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July 24, 2014
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CALLICOON, NY —The 2014 first annual Green Tourism Conference, held earlier this spring at Villa Roma Resort, showcased green technologies, materials, products and practices that are breathing new life into an old industry.

House plants; Prepare them for the journey back inside

After a summer vacation on your porch or deck, it’s time to prepare your house plants for the trip back to their winter home. For their survival and your enjoyment, they need to be prepared for the lower levels of light, temperature and humidity of the house. It’s really just a reversal of the process of hardening off plants or seedlings in the spring. When night temperatures cool to the 50s, the fall ritual can begin. These tips should help with the process:  Read more

The warmth of a cup of tea; Giving a tea party

Imagine yourself on a leisurely drive through the winding countryside of South Wales. You pass luscious green rolling hills speckled with woolly sheep and patches of lush woodland. This journey ends down in a deep valley, complete with a river running through it, at a stately home built somewhere around 1810. You make your way up to the beautiful home past the stables and horses, and find yourself sitting in the conservatory in the center of the large house. The conservatory is filled with beautiful plants, where the sunlight pours in through the many windows to warm your soul. This memory was one of many shared by Christine San Jose, who has “84 years’ experience in high tea.”  Read more

Kelly McMasters; Reader, writer, independent bookstore owner

Kelly McMasters owns a small, independent book store, Moody Road Studio, located in Maude Alley in the 1000 block of Main Street in Honesdale, PA. She writes about the experience in a monthly column for The Paris Review. She is the author of “Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town,” the personal story of growing up in her hometown on Long Island, NY where there were three nuclear reactors and all three leaked. A documentary based on the book was shown earlier this month at the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, PA.  Read more

Honoring traditions, fabricating new; Meet the divas of quilting

Some do it for the fellowship and conversation. Some do it for the satisfaction of having something to show for all their hard work. Some do it for the art. But they all have the same goal: to make a quilt.  Read more

Something old, something new; A country house lovingly restored

There’s a reason that people are obsessed with home makeover shows. There’s nothing like a good transformation story and the big reveal. We constantly tune in to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Trading Spaces” to watch cringe-worthy spaces become homes you want to live in, all led by the skilled and snarky renovators who have become household names (Ty Pennignton, Genevieve Gorder). Not to be outdone by celebrity makeover artists, Ramona Jan of Country Home Restoration (Abrahamsville, PA) has recently completed a project to restore an 1800s farmhouse in Hortonville, NY, owned by Westchester resident Cheryl Greenberg.  Read more

The biker’s way; Motorcycling is a frame of mind

To readers of a certain generation—we who were born under the Truman or Eisenhower administrations—mere utterance of the word motorcycle could invoke no other image but that of a young Marlon Brando: shades, comb, black leather jacket (“The Wild One,” 1953). Teen boys gazed admiringly. Young girls giggled nervously. Shopkeepers cringed and police officers scowled whenever a biker rolled into town…  Read more

View from the Top

On a perfect clear day in the very beginning of fall (the trees teasing with hints of reds, yellows and oranges), I gathered a group of friends to do something that we locals have probably done once before, if not multiple times—hike Jensen’s Ledges.  Read more

Hidden treasures in the mountains

Say the words “The Poconos” or “The Catskills” and your listeners will probably conjure up wonderful images of lush forests, sparkling lakes, exhilarating speedboat rides, fly fishing in mountain streams, challenging golf games or tubing and kayaking on the Delaware. Shopping would probably not be top on the list—but really, there is a certain kind of shopping, a treasure hunt of sorts, that can be one of the top things to do here. Hidden on the main streets in our towns are wonderful antique shops that will challenge anyone’s desire to find a special unique piece to bring home from their vacation.  Read more

Fall fun down on the farm; Lost in a corn maze

As the cooler temperatures start to hit and the leaves start to change, we all know that fall is in the air. For some of us, this time of year may signify hay rides, pumpkins and hot apple cider. For some, it may mean it is time to find the closest corn maze for an annual corn maze adventure. If there is one certain way to adventure this fall, the corn maze would be it.  Read more

