Sunday, June 30, 2013

Second Weed Walk Report

The second WCA weed walk with Violet Snow today was another fabulous success. It was held on the gorgeous Botchford/Gillespie property which is mid-valley. We learned more about the different plants that populate this beautiful place we call home. It was a warm day but everyone had hats, sunscreen and plenty of water so they were prepared for the heat and were able to enjoy themselves immensely. Thanks to the Botchford/Gillespie clans for making the property available and to Violet Snow for once again sharing her vast knowledge.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shandaken Garden Tour Today

Don't forget that the Shandaken Garden Tour is today. You can still get tickets! Enjoy all the beauty!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Simpson Fishing Hole

Recently, Mike O'Neil forwarded me a photo sent to him by Jay Simpson. It was an old photo of Augustus J (Mickey) Simpson (1904-1994), Jay's father, as a boy. (Mickey Simpson and his brother were the original owners of Romer Mountain Park Ski Slope here in WV). He was fishing in a pool called "Simpson's Hole" which apparently was located along High St. above the Rt 28 bridge but several hundred yards below the Woodland Valley bridge. Jay believes that this photo was taken somewhere around 1912-1914. This photo was sold as a postcard by his Uncle Gus out of his store, AJ Simpson's, which was located in Phoenicia where Sweet Sue's is now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More About Turtles

After I posted the photo of the turtle a week or so ago several people told me they saw it. Lorraine DellaPena sent me these two additional photos of the reptile. She saw it the same day I did in the same spot.

Harry Jameson saw a snapping turtle matching the size of this one a few days later a little further up the valley near the Pantherkill Bridge. So that might have been the same one too. Anyone fishing or walking in that area with kids or small dogs should be on the lookout.

Linda McDonald sent me the message below about another turtle she saw years back. If anyone else sees this turtle let me know and I will post it. Here is what Linda had to say:

"The turtle is amazing !  In my 65 years in Woodland, I have only seen 1 other turtle. (It was a Painted Turtle, red & yellow on it's neck and small red tips around the edge of it's shell, not really painted, it was about 9 inches across the back) That was when I was about 13 and it was stuck in a big smooth tar spot, on the Woodland road, between Bethken's and Botchford's, where there is a small stream on the left, that comes up (if there is a lot of rain). I figured it came down from the pasture pond at Botchford's. It was stuck solidly to that tar and I pulled & pulled as gently as I could, so as not to hurt it's shell. We finally got loose (I say we, because now my "beloved Loafers" were stuck in the tar, too.) I left them there while I carried the turtle to the little stream, so it could get to the pond again and then pattered in my socks over to the tar & pulled my shoes free. I was always told there were no turtles in the Woodland Stream itself, because the water was so cold, but that there might be more in the pasture ponds. "
- Linda  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Town-Wide Metal Pickup Reminder

This is a reminder that if you have metal that you want the town to pick up it needs to be out by the side of the road by tonight, Sunday June 23rd. The town trucks will be coming at some point in the next few days to collect it. They will only make one pass per road and if your metal is not out when they pass they will not be back. So get all your items out as soon as you can. 

And remember it is METAL ONLY being collected! No other items will be taken!

Louise Mosrie at the ESRM

For those of you who are looking for some great local music, check out the Flying Cat Music Series at the Empire State Railway Museum.

Flying Cat Music Presents
Louise Mosrie in Concert
Sunday, June 23, 2013
7:30 p.m. (sharp), door at 7:00
Empire State Railway Museum
70 Lower High Street, Phoenicia, NY 12464
Admission is $15 or $13 with RSVP
For information email as above
or call 845-688-9453

Link to artist's website:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rick Altman Trio At Barnfest and Harmony

There will be two opportunities for you to see The Rick Altman Trio this weekend. The first is on Saturday June 22nd at "Barnfest". A day of music, food, activities and speakers honoring the environmental contributions of Chevy and Jayni Chase. The festival will be held at Andy Lee Field and in The Colony Cafe on Rock City Road in Woodstock. The Rick Altman Trio will be playing from 1:40 to 2:20 in the Colony Cafe. See for details.

