Monday, July 27, 2009

Natalie Live and Local

Did you catch Natalie Merchant at the Spiegeltent last night? On Saturday night, she decided to perform new material from her forthcoming album, and with some scurrying, a piano and an appreciative audience gathered Sunday night. Intimate, casual and an utter delight.

She is a singer-songwriter in her bones and has been writing songs continually since her last release about five years ago. With her lovely little girl off to kindergarten last fall, she turned her full attention (almost full) to creating her new album. As she said last night, many of her collaborators have been dead over 100 years. With a cultural anthropologist's eye, she has unearthed children's poetry (some familiar and some wholely new to us) and set it to music. Collaboration with the living rounds out the project. It's a musically diverse recording with a New Orleans jazz band and a full orchestra appearing.

But, last night was just Natalie, a piano, a little red notebook of music she compiled in the wee hours the night before, and a pen. She sang, played, joked, and made notes in the margins as she worked through the material. It was as much a song-writer's workshop as a performance, and aren't we lucky to have been there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

6th Annual Tivoli Pie Contest

The judges of Saturday's 6th Annual Tivoli Bread & Baking Co. Pie Contest had quite a challenge this year, as usual.

With nearly a dozen pies contending and scores of people patiently milling around with forks, the connoisseurs chose five winning pies.

Tivoli resident Jacquie Goss took top honors with her lattice-topped peach pie. Her prize, a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Mercato in Red Hook (next year, better break out the rolling pin and give it a shot!).

As he has for the past five years, ten-year-old Alex Gonnella judged pies along side his uncle Mikee Gonnella (baker extraordinaire), Gerard Hurley ( filmmaker and pub owner), and past contest winners Mary Crinnin and Mariah. Alex's known predilection for peach may have tipped the panel toward Goss, but there were plenty of prizes to go around.

As has become the habit of the good people of Tivoli, the minute the final winner was announced, the polite circle of pie aficionados closed in on the table and cleaned those pie plates! Sweet end to a sweet day.

The Annual Tivoli Bread & Baking Co. pie contest is held each year on Tivoli Yard Sale Day. A sign up sheet hangs in the bakery in the days leading up to the event. No entry fee. And, it's a local fresh fruit sorta contest. In season is always best. The bakery is at 75 Broadway. 845.757.2253.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yard Sale on Steriods

The 21st Annual Tivoli Yard Sale Day is now just a heap of free stuff at the curb, but if you braved the traffic and the frenzied shoppers in our otherwise peaceful village, you may be in possession of a find or two.

Or, as a friend of the 212 persuasion once observed, you may have hauled home something that will end up for sale on your own lawn next summer.

As usual, Mayor Marc (as we still fondly think of him) was pressing the flesh at the four corners and handing out yard sale maps. The ambitious among us use it to guide their drive-buys.

I made a casual perusal of the highlights on Broadway (on foot and with coffee). My reward? This groovy (late) mid-century lamp table for my living room reno.

AND, "The Magic Music Box" made by the Plastic Injecto Corp. of Union, New Jersey. Includes follow-the-dots sheet music for classics like "Swanee River" and "Comin' Thru the Rye." Only $8. I know. You're jealous.

So... What did you get?

The Annual Tivoli Yard Sale Day is sponsored by the Tivoli Community Association. It is held on the last Saturday of July. To be included on the printed map of Village yard sales, contact the Village Clerk's Office at 845.757.2021. There is a $10 fee for map listings.

Monday, July 20, 2009


For years now I've bought amazing local potatoes and no-spray veggies from Debbie and Darryl Mosher of Brittany Hollow Farm in Red Hook. When we first met at the Rhinebeck Farmers' Market, their three kids were little enough to sit together on the tailgate of their farm truck dangling their feet.

For the last couple of summers, their son Ross, now a really, really big guy, has been planting a pick-your-own flower field just north of the family farm on Route 9.

