Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Daffodil of the Season

The first of my daffodils bloomed today. Now if the other 4000 will just join this hearty little fellow there will be some show!! Can't wait, this is my favorite time of year!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Woodland School Headmaster Obit

This is the last of the information sent by Carl Tannenbaum about the Woodland School. Thanks Carl, this information was really interesting!

Here is the headmaster’s obituary from 1937:

ERWIN SHEPARD SPINK; Founder of the Woodland School Dies in Florida at 72

It reads – “Erwin Shepard Spink – Founder of the Woodland School Dies in Florida at 72
Daytona Beach, Fla. Feb. 27 – Erwin Shepard Spink, teacher and headmaster in various private schools before his retirement in 1933, dies at his Winter home here today. His age was 72. Born in Brooklyn and a Columbia graduate, Mr. Spink first practiced law, then taught in Brooklyn Polytechnic Preparatory Institute and Mountain School. In 1912 he founded his own Woodland School at Phoenicia, N.Y.

Mr. Spink was a former principal of Brooklyn Polytechnic Preparatory School. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Emily Seymour Armstrong Spink; a son, Shepard, and a daughter, Harriet.”

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Think Spring is Finally Here!

Last Weather for Weekenders of the Season

After a cold start to the week, (temps at night were in the teens) today is sunny and beautiful. The weather reports say that we can expect a high around 60 degrees. Whoooo Hoooo! I am ready for that! My daffodils are about half way up and I have some crocus in bloom. I think spring is finally here!

This will be the last regular "Weather for Weekenders" that I will post for this season. After this, until I resume in November or December, just assume that rain or shine it is gorgeous in the valley!

More about the Woodland School

Here is the second installment from Carl Tannenbaum about the Woodland School.

"In the summer Woodland School was run as a camp and is described below along with Camp Wake Robin which may have been in or near the Roxmor Colony."

THE CAMPING IDEAL - The New Human Race

A brief survey of the summer and winter outdoor Camp Movement in the United States, with particular reference to organized cultural camps in the Atlantic and Midwestern States, based upon observations made on a second camp tour undertaken for The Red Book Magazine.

by Henry Wellington Wack - Copyright 1925

One of the oldest Catskill Mountain camps is Camp Wake Robin, which Mr. Harry W. Little has directed during the last nineteen years. It was first named Camp Burroughs (1901-1903) in honor of John Burroughs, the naturalist, who, while rambling over the Woodland Valley trail, said of it : "a retreat which so took my eye by its fine
trout brook, its superb mountain scenery and its sweet seclusion, that I marked it for my own."

We have cast flies on the Woodland Valley stream and the Esopus River these past twelve years, and know something of that romantic water-shed that lies between the Schoharie River, Wittenberg Mountain and the Ashokan reservoirs that keep New York clean and quench its summer thirst. Big Indian and Roscoe, and the Beaverkill, Never-
sink and Willowemoc trout rivers ; the late Anthony W. Dimock's wilderness lodge in the Happy Valley near Peekamoose and the Roundout River, and like a jewel in all this glorious setting, luxurious Yama Farm, that wonderful creation of Frank Seaman and his transcendent vision. The whole region is one of exquisite charm and so accessible to New York City that it is fast becoming the week-end lure of thousands of automobile par
ties from April to November. Yet with all this, it is in the heart of State Forest Preserves. No wonder John Burroughs was enchanted. No wonder Mr. Little and his nature lore associate, Mr. Oliver P. Medsger, went to Woodland nearly twenty years ago and builded Camp Wake Robin for younger boys.

