notable animal residents of jersey city – lincoln park turtles.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about anything, and it’s been a longer while since I wrote about notable animal residents of Jersey City. So I would like to bring to your attention the Lincoln Park turtles.

YOU GUYS. THESE GOSH DARN TURTLES. HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THEM?!

I don’t know what kind they are. Don’t ask me what kind they are. Maybe YOU can tell ME what kind they are?

My biggest thing with them is that they live in the middle of Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park is an urban park! And it’s a lot of fields of sport and also regular fields and that doesn’t say “turtle,” to me. BUT they do have a seemingly man made (but I don’t know its life) lake/pond/small body of water and THAT is where the turtles of Lincoln Park reside.

Are they always there? Even when it’s cold? The truth is, I don’t know, you guys. I’ve recently been googling “torpor” and what that means for some types of animal pals and I have a feeling turtles are involved in a torpor-like situation once the temperatures drop. I mean, AT THE VERY LEAST, torpor ADJACENT.

JK I think it’s just straight up regular torpor. And if they’re doing what that post says they have been in the lake/pond/small body of water THIS ENTIRE TIME. THEY WINTER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WATER WHERE THE WATER DOESN’T FREEZE AND THEY GET OXYGEN FROM THE WATER HOLY SHIT.

So that’s where they must go! NOWHERE. So freaking cool!

Either way they’re back now and they are SUNNING THEIR COLD-BLOODED BUNS right there on the cement shores of the Lincoln Park Lake.

AND THEY ARE LOVING IT.

They climb up out of the water to sunbathe AND I GOT A VID OF THE CLIMB TODAY AND IT WAS SO ADORABLE.

It did have this kind of Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High vibe but I’m not mad about it.

Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a TREASURE. Not like in Drop Dead Fred where she is a WIMP who SUCKS for most of the film.

But back to the turtles of Lincoln Park. I’m so happy to see them. I look forward to learning their spring and summer habits as I go to the park at different times of day and communing with them when they’re feeling brave and don’t jump off the cement and back into the water when humans approach. I know children like to commune with the turtles too but the turtles are braver when children aren’t around so do with that what you will.

Stay away from my turtles, kids. Is what I’m saying.

Okay, okay I’m sorry, it’s fine. The turtles of Lincoln Park are notable animal residents of Jersey City and we all deserve to be among them. Go check them out! BUT DO NOT SCARE THEM I WILL BE SO PISSED.

first day of spring 2021.

YOU GUYS, it’s the first day of spring 2021. This feels like a really big day. A really important day. I’m not sure why but I’d like to explore it here.

Last year, the year 2020, we did not have a spring. We were trapped inside for WEEKS. We could go for walks but we couldn’t go outside for too long and we couldn’t GO ANYWHERE. Last spring was really, really hard. Everyone really, really hated it. Okay, you get it.

I remember going to Target one day last spring, it was the only place I felt I could go that was fun but also a grocery store. Because we weren’t supposed to go to fun places. We weren’t welcome there.

JK because fun places WERE NOT EVEN OPEN. THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. TARGET WAS ALL THAT I HAD.

So anyway I went there and the last time I had been there the trees had been bare but then this particular time they had flowers and I realized in this moment that all of my fav spring trees around the town were currently flowering AND I WAS MISSING IT.

This is from April 2020. Knife in my heart.

And then I cried. Just cried right there in front of Target, waiting in line for my turn to go inside wearing a mask and feeling weird and sad about everything.

Flowering trees are important to me.

But more than that, spring is important to me and I think spring 2021 is going to make up for last spring and also be its own spring and we’re going to have a great time.

We’ve already figured out some safe ways to do fun shit and in some ways the fun shit is more fun than before. for example, I LOVE SITTING OUTSIDE. I want to sit outside and eat every day forever and ever, amen. It brings me so much joy and I’m glad it kind of became a year-round thing even here in the northeast.

Let’s keep it! CAN WE PLZ KEEP IT.

It’s also now normal to meet up in parks in a big group as a social event. Maybe that was normal for some people in the before times but for me personally it wasn’t something I saw happen often. I guess for folks without kids it was more like “let’s do drunk brunch at a restaurant establishment.” But now ALL people are into drunk brunch BYOB picnic in the park type events and I am HERE FOR IT, as they say.

