeping up together from the bird feeder to the hemlock trees.

Then the clouds came back, the wind came up and it was bitter cold.
I thought of the old phrase, if you don't like the weather - wait for 5 minutes. But signs of spring are here and although the snow is packed hard at the height of about a foot, 'mud season' (as John likes to call it) has started and the water is running down gullies and along the road. Big patches of brown grass and mud are appearing. Our pond and Lake Waneta are still frozen - but I don't think it's safe to walk on them, even though you could only a few days ago.  The sap has been slow to rise, but Carl Obecny is getting some syrup.

There are deer everywhere, looking ragged but bold in their efforts to get some food. They come to to bird feeder and even if Lucy runs out to bark at them, they just go a little ways and look back as if to say, "Are you done yet? I want to get back and finish my meal."

Ice has pretty much gone out of the river although there is still a dense crust of ice along the river edges. We saw a fisher martin (?) down by the metal bridge a few days ago. No bear have been seen yet.

The beauty of being here now is that every day we see a change - a slow, back and forth movement towards spring.

 

 

Hand-me-down dreams of a White Christmas

by Susan Deer Cloud

posted December 18, 2013

 

 
Irving Berlin's house in Turnwood. It was here that Deer Cloud's auburn haired grandmother worked, washing floors and China and dusting off his piano where sometimes he sang “White Christmas.”  Photo Susan Deer Cloud 12/19/13. 
Click on images to enlarge.


 

~ and this story a hand-me-down from
my Aunt Pat, as much as the 12 K gold locket
she once bequeathed to me, my Indian grandfather’s
teenaged face so handsome inside its filigree heart
I even fell in love with him a little ~

~ as much as my first ice-skates,
oversized hockeys handed down to me
by my cousin, Jimmy, as much as
torn long johns passed on
by an older brother so I wouldn’t shiver
too much when I skated and tried to fly
until the tears next to my skin might feel holy ~

~ like the polka dot dress
I still wear in the sole studio photograph
taken of me, my brothers and baby sister,
the summery dress my mother bought
for ten cents at a rummage sale
because her daughter thought circles
beautiful ~

~ and wasn’t it a bargain, my long dress
of many colored circles kissing my bare
legs with each step ~

~ yes, this hand-me-down story returning
as autumn revolves into winter solstice,
when “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”
yearns once more through TVs, radios,
mall loudspeakers and Facebook postings ~

~ Aunt Pat describing
my auburn haired grandmother
working at Irving Berlin’s Catskill home,
washing floors and China and dusting off
his piano where sometimes he sang “White Christmas” ~

~ grandmother who never lost
her Irish freckles when the winters whitened,
whose skin glistened as white snow fell
and kept on falling as snow would do
during World War II ~

~ every morning my grandfather
drove my grandmother to Berlin’s
Turnwood house painted as snow,
glimmering like elusive purity
on the other side of Shin Creek,
behind high fence whose wood allowed
glimpses between a million slats
into a magical life ~

~ each sunset my stone mason grandfather
picked up my grandmother in his blue Ford
with the running boards, both of them
wearied down to Empty
and traveling the dirt roads back ~

~ in those ration days when sleigh bells
no longer jingled along horses’ rippling flanks,
no gaiety of tossed mane or exuberant snort,
only my freckled grandmother who had lost
her mother and favorite brother, Everett,
who played his fiddle at dances the same
as their red-haired father did, also dead ~

~ and here Aunt Pat’s voice always tightens,
“Uncle Everett was killed at the Battle of the Bulge,
all they sent my grandmother was his violin” ~

~ my aunt’s hand-me-down story
making me stumble as those thick-bladed
hockey skates made me trip when I sliced them
across river ice, second hand tears making me
feel like falling snow covering over
the story of my grandmother at Irving’s house ~

~ and in my falling I hear the Jewish immigrant
sing in a distant room while my grandmother dreams
of days she “used to know,” while my mother
is carrying my oldest brother, and my father
is being shot on a Pacific island right as I’m dreaming
my spirit here ~

~ O Mr. Wonderful Irving Berlin, did you ever
get a clear glimpse of my grief-skinned grandmother,
gentle lady who made your mountain house 
so bright ~


 

Winter Fun

by Lloyd Barnhart

posted December 18, 2013

 

The Beaverkill seldom froze over solid
Back when we were kids.

