The Sportsman’s World — Adventures in the Marsh

By Leon Archer

Sweet thing and I have started packing for our long drive back home, but we won’t be leaving for a few more days.

It will seem strange when we leave and don’t have our grandson, Beckett, keeping us busy anymore. He just had his first birthday, but boy can he give his grampa a run for the money.

Yesterday I had him out in the back yard. It was about 70 degrees and the sun was shining, and it was way too nice to stay inside. Beckett hasn’t quite gotten used to grass, but he still likes being outside, mostly on the patio.

I had been doing some work in the flower garden and had laid my little hand spade down before Beckett joined me. He is very inquisitive, so he was investigating all the nooks and crannies around the patio while I lounged for a few minutes on the big swing.

I figured he couldn’t get into too much trouble on the patio, but the next thing I knew he had the spade in his mouth. By the time I caught up with him, he was spitting and gagging a little, but the spade seemed to be OK.

Apparently good black dirt isn’t immediately fatal as Beckett seems pretty lively today. My mother always used to say, “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Beckett’s off to a good start.

I’ve been keeping track of what the fishing has been like back in New York state, and I am ready to be back there.

The bullheads are biting and perch have been showing up. The smelt haven’t started running in the Niagara River yet, probably because the water is still too cold.

It shouldn’t be long though, because the guys fishing on the lake where the river empties out onto the Niagara Bar have noticed smelt in the trout stomachs.

This is the time of year when my father would announce that he was going to pick a bunch of cowslips for dinner. I couldn’t stand cowslips (more properly known as marsh marigolds) but my father actually looked forward to them.

If you read about them, you will find out they are poisonous, but when prepared properly, they are edible. I use the word “edible” advisably and in its broadest sense. Anyone who watches the TV show Bizarre Foods will understand.

The thing I liked about cowslips wasn’t eating them, it was going after them. They grew in the marsh, and the only time to pick them, according to my father, was in the early spring when the new leaves were about the size of a half dollar and they hadn’t blossomed out with their bright yellow flowers.

Dad would say to me, “Get your hip boots, we are going after cowslips.” I didn’t complain; I hopped to it, and was ready to head out before he was.

We would walk up East Main Street, past Charlie Beldock’s barn, and in no time we were in the marsh that bordered his farm.

Once we were in the marsh, I was in a wonderland and I had precious little time for actually picking cowslips. We both carried a large paper grocery bag to put the round leaves in; dad’s was always full when we left the marsh, and mine was, shall we say, easy to carry.

It was an adventure to walk in the marsh, and there was so much to see, so picking marsh marigolds was not my top priority.

This particular marsh was home to many muskrats and their houses were sources of great interest to me. Sometimes I would catch site of a muskrat sitting on a feeding mound, munching away on a cat tail root or see one swimming along the surface before plunging into an underwater run.

There were areas of water – of course – and I watched for the big, dark purplish, yellow spotted spring salamanders that gathered to breed in them. They were easy to catch, but I just looked them over and put them back.

Overhead the male snipe and woodcock were swooping down towards the marsh and then climbing back up almost out of sight before diving again over and over, and over again.

The quavering sound of the wind on their wings and the diving display was all for the attention of demure females watching from the ground. The woodcock also vocalized as they dove.

I once had a woodcock that had been displaying high above me, come plunging down to land on a small hummock about 10 feet away from me. I can still see his huge brown eyes inspecting me, before he decided I wasn’t a threat.

Then I caught a slight movement about three feet from where he had come to rest. The first thing I saw was another set of huge brown eyes, and then the brown body of the hen took shape. She had been perfectly camouflaged against the brown background of the hummock.

We had silently watched the show together, and I’m pretty sure she was just as appreciative as I had been.

I usually picked a bouquet of pussy willows for my mother before we left the marsh. They would grace the table in our home for a few days.

Several kinds of frogs abounded in the marsh. Most of them I could find if they were singing, but I never could locate peepers that I heard – very frustrating.

