Peter Javsicas

He was an old friend and a fellow runner in college. He was a terrific distance runner and was known for an amazing finishing kick after a two mile race. We lost touch for years although in the last few years, we occasionally connected through Facebook.

He was killed by a runaway van a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. His son posted an amazing obituary on Facebook which is below.

Peter Javsicas RIP

A Letter from Far Away

Below is a letter from one of our readers, maybe our farthest away, who left Bethlehem Connecticut about 10 years ago. He is a master carpenter, a close friend who pulled up stakes, sold his house and some land on the Cape, and bought 16 acres on the big island of Hawaii. It sounds like paradise but the idea of leaving family and friends and starting from scratch while daunting, is an American dream, little different from those who crossed the prairie 150 years ago.

“Aloha Peter,
Time does have a way of getting away from us.  I just turned 68 and can’t believe we have been here 9 years already. So much has happened I am not sure quite where to begin.  First of all, I want to thank you for your newsletter.  Though we are far away and I am still curious about NY/ New England and enjoy the history you present.
I am sitting here on our lanai enjoying a cup of own coffee eating a fresh papaya looking out over the ocean and it is 71 degrees.  Sounds ideal doesn’t it.  In so many ways it is, no heating or air conditioning, incredible fresh air, views of whales breaching, the sky so amazing with it’s display of clouds and colors.  A night sky with the Milky Way  , satellites and often viewing the ISS.  From our home in CT with just a tiny hole in the tree canopy above house,  to this Big Sky country, it is awesome.
We love the people here,  such a mix of races and nationalities with a good dash of Aloha spirit.  We know twenty times more people here now then we did in the thirty years of living in Bethlehem.  So many of us are transplants with families on the mainland that we have connected here in many different social circles.  One curious note is that many are pilots, retired or active, who have traveled the world and finally “landed” here.
The bad or tough news is that 16 acres here is not the same as 16 acres in Clove Valley.  It is a lot of work.  It is a constant battle to grow the things you want and keep back the things you don’t.  Even chickens,  we have a bunch that is s free range ( with a rooster named Grandma, a story in it’s self ) and a five in a coop.  I am fighting mongoose everyday to keep them out of the coop.  Those hens don’t have any street smarts and wouldn’t last a day if I let them out. We have 3 acres around the house that is fenced in to keep the feral pigs out and the dogs in.  We have a small orchard of various tropical fruits, a pineapple patch and of course, coffee trees.  This acreage has to be mowed all year round.   If we let it grow it, the grass would be 7-8 feet tall.  The other 13 acres is pasture and we broke down and bought cattle.  Just five to start, two heifers and three steers.  They are slowly making a dent in the tall grasses.  The first few weeks we couldn’t even see them.  I did train them to come to my whistle so we know they are still in the pasture. ( I had to learn how to whistle all over again. )
I had just the one colony of bees that I lost to the Small Hive beetle.  The honey was  so good !  I hated to run out it.  Even some life long bee keepers here have given up.  Just to frustrating trying to fight the pests.  There are pockets of successful beekeeping.  I might try again once I have a better understanding on how to cope with the pests. For a couple of years we didn’t see any bees on the coffee trees and now we are starting to see more.”

A Most Amazing Call

I received a call from a neighbor who had heard recently a podcast about the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The recording was made by the BBC in 1960 and featured America’s entry in the War in 1918. Among those who were interviewed was my father who was wounded twice in the First War and also fought in the Pacific in the Second World War.

None of the family recalled that he had made the broadcast and of course we were amazed and deeply moved to hear his voice describing the battle of Chateau Thierry and Belleau Wood. He was wounded twice in that war. My father died in 1978 on Memorial weekend before he could spend the Holiday in Clove Valley.

Postcard at the top of Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing (Centre – R), the US Army General who led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, being welcomed in Boulogne, northern France, by French General Peltier .

Click on the below link to hear the story.

BBC 1960


Old Story Worth Retelling

A good definition of optimism:

“The medieval fable of the criminal hauled before the king to plead for his life and successfully does so by promising if the king spared his life for a year, he could teach the king’s horse to sing.

When the criminal got back to his cell, his cellmate scoffed at him: you could never teach his horse to sing if you had a lifetime. And the man said ‘No matter. I have a year now I didn’t have before. And a lot of things can happen in a year. The king might die. The horse might die. I might die. And who knows? Maybe the horse will sing.’ “

Spring Update From Clove Valley

It looks like we will have the biggest apple and peach crop in memory. The trees are loaded. Now here’s something strange. We lost both bee colonies and in spite of virtually no honey bees the trees somehow got pollinated and look very strong. There was a lot of Spring rain but no very cold weather and when the blossoms were out there were some very windy days. I suspect that had something to do with it.

The bees died in spite of having a lot of over winter honey and in fact there is still quite a bit of honey in the frames. I am getting new bees this week so will start again but after almost 40 years of beekeeping I may pack it in if these bees dont make it next winter.

It don’t think it is colony collapse as that seems to affect the migratory bees. It is probably varroa mites which this past year were very invasive and the drought may have weakened the bees. Anyway if I get honey this year I will bring it over to Dover Plains and have another beekeeper extract it, too much work and too much mess.

apples spring 2017

peaches 2017

A Real Rhubarb

I think it was Red Barber who invented the expression “rhubarb” for a real baseball donneybrook. The boys of Summer would be proud of this dustup. Jacques Barzun said:

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game — and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams.

I’m going back soon to watch a Hudson Valley Renegades game over in Fishkill. Feel free to join me.

Stand Back Here Comes Inflation

lobster prices.jpg

We were planning to go to the rocky coast of Maine this summer but the below article has us rethinking our plans.

On the other hand the below comment is from my nephew a professor at the University of Maine:

“This article is *such* garbage. The lobster shack they interview – Red’s in Wiscassett – is the biggest tourist trap in the state.  They’re starting the season with $26 lobster rolls because they can!  Up here, eating at McLaughlin’s by the big oil tanks, a roll won’t cross $10 this summer (I don’t think).  Nobody would go if they charged $20.  But I bet they’re near $30 down in Acadia/Bar Harbor.  Sheesh.”

I kind of like the idea of eating near the oil tanks.

Huevos Rancheros

Reno Nevada breakfast a few weeks ago. I can still taste it. Buddy Hackett said the fire went out in his chest when he joined the Army because he no longer had to eat his mother’s cooking. Today I can tell that the huevos rancheros is still my not too silent traveling partner.

Black bean puree, corn tortilla, 2 eggs over medium, ranchero sauce, pico de gallo, cheddar, avocado.

huevos rancheros