The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that needed repairs on two boat launches on Lake Champlain – the Peru Dock Boat Launch and the Willsboro Bay Boat Launch – are set to be undertaken during the month of October.
DEC is replacing a culvert under the exit lane of the Peru Dock Boat Launch which is causing problems for boat motors and trailers exiting the boat launch and addressing other water drainage issues at the site. The repairs will begin October 9 and are expected to be completed on October 17. » Continue Reading.
Thankfully, there are a number of opportunities for all of us to learn about and have access to locally produced products. Farmers Markets are opening for the season. Farm tours are available and pollinator workshops continue to put the importance of locally grown food in the forefront.
I’ve always wanted my children to not only see the important role local food plays in our life and economy, but to see how other skills and crafts evolved in the Adirondacks and beyond. Since I don’t want everything to always be a lesson, one fun way to learn about the past and see craftsmen at work is to attend the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum’s Homestead Festival on June 22-23, 2018. » Continue Reading.
The North Star Underground Railroad Museum has announced the return of its popular mini-bus tours of antislavery and underground railroad sites in Keeseville and Peru.
New this year, photo albums will help passengers follow the narrative, new information has been added on the Episcopal and Wesleyan Churches, and passengers can hear the recently discovered story of a man who escaped from Baltimore, Maryland, and reached Canada via Albany, Saratoga, Warren, Essex and Clinton Counties. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA), in partnership with the Kayak Shack of Plattsburgh, is hosting a Paddling River Clean-Up Saturday, September 17th in Peru. The clean-up is open to all community members who want to restore and protect the beauty of the Ausable River.
AsRA will be working with the Kayak Shack at their Baggs’ Landing location to remove trash in and along the banks of the Ausable River from Carpenter’s Flats to the mouth at Lake Champlain.
Last year, volunteers removed thirteen bags of trash, large pieces of scrap metal, and over 200 tires from the river and its banks. » Continue Reading.
In honor of the newly renovated Bluff Point Lighthouse on Valcour Island, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) in conjunction with the Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) has announced a formal Bluff Point Lighthouse Restoration Celebration to be held this Sunday, July 24th at the Peru Dock Boat Launch.
The schedule of events begins at the Peru Dock Boat Launch at 11 am featuring guest speakers from the NYS DEC and the CCHA, in addition to state and local elected officials. Transportation to and from Valcour Island will be provided by the NYS DEC starting at 1 pm. with free tours at the Lighthouse provided by volunteers from the Clinton County Historical Association from 1 to 5 pm. » Continue Reading.
In the northeast corner of New York State, the first weekend in June features Museum Days, during which 16 facilities in Clinton County offer free admission. We were among many who appeared as special guests on both days, offering our books for sale and visiting with attendees, which meant talking a lot about “the good old days.” From that experience, I can assure everyone that a trip to the Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum in Peru, where we spent Saturday, is a great idea from several perspectives.
As a museum, it’s a real pleasure, and for children and adults alike, it’s fun and entertaining. But it occurred to me that it’s also a priceless gift to people in their sixties or older, and to the offspring of those folks who have heard stories about childhood chores, tools of yesteryear, and appliances that preceded modern devices. » Continue Reading.
Our strawberry patch is just starting to ripen, but Rulfs Orchard’s U-Pick fields are just waiting to be picked. To celebrate this passage into summer, Rulfs is holding its 4th Annual Strawberry Festival in Peru this Saturday, June 27, from 11 am – 3 pm. » Continue Reading.
There are numerous opportunities to continue to education children and families on the importance of local food. The success of the recent Farm2Fork Festival, farm tours and farmers’ markets as well as farm to school initiatives indicate that people are interested in what happens to their food. One place to visit that is continuing that farm to table education is the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in Peru.
According to Babbie Museum Secretary Carol Rock this weekend’s 4th annual Kids Fair and Festival is a fun educational way to keep families interested in the importance of rural farming traditions. » Continue Reading.
