Thursday, April 30, 2009

Peekskill Week ~ 1.

I arrived in Peekskill at 10am this morning and was so impressed with the place I stayed until 5pm. The first person I met was the Chief of Police, who was also loitering & saw me staring at this building. We chatted for awhile. He told me where the best old buildings were and recommended a cafe where I could grab a cup of coffee and some breakfast. He also told me to say hello to Merle Van Sneed for him, and hopes Merle will visit Peekskill sometime.

The Metro North track along the Hudson. (View from Peekskill , NY.)

Raymond Street in Peekskill.

This is just the beginning of Peek Week. It'll take me all week to describe my lovely day there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Empty Properties

Dave and Daphne summer in The Catskills, but last year didn't get back until mid July. Their caretaker had mowed the lawn and turned the water back on, but he neglected to trim the hedges back so they could get inside. (The side door was accessible though.) Although the caretaker checks in weekly, Their house is unoccupied from October 30th til May 30th.

Hotel for sale near Daphne's little retreat. Corner of Wade Road & State Rt. 52. Liberty NY

Monday, April 27, 2009


A creek near Slide Mountain. we stopped for cokes at a little roadside place. It was August and the day was sunny, hot, and luminous. Under the trees it was like being in a cool, shady room lit with so many greens. I noticed a lot of little frogs there and was able to catch and hold one for a moment to look at it closely. All around the base of slide mountain are beautiful creeks and wooded areas.

Slide Mountain was made famous by naturalist John Burroughs. here he describes the view from the summit.

We saw the world as the hawk or the balloonist sees it when he is three thousand feet in the air. How soft and flowing all the outlines of the hills and mountains beneath us looked! The forests dropped down and undulated away over them, covering them like a carpet ...
All was mountain and forest on every hand. Civilization seemed to have done little more than to have scratched this rough, shaggy surface of the earth here and there. In any such view, the wild, the aboriginal, the geographical greatly predominate. The works of man dwindle, and the original features of the huge globe come out. Every single object or point is dwarfed; the valley of the Hudson is only a wrinkle in the earth's surface. You discover with a feeling of surprise that the great thing is the earth itself, which stretches away on every hand so far beyond your ken.

~ John Burroughs (b. April 3, 1837 in The Catskills)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boulder Splitting is Easy!

Note: the Hazy town in the distance is Peekskill~ I'll be getting some close ups of the town next week.

First you need a masonry drill and a generator if your extension cord is not long enough. You can also drill holes by hand with a star drill, but doing it without electricity means you'll be working for at least 45 minutes drilling one hole. These electric drills are large but it's all about holding them steady--no real exertion from you, just steady & let the drill do all the work. You don't need to push or move it around, simply hold it in place.

You mark your boulder with a crayon or chalk along a natural line in the boulder if possible. Take a rifting hammer, hammer a thin trench or rift line across your boulder, following your marked line. Drill holes carefully, into the rift, (equally spaced.) Place feathers and wedges in the holes and start to tap with your sledge hammer. For each of these steps you have to stop and try to be the best "Boulder Whisperer" you can be. This will help you mark the rock, and split it easily and cleanly. Patience is necessary.

Tapping the wedges into the rock will sound like music, all different tones. But when a deadened sound comes, you know the boulder is about to crack. Leave it alone for 30 minutes to an hour and let it do its own thing. The boulder will experience some internal action which you won't see, but will help a hairline crack form. Once you see a hairline crack, work carefully, tapping with a small sledgehammer to open the crack wider-- and get a long pry bar into that crack as soon as you can (boulders have been known the slam shut trapping your feathers and wedges forever, so now you need patience and to get the pry bar into the crack to separate the pieces of boulder.) If your boulder does not crack on its own, very gently tap the wedges with your smallest rock hammer until a crack appears. It's all very easy but requires a lot of patience.

Using tools like pry bars, rock wraps and winches, you can move an entire boulder without exerting yourself, and with some minor shaping with simple tools, a section of split boulder can become a stone step.

TOOLS you will need to split a boulder:

Drill (electric, or use a Star drill )
Rifting Hammer
2 Sledge hammers (different weights)
Rock Hammer
Pry Bar
Set of feathers and wedges
work gloves
2 types of safety masks
safety glasses
good footwear (steel toe work boots)

You can easily make 4 stone steps from one large boulder in one day if you're patient and take frequent short breaks from your work. Shaping and placing the steps can be done another day. (To properly set your stone steps, you'll need a pick-mattock tool, a shovel and small rocks to form a crib wall to stabilize your steps.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


A Famous Ellenville Bakery ~ The raisin pumpernickel bread is great ~ totally worth the drive.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Old Blue Outbuilding

One of the things I like about the Catskills are the old barns and sheds.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Catskill Snap

View of the Catskills from a ridge near Minnewaska State Park.

This blog is being revamped ~ The Liberty Daily Snap has changed its name to Catskill Snaps.

Forest Fire

A single helicopter on the ridge. Forest fire in Shawangunk State Park just south of Sam's Point Preserve. It was a hot, breezy, sunny weekend, the worst kind of weather to be fighting a fire.

Park Ranger's truck at Bear Mountain State Park ~ a reminder from Smokey ~ I saw this the day before the fire.

Warning sign on a very dry trail.

This fire burned nearly 400 acres and some homes on Shawanga Lodge Road were evacuated over the weekend. By early today the fire was well under control. Over ninety volunteer firefighters from three counties came to help fight the blaze.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ellenville, NY

Ellenville, Ulster County NY