question about 'Upstate'

ChazyJanuary 21, 2006

I've always wondered exactly where "Upstate" begins.Just north of Manhattan Island? North of Westchester County? I've heard people in NYC refer to Poughkeepsie as "Upstate",which is a gigantic laugh if you live near the Canadian border.

Any ideas?

Nancy

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wantoretire_did

I was told a long time ago it's anything outside of the metro NY area. Looks like it in a Google search of "upstate" and "upstate ny". But in a gardening sense, it varies, of course, because of the different zones. There are individual GW sites for different areas of the state.

Carol

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 4:27PM
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theraglady47(z4 NY)

I call Syracuse and that section across the sate Central NY, I think of anything north of Syracuse as upstate.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 8:02PM
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husky004_(z5 NY)

Think we did the round and round of this when this forum started...I'm in Western New York, Buffalo area which we refer or others do to Upstate NY, but I guess it varies around the State lol.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 11:45PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

The northern plateau LOL!

The definitions of UPSTATE are as varied as the tax rates are for the state but unlike taxes you can pick the one you feel most comfortable with.

Penny

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 6:14AM
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mountain_curmudgeon(4a)

When I was growing up in Rockland County, the NY City newspapers always called our area "Upstate." We called Orange County and north "Upstate." When I moved north to Orange County and later began hanging out in the Adirondacks, that's what I considered "Upstate."

Now that I live in the Northern Adirondacks, everywhere else is "Downstate."

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 5:53PM
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Chazy

Curmudgeon,you grew up in Rockland County? So did I.Spring Valley. I escaped in 1957.

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 2:51PM
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mountain_curmudgeon(4a)

Nancy, Grew up in Pearl River and didn't escape completely until 1975. Spent a lot of time in SV at Three Fold Farm.

Wayne

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 4:33PM
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mountain_curmudgeon(4a)

Nancy,

By the way, I'm assuming from your member name that you are in Chazy. I guess that make you "Upstate," even from me. I'm way down south in Bloomingdale on the road to Saranac Lake. Stop by if you're ever passing through during the growing season. Can't miss the garden.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 5:11PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Upstate is a political term generally referring to anything north of Westchester county. Being 5 miles from the Pennsylvania border the term has no meaning for me. Why those who throw the term around don't say western central, finger lakes, north country etc. instead

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 10:20PM
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Chazy

I guess we just have to conclude that"upstate" is a vague term for any place not NYC or Long Island.

Thankyou for all the input.

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 10:25AM
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robbiezone5(z5 HudsonValley)

hmmm... for me it's always been relative to where i was living. and this seems to be the case for a lot of us. i grew up in schenectady, and at that time we'd think of "upstate" as being all points north of the capital district. "downstate" was everyplace south of albany-schenectady-troy area.

now, living in brooklyn, most of the people i know refer to anyplace north of the five boroughs as "upstate". the five boroughs make "the city". to the east is "long island". but this doesn't allow for a "downstate". i s'pose that by the time you get to nyc, there isn't any state left to call "downstate".

i found this explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upstate_New_York

thanks for asking this --- i like geography/social type stuff!
--robbie--

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 9:24AM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi All!

Nancy, I remember years ago either real late 40's or early 50's in an old black and white movie and I'm not sure but I think it was Shelly Winters when asked where she was from she replied, "Upstate" and was from Poughkeepsie in the movie.

Coming originally from Binghamton I remember always saying Upstate. But I became more aware of it's usefulness when I went into the service in the 50's. What Big Old farm boy from Tennessee ever heard of Binghamton as they always asked quizzically, "Where's that?" Then if you just said, "NY" they always thought you were from NY-City and a gangster and almost made you feel embarrassed.

So to make a long story short,, "Upstate NY came in real handy on alot of occasions" So to answer your question I think it's anything West and North of the Hudson River :>)

Jim

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 5:00PM
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guapogardener

I just moved up from Florida to live here again. I'm in the Rochester area. While I was living in Florida I would tell people that I'm from New York. Of course it seems that everyone automatically assumes you are referring to New York City as if that IS New York.

