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December 20, 2014
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Building a new house is always an adventure, and for Paul Plumadore and Jim Tindell of Milanville, PA building their home on River Road has been the adventure of a lifetime.

Niqab

I did not know the girl behind the veil. I could barely see her eyes. Yet, I could feel her humiliation, her disgrace, her indignation. It stabbed at my heart to see her being treated as an outcast. These strangers treated her with contempt, simply because of her dress and her foreign tongue. A compulsion came over me. I needed to experience this persecution for myself so that I could better understand, so that I would never forget that an individual should be judged by their actions and values, not by their outward appearance.  Read more

A dessert by any other name...

The choices for what to do with summer berries are endless. How to choose? Having some definitions might help to get you started. Most (though not all) of these are baked desserts. A number of them are quite old fashioned, but they are so simple that you might consider giving one or two a try.

Cobblers and Crumbles  Read more

Cooking real food from scratch; Avoiding ‘edible food-like substances’

I love farmers’ markets. Not a farmer myself, I nevertheless belong to an organization of farmers who practice sustainable agriculture. I support the blossoming food movement to Buy Fresh Buy Local and the local economies movement to shop locally because I believe that our global economic model is unsustainable based as it is on the unsustainable use of fossil fuel energy. I shop at farmers’ markets because they are a source of real food, which is pretty much the only food I want to eat anymore. For me, real food, grown locally is a starting point for sustainable living.  Read more

Everything is illuminated; Watts up with light bulbs?

Sustainable light bulbs bring up a lot of questions: which one to use, how sustainable are they, and what will the cost savings be? It could leave your head spinning, but worry no more. The River Reporter is here to shed some light on the world of light bulbs. The two types of sustainable light bulbs are LEDs and CFLs. Below, we break down the benefits of making the switch from incandescent bulbs (the “normal” type of bulb we all grew up with) to one of these two options.

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)  Read more

Tastemaker: Turning a house into a home

A conversation with interior designer Sharon Carroll by Jane Bollinger

Sharon Carroll is an interior designer.

She helps create personal living spaces that reflect the kinds of lives her clients want to enjoy in their homes. The job involves more than constructing functional spaces that meet the homeowners’ needs; Carroll also wants her clients fulfill their personal desires for finding fun activities and pleasurable pastimes to enjoy in their homes. Fun, enjoyment and pleasure are important words in Carroll’s working vocabulary.  Read more

The homestead flock

Like any new parents, we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Standing in the post office, the incessant, frantic peeping coming from the box, which seemed way too small to contain 50 baby chicks, suggested that our free-wheeling, home-after-dusk days were over. Like many beginning “neo-homesteaders” these days, we began our foray into livestock husbandry with that seemingly fool-proof barnyard staple—Gallus gallus domesticus—the chicken.  Read more

How to kill weeds without herbicides

At this point in the growing season just about everyone who grows a garden or tends a flower bed has a common nemesis: the common garden weed. Of course, this common weed is not just one measly pest. Instead, it is a compilation of many different plants that all want the same thing: to invade our space. There is dandelion, sow thistle, carpet weed and crabgrass to name a few of the more intrusive varieties. While we all wish that our gardens were tame and beautiful from all angles, we must realize that this is the way it works. Growing a garden means you will be growing weeds as well.  Read more

Sustainability house

Rebekah Creshkoff dreamed of a straw-bale house. A dedicated birder, she had spent her adult life in New York City riding her bike to work every day across Central Park. There, a downy woodpecker had gotten to know her well enough to eat out of her hand.

In 2010, she and her husband Lenny Friedland rented a house for the summer in Narrowsburg. They liked it so much, the next year they found themselves dreaming about building a home. Another rental on River Road in Callicoon turned those dreams into plans.  Read more

Plants behaving badly; Love that ‘ornamental’ plant? Not so fast, please

NARROWSBURG, NY — Non-native plants sometimes behave badly; when they do, it’s no laughing matter.  Read more

The first apartment; How to decorate on the cheap

There’s a first for everything, and recently I encountered one of my firsts—the first apartment (as an “adult”). I moved from my family’s home to a two- bedroom apartment on Main Street in Narrowsburg with my boyfriend. We were excited to have our own space and be able to fill it with whatever we wanted. And thus the decorating process began.  Read more