The trio will also be playing their regular gig at Harmony in Woodstock on Sunday night, June 23rd. They will be joined that evening by special guest guitarist Mike DeMicco. The trio will be playing from 8pm to 11pm. The Harmony is located at 52 Mill Hill Rd in Woodstock. Donations are welcome. For more info you can go to

Shandaken Garden Tour

"Shandaken in Bloom" Garden Tour
 to benefit the Phoenicia Library 

 Six Glorious Gardens

 Saturday, June 29th
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Rain or Shine

Tickets: $25 Day of Tour
and Advanced Tickets $20 (on sale now)

Proceeds Benefit the Phoenicia Library

Tenderland Home, Main Street, Phoenicia
Phoenicia Library, 9 Ava Marie Drive
(across from the Phoenicia Post Office), Phoenicia.
MAP pick up:
at the "Gazebo", Main St & Route 214, Phoenicia
on day of tour

A tour of six gardens in the heart of the Catskills: formal landscapes, country cottage gardens, butterfly gardens, bog gardens, vegetable beds, ornamental trees and orchards.

Gardeners in Shandaken are very creative. Challenging gardeners are deer, woodchucks, rabbits and the pest insects; steep slopes, odd micro-climates, too little and/or too much rain, relentless sun or deep woodland shade.

Nevertheless, every year enthusiasts surprise us with abundant beauty and diverse gardens in these ancient mountains.

Further Info: Call Susan 845-688-7493

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival

The Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival will be sponsored this year by The Town Tinker Tube Rental (among others) owned by WCA member Harry Jameson. For those of you who have never been the Festival is a wonderful local venue to see some interesting performances. Check out their schedule and take in a performance. You won't regret it.

Mount Tremper Arts
647 South Plank Road
Mt. Tremper, NY 12457

Summer Festival June 15 - August 24 2013

Mount Tremper Arts has quickly established itself as an innovative arts center that supports and presents leading contemporary artists in the remarkable setting of the Catskill Mountains. Its 6th annual Summer Festival not only showcases risk-taking work, but also fosters an environment where audiences and artists can come together to form a community that values dialogue and experimentation. Inspired in part by the locavore movement, Mount Tremper Arts is itself an experiment—one rooted in the idea that place and context matter. The organization is pleased to announce the lineup for the sixth annual Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival, 11 weeks of programming where art can be a radical adventure and audiences, along with artists, can have a relaxing environment for nourishing their shared curiosity. Saturday nights starting June 15- August 24 at 8pm, 647 South Plank Road Mt. Tremper. Visit for more information.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Losing Your Head

Lorraine Della Pena has lost her head. On one hand I mean that fairly literally but, in terms of the art in question, well, that is most definitely the figurative kind. But I probably should start this blog connection tale at the beginning. 

Anyone who reads this site with any regularity might remember that I posted a video a few weeks back sent to me by Lorraine Della Pena. It showed several fox kits romping with their mom on Lorraine's property. Except for the carcass of something dead they were dragging about, it was very cute stuff.

Well, a few days later I received an email through the blog account from a man named Denis Fabiszak who is the  director of the East Hampton library. He said he was looking to get in touch with Lorraine Della Pena and/or her husband Nicholas. He gave me his cell phone number and asked me to pass his email along to them. Although the inclusion of the cell phone number was a bit odd, I just assumed maybe they were visiting the Hamptons, took out a library book, and forgot to return it. So, of course, I passed the message on to Lorraine. 

Well, what he really wanted to inquire about was much more interesting. The basic story was aired on ABC Eyewitness News some days earlier. Here is the link to that segment titled "Big head mystery near Long Island construction site".