In the year 2000, five years after Plattsburgh Air Force Base closed, Pratt & Whitney signed a lease, moved in, and set up shop on the former base property. Many jobs and residents had been lost in the shutdown, making Pratt & Whitney a valued anchor business in the recovery effort.
Their arrival might have been a homecoming of sorts with historical significance, but persistent misinformation carried forward for more than a century appears to have robbed the region of an important link to the past. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 27 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including five in Northern New York.
Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. » Continue Reading.
Almost lost in the recent “Fiscal Cliff” spectacle was the anniversary marking one of the major positive milestones of our history — President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
On January 1, 1863, some 3 million people held as slaves in the Confederate states were declared to be “forever free.” Of course, it wasn’t that simple. Most of those 3 million people were still subjugated until the Union Army swept away the final Confederate opposition more than two years later. And slavery was not abolished in the entire United States until after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865. » Continue Reading.
Last week student volunteers from SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam took part in exploratory archaeological excavations at the former Stephen Keese Smith farm on Union Road, midway between Keeseville. The Smith farm (also known as “the old Stafford place”) is a historic Underground Railroad site where refugees from slavery were hidden in the 1850s and 1860s. Although several of the buildings on the farm are believed to have housed runaway slaves, one barn in particular that includes a “hidden room” was the target of the weekend’s excavations.
Archeologists and volunteers organized by the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association (NCUGRHA) worked last weekend to conduct an archeological survey in advance of restoration work on the barn. The dig was organized by Andrew Black of Black Drake Consulting and SUNY Plattsburgh, assisted by members of the NCUGRHA, and with the permission and assistance of the of the property owners, Frank and Jackie Perusse.
I first became acquainted with the “Under Ground Rail Road” twenty years or more before the [Civil] War … Samuel Keese was the head of the [Underground RR] depot in Peru. His son, John Keese – myself, and Wendell Lansing at Keeseville [publisher of the Essex County Republican] were actors. I had large buildings and concealed the Negroes in them. I kept them, fed them, often gave them shoes and clothing. I presume I have spent a thousand dollars for them in one-way and another. There were stations at Albany, Troy, Glens Falls and then here in Peru. The Negroes would come through the woods and be nearly famished. We kept them and fed them for one or two days and then ran them along to Noadiah Moore’s in Champlain… He went with the Negroes to Canada and looked out places for them to work.
The archeological teams excavated three places along the exterior foundation walls of the barn in search for artifacts. Aside from some scattered 20th century trash and earlier barn construction debris (nails, hardware, window glass), they found nothing of significance, meaning that some restoration work can begin without harming historically significant remains.
The stone-walled room built into the barn’s lower level, believed to be one of the places Smith hid runaways, was too flooded to excavate. The team had hoped to establish the original floor level in the “hidden room” and see if there are deposits directly related to the room’s occupation by refugees. Unfortunately those investigations will have to wait until the groundwater level subsides, when archeologists will return to the barn to explore this hidden gem of North Country Underground Railroad History.
Photos: Above – Archaeologists and volunteers gather for a photo during the Smith barn excavation in Peru, Clinton County, NY (Courtesy Helen Allen Nerska). Below – The hidden room in the lower level of the Smith barn (Courtesy Don Papson).
I wouldn’t miss the Open Minded Mic Night at BluSeed Studios tonight. Always an interesting and fun night out. The performances are kept to a two-song or seven-minute maximum so the night moves along at a comfortable pace. It’s a great way to support local musicians and poets, and this one has the lovely Celia Evans hosting.
Staying inside the park Saturday night, I’d see Lissa Scheckenburger and Bethany Waickman, also at BluSeed. I know Bethany. She plays the guitar the way I’d like to. Even though it’s a drive, if I were in the mood to really move my body (and because I missed the 20 Main gig) I’d check out Capital Zen in Saratoga Springs. The energy that comes through on their recorded stuff must be even better live — I love a hot bass line.
