Mountain Home, May 2020

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HOME Land of Milk and Honey


as the


David and Marla Nowacoski Shorten the Supply Chain to the Farm Next Door By David O’Reilly

Social the Woods The Lost Art of Play The Tale of a Gobbler Lost

MAY 20201

Volume 15 Issue 5

18 Mother Earth

Land of Milk and Honey

By Gayle Morrow Hens of the woods.

By David O’Reilly David and Marla Nowacoski (left) shorten the suppy chain to the farm next door.

20 Socially Distant but Not

Far Apart

By Gayle Morrow

Twin Tiers neighbors lend helping hands.

22 Delivery Pending

By Maggie Barnes

Even before social distancing, our columnist opts for online alcohol.

6 The Lost Art of Play By Karey Solomon Andrew Wales, exhibiting at the Gmeiner, turns toys into Tour de Force.

26 Spring Gobbler and Ol’

Beard Dragger

By Don Knaus

He who flights and runs away...

28 Do the Pennsylvania


By Kerry Gyekis

A lifelong social distancer shares some secrets.


34 Back of the Mountain

We Can’t Socialize, but We Have Chocolate

By Sarah Wagaman Reflections of honor.

By Cornelius O’Donnell A sweet reason for hope.

Cover by Gwen Button, photo by David O’Reilly; top photo, Marla Nowacoski by David O’Reilly; center, “Points of View”, courtesy Andrew Wales.

30 3

w w w. m o u n ta i n h o m e m ag . co m Editors & Publishers Teresa Banik Capuzzo Michael Capuzzo Associate Publisher George Bochetto, Esq. D i r e c t o r o f O pe r a t i o n s Gwen Button Managing Editor Gayle Morrow S a l e s R ep r e s e n t a t i v e s Joseph Campbell, Robin Ingerick, Richard Trotta Circulation Director Michael Banik Accounting Amy Packard Cover Design Gwen Button

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Contributing Writers Maggie Barnes, Mike Cutillo, Ann E. Duckett, Melissa Farenish, Elaine Farkas, Kerry Geykis, Carrie Hagen, Lisa Howeler, Don Knaus, Janet McCue, Dave Milano, Cornelius O’Donnell, Brendan O’Meara, David O’Reilly, Jan Smith, Karey Solomon, Beth Williams C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Bernadette Chiaramonte, Diane Cobourn, Michael Johnston, Nigel P. Kent, Roger Kingsley, Beate Mumper, Peter Rutt, Jody Shealer, Wendy Snyder, Deb Stafford, Linda Stager, Curt Sweely, Sarah Wagaman, Curt Weinhold, Ardath Wolcott, Deb Young D i s t r i b u t i o n T eam Layne Conrad, Grapevine Distribution, Duane Meixel, Linda Roller, Phil Waber T h e B ea g l e Nano Cosmo (1996-2014) • Yogi (2004-2018) ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at Copyright © 2020 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to editorial@mountainhomemag. com, or call (570) 724-3838. TO ADVERTISE: E-mail, or call us at (570) 724-3838. AWARDS: Mountain Home has won over 100 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design. DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit



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Land of Milk and Honey

David and Marla Nowacoski Shorten the Supply Chain to the Farm Next Door By David O’Reilly


nce upon a time less anxious than today—when the viruses worrying most Americans were merely on computers—David Nowacoski sold his interest in the investment firm he’d run for seventeen years, then found himself at a crossroads. “I’d worked in corporate all my life,” he would later recall, “and for the first time I didn’t have to put on a suit and tie.” Yet he was already restless. He and his wife, Marla, poured themselves coffee and strolled out to the deck behind their Columbia Crossroads home in Bradford County. It was the first of April, a time of new life and beginnings. To the left of their eighty-eight acres was his parents’ retired veal farm, where he’d grown up before heading off to Penn State. Down the road was their church, where he taught Bible classes. Beyond that was Marla’s parents’ farm, and before them the elevenacre lake where their three kids swam and fished for bass and catfish. He’d carved it out of thicket and swamp with a bulldozer. “What are we going to do now?” he wondered aloud to his wife. Best friends since fifth grade, both were forty-eight. “Well,” Marla replied. “We have to eat.” David thought about that, started to nod, then broke into a smile. He does that a lot. “Yeah,” he said. “We know how to make food. Let’s make food !” Seven years later, almost to the day, the odometer on his red

Dodge Caravan is turning 112,707 miles as David, gripping the steering wheel with blue nitrile gloves, creeps up a winding road somewhere between Wellsboro and Mansfield. It’s early April, three weeks since the corona virus scare has shuttered schools, restaurants, and workplaces across Pennsylvania and New York. His tired van is filled this Saturday morning with thirty-three red Igloo coolers, each wearing a name tag, and filled with the bounty of fifty-five farms and food producers from across thirteen Twin Tier counties. Inside, bumping with him over these roads, are frozen bags of free-range chickens, cartons of organic eggs, glass jugs of organic milk, homemade shortbread cookies, organic sauerkraut, ravioli, pork shoulders, grass-fed beef steaks, whole-grain waffle mixes, maple syrup, lentils, beans, kale, mushrooms, cheese curds, salsas, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, chocolate Easter eggs, and, yes, locally made hand sanitizers for these troubled times. “I know there’s opportunity in chaos,” David remarks to a visitor from Mountain Home along for today’s delivery run. It’s the ninth and last run of the week. “But we got hit so hard again this week. We’ve sold out all our eggs—300 dozen—all our milk and cream, and most of our bread’s gone.” • Home deliveries across 1,700 miles of rural roads every week is not what David and Marla bargained for when they resolved in 2013 to “make food.” Nevertheless, they got up at See Honey on page 8


(3) David O’Reilly

Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0,

In safe supply: David Nowacoski (facing page) drives 1,700 miles a week to deliver goods from Twin Tier farms and food producers to those shut in by COVID-19.


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Honey continued from page 6

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4:30 this morning to resume packing. Sixteen-hour workdays are now normal, because the pandemic has turned their idealistic business model—to connect local organic farmers and natural food producers to their communities and their customers—into a mission. No more do they sit in their big, white truck at eleven, far-flung, designated drop points in the Twin Tiers, waiting for customers to come collect the farm-fresh products they’d ordered online. It’s door-to-door delivery now to more than 300 homes a week, up from seventy-five before the virus scare. And their highminded mom-and-pop operation is overwhelmed. “We’re just getting slammed,” says David. “We cannot source fast enough.” Still, the name of their business fits better than ever: Delivered Fresh. • Across the nation, small farmers who retail their own produce are reporting “off-the-charts demand—demand beyond what they can supply,” reports Andrew Mefford, editor of Growing For Market magazine based in Skowhegan, Maine. Because of the coronavirus “a lot of people are not wanting to go to grocery stores,” he tells Mountain Home. “But they want to be reassured there’s food production in their own back yard in case the supply lines are disrupted. So, even as most businesses are screeching to a halt, there’s unprecedented interest,” he says, in “locally grown.” Kim Seeley, owner of Milky Way Farms in Troy, the organic dairy producer for Delivered Fresh, agrees. “After fifty-two years in the dairy business, people finally know I exist,” he says. He stopped using pesticides two decades ago, after his eight-year-old son nearly died from eating a chunk of it. His advocacy for organic milk angers some conventional dairy farmers, he says. “But what are we doing poisoning our food supply?” Delivered Fresh has “done a good job educating the public” about organic and natural foods, says Kim, “and allows us to reach a larger area.” A lot of new customers, too. This week’s order for 100 bottles of milk has depleted his supply. • David’s tailored suits from his days at snazzy big investment firms like Merrill Lynch in Princeton and Bay Ridge in Binghamton (he managed qualified trusts and pension plans) gave way long ago to farmer togs. Today he’s in a mustard-colored canvas work jacket, blue jeans, and a baseball cap that proclaims “WindStone Landing Farms,” their separate (and equally demanding) poultry operation. On his iPhone’s GPS, a crucial new “route optimization” app costing $300 a month is sending him this way and that down dirt roads, past dairy farms—“that’s a Jersey-Holstein mix,” he says of a splotchy-looking cow—into pricey developments, through modest neighborhoods in crowded boroughs, and up steep rises that drop sometimes onto breathtaking valley views. “Look at that. It’s just so beautiful,” he marvels at one pastureland vista of rolling green off Hills Creek Road. Moments later he spies the next home on his route. “Ah. This lady is so awesome,” he exclaims as he comes to a stop. “She grinds her own grain to make bread and—oh, did you hear that?” He laughs. “My stomach’s growling.” He’s been running for seven hours on two fried eggs. Grateful home-bound customers have been leaving See Honey on page 10