What a story! The first thing I noticed when I watched the piece was that the bust in question looked very much like Lorraine herself. Turns out it IS a sculpture of Lorraine done years ago by her husband.

My next question was how did it get to East Hampton? Lorraine told me that the art work was on display at the Della Penn house in Woodstock and then given to a friend in Sag Harbor. OK, that much made sense but how did it end up on the construction site?

Apparently, their friend was having some construction done at her house. One of the construction workers on the job, afraid that the piece would get damaged, put it on his truck to get it out of the way. He then forgot about it, went to the library site where he was also working, and a co-worker took it out of his truck and placed it at that site. Those workers hadn't been back to the library since so they didn't know about the uproar that they had created. 

Lorraine told me that, at this point, the East Hampton library would like to keep the sculpture in it's garden facing the children's wing.

Over the years I have gotten emails from long lost friends, girl friends, and relatives of the WCA members that I have posted about on the blog. I have almost always forwarded those emails on to the person in question. Some of the stories are really amusing and the connections and/or re-connections that folks have made have been awesome. But, although the truth of how it got on the construction site is less fantastical then one linking it to a headless body in Pennsylvania, this still ranks as one of my favorite blog related connection stories of all time!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The History of Anime

WCA member Josh Holz will be presenting a two part talk on Anime at the Phoenicia Library. It promises to very interesting. Here are the details.

THE HISTORY OF ANIME / Animation as Dictating Gender: Presentation by Josh Holz for the Reischauer Scholars Program at Stanford University. Come to the Phoenicia Library on JUNE 18th and 20th at 1 PM for a two part presentation on the history of anime, Kamishibai paper theater, and gender roles in Japanese animation. Recommended ages 16 to adult.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Driving home from town the other day I saw a car stopped on Woodland Valley Road near the intersection of Muddy Brook. Since I know that usually when you see a car randomly pulled over on the side of the road there is some interesting animal activity that the driver is watching, I stopped too. Low and behold, there was a large snapping turtle crossing the road. A few other cars stopped and everyone checked out the fabulous creature. After we made sure that he/she got across the road safely and didn't get hit by a car (he/she retreated into a ditch), I got my phone out and took a couple of photos. You can't really tell the size of it from the pictures but it was about a foot across. It was a very cool thing to see. But I kept my distance because these turtles can be feisty and dangerous!! After a while we all bid the turtle and each other happy trails and went our separate ways. But it was yet another wondrous, natural experience here in the valley.

NY Alerts - Subscribe

It is days like this when I am glad that I subscribe to the NYAlerts so I get notifications regarding severe weather (and other emergencies) in our area. What is the NY Alert portal about you ask? Below is a statement from their website. You can sign up using the link below.

General Website Link:
To Sign Up For Alerts:

It is part of New York State’s ongoing commitment to provide New Yorkers with information so that they will understand the risks and threats that they may face and know how to respond accordingly.  Each of us has the responsibility to be as prepared as possible for any emergencies that may arise.  One of the keys to preparedness is having up-to-date information.

This website contains critical emergency-related information including instructions and recommended protective actions developed in real-time by emergency service personnel. Concurrent with the posting to this website, that same information will be disseminated through various communications systems (e.g. email, cell phones, media outlets) to those who sign up.

The information posted here will include severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous materials spills, and many other emergency conditions.  Additionally you will find information regarding response actions being taken by local and state agencies and protective actions that you should take to protect you, your family and your property.

By signing up for NY-Alert, you can receive warnings and emergency information via the web, your cell phone, email and other technologies.  Signing up for NY Alert is free.  Your information is protected and never shared with any one else.  You can modify what type of information you receive or unsubscribe at any time.  It is a tool to provide you with critical information when you may need it most.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shandaken Metal Pick-Up - June 24th - 27th

The Shandaken Highway Department will be doing a free, town-wide metal pick-up at the end of June. The details from the Highway Department are below. If you have any questions you can call Sue at 845-688-5031.
- Carol Seitz


The Town of Shandaken will be piking up scrap metal starting on June 24th through June 27th.


