Daniel Barden Highlands Mudfest

Kathryn, Eric and Stone ran the Daniel Barden Highlands Mudfest, this being the 3rd year for Kathryn.  Eric did the kids run the 1st year, but did the whole course this year.  The mudfest takes place at a farm in Deansboro.  This year they had warm water showers.  They make hollow log heaters and everyone starts off nice an clean.

2015-04-25 Daniel Barden Mud Run


They have a variety of obstacles and Kathryn enjoys the run through their property.


2015-04-25 Daniel Barden Mud Run after

A little muddy at the finish.

Black Creek

Early canoe trip on Black Creek. Usually lots of birds and skunk cabbage; I think we went a little earlier than usual, but it was still a beautiful stream.


The buttress for the old Shawangunk Road/Railroad is separating from the bank more and more every year.  We used to rely on this as our spot to pull out for a snack and stretch our legs.  Now it looks ready to topple into the stream.  The usually copious amounts of skunk cabbage were just emerging from the ground.

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On the stream we were out of the cool breeze, but wore gloves because the water was still cold.  We saw small snow banks alongside the stream.  Kathryn found a nice place for us to land, sit in the sun, out of the wind and enjoy our lunch.


It took us 1 hour from departure to being on the water.  We paddled for 2 hours with a small break and exited at bridge Black Creek road.  There were branches underwater at the take-out and it was a little slippery, but it cut off the last 45-60 minutes of paddling into Grant.

Benefit Soccer Tournament for Brayden Hughes

Eric and his friends; Amber, Hannah, Jack, John, Jordyn, Luke and Olivia played co-ed soccer in the benefit tournament for Brayden Hughes U11-13 division at Accelerate Sports. The team had a lot of fun and played great, considering they had never played together. There were a exciting finishes to two of the games; winning one game on a goal with 31 seconds remaining and a second game on a penalty kick shoot-out. They finished 3rd in their 9 team division, losing to the two club teams from Odyssey Sport Soccer Club-Central New York. Congratulations to all who participated. Good luck to Brayden and his family.


Birds of Spring

After a late breakfast this morning Kathryn and I sat and watched the birds in our backyard.  We had downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers coming to feed on the suet.  The finches and chickadees were eating sunflower seeds.  There was a large mature, male Northern Harrier continuously swooping over the pasture.  There were Red Wing Blackbirds on the ground and perched in trees calling loudly.  A half dozen Robins were hopping around on the bare spots in our lawn.  There was a small bird that looked suspiciously like a blue bird that would perch on our fence, fly down to the ground and then return to it’s perch.  I was fascinated by two snipes that were probing the soft ground with their long beaks.  It was all very cool to watch.


April Fools Day

This year I bought a fake rat to surprise Eric.  He was on Spring Break and sleeping in mornings, so I wasn’t able to witness his surprise as hes discovered a rat as he dug through the bread basket for an english muffin.  At night Kathryn prepared our standard April Fools Dinner; jello, pudding and spaghetti eaten in that order with kitchen utensils.

2015-04-01 April Fools Day

A Cold Start to 2015

A cold start to 2015

Our driveway is clear enough that Eric and I could toss a frisbee.  We set up his basketball hoop, but it is pretty wet and muddy yet.  Lots of snow banks yet to melt.  I removed the snow blower and chains from my tractor.  Hooked up the carry-all and brought in a load of wood that may last us most of April.  Robins, red-winged blackbirds, Canada geese, killdeer and kestrels have all returned this week.

St John

Friday 3/13/2015

I didn’t sleep prior to our departure. We had planned to play volleyball at Stittville on Thursday night, but a fan had dislodged from the ceiling and they wouldn’t let us play. So Kathryn and I went home for an early bedtime. We awoke at 2:15am, got dressed and Cindy/Bonnie picked us up a2:45 for our 6am Syracuse flight. We left on time for JFK. Eric was apprehensive about going through security and had divided the trip into stages:

  1. NYS Thruway to Syracuse
  2. Flight to JFK – especially getting through security
  3. JFK to St Thomas (where we picked up our rental SUV)
  4. St Thomas to St John via Red Hook ferry
  5. Drive to the house

Prior to the car ferry we stopped and picked up $353 of groceries. We met Fuscos at the Red Hook ferry ($50 roundtrip).  The house consisted of a main kitchen dining room, living room with several connected bedrooms/bathrooms with outside showers. There was a salt water pool that Harrison and Eric used every day during the start of vacation.