We have so many options for fun and safe things to do this spring and our cups runneth over and again it brings a tear to my eye. I can’t wait to get out there and greedily drink in everything this spring has to offer.

It’s going to be double spring so bring your allergy medicine and rain boots and baby chickens and I’ll see you there.

*I wrote this on Saturday 3/20. I know THAT was the first day of spring and not today. Thx.

community cleanup.

On Saturday I was glad to attend a community cleanup on Pacific Ave in Jersey City. I walk and bike and scoot down Pacific Ave a lot to get downtown and I was like yes I’d like Pacific Ave to be clean let’s do this.

So we did.

The cleanup was run by Clean Green Jersey City. We met up on Pacific Ave and were given trash bags and REALLY FUN TRASH GRABBERS.

Like really fun.

They gave us plastic bags to collect trash in and plastic gloves to wear. The plastic gloves went right over my regular gloves! The ones I wear FOR WARMTH.

We were told to go in pairs or off on our own and I was like “I choose off on my own byeeee” and it was very peaceful and calming to zone out and pick up trash for an hour or so. I’d reccommend it.

There were a lot of empty alcohol bottles. Like an insane amount. I think I also came across some road kill that was in an advanced state of decay.

Cool.

But as I picked up trash I could see the street start to look better right before my eyes! I’m not making this up. It seemed really great. There’s a lot of trash around the town and it would be great if we could clean more of it up.

It’s as simple as that.

Before I went to the cleanup I was thinking about whether it would make me more sensitive to seeing trash around. Like if I didn’t notice trash before, would I notice it more now?

And for the last 48 hours…yes. I have been noticing trash WAY more. THERE IS SO MUCH TRASH OUT THERE.

My own street on The Hill is a huge trash fest. There is a local man that walks up and down the street with a grocery cart and he picks up some of the bigger trash and carts it away but street cleanup isn’t a one man job! It’s not a one SHAN job either, I think we should get a crew over here. And maybe we will someday!

In the meantime there are other community cleanups happening soon in our Jersey City community!:

You can sign up via their Google doc.

Go pick up some trash, it feels great and it’s great for the town and the land and the other folks that live here, too.

Woo!

snowfolx roundup.

I’m here today to present to you a snowman roundup. Maybe I should say a snow PERSON roundup? Or snow FOLX? I’m gonna go with snowfolx, that sounds fun. This is a snowfolx roundup, you’re welcome.

Watching over the Citibike rack by Van Vorst Park.

It has snowed a metric shit ton this winter but according to the forecast there won’t be snow for the next week AT LEAST so I think that calls for some reflection. Hopefully the snow currently on the ground will melt quickly and the snowfolx will soon be a distant memory.

My favorite pic of snowfolx taken by me.

But what a fun memory they are! I hate winter and snow but I actually do really enjoy snowfolx. Whenever I walk by one on the street or in the park it truly makes me smile. I think because snow disgusts me so intensely, it’s a nice feeling to see that someone has done something creative and even ARTISTIC with it.

Abstract and colorful snowfolk on a stoop in downtown JC.

Like, “snow is here and it sucks and is terrible but let’s USE IT TO MAKE ART,” is truly a brilliant and life changing idea.

Lost an eye. 😬

Snowfolx for pres.

Or probably more accurately, people who build snowfolx for pres.

TINY BABY SNOWFOLK ON FROZEN POND AND THEREFORE THIN ICE!

Snowfolx are most likely all built by children, but I know there are some adult-imagined snowfolx out there. If I didn’t hate snow so much I would make some!

Classic three balled snowfolk in Van Vorst Park.

But I hate snow and want it to die and don’t want to spend any time with it unless I’m skiiing and even then it’s a tenuous relaish.

ADORABLE MINIATURE MAILBOX SNOWFOLK.

So it’s just cool to see these snowfolx around the town and I wanted to give them some recognition and appreciation and show them my support. Winter is tough and hard and sad and stupid but snowfolx give me something to giggle about and be grateful for and I appreciate that.

A dog peed on this snowfolk in Lincoln Park. 😬

THX SNOWFOLX XOXO.

tia planta kiosk in mcginley sq.

On Saturday I forced myself to get up off the couch and go to the Tia Planta kiosk in McGinley Sq. And I’m glad I did! Or I would have missed out. On the PLANTS.

