Waiting for summer

Above: Rowboats wait for the return of sunnier weather in the Sullivan County hamlet of Kiamesha Lake. Photo taken Monday, Feb. 3 by John of Catskills Photography; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool. For a larger view, click on this link to the photo's Flickr page.

Local photographers: Want to see your Catskills photos on the Watershed Post? Share them with us on Flickr.

The frozen Ashokan

Water, land and sky: The colors of the Catskills landscape take on a subtle, unearthly beauty in deep winter. 

The photo above was shot at the Ashokan Reservoir on Thursday, Jan. 30 by landscape photographer Michael Neil O'Donnell, and shared on Flickr under Creative Commons license. To see a larger view of the image, click on this link to its Flickr page.

O'Donnell has shared several more of his stunning Ashokan Reservoir photos in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool, which currently holds over 1,900 beautiful images from around the Catskills. Local photographers, if you'd like to share your Catskills photos with us, please feel free to add them to the pool.

Pete Seeger, American legend: 1919-2014

Above: Pete Seeger performing at the Yorktown Heights High School in Yorktown, N.Y. on Feb. 2, 1967. Photo by the New York World-Telegram & Sun's James Kavallines; donated to the Library of Congress and placed in the public domain.

Pete Seeger, beloved icon of American folk music and a vital figure in the Hudson Valley music and local activism scenes, died Monday, Jan. 27 at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He was 94. 

Seeger's grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, told the Associated Press that Seeger's hospitalization had been brief. "He was chopping wood 10 days ago," he said. 

Vital to the end -- as recently as September 2013, he was singing "This Land Is Your Land" onstage with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center -- Seeger was a living embodiment of the folk tradition, with a career that spanned over 70 years. 

For 69 of those years, Seeger was joined by his wife Toshi, who died last July at the age of 91. Together, the couple founded the Hudson Sloop Clearwater in 1966, an enviromental education foundation built around a 106-foot sailing sloop. 

"She was the one who steered the boat; she had the chart; she kept off the rocks," Seeger told Persimmon Tree magazine in 2012

A New York Times obituary published today sought to sum up in 2,800 words a career that stretched from the Great Depression to the anti-fracking movement; that survived the McCarthyist communist purges of the 1950s and was woven together with the triumph and heartbreak of the civil rights movement. Jon Pareles writes:

In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.

Seeger's environmental work will go on locally through the Sloop Clearwater, says an obituary on the Hudson Sloop Clearwater's website. "Ultimately, the 106-foot-long sailboat, Clearwater, will sail on as a symbol of Pete Seeger’s great legacy," the Clearwater crew writes. "Thanks to Pete Seeger, the over 12,000 school kids who sail each year will never see the river in the same way that they did before their voyage. Perhaps more importantly, they will be moved to protect the river every time they look at it."

We're collecting tributes to Pete Seeger from those who knew him, and sharing them below. If you have a memory to share with us, email it to and we'll include it. --Ed.


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Scenes from a Catskills cold snap

Above: Even in subzero weather, Roxbury looks picture-perfect. Photo taken Wednesday at sunset by Greg Henderson of the Roxbury Motel.

Above: It's a nippy 4.1 degrees right now on Belleayre Mountain, but the freshly-groomed corduroy looks pretty inviting. Photo posted today on Belleayre's Facebook page

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Cold enough for ice circles

See video

Meet the elusive ice circle: An unusual ice formation that occurs on slow-moving water during intense cold weather. In the video above, posted today by the folks at the Woodstock Inn On The Millstream, a broad ice circle rotates slowly in the Millstream's gentle flow.

Another ice circle was spotted recently on the Esopus Creek by John Crews, who shared the photo with Hudson Valley Weather.

A couple of years ago, Gary Lane, a river guide on Idaho's Salmon River, snapped a beautiful photo of an ice circle that went viral on the internet. Since then, he's become something of an expert on the phenomenon. In a news article about his famous photo, Lane explains  Read more

Winter blues

A breath of winter mist hovers over the Schoharie Creek. Photo taken Sunday, Jan. 5; with the past few days' warm weather, the cool blues of this evanescent Catskills landscape have given way to a more somber palette of thawing greys and browns.

Photo by Flickr user A Man Called ACME; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool. To see a more high-resolution version, visit the photo's Flickr page

Local photographers: Want to see your photos on the Watershed Post? Add them to our Flickr pool, which currently holds over 1,900 photos from across the Catskills.

Snowy owl spotted in Richfield Springs

Still life with fence post. Photos (top and bottom) by Walter Putrycz. 

Snowy owls are creatures of the tundra, and a rare sight this far south of the Arctic Circle. But this winter, the ghost-white birds have been turning up across the Northeastern U.S., in an unusual display that has delighted backyard birdwatchers from Maine to South Carolina.

Scientists think the owls might be flying south in search of prey, because of low food availability in their native habitat. Or it could be that this year's generation of young owls is unusually large, meaning many juveniles have to fly far from home to sustain themselves. Either way, this year's irruption -- a term that describes the en masse arrival of birds outside their normal wintering grounds -- is a treat for local birders.  Read more

Herd of taxidermied animals is heading to South Fallsburg

Above: A tour group at the Torah Animal World site in Brooklyn. Via the Torah Animal World website. 

Brooklyn-based Torah Animal World, a taxidermy "zoo" featuring animals that appear in the Old Testament, is leaving its home in a Borough Park townhouse for financial reasons and is moving to the Catskills, according to a slew of reports in NYC press. 

Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch, who runs the museum, plans to move most of the collection to a satellite location in South Fallsburg

It's going to be quite a move. The Brooklyn location features 350 stuffed animals, including more than 30 kinds of kosher birds, a diorama of a bear catching a deer, a giraffe and an elephant.    Read more

A handmade holiday: Craft fairs around the Catskills

Above: Hand-painted glassware by Lilian Miccio, one of the artisan vendors at the Holiday Extravaganza at the Roxbury Arts Center, Dec. 7-8. Photo from the Roxbury Arts Group's Facebook page

Holiday shoppers: Looking for something you can't find on Amazon? If you want to give something truly unique this season, check out one of the upcoming holiday craft and artisan fairs happening around the Catskills. 

Hudson Valley Hullabaloo
Saturday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
323 Wall Street, Kingston

Billed as "arty meets party," the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo is a smorgasbord of handmade gifts and crafts from over 40 local vendors, from letterpress to leatherwork. This year, the festivities include a DJ, a photo booth, a craft table for kids, and a visit from the Ate.O.Ate food truck.  Read more

WIOX to be acquired by WSKG

Above:  WIOX station manager Joe Piasek speaking at the opening of the Roxbury radio station on August 27, 2010. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

Roxbury public radio station WIOX, a nonprofit high-powered FM station that has been operating since 2010 on 91.3 FM, announced Thursday that they are merging with WSKG, a larger public radio and TV corporation run out of Binghamton.

The two radio stations have been planning for the merger for some time. In April, WIOX began broadcasting some programming from WSKG under a more limited partnership between the two stations. In September, the Roxbury town board passed a resolution agreeing to transfer WIOX's broadcast license to WSKG, subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Read more

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