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The view from our bedroom was spectacular.


The house had two driveways; the first was a rugged up and down with switchbacks. The second driveway, Ironwood Drive was off of Upper Carolina. It was all paved and much smoother.

Friday night we went to Skinny Legs for burgers. It was late, crowded, buggy and the food took forever. The waitress insisted on an 18% tip.

We went back to the house using driveway #2 and went to bed. We had a few mosquitos, but Eric, sleeping in the loft, had tons of bites. Harrison got up during the night and went to sleep with his parents. Eric slept through the night but paid the price in being bitten by mosquitoes. He looked like measles boy.

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Saturday 3/14

I got up at 7am. Most everyone was up early. We were packed and out of the house by 10am. We went to Salt Pond for Day 1. Everyone got two snorkels in. It was a 1st for Dan, Margaret and Harrison. We got back to the house by 4:30.

Sunday 3/15

Dan made eggs, sausage and potatoes for a hearty breakfast. It took longer and we left the house at 10:45am to go to Francis Bay. We saw turtles and the boys played in the waves all afternoon; running and jumping in the waves. Kathryn, Bonnie and Margaret went into Cruz Bay to pick up skip coming in the Red Hook ferry at 6:15pm. We had a late roast pork dinner and turned in after one game of pitch.

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Monday 3/16

I got up at 5am to use the bathroom and saw Skip up and making coffee. I slept in until7am. We had problems with the gas stove which were solved by turning on the third tank in the series. We made sandwiches and headed out to Maho Bay; another sandy beach and grassy areas for turtles. We saw 6-8 turtles and one large sting ray.


We had burgers for dinner and used the outside brick oven to cook a 20lb turkey for Tuesday night. I have evolved into the dishwasher loader person.

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Tuesday 3/17. St Patrick’s Day

We awoke early – 6am. Actually Eric was the 1st one up stating that his feet itched.  Fuscos stayed at the house while the rest of us (Skip, Bonnie, Cindy, Eric, Kathryn and I) went to Leinster / Water Lemon Cay. It was a walk of ¾ of a mile, but the trail was good (much improved since I remember it last (2011)). We had an early start and departure from the house and were at the beach by 10am.  The water was very clear and we saw many turtles and a couple of rays. Eric snorkeled all the way out to the island, but he and I returned while Kathryn and Skip continued on around the island. Eric spotted a ray and nurse shark in the deep water between the point and the island. In a place where we have seen spectacular groups of starfish we saw none.

Wednesday 3/18

We were up early and were at the dock by 8:30am to board the Kiote Sail boat ( for a day of sailing and snorkeling. Eric got sea sick on the ride out but recovered enough to swim and enjoy the day at Flanigan Island. Captain Jimmy let Dan and me steer the sail boat during our trip.


Thursday 3/19

Eric slept past 7am. Kathryn and I were up by 6:30 to enjoy the sunrise. We made a bit pot of oatmeal for breakfast. We left early for a snorkel near Haulover that was recommended by Captain Jimmy’s crew help, Holly. We never found anyone at the Ashville campground to permit access. So we left for Lamashure Bay – one of my favorites. The road in is now paved whereas once it was a 4WD / Jeep Wrangler type trail. Still all the vehicles parked at the bay were 4WD. The beach was nice.


We snorkeled the whole bay clock-wise. We were back to the house by 3pm and most of the crew went shopping in Cruz Bay. Eric got a t-shirt and headband while Kathryn got earrings. I cooked a roast beef in the outside oven. During the night I awoke and looked at the stars and clear skies.