I’ve never lost my appreciation for the marsh. The sights and sounds enthrall me as much today as they did when I picked cowslips with my father.

Oh, by the way. Marsh Marigolds are edible when prepared properly. They must be boiled at least twice, three times is better, emptying out the water each time and putting them into fresh to boil.

This apparently leaches out whatever the toxin is and makes them less acrid and bitter.

My mother always sautéed the greens with some bacon or salt pork after their last boiling. Over the years, I got so I could eat them, but now I only think about it.

On the other hand, I bet they would make great beans and greens. I might have to hit the marsh again to find out – maybe.

Arts Fest registration open now

Vendors prepare for the crowds at CNY Arts Center Arts Fest. Registrations are now open for Arts Fest 2014 to be held June 14 from 10am to 3 pm. Register online at or call 592-3373 for more information.
Vendors prepare for the crowds at CNY Arts Center Arts Fest. Registrations are now open for Arts Fest 2014 to be held June 14 from 10am to 3 pm. Register online at or call 592-3373 for more information.

CNY Arts Center officials say vendors can now register for the fourth annual Arts Fest set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 14 at the Fulton Community Center Ice Rink on Broadway in Fulton.

The event brings artists and crafters together with handmade original art on display for sale along with food vendors, and hands on art.

New at this year’s event will be art demonstrations and sample art classes for all ages along with new outdoor entertainment.

The annual CNY Arts Center community mural will also be completed at this year’s Arts Fest. Previous murals have been created during Harborfest.

The 2014 mural will use recycled bottle caps to create an Alice in Wonderland theme. Festival attendees will help create the mural to be framed and displayed in a prominent Fulton location.

Vendors can register for a 10×10 spot with electricity at the festival. Food vendors are also actively sought.

For online registration and more information  visit or call 592-3373.

Parish author to speak at Arts Center

The CNY Arts Center will feature author Tracy Kinne at its next Author Spotlight at 6:30 p.m. May 1 at the Arts in the HeART Gallery, 47 S. First St., Fulton.

The program highlights local authors and their recently published work. Kinne, a lifelong resident of Parish, was a newspaper journalist for 21 years before taking a buyout and leaving The Post-Standard in 2007.

She also was former editor at several smaller newspapers, including the Phoenix Register and the Valley News.

Kinne is the author of two books. Her first is a memoir about her four years as a low-wage retail worker. Kinne was named a 2013 Central New York Workers Memorial Day Champion of Worker Safety and Health for this memoir, “On Sale: Employers Get Good Workers Dirt Cheap.”

The book also took honorable mention in three international festivals: Paris, New York and New England.

Her second book is young adult fiction, “Little Town on the Shale: A Girl Fights Hydrofracking,” describes the challenges faced by a teen who is an emerging activist but lives in rural poverty much like that in parts of Oswego County.

“I wanted people to understand the growing poverty and economic inequality on a personal level,” Kinne said.

During the program, Kinne will explain how she wrote her books, read excerpts from them and take questions from the audience.

Afterward, attendants can purchase a signed copy of their books, with all proceeds to benefit the Arts Center. Refreshments will be served. There is no cost to attend the program.

For more information about the event, call the CNY Arts Center at 592-3373 or visit

Undergrads exhibit works of art

Legend lives -- Joel Dodge, a SUNY Oswego candidate for a bachelor of fine arts degree, touches up a print of Frankenstein’s monster for his part in the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition, opening at 5 p.m. Friday, May 2, with a free public reception in Tyler Art Gallery.
Legend lives — Joel Dodge, a SUNY Oswego candidate for a bachelor of fine arts degree, touches up a print of Frankenstein’s monster for his part in the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition, opening at 5 p.m. Friday, May 2, with a free public reception in Tyler Art Gallery.

SUNY Oswego’s spring Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts exhibitions will open Friday, May 2, with a free public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in Tyler Art Gallery.

The reception in Tyler Hall for the students eligible for BFA degrees at Commencement will coincide with pre-exhibition festivities for students displaying works in the BA exhibition in the gallery. The shows will run through May 17.