When I think of New York I do not think of New York City because I have never been there. To me New York refers to the apple orchards, pumpkin and corn fields, maple syrup tapping, mountainous region that I have grown up in right between Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes.

It actually annoys me that people automatically assume, when I say I'm from New York, that I must mean New York City. GET OVER IT! I then correct them and say "No, I'm from Rochester..." and they then go...with a huge realization "OH! You're from Upstate!"

I have been brought up that anything that is not Long Island is Upstate.

I guess that you always remember your home state as what you grew up around. To some Long Island IS New York in essence. I have no concept of it.

All I know is that the Finger Lakes are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen (and swimmed in without worrying about sharks thank you) and Naples has magnificent scenery, fall foliage and skiing!

Thanks for listening! I've been dying to say this.

So what's the consensus on this?

:)
Mark

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:30PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

I think of Upstate as being anything north of roughly Poughkeepsie. I've only been to NYC once; I've lived in the Southern Tier (Corning and near Binghamton) for the past 20 years, with a sojourn in Geneseo and Rochester for school and work. But I've definitely run into the, "IS there anything in NY besides New York City?" mentality. I LOVE the Souther Tier and Finger Lakes region. So, I'm Upstate, unless I'm talking to someone from the Adirondaks, then I KNOW I'm still Downstate by default. . . .

Laurel

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:14PM
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Chazy

Well,from reading all of the above I can see that it is a question with a complex answer.I live 12 miles south of the Quebec border.If I were to tell someone from Georgia that I lived in "northern New York",that person may not have a clue as to where in New York the city of the same name is located,so it has to be upstate or downstate. The real cure is to rename the city.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:18PM
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chrisltropical

For me anything south of the Albany Metropolitan Statistical Area is downstate.

But, the best way to view downstate IMO is if your community looks to NYC as the closest major city, you are downstate. If you are in NYC's TV Media Market (your local news is NYC news) you are downstate. If you can "commute" to NYC or its suburbs, you are downstate. I've heard that a couple years ago people started moving from NYC to Columbia County and are still working in NYC. It's a two hour drive, but some people actually do it.

Where I live, the northern suburbs of Syracuse, I grew up with people referring to "The City" as the City of Syracuse. It's still the case today. When say "I'm heading down city", everyone in the suburbs of Syracuse knows I mean the city of Syracuse. NYC is not even remotely thought of when people living around Syracuse say "The City". I met a couple people where I worked and I asked them where they were from, they told me "the city" but they were actually from NYC, thinking that I would know they meant NYC, but to me and everyone I grew up with the city means only Syracuse, not NYC.

I also don't like when NYS politicians say "the suburbs" when they really mean the suburbs around NYC. New York State politicians love to say there are three parts of NYS: "New York City", "Upstate New York", and "the Suburbs". It really shows how bias the state politicians when they think the only suburbs that exist in the State are in downstate.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 10:38PM
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guapogardener

Same thing when, in the Rochester area, you ask people where they are from and they say "the city"--we assume Rochester to be this "city"...not NYC.

Mark

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 11:13PM
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mudlady_gw(Syracuse-z5)

I have the absolute skinny on this one. Middletown, Liberty, Montecello, and the like are definitely NOT upstate. At most, they are simply a little north of NYC. When someone sees my NY plates and assumes I am from the City (THAT city)I am offended. We live in a large state and it has many different geographical areas. I live between Syracuse and Rochester and I have EARNED the right to designate my home as Upstate because I live with "lake effect snow" and am half an hour from Lake Ontario. The skinny pointy part of the state that stretches up to Canada is the real North country. The folks in Oneonta, Binghamton, and Olean aren't quite Upstate, but they are far enough from the City, the real downstate, to be OK. Long Island can be forgiven for being so close to THAT City because they are surrounded by salt water. That's enough to make anybody special ;-)
Mudlady, in Conquest.
Go ahead, find Conquest on the map! I get a little nutso about the City because I grew up in Stratford, CT which is about 60 miles away from the City. Fifty years ago Stratford was a nice place to live, mostly because it was small is on the sound. Now, I have to vacation on the coast of Maine to get the small town, salt water fix I crave. The Finger Lakes are pretty but they never have a high or low tide.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 11:48PM
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kcook969

My defination of "Upstate NY"

Take the PA state line and continue that line across the state.
Any county that borders this line or is south of it, is downstate.
Any above said counties is Upstate.

