This is about the Howe family. In 1939, Carolyn Howe got married. One of her wedding presents was a 16mm movie camera. She took pictures of life around her in Falls Village, Connecticut. http://shirson.com/pineplainsvideos/howe/firstshots.mp4 As she became more interested she started experimenting with color and composition. http://shirson.com/pineplainsvideos/howe/improving.mp4 There is no telling where her talents could…Continue reading Howe They Farmed — A Mother’s Memories
After a four year run, the Wild Hive Farm, Store & Café Bakery closed. I made this film on its last night to preserve how its customers celebrated its contribution to the community. I could ramble on about how much this place meant to me, but I think the film shows it. Every meal was…Continue reading Last Night at the Wild Hive
Students enrolled in Mr. Murray’s Military History course are bringing their research and studies of the American Revolution to life. Through historic interpretation and documented analysis, students set out to recreate the life of the common soldier of the American Revolution. As part of Mr. Murray’s living history program, and supported by the Pine Plains…Continue reading Learning History By Living It!
A video medley of Memorial Day in Pine Plains: The church BBQ chicken fund-raiser The Parade (of course) The opening of a new store in town People enjoying each other and the Lake. But it’s really about why we live here and, if you don’t, why you should come for a visit!
Chaseholm Farm held its last “Burger Night” event of the 2015 season. Oh, how I wish there were more! It a great combination of “scrumptious” burgers, the cows, the people and the music by Jim “Cowboy” Wright and his bluegrass band, The Hayrollers, just up the road in Ancramdale by way of Virginia. Well, see for yourself! Pine…Continue reading Burger Night at the Farm
Because it is not your grandfather’s world anymore. It’s theirs! To thrive in their world, they need new skills to cope with changing technology. The challenge is not only learning new technology — anything they learn now will be different in a few short years — it is learning how to change. A challenge for students…Continue reading It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Shop Class!
It finally had to happen! This much-beloved resort where friendships and even families were formed closed down a few years ago. The regulars hoped that somehow it would re-open and they could get their memories back. I hate to be the bearer of bad news…
It’s time to shear the sheep! There are all sorts of signs of Spring, but I’ve picked this one to show on Pine Plains Views: the annual sheep shearing on Black Sheep Hill farm. These American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep are special for many reasons not the least of which is that they decorate Route…Continue reading You Know It’s Spring When…
A whole world converged on Copake, NY, — the world of antique bicycle collectors! Why neighboring Copake which, unlike Pine Plains, does not even have ONE traffic light? Because of the 26th annual Antique Bicycle Auction at Copake Auction. They came from all over the country and Canada and parts of Europe just to buy,…Continue reading Riding High in Copake! The Antique Bicycle Auction
Once the world was flat then it became round. Now it is flat again… The high school cafeteria was filled with the sounds and sights of Chinese in a welcome to the delegation from High School #29 in Nanjing (China).
Pine Plains has a lively history of live theatre — a story in itself. And now, every year, like high schools all over the country, it puts on an annual musical. I could say many things about the value of participating in theatre for kids, parents, and the community at large. But that would take…Continue reading It Takes a Play to Make a Community: Backstage at The Music Man
Once a week for many years Greg McEldowney would come and wind the Town Clock and keep it running. He passed on November 11, 2017. He was a keeper of Pine Plains history. Now he is part of it. This video portrait of Greg was made in 2015. He deserves to be honored. Pine Plains,…Continue reading The Man Who Made Pine Plains Tick
The 2015 Town Board election was very close. Even for a small town like ours, only 3 votes separated the 2nd and 3rd place candidates. Absentee ballots could change the outcome. Curious about the process, Sarah Jones, even though she was in first place by a substantial enough lead that would not be affected by…Continue reading Chads Don’t Hang in Pine Plains
This is Downton Pine Plains, New York. Well, some people might not call it a real downtown, but it’s where our traffic light, bank, pharmacy, and a genuine French restaurant are located. In the background is an abandoned brick building. It was known as Memorial Hall and that’s just about all that was inside it.…Continue reading An Old Building Brings New Life to Pine Plains
Actually, this is not a railroad story. It is about, a grass-roots community organization that runs a railroad. A real one, as you can see for yourself in this film about one of their seasonal theme ride, The Polar Express. Enjoy! You could always Google “Catskill Mountain Railroad”, but here is a shortcut to their…Continue reading It Takes a Community to Run a Railroad
When Wynton Marsalis gave the opening concert for the new Stising Center, he also opened some hearts and minds of the local high school Jazz Band in a Master Class.
