Layered, with poetry, weekly photo challenge

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, Photo of the Week, photography, poetry, upstate new york

Layered is the theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge  that I have decided to participate in for the rest of the year.  How appropriate, as today at 4:02 pm is the time of the Autumnal Equinox, when day and night are about the same length.

Result: I will be forced to blog at least once a week. I will be forced to take a new photo (i.e. take a walk) or at least re-edit an existing one. If I decided to follow this week’s template, I will be forced to write new or re-examine previous poetry.

Today, I decided on the waiting woodpile as my subject. Stacked in late July, I have been waiting patiently to enjoy the fruits of my labor via a warm and comforting fire in my cabin’s wood stove. Still waiting…

Waiting wood pile on first day of fall

Waiting wood pile on first day of fall

COVER ME IN ORANGE | rebecca andre

Surround me

with an abundance of citrus-coloured coals

that promise a winter-long fire, an amiable warmth,

that seeps into the logs and into my soul.

Allow me

to lay down and nap on a fragrant fabric of leaves,

leaves like crunchy clouds, that take on cookie-cutter shapes

of hearts and stars and diamonds.

Carve me

a smirking pumpkin, a face eerily lit in the evening,

turning to a crooked grin in the morn,

as a layer of shimmering frost smoothes its sinister edges.

Let me

pass time at my stove, instead of my desk,

whipping up spiced cakes and all sorts of gourd-inspired dishes,

finished with nutmeg and cloves and mace.

Layer me

in scarves of crochet, in flannels and corduroys.

Camouflage my abundant curves in sweatshirts and woolen jackets,

as I dream of knee-high leather boots.

Cover me

in the handsome hue of autumn.

Dust me with its cinnamon scent…

Cover me in orange.

 

 

Flash Mob Marks End Of Summer

Catskill Mountains, halcottsville, Music, music videos, new york, outdoors, upstate new york

Halcottsville, NY – Labor Day weekend for the Catskills has come to mean an influx of  Air BnB hipsters, long lines at the store, a four day seafood station at Freshtown, actual real traffic jams, fireworks in the park, and packed farmers’ markets.

The weekend would not be complete without the Halcottsville Flash Mob, a tradition that keeps on growing.

Carried out by the local neighbors and weekenders alike at the Seuss property, the gathering begins around 7pm, but the preparation begins weeks earlier. You see, the whole point is for the DURR passengers, onboard the dinner/music train that runs from Arkville, NY to Roxbury, NY, to get treated to dancing torches in the Seuss’ back yard that appear from the darkness just as the train slows to the perfect viewing spot.

I guess you kind of have to be there…

In case you weren’t, here is a fun edit I did of the almost seven minute event, now under three minutes, as I took liberty to focus on the highlights and re-arrange the song a bit. I hope Johnny Cash and Blues Maneuver don’t mind too much.

Halcottsville Flash Mob Torches for the Train to Ring of Fire 9.2.17 from Mountain Girl Photography… on Vimeo.

A fire dance flash mob choreographed to “Ring of Fire” by Johny Cash performed by Blues Maneuver on 9.2.17 in the small hamlet of Halcottsville, NY. (Please note, song was re-arranged for post editing purposes)

Kindred Spirts – a poem

outdoors, photography, poetry, Travel

Young caribou | Newfoundland

I got so close to her

I could see the glint in her eye.

With every step,

both our hearts pounded.

Exposed, but not in danger.

Alone, but still safe

as a swaddled baby.

Oh, sweet caribou,

don’t run away.

All that is pointed at you

is my lens.

becca andre | twenty sixteen

Through closed windows

I can hear the sound of water rushing.

I know there is a photo screaming to be taken.

But that requires rising up 

from this alter of depression –

my bed.

At 3 pm I decided to meet the schoolbus.

It’s sleeting now.

Staring at my keys with longing,

I leave them on the counter.

Forcing my feet into boots,

I go outside.

Holding the camera to my breast

I take the first timid steps.

It’s such a small reward I am headed for –

A photo of a waterfall

I’ve seen a thousand times before.

But the only escape,

for me,

from this prison of blues

is through pictures and rhymes,

with water as my muse. 

december one twenty sixteen | becca andre 

MY REWARD: PHOTOS BELOW


Like what you see?  Like to drink tea while you read? Visit my online store MountainGirlMade.

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, photography, poetry, Uncategorized, upstate new york

Food photography – waste not, want not 

outdoors, photography, Recipes, upstate new york, Watershed post

In another life, I worked as a set stylist at QVC Studios for several garden vendors. Working my way up from water girl to head designer took three years, and I learned a lot.