Geocaching: the hunt for cache

Two hundred yards up the hill from my home in Bethany, PA, hidden in the heart of the borough park, is a small canister that few people have found or even noticed during the six years of its existence. It would be easy to overlook, considering one has to solve a puzzle of coordinates in order to obtain the exact location of this treasure—or “cache.” Concealed inside the canister are a small rubber dinosaur, a signature log and a congratulatory letter with the mysterious signature “The Fox and the Hound.”  Read more

Translating the Fables of La Fontaine: A Creative Linguistic Challenge

Everyone has an urge to be creative. It’s important, though, to recognize one’s proper medium. I’ve picked up paintbrushes, cameras and sketchpads. I’ve satisfied my brief obsession with quilting with the completion of one potholder. And I finally had to admit that my medium is words.  Read more

The Potency of Words

When I was involved in a cult they interrupted me constantly. “Enough with the story already. Just tell us in ten words what happened.”

I should’ve known better. In my life, nothing’s ever straightforward. One story is a skein from another, equally vital and germane. From there, I weave an intricate design, a pattern of words to provide a scenario, background and rationale to what occurred, what may occur and the importance of whatever I have to convey. To reduce a situation to ten words makes as much sense as Albert Camus’ character in “L’Etranger” who stated, “Au cause du soleil.”  Read more

The Language of the Seasons

Summer came and she danced to the music
of live bands at county fairs,
and the Delaware River spoke to her of romance
and childhood dreams,
her youth melting like ice cream
on a hot August day.  Read more

Whispers on the Western Front

I have never been good with words

they hang heavy on my tongue like clothing lines through tenement windows

but my scars are excellent story tellers and I could talk

to the crinkles around your eyes for centuries

we kiss each other like amulets, use our bodies in place of prophets

I’ve never been good at reading between the lines

but I read your palms and came to the conclusion

that you are every word I could never find

you tell me the freckles across my shoulder blades are like Braille and only the best people can decipher my story  Read more

Mother Tongue, Mother Lode

Whenever I asked my mother how to spell a word, she would invariably tell me to look it up — a strategy that instilled in me a lifelong love of language.

I also owe a debt to Mad Libs. “What’s an adjective?” I demanded whenever my sisters and I played the fill-in-the-blanks word game, which required familiarity with the parts of speech. I had a firm grasp of nouns and verbs, but adjectives were still beyond me.  Read more

The Language of All Things

Impatient for the day to begin
I emerge from my dark bedroom and head outside
To hurry it along
I clutch the old pilled sweater firmly against the early day
The edges of my nightgown wipe the dew from the grey green grass
I stand rooted
The morning greets me
A pine scented soft breeze washes away yesterday
As it glides gently through the family of trees
That have been here since long before me
Tall and friendly, watchful
Their voice
An orchestra of leaves
fluttering and swaying
performing nature’s sweet melodies
A relentless chorus of large crows, caw magnificently  Read more

Mother

Have you seen your brother lately?

A question rising out of
a mind confused
so clearly came the message  Read more

How Real I Used to Be: A Journey with My Mother through the Strange World of Alzheimer’s

In 2003 my mother started to lose her memory. It was subtle at first. We would walk on Avenue U and she would fail to come up with the name of an acquaintance or two. Nothing alarming. After a while her shopping list started to look like an art project, with drawings of mushrooms and strawberries next to the words milk and bananas. Soon the drawings faded away. In the supermarket she would say to me, “I’m looking for those red things with a little green piece and they come all together.” Sometimes it was obvious what she wanted; other times we left without the crackers or the American cheese.  Read more

The Word is Yes

Verbatim conversation:

“Can you play the bongos?” I asked my daughter’s friend, Skye. He grunted in reply.

“I’m sorry, what was that? I just wanted to know if you can play the bongos.” He shrugged.

“Is that a yes or no?” I asked. He smirked, shrugged and then grunted.

Desperate to get around the words that weren’t happening, I placed a set of bongos in his hands and he instantly performed one of the most impressive solos I’d ever heard. When he stopped, he grumbled, “I really can’t play.”  Read more

Word

Far off grackle
Cat bird screech
Cat pressing through weeds
Isn’t that word enough?  Read more