The BFA candidates include Leonard Abramovich of Potsdam, Timothy Ano of Sherrill, Amanda Blakley of Bridgeport, Lauren Calabrese of Latham, Brittany Cook of Phoenix, Joel Dodge of Fulton, Kyle Gilyard of Endicott, Sarah Harbacz of Cohoes, Travis Harrison of Queens Village, Rebecca Hess of Altmar, KimberlyKittleson of Liverpool, Pauline Lam of Ballston Spa Shawn        Lockwood of Mohawk, Katelyn Luce of Central Square and Nicole McElroy of Latham.

Also participating are Katherine Morelli of Nanuet, Stephanie Peck of Jordan, Gianna Putrino of Endicott, Elizabeth Raymonda of Syracuse, Caitlin Roberts of Queensbury, Morgan Rook of Lowville. Clare Salisbury-Ruf of Liverpool, Megan Stachnick of Queensbury, Danielle White of Baldwinsville, Emily Wild of Rochester and Zachary Zaremba of Watertown.

Bachelor of arts candidates are eligible to display their artwork in the non-required BA Exhibition. BA students pursue multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary studies in psychology, communications, marketing and other majors, in addition to art. BFA students participate in SUNY Oswego’s demanding and focused programs in studio art or graphic design.

Tyler Art Galley is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. Parking at SUNY Oswego is by permit only; for more information about guest parking, visit

For more information about fine arts presentations, call 315-312-2112 or visit

CNY Arts Center seeks vet tributes

CNY Arts Center wants your help to express gratitude to veterans and service personnel everywhere through pictures, letters, poems and live talent onstage when they host local talent for the 33rd annual Memorial Day Salute from 2 to 3:30 p.m. May 24.

In addition to featured Young Performers who have been working with CNY Arts Center throughout the school year, the organization is inviting local talent to share the stage with their own salute to veterans and military personnel.

“Do you have a message you’d like to send to the troops and veterans being honored? This year’s theme ‘Showing Gratitude to our veterans’ is a perfect opportunity to show your appreciation in song, story, music, dance, or whatever your family-friendly talent is,” said Nancy Fox, director.

“We invite everyone from the youngest to the oldest to send a message of thanks,” she said. “We hope to draw talent in multiple categories whether it is dance, vocals, musicians, or storytelling.”

“We know there is a lot of talent and many wonderful performing artists. Memorial Day Salute is a popular tradition for local families and here is a way to be directly involved as we show our gratitude to veterans and share your talent with your hometown family and friends,” Fox said.

Participants interested in performing should contact Nancy Fox directly at 592-3373. Time slots are few and limited to 3 minutes per act.

The organization will also accept art work, poems, and written tributes of thanks to be shared throughout the talent show between acts.

Items collected will be donated to a veterans’ organization after the event.

Art work will be accepted at Arts in the HeART Gallery, 47 S. First St in Fulton. Messages or written tributes should be mailed to CNY Arts Center, P. O Box 477, Fulton NY 13069.

Marine Museum presents ‘movie night’

To kick off the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum and the Oswego Film Group are presenting the movie, “Lightkeepers”, at the Beacon Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1.

“Lightkeepers” was filmed at Race Point Lighthouse in Cape Cod, Mass. The Race Point Light was built in 1817 and has a long history of serving the maritime community.

The movie was filmed in 2009 and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner and Bruce Dern. “Lightkeepers” is a romantic comedy about a curmudgeon lighthouse keeper, who has sworn off women.

The movie is set in 1912. Some of the artifacts utilized in the movie belonged to Oswego resident Ted Panayotoff from when he lived in Maine with his wife Jo.

The Chatham Lighthouse of Massachusetts also loaned objects to the film project.

The movie will be shown at the Beacon Hotel, 75 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

There are only 50 tickets available, therefore seating is on a first-come-first-serve basis. You must have a ticket to view the movie.