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Mortgage Relief Fraud Alerts Information Small Business Relief Options Education Tax Options Caring for Community Individual Relief CARES Act Explanations At-Home Activities

When things get tough, you find out who is truly in your corner. Visit for helpful resources for you, your family and our community. You & Us. That’s C&N. 10

Honey continued from page 8

sandwiches, cookies, granola bars, and water bottles, some with touching notes. “Thank You for helping to save lives!” read one last week in Towanda. It was signed “Love” with a hand-drawn heart. “Thank you Delivered Fresh for working extra hard during these crazy times to bring us food. Stay Safe,” read a post-it note in Ulster. But another house wore a grimmer sign of the times: “If you think you have been exposed don’t come in. We are compromised.” David and his newly hired drivers never come in. These “crazy times” demand extra precautions, and he has imposed strict delivery protocols. “Here’s the sequence,” he’d explained earlier. “The driver comes to a stop. You open your door and leave it open. Then glove up. Find the cooler, take it to the customer’s cooler, and transfer the contents. Close the lid. Sanitize the lid and anything else you touched. Now, the door [of the truck] is still open because you don’t want to touch the handle with your gloves. So you step inside the van. Discard gloves into the trash can in the vehicle. Then sanitize your hands and close the door.” Customers are also asked not to converse with the drivers, who began wearing masks in mid-April. Now he starts that sequence. He steps outside, leaving the van door open. He finds the customer’s nametag on a red cooler, then lugs it and a large spray bottle of sanitizer to the front stoop. A white cooler awaits—with a bulging ZipLoc bag on top. David grins broadly, makes a thumbs-up with his gloved right hand, transfers his foodstuffs into the customer’s cooler, sprays the top and latch, and returns to the van. He pulls off his gloves, sanitizes his hands, and reaches for the plastic bag. Inside are three small, golden loaves of homemade bread. “Thank you Delivered Fresh” reads the note with it. “I really appreciate the service.” He pulls open the bag, pops a piece of grain-flecked bread into his mouth, and closes his eyes in delight. “Soooo good,” he murmurs, and shares a piece with his passenger. It is light yet deep flavored, as good as bread gets. A few finger-presses to the pricey new route optimization program on his

iPhone tells the family its order is delivered, brings up the next address, and informs his office of his location. Then he starts the engine and eyes the screen. “Where the heck are we going?” he asks its jiggling blue line, which settles down and points him up a hill. The iffy cellphone service out here has failed him and his drivers multiple times, so he now carries maps, an old Garmin GPS capable of picking up satellite, and a printed list of every customer’s latitude and longitude precise to nine decimal points. “How does Santa do it?” he jokes. The next house is a big one up a gated drive, with two kids playing on a plastic swing set and their dad close by, shoveling topsoil onto raised beds. He keeps his distance but asks David if he saw his email offering to sell him blueberries. “I saw it but didn’t have time to read it,” he answers. “I’ve been up since 4:30.” The man says he can grow about 1,000 pounds a year. “Do you use any chemicals—fertilizers or pesticides?” David asks. No, the man says. “Well,” says David, “I’ll try to get back when I have some time,” and with a wave heads down the drive. • “The power of branding and distribution that Delivered Fresh offers is hard to quantify,” says Fred McNeal, owner of Farmer Fred’s market in Monroeton and a grower of organic corn and pastured beef. He was one of the first wholesalers to carry the Nowacoski’s poultry, and they sell about eighty pounds of his beef each week. Passing promise: David Nowacoski’s “They probably represent just two to three deliveries make the trials of pandemic seem diminutive. Notes and goodies percent of my business,” says Fred, “but that’s from thankful customers (top) display incredibly impactful because they give our the importance of his work. Kim highest quality products much higher name Seeley (middle), the organic dairy recognition and distribution.” producer, praises the educational “They’re putting our products into impact Delivered Fresh has offered hands we never could have reached,” says the community. Beth Ward (bottom) Beth Ward, who makes her Maple Hollow and her family show off many of the line of botanically infused soaps and creams botanicals used in their products. and lotions at her family’s farm outside Troy. She grows and distills much of her own chamomile, bergamot, calendula, prunella, yarrow, roses, marshmallow and other botanicals. “We’ve seen our sales double” since the corona scare began, she says. Delivered Fresh has also become a business lifeline for Liz McLelland, who for ten years has been turning out “baked goods with a British flair” at her farm near Mansfield. The quarantine has obliged her husband, a cabinetmaker, to lay off his employees, and she’s closed the store where she’s long sold knitting yarns and her Yorkshire Meadows line of treats. But orders from Delivered Fresh have surged, she says. She likes to imagine the house-bound seeking comfort in isolation by “binge-watching Downton Abbey” while snacking on her shortbread cookies, scones, and lemon curd. Family farms have dotted the hillsides and fed the people of the Twin Tiers for generations, but they’ve seen a long decline in recent decades with the rise of agribusiness and especially big dairy. Might COVID-19 instill a new appreciation for local farms—and give a dramatic boost to old-fashioned farm to table? Perhaps. All across the country, people are waking up to the true cost of distant supply chains and mass-produced food. But small-scale, farm-grown nutrition brings its own cost. Organic carrots and bell peppers from Delivered Fresh are $2.91 and $3.08 See Honey on page 12 11