I’ve been wanting to go for a couple of weeks to check it out and I was pumped to finally get over there.

McGinley Sq is shaping up to become my favorite square and I can’t control my excitement any longer. Maybe that’s hyperbole but I do like cool places I can walk to in less than 15 minutes and not have to take the light rail.

And the Tia Planta kiosk is one of those cool places!

First of all, the actual building is really cool. It’s old, it’s HISTORICAL. It’s from another time when they built sturdy kiosks out of sturdy materials. Therefore it still stands.

But now with plants!

Per social distancing rules, only one customer can go in at a time. So it feels really special, like waiting in line to ride a roller coaster.

It felt so nice to step into a warm green space on a cold and windy day. I guess it wasn’t super warm but it was warmer than outside, and that meant a lot.

Once inside this happy little urban jungle, you can consult with Tia Planta herself (her name is Shayla) on what plant would be best for you. She has so much information and she is ready and excited to share it! I feel like I learned a ton just in the 5 minutes or so I was in there.

I was looking for a plant that would be okay in medium/low light because my apartment is filled with THINGS and I needed an additional THING to put in an empty medium/low light spot. This was actually the spot where we displayed our mini Xmas tree and it felt sad and empty with it gone. So we needed a plant!

After some discussion we arrived at the Alocasia Amazonica. Also known as Alocasia “Polly” and there is a parrot on its little plant tag and that is obviously adorable.

She mentioned that it can be a bit of a diva and I thought that might be a fun challenge for my boyfriend because he enjoys plant dad-ing and bragging about how he’s the best at plants in this family. Have fun with the diva, boyfriend!

She’s a very pretty plant! Still thinking of a name for her. Any ideas?!

I also was given a separate clipping/baby plant and instructed to put it in water until it gets a little bigger and then put it in a pot. So I went home with two plants! Hooray!

During this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, I have been trying to find more things that can make me happy inside my own house. And plants are one of those things! I’ve had bad luck with plants in the past…but I will keep trying.

Go check out Tia Planta’s kiosk at 722 Montgomery St. if you like plants. Or if you like kiosks. The kiosk is very cool. BUT ALSO THE PLANTS!

notable animal residents of jersey city: red-tailed hawks of lincoln park.

The red-tailed hawks of Lincoln Park on the West Side are most certainly notable animal residents of Jersey City. I mean come ON.

Without even bringing up the fact that Lincoln Park is a full-on urban ecological TREASURE, although I just brought it up, the hawks are truly a sight to see and I’m so glad they call Lincoln Park home.

From my personal in the field research I would deduce that there are 4 of them, but I’ll look that up when I’m done writing this and post what I find, at the end. JUST SO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT INFO.

I’d also like to get this out of the way – I don’t have any good pics of them. I have one video that’s okay and a few videos that are very silly But I don’t have a great camera or even any camera skills to go with the camera I have so my bird photographs of actual wild birds living their lives are terrible.

Their noble visages are seared into my heart and mind because I love them very much but I have no concrete evidence of our relationship.

And I’m sorry. You can find a cool video of them earlier this year from Wild Jersey City here.

Also how about you go to the park and see if you can find them.

As we’ve learned before, red-tailed hawks are around! They are friends of urban life. Lovers of urban life. They ARE urban life.

They like to hang out in tall trees by open fields so they can scope out the area for pigeons, squirrels, mice, and teacup Yorkshire terriers to eat. I’m not joking about that. Yorkies HAVE been eaten by red-tailed hawks. And probably other types of hawks. My mom’s chickens would probably eat one if they could.

HOLD ON TO YOUR YORKIES.

Birds are dinosaurs and the sooner you accept it the better.

The red-tailed hawks in Lincoln Park are so cool to me because if you go to certain spots at a certain time you will almost CERTAINLY see them. And I love seeing them! It makes my day. Now that there are no leaves on the trees it’s even easier to see them, you just have to know where to look and then look there.

Where should you look? In tall trees, I already said. They hang out up there and watch you. They can see your face from up there. I swear it! They’re judging you.