For example, always provide the host/talent with an unadulterated product to sample on air. Hide it behind the basket of gleaming strawberries (sprayed with vegetable oil). Make sure there is a real tomato sitting on the cutting board next to the knife, so he or she doesn’t try and cut a fake one. Be sure to warn of the blueberry pie (with shaving cream whipped topping).

When all else fails, hide in the green room. Because the cringe-worthy moment will eventually occur. It’s live TV. You will sink in your seat, and cover your eyes, perhaps let out a whimper, or a scream, when the host moves to sniff a silk rose that just got touched up with a spritz of spray paint…

What does all this have to do with food photography?

Many tricks of the trade make food that has been photographed inedible. I hate waste, and I always try to come up with edible ways to stage my food shots. Just in case I get a snack-attack on set.

  • Rinse fresh veggies in a colander just before the shot, they will glisten for the photo, and will also be ready-to-eat.
  • Cook the ingredients separate, when possible, and not all the way. Stage for the shot, (less-cooked veggies have better color) then throw back into the pot and finish cooking for dinner.
  • Use daylight whenever possible, it makes everything look more appetizing and you won’t need to trick the lens.
  • Cut the pie, quiche, lasagna, etc. once it has cooled. Less chance of a soupy shot. Then re-heat and eat!
  • Always have fresh herbs on hand…that splash of green injects any food photo with life. And any dish with flavor.

Ok, that’s enough, I’m not giving away anymore trade secrets.

Below are photos taken at one of my favorite eateries here in the Catskills, Zephyr Restaurant, along with shots for restaurant articles in Watershed Post (Two Old Tarts & Bite Me Bakery) Sometimes I take my family on a trip without even leaving the kitchen, I include those shots as well.

Apologies, should you become hungry…

Lemon tart @ Two Old Tarts in Andes, NY | Cupcakes @ Bite Me Bakery in Shokan, NY

Above: Yogurt and berry parfait @ Zephyr Restaurant in Pine Hill, NY Below: Lemon curd hostess gifts and spiced cranberry compote

An evening visit to Japan, perfectly artificially lit, totally consumed

Revisiting Quebec City one morning: Alton Brown’s blender crepes, both savory and sweet


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Catskills’ St. Patrick’s Day parade, brush fires & burn ban

Catskill Mountains, new york, outdoors, photography, upstate new york

Sunday, March 13th proved to be not only a gorgeous day for a small town parade, but also dangerously dry in the Catskills. (Scroll to end for parade slideshow)

Five days after the Hubbell Homestead Fire  in Delaware County, brush fires continue to pop up.

Roxbury Fire Department Fire Chief Ken Davie went on to explain the lack of snow load this year has left the ground unsaturated, and allowed for grasses to stand tall and dry out, instead of flattening down.

Sunday’s St. Paddy’s Day festivities were still underway when a 12:48 pm tone rang out at the Roxbury Fire Department.  With the majority of the firefighters and trucks at the parade in Halcottsville, it was a scramble to reach the Denver brush fire.

Roxbury Fire Dept Hville parade 2016

Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department in Halcottsville St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Den1ver brush fire

Smoke in the valley

Denver brush fire 3

Brush fire at 23 Slauson Hollow Rd. of Salley’s Alley, Denver NY

Denver brush fire 2

Extinguishing the flames

denver brush fire 4

According to  Chief Davie, fire took less then 20 minutes to put out completely

Chief Davie reported the resident of the house below the caught field had been burning a bit of brush in a barrel, and a spark flew.

“People need to be aware and pay attention…there is a brush fire in Davenport [Delaware County] right now…there could possibly be 1/2 a dozen fires by the end of today,” said Davie.

The NYDEC has issued a burn ban beginning March 16, 2016 and ending May 14, 2016.

According to the March 13 press release “all residential brush burning is prohibited in smaller communities during the state’s historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14,” said  state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens.

“This time of year has the most risk of fires and the risk is even greater this year due to the extremely mild winter we’ve seen across the state,” Commissioner Martens said.

hville st p day parade mr saftey 2016

Ignoring the ban is a serious offense:

Violators of the open burning state regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC’s website.

“It’s a danger zone right now,” said  Fire Chief Ken Davie.

Parade photos by Mark Andre  |  Fire photos by Rebecca Andre

 

Loud Derby and Quiet Confederate Flag at 2015 Delaware County Fair, Walton New York

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, photography, state fair

A summertime tradition once again commenced this past weekend in Walton, New York.  The Delaware County Fair is an end of summer staple for “upstate” New Yorkers adults and children alike.