Honey continued from page 11

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a pound, for example, and whole organic chickens run $7.12 a pound—three to four times the cost of conventional birds from Perdue or Tyson. To folks on limited incomes, pasture-raised, cage-free, chemical-free, and homemade foods can seem a luxury. “When consumers ask ‘Why is our food so expensive?’” says David, “my answer to them is: ‘What corners do the supermarkets cut to make food cheap?’” Chicken in cages with an inch of space, growth hormones, grain instead of grass, antibiotics, pesticides, chemical fertilizers—all these help make Americans’ food abundant and affordable, say the Nowacoskis. But it’s “cheapened food,” they argue. “The nutrient density of pasture raised animals who get fresh air and green grass is much higher than caged animals,” says Marla. “And healthy soil produces more nutrient-dense vegetables.” Delivered Fresh’s pricing structure is designed to support producers, they say. “I really believe small farms and family-owned businesses make up the fabric of our community,” says David. “If we want to preserve the feel of our towns, we have to find ways to invest in them.” They pay producers 85 percent of what they sell their items for at retail—well above the 40 and 50 percent discounts many wholesalers demand. The goal is steady cash flow, not high profit. When their customers go to their website, com, to place weekly orders for local farm produce, they are given the option to donate to local food pantries. Three hundred and thirteen made donations in the second week of April. Why do they do it? “Scripture says to love one another,” David explains. “Your moral compass should steer you to compassion and generosity.” “They are phenomenal,” says Sheryl Wilcox of Wilcox Honeypot. She and her husband are startup honey producers in Columbia Crossroads. “They’re very selfless, always ready to promote other people’s stuff above their own.” • The Nowacoskis’ resolve in 2013 to “make food” began not as an all-consuming delivery service but a wholesale poultry and preserved foods business. Their newbie naiveté still makes them laugh. “We started out with 250 chickens,” David recalled in late March, with Marla alongside, over tea at their kitchen table. “Two hundred and fifty chickens? Hey, look at us!” “We had no idea what we needed,” Marla remembered with a shake of her head. Formerly a manager of corporate graphic design firms, then an at-home mom who preferred growing her own food to shopping, she had embarked on their homegrown canning business—dilly beans, salsas, soups—supposing six cases of jars would be plenty. And it was only when they started butchering their astonishingly plump turkeys in November that they realized their plug-in freezers weren’t big enough to hold them. “We had no storage!” says David. “We were still butchering as the workmen were building our freezer barn over our heads.” But the turkeys sold out in days. By 2014 they were ramping up both operations. Marla’s now comprises a store and commercial kitchen behind their house, with a behemoth, ten-burner, 650,000 BTU commercial stove and a wall of commercial coolers and freezers. Their WindStone Landing free-range poultry line—some organically fed, all with no antibiotics—has swollen meantime to 5,000 chickens and turkeys a year.

The entity now called Delivered Fresh emerged gradually— and unplanned—out of their poultry line in 2017. Supermarket chains were paying far less for wholesale poultry than it cost WindStone to produce, so they began selling at farm markets in Sayre and Wellsboro. “They had a great following by the time we arrived,” remembers Tim Owen, who speaks fondly of the help Marla gave him and his wife, Liz, when they started selling their Growen Foods shitake, oyster, and lion’s mane mushrooms at an adjacent tent. “They would tell their customers about us,” he says, and explained to them the items that sold well at markets. “We think of them as our mentors.” In those days the Nowacoskis would say “No, sorry,” when shoppers asked if they sold beef or anything other than poultry and her canned goods. Then Marla had an epiphany. “No,” she replied one day, “but I know who does.” On the way to market the next week she stopped at Backroad Creamery in Mansfield and picked up some cheese. By November of 2017 she had about forty families texting her with special requests. “It was getting a little out of hand,” she says. But their aggregator/delivery service was burgeoning. That December it got a name—Delivered Fresh—and in February, 2018, a website. Everyone loves farm fresh food, it declared, but driving all over the county to get it is a bit of a pain. We understand...and we are going to make it a lot easier. We are over a dozen local farmers who are working together to make sure our community gets the freshest, most healthy food possible. Here is what we could bring you: milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, fruits, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, honey and even cookies!! Locally roasted coffees and tea blends can also be added. They had two online orders the first week, two dozen the next. Then, miraculously, a New York Times reporter showed up in March looking to explain to city folk this thing called farm-to-table. The article appeared on April 6, triggering an avalanche of inquiries from prospective vendors as far away as Ohio. They had to say no to most of them, but when the dust settled the Nowacoskis had newfound credentials in the organic food community. Since then, it’s been word of mouth, not publicity, that has swelled their website’s subscriber base to more than two thousand. Now this middle-aged couple wonders if home-delivery across 1,700 miles every week can prove a sustainable business model, and debate whether to take out a federal COVID-19 loan to expand. “I hate debt,” David says. “It’s the ruin of so many farmers.” They’ve reluctantly begun charging customers a five-dollar delivery fee to help offset their added costs. But that first wave of extra income got wiped out days later when their big truck burned out two wheel bearings in Wysox and had to be towed twenty miles. Call it a metaphor for stress. Still, they remain committed to their innocent resolve of seven years ago to “make food.” “With any disaster like COVID, one of the most critical pieces is the food supply,” says David. “From that perspective, we [farmers] are the ones producing food and making sure that you get it. I hope people will remember.” David O’Reilly was a writer and editor for thirty-five years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered religion for two decades. He and his wife, Birnie, moved to Wellsboro last fall.


Memorial Day thru Labor Day

Friday Evenings: Candy Bar Bingo, Movie & Popcorn Night Saturday Mornings: Arts & Crafts, 11:00 p.m. in the pavilion ($ cost) Weekends: Wagon Rides, Card Games, and Cornhole Tournaments (depending on participation)

May 30th: STONE SOUP, 1 BETTER BAND & HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT—Saturday: 6:00 PM. Join us Saturday evening @6PM to enjoy the amazing stone soup that everyone will help prepare throughout the afternoon. Local BAND “1 BETTER” 7-10 PM. Cover charge for the band - $5.00 per person for non-campers, kids under 8 free. Sunday 10 AM: help us raise money for Camp Good Day (camp for kids with cancer) by joining us for our 1st horseshoe tournament of the season. June 6th: BIRTHDAY BASH 4-6 PM—(celebrate everyone’s birthday) & DJ Biggie Entertainment 7-10 PM June13th - 14th: Wine & Cheese gathering—enjoy our Wine (any beverage) & Cheese with your fellow campers. You bring your favorite beverage, will bring the food. June 19th-21st: SQUARE DANCERS & FATHER’S DAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST—Watch our Square Dance Club dance all weekend, they love visitors. You may be the next square dancer. Sunday: Father’s Day Breakfast: Pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice. Dads eat free! Adults $5, kids $2. 9:30 AM in the pavilion. June 27th: KICK-OFF TO SUMMER—Saturday: Join us for a Charity meet & Greet Event (4-6 PM). Commemorative Glasses for Sale, all money & donations goes to charity. During the day, we will have the slip n slide out for everyone to enjoy leading up to the Charity event Then 7-10 PM Music by Sam Pallet Band. Popular, local band playing Classic Rock music. Bring your lawn chairs and beverages to the pavilion! Cover charge for the band $5.00 per person for non-campers, kids under 8 free July 3rd–5th: 4th of JULY CELEBRATION—Saturday & Sunday enjoy our FIREWORKS, both displays at 10 PM Saturday Evening: Ice Cream Social at 7:00 PM, $1.00 for 2 scoops of ice cream and lots of toppings, followed by Camp Bell BINGO. Also, join us for Cornhole tournaments (sign up in the office). Sunday: Dance music provided by DJ Biggie Entertainment, 7-10 PM July 10th—July 12th: SAWMILL FESTIVAL & ROUND HOUSE ROCKERS—Join us Saturday & Sunday for our 5th annual Sawmill Festival. There will be lots of activities and trophies for winners from different age group and activities. We had a PHENOMENAL Time last year. More details to follow. Join us in the evening for this popular, local, country western & rock band. Cover charge for the band - $5.00 per person for non-campers, kids under 8 free. July 18th: DEATH BY CHOCOLATE & KARAOKE—Join us Saturday afternoon for Wine & Art event, then in the