Veterans Day, 2015 I can’t really say that it rained on our parade ’cause, well, it didn’t really rain as such and we did not have any kind of parade at all. It drizzled on our ceremony? Explore more of Pine Plains by hopscotching with your mouse on the tiles of Pine Plains Views! Each tile…Continue reading A Day for Honor
I am sure that this goes on all over America in small towns, but I am so thrilled at how our community of Pine Plains celebrates Halloween with its children. No committees or dot orgs. Just those community values of friendship and inclusion where everyone belongs.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?“ If an event happens in the past and is not, in some way, recorded or preserved, has it happened? Is it history? History has to be made. This is the story of how some people…Continue reading Making History
There was a touch of Revolutionary War and black powder smoke right in the middle of Pine Plains the other day as Neil Murray was giving his students of military history some experience of what it was like to be Continental Soldiers. I grabbed a scene with my cell phone and then, so impressed with the…Continue reading Sergeant, Make It Happen!
It’s a yearly tradition that I’ve been going to for years: the 2015 Ag Fair hosted by the Future Farmers of America at the high school in Pine Plains. This year I was hoping to find something a little different to film. But the parade started out as it does every year, with the school band, tractors, politicians, tractors, kids…Continue reading Spinning Squash at the Ag Fair
Master Sergeant (Ret.) David A. Cookingham Jr. August 8, 1971 to May 4, 2015 The official obituary tells only part of the story: PINE PLAINS- David Cookingham Jr., 43, of Broadway, NC and previously of Pine Plains, NY, passed away on May 4, 2015. Born on August 8, 1971 in Sharon, CT, he was the son…Continue reading Soldiers’ Tales
I thought I would do something different this year for the Parade of Lights. Instead of filming the parade itself, I would film Pine Plains FROM the parade.
We don’t often get a chance to see what goes on in the schools because everything is tucked away in brick buildings. When I heard that the high school was going to send some kids out to decorate a couple of stores for Halloween, I thought that this would be a chance to show what…Continue reading The High Schoolers Paint the Town!
Sal passed away in May, 2013, at the age of 77. Although I would run into Sal at one of his jobs in town, either at at Deuel’s hardware or at the vet clinic, I used to look forward to seeking out Sal each year up on the Hill at the Dutchess County Fair where…Continue reading Let’s Remember Sal….
For the second year, Will Carter, of Pine Plains Fine Wines and Spirits, hosted a tasting of South African wines and food to raise money for the Pine Plains Food Pantry. We hope it becomes an annual tradition! Braai, rhymes with “fry” means grill in Afrikaans. Check out this New York Times article about the…Continue reading A Live South African Braai Right in Pine Plains!
And this proves it! I was told that the Fire Department was going to hold a parade. Usually parades are held to honor, remember, or celebrate something. I’m not sure about this one. How about that there were no fires that day? Or that the town has a fire department? That it was a splendid day?…Continue reading Everyone Loves a Parade!
Wheels of Time, the shop of dreams and fond memories. Whether you prefer stories about people over cars or cars over people, you can’t go wrong here! See for yourself! A Pine Plains treasure.