Custodians of history; Living in a 200-year-old house

“Have you noticed any ghosts?” seems like a fair question to put to the residents of a house that has spent 200 years providing shelter and comfort to a veritable pageant of generations. Eight years ago, John and Dawn Harvey fell in love with and purchased the historical Wilmot House, also known as the Solomon Moore House, on Old Wayne Street in Bethany, PA. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its fame as the birthplace of David Wilmot, author of the Wilmot Proviso, a document that is widely credited with being the forerunner of the 13th Amendment.  Read more

Tastemaker: Katharine Brown; From hobbyist to flower professional

Katharine Brown has been gardening all her life, growing up in Colorado (with its short growing season); later, working in a nursery in New Hampshire; and then, after moving to Oregon Township, Wayne County, PA, turning her yard into a large and ever-expanding flower garden. Her personal passion for growing flowers now flourishes as a successful small business—selling cut flowers; making arrangements and bouquets for all occasions; and offering consulting on garden design, plus helping with installation and construction. It’s part of a larger business named Fox Hill Farm Experience, Inc.  Read more

The ‘tiny house movement’ 101

The Tiny House Movement, sometimes called the Small House Movement, started out as much a social movement as an architectural one, and now it’s gaining even more attention for its low-cost housing options during tough economic times.

Do the math. You can buy a ready-made tiny house—I found estimates online ranging from $40,000 to $60,000—or you can purchase plans on the Internet to build your very own tiny house, usually for under $25,000. If you can forage building materials, you could do it for even less.  Read more

Living the simple life; A house built for one

An interview with “J” by ISABEL BRAVERMAN

“Imagine no possessions; I wonder if you can”

A house that is 10 by 12 feet sits on a piece of land near the Delaware River. Could you do it? Could you live in such a tiny house? That is what J is doing, living in a small dwelling that she renovated and moved on to her land. With the house she moved all her belongings, and soon realized that in order to live in a tiny house you have to downsize.  Read more

A chef with a garden of his own; Relishing summer’s bounty at Hotel Fauchere

MILFORD, PA — For years, chefs have been championing the local foods movement, buying from local farmers who provide fresh, top-quality ingredients. But how many chefs have their very own garden to work with? Chef Christopher Bates at Milford’s Hotel Fauchère does, and he says it makes all the difference.  Read more

The Catskills: Centuries of artistic expression ...and still going strong

During the summer of ‘69, I stuck out my thumb and hitched a ride from the Finger Lakes to Bethel, NY, in search of a music festival that like-minded hippies were flocking to—Woodstock. Little did we know that history was in the making, but by the time I arrived, the story had already begun to unfold and at this point, that tale has been told in books, films and songs that echo the sound of a generation and still inspire musicians and artists around the world.  Read more

Agritourism blossoms in Sullivan County; Local farms schedule summertime tours

Sean Zigmund and Cheyenne Miller are already deep into the 2013 spring and summer growing season, rising at dawn and working till dusk and still never quite finishing all that needs to be done. But offered the choice, they wouldn’t want to have any other job.

On a beautiful spring Sunday, I visited their farm, Root n’ Roost Farm (www.rootnroost.com) in White Sulphur Springs, NY. While Sean was busy working, Cheyenne kindly gave me a tour of their two-and-a-half-acre farm, complete with chickens, pigs, veggies and more.  Read more

A jewel of the Catskills: The Neversink Unique Area

The Neversink Unique Area, otherwise known as the Neversink Gorge, is a 5,466-acre tract of land encompassing the Neversink River Gorge and surrounding upland forest in the towns of Thompson and Forestburgh in Sullivan County, NY.

Administered by the New York State Department of Envrionmental Conservation (NYSDEC), this designated Unique Area first came into being in 1981, when the first 2,805-acre tract of land was acquired.  Read more

On the path of history; Touring along the D&H Canal

Whether you’re looking for scenic beauty, or perhaps you want to learn more about how our region was developed in times gone by, why not take a weekend and follow the trail of the old Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal? You’ll be exploring the remnants of our country’s early industrial and transportation history—the story of how, early in the 19th century, two clever entrepreneurs, the Wurts brothers, were able to bring Pennsylvania’s black gold—anthracite coal—to New York City.  Read more