Tickets can be picked up at two locations in Oswego: H. Lee White Marine Museum, located at the end of the West First Street Pier and river’s end bookstore, located at 19 West Bridge Street.

Popcorn is provided courtesy of Zurich Cinemas of Oswego and soda will also be available.

Donations for the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse Restoration project are encouraged.

Fulton dance center competes

Some of the members of Off Broadway Dance Center in Fulton pose at the Syracuse competition. They are, left to right, Samantha Cooper, Alyssa Wicks, Kayla Frost, Arianna Schmeer, Mackenzie Loughrey, Mary Jane Mullaney and Mckenzie Emmons.
Some of the members of Off Broadway Dance Center in Fulton pose at the Syracuse competition. They are, left to right, Samantha Cooper, Alyssa Wicks, Kayla Frost, Arianna Schmeer, Mackenzie Loughrey, Mary Jane Mullaney and Mckenzie Emmons.

Thirty Off Broadway Dance Center students competed in the Shining Star Division at the Power of Dance competition at the OnCenter in Syracuse  April 5 and 6.

Four members of the Off Broadway Dance Center competitors shows off their trophies. They are, from left, Devon Ruckdeschel, Mattie Burdick, Elizabeth Crockford and Genesis Loetterle. Both photos by Teri Loetterle
Four members of the Off Broadway Dance Center competitors shows off their trophies. They are, from left, Devon Ruckdeschel, Mattie Burdick, Elizabeth Crockford and Genesis Loetterle.
Both photos by Teri Loetterle

Results were:

  • Mattie Burdick, Senior Solo, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • Genesis Loetterle, Senior Solo, 2nd Place, Ruby Status
  • Lizzie Russell, Tween Solo, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • Megan Johnson, Tween Solo, 2nd Place, Ruby Status
  • Jaidyn Perry, Junior Solo, 3rd Place
  • Talia Trombino, Petite Solo, 3rd Place, Ruby Status
  • Grady Marshall, Petite Solo, 2nd Place, Ruby Status
  • Bailey & Jaidyn Perry, Tween Duo/Trio, 3rd Place, Emerald Status
  • Makaylee Schmeer, Taylor Bonoffski, Megan Johnson, Tween Duo/Trio, 2nd Place, Ruby Status
  • Mackenzie Hayden and Lizzie Russell, Tween Duo/Trio, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • Janna Moody, Olivia Metcalf and Jaidyn Perry, Junior Duo/Trio, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • Talia Trombino and Grady Marshall, Petite Duo/Trio, 2nd Place, Ruby Status
  • Anthony Ferguson and Grady Marshall, Petite Duo/Trio, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • Korbin Cooper and Grace Gilles, Super Petite Duo/Trio, 1st Place, Emerald Status
  • “Neon Lights”, Senior Small Group, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • “The Waitresses”, Senior Duo/Trio, 1st Place, Ruby Status
  • “This Is My Dance Floor”, Petite Small Group, 6th Place, 1st in Jazz Petite Small Groups, Ruby Status
  • “Where’s The Party”, Petite Small Group, 9th Place, 3rd in Jazz Petite Small Groups, Emerald Status

The director or Off Broadway Dance Center is Ellen Russell Marshall. The OBDC Competition Team will take part in two more national competitions this season and one regional competition.

News in Brief

As of April 30, 2014, The Valley News will only accept classified advertisements for the Wednesday and Saturday print editions.

We will no longer publish classifieds online. To submit a classified ad, call us at 598-6397 or visit our office at 67 S. Second St., Fulton.


NU-2-U sale and bake sale is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 2 at the Granby Center United Methodist Church, 420 County Route 3.

Available will be a large assortment of clothing for all ages. There also will be books, household items, knick-knacks, linens, small appliances, stuffed toys, taps and more.


The annual chicken barbecue sponsored By Friends of History in Fulton is set for 11:30 a.m. until sold out Sunday May 4 at the Pavilion at Bullhead Point.

