Blog Archives

A Labor Exchange for the Catskills

Has anyone gotten on board with Catskills Time? It’s a co-op of sorts, in which you offer your services, earn points, and can spend them on services that someone else is offering. These kind of time banks always insist it’s not bartering — I’ll do your taxes, you fix my plumbing — but that’s mostly because you don’t trade directly with another person. You can offer home baked goods, picture framing, errand-running, ditch-digging…whatever it is you can offer in time. Might be a terrific thing for weekenders who would like to swap some services in exchange for having someone check regularly on their home or perform other caretaking dutues!

There’s an orientation potluck on Sunday, January 15th at Stone and Thistle Farm1211 Kelso Road in East Meredith.

Check Out This Sweet, Cheap Greene County Farmhouse

I fell in love with this eighteenth-century farmhouse when I was house hunting last spring, and it looks like it’s still on the market. I vaguely remember it was somewhere around $175,000 then, and the price has tumbled even further, to $159,000. It’s a lot of house for not much money, or at least a lot of bedrooms at a sweet price. There are five upstairs and one down, and the layout is a bit odd throughout: bedrooms opening up onto more bedrooms, a teeny bathroom under the front stairwell, an oddly situated servants’ staircase in the back.

While the upstairs was impracticable for privacy-loving twentieth-first century families, this house seemed like a blast for kids (and not surprisingly, the longtime owners had a bunch).  The tiny rooms, nooks and crannies, and endless wrap-around porch fit all my Anastasia Krupnik childhood fantasies of a creaky, beloved, bohemian old home.

We ended up deciding it was just too much house for us at this point in our lives, and we had reservations about Durham being too far from things to do, especially as we wanted year-round rentals. But I hope this house finds a family who can fill it. What would you do with this one?

Another Fabulous Upstater: Susan Orlean

I love Susan Orlean so much I can’t even be jealous of her bucolic-literati lifestyle. She seems so above trendiness that reading about her Columbia County home in the New York Times made me even prouder to be a part-time Upstater. I get the sense that she’s not a follower of fashion, just a person of good taste.

The article is in promotion of Orlean’s new book, “Animalish,” which is a fine excuse for all of us to salivate over her petting zoo. Her 55 acre property is home to “one dog, three cats, eight chickens, four turkeys, six guinea fowl, one fish and two snow-white ducks.”

If you had the space, what sort of farm animals would you adopt?

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