evening 6 PM for endless CHOCOLATE. Everyone can bring their favorite chocolate item. We will all share and die by chocolate. Followed by a fun evening of karaoke with DJ Biggie. July 25th: WENDY OWENS MUSIC with JIM ANDERSON—Join us in the evening 7-10 PM for this popular, local band. Cover charge for the band – $5.00 per person for non-campers, kids under 8 free. August 8th: CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST—Celebrate with Santa. Saturday: 11:30 AM, lunch and photo with Santa ($4.00). Followed by arts & craft project (free) and then a wagon ride to the ice cream shop with Santa (parents must attend to purchase ice cream). In the afternoon 4-5 PM, join us for a wine (you bring) & cheese (we provide) party with Santa (adult time with Santa). 7 PM – 10 PM, Tree lighting & Dance music provided by DJ Biggie Entertainment. Aug 15th: NASCAR WEEKEND & PEDDLE CART RACES— Join us for the campground’s 2nd annual peddle cart races. Heats by age group. Prizes awarded. Watch our Square Dance Club dance all weekend, they love visitors. August 22nd: CHARITY LUAU POOL PARTY—Saturday: DJ BIGGIE (maybe a special guest appearance) for a Charity fund raising Party Time TBD. August 29th: SOUTHERN EXIT BAND—Join us for our 7-10 PM listen to this popular local Country band. Cover charge for the band - $5.00 per person for non-campers, kids under 8 free. Sept 4th -6th: LABOR DAY WEEKEND CELEBRATION— Saturday: 7:00 PM, in the pavilion Ice Cream Social $1.00 for 2 scoops of ice cream and lots of toppings, followed by Camp Bell BINGO. Also, join us Cornhole & Euchre (sign up in the office). Sunday: Dance music provided by DJ Biggie Entertainment, 7-10 PM in the rec hall. Sept 13th: HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT—Join us Sunday at 10 AM for Horseshoe Tournament to find out who is the “Best” and who gets the “Horse’s Ass” trophy. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be sold. All money raised will be donated to our charity, “Camp Good Days” (camp for kids with cancer.) October 10h–11th: HALLOWEEN WEEKEND—Decorate your RV for the Halloween festivities and win a prize for the Most Unique. Saturday: 11:00 PM, in the pavilion, Halloween Activity, free to all kids. 2:00 PM: Trick or Treat Kid’s Parade and Costume Contest. Don’t forget to bring treats for the kids. Wagon ride at dark, weather permitting. Sunday, 7-9 PM Join us for a good old fashion Barn Dance.

Call 607-527-3001 or visit for full event listings and more information


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Courtesy Andrew Wales Art about art: as a lover of art history, Andrew Wales’ work is reminiscent of other artists.

The Lost Art of Play

Andrew Wales, Exhibiting at the Gmeiner, Turns Toys Into Tour de Force By Karey Solomon


t can be startling, and a bit disconcerting, to learn that the toys you played with as a child are now stocked in antiques stores. Andrew Wales not only discovers some old favorites when he explores timeworn playthings on the shelves of second hand shops—he also finds inspiration. In his still life series “The Lost Art of Play,” classic toys remembered by the grandparent generation take center stage in Andrew’s first solo show in more than thirty years. His collection of paintings, drawings, and ink illustrations is currently scheduled to be on exhibit at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center, 34 Main Street in Wellsboro, in April and May. With this year’s unexpected virus-caused changes, please visit gmeinerartcenter.wordpress. com, Facebook, or call (570) 724-1917 for updated information.


The toys he depicts are not cuddly stuffed animals. Many were given away to children back in the day to develop brand loyalty via corporate mascots, like a cute plastic bee promoting honey and the caricature boy-with-a-gleam-of-mischiefin-his-eye representing Big Boy burgers. Some are iconic, like the platoons of rubber duckies facing each other with a hint of menace. Tiny Fisher-Price people appear in various works, possibly thinking deep thoughts or simply waiting out life’s indignities; a collection of blocks assemble themselves into a hidden message against a sky reminiscent of those painted by Belgian surrealist René Magritte. The reference is not accidental. An art teacher at Athens Area High School, art is central to Andrew’s life. “A lot of my art is art about art,” he says. “I love art history, I

read it for fun. I love art of all kinds. “For a long time I did comic strips and comic books,” he continues. “I did some for children’s magazines and self-published my own comic books.” He called them “eclectic comics” because they were “a little bit of everything—some comedy, some superhero parody.” He produced six of them while he was working on his doctorate but he now says this temporarily caused his style to become “very cartoony.” “Now I work in a high school and my students are drawn to realism, and I find myself doing more realistic work,” he explains. “Realism is very time consuming.” The arrangements of toys, or the juxtaposition of toys and landscape, can be thought-provoking. Andrew works from the real objects, drawing them exactly as See Wales on page 16


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(3) Courtesy Andrew Wales

Wales continued from page 14

they are, complete with marks of wear, chips, rubbed-off paint— these are part of each toy’s history, he notes, and their interaction with the children who once played with them. “For those who remember them they’re nostalgic, and for those who don’t, they’re foreign relics from another age,” he says. “Setting up a still life, you move things around and unexpected things happen. Great ideas come from that. As kids we called it play, and as adults we call it ‘assembling a still life.’ One painting I’m working on now, I chuckle at it as I look at it. Otherwise what’s the point? I’m definitely having a good time.” Andrew said this before the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent change in everyone’s lives. With school temporarily closed, he has been spending his extra at-home time in his studio—a silver lining for an artist who feels the press of ideas wanting to be realized. Is he working or playing? Andrew believes play really is a lost art. “From an educational standpoint, play has gotten a bum rap as if it was worthless, useless, time-wasting,” he says. “I think it’s getting pushed out of children’s lives.” He reminds us Albert Einstein said creativity was intelligence at play. And, he adds, many philosophers say play is enormously important for children and adults. When his own children were young, art was a family activity. “When we were home and there was nothing to do and he couldn’t talk us into reading more, he’d sit us all down at the table Past preserved: to draw,” says Anna Wales, Andrew’s daughter. “We were Andrew Wales always making art. When we went on vacation, it wouldn’t brings classic be focused on a theme park, but what museum can we go toys to new life to? We went to a lot of museums, and I decided I wanted in his Gmeiner to work in a museum.” Art and Cultural Anna Wales, by the way, is the director of the Gmeiner Center show. Art and Cultural Center, and in this role is frequently approached by artists with show proposals. Her father was among them with the occasional casual request. “I’d say, okay, type it up in an email and send it to me like anyone else,” she muses. “And he wouldn’t.” Until, finally, he wrote up some great ideas, and the show was on its way. She was impressed as well that he’s planned the show from the point of view of the visitor’s experience. She says, “He’ll take these characters and put them out there so you can set them up in our own composition, take a photo of them and say, what’s going on here? If you ask him what he was thinking when he put things together, he’ll have a story for it, and that story will be pretty good. But if you have your own story for it, he won’t mind at all.” And, she says she truly admires her father’s work ethic. “He’s always working on something.” Andrew is also hoping to offer some drawing workshops in conjunction with the exhibit. “I firmly believe if you make room in your life for art it will be very valuable and beneficial and will make your life better,” he says. “The more you work on it, the better you’ll get.” If the show has not yet opened and you’d like a preview, visit Karey Solomon is a freelance writer and needlework designer who teaches internationally. 16

