OXLIPS V. COWSLIPS?

Local Beaverkill Valley residents Patricia Adams and Janet Nelson both spotted the same wildflowers blooming this Spring along the river…their reflections on the origin and identification of this species below…. 

FROM PATRICIA ADAMS:

I first noticed them about four years ago.  Pretty little yellow flowers springing up along the creek that follows Campsite Road and flows into the Beaverkill just below Duke and Kate’s house. I called them Trout Lilies at first, but soon learned that was incorrect. Then I called them Primroses, which isn’t exactly wrong—they are in the Primrose family. 

I had a hard time identifying them because I had seen very few over the years.  But last spring, Mermer Blakeslee told me they were Cowslips, which was a common flower in England but has declined over the years. These flowers had been planted here by Hazel Kelly, perhaps as a reminder of her childhood in England. John Kelly confirmed this (and also confirmed that they are Cowslips, not Primroses).

The Kelly’s have a wonderful house up in Larroway Hollow, that is totally ‘off the grid’. No electricity, delicious cold spring fed water beside the house, a hand built stone and wood out building, and wonderful gardens that Hazel and John developed over the years they spent summers there. The Cowslips have proliferated downstream, along what Timothy Foote told me is the ‘Schoolhouse Brook”, because it flowed  down from Larroway Hollow past the one room  Beaverkill School.(now gone with a modern house on the site)   The stream crosses under the road just where Campsite Road intersects with Beaverkill Road.

These beautiful little flowers are throughout our part of the Beaverkill Valley – but you don’t see them on other brooks or rivers. There are none along Berry Brook or over on the Willoweemoc. The ones you see have traveled downstream from the Kelly’s and taken residence along the river, the roads and through the campsite on the east side of the Beaverkill. 

I checked on Cowslips. They  are native British wildflowers and are actually named after cow ‘piles. They flourished on English farmland back in the days when livestock was an important source of fertilizer.  As farming methods ‘improved’,by plowing old grasslands and using herbicides,  they declined. Cowslips provide nectar in the Spring, and attract bees, moths and butterflies. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The flowers can be eaten fresh with cream or brewed into tea. 

These flowers are a gift from Hazel and a reminder of things that grow in England.

FROM JANET NELSON:

Patricia had told us there were cowslips growing along Schoolhouse Brook, seeded from Hazel Kelly’s garden in Larroway hollow. The Cowslips I had known as a child in England had grown in the open meadows rather than in shady woods and a little research on the internet proved we were right . Cowslip flowers are bell-shaped and are a rich yellow color; they have a distinct apricot smell. 

Oxlip flowers are a paler yellow and open more like a primrose, all three are in the primula family and have confusing similarities. We were not able to find where else oxlips grow wild in the US. In England,  cowslips grow where cows graze, and oxslips are found mostly in the eastern counties of Essex and Suffolk. They also grow in Norway and western Russia but don’t seem to be widespread elsewhere.

The flowers we have here along the Beaverkill look to be Oxlips, rather than Cowslips. Both are rare and even endangered in some places. So, we’re lucky to have whatever they are- bright yellow spring flowers – along with the daffodils, the first spring bloom. 

A link that distinguished the two flowers is. http://www.uksafari.com/cowslips_or_oxlips.htm

.

CFFCM celebrates opening of 2021 Fly Fishing Season

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum (located on Old Route 17 between Livingston Manor and Roscoe) will host the inauguration of the 2021 fishing season this weekend – on Saturday April 3 from 10am til 4pm. In addition to all the usual great exhibits and reference materials relating to the rich history of fly fishing in our region, the Museum offers fishing access to the Willowemoc Creek, and lots of other fishermen and fisherwomen to hang with and enjoy the sport.

New this weekend is a special tribute to world-renowned master fly tier – Dave Brandt. Dave’s work desk is beautifully recreated by Cy Amundson and Bruce Concors.

Stop by this weekend, or anytime – the Gift Shop and Museum are open all season, Friday through Monday, 10am til 4pm.

For more info visit www.cffcm.com.

Welcome – The Walk In

As Springtime looms and the COVID (fingers crossed) subsides, we’re looking forward to more new businesses opening up in or near our town centers and riverbanks. Latest addition is “The Walk In” sandwich and coffee shop, just a bit up the road from downtown Livingston Manor (directly across the street from the Brandenburg Bakery building). Launched this year by Manor newcomers Lily Price and Erin Ellis, Lily describes where they’ve been and why they’re here….