JK they’re cheering for you. At least I feel like they’re cheering for me when I run on the track and I’m almost dead and then one flies over me like, “helloooooooo thereeee shannnn” and inspires me to run even faster. Hawks are inspiring! Sometimes they even do their loud ass screech as they fly over, which is the perfect hawk/large scary bird sound as heard in film and TV.

One day when I was running some little children were also running around as their mom did laps around the track and I yelled, “look at the hawk!” to them and I think they were scared of strangers or maybe just haters of cool stuff because they ignored me. I don’t really know.

I also don’t really know much about the red-tailed hawks in Lincoln Park, just that I admire them and wanted to talk about them here. It makes me glad to see something “wild” almost daily and it makes me even more glad that they are walking distance from my home, hanging out in my park.

They’re my friends. That’s all. Deal with it.

I looked up how many there are to get confirmation and I couldn’t find anything so the mystery remains for now.

Deal with that, too.

<hawk screech that fades into the distance bye>

flat rock brook birds of prey presentation.

This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.

IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE.

I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.

It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.

JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.

As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.

When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.

They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!

After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.

I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.

They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.

It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!

tilly – eastern screech-owl.

Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.

Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.

During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.

But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.

Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.

Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.

titus – american kestrel.

Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.

Sorry I couldn’t get a good pic of Titus but he was a lovely bird.

Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!

I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.

Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.

jones – red tailed hawk.

Jones! Hello! I love you!

Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.

I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!

But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.

Sure!

Loving. It.

Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!

Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.

josephine – great horned owl.

Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.

So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.

But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.

They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.

I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.

And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.

I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.

MAYBE I’LL SEE YOU THERE.

fall weekend upstate.

This past weekend I went “upstate” to West Kill, NY to peep leaves and do other upstate shit and it was everything I’ve ever wanted from a fall weekend upstate.

“Upstate” is kind of like a “scene” and it’s fine because I’m totally into a “scene.” But I would say it seems like more of a “scene” now that everyone has escaped from Manhattan/Brooklyn and turned it into Manhattan/Brooklyn 2.0. But that’s okay! It’s Manhattan/Brooklyn with leaf peeping! And hiking! And the possibility that you might see a bear! The possibility is really real, I swear!

And who knows, maybe it’s been like that forever. I only went upstate for the first time 2 years ago.

I’m no expert. But they did go there in Dirty Dancing (there are a ton of books I now need to read at that link) and in Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. So I guess it’s been a scene for a while.

Anyway, here’s my fall weekend upstate.

the outfits.

I’d like to start with the outfits. I didn’t get a lot of pics but many people I saw had some really great outfits. They ranged from like a “hiking chic” look to a “unnecessary hat” look to a “canoes on my boyfriend cardigan” look and everything in between. I greatly enjoyed outfit-watching.

I did my best to not be a creep so I didn’t get many pictures. But as you may know it’s very hard for me to NOT be a creep so I did get some.

Look at this couple! They were perfect! I mean it’s mostly the guy with his cloud sweater and matching pants and sunglasses, but the gal also gave it her all. They looked awesome when they were standing and walking together. Just reigning over the outdoor dining area at Phoenicia Diner.

Another fun spotting at Phoenicia Diner was this gal in the canoes on her boyfriend cardigan. You may have thought that was a joke when I said it up there but it was REAL. AND IT WAS AMAZING.

I didn’t get pics of any other outfits except my own, but just know that there was plaid and army green and hats and beanies and boots and sweaters and it was all a very cozy fall catalog vibe.

Here I am in my own unnecessary hat.

And again in the unnecessary hat but WITH PLAID.

I think it’s fair to say that the proper outfits are COMPULSORY for a fall weekend upstate.

the cabin.

My pal married into owning a cabin in West Kill and it’s freakin badass.

The cabin is in the middle of nowhere, kind of up a mountain, and that’s exactly where I wanted to be. It is quiet, quiet, QUIET and you don’t have to listen to anyone’s shit. You can’t even hear a car. At this point in the year the bugs are even quiet. And because it takes so long for the sun to come out the birds seem lazy and therefore quieter in the morning. It was peaceful AF.

I JUST WANTED SOME PEACE AND I GOT IT.

Their cabin is really super adorable and cozy. They decorated it like real experts and the record collection is off the chain. When my other friend and I pulled up on Friday night it was around 8pm and all of the lights were on outside and it just looked so perfect and welcoming. I couldn’t get over it.