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Hens of the Woods By Gayle Morrow


rowing in the woods around here are a couple of very delicious types of wild mushrooms with chickenthemed names—Grifola frondosu, AKA hen of the woods, and Laetiporus sulphureus, AKA chicken of the woods. This story is not about either of those incredible edibles. It is about actual chickens. In the woods. Some years ago, we found ourselves afflicted with the Enhance Your Life with Fowl syndrome, so we spruced up an old coop and accepted the responsibility of a flock of Henny Pennys. There was also an aggressive rooster in that mix who would keep his beady little eyes on me whenever the two of us were out in the yard, but that’s another story. One nice spring afternoon, we had opened up the coop door so the girls could be out picking and pecking and doing chicken things. We were in the house when all hell broke loose. There was bedlam, there was squawking, there were dead chickens in various stages of head loss. There were several frightened girls up in trees, traumatized not by the death of friends, relatives, and coopmates (chickens don’t seem to be especially empathetic), but by the realization that they could be next. Well, didn’t we feel like really bad chicken parents? Our beloved little flock had been suddenly and significantly diminished


in a brutal sort of way (the culprit turned out to be a rogue fox—not the friendly Mom Fox and babies who lived across the road and who we had been watching for weeks with such pleasure, but a wicked Uncle Fox, one whose moral compass was clearly off-kilter), and we weren’t sure we had the heart to restock. However, a few weeks later, on a warm evening, we were on our mountain bikes, pedaling up a dirt road in the woods not too far from Colton Point. We rounded a corner and, hey, what’s that over there? Chickens. There were chickens in Penn’s Woods—a dozen or more (including a darling little Banty rooster who was doing his best, under difficult circumstances, to keep his hens safe)—all looking sad and droopy. There wasn’t any water. There wasn’t anything to eat. There was laurel, but even chickens, who have no compunctions about eating last year’s Christmas cookies or, if the opportunity presents itself, each other, won’t eat laurel. We were seeing an opportunity here. We could be saviors. It was, as Paul Simon sang, a shot at redemption. We could, we would, rescue these chickens. We pedaled as fast as we could to the truck, drove to a friend’s and borrowed a couple of dog crates, drove back up the mountain to the scene, and waited. At about dark-thirty, the chickens, bless their little

beaks, began roosting on the truck. They knew, didn’t they, that we were their ticket out of the mess someone had left them in. Now chickens, when they’re roosting, tend to be on the somnambulant side. It’s the most opportune time to snag them, unless, for some reason, you’d rather amuse your partner by chasing after squawking birds through the afore-mentioned laurel. So we began plucking (no pun intended) the sleepy hens from the tailgate and stuffing them into the crates. A cluck here, a lethargic wing-flap there, and everybody was soon loaded up. We had most of the members of that particular group of chickens for several years. Then, one evening just this past spring, there I was, driving on a dirt road, trees all around, no houses close, and—what’s that on the guardrail? Is that a chicken? Yes. Yes, it is. Another hen in the woods. I couldn’t just leave her there, could I? I had nothing to put her in, and even a half asleep hen might rouse herself enough to create a problem inside of a moving vehicle. What to do? I did have a cloth grocery bag that was fairly sturdy, so I stuffed her in that and held her on my lap all the way home, where she has settled in nicely. Ah, redemption.

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Kevin Collins

Socially Distant but Not Far Apart Twin Tiers Neighbors Lend Helping Hands By Gayle Morrow


he more prescient among us probably knew something like this would happen one day. You can imagine a cross between Albert Einstein and Sheldon Cooper, scribbling complicated formulas on a blackboard, running various analyses—probably without the aid of even a calculator—and concluding that the world would indeed eventually be dealt a pandemic hand in the cosmic game of cards, and that it would be silly, even deadly, to try to bluff the dealer. So, we can wring our hands, or we can use them to help each other. Here’s what some folks are doing. For Dave DeGolyer, communications manager for Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes, promoting tourism during a


time when nobody is supposed to be going anywhere isn’t happening so much. But he’s all about promoting how local businesses and individuals are helping each other. “While Corning’s Gaffer District has been gaining more and more recognition as a foodie destination thanks to Bon Appétit Appalachia and the exceptional cuisine being offered, some of our longest standing as well as our more creative restaurants have been donating more than time to their local community by donating food to Corning’s Community Food Pantry,” Dave says. While these numbers have undoubtedly gone up, initial offerings were as follows: Market Street Brewing Company (the oldest microbrewery in the area) donated 100 pounds of fresh produce and dairy

products; Sorge’s Restaurant (one of the longest-running family dining establishments in Corning) donated fifty pounds of eggs; Hand + Foot donated 338 pounds of food; The Cellar donated 290 pounds of food. He adds that Liquid Shoes Brewing is currently collaborating with other breweries to make a liquid fundraiser—a beer—with a portion of the proceeds going to hospital workers in the area. The name of the collaboration is “All Together.” “I just wanted to share some of the efforts local small businesses have been taking to aid the community,” says Dave. Art in the Time of Pandemic John F. Kennedy said art “establishes the basic human truths which must serve

as the touchstone of our judgment.” (From a speech at Amherst College, October of 1963.) Ditto for artists. The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, with funding and support from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, has established an emergency arts fund to help artists during the COVID-19 emergency. “I’m really seeing an amazing amount of generosity,” says ARTS Executive Director Dr. Connie Sullivan-Blum. Many artists in the region have lost income due to cancellation of shows, performances, and classes, and because retail outlets are closed. So, mini-grants help, Connie says, adding that the artistto-artist help has been amazing as well. “I’ve been really moved with how artists who have resources are contributing to those who don’t,” she says. “It’s been really beautiful. I’m also seeing a lot of support for online classes between artists. It’s a mad dash around here, trying to figure out what to do, but the outpouring of love for our neighbors has been heartwarming. The Twin Tiers community is really pulling together.” To find out more about the ARTS’ emergency art fund, visit More Helping Hands—and Paws In Clinton County, the SPCA branch there wants to make sure the animals have enough to eat. Shelter officials want to give back to the local community that has been so supportive, and is offering to help in the coming weeks and months as impacts from the COVID-19 virus evolve. For those who may not have the resources to purchase food for their animal friends, contact the Clinton County SPCA at (570) 748-4756 or private message the facility. Please do not come to the shelter. WQBR “The Bear” radio in Avis, is handling the podcasting and technical work for the Facebook streaming of three area churches for their congregations, and providing information about businesses doing take out/delivery in the area—all at no charge. Dave Stratton, one of the station’s owners, says, “Right now, they can’t afford it, and people need to know where they can get help.” At the Red Eye Center in Flemington, just outside of Lock Haven, Mike Toner and helpers are delivering two meals a day to approximately 400 people in the Lock Haven Area. Call (570) 893-8001 to help or to be helped. At Trinity Methodist Church in Jersey Shore, which is currently housing the New Love Center, food is the focus. The New Love Center had been offering free meals and an opportunity to socialize. There has been a temporary halt in the socializing, but those in need of a meal can walk in and get food to go. At last count, the New Love Center was serving 260 meals a day as well as delivering food to ninety area residents. For more information visit or call (570) 772-3275. Throughout the Twin Tiers, neighbors are helping neighbors. On the Cornell University campus, volunteers are sewing medical masks for frontline health care works. In rural Gaines Township, township supervisors are volunteering to shop for food and pharmacy needs for those who are self-quarantined or are unable to get to a store. What can you and I do? Thanks to Dave DeGolyer, Connie Sullivan-Blum, and Linda Roller for help compiling this information.