The barbecue benefits the John Wells Pratt House Museum, local history museum, at 177 S. First St., Fulton. Eat in or take out.

For advance sale tickets, call 598-4616.


The Minetto Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. until sold out April 26 at the fire station, 12 Barrett Drive, Minetto.

The dinner menu features ½ chicken, salt potatoes, baked beans, macaroni salad and a dinner roll. Customers can purchase a ½ chicken only also.

In addition there will also be a bake sale on site for customers to handpick a homemade dessert.

Dine-in and take-outs are available. Local delivery of five or more dinners may be arranged by contacting a Minetto Fire Department member by calling the fire station at 343-7566 on the day of the event.

There are no presale tickets available but customers can start calling ahead at 10 a.m. on April 26. The event benefits the fire department.

For more information, call Aleisha Bennett at  343-7566. For more information on the Minetto Fire Department or to find out how to join please visit


The Palermo United Methodist Church will host its chicken and biscuit dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1  in the church dining room.

This is a family-style, all-you-can-eat dinner including chicken and gravy, biscuits, mashed potatoes, salad, vegetable, dessert and beverage.

Takeouts are available and can be reserved by calling 598-4888

The church is located on County Route 35 just off of State Route 3 in Palermo, just north of Palermo Center.


The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center will present a public program about the American woodcock at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, (rain date May 2).

American woodcock advertise courtship intentions by strutting about and emitting a series of nasal peents. With a final “peent,” the male launches into an enthralling flight display to attract hens.

Following a short presentation of woodcock natural history with Pat Carney, facility’s naturalist, attendees will venture to a singing ground to observe and listen to the serenade of this twilight troubadour.

Other spring heralds also will regale us with evening ballads. Program participants should dress for an evening spring walk by wearing jackets, boots and shoes that can get wet and/or muddy.


Assemblyman Will Barclay will host an American Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 2 at Believer’s Chapel in Fulton.

Anyone is welcome to donate. To schedule an appointment for the May 2 blood drive in Fulton, call the Red Cross at 343-0967 or sign up online, visit and click on “Schedule an Appointment.”

It takes about 8-10 minutes to give blood with a total time to register and replenish with provided snacks of about an hour and 15 minutes. Donors are encouraged to eat well and hydrate prior to appointment.


An immigrant farmworker who works on an Upstate dairy and an organizer for a local workers’ center will speak at noon Sunday, May 4 at First Universalist Society of Central Square as part of a statewide speaking tour aimed at improving the lives of immigrant farmworkers.

The talk and a brief slideshow will be given by Jose Canas, who is originally from El Salvador, and Rebecca Fuentes, of West Monroe, who is lead organizer for the Syracuse-based Workers’ Center of Central New York.

Canas works at a dairy in Northern New York. Fuentes is the daughter of a farmworker from Mexico.

The program also is part of the Voices for Worker Equality speaker and film series organized by the church, state Route 49 just west of U.S. Route 11, and the workers’ center.

The statewide campaign will include several other dairy farmworkers and is being organized by the workers’ center along with Worker Justice Center of New York, in Rochester.

It coincides with Worker Memorial Day on April 25, May Day on May 1 and Farmworker Advocacy Day on May 5.

The local talk is free, but donations will be accepted to support the workers’ center. Light refreshments will be served.


Girls and boys ages 12-15 are invited to the Montezuma Audubon Center for up to three weeks of Sportsman Education this summer.

Young hunters will get their hunter safety, bow safety and waterfowl identification certificates in three weeks of hands-on learning and outdoor experiences.

The camps will run from July 14 through 31 (Monday-Thursday for each course).

Each week will feature classroom-style learning, covering the basics of each course, enhanced by hands-on outdoor field lessons including orienteering, canoeing, tracking and more.

Participants will also take part in conservation projects that enhance habitats for game and non-game species.

Fee per camper: $100 for one week, $190 for two and $270 for all three. Major support for this program is provided by Bass Pro Shops.

