09/11/18 6:05am

Sawyer Clark pound traps on the Peconic Bay off of Shelter Island. On this day he brought in serval pounds of porgies, weakfisk, blowfish, and bunkers. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

When Sawyer Clark turned 16, he bought a boat and went into the family business: fishing. In the four years since, he has graduated from high school, given college a try and returned to the profession he was born for, despite having a pretty good idea of how dangerous and unpredictable the life of a bayman is. 

“I tried to stay out, but I fell in love with it,” he said.  (more…)

09/01/18 6:00am

Captain Tom McGriel aboard the North Ferry. (Credit: David Benthal)

When the 5:30 a.m. ferry left Shelter Island for Greenport on Jan. 13, 2018, Captain Tom McGriel was in his wheelhouse, figuratively and literally. Cloudy and raw, with the wind predicted to blow all day and the temperature dropping into the teens, the view through the windows of his perch was stark and magnificent. 

“Just another day in the office,” McGriel said, “but you can’t beat the view.” (more…)

06/19/18 9:52am

Nick MacAskill gathers sage leaves during the foraging at Sylvester Manor Saturday. (Credit: Charity Robey)

On Saturday afternoon at Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor Farm, herbalist Dawn Petter knelt before a fuzzy-leaved plant and asked permission to pull off a leaf.

Permission from the plant.

“Plants are our spiritual allies,” she said. “We should treat them with respect.”  (more…)

03/14/18 6:10am

The storefront at Marika’s Eclectic Boutique on Shelter Island. (Credit: David Benthal)

More than 30 years ago, Marika Kaasik and her sister Marion decided to open a store on a remote island reachable only by ferry. In those days, Shelter Island was inhabited by 2,000 people for 40 weeks of the year, and most of them already had plenty of furniture.   (more…)

01/04/18 6:05am

Jane Kosovsky of Southold joined Rick Kedenburg to count birds on 60 acres of farmland near Southold on Saturday. The Orient Christmas Bird Count is an annual tradition dating back 114 years. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Exactly 114 years ago, farmer and amateur naturalist Roy Latham counted the birds he could see on his property in Orient from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a 16-degree day with heavy snow in a strong northeast wind. It was the first Orient Christmas Bird Count. Last Saturday, in weather only slightly less daunting than what Latham endured, the Orient bird count took place again, as it has every year; an annual holiday tradition that’s nearly as old as Santa Claus — and requires a similar outfit.  (more…)

11/24/17 6:16am
Southold Historical Society tree lighting

A tree is decorated at the Southold Historical Society in 2016. (Credit: Madison Fender)

Does it make sense to drive to a rural area, cut down a seven-foot tree and put it in your living room for several weeks? No, it does not. But Christmas was never about being sensible. Even for people who think nothing of apple- or strawberry-picking, the experience of going out in a field to bring back a freshly cut tree is a peculiar delight.

And speaking of rational acts, who in their right mind would tie up acres of valuable Long Island real estate growing a crop that requires fertilization, pest control, pruning and eight to 10 years of growing before it can be harvested?

On the North Fork of Long Island, there are still a handful of farms, all family-owned, where generations of tree buyers and tree growers have participated in this illogical, magical Christmas tradition and made it an annual part of their holiday. (more…)