Distilling Hope


ack at the end of March, on a windy farm road working its way through a family cattle farm in the small town of Canisteo, cider maker Kevin Collins was contemplating not only what was happening in the world, but his craft and his career. Being the most awarded farm cidery in the United States in 2017 is quite a feat, but in light of the way the world has in many ways stalled, it certainly wasn’t foremost on his mind. Kevin posted on the Cider Creek Hard Cider Facebook page that he was looking at the barrels sitting there aging, and thought, “this barrel, filled with years of hard work, would do more benefit to our community as hand sanitizer vs sitting on a shelf in a fancy bottle waiting to be drank (I know many will disagree). So, I have decided to join the ranks with brewers & distillers around the world and help fill the void of hand sanitizer in hopes to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some of my barrels will have to be sacrificed for this project, but that’s ok by me. I rather help slow this pandemic so we can all get back to our normal lives, than sell a high end bottle of cider.” Later that same day, Justin Rectenwald, a winemaker from nearby Arkport, saw Kevin’s post. Justin, owner of Wild Brute Winery, had some fortified wine that he hadn’t finished working with, and he thought the wine, which is a stronger proof naturally at around 12 percent, might work well for making sanitizer. He contributed 1,000 liters. Kevin and Justin then contacted Carlton Reeves, owner and head distiller at Krooked Tusker Distillery, on the west side of Keuka Lake. “When we started,” Justin says, “we were using these hillbilly stills we concocted, but Carlton Reeves has some serious professional stills and he’s made this whole process so much better.” Kevin concurred, noting that Carlton “has been working tirelessly around the clock turning our wine and cider into the alcohol needed to make this sanitizer.” The first batch of hand sanitizer was ready within days. Justin then contacted Chris Missick at Villa Bellangelo. It seems regulations and laws are changing almost daily, and Justin figured Chris, who had recently run for a state senate seat, might have a better grasp on some of those legalities. By the time they finished talking, Chris provided more than his expertise—he also agreed to donate 1,500 gallons of wine. And those who don’t have alcohol to donate have been offering other assistance. Kevin White, for instance, owner of White Imprints in Cuba, New York, has printed and donated labels. Ultimately, the process of taking that initial alcohol and running it through two distillings to get it to 160 proof reduces it tenfold (if they start with 100 gallons of wine, they end up with about ten gallons). It is a day-long process. The first sanitizer recipients are the front liners—first responders, hospital staff, and so on. Justin says most of the sanitizer for New York’s Department of Corrections is being sent to New York City, so folks in the rural communities barely have any, and area hospitals are running short. Justin notes that perhaps the most challenging thing about this whole collaboration isn’t the hard work, but the logistics of who gets sanitizer. “Everyone is deserving of it, so it’s been hard not just being able to give it to everyone who asks,” he says. If you get a chance, be supportive of these folks who are working hard. They’re an example that small businesses and individuals can make a difference: not just in times of great difficulty, but always. ~ Dave DeGolyer 21

Delivery Pending

Even Before Social Distancing, Our Columnist Opts for Online Alcohol By Maggie Barnes When I wrote this piece, “social distancing” was only a technique to avoid your neighbor who borrows your tools and never returns them. But, since the world has been totally redesigned to one of isolation and rationing, I thought it would be handy to know that alcohol is only a click away. Except for this time...


finished it.” Even on email, my friend Mark’s relief was evident. He had been working for months on a massive project for his job as a researcher with a business publication. I wrote him back, telling him I was happy for him.


But, that did not feel like enough. My friendship with Mark is one of the treasured happenings of my blessed life and I wanted to honor his achievement with something more substantial. Specifically, that something was alcohol. More specifically, a bottle of champagne delivered to his office. Such a simple idea. I fairly danced back to my office with my plan fully formed. Fire up Google, find a liquor store near Mark’s place of business, arrange a delivery, and poof! Instant celebration right there on his desk. Having been in the workplace for a few decades, I knew the place to start was

the chamber of commerce in the fair city of Buffalo. The cheerful voice on the other end of the phone gave me every confidence that she could help me. I gave her the address of Mark’s office. “Can you tell me the nearest liquor store to that location?” Silence. “Umm…,” she replied. Followed by, “I really don’t know the city that well.” Oh. Forgive me. I thought I had called the chamber of commerce, the organization that champions businesses in said city! Silly me! Never mind, I can figure this out See Pending on page 24

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Pending continued from page 22

myself. Back to Google. Bring up the list of liquor stores and the map. Cross reference addresses. Find a store less than two blocks away. Perfect. “Hi, I’d like to order a bottle of champagne for delivery in the city.” “Oh, you can do that on our website.” “Excellent! What’s your web address?” Silence. “Um, wait, I know it. It’s on something around here…” I squinted my eyes shut and counted to ten. “Here it is!” “I see the wines and stuff, but no champagne,” I say, furiously scrolling. “Oh.” I wait for more, because there is no way this plan is going to crash and burn a second time. “I don’t know what to tell you…” Gritting my teeth, I say thank you and hang up. Back to Google. Another purveyor of drink is found. I call and explain what I am trying to do. “Our delivery truck is out and I have no idea when it’s going to be back,” the


voice says. “Well, it will be sometime today, right?” I was trying to be helpful. “Who knows? It was a couple of days last time,” was the reply. Apparently, there is a liquor store truck randomly ramming around the streets of Western New York, with a trust fund baby at the wheel who digs the smell of grapes, but really doesn’t need the job. Feeling my jaw start to lock up, I say thanks and hang up. Again. The next store was closed, permanently, and the number had been disconnected. So much for the timeliness of Google. In military aviation, they call what was happening to me “target fixation.” The more times I failed in my quest, the harder I wanted to accomplish it. My shoulders were tense, my hands fisted, and a slight red haze coated my vision. Queen City Liquors, come on down! You are the next contestant on All I Want Is One Lousy Bottle of Champagne! “We don’t deliver,” the voice snapped. “It says you do on your website,” I point out with a sweetness I did not feel.

“That piece of garbage? My idiot cousin put that together. The loser.” I get out of my seat and walk the halls for a few minutes. Try to roll the tension out of my shoulders. Drink some water. My coworker Dawn shakes her head at me. “Mags, you could have driven it to him by now.” I felt like I was asking for the original Watergate tapes in a heart-shaped box, but I was undeterred. This was a good idea and my friend was going to have this gesture of love and support even if I stroked out trying to do it, dammit! I cracked my knuckles and swiveled my chair back into battle position. Google liquor stores in Buffalo. Filter by delivery service. Call the number. “Sure we can do that. Do you know what brand you want?” I am so stunned by the cooperation on the other end of the phone, my brain takes a moment before I come up with a favorite bottle. “Let me get an order sheet.” Oh, they have order sheets! They’ve done this before! What a splendid business! Praise God and See Pending on page 33

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Spring Gobbler and Ol’ Beard Dragger He Who Flights and Runs Away... By Don Knaus


t was late May, nearing the end of spring gobbler season. I looked at my wristwatch. Eight o’clock. My rear was sore. I’d been sitting against the oak trunk since five a.m. I’d watched the sun rise, listened to the morning tweets of woodland birds, watched a skunk meander near, and heard three gobblers show off their voices from the roost. And I’d only clucked and putted twice. Ol’ Beard Dragger had taught me that, at least. Who? Well, I first saw Ol’ Beard Dragger the previous spring. Actually, it’s possible I saw him as a poult years before.


