News of Otsego County


In Memoriam: Frances H. Thayer March 31, 1921 – January 23, 2023
In Memoriam

Frances H. Thayer, 101

March 31, 1921 – January 23, 2023

FORK SHOP—Frances H. Thayer passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101 Monday, January 23, 2023, at her home in Fork Shop.

She was born March 31, 1921 at the family home on Jones Road in Oaksville, the daughter of Christina Pushlar. In 1938, her mother married William A. Semrov, and he became her stepfather.

In her youth, Frances attended schools in Oaksville and Schuyler Lake. For many years she worked in the housekeeping department at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital.

Up On Hawthorne Hill by Richard DeRosa

On Cutting Back

Tasks such as gardening, often a labor of love, take their toll on aging bodies. (Photo provided)

This is the time of year when several things cross my mind. I think of those lines in Frost’s wonderful poem, “After-Apple Picking,” where he admits to being “… overtired /Of the great harvest I myself desired.”

Not that we are burdened with a “great harvest” up here on the hill, but we do maintain a hefty assortment of gardens, among them two sizable vegetable gardens that meet most of our needs throughout the summer and provide us with ample supplies of storage crops for winter use. More than enough, in fact, to keep us in onions, garlic, potatoes, squash, beets and carrots while wintering in Arizona. Not much in the way of apple picking this year, although last year’s apple harvest reaped 19 gallons of tasty cider. One gallon left in the freezer, which will most likely make its way westward. But it is a lot of work, a labor of love of course.

MACMILLAN: Thanks To All Involved With CAA Flowerbeds
Letter by Dr. Roger MacMillan

Thanks to All Involved
with CAA Flowerbeds

While I wish to thank the Clark Foundation for their generous comments regarding the flower bed in front of the Cooperstown Art Association sign, I would be remiss if I failed to thank the many people who have aided me in this endeavor over the past years.

One should note a large maple tree adjacent to this garden bed. Every spring, using forks and a mechanical tiller, the maple roots are removed from the garden bed, and peat moss and fertilizer worked into the soil under direction of Ms. Deborah Ackerman.

Over the years Ms. Ackerman and I have tried various combinations of flowers that included petunias, coleus, marigolds, and alyssum, to name a few. These have been especially ordered in the early spring from Mrs. Laurie Schmidt of Sunnycrest, Sharon Springs. These plants have consistently arrived very fresh and ready to plant. This year we tried a variety of zinnias obtained from Mr. Harry C. Teich of Hartwick. Everyone has praised this planting such that we plant to repeat it next year with a few additions.

So while I thank the Clark Foundation for their praise, I have included the other people who have made this display such an attractive one each year! They also should share in the credit for the above accolade.

Dr. Roger MacMillan

Grow with CCE Garden Project

Grow with CCE Garden Project

Liz Callahan and Kristen Pulleyblank break the ground on the project. (Photo by Larissa Ryan)

On Friday, September 16, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties (CCE) along with the Master Gardeners of Otsego County (MG) held a groundbreaking celebration for their joint effort, Grow with Cornell Cooperative Extension Garden Project, at the extension’s Cooperstown office at 123 Lake Street.

“When completed, we will take the dirt and gravel parking lot of the CCE building and convert it to into sustainable gardens and landscapes which immerse participants and visitors in an accessible education environment with multiple learning opportunities. At the same time we hope to create an aesthetically pleasing, learning environment,” said Liz Callahan, Executive Director of CCE and this project.

“The garden site will incorporate raised beds, low-maintenance and native plants, pollinator gardens, annual and perennial flowerbeds, vegetable and kitchen gardens, small fruit planting demonstrations, and more,” she said.

Cooperative Extension welcomes Liz Callahan

Cooperative Extension welcomes Liz Callahan as new Executive Director

Cooperstown resident Liz Callahan will bring her more than 25 years of experience in leading non-profit organizations in the region when she steps in as Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties (CCE SO) on April 12.

“Cornell Cooperative Extension is all about community resilience,” Ms. Callahan said in a conversation with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “The entire staff has a deep commitment to help families, farms, and individuals find answers that will work for them. The healthier our smaller units – our families, for instance – the healthier the communities will be.”

CCE SO, affiliated with Cornell University as part of the national land grant university system, is a non-profit community education agency. CCE helps preserve the region’s agricultural heritage, protect ecological infrastructure, support families, and provide youth opportunities for community service and research-based education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Ms. Callahan grew up in Western New York, where she participated in 4-H, served as a VISTA volunteer, and moved to Cooperstown in 1991 to pursue her Master’s in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

“Cooperative Extension is so much bigger than its visible role in 4-H,” she said. “The resources we have aren’t solidly defined with sharp corners. We’re focused on figuring out what communities need; that’s something that will be different in the rural and less rural parts of our counties.”