It was really, REALLY nice to wake up in the morning and sit outside in an Adirondack chair and drink coffee and think about nothing. I really wanted to see a bear but I only saw a bluejay. But it was a lovely bluejay!

The bed I slept in was very comfortable and the house was warm but not TOO warm and I slept with the window open for fresh air. It was really the perfect scenario. I think “fresh air” was my number one wish for this fall weekend upstate.

That’s my airbnb review, you heard it here first.

the food.

So the food was a big part of this trip. It always is, for me. Food is very important. Especially recently because there is nothing else to live for and I’ve gained 20lbs. I don’t really know what else to tell you about that. It sucks that none of my favorite clothes fit but it’s also been delicious.

When we first arrived my friend had made us a CHEESE PLATE. It’s like, SHE ALLOWED US TO STAY AT HER HOUSE, and she ALSO made us a cheese plate! Can you believe our luck?!

Ugh it was so good.

After the cheese plate we did some grilling! By “we” I mean “she” did the grilling and I ate it. I don’t know how to grill, are you nuts?

The next morning, my other pal made us eggs for breakfast. Best eggs I ever had. I felt a little bad because she’s a mom and she kinda went all-in on mom mode and was like, “I’ll make us all eggs!” And I was like, “Well I’ll def eat them…and I probably can’t help much because I’d get in the way, so I’ll just sit in this Adirondack chair and drink coffee.” And I felt like a child or a dad, not doing shit. But the eggs were edible and incredible and I don’t regret a thing.

Next up we went to a farm market which will be explored in another section. But when we got there a lady at one of the stands was like, “Free Bread Alone bread!” And since it was free I took some. It ended up being really good! We had it with a cheese plate later that day.

As far as food goes our next stop was Mama’s Boy Burgers in Tannersville. I got a grilled cheese and butternut squash fries. I had never had butternut squash fries but it seems like such a great and obvious idea! Especially for the fall. They had a bit of a sweet seasoning on them, like cinnamon, that paired well with the chipotle mayo dipping sauce I got.

Mama’s Boy ALSO had a TON of ice cream and I was obviously into it.

I got chocolate peanut butter soft serve, their special of the day, with Reese’s Puffs on top. I haven’t had Reese’s Puffs since middle school and it was a happy reunion.

On Saturday night we went to Urban Cowboy, which is a “scene” all its own, and we had Roberta’s pizza. Roberta’s is 200% worth the trip to Bushwick and it was also worth the trip to Big Indian, NY because that shit is INCREDIBLE. We got a Bee Sting, my personal fav because you can never go wrong with sopressata and hot honey, and a White Guy to mix it up a little.

The free Bread Alone bread returned to our collective consciousness back at the cabin when we put together ANOTHER cheese plate with some cheese from the Farmer’s Market. Cheese plates are so important, you guys.

Our original plan involved making ‘smores outside but it was very cold and also a lot of effort to build a fire. So we (by “we” I mean my two pals because I’m terrified of fire) made a nice fire in the woodstove. I think that’s what it’s called. A stove-like box made of metal and you put wood in it.

I was fully committed to the ‘smores because I have a serious problem with sugar addiction so then I made ‘smores in the stove thing.

THEY WERE DELICOUS.

The next morning my mom pal was back with more eggs to serve me again and I am forever grateful.

On the way home we went to Phoenicia Diner and since it’s a diner I had to get a tuna melt and fries. Like come on.

I liked the way this place was set up, you ordered from an Airstream trailer and then sat down and a lady called your name when the food was ready.

I think that maybe pre-COVID there wasn’t any outdoor dining and you probably had to wait in line for a while at this place to get a table at that time of day, 11:30am on a Sunday when everyone is heading home the same way.

But it’s not the case now because people eat their food pretty quick and leave because they’re cold.

SILVER LININGS OR WHATEVER.

the drinks.

It’s fall. It’s the weekend. It’s a fall weekend upstate and you should probably have a few drinks. Okay well, I drank a ton, as I considered this to be a vacation weekend in addition to a fall weekend.

It was!

First drink was in the Bronx. I was in the Bronx because I was meeting my friend up there to get on the road as she was coming from Long Island and I was coming from Jersey City. I took the green train (4,5,6) to Mt. Eden station. I have no idea what part of the Bronx that is and still have no idea. My Bronx knowledge is limited.

