Double Belly-Flop Hill


I love this ride.  You are looking at the start of a long downhill that takes you to the Neversink River, then up the side of the dam of the Neversink Reservoir, and to Grahamsville and beyond.  These roads can take you through and around the watersheds that feed the Catskill Reservoir system, land that is kept pristine for the sake of NYC’s drinking water and where the air is so pure that just breathing is a delight. 

If I want to go long, I can ride up and over mountains with dairy farms and beautiful views, or along trout streams, always keeping an eye out for flocks of turkeys and for the odd deer.  There’s no Grand Concourse or St. Nick’s here — just endless miles of country roads with terrain that will give back everything you put into it — and more.  You can challenge and push yourself without ever having to do a single hill “repeat” since there is a new hill around every corner.~~ Phil


Violets Covering Part of the Front Lawn

They are so beautiful we haven’t be able to bring ourselves to cut the lawn.

But we have to this weekend or we’ll be walking through knee-high grass.

It even covers brick by the stove!

Last year we began our first small  step in renovating green by painting the old paneling and brick veneer in the common areas of the east unit. They hadn’t been touched since they were installed in the last (luxe!) remodel, 50-60 years ago. (Think Betty Draper’s kitchen in “Mad Men”. You’ll see in the “before” pics below.)

We decided to only use paint with no VOCs and really scored when we used AFM Safecoat Transitional Primer from the Green Depot store in Brooklyn. Expensive, but so, so worth it. It securely and thoroughly covered all the old brick veneer in the kitchen and all the old paneling.

PLUS, no stinky, toxic VOCs!

We stuck with no VOCs for the top coat, but saved some money by going with FreshAire paint from Home Depot.

I think it turned out pretty well. See the before and after kitchen and living room pics and you’ll see what I mean.

Fielding his Favorite Ball

This weekend a neighbor gave Otto this ball, which truly is best ball in the world: just the right size, just squishy enough, bounces just right. It’s such a cool ball that Otto can play with it by himself in the yard, throwing it up in the air and catching it, then bouncing it with his nose and chasing it.

More cool pics of Otto below!

Got it

Guarding it

On The Lawn

Cherry Tree in Full Bloom in Sullivan County, NY

Spring is about three weeks behind NYC in the Catskills so this past weekend the trees were still leafing out and were at that beautifully delicate stage where you can still see the black branches of the trees through the baby leaves.

And paradoxically, it was up to 83 F outside, so we kayaked on the lake, squirted the pooch with the hose when he was being naughty and just generally goofed off. A great mini-vacation.

And chilled inside too, since it was about 70 F indoors, thanks to the huge pine trees that shade the house and the new ceiling fans.


Here’s the kitchen last year, before we renovated. Funny how, just like the living room, it photographed way better than it actually looked in person. I think it looks like it has a cute little retro vibe (due to the luxe 50s renovation), but in person it was dark and gloomy.

Before Pic: The Kitchen

And here’s what the kitchen looks like now (2 pics),  after we renovated last year. It’s the Swedish technique: when you’re surrounded by pine trees, make sure it’s light and bright inside.

After Pic 1: The Kitchen

I know, when I took these pics we still needed to put the curtains up. And we can use a few pieces of wall art as well.

After Pic 2: The Kitchen

Here’s what the living room looked like before we renovated last year…

Before Shot: Our Living Room at Loch Sheldrake Place

And here’s what it looks like now, after renovation:

After Pic - Our Living Room at Loch Sheldrake Place

I love the light. Definitely bringing back the rug. Do we need to put up pictures?

It was so good to see these when we arrived to open up the place this weekend. Hope and motivation, both.

Loch Sheldrake Place - Veranda and Front Garden

We love this place. It’s fresh and cool and quiet at night.  I love swimming in Loch Sheldrake Lake; the water is so soft, pure and clear. Phil loves cycling all over Sullivan County — some amazing hills. And Otto loves galloping around the yard without  wearing a leash.

But we want to make some more green renovations and maintenance to the place so in aid of helping finance the greater green, we’re offering to rent for the summer 2010 season (July 4 – Labor Day).