Every year, come Halloween, Jack O’ Lanterns, dozens of them, show up and glow on the bridge at Patchin Mills. This is the story behind them. If you have a good connection, enjoy the show full screen in HD! The music is the Symphonie Fantastique, the fifth movement with the Dies Irae theme, conducted by…Continue reading A Halloween Story: Those Pumpkins on Patchin Mills Bridge
Here in northeast Dutchess County, it was dairy farms and we were the Milk Bottle of New York City. But the dairy farms closed and different animals were brought to graze our pastures — horses. Now we’re Horse Central. And along with the new animals came new people and traditions. And new trades. One of…Continue reading A Farrier? What’s That?
The farmers may be leaving their farms and the farmland, even if preserved, may be left only as viewscape. But a culture and tradition of agriculture remains. Each year the Agriculture Fair, put on by the Future Farmers of America in Pine Plains, grows as an area attraction.
It’s the tradition. Every year, at 3PM the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Pine Plains decorates itself with Christmas Lights. And then, at 5, just when it is dark, Pine Plains becomes the Center of the Universe…. well, at least the Northeastern Dutchess County part of the universe. Neighboring fire companies, ambulance corps, farms, businesses, organizations, they…Continue reading The Parade of Lights 2012
Our own Job Yacubian, from The Farmer’s Wife, changed roles and served up some music the other night at The Lantern in Wassaic and sat in with some of his pals from Martha’s Vineyard, The Rattleslacks, consisting of Shawn Barber, lead, and Josh Campbell and William Thomas Lawrence. Job can usually be found in the…Continue reading The Night They Lit Up The Lantern in Wassaic!
Seems like they had everything! Particularly, a large crowd on a sunny October day at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
A fun way to get some fresh air, some good food, and get to know a local farmer — visit a local farm! Here, at Rocky Reef Farm, the public is welcome to enjoy the bounty of the Hudson Valley. There are many local farms in our area to visit and Pine Plains Views will…Continue reading Picking Pumpkins on a Fall Day
Because it sets itself apart from the ordinary by striving to do things better and living up to its motto: Love Where You Live, it was able to invite its customers in the community to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Every year the Stissing Mountain High School chapter of the Future Farmers of America runs an ag fair. I’ve filmed different parts of it before, but this year I’ve pretty much stuck to the tractor pulls and the barn where kids show cows. Related stories are at a previous Fall Festival Fair coverage and a…Continue reading A Touch of Country: The Fall Fair
A working conversation with Master Bladesmith Joseph Szilaski I heard that there was this guy who lived somewhere in Pine Plains and made knives — great ones — although no one had ever actually seen one. His name seemed too difficult to remember. Not much to go on. As small a town as Pine Plains is, I assumed that I would run into…Continue reading So, Let’s Make a Knife!
It’s great when a community pulls together for a cause. In this case it was pulling pork as a fund-raiser for the local historical society. Two hundred tickets were sold and late-comers had to be turned away. Perhaps some vegetarians had to look away…
Local folks who like to play bluegrass, they have been getting together on Wednesday nights for over 40 years. They never had a name for their group so I just call it The Wednesday Jam. When I came across them they had been playing in Pete and Cindy Howe’s kitchen where I took these videos.
Right here in Pine Plains! A fleet (what do you call a flock of Porsches, anyway?) of all vintages of Porsches as the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Porsche Club of America landed on our own John Corson’s lawn to visit his garage.
Although it is a race course, it really is a park where the public can watch from under the trees and on the hills without the confines of grandstands. They can meet the drivers, crews, all the people who put the cars on the track.
They’re always talking about what we import from China. Well, here’s what we export to back to them. WARNING: Not for the mechanically squeamish!
For those of us in Pine Plains who crave good Chinese food it means hitting the road. But we are fortunate that just up the road is a chef and caterer who will not only bring the food but can show us how to make it. This is an entertaining series about making Chinese dumplings. Another thing you can do in Pine Plains!