I exited the subway platform and found the first bar/lounge/whatever I could find. I sat down. I ordered a mango mojito. OMG I could not wait for this mango mojito.

The waiter brought the mojito. I sipped it. IT WAS VERY SALTY. In my mind I thought it was SUPPOSED to be salty for some reason? Sometimes on the street in NYC I see ladies selling mangoes with like, chili powder on them? I think that’s what it is. So I tried my best to think that the mojito was along those lines. I took a few more sips and then the waiter came out and was like, “LOLOL sorry I used salt instead of sugar!” and took it inside.

I was fully ready to drink an entire salty mojito and not even complain because I wanted to be respectful and I need you to know that.

That evening with the cheese plate we had rose and also this delicious beer I only just discovered there in their fridge, Zero Gravity Green State Lager.

The next morning as we prepared for a hike we packed another of these beers at my host pal’s suggestion. “It’s fun to crush a beer after a hike!” (I’m paraphrasing but I did indeed “crush” said beer after the hike).

Saturday afternoon we went to West Kill Brewery and that’s getting its own section so please read on.

Saturday evening at Urban Cowboy, scene of a scene, I of course had a cocktail but I forget what was in it. The bar it was served from was very intricate and beautitful and I felt not worthy of it.

Last memorable drink was the adult milkshake I got a Phoenicia Diner. OMG it was so incredibly good. It was called Sugar Shake Shack and I don’t know what was in it so you’ll have to go there to find out.

the farm market.

Saturday morning was rainy but we still felt drawn to the Lexington Farmers’ Market. It was the last one of the season! It couldn’t be missed! I’m not even being sarcastic, my friend did have to stock their freezer for the winter with $100 worth of meat. It was an impressive undertaking.

As I mentioned we got the free bread here.

I also got some Xmas gifts DO NOT TELL. But I may have gotten them from Arc Ceramics and all of their stuff was really beautiful so it was hard to choose! They also had a sale on a bunch of stuff so that made it easier. To choose.

There were a number of farms there and I got some cheese and chapstick from Heather Ridge Farm.

Mushrooms are proven freaks and creep me out but if you DO like mushrooms they had many different kinds available as seen below. I think if you like them this is a pretty cool situation so I’ll let you have that for now.

We got some coffee cake here too but it wasn’t our favorite. We’re sorry.

Great farmers’ market overall. Keep up the good work. I guess not until next year when you open again. Keep it up either way.

the hike.

We hiked to Kaaterskill Falls and holy hell this hike was insane. “A hike” is a defining component of a fall weekend upstate and of upstate life in general. Everyone be hiking.

At first we tried to park right by the top of the falls and there was a line of cars waiting for other cars to leave the lot and a guy down the street charging $20 to park at his house. This really rubbed me the wrong way, the $20 guy.

Either way there was no way in hell we wanted any part of waiting for hours or paying $20 so we found a different (free) parking lot and entrance at the Kaaterskill Rail Trail.

The hike started tame enough as it was simply along on old rail trail. Hence the name, the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. It was flat and simple but there were a lot of roots/old railroad woods and I kept tripping. Eventually I got my shit together and luckily I did because WTF THIS TRAIL GOES TO THE TOP OF A WATERFALL THAT IS HUGE.

As with most waterfalls you can hear Kaaterskill Falls before you see it.

Once you can kind of see it through the trees, there appears before you a viewing platform that at this point in history you must wait in line to stand on. We joined the line and waited.

During this wait I left the line to walk on the edge under the platform and get a look at the falls from there. I easily could have fallen to my death. This place is terrifying.

During the wait we came across an informational sign and it said there used to be a hotel at the top of the waterfall. WHAT KIND OF INSANE IDEA IS THAT?! It’s not there anymore but allegedly some of the foundation remains. The idea that there was a hotel here chills me to the bone.

What was even MORE chilling was the fact that once we got our chance for a photo op on the platform, and timed ourselves for the 45 seconds that we thought were acceptable according to an unspoken social contract, we headed up a small hill where you could JUST WALK OUT TO THE TOP OF THE WATERFALL. You could walk down some rocks, and you could STAND RIGHT ON THE EDGE.