We longed for those far too seldom days
When ice was thick and safe for us to play on.

Safe ice gave us an opportunity
To enjoy our river during the “off season”.

Moms, of course, worried about this;
They insisted that a responsible adult check the safety of the ice.

Just plain skating was our favorite frozen river pastime
On the bigger eddies that froze first.

The old Parish swimming hole and Pete’s Eddy
Were usually first to freeze.

It was fun to get off the mill pond and on the river
Where we could catch the wind and glide effortlessly.

On those rare occasions when the rapids froze,
We were treated to a rough, wild, exciting downstream ride!

At some point, we started playing our version of “hockey”:
Ice chunks for pucks…bent root saplings for sticks.

Most games were one-on-one, or two-on-two;
Only loosely did they resemble the real sport

To a kid, we preferred plain old skating over hockey:
Skating was free and easy;  Hockey was competitive and had rules.

We were especially fortunate when some of the local men
Invited us to join them for some ice fishing.

“Hooking Suckers” was the traditional local form of ice fishing,
Practiced by the likes of Charlie Allen, John Gilmore and Walt Maus.

These and other good old boys often took us kids along
And taught us how to fish in this unique way.

They taught us how to drive ‘em…How to hook ‘em;
And, afterward, even suggested how to cook ‘em!

I remember falling through the ice, hooking on Barnhart’s;
Daubek said, “You came out a helluva lot faster than you went in!”

We hooked on Cairns’ one cold January day;
Jim cut the holes:  24” of ice, with his chainsaw!

Been better than half a century since I played on Beaverkill ice.
But the memories are vivid;  I replay them often.

When I do…I’m young again, and
Enjoying good old-fashioned WINTER FUN !!!

 

Nature Watch:
First Winter Storm

by Susan Deer Cloud

posted December 12, 2013

 

Shy Bird
 

In first winter storm
a bird much like a snowbird
flashes to feeder
feathers mottled white and grey

A field of wild snow her hair

Lift up camera
surprise of bird flies away
in air wings unnamed
in mist mountains disappear

A shawl of shyness her skin

 

 
   
 
Photos Susan Deer Cloud.  Click on images to enlarge.

 

Quieter Times in Their Hands

by Susan Deer Cloud

posted December 12, 2013

 
 

Ice gardenias swirl from sky dark as Lady Day’s hair,
no sound.  Snow petals touch to earth, touch
after touch, and isn’t it all so soft
as kiss after kiss?

And nowhere to go, roads un-ploughed.

We talk of this afterwards …
what we women did that day similar to long slow days
of our grandmothers and great grandmothers.

One of us baked bread for the other women in her house.

One of us strung a necklace of glass beads color of her sister’s eyes.

One of us wrote a letter the old way, in green calligraphy, for her man.

One of us dreamed a poem by west window while her cat chased snow.

I was the one who tugged on white buffalo coat and sheepskin boots,
trudged through storm to forge a snow angel with the wings of my arms
flying in the rapture of millions of snow crystals making unique
love to my mouth, cheeks, eyelids, hair.

We women speak of that Catskill snowfall even now …
as my grandmother used to tell me of the days of sleighs and horses
and flashing bells, and once inside the house the kerosene lamps lit,
hands held near woodstove flames before her father took his fiddle out.

When it snows we women say we wish, we wish,
yearn for the prancing horses, bells, the fiddler’s music,
ancient dance so wild and whirling …

when women hold quieter times in their hands.

 

 

Nature Watch:
Laraway Hollow Flora & Fauna 2013

by John Kelly

posted December 11, 2013

 

Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter.  Photo John Kelly.
Click on image to enlarge.

 

This is just to give some brief 2013 notes on plants, domestic, and animals, wild.  Whether or not a given year or place is demanding of anecdote, I think that over time and with a number of reports, however mundane, something interesting can evolve.   I’ll start entomologically this year by saying no monarchs remembered, very few Japanese beetles or indoor ladybugs, and little bag worm activity.