Friday 3/20

We arose at 6:30am and watched the sunrise. Dan made eggs, sausage for breakfast. We had roast beef sandwiches and went to Vie’s beach – $2.50 entry fee – but worth it. White sandy beach and lots of coral. Skip and I snorkeled way out where Holly said there were lots of turtles, but we saw nothing.  We camped under a large shade tree with iguanas in the branches; fighting and mating. I finished reading The Emerald Mile (about the Colorado River and Grand Canyon) and began reading Gone Girl. The boys found several coconuts and enjoyed smashing them open.

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Saturday 3/21

Kathryn and Skip ran to Love City market early to get ingredients for coconut crème pie. I opened a couple of coconuts; Skip shredded them and Kathryn made a pie.  It was delicious.

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We loaded up for the north shore / Jumbie Bay. It was rough with big rollers when we got there – too rough to snorkel – so we backtracked to Francis Bay. It was murky with sand. I didn’t go snorkeling but finished reading Gone Girl.   The group went out for dinner at Oasis after determining that Miss Lucy’s was too expensive and didn’t serve fresh fish. I wasn’t that hungry and stayed at the house and read.

Sunday 3/22

We spent the day at Salt Pond. Skip and I snorkeled the right side and saw lots of coral and a school of ~500 small fish accompanied by a large Barracuda. Later Kathryn and I snorkeled the left side and saw a snake/eel, founder, rock fish and a large Jack fish. We ate dinner at Skinny Legs.

Monday 3/23

We made the return trip: drive, ferry ride, turn in the rental car, fly to JFK, wait, flight to Syracuse, drive home, and crash (luckily before midnight).  Tuesday was back to work and trying to be positive about the about of snow that had melted away.

All About That Spike (With apologies to Meghan Trainor)

My volleyball reminder emails were getting more terse.  Last week mine was a one liner.  This week I decided to ramp it up.  I had some of these lines come into my head while cleaning out the gutter last night.

All About That Spike (With apologies to Meghan Trainor) (Footnote #1)

Because you know
I am all about that spike,
‘bout that spike, no dinking.
I am all about that spike,
‘bout that spike, no dinking.
I am all about that spike,
‘bout that spike.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no 30 years
But I can fake it, fake it.
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that wingspan that all the players want
And the anticipation to be in right places.

We see other people sweating at the Y
We know they working hard
Looking envious as they walk by
If you want fun, fun then join our game
Cause everyone is mocked,
but no one is ever blamed

Yeah, my daddy he told me “make sure you are having fun”
‘cause that’s what you remember when the day is done.
No one remembers the lunchtime you sat at your desk
If that’s what you’re into then I think that  it’s grotesque(Footnote #2).

Because you know
I am all about that spike,
about that spike, no dinking.
I am all about that spike,
about that spike, no dinking.
I am all about that spike,
about that spike.

I am bringing the volleyball out
Go ahead and tell your bosses so
We are just playing and you gotta go
No one remembers the lunchtime you sat at your desk
If that’s what you’re into then I think that  it’s grotesque.

(Sorry Meghan)….

I know Brent Collins is out this week, what about you?  Will we see you at the Rome Y ?

#2 Surprisingly, not a lot of words rhyme with desk…..

Snow Conditions

We have had a lot of snow and prolonged, sustained cold which has enabled the snow to accumulate.  Lots of people got worried about their roofs and shoveled snow off their roof.  The Amish stopped by and offered to shovel my roof, for pay, but I declined.   A couple nights later I did take the snow rake and clear off the lower half of our north facing roof.  Finally, we benefited from warmer weather.  The snow on the barn roof slide off in great hunks that will likely take several weeks to melt.  The impact of the snow blocks landing was great enough to cause tools to fall from the barn wall and several bottles to fall off the shelving along the north wall.


Dinner at Jack and Chris’s

We got invited to dinner at Jack and Chris’s new house in Remsen along with Mike, Jennifer and baby Jackson. We got the tour of the new house – which we really liked.  We ate pizza and Kathryn got to play with the baby.

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