I grew up in Savannah GA and have worked in the hospitality industry all my life. I met Erin through industry friends about 8 years ago after she had moved to Savannah and worked her way up from a salad girl to chef de cuisine of a really wonderful fine dining spot in Savannah – Local 11ten. Erin grew up in the industry as her parents owned and operated multiple restaurants in Bardstown, Kentucky. All 5 of the Ellis kids worked in the family restaurants as soon as they were of age to peel a carrot. Erin’s dad went to the Culinary Institute of America and so did she.
When we started dating after a couple years of knowing each other, I was traveling very intensely and returning to Savannah every so often and told Erin that if we were going to be in a relationship, we had to keep traveling. So we decided to move to Hanoi, Vietnam in 2016 and then to Porto, Portugal in 2017. Erin was opening crew for a few restaurants in Vietnam and I was working in property management. In Portugal, Erin worked at a kick ass restaurant called Flow and I remained in international property management. We found upstate NY after moving back to NYC in late 2017. Our friend and roommate had purchased a home that year in Napanoch, invited us for the weekend, and we left on Sunday having bought our little 500 square foot abode in Loch Sheldrake. It was only natural to discover Livingston Manor soon after as this seems to be ‘The Place’.


The Walk In is how we eat every day and is representative of us essentially inviting this community to our breakfast, lunch and dinner table. The goal here is to nourish the community as we nourish ourselves, to prepare things maybe just one step more artfully than most people care for themselves at home. We went back to our absolute fundamentals to open this restaurant – my great grandmother’s biscuit recipe, tons of influences from Erin’s parents’ first place Lovin’ Oven, etc. Maybe we will do some insane fine dining thing later, but The Walk In is who we really are. Like maybe we drink Dom Perignon on occasion but really we’re just a couple of beers cooled in a riverbed. We kind of want to just become more of what we already are, just us.

The Walk In is located at 67 Main Street – Livingston Manor NY. For now you can follow their progress on Instagram @thewalkinmanor.

Welcome – The High Meadow Project

Welcome to the Valley, Elizabeth Hope Williams and Johnny Anderes, founders and operators of The High Meadow Project.  No strangers to the neighborhood, Elizabeth spent many summers here with her family and they chose the Beaverkill Valley Inn for their wedding festivities,   Elizabeth and Johnny migrated to Lew Beach from Chicago, with three offspring in tow, as the pandemic descended last year.  They have since launched a fabulous addition to the area’s dining options, now housed in the legendary (and often mysterious) Lew Beach venue – The Pub.  Located on the northeast corner of Lew Beach’s bustling downtown intersection, The High Meadow Project initially offered socially-distanced outdoor dining (right by the river), and has remained open four nights a week during the winter months for local take-out.  We’re all looking forward to  the return of on site dining, and the reopening of The Pub’s intimate bar, once the weather allows.

Chef Johnny Anderes’ interest in food stems from his grandfather, an international commercial pilot who picked up a passion for French cooking during his travels overseas. Spending long periods of time together, Anderes experienced French cooking with local produce at an early age—an influence that is unmistakably present in his sustainable and family-friendly approach to modern cuisine. Johnny was most recently the Executive Chef for the Chicago Athletic Association, spearheading the menus for the award-winning Cherry Circle Room, The Game Room, The Drawing Room, and The Milk Room.

You can order from The High Meadow Project and/or receive its weekly email blasts at thehighmeadowproject@gmail.com.

Welcome 2021……..

Wishing all of our members – and everyone who lives and visits the Beaverkill Valley – a healthy and happier New Year!

The FOBC will be back in the Spring with its usual slate of activities and events to share with the membership. This year’s officers are in place and we currently have two active committees which we encourage everyone to contact and/or join if you’re interested in being involved.

For current updates follow us on Instagram – @friendsofbeaverkill.

Josh Grier - President
Chris Kissock - Vice President
Alissa Shipp - Treasurer
Steve Levine - Secretary

BEAVERKILL COMMUNITY CHURCH COMMITTEE:

Mary Hall (marymotthall@me.com)
Patricia Adams
Bob Jones
Steve Lott
Boyd Johnson

COVERED BRIDGE CAMPSITE COMMITTEE

Josh Grier (j.grier@icloud.com)
John Adams
Peter Malik
Eric Hamerstrom
Ramsay Adams

Christmas Eve Candlelight Caroling Canceled

In compliance with CDC and New York State guidelines, and exercising an “abundance of caution” by keeping safe and distanced this season, we’ve canceled our annual Candlelight Caroling – traditionally held on Christmas Eve at the Beaverkill Community Church. We wish everyone an enjoyable holiday and the FOBC looks forward to reactivating our usual group events in 2021.