Wake Robin is a woodsy camp of very simple construction. There are a number of rustic buildings, amongst them the Roost, where the camp assembles ; the Hive, where they study, develop kodaks, mount specimens ; the Shop, where their hands are educated to make and do all sorts of useful things ; the Council Ring, where the Sachems and Sagamores and their young trail-makers fore-gather for the powwow ; the Pagoda, where Camp Mother Medsger patches up barked shins and bruised hearts and sore toes, and a little home sickness perhaps in a first-year boy during his first week in camp. Finally, there is the Roxmoor Inn, close by, where the boys have their meals, and
the get-away banquet at the season's end ; and last of all, there is the little Woodland Neighborhood House where vesper service is held every Sunday. Mountain trails, swift tumbling brooks, a swimming pool in Woodland Stream; peaks to climb;
trees to chop ; birds, foxes, squirrels, bears, muskrats, marten, porcupines, weasels, partridges, pheasants, woodcock and — well, more than enough to keep boys busy, make them healthy and send them home in the autumn as brown as roan colts and as flipperous as fleas. In such condition, after such a camp season, it's a grand and glorious feel-
ing — to be a boy!

Up the Panther Kill brook, which is a picture gallery from its source to where it gurgles into Woodland Stream near a little bridge, from under which we watched two bear-cubs last spring scratch their bellies and maul each other like pups, there
is another camp near the plateau of Panther Kill Mountain. It is Woodland Camp, connected with the Woodland School, of which Mr. Erwin S. Spink is the headmaster. It is a very pretty school camp, altogether different from Camp Wake Robin, and as well groomed and slicked and mowed and beflowered as the other is rustic. Each direc-
tor is realizing his own ideal of a wholesome outdoor life for boys — young boys ;and each is carrying on successfully in his own individual way.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Woodland School Advertisement

WCA Member Carl Tannenbaum emailed me with more information about the Woodland School. I am going to post a little of it each day over the next few days. Thanks for sending it Carl!

"Here is some more information on the Woodland School which I have discovered through Google searches. From the pictures in the brochure it seems as if athletics and particularly baseball was very important at the school and so I wondered if he were related to the Spink family that founded The Sporting News in St. Louis, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

First is the entry from the Porter Sargent guide to private schools which is still published today and is the gold standard for information about private schools throughout the country."
- Carl Tannenbaum

Woodland School for Boys, Phoenicia, established in 1912 by Erwin Spink, is a home school characterized by a wholesome outdoor life. There are about twenty-five boys in attendance from various states.

It was also listed in the 1915 and 1918 editions of the same book.

Below is an advertisement from 1916 in the magazine The World’s Work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mushroom Mystery Solved

I am very excited! I received this message today with information about the mushroom that I found and posted a few days ago. Here is what the email said:

"My name is Ann Marie Misko sister in law to Paul Misko. I was looking over the site when I saw your mushroom. I found some information on it for you. I found this information in the National Audubon Society pocket guide that we just happen to carry around just for moments like this.

It is called a Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha coccinea)
In North America it is recognized as a harbinger of Spring. In the far west, it is a winter mushroom. Despite its bright red color, it is not always readily visible as it may be covered by leaves or partially melted snow. In such instances, its accidental discovery can be a startling experience. The mature mushroom may last for several weeks.

Identification: Saucer shaped to cup shaped, from 1-2 1/2" wide, with incurved rim. Inner surface of cup scarlet; outer surface whitish with tiny hairs. Stalk usually absent, but when present it is short and white.
Edibility: Unknown; reportedly tastes pleasant.
Similar Species: The Stalked Scarlet Cup (S. occidentalis) is smaller and has prodominent white stalk. The Hairy Rubber Cub (Galiella rufa) is reddish brown.
Habitat: On twigs and branches lying on the ground, usually partially covered. Occurs singly or in small groups.
Range: Eastern North America; West Coast

I hope this information was helpful. It was very exciting for me to be able to find it. Thank you and have a good day."

- Ann Marie Misko

Thanks so much Ann Marie!!! I am so happy you shared this information with us!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Woodland School

WCA member Michael Connor sent me this cool Woodland Valley history. Here is his message.