There are the rides of course…

tea cup ride 2

Bright lights against a Catskill sunset.

…and the petting of animals…

Feeding the goats...just a tip of the agricultural iceberg

Feeding the goats…just a tip of the agricultural iceberg.

…the purposeful crashing of cars…

demo derby day 2

Friday night’s demolition derby at the county fair in Walton was the scene of numerous car crashes and a “few good fires.”

…as hundreds of spectators pay $6 a ticket to fill the stands, and cheer on the clash of metal…

Smoke rises, and can be seen throughout the fairgrounds.

Smoke rises, and can be seen throughout the fairgrounds.  “I grew up coming to derby nights during fair week” says Mary Torma-Kelly, who has been with the Walton Fire Department and Fire Police for almost 10 years. Torma-Kelly goes on to explain the cars undergo modifications regarding the gas tank, and there are strict regulations that must be followed to be allowed to run in the event. Of course there are helmet regulations, and a major rule restricts any collisions with the driver’s side door. This is a time-honored tradition not everyone understands. Good old-fashioned fun is had by the drivers of the decorated, beat-up cars. The crowd goes wild when the driver of the last car running climbs on top of his car for a victory dance.

…of course there are tractors…

The local farmers get to use their tractors for something other then plowing and harvesting as they pull each (permanently) wrecked vehicle off the track.

The local farmers get to use their tractors for something other then plowing and harvesting as they pull each (permanently) wrecked vehicle off the track.

…and country music…

The Jason Wicks Band

The Jason Wicks Band

…and last, but not least, confederate flags.

Confederate flag flies and sells at the fair in Walton, New York

Confederate flag flies and sells at the fair in Walton, New York.

Yes.  The Confederate flag.  Despite swirling controversy, as outlined by the local online newspaper Watershed Post, the flag did have a quiet presence in a few tucked-away corners of the fair.  Belt buckles, pins and the flag itself were for sale by at least three (to remain un-named) vendors.

Yes.  Just a few hours outside of New York City, this fair speaks to the entrenched way of life (the good, bad and indifferent) of hard working farmers and their families. Those in the city and surrounding areas may not understand all the choices made by these folks, some 3rd generation farmers.  This is a proud land, owned by mountain farmers in New York State.  Personal judgements aside, my family sure had a blast, and the Demolition Derby was well worth our trip.

All Images ©2015 Rebecca Andre

Tales of Trout and Waiting for Spring.

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, photography

Neversink.  Beaverkill. Schoharie. Esopus.  Stony Clove Creek.

Never have I heard these coveted Catskill streams named so many times in one sitting.  Yet, I am so glad I was present at Trout Tales, an event hosted by Leigh and Mark Melander of Spillian, this past snowy Sunday, March 1.  An event that brought together passionate fly-fisherman, historians and policy-makers along with avid fishermen/women of all ages.  The youngest attendee was just 6 years old.

Initially,  my presence there was solely to escape cabin fever, as this winter has been long and cold, with Spring so slow to show.  Yes, I did want to show support to my husband and his new business, High Peaks Outfitters, document the evening with my camera, and slurp up the amazing soup served up by my friend and resident chef, Melissa Zeligman.

Upon leaving, I left with a belly full of the most spectacular clam chowder, and enough inspiration to fuel me until Spring.

Spring…  my husband cannot wait to step onto a solitary rock, stream side, and watch his line drift with the current…The wives of the below fisherman will agree, we too are looking forward to Spring, and the peaceful mood displayed by our men returning from the streams.

Also waiting, patience tested, for Spring is the panel of esteemed fly anglers that were present that night:

From Left: Chris Hensley, Mark Loete, Roger Menard, Judd Weisberg, Lenny Millen, John Hoeko, Tony Bonavist

From Left: Chris Hensley, Mark Loete, Roger Menard, Judd Weisberg, Lenny Millen, John Hoeko, Tony Bonavist ©2015 MGP&D

Enter: a brief overview of the Trout Talks.  After being introduced by the moderator of the night, Chris Hensley, an accomplished fly fisherman that calls the Catskills home, we heard from the six panelists, in speaking order:

  1. John Hoeko, Fleischmanns, NY – Began fishing only a few years after he began to walk.  Legendary anglers of the Catskills like Frank Mele, Art Flick, Harry and Elsie Darbee, Ed Van Putt and Herman Christian can be counted among his friends and associates.  John was instrumental in the passage of the “Catskill Water Flow Bill”.  Sunday evening, John spoke very whimsically as he recounted his love for fly-fishing.  And we are all waiting for the imminent opening of his fly shop in Fleischmanns, NY.