As to the animals, we saw a spike in the chipmunk population which was the greatest since our great infestation during the Clinton presidency.  That story remains to be told in a further chapter of The Herbivore Wars.  At the same time, the house mouse population dropped close to nil.  I have no theories as to either of these demographics. Some evidence that the chipmunks got thru the electric net into the garden, but damage was minimal, though pole beans were decimated and might have been plundered by climbing chipmunks or leaping deer.  Only one woodchuck sighted, but if it had done the beans [that were not within the net], the poles and strings would have been beaten down while in fact the beans and leaves were rather delicately, albeit thoroughly, ravaged.  A good corn crop, but stalks in the center [only] of the patch were broken and ears devoured.  The net seemed intact, and I have no certain idea of the identity of the marauders that just might have been deer jumping the perimeter fence and the net though I saw no hoof marks.  A limited plundering is not my usual experience, but I’m happy enough to tithe the brutes, if my own mite is preserved.

We always experiment with many varieties of tomato, divided between garden store, hopefully foolproof, hybrids, and heirlooms from Trina’s Silver Heights Farm in Cochecton.  Always lots of cherry and plum varieties on the theory that they should do better with our short seasons and morning hill shadow.  In the beginning of the season we had likely our best crop, ever, of all varieties.  Amid leafy profusion, green tomatoes of all sizes, shapes, and bloodlines.  But they seemed to glory too much in their own promise and stayed in green mode, and stayed and stayed as the weeks passed.  No ripening to speak of till September, and then the ripening and the rot seemed neck and neck to the end.  The best tomato in the plot?  It turned out to be not a tiny cherry but the classic heirloom, the huge beefsteak, Radiator Charley’s Mortgage Lifter, and some related varieties.  Almost filled two hands, ripened well, and the best old fashioned flavor of the lot.  This has happened before.  I commend them to you, though you may get only a couple of fruits per plant.

full text in pdf format

 

 

Book Review:

On November 11, 2013 the Theology Group discussed Reza Aslan's book ZEALOT.  Tim Foote, a member of the Group, offers his perspective.

posted 11/30/13

Click on image to enlarge

Though Aslan is best known as an apologetic historian of Islam, he begins Zealot by conceding that Jesus’ life changed the history of the world, swiftly adding that hardly only a few scraps of historically verifiable evidence exist about that life. Relying on those scraps as if they were Holy Writ, he soon justifies one of the book’s breathless jacket blurbs : “Aslan rips Jesus out of all the contexts we thought he belonged in and holds him forth as someone entirely new. A passionate Jew, a violent revolutionary, a fanatical ideologue.”

The Gospels, he says, must be accepted purely on faith, or (often) not accepted at all--being famously contradictory, all written decades after the events described by men who had not been witness to them.

The confusion in the Gospels is hardly news, these days. Still, strewing footnotes and Biblical citations along the way, Alsan pursues his thesis with surprising zeal. Forget gentle Jesus meek and mild. Not to mention “Blessed are the peacemakers.” The whole Sermon on the Mount. The overarching philosophical message of the Gospels, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

continuation

 

Swims with Frogs
Memorial Day 2012 at the Beaverkill Campsite

November 11, 2013 - by Susan Deer Cloud

© Susan Deer Cloud June 8, 2012

 

Girl catching frogs with butterfly net, Beaverkill River. 
Photo © Susan Deer Cloud. 
Click on image to enlarge.


No one knows what Indians called this river.
It only carries the Dutch name for stream, kill
mated to English beaver breeding female sex jokes. 

Memorial Day July hot, she walks
to the Beaverkill to swim.  These Catskills
are glutted with kills

name conjuring up
extinct panthers who once sleeked
through blue hemlocks’ manitou.

Before she sees, she hears them …
not panther screams but some music
vibrating soft inside the bright heat.

Nearing sandy beach
she spots tree frogs, hundreds
puffing out pale throats

to create courtship music,
bobbing along water’s surface
frogs atop each other …

rainbow colors, myriad sizes …
mating in clear amber above
slippery river rocks,

everybody dumbly happy,
children squealing, kneeling
close to let froggies

make love to hands or feet,
while across the Beaverkill
swallowtail butterflies flash forth

from chrysalides in May trees,
wings small suns glinting
yellow in current sparkles

where she floats among
balloon-throated princes singing
to be kissed out of their skins.

 

Beaverkill rocks, Frog color of rocks rockin' n' rollin' on rock.
Photo © Susan Deer Cloud. 
Click on image to enlarge.
  
Beaverkill frog showing what sexy looks like.
Photo © Susan Deer Cloud. 
Click on image to enlarge.

