Lee's friends Bill and Lisa, also shiitake growers, are still harvesting good crops, cold weather notwithstanding. They brought one of their logs indoors, where it stands in the sink of their laundry room. Great idea! (photo by Wendell Smith)

Even indoors, shiitakes just keep on keepin’ on

The 15 oak logs sitting in the shade of my giant Norway spruce tree more than earned their keep last year. Seven of them got inoculated with plugs of shiitake mushroom spawn in…


Celebrate the saving of a Hudson Valley bean

Local chefs craft special dinners to feature Hank’s X-tra Special Baking Bean The farm-to-table model of supporting our local farmers and restaurateurs is pretty firmly entrenched in our regional consciousness at this point….

Lee tests seed viability by counting out 10 to 20 seeds from each packet, and spreading the seeds between two moist rounds of filter paper on a plate. Enclosing the plate in a plastic bag to hold in moisture and putting the bagged plate somewhere warm – preferably around 75 degrees – provides nearly perfect conditions for germination.  (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

How to know when to toss your old seeds

“Ring out the old, ring in the new” – but not all the “old,” when it comes to seeds for this year’s garden. I’m flipping through my plastic shoeboxes (I think that’s what…


The middle of the Sun, the Earth and the universe

What would you find at the exact center of our world? the Sun? the Universe? Anyone with a below-ground basement or who visits a cavern knows that just a few feet down, the…


Beacon’s Towne Crier hosts concert for new American Center for Folk Music

The City of Beacon has been a hotbed of folk music agitation since the founding in the early 20th century of the University Settlement Camp at the foot of Mount Beacon. That’s where,…


Intro to Beekeeping seminar at Olive Free Library

The Olive Free Library will offer a free two-part “Introduction to Beekeeping” seminar on Saturdays, January 9 and 16 from 10 to 3 p.m., led by master beekeeper Rob Overton. Participants will learn…


National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance program helps communities get linked

Let’s say that your community group would like to conserve a piece of local land. A hiking trail has been proposed for the site, or a small park could be established there. Perhaps…

Lee spreading wood ash in New Paltz (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

Cardoon’s questionable

I haven’t yet given up on cardoon – growing it. But eating it? I just about give up. It’s like eating humongous stalks of stringy celery having just a hint of artichoke flavor. As…


Solar: Buy, lease — or forget the whole thing?

It was hard to imagine a few short years ago. Here in upstate New York, where it’s cloudy half the time, solar panels are taking off. Even though Congress just extended the biggest…

Franklin D. Roosevelt at a picnic on "Sunset Hill" near Pine Plains. Fala is four months old. The doll next to the president is a handmade Shaker doll made by Mary Garettson of Rhinebeck. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum)

FDR’s speeches now available online

We’ve just passed the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the catastrophe that finally got the US involved in World War II after a period of isolationism. It was also…

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