    John Hoeko, soon to be opening  up a fly shop in Fleischmanns, NY

    John Hoeko, soon to be opening up a fly shop in Fleischmanns, NY           ©2015 MGP&D

  2.  Tony Bonavist, Hurley, NY – Began tying flies at the age of 10. His bio includes a BS in Aquatic Biology,  26 years as a fisheries biologist for the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, an instructor at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing, and a published writer. He was also instrumental in the developing of the Catskill Waters organization and legislation that saved almost 200 miles of the Delaware Watershed.  Tony spoke fervently and proudly of the role he played saving the waters that we all take for granted.
  3. Lenny Millen, Margaretville, NY – Yet again, we see fishing taking hold at a young age with Lenny, a veteran guide of 25 years,  as he began fishing as soon as he could walk, no doubt with the help of his three brothers.  Beginning with spin fishing (which by the way, is perfectly acceptable in my book.  Especially when encouraging young people to to take up the sport, baby step by baby step.)  His love for fishing eventually landed him in the Catskills from Montana, where he established Catskill Kingfisher Guide Service.  Mentored by Joan Wulff, he returned the favor by serving 7 years at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing.  A true and heartfelt statement from Lenny on Sunday night regarding fly-fishing – and life, I should say – “There is plenty to learn for the rest of your life, no matter how young or old you are.”

    L to R Lenny, John, Tony

    From Left: Lenny Millen, John Hoeko and Tony Bonavist                           ©2015 MGP&D

  4. Roger Menard, Olivebridge, NY – Roger can rightfully boast of honorable service in the United States Navy, along with accumulating 65 years of fly fishing experience.  He is charter director of the Theodore Gordon Fly Fishers, member of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Catskill Fly Tiers Guild and Trout Unlimited.  Along with being a respected fly tier counting the Darbees, Keith Fulsher and Charlie Krom among his friends, he is also author of “My Side of the River: Reflections of a Catskill Fly Fisherman”.  Listening to Roger, it makes perfect sense he is a writer, as his story-telling of 22 inch rainbows and trout-stealing raccoons were a highlight of the night.
  5. Judd Weisberg, Lexington, NY – Once again, fishing became a destiny realized early.  At the age of 4, he began fishing at camp Lexington owned by his family.  His love for fly fishing has since taken him all over the world, from Maine to Japan.  Judd is a licensed guide in NY and PA, specializing in float and wade trips.  He teaches his “Elements of Fly Fishing” course to any and all who wish to learn the way of life of fly fishing.  Sunday night he mentioned his inspiration for guiding is his desire to “see others catch fish”.  Amen

    Mark Loete, Roger Menard, and Judd Weisberg ©2015 MGP&D

    Mark Loete, Roger Menard, and Judd Weisberg   ©2015 MGP&D

  6. Mark Loete, Chichester, NY – Mark became an angler on the shores of the Mississippi River. Mark has been a professional photographer (kindred spirt) for 30 years in New York, and has made the Catskills his home for the last 15 years.  Mark’s most recent accomplishment is the photographed collection of artificial flies housed in the Jerry Bartlett Collection at the Phoenicia Library and website.  He also is a NYS licensed guide and owner of Catskill Mountain Angler.  Sunday evening he shared with us some newspaper clips from the 40’s, describing huge harvests of trout, demonstrating there wasn’t always regulations and limits.
Chris and Mark Loete

Chris Hensely, moderator, and Mark Loete    ©2015 MGP&D

Melissa's Magical Clam Chowder     ©2015 MGP&D

Melissa’s Magical Clam Chowder ©2015 MGP&D

So…one may wonder what I absorbed from this night?  Perhaps I felt a little over my head.  Yet at the dinner table, or in the soup line waiting to be dished out yet another bowl of Melissa’s Magical Clam Chowder, it became glaringly apparent that we all shared at least  two things in common:  our love for the waters of the Catskills, and our desire to see people of all ages appreciate the life-changing effect taking to the outdoors can have.

Dare I say, whether its fly fishing, spin fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking or skiing, the Catskills offer all this up on an inviting “silver platter”.  All we have to do is get together our respective gear and cast out a line.

-becca

-becca

Written by: Rebecca A., poet and photographer, owner of Mountain Girl Photography and Design and Traveler’s Tea, an organic tea company.  Wife to Mark, mechanic, electrician, hunting/fishing guide and owner of High Peaks Outfitters. Mother to beautiful Bella, fisher-woman in training.

Thanks to: the esteemed Chris Hensley, for his informative bios, and for taking leave of his fast-paced career in the music industry and making the waters of the Catskills his home.