FROG blowing out throat.
Photo © Susan Deer Cloud. 
Click on image to enlarge.

Swallowtail butterflies hatching out and whirling all around
over the diving rock near the bridge. 
Photo © Susan Deer Cloud. 
Click on image to enlarge.


Summer's End

September 4, 2013 - by Lloyd Barnhart

Golden rod and Joe Pye weed are abundant,
Along with the sad sounds of late summer.

Labor Day has come and gone;
Summer is over!

I’m way too old
To worry about going back to school.

As a retired teacher,
I worry not about going back to work.

But, the dread returns anyway;
Not as bad as in the past, but still there.

To find comfort, I must go home
To the maternal mountains and streams of my youth.

The Catskills and the Beaverkill
Beckon me!

Just a short visit will restore my soul,
And give me strength to welcome Fall.

 

The Wind River

July 24, 2013 - by Lloyd Barnhart

 

Sometimes, she flows slow and warm;
Like to put you to sleep.

Other times, she flows fierce, fast and cold;
Gets you to looking for a place to hole up.

Most times, she’s just there;
Kinda like background music.

She’ll whoosh through the evergreens;
And rattle through the hardwoods.

And, when coursing through cottonwoods,
You’d swear she babbles!

You can’t fish in her;
She won’t float your boat.

But she’s a mighty fine river
Just the same!

 

The Herbivore Wars

May 16, 2013 - by John Kelly

 

Eager of eye; long of claw! Photo John Kelly. 
Click on the picture to enlarge.

For the 41 years, save the snow seasons, that we’ve sojourned in Laraway Hollow, we’ve been beset by beasts. I look back on continuous combat against a diverse horde of creatures who want what we have in the flower, vegetable, and fruit (soft and hard) line, and, unhappily, the strength and instinctive cunning to get it. I’ve long thought that it could be helpful for those who follow, particularly those who garden the hills, to sketch something of the campaigns, battles, and skirmishes we have known, in victory and defeat, with the hope that, somehow, sometime, someone may draw a useful lesson.

Unfortunately, the full story, given the duration of the fight and the number and diversity of the brutes in question----and we’re talking towards a dozen mammalian species alone---would require volumes--think Decline and Fall. Giving due recognition to the patience of the Friends, the first realistic order of the business following requires the limitation of the scope of the enterprise.    

full text>>

 

Spring Sneaks In

May 1-8, 2013 - by Linda Chisari

 

Wild Hydrangea.  Photo Linda Chisari 
Click on the picture to enlarge.

This is the week when Spring snuck in. Even though we were advised by Weather.com that the time was nigh, it was the scrim of scarlet buds on the hillside that announced Spring's arrival.....just colored enough to announce their rebirth, but not so dense as to obscure the still-brown hillsides of winter.

With each day come advancing pastels of yellow and chartreuse, lining the roadsides with a lacy screen. Closer viewing allows us to see starbursts of lime green leaves opening to the warmth of the sunny days.

The river can be seen sparkling through the trees, its clear water unmuddied by rain. A rainbow of rock colors is visible through the water; trout wisely seek shadows on these clear blue days.

At night, the deep blue skies are studded with stars. Since there is no moon, the galaxy's jewels have no competition for their pinpoints of light.

Birds announce their arrival, the females softly twittering about  in search of twiglets for nesting while the males herald their fitness as fathers in loud clear voices.

Sparkling white plates of wild hydrangeas lift their faces to the branch-filtered sunlight while, at their feet, trout lilies celebrate the onset of another fishing season, Spring Beauties blush, and Ostrich Ferns begin unfurling to take in summer's warmth.

 

In Celebration of Darkness

Patricia Adams February 15, 2012 

This is ‘the darkest time of year’, with the longest nights and shortest days. Late November and early December is a time of darkness, black tree trunks, grey skies, black water in ponds at dusk, all as we ‘descend’ into the deep midwinter and the solstice.

continued here

 

Big Mama of the Beaverkill

Patricia Adams October 12, 2011 

On October 2, they were all gone. Hundreds of them scattered, off into the world to fend for themselves. Their home remained, still sturdy in spite of the winds and rains of Hurricane Irene. I blew on it lightly, just to make sure. Not a movement. The spiders had left their secure home, a web which was attached to the water fountain.

continued here


Birds, Beetles, and Bears

October 11, 2010 - John Kelly

I think posts of sightings, no matter how episodic, anecdotal, and unscientific, are interesting and will become more and more so, and maybe even useful, over time. Here are some of my most recent ones:

Saw the same crowd of post adolescent, uber robust, frequent flier wannabe robins that visited Patricia at about the same date in September. Haven't seen this type of mob before. Also, no monarchs at all. The tiger swallowtails still show the flag.