"Here’s some great Woodland Valley history, from a brochure for The Woodland School for boys, eight years and up, which was once located at the head of Pantherkill Valley. The School was run by Edward S. Spink and his wife (referred to only as Mrs. Spink). The brochure mentions that many of the School buildings were built in 1913; the date of this publication is unclear. I bought the brochure at a yard sale a few years ago."

Quotes from The Woodland School brochure

“Woodland School (elevation 1500 feet) is situated three miles of good road from Phoenicia, Ulster County, New York, at the head of Pantherkill Valley....The school consists of 314 acres of farm and woodland....The water is taken from the head spring of the Pantherkill, on the School property.”

“The buildings are new, built in 1913....Apples, vegetables and fresh eggs are supplied from the School Farm. A herd of tested Jersey cows furnishes an abundance of milk and cream.”

“The school is non-sectarian. All boys must attend services Sunday morning and evening....Discipline that would prove irksome at home is cheerfully accepted at the school.”

Boys may be admitted from about eight years up. All applicants must be free from tubercular affection.....The annual charge is $1,000, one-half of which is payable on entrance, the balance February 1.”

Edward S. Spink, A.B., was Headmaster. “The home atmosphere is one of the charms of the Woodland School. This is partly due to the constant presence of Mrs. Spink with her motherly interest and ministrations to the interests of all, particularly the younger boys....."

Thanks for sending us this Michael!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Name That Fungus

While cleaning my yard today I found this beautiful mushroom (at least I think it is a mushroom) with a fire engine red center. I was wondering if anyone who reads this blog can identify it. If you can please email me here at wvview@gmail.com. I will post any information I receive.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weather for Weekenders - 03/20/09

Happy first day of Spring!!! Sorry my weather for weekenders is a bit late going up today. Sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging.

The weather this week has been mostly nice but still a bit cold. The temperatures during the day have been in the 40's and 50's but the nights have been chilly, getting down into the 20's and 30's. We had some rain Wednesday night into Thursday but at least it wasn't snow!

It is 26 degrees right now by the thermometer on the back of my house. I am still waiting for some warm, spring-like weather. But my daffodils are coming up which is a good sign. The tallest of them are about 3 inches high, so it will still be a while before they bloom, but they are on their way!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Assessing the Valley

I wanted to report that I have seen people from the Town Assessor's office in Woodland Valley in the last few days. They seemed to be stopping at any house that has had construction work done in the last year. Just thought I would let you know that the tax man has been around.

Monday, March 16, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons

I got this message from Paul Misko a while ago and have never posted it. The thought of fruit on the trees gets me in the mood for spring which, incidentally, starts on Friday! Whoooo Hooooo!

"Aside from adding lots of heat to your home, here is another good reason to add on a sunroom. It allows you to grow a good crop of fruit year round. I've got lemons, limes, honeybells, grapefruit, and strawberries. Of course they go outdoors in the spring, but there are no pests waiting for the citrus. Had an orange tree for years, but it got too big. It was great to pick a couple, and squeeze a glass full of juice. If Florida's citrus crop ever fails, New York can provide the backup, with gift boxes of citrus headed south for a change."
- Paul Misko

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Video Store Moving

While I am on a roll about the changes in town I thought that I would tell you that the video store is moving. On March 20th they will begin operating from the back of the Nest Egg. Same owners, just a different location. To get ready for the move Robin is selling all VHS tapes for $1.00 a piece. The new location will have only DVDs but everything else will remain the same.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weather for Weekenders - 03/13/09

It is cold in the valley again today. Earlier in the week the weather fooled me into thinking that spring was right around the corner. Unfortunately, this morning when I woke up the temperature was around 20 degrees. Ugh! But there are good signs all around. My daffodils are starting to peek their heads out of the ground. (That is one of the reasons that I adore daffodils, they are such optimistic little things.) The forecast for the next week calls for the weather to get into the 40s and 50s during the day but we'll see. All of the ice in my driveway has finally melted and there is only a little bit of snow around so things are definitely looking up!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Store Changing Hands

Another change in town recently is that the Tibetan store has closed. Alan and Lynn Flegal of Baby Toes clothing are taking over the shop and opening up a store of their own. I will post photos and information about the place when they have it opened back up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bald Eagles in Woodland Valley

I got this message from Nat Gillespie yesterday and thought you would all be interested.