Space is limited and registration is required. Registration forms can be found at For more information, call 365-3588 or email

Camp schedule:

Week 1 – Hunter Safety – July 14-17

Week 2 – Bow Safety – July 21-24

Week 3 – Waterfowl ID – July 28-July 31

For more information about the Sportsman Camp or the Montezuma Audubon Center, visit


The First Congregational Church of New Haven is holding an eat-in or take-out dinner from noon until gone Saturday, May 3.

Preorders are available to be picked up between noon and 2 p.m.

The dinner will contain ½ chicken, pulled pork, pasta salad, salt potatoes, roll and butter. Call 963-3118 and leave a message with your name, phone number and the number of dinners you want. You will receive a call back to confirm your order and to make arrangements for you to buy the tickets needed for your dinner(s).

The church is located at 4250 State Route 104 in New Haven. The church is just west of County Route 6.


The youth group at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Phoenix is having a garage sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17.

The youth group also is asking people to donate bottles and cans as part of the sale.

The youths are raising money for a trip to Steubenville, Ohio for a youth rally with about 40,000 other teens. The event, at the Franciscan Univerity of Steubenville, is focused on connecting teens to the sacraments.

There is going to be a drop off area for the bottles and cans on the day of the garage sale in the parking lot behind St. Stephen’s Church. There is also a drop off spot right next to the church if people would like to drop off before or after the garage sale.

Those dropping off should tell the bottle and can business they are dropping off for Team Awesomess of St. Stephen’s church.


The Oswego County Health Department will hold a rabies clinic for cats, dogs and pet ferrets from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the Oswego County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.

“Immunizing pets is an effective way to reduce the risk of human exposure to rabies,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director.

State law requires that all cats, dogs and pet ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. The first rabies vaccine should be given at three months of age.

A second vaccination is required for cats and dogs within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. Ferrets need to be vaccinated annually.

In order for pets to receive the 3-year booster shot, owners need to show that the pet was previously vaccinated and should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate to the clinic.


Friendly’s Restaurant, 192 W. Bridge St., Oswego, will host a Family Fun Day fundraiser Thursday, May 8, to support the Friends of Fort Ontario in preserving and enhancing one of the nation’s most historic military sites.

Between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., 15 percent of the day’s proceeds will go to the Friends group to support programming, restoration, and AmeriCorps staff at Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

Customers who call Friendly’s at 342-2233 20 minutes in advance may have their order ready for pickup.

In order to participate, customers must bring a copy of the Friendly’s Fort Ontario voucher. The voucher is available on the Friends of Fort Ontario Website (, Man in the Moon Candies on West First Street in Oswego, and at the fort on May 3 during I Love My Park Day.

Friends of Fort Ontario is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational organization chartered by the State Education Department to support efforts to preserve, enhance, and promote Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

For more information, call Nicole Popp at 430-3336, or Historic Site Manager Paul Lear at 343-4711.


The Four Seasons Quilters will present its annual quilting demonstration with Pat Knoechel of “Quilt in a Day” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 at the Lycoming Methodist Church, located at the intersection of County Route 29 and Miner Road, Scriba.

Parking is available across the road from the church. Knoechel’s sister, Eleanor Burns, has new patterns to share including “Nouveau Wedding Ring” and “Pineapple” with twists for modern quilters.

There also will be door prizes, drawings, refreshments and as always, a good time.  Tickets are $5 and are available at the door or by calling Susan Bartlett (298-53460), Barbara Snell (343-5998), Leeann Green (342-3400) or Kerry Barnes (342-0866).


The Pennellville United Methodist Church, 389 County Route 54 in Pennellville will have its last dinner of the season at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10.

The menu will consist of roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, coleslaw, rolls and butter.  Attendees also can choose from a wide selection of pies and other desserts. Coffee, tea, cool aid and water will also be available.

The dinner is served family style. Music will be provided while you wait to be seated.  The ladies from the church also have a variety of crafts and goodies for sale.  There is a large supply of used books available at reasonable prices.

The next dinner will be Sept. 13.

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