What I hope will become a tradition in the future, the Pine Plains Free Library hosted an evening for the community to hear candidates for local offices discuss the issues. It was not a debate and it turned out to be remarkably more civil than social media! In fact, my favorite part of the evening…Continue reading Meet the Candidates Night, 2017
A great introduction to Pine Plains is the Memorial Day Parade. If they’re not actually in it, they’re watching it! This was in 2000. The rest of the world, but not the parade, has changed a lot since. See for yourself as it is in 2011.
Field work — literally — when Vassar College students milked cows, fed turkeys, picked fruit, mucked stalls and wrote ethnographies as part of an anthropology course.
The 4- H Club dairy cow competition was a proud event for Pine Plains at the Dutchess County Fair. Gina Brooks and her brother, Patrick, showed two of her cows, a Brown Swiss and a Holstein, which she has been keeping in Barry Chase’s barn.
I often drove by an old building on the outskirts of Pine Plains and wondered about what it used to be. It was by a mill pond so I naturally assumed it was some kind of abandoned water mill. When I saw some activity going on around it (actually more underneath it) my curiousity got…Continue reading This Old Mill
It’s often referred to as “that old house by the bank parking lot” by people who do not remember the name, Louis Graham/Brush House. I confess that I was, up until I started filming its restoration, one of them.
This is about a dairy farmer, Barry Chase, who is about to sell his herd of milking cows. I visited with him and his wife, Rosey, a few days before their herd leaves.
The first triathalon of Pine Plains. The race itself was the shortest part of the story. It took months of planning, organizing, recruiting and training local residents to be part of something they had never even seen before.
If this looks as if a man is trying to disappear into that hole in the brush, well, that was the whole idea. It leads to where a huge moonshine operation had been hidden since The Prohibition in a warren of underground rooms and tunnels. I’ve heard about this for years and was finally able to take a tour. Come on along.
An old farmhouse was resting on a warped frame that could no longer support it. But this house is not going to be torn down. It will be restored after it is jacked up and moved onto a new foundation. Ever wonder how they jack up a whole house and move it? Well, see for yourself! It’s all revealed in this story.
It was a large red barn right by the side of the road. It was so well-known it was a landmark for directions. Then, on a Tuesday morning, if you were driving down the road you saw this: By the end of the day only rubble remained. By the end of the week what could…Continue reading What IS Community, Anyway?
WARNING: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! We had this tree… well, up until recently it had been 3 trees, a triple crown, but when two of them came down in the field the third one was leaning more and more perilously over our backyard and… We had to call the Wallendas of Pine Plains.
A video visit with Verne Tower, stone-cutter, as he re-creates an elaborate marble stoop for a historic mansion in Hudson, NY. While Verne may be doing wonderful restoration and preservation of historical buildings, he is also preserving skills and technology that are disappearing faster than the buildings he works on.
It’s sad to see any business close, but in a small rural town the only hardware store is a vital necessity.
OK, so you’re wondering what “Sinterklaas” is, right? Well, Google it and you’ll find out that it’s a Dutch Christmas tradition but you need to watch this this video to feel the spirit that the Rhinebeck community has put into the celebration. The Rhinebeck, NY, Sinterklaas Parade is a huge demonstration of community participation yet…Continue reading Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck
They said it would be sold on the court house steps. They were not exaggerating. Just not the front steps, the back ones. Wherever. I just had to see it with my own eyes and that means share it with you. Soooo, if you ever wanted to see what a foreclosure auction of a community…Continue reading On the Steps of the County Court House…
Yes, packing up the Library to move to…. the Library! What’s happening here? Don’t ask me, I haven’t the slightest idea and I don’t think anyone else in Pine Plains does either.
Talk about returning overdue library books… In what we hope will be the resolution of a long and complex story, books are coming out of storage and the library will be moved out of its old temporary home and back to its new home and… I said it was complex and convoluted! But you can…Continue reading The Long Haul Home: The Library Returns!
You know you’re from Pine Plains if you have an opinion about this library situation. And if you are wondering why I am covering this story as it drags on and on, well then, you’re not from Pine Plains, are you?
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