"I wanted to tell you and the blog that I was up in the Valley last week, and my cousin Jamie and I were sitting on the porch around lunchtime when we spotted a pair of mature bald eagles circling Woodland Valley Creek across the road. We watched them for about 10 minutes and then they disappeared. Maybe they are building a nest in one of the large white pines on Romer Mountain."
- Nat

Actually, Harry Jameson has told me that they have nested on Romer Mountain in the past. Let's hope they decide to settle there again this year. If anyone else has a siting let me know. Thanks for keeping us posted Nat.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Phoenicia Gas Station Remains Closed

I realized the other day that even though I see it all the time, those of you who left the valley for the winter don't know that the gas station in Phoenicia is closed and under construction. The original plan was to shut the station for 2 weeks to replace the gas tanks. But while inspecting the property, the DEC found out that the owners put in the new tanks before taking the old ones out. The agency also found contamination that was never reported. So now they have to take out both the old tanks and clean up the contamination before the new ones can be installed. The DEC is doing a full assessment and the lawyers for both sides are involved so basically no one knows how long it will take before the mess is cleared and the station opens again. My neighbor Ernie Persons suggested that he should ride into town on his backhoe and push the hotel remains into the open hole at the gas station. I think that would be a brilliant idea!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weather for Weekenders - 03/06/09

The weather is finally warming up in the valley. Today's temps are in the high 40s and the forecast for the weekend into next week calls for it to warm further and get into the 50s and 60s. Whoooo Hoooo! Bring it on! As a result of the warmer weather the snow that we have left over from past storms is beginning to melt rather quickly. I anticipate that with the coming warmer temps it will be gone completely in a few days. Let's hope so!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Youth Theatre - Looking for Participants

The Listen To Me Youth Theater to present The Best Of Monty Python!

Calling Actors Ages 10-18
PHOENICIA, NY - Feb. 20, 2009 - Join the few, the proud, the very, very silly for The Listen to Me Youth Theater's 7th annual production: The Best of Monty Python! Rehearsals with director Cara Cruickshank include: Improvisation Workshops, Stunt Choreography, Vocal Coaching, Character Development, and Team Building. Warning: May also include spam, spam, and more spam! Located at The Parish Hall on Main Street, Phoenicia.

Rehearsals meet
April 1-May 13: Tues., Wed., Thurs. 4pm-6pm and some Sat. 10am-1pm.

Performance Dates:
May 14-17

Tuition: $180
(before March 15)
or $200
(after march 15)
Family discounts available.

For More Information, Contact:
Cara Cruickshank
(845) 688-2068

About The Listen To Me Youth Theater
Based in Phoenicia N.Y., The Listen To Me Youth Theater serves children and teens of all ages and backgrounds throughout the Hudson Valley. Our mission is to provide affordable performing arts opportunities for local youth that inspire and invite children and teens to build community, develop their talents and creativity, express themselves as individuals, and be powerful and creative thinkers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Less Than Expected

Looks like we dodged a bullet and got a lot less snow than the weather channels were predicting. By my snow ruler it was only about 3 inches. The forecast at one point was for 8 inches or more but on the radar it looked like all the major stuff just slid around us. I guess the weather Gods cut us a break this time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bamboo Bicycle Maker

WCA member James Wolf has started making these really cool bamboo bike frames in his workshop in Vietnam. Here are some photos. This is the latest creation in his line of green products. James and his wife Lam were in Woodland Valley recently for an unusual winter visit. It was great to see them and hear all about what's going on in their world. I will email James and get him to tell us more about his bikes.