Mac Francis in Conversation

Legendary angler and renowned author Austin “Mac” Francis made a “virtual” appearance on the Willowemoc Creek on September 27. Mac was the subject of an extended interview with Peter Crosby – a highlight of the Emerging Anglers Dinner held in Livingston Manor at the Catskills Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

Watch the interview here, with the pre-imminent expert on Catskill fly fishing:

FOCUS on Bruce Janklow

Bruce Janklow, long time Valley resident (since 1984), has found a fresh vision through his  camera’s lens. Having become very competent at taking what he calls “pretty pictures” (see his image in our heading above for evidence of that), Bruce has recently been pursuing a more challenging approach to his photographic work.,

Introduced to photography at an early age by his father Leonard Janklow – an accomplished  creator of op-art kinetic constructions – Bruce began snapping pictures in the mid 1950’s with a very simplified 35mm camera, a Kodak Pony.  He grew up to spend his professional years in New York City, in various advertising and marketing agencies and endeavors…while continuing to hone his interest and craft in the photographic arts.

Since retiring in 2008, Bruce and his wife Ilene split their year between their house on Craigie Clair Road and a winter residence in San Miguel de Allende – in Mexico’s central state of Guanajuato.    In addition to over 35 years shooting in the Beaverkill Valley, Bruce combined his passion for world travel with his full time commitment to his photography – circling the globe with his cameras.  From Uzbekistan to India to the Mississippi Delta, Bruce’s journeys have produced a large portfolio of unique photos.

A small folio of Bruce’s current work – titled “Unfinished Stories” – is linked below, mostly shot in the Beaverkill Valley, this work emphasizes the more abstract possibilities of the medium.  As Bruce describes the collection is “an unexplained call to the viewer to participate in exploring the mysteries of the photograph”.

For those interested in further exploring Bruce’s works – you can contact him at  beejay455@gmail.com   Click on the link here to view the collection:

 Unfinished Stories

Beaverkill Community Church – Summer Sermons 2020

As reported, despite the pandemic, the Beaverkill Community Church held Sunday morning services from June through August. Outdoors with masks and social distancing observed. Only one week was cancelled by rain. Transcripts of five of the sermons delivered this year are linked below, all given by local FOBC members.

DEC Meets With Local Environmentalists To Address Increased Use of Sullivan County Recreational Sites

This past Friday (August 7), Bill Rudge (Natural Resources Supervisor for the NY State Department Of Environmental Conservation) met at the Covered Bridge Campsite  with Ramsay Adams and Wes Gillingham (Catskill Mountainkeeper) and Lisa Lyons (Catskill Forest Preservation Advisory Council). Patricia and John Adams were also in attendance representing the FOBC.  The meeting was to discuss the impact of the Corona Virus on the Beaverkill Valley generally, and specifically the increased use of public campsites and day use areas in the Sullivan County section of the Catskill Park. 

The focus was on using what is currently available from the DEC to address the potential over-use of state lands resulting from the increased tourist traffic, plus set a plan in motion to add resources to that effort.   The DEC currently provides guidelines/regulations, enforced by .State Forest Rangers, and  Stewards (hired for the summer months only) to monitor and control use in some (but not all) public access day-use sites. Plus there are a few non-profit organizations such as The Catskill Center and Catskill Mountainkeeper who work alongside the DEC. 

Although issues at the Covered Bridge Campsite were specifically referenced, the meeting was primarily to develop an overall approach to protecting all of the recreational areas in the Western Catskills. These areas,  which for many city and suburban dwellers are important as an experience in nature, have lately become in need of an improved program of ‘crowd control .’ It was also noted that some level of back-up support from law enforcement officers is now essential for the Rangers (who maintain the public use areas by regulating the volume of visitors, clean up, and parking) to properly carry out their stewardship of the more popular day-use locations.  

The meeting opened up the  opportunity to raise funds and find support – to bring needed relief to the various existing lake and river parks experiencing significant increases of visitors this summer. As one component of the initiative, Catskill Mountainkeeper is prepared to organize a co-ordinated study with the DEC to identify and develop additional alternative destinations for campers, swimmers, hikers and general weekend visitors within the Forest Preserve.

 The meeting was a good start on a long term plan which will prepare our Sullivan County recreational resources for increased use over the coming years.   We will provide updates on this site as the planned studies are developed and implemented.

  • reported by Patricia Adams