Very oddly, no [or very few] Japanese beetles. Usually the grape vines are crawling with them. Reasonable sightings of turkeys; one flock of at least 13, two hens, no males. Not much coyote howling in Laraway Hollow, tho a pack must have made a kill around mid-day last Sunday as we were leaving, celebrating with the usual bloodcurdling shrieks and cries. Much woodchuck action, but this will take a full historic and analytic essay. Lady deer in usual numbers and frequency--they show at the top of the meadow around cocktail hour. Not trying to cadge an invitation I think, but they stare in a most wistful way. A group of five last week with one quite young--I hope not the coyote victim.

Bears. No sightings this year and no evidence of presence. Second hand, I'm told of several sightings and porch entries at the Lotz house on the banks of the Willowemoc across from the revivified Beaverkill Garage. Also have gotten more general word of unusual numbers of bears near the river on downstream towards Roscoe. Further to bears, I am glad that this venue has become available even tho I came up dry this year.

I have found that it is impossible to relate a bear story in this group. Hardly before even the briefest and most colorful tale can be completed, a distant look comes into the eye of the Beaverkill listener, and he or she is off their own bear story, obviously topping your own.

And indeed, if the listener has no bear story to claim, they will come up just as quickly with a second hand story of how their friend Blotz managed to talk to a bear. The written word, however, foils them, and I only regret that the ursines shunned me this year.

 

A Wee Bird

Patricia Adams October 2, 2010

Louis Shawcross is the son of our cousin Neil Shawcross, who is a painter and many of the Friends bought paintings of Neil''s when we had a show for him up at the Gallery in Lew Beach a few years ago. Louis showed up at our door step, after hitch hiking from Vermont where he worked in a camp for children with disabilities.He had lost his wallet and passport so had no money or ID so stayed a month with us while he got things cleared up.I wrote about this incident to our family.

Thursday morning I was getting ready to leave to do my spots for WJFF and I saw Louis from my office window. He was walking slowing around under the apple tree looking at something in his hand. It looked like he was texting on his blackberry,  but Louis doesn’t have a blackberry. I finished up what I had to do and then as I was leaving, I went out and asked him what he had.

 “A wee bird,” he answered.

  In his hands was a fledgling – and I could see it quivering.

  “I think it’s going to die,” he said. “It’s just shaking all over. Those big blue birds (blue jays) must have injured it – they were diving at it in the grass. They were going to kill it.”

I’ve always heard that if you pick up a baby bird, the parents will not come back to it, and also, the little bird really did look like it was about to expire. But before I actually left, Louis said the bird had calmed down and he could feel its heart beat. The bird had a black cap above its eyes, and even to me, when he blinked his eyes, he looked a bit stronger.

 I left, but Louis held that ‘wee bird’ for over 2 hours in his hand. Then when he felt the bird was strong again, he opened his hand and the bird flew to his shoulder and pooped. Louis checked the bird poop to see what it had been eating, so he could get it more berries. (choke cherries) Then he went upstairs and  leaned out the window and let the bird go. That didn’t work too well, because first the bird flew back at him and hit the window. But Louis got it again and took it out on the lawn.  Finally it hopped a bit and then flew into the lilac bush, where it still was when I got home in the evening.  Louis could hear the bird and see the parents flying into the bush, but he couldn’t find the bird. He returned to the bush over and over and looked for it until the sun went down.

The next morning I had to go over to Ramsay and Ananda’s and I was in their living room with Violet and looked out the window- saw a movement – and there was the little bird! As I watched, the parents flew in and brought it food. Then I saw that they were Cedar Waxwings, who come through here in August – this must be why there is a baby bird so late in the season.

We watched Friday and Saturday – the bird flew first to a maple near the barn, the parents still bringing it food and then on Sunday flew away.

 

 

 

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