The full drop to your death is right where the water is flowing in the lower left corner.

WHY WAS THIS ALLOWED?!

The whole time I was feeling weird and like I was tempting fate but I was also really enjoying the leaf peeping from this height so I went along with it. There were a TON of people, most of them the youth, inching ever closer to the edge for the perfect photo. I attempted to talk myself out of feeling weird and tell myself that it had to be fine, since we were allowed to be here and it wasn’t restricted in any way.

Turns out we were NOT allowed to be there and on the way out we climbed over a little part of a fence surrounding the area that had been knocked down. OMG ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS TOP OF WATERFALL ACTIVITY. Before the hike we had discussed how people have died there (omg watch the drone vids at that link, terrifying). And I was like, “Psh how do people even die there?” BUT I GUESS THIS IS HOW PEOPLE EVEN DIE THERE.

I CRUSHED my packed beer very soon after.

the beer.

Speaking of beer, West Kill Brewing is amazing and deserves its own section.

Also I just realized I can embed Instagram posts and I may have overdosed on it. For example look at this brewery cat! I saw him there but he was working so I didn’t want to bother him. But he’s truly a beautiful beast.

Omg wait, HE has an Instagram I MUST follow him.

West Kill Brewery is seemingly in the middle of the woods, like everything upstate. The brewery building is up on a hill and in front of it is a clearing. People park in the clearing BUT ALSO since it is COVID time everyone was kind of hanging out outside lounging around on the hill/clearing. It was great! They had a food tent too but we already ate.

Additionally they had some really fun merch that was IRRESISTIBLE. We all got beer coozies and two of us got a really cute long sleeve shirt that I wore constantly for the following 2 days.

As far as the beer, it was good! I’m going to go ahead and admit that for me beer is beer. Like, it’s fine. I got this Buck Fever lager pictured above and below. I’ve been a strictly Pilsner drinker lately but the Pilsner ran out. WERE THEY MESSING WITH ME?! Maybe. But the lager was fine and I really liked the art on the can. All of the cans had good art!

It was a super cool place to hang out. There were a ton of dogs and even some small children on the run. We couldn’t figure out who they belonged to but also we didn’t really care. Let ’em run, I guess. Some were even climbing trees! I don’t know, it was kind of weird. Not the brewery’s fault though.

They had an outdoor fire pit that was VERY NICE to sit next to and we all really enjoyed smelling like fire the rest of the day. Not sarcasm, WE LOVED IT. You could also see into a kind of valley and PEEP THEM LEAVES.

Loving the parking lot.

I wanted to stay longer but we had things to do.

the night time.

After the brewery we headed back to the cabin to change into night time outfits.

I was probably the only one concerned about a “night time outfit” but my friends kindly indulged me and that’s why they’re my friends.

After a glass or two of rose at home, we headed over to Urban Cowboy.

Urban Cowboy is the kind of place that I’m surprised they even let me in. It’s just so lovely and beautifully decorated and perfect. How does a place look this great?! I don’t know how they do it.

But like, look at this bar. WITH TREES GROWING NEXT TO IT. THE BEAUTY IS MIND BLOWING. I CANNOT.

We got some delish cocktails and went out and sat by the fire. My one pal is pregnant though and asked about a mocktail and was met with some…I don’t want to say disdain but it wasn’t the most encouraging response. Maybe I’m just used to the mocktail scene in Jersey City because they love making some mocktails, even with CBD! I don’t know if pregnant people can consume CBD but it’d be a lot cooler if they did. I was momentarily annoyed by the bartender’s seeming mocktail aversion/disregard but now I forget what even happened. I hope she got the mocktail. Maybe she got a lemonade or something? Unfortunately I forget because I was too busy looking at this taxidermy bear with a hat on that I really regret not getting a picture of.

Outside by the fire we lounged and drank drinks and it was lovely and quiet. Until some random guy started talking to us. I think he had also been drinking some drinks, likely a considerable amount of drinks as he was also on vacation so like why not. I don’t remember what he said but I do remember that we were like <eye roll>. Eventually he and his gf headed off to dinner and we were left with another odd couple. I actually think they were probably fine I just don’t like strangers.