I might have let him pass as a jake, the spring I shot his grandfather. But, on the first day last spring, he came readily to my calls, gobbling a steady beat. At fifty yards he spread his tail and stopped. “Just five more steps,” I whispered. He sensed that something wasn’t quite right and proceeded to walk away. Every time I hit the call, he spun around and angrily gobbled at me, quite out of range. Then, on a scouting mission in early April, I saw him and named him “Ol’ Beard Dragger.” The dirt road leading to Ol’ Beard Dragger’s field was solid ice. I parked

at the end of the road and walked up the lane. Where the sun had fought through the trees, the farm road was almost clear of ice and snow. The spring-soft silt made for silent stalking. I neared the edge of the field and saw seven hens scurry off. “There’s got to be a gobbler or two to love ’em next month,” I mused. I tiptoed to the field and saw more turkeys to my right. One of the birds was huge, nearly twice the size of the others. Binoculars up, I zoomed in on the big guy. “My God! He’s got a beard so long it’s almost dragging on the ground.” I eased back to my truck so as not to disturb them,

especially Ol’ Beard Dragger. Then and there I set my sights on taking him in May. Unseasonable rain and cold weather plagued this particular spring gobbler season, more rain than had ever been recorded since they began keeping records back in 1854. On one brief respite from the drizzle, the sun emerged for a couple of hours and I called in Ol’ Beard Dragger’s son. I messed up and missed Tom Turkey, Jr., a.k.a. “Dragger, the Younger.” He sported a medium-sized, six-inch beard, but I would have been proud to tag him. Several days later, I returned to the field. I went the long way around, skirting the edges to avoid exposing myself in the open. A smaller field abutted the thirty-acre field, separated by a fairly thick hedgerow. As I eased along the hedgerow, I saw Ol’ Beard Dragger himself and two smaller gobblers, working the insects in the meadow. Hidden by the dividing bushes, I called. When I imitated a lonesome hen, Ol’ Beard Dragger went into full strut. His tail fanned out, his head turned blaze red, and he spun in a slow circle. I felt he was ten yards beyond the range of my 3½-inch magnums. “C’mon…take just a few steps toward me,” I whispered. I offered another enticing call. He took two steps toward my position. “I’ve got you now,” I thought. Then, he must have felt something was amiss. Ol’ Beard Dragger and his two buddies slowly sauntered away and disappeared into the woods. The season was nearing the end. I returned the next morning before daybreak. I chose a set-up facing the small field and sat down. The calling hadn’t worked the previous day, so I determined to just sit and wait. I heard three hens give just two clucks apiece and shut up. They were sitting on their nests and silently waited for their boyfriend to visit. Way across the field, I saw a turkey walking down a rise. I saw him fan out. He got closer. He walked within range and I could see his red head. I knew it was Ol’ Beard Dragger, but the grass was so high, I couldn’t see a beard. (A spring turkey must have a visible beard.) I let him walk into the woods to breed with the sitting hens, and then snuck out. “I’ve got the old boy patterned,” I told myself. The next three days were a repeat of crashing thunder and torrential rain. Finally, on the last day of the season, the weather report bode well. I was in position before daybreak. I sat three hours. After hearing the three toms gobble, I called, just once. Finally, at eight o’clock, two boys called again. I responded with my best imitation of a lonely hen. “Must be the hens have abandoned their brood and are re-nesting after all that rain,” I thought. The sun, an infrequent visitor, had popped out and it slowly burned off the haze. I was ready to quit. Then, I noted movement coming toward me. It was a male turkey with a six-inch beard. It was the last day, so I took aim when he got into range and shot. I jumped up and ran to the flopping, fluttering bird. As I did, a big bird was getting airborne. I stood by my downed bird and noticed the flying turkey had a beard hanging down to his knees. Had I waited a second or two, I could have had a shot at Ol’ Beard Dragger. “Next year, old boy,” I said as he disappeared into his oak and hemlock hideout.

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Do the Pennsylvania Wild A Lifelong Social Distancer Shares Some Secrets By Kerry Gyekis


n some ways I am reluctant to say much about what we are doing to stay sane (and healthy) in this extremely crazy time of the virus. It is like going back to San Francisco after you’ve struck gold in 1849 and telling the populace of your good luck. However, considering what we are faced with as a nation and as a people, I think I better fess up. OK…for most of my life, probably from my young teenage years, I’ve realized that walking in the woods (sometimes just


for hours and sometimes for days) helped and even cured a lot of things that I had been worried about. Suffice it to say that I’ve been practicing social distancing for approximately sixty-four years. [That’s Kerry above, practicing what he preaches.] Ask my wife. That is not an exaggeration. I do it once almost every day, and my other half and I do it several times a week, usually. We do it on local trails and in local forests with or without trails. We do it to find wildflowers and waterfalls and just to

do it. I do it in rain and snow, in warm and cold, and early rather than late as a forester. I love to do it in a fresh snow as it becomes a book of all the creatures (including me) that are moving through it. Just these past few weeks in probably the last fresh snow on a cold morning, I saw a ball of fur seemingly moving in the air just up the hill from me. When I got to where it was, I realized it was a coyote that had been coming right at me on a dead run. I could see the skid marks See Wild on page 32

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We Can’t Socialize, but We Have Chocolate A Sweet Reason For Hope By Cornelius O’Donnell


et me take you back a bit to those glorious days of the ’50s (gulp) when my father would call out “Route 32” or “Dutcher’s” and, no matter where the four of us kids were—immersed in a picture puzzle, in the sand box, nose in a book, or perhaps Hopalong Cassidy on the tube—we’d come running and jump in the car. Why? Because we knew that a call to either place meant ice cream and, most emphatically, chocolate ice cream. I should explain: Route 32 meant a short ride to a gas station on that route in Glenmont, just south of Albany. But we weren’t going for gas, it was the handpacked chocolate ice cream. Dad insisted on it, finding “too much air” in the cartons. It was fascinating to watch the cardboard container placed inside the metal jacket, the ice cream scoop removed from its water bowl, and then the deep brown ice cream loaded in the container. (I had to ignore this “gas-jockey’s” hands still stained from the last lube.) Did we get a pint or half gallon from the large drum of ice cream? I can’t remember. All I recall is the ride home and the anticipation of the reward in the bowls