Govenrnment's view is that any of us who sent our tax returns to Andover, Mass instead of Long Island, prior to 2003, is Upstate. As of 03 we all send our returns to Andover.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 11:44AM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

If you take the Pennsylvania line all the way across to Lake Erie and try telling someone in Chautauqua County that they're downstate, they'll fall over laughing. I think you'd get the same reaction in neighboring Cattaraugus County.

I think you really have to be in the eastern end of the state to even think you might be downstate. And then you have to be a good ways south -- Albany is not downstate, for instance. I don't know enough about the region in between to tell where the line is.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 4:37PM
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mollyd

All things are relative to where you are. We New Yorkers see Virginia as down South but in Louisianna Virginia is up north! Whether you are up state or down state all depends on who is talking.

MollyD

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 12:35AM
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ruthny1

I also use the term 'upstate' to clarify that I do NOT live in New York City. I believe that there is 'New York State' and then there is 'New York City' and they are NOT at all one and the same! Ooops, I guess I'm a bit opinionated in this area....

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 3:42PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Upstate and Downstate are political not geographical terms. Geographically we should talk about western, central, finger lakes, capitol district, hudson valley, long island etc.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 11:08PM
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lilium_guy56

ok my 2 cents too. NYC is downstate and its also a real hole in the rest of the state. The rest of us outside of NYC metro pay 90% of the taxes and NYC gets 85% of all taxes paid in the state. NYC go to NJ please.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 12:23AM
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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

Those are interesting statistics. I wonder where they come from? The NY City Council claims just the opposite. Last year a report of the subcommittee on revenue and forecast said:

"New York City sends to New York State (depending on the analysis) between $7 billion and $11.1 billion more in taxes, fees and other revenues than it receives in services, aid, and other spending, according to the most recent data available. Put another way, only between 51 cents and 63 cents of every dollar sent to Albany returns to the City."

I think NJ would love to have NYC and the jobs, commerce and tax benefits to the state that it generates. Maybe the "upstate line" could be drawn where the majority of people believes as lilium_guy does.

Wayne

Here is a link that might be useful: A FAIR SHARE STATE BUDGET: DOES ALBANY PLAY FAIR WITH NYC?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 9:38AM
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craig76

Upstate is anywhere the local economy sucks

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 4:45PM
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craig76

Upstate starts where 99% of the people drive Chevys not BMWs

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:55PM
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diane_nny(3)

Ah, c'mon, Chazy isn't Upstate, it's Canada! (Just kidding!)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 2:33PM
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okbt(z4NY)

Well then craig76,the line is moving north!I guess upstate starts in Glens Falls now.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 12:32AM
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Chazy

Diane,Chazy is as American as you can get. Personally,I seldom cross the border,and Montreal holds no interest for me. Nor do most cities.I've seen lots of cities and grew up in the NYC metropolitan area. Having lived there,I prefer the sticks. I need elbow room(a personal peculiarity).

Nancy

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 3:21PM
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booberry85(5)

With the exception of 3 years, I've lived in NY all my life. If a person is from New York or currently lives in NY, I tell them that I live in the Fingerlakes Region. Most people outside of NY don't know what that means, so I tell them I live upstate. I live about 40 minutes SW of Syracuse, so where does that put me?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Chazy

booberry,I think you can consider yourself upstate. Saying Fingerlakes Region surely is too much for most people to comprehend, geographical knowledge being as poor as it is.

I went to college on the shores of Cayuga (Aurora),so I'm pretty familiar with the area.

