Ron Bixby and Alanne Baerson of Little Apple Farm in Hillsdale are now using some of their organically grown crop to produce cider, both fresh and hard. Our intrepid reporter returns for an update on their farm after an absence of 28 years. Photo by David Lee

Celebrating Alan Devoe, Hillsdale’s Thoreau

TO READ ALAN DEVOE’S EXQUISITELY WRITTEN ESSAYS is to marvel with him over the timeless wonders of the natural world. Devoe was a writer/naturalist, born in Montclair, NJ, in 1909, who moved to Hickory Hill Road in Hillsdale at age 25 with his wife Mary and never left. His acclaim as a lover of nature was such that when, in 1957, two years after Devoe’s death at age 46, a Columbia County bird watching society was started, it was named after him. The Alan Devoe Bird Club is still thriving.

Devoe’s fame as a writer was equally noteworthy. In a book called Writer to Writer: Readings on the Craft of Writing, his 1936 Atlantic Monthly essay “The Exclamation-Point Style” was included along with short pieces by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Robert Frost, Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner, among others.

It is time to resurrect Alan Devoe’s stature and the contributions of this “native son.” He belongs in the pantheon of America’s great nature writers like Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs and John Muir. Read more…

How ’bout them apples?

Local organic orchard presses ahead with cidery

HILLSDALE—The apples at Little Apple Farm on Orchard Lane are not small anymore and now they are destined for bigger, juicier things.

At a time when Ron Bixby and Alanne Baerson could be slowing down, they are instead embarking on a new venture with the apples at their Little Apple Farm: Making them into cider, both fresh and hard.

The 23-acre farm was so named in 1980 when they bought it, because the apples growing in the untended jungle of an orchard were numerous but puny. Read more…

Safety, tardy kids occupy Hudson school board

HUDSON–Music, students leaving school before the final bell, and street-crossing safety highlighted the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting Monday, September 28.

Five students in the Hudson High School Jazz Ensemble played music, and music teacher Scott Vorwald thanked mentor Craig Bender for helping obtain instruments for HCSD students. Mr. Bender arranges benefit concerts, with proceeds used to buy instruments. “Because of this influx of instruments, our music program is blooming,” said Mr. Vorwald, who praised the administration for providing a repair budget. Read more…

Valatie receptive to Habitat’s 2-family plan

VALATIE–The village Zoning Board of Appeals met last week to review plans by Habitat for Humanity to build a new two-family on home on a plot now occupied by a dilapidated house at the corner of Main and New streets.

Brenda Adams, executive director of Habitat for the county, attended the September 23 ZBA meeting to ask the board for a variance from local set-back requirements and to look at any other issues that will help the project move forward. Read more…

In G’town, growing library seeks voter support

GERMANTOWN—The Germantown Library will come before the public on the November 3 General Election ballot to ask for more money.

Currently the library receives $58,000 annually through taxes raised in the town. This translates into about $29 per year on a house assessed at $100,000.

The library is requesting an annual increase of $30,000, which would result in a tax of $45 per year. The library calculates that the increase works out to less than a dollar a week for a house assessed at $100,000. Read more…