COMMUNITY BRIEFS: Pomeroy, Sacred Sites, Turtles, Young wildlife, Clav. Srs., Hidden gardens, Strawberries & tag sale, Summer gala

Apply for grant to support history organizations

TROY—The Pomeroy Fund for New York State History, a partnership between the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Museum Association of New York (MANY), will provide an additional $50,000 in grants to assist 501(c)(3) history-related organizations with general operating expenses in 2020. MANY is now accepting applications on its website as of Thursday, May 28.

An organization must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a Pomeroy Fund grant during this second round:

*Based in New York State

*Mission must include history

*An annual budget of $150,000 or less

*Have no fewer than 250 open hours/program delivery hours in 2019. Read more…


What does social distancing mean to you?

COPAKE—With its new Community Art Project, the Roeliff Jansen Community Library wants to know what social distancing looks or feels like to you.

Send images of photos, paintings or other artwork, along with a title of your choosing, to . The library will share the images on its website and social media pages, and looks to hold an exhibition when the building re-opens. Read more…

Paying tribute in song

Challenging times demand creative measures, so with no local traditional public ceremony to honor the fallen on this Memorial Day, musician Zachary Nayer of West Copake loaded his keyboard, speakers, American flag and himself into the back of his dad’s light blue 1957 International S-120 pickup and traveled to four area veterans’ monuments in Copake, Copake Falls, Hillsdale and Ancram. At each stop, he stood in the truck bed, wearing his red, white and blue tie-dyed t-shirt and sang his salute—a heartfelt rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America’s freedom. Photo contributed

THROUGH THE WOODS: The brown thrasher

IF YOU ARE DRIVING ALONG on one of our narrower, quieter, country roads and a fairly large rusty-colored bird quickly flies across in front of you, it is probably a brown thrasher. For a size comparison, the cardinal is 8 1/2” long while the brown thrasher is 11”. The thrasher is an elusive bird, so don’t expect to stop and easily locate it. The best way to see it is to go back in the evening and quietly wait for it to sit on top of a bushy thicket, or a tangle of multiflora rose cane. It will probably be found by listening for its loud song reminiscent in quality to a northern mockingbird but without the repeating of so many other birds’ songs.

Brown thrasher Photo by Nancy Jane Kern

The thrasher will occasionally mimic a few birds like the northern cardinal, tufted titmouse or northern flicker. Some describe the song as “plant-a-seed, plant-a-seed, bury-it, bury-it, cover-it-up, cover-it-up, let-it-grow, let-it-grow, pull-it-up, pull-it-up, eat-it, eat-it, yum-yum.” It usually repeats each change of pitch and phrase twice and just keeps on singing. Some researchers have recorded it continuously singing over a thousand phrases, much more than the mockingbird, which usually comes to mind when we think of prize songsters. This credit should belong to the brown thrasher. Somehow though, our singing, “Listen to the brown thrasher” doesn’t come across as well as “Listen to the Mockingbird.”

Once located on its perch it is recognized by its rufous head, back and tail, heavily dark streaked white breast, and buff colored belly. The streaking can be irregular and spotty. The bird characteristically points its tail down while singing. Read more…

GREEN THOUGHTS: Small fun with fake stone

These trough gardens are planted in homemade “hypertufas” planters. Photo contributed

DIAMOND RINGS, GOLD WATCHES and the keys to a new Porsche—all good things in small packages. While I don’t have much experience with any of those, I am crazy about tiny plants in special pots, a unique branch of horticulture known as trough gardening.

Who invented the trough garden? The answer may be lost in time. Perhaps someone with a green thumb had a stack of obsolete stone animal watering troughs lying around, as well as a few stone sinks, and decided to plant something in them. Or, maybe a plant collector with tiny alpine plants, succulents and other wee treasures found they looked good and grew well in troughs. Like peanut butter and chocolate, a great combination was born.

Then the laws of supply and demand kicked in. Old stone sinks and troughs are rare antiques, and the few available command big prices. Luckily, some genius came up with a substitute version, which could be made by hand using a mixture of cement, peat moss, and sand. These troughs became known as ‘hypertufas,” since they resembled lightweight, somewhat porous tufa stone. Today, all sorts of variations on the faux stone trough garden exist, most far exceeding the average rock. Read more…