In Ellenburg Depot, ALASH, Throat Singers from Tuva will be giving a performance at The Northern Adirondack High School Auditorium. This is located at 5572 Route 11. The doors open at 6:30 pm and he show goes from 7 – 9 pm.
In Plattsburgh, Viennese Romance , Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival will be held at 7:30 pm at SUNY. For more information call: (802) 846-217 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Canton, Urban Verbs: Where Hip Hop Meets Life will be performed at St. Lawrence University. Held from 7:30 – 9:30 pm this show explores the blur between music, poetry and daily life. For more information call: (315) 229-5659.
This weekend I have two “won’t miss” shows. First, is Kris Delmhorst at BluSeed, she has a gorgeous voice and just glows on stage. Second, is the 2nd anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show, which has introduced me to many new artists and reminded me about some of the greatest songs in music history.
Friday and Saturday at the Twin Ponds Campground, 208 Fuller Road in Peru, the Backwoods Pondfest is happening. It begins Friday at 3 pm continues beyond 1 am. On Saturday it starts at noon and continues well past 1 am again. So many good bands—South Catherine Street Jug Band, Ryan Montbleau Band and Lucid among them—its a rock fest with lots of freestyle dancing to be had. They have a very very good website which I encourage you to check out. $60 will get you into both days of the festival, $40 just for Saturday. Saturday at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake Kris Delmhorst is giving a concert. She is out supporting her most recent CD, Shotgun Singer. My first listen to her beautiful voice was on the Red Bird CD ( incidentally I first heard it on The Ten Dollar Radio Show) and then live at BluSeed. The show starts at 7:30 pm. $14/12 for members.
Saturday and Sunday in Athol at the Veterans Memorial Field the 13th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree is going on. It’s a rain or shine even—bring your lawn chairs, shades or galoshes depending. On Saturday there’s a $7 cover but Sunday is free. Here are some of the great musicians you’ll be treated to on Saturday: The Silver Family at 12 noon, Don’t Quit Your Day Job at 1 pm, Sara Milonovich and Greg Anderson at 6 pm and Cedar Ridge at 8 pm. Sunday is Jamboree Gospel Day—starts at 1 pm with Tom Vissler, The Hartley Family at 3 pm and ends with the Jim Davis Band at 7 pm.
Here is a great way to cap off your weekend: Sunday is the second anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show and I will be tuned in to Rock 105 at 6 pm while I’m making dinner. I have to admit it’s been awhile since I’ve caught it at the designated time—not because I don’t love the music. It’s just that I, like most people in the Adirondacks, don’t like being inside when the weather is beautiful. Later in the week, I’ll post an article based on an interview done with one of the founders of the show, Ned P. Rauch. Until then I’d like to remind everyone that we can always tune into the podcast to keep up with all of the great music Pete Crowley and friends like Kelly Hofschneider and Brandy Hobson keep playing each week.
The forecast says the low temperature tonight in Saranac Lake will be 22 degrees. The apple tree we share with a neighbor decided to bloom yesterday. What to do?
Since the tree has thrived at an elevation of about 2,000 feet for longer than anyone living in this neighborhood can remember, it must be a pretty cold-hardy variety. But a deep freeze at blossom time really threatens to thin the crop. So we called Bob Rulf, who owns Rulf’s Orchards, in Peru. He said it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to light charcoal in a couple of grills beneath the tree (this is a pretty big tree) and keep the smoke rising. Between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. is the coldest part of the night, Rulf said. The temperature is only supposed to get down to about 29 degrees in Peru, the more-temperate apple basket of the Adirondacks. Cornell Cooperative Extension advises that when an apple blossom is tight and in the pink it can stand 30 degrees F for an hour; when it’s wide-open white it can stand 28 degrees for an hour, which seems counterintuitive, Rulf said.
His orchard is not equipped with wind machines or any large-scale equipment for dealing with frosts, so he’ll take his chances with the apples. However Rulf does plan to tow a furnace around the strawberry patch tonight with helpers riding along to blow hot air on that crop.
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