“Using the talents of the professional staff we have on hand and the resources of the Extension system, I know we can provide practical and constructive responses,” she said.

CCE SO’s remit spans a spectrum addressing the needs of long-established family farms to start-up agricultural endeavors, from professional gardeners to home hobbyists, from families needing

Warren H. Williams Sr., 84 January 25, 1937 – September 4, 2021

In Memoriam

Warren H. Williams Sr., 84

January 25, 1937 – September 4, 2021

Warren H. Williams

Warren H. Williams Sr., 84, of West Winfield, passed away Saturday September 4, 2021 in Cooperstown.

Warren was born on January 25, 1937 in South Ilion, NY the son of the late Milton L. and Alta Ackler Williams. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother Milton L Williams Jr, sisters Dema Fink and Loucia Helmer, stepmother Alice Williams, and a stepsister Sandra Davis.

A lifetime resident of the area, Warren was a union carpenter with Milograno Construction of Utica for many years. He was an avid hunter of deer, turkey and along with his dog Boomer, hunted rabbit. He also enjoyed coon hunting with his friends for many years. In his earlier years, he enjoyed the sport of golf.

Warren was meticulous with the care of his property, keeping a perfect lawn, and veggie garden.

deRosa: Garlic harvest is one of my favorite routines

Up on Hawthorn Hill

Garlic harvest is one
of my favorite routines

Richard deRosa

William Cobbett published his classic on gardening, “The English Gardener,” in 1829. I turn to it often not so much for its gardening advice, but for Cobbett’s often curmudgeonly, sometimes philosophical, comments about certain plants and how to go about dealing with them.

Interestingly, his section on what he describes as “garlick,” is short and to the point; plant it, dig it up when ready and hang it to dry. That’s it.

It is garlic harvesting time here, an early summer routine I always look forward to. I love digging it up or, as is possible at times, pulling it up out of the ground (always making sure to grasp the stem firmly at the bottom – and stopping if it might be a bit recalcitrant). I had cut off the scapes a while ago, some of which Sandy has used to make a delicious pesto. Some are at rest in the compost bin. Once all have been plucked up out of the ground (very muddy these days!) I transport them down to the barn for my favorite part of the ritual: brushing them off a bit, tying them up into bunches of five, an arbitrary number I decided on years ago, and then hanging each bunch from nails placed along the barn rafters.

BERKSON: Brussell Sprouts & Billy Joel

Brussell Sprouts & Billy Joel

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

Brussels sprouts are just about the last thing we harvest from our garden.

I can remember many a deer season when I’d walk out in the snow-covered yard to get some. Alice likes to simmer them in chicken broth and later pour some honey on them.

Several years ago I drove over to our local nursery to pick up some vegetable seedlings. Alice was weeding when I got home and she offered to help with planting. The broccoli went in OK, as did the peppers, but before the Brussels sprouts found root my wife dropped a shovel on the pack crushing some of the plants.

“I feel terrible,” she said.

“That’s okay,” I offered. “We have plenty left.”

As if to prove I was wrong, Alice lifted the plant box with a gloved hand, only to have it slip to the ground upside down. I turned the box over. Now, every stem was broken. “Is it that you don’t like Brussels sprouts?” I asked.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Teens Take On Otsego Outdoors Hiking Challenge 06-26-20

Teens Take On Otsego

Outdoors Hiking Challenge


OUTDOORS CHALLENGE – 2 p.m. Teens meet to participate in LEAF’s Great Otsego Outdoors Challenge, the summer hiking challenge featuring an Otsego County trail each week. Total of 8 hikes with 4 bonus hikes. Meet at Club Odyssey, 80 Water St., Oneonta. 607-353-7143 or visit


Noir Double Feature & Discussion

With Local Author Libby Cudmore


FILM SOCIETY – 7 – 11 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents Noir double feature ‘The Big Clock’ (1948) & ‘An Act of Violence’ (1949) with special guest Libby Cudmore, author ‘The Big Rewind’ & journalist, joining us for dark discussion of black & white crime. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit


On Gardening For Health


WORKSHOP – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Master Gardener Francine Stayter will co-host an interactive workshop, “Gardening for Health and Well-Being.” Free. Classroom One, FoxCare Center, 1 FoxCare Dr., Oneonta.


Oneonta Restaurants:

Remembering The Favorites


SUNDAY SERIES – 1 – 3 p.m. Learn about “Oneonta’s Restaurants: Memories of Former Favorites” with Big Chuck and Leslie Ann. Swart-Wilcox House Museum, Wilcox Ave., Oneonta.

TRIBUTE – 5:30 p.m. Celebrate our veterans with Eric Owens performing anthems such as “Over There,” “We’ll Meet Again,” “Goodnight Saigon,” more. Glimmerglass Festival, 7300 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. 607-547-2255 or visit

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