All metal must be out prior to June 23rd
- Pick-up begins at the west end of town (Highmount) and proceeds east (Mt Tremper).
- One pass will be made on each road. If you do not have metal ready when we pass, we will not return.

Thank you,
Shandaken Highway Department

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weed Walk Report

Last Saturday's weed walk (sponsored by the Woodland Community Association) with Violet Snow on the Larkin Farm property was great fun! We had an interested and engaged group with whom Violet happily shared her vast knowledge of the flora and fauna. We ended the afternoon with a picnic in the field. Fabulous caterer and WCA member Marcey Brownstein provided some delicious lemonade and the talented Rebecca Miller Ffrench (chef, author, stylist and also WCA member) surprised and delighted everyone with a gorgeous cake and some scrumptious scones.

Thanks to Violet for sharing her knowledge, the Larkin Farm Association for hosting the walk, Marcey Brownstein for the best lemonade I have ever had and Rebecca Ffrench Miller for taking our picnic to a whole other level with beautiful and delicious desserts. I think everyone had a wonderful time. 

All photos below are by Josh Sheldon (thanks Josh!) except for the last two which are from Rebecca Miller Ffrench. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Eugene Ruffolo - New Website

Musician and WCA member Eugene Ruffolo has a new website. Why don't you all check it out and join his mailing list if you are not already on it.

Great site Eugene!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


For many years now I have noticed that each spring, as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails invade the valley, something strange takes place at the end of my driveway. Large groups of butterflies can be seen together milling about and flapping their wings gently. There can be as little as one or two or over fifty. Often I have to get out of my car to shoo them away so I don't run over them. I have always wondered what in the world was happening.

Finally, last year I did a little research on the Internet and found out it is a phenomenon called "Mud-Puddling" or just "Puddling" on some sites I checked. Basically, what the butterflies are doing is getting liquid nutrients from the wet soil in that area. Here is a bit of info from Wikipedia.

"Males participate in a behavior called puddling, in which they congregate on mud, damp gravel, or puddles. They extract sodium ions and amino acids from these sources which aid in reproduction. Males that puddle are typically fresh, and puddle only for their first couple of days. Females will occasionally puddle, but do not form congregations."

So at long last that mystery has been solved. What wondrous things are all around us!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Phoenicia Library Fair This Weekend

Phoenicia Library Fair

Support your local library and visit the Phoenicia Library Fair
on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 10-3!

The fair will take place in front of Mama’s Boy Market on Main Street and the library’s temporary location at 9 Ava Maria Drive (Across from the Post Office).

BOOKS galore to peruse and purchase. 

plenty of plants including annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs and houseplants for you to purchase.
MUSIC by Uncle Rock and the Catskill Ukulele Group. 
SATISFY your sweet tooth and buy some homemade goodies at our bake sale. 

Hope to see you there!

For more information, contact the Phoenicia Library at 845-688-7811 or

Phoenicia Library, 9 Ava Maria Avenue, Phoenicia NY 12464


Melinda Stickney-Gibson At Elena Zang Gallery

Melinda-Stickney Gibson has a new show opening at the Elena Zang gallery this Saturday, June 8th. The gallery is located at 3671 Rt 212 in Woodstock. The opening reception is from 2 - 5 pm. Come out and see Melinda's fabulous new work for yourselves!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Free Healthcare Clinic - June 6th

There will be another FREE Healthcare clinic here in Phoenicia at the Parish Hall this Thursday from 4-7pm. There will be many different kinds of services offered such as massage, acupuncture, reiki, Matix Energetics and others. No appointments are made. It is a walk-in only situation done on a first come, first serve basis. It is brought to you by the Healthcare is a Human Right group, your local practitioners, Family of Woodstock and the Massage Therapy Foundation. If you have any questions call 845-688-2323 for more information.