It's a pretty simple operation, really. As with so many of our local farm stands, the farmers are too damn busy to sit there and collect your money. There's a rusty old metal box with a slot in the top for your 5's and 10's.

Grab some clippers and a bucket, large or larger. Hit the field. Clip away among the bumble bees and butterflies. Teach your three-year-old the names of all the flowers and bugs.

Then contribute to Ross's college fund. Stuff your bills into the slot and drive home with enough beautiful zinnias, coxcomb, cleome and cosmos to fill all the vases you own.

Brittany Hollow Farm is located at 7115 Albany Post Road (Route 9) just south of Holy Cow. Pick-Your-Own morning to dusk. $5 for a six-inch bucket. $10 for an 8-inch bucket. 845-758-3276.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pie Contest!

Biggest event of the summer in the Village of Tivoli. Celebrity judges. Prizes. And an orgy of pie eating when it's all said and done. Bring a fork.

Sign up now at Tivoli Bread & Baking Co. Judging at noon on Saturday, July 25, Yard Sale Day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mark Your Calendars

10:00... who are they kidding! The great stuff is gone by 9:17(and the free stuff lays around for much of the following week).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Edible Gems

Fresh from Ray Tousey's bushes in Clermont, these little jewels are available now at Otto's in Germantown.

Tempted as you might be to string them into a blushing pink necklace, these white currants should be eaten. No need to do a pie or jam. White currants are sweet enough to eat fresh. Or try this little summer dessert. (Leave it to the English to work double cream into just about everything.)

White currants are $3.99 per pint. Otto's Market is at 215 Main Street, Germantown. Open Mon-Sat 7-7, Sun 7-3. Phone 518.537.7200.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I grew up in Maine where blueberry picking is one of the great joys of summer. The blueberries of my youth were teeny-tiny and intensely sweet. We usually picked them along the camp road. In places where they were thick, we were ever mindful of bears (who were likely to be meandering along picking them too).

If you find yourself in Maine this summer, you'll spot wild blueberry pickers selling quarts off their tailgates. Buy as many as you can carry. It's tough work picking those low bush berries, and they are delicate. You'll want to eat them before you cross the New Hampshire line, as they will perish in the heat of the lesser New England states. I mean lower.

But, wait! This blog is about Tivoli. Lucky for us, nearby Greig Farm has rows and rows of beautiful high bush blueberries laden with ripening fruit. No bears. And no bending, squatting or crawling around to fill you pail (unless you just can't resist the urge to pick like a pro).

While I was grazing along picking at eye level, a lovely Jamaican guy was whistling his way down the next row picking for the farm. I hope you get the same relaxing serenade while you tip the darkest berries into your pail... kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.

Blueberries are $2.50 per pound, and $2 for the plastic pail. You want the plastic pail. Red and yellow raspberries are $5 per pound, and seniors get a 10% discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Greig Farm is located at 223 Pitcher Lane in Red Hook. Pick Your Own daily from 8am to 8pm, rain or shine. 845-758-1234.

Wear your sun hat! And watch for blackberries, apples, and pumpkins as the growing season continues.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Uke Joint

Hope you caught the show. The tip jar probably hauled in enough gas money to get that Lincoln to aaahh... Kingston.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jr. Fireman

On a recent rainy day, one of twenty-five, we headed up to Hudson and the FASNY Museum of Firefighting for some indoor diversion. If you have a penchant for chrome, or hooks and ladders, this is the museum for you.

Firetrucks. Firetrucks. Firetrucks. 50,000 square feet of them.

Almost too many to digest on an initial visit.

And, you can climb up into the driver's seat on quite a few of them. In your Jr. Fireman's suit, no less.

There a few other buttons to push and bells to ring, which makes the whole visit more fun than you should have on a rainy day.

Did I mention that I really like chrome?

The Museum of Firefighting is located at 117 Harry Howard Avenue in Hudson. Admission is by donation. Open daily 10 - 5. 877-347-3687.