Mom had waiting for us. (Amazing fact, at least to us kids: Mom didn’t like ice cream. We found this so unusual my youngest brother wanted to take her to show and tell at school.) Dutcher’s was a dairy store on the road from Voorheesville to Route 20 that featured homemade ice cream and, all summer, had a constant flow of customers. This was a place that gave you an enormous quantity of the creamy sweet stuff (it almost filled a milk-shake container), and then there was the chocolate syrup and the peanuts or walnut pieces sprinkled over the clouds of whipped cream. Any readers remember this? This was a choc-a-holic’s heaven, although I must admit I loved the strawberry version with the icy bits of strawberries. But I’ve also enjoyed chocolate desserts, as much for the shouts of (mostly) joy when I present one at the conclusion of a meal as for the eating of it. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use chocolate. Chocolate Upside-Down Pudding I found this gem in the Pyrex Prize Recipes cookbook, circa 1953, that I

treasure. And this is the headnote above the recipe: “This is like a rich chocolate cake with a chocolate sauce underneath. It is delicious served slightly warm with whipped cream.” And it is. The quantity of spots on the book’s page says it all. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the cake: ¾ c. granulated sugar 1¼ c. sifted cake flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 square (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate ½ c. regular milk 1 tsp. real vanilla extract ½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts For the topping: ½ c. granulated sugar ½ c. brown sugar, well-packed 2 Tbsp. cocoa 1 c. boiling water Sift together the ¾ c. granulated sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt. I just put it through a hand-held sifter. Melt together the butter and the chocolate; mix this with

the milk and vanilla. Stir this into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-greased 1½-quart Pyrex round cake dish. For the topping: Mix together the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the cocoa, and spread this on top of the batter. Pour the boiling water over all. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. This serves 6 to 8. And, since I am my father’s son, I’d serve this with a bit of chocolate ice cream and whipped cream. Serve a salad as the main course. This dessert is rich as Rockefeller. Chocolate Mousse There seem to be as many mousse recipes as there are moose in the woods. No matter, this is an old favorite (again, spots) from a boxed set of recipes put together ages ago by Corning Hospital’s Chapter P. I’ve made so many goodies from this collection of index cards I can only wish someone would reprint it. It’s great to go through these and remember the women who submitted “their best.” Jane Hubben’s Chocolate Mousse 1 lb. sweet chocolate ½ c. granulated sugar ¼ c. brandy, bourbon, or rum ¼ c. water 10 egg yolks 1 Tbsp. vanilla 10 egg whites ¼ tsp. cream of tartar Melt together the chocolate, sugar, spirit of choice, and water. (Try a big Pyrex bowl in the microwave. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes on high. Note that in microwave cooking, chocolate holds its shape but may be softly melted.) Let cool. Beat together (I use a whisk) the egg yolks and vanilla. Then add the chocolate mixture. In another bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Then fold the two mixtures together and transfer to a decorative bowl, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and chill. You can garnish with shaved chocolate curls and whipped cream. This serves 6 to 8. Chocolate Rum Coffee Carol Pulaski was among the Chapter P contributors, and her recipe would be just the ticket to end a meal when you are ready to flip out. Here’s dessert in a flash. For each serving place the following in a mug (time to use your collection): Strong coffee, regular or decaf 1 Tbsp. chocolate syrup 1 oz. rum 1 large (heaping?) tbsp. chocolate or vanilla ice cream Heat mug. Fill three-fourths full with hot coffee. Stir in chocolate and then stir in rum. Top with ice cream and serve immediately. Dad would be so proud of me if I served any one of these desserts. Chef, teacher, author, and award-winning columnist Cornelius O’Donnell lives in Horseheads, New York

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Wild continued from page 28

of about four feet when he first saw me and had then turned and run out at an acute angle away from me. I began following his back trail, still wondering why he was traveling so fast toward me. I heard hounds in the distance and then hounds coming right past me, ignoring me as they chased the coyote and then several minutes later reversing themselves, coming back and heading out on the same angle the coyote had taken. It was a Roadrunner episode! Several months ago I was hunting in an obscure place on the West Rim of the canyon. I call it hunting—really, it is hiking with a gun or a bow or a crossbow. I sneak along trails, and, to be quite honest, it is, perhaps, the original “social distancing.” I never called it that before this national crisis we find ourselves in now, but that is essentially what it is. It is to be alone and quiet, apart from others. Hunting is just one of my excuses (I should say one of my many excuses). I escaped church for many years as a kid by running a trapline. My mom knew I had to check those traps. In those trapping days, I tended to do it where there weren’t people. Really, it was “social distancing.” But, back to hiking on the West Rim. I found something which was pretty interesting and was unsure whether it was natural or perhaps ancient man’s design. I sent a picture of it off to the anthropology and geology departments at Penn State University and got this back: “most likely a trace fossil of a burrowing sea creature,” an “arthophycus from Silurian sandstones some 420 to 440 million years ago that underlie many of our ridges in northcentral Pa.” We live in an extraordinary area with canyons, mountains, streams, forests, and miles of trails. There are many ways to utilize this bounty. Whether you are a hiker, biker, hunter, fisherman, runner, walker, crawler, drawer, photographer, or even rider, it is there, that great wilderness. I realize, up to this point, I’ve treated our present situation rather lightly in this writing. I do get it, and have thought about it a lot. I’ve been comparing it to other experiences in my life and the life of everyone who is alive today, here. I spent two years in the Asian jungles of the ’60s as a Peace Corps forester, with aborigines, Malays, Gurkhas, and guns. I did basically sneak into South Vietnam during that time, and did hitch rides on Air America (C.I.A.) flights all around the Delta, and did see the war up-front rather brutally. That was, thinking back about it, pretty scary…and crazy. At the time I was bullet-proof (in my own mind), but that was a personal experience. When I came back to the U.S., I found that many Americans were not nearly as affected by it as I was. Many were able to isolate themselves from what our troops and the Vietnamese were experiencing. This situation now is different. The virus is affecting everyone even if we wish it were not. Aside from it being very scary for Americans, I believe it is already hard for many members of our society to deal with just living on a daily basis. That brings me back to the walking in the woods part. It works! Kerry Gyekis is a consultant forester who started out in his field a long time ago in a far-away place (Malaysia) as a Peace Corps forester.

Pending continued from page 24

get the glasses! The store had messages on their hold system. The voice was pleasant enough, though I pegged it as non-professional. Probably the owner or an employee. “Thank you for calling. We will be right with you. We have an extensive collection of wine and liquors, including erotic liquors…” the chirpy voice informed me. Really? My imagination galloped out of its crate before I could say “fill up my belly button!” and I had to lasso it back in before the gentleman returned. We actually transacted my order. I gave him money. He promised to deliver the champagne that afternoon. I was nearly delirious and decided to repay him by repeating what I had had heard on his hold system. The moment I said “erotic liquors” you could hear his face fall off in pieces. I told him I didn’t think that was correct, but if it was, “I’d love to see the room you keep it in.” He explained that his sister had recorded the messages for him. He would tend to that right away. He thanked me earnestly. I hung up triumphantly. A good deed done and the aggravation was just the price of friendship. And then… nothing. No acknowledgement from Mark. This is a person who says thank you, so I knew this fragile project had derailed yet again. Finally, I message him and ask if he got a delivery today. “No, why?” Yeah, I could have told you that was coming. Mark set to searching his building and found a bottle of champagne on the desk of a colleague. Thinking the chances of a coincidence were thin, he asked her about it. She had no idea who had sent it, but the receptionist was sure the delivery person had given her name. Bottle sent to: Mark Webster. Bottle delivered to: Lisa Hawayek. Well, I can see how that could have happened. Easy mistake. Sure. Mark’s birthday is in October. If I start now, I might be able to send him a beer.

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