We headed inside to get some Roberta’s pizza before it closed for the night and it was INCREDIBLE. I haven’t had Roberta’s for a while! It hasn’t really been feasible to travel to Bushwick, and the Mad Sq Eats food event outside my work where I usually get it has also not been happening this year. BECAUSE COVID. So it was great to really relish and enjoy a Bee Sting. Because it is everything I love about the world of pizza.

They also had a ton of merch at this place and I lost my mind and got this bracelet.

So that’s it! That’s the trip! Although the trip was the time of my life it took me days to write this blog post so good riddance. I don’t know why my brain doesn’t work anymore. I blame COVID for that too.

Do you ever enjoy a fall weekend upstate? Do you even like to go upstate? Where do you go? Where do you stay? What do you like most about it? What do you like least about it?

K see ya there on the scene.

harvest moon.

Last night I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t know why. I was like, half awake and something was bugging me, preventing me from sleeping.

I realized today it was the harvest moon, streaming in the window! Well, it was the ALMOST harvest moon because the actual harvest moon is happening tonight.

The harvest moon is always exciting because it’s a “fall thing” like pumpkin spice and Halloween and dancing naked around a fire in the woods with all of your best witch friends.

The harvest moon is just a full moon in the fall. That’s it. It’s a Farmer’s Almanac thing, which always impresses me because they made that shit up years ago before they even really knew about science. They definitely didn’t have the internet or even computers so I’m still not sure how they did it. I’m afraid to find out because it probably involved stupid math.

This particular moon is so incredibly full and bright that farmers can harvest their harvest by moonlight. Because we all know how long it takes to harvest a harvest and frankly there aren’t enough hours of daylight. Personally I’m exhausted from all of the harvesting I’ve already done today.

And because the harvest moon kept me awake last night.

I love animals and nature and shit and I’d like to say I know all about the moon but I actually know nothing about the moon. Any time a moon thing happens I have to look it up. I leave it to the moon professionals. It’s one of those things where there are too many specific facts to remember and I have no pneumonic device to grasp for so it just falls out of my brain. I DO remember the meaning of the harvest moon and “blue moon” though. AND THEY ARE PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT MOON THINGS.

But I also don’t really have the authority to decide which moons things are most important because I don’t know anything about moon things.

Sorry I guess.

There was a time in my early 20s when the Neil Young song “Harvest Moon” would make me cry any time I heard it. I’m still not sure why. I think it felt nostalgic to me in some way, and it made me feel like I wanted to go back to the way something once was but I had moved too far into the future to ever go back. But as you may know the “things that once were” only become positive in your mind as you move away from them through time, and shit actually sucked back then.

That’s maybe too much thought to put into a song but here’s a remix I enjoy IMMENSELY, not for crying or even really thinking about at all, but for CELEBRATING.

Celebrating the harvest. Or whatever.

And the harvest moon.

Harvest moon happens tonight. Look up in the sky NOW. If you’re lazy or it’s cloudy, you’ll have the next day or two to get a peek. Mars is also hanging out next to it this year, looking for attention. JK sorry Mars I know you’re just living your life <sunglasses emoji>.

I just went outside to see it and I couldn’t see anything so…no pics. There was a pretty sunset though.

sunflower szn.

These are just some pictures I took of sunflowers.

Sunflowers make me happy because they look like they’re smiling and I really appreciate that about them and relate to it, most days.

They just have a big round smiling face and you can’t help but stare into it happily.

Part of what is so great about them is their versatilty.

They can grow in the middle of urban areas, often like the proverbial rose from concrete.

Or they can grow in the country, in someone’s yard or on the perimeter of a corn field.

THEY CAN DO IT ALL.

LIKE HANNAH MONTANA THEY ARE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.

The time of year that sunflowers come out is indisputably the most beautiful and comfortable to be outside time of year in the Northeast. Don’t even try to contest that because I’m not even listening.

It’s kind of “harvest time” but a little bit BEFORE “harvest time” so sunflowers are a nice “pre-harvest time” treat. Sunflower season is technically still summer in the garden state but it’s the END of summer so everything that has been soaking up the sun all summer long is ABOUT TO BURST WITH LIFE.

And then just as quickly die.

BUT FOR NOW IT IS ALIVE SO LET’S LIVE IT UP Y’ALL.

Also it’s almost October at this point so maybe I’m a little late on this. Sorry.