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 1:40PM
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booberry85(5)

I like your idea of renaming NYC!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:27PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I know people refer to the Niagara frontier as upstate but not being a native NYer myself, I always refer to it as western NY. Upstate is just too broad of a term and way too confusing.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 7:03AM
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deedee2(3)

Chazy and Nancy - I live in the real upstate NY also. I'm a neighbor - live in Childwold. Small world, isn't it?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 8:31PM
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moogiemama(zone 5b-6a)

Hi everyone! I couldn't resist chiming in on this discussion. I live in Dutchess County not too far from Poughkeepsie. I've also lived in near Binghamton, Schenectady, New Paltz and Suffern (Rockland). Upstate is generally anywhere north of NYC and LI. We usually designate the geographic region to give people a general idea of which part of 'upstate' we're referring to. In my case I'd say, "Upstate, in the mid-Hudson region near Fishkill or Poughkeepsie." I wonder if other states have this problem?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:48PM
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princetonfan

Cats39: Just read this thread while perusing the forum topics and had to weigh in. The name of the film was "Odds Against Tommorrow": Shelly Winters, Robert Ryan, Ed Begly Sr. and Harry Belafonte. True early indy; Belafonte's production co. Was that city where the bank robbery took place Poughkeepsie or Kingston?

By the way, am from Chenango County (Norwich), which while is now referred to as "Central-Leatherstocking Region", relative to NYC, I have always referred to as upstate.

I do believe ORIGINALLY, as been stated here, that the term was in relation to NYC-Westchester.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:30AM
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dagnabit

Draw a line from Albany to Binghamton. Everything SOUTH of that line is 'Upstate'. Everything NORTH of the line is Western, Central, or Northern New York.

My $.02.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Chazy

Hello,deedee2,yes we are almost neighbors. You live in the frozen Adirondacks,though.Saranac Lake being one of the cold spots of the area,I assume that Childwold is similar. You must have beautiful scenery over there!

Nancy

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 2:35PM
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moogiemama(zone 5b-6a)

I'm just proud to say I'm from "upstate" no matter where that may be! I find it amazing that so many people from "elsewhere" think that anyone from NYS must speak like they're from NYC and carries a weapon with them at all times! I have to say, "Apple Country" before they get a clue. The only other cities most others have heard about are Buffalo, Niagara Falls and sometimes Lake Placid! We need better promotion, although my area has become the go-to place for down-staters looking to relocate to the furthest north they can get and still commute to their higher paying jobs "back home". Then they complain about (what used to be) rural living! The attitude and traffic is unbelievable, and stay off the roads during rush hour. I live 1/2 mile off the Taconic State Parkway and have to deal with this non-sense on a daily basis.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:58PM
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mrconran

Okay do any of you garden folks live in the north country?
I am in St Lawrence county NY

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 12:36AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

moogiemama
Not being a native NYer I can relate to your comment about people from 'elsewhere'. Before I moved here I of course was familiar with NYC. I had heard of Buffalo and Niagara Falls but in all honesty I and most others around the country think of NYS as one big asphalt and concreat jungle with no green space except what is found in parks. I had lived in the country all of my life and the thought of moving to NYS terrified me. People around the country who have never been to NYS think of NYC as being the 'hub' of the state and all other cities surrounding it with the same type of landscape.

Penny

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 6:26AM
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moogiemama(zone 5b-6a)

So Penny, what do you think? Much of the state really is beautiful! I like seeing the Catskills from the TSP. I love the way the Willowemoc winds back and forth along Rt.17. I enjoy the Corning area and visiting our vast history. NYC is great to visit too, but I don't like the stereotyping we get as residents from upstate! I guess it's up to us to spread the word!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:48PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

moogiemama
There really is a lot of rustic and natural beauty in NY ...rolling hills, forests and lots of wildlife which people outside of the state don't realize. If it wasn't so far away from my own family and the winters were shorter and warmer it would be the ideal place to live (I am not a cold weather person LOL)
Penny

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 8:14AM
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moogiemama(zone 5b-6a)

That's part of the reason we are looking to move to the southeast, Penny! Can't take the winter any more. As soon as my younger son is done with college, we'd like to be on our way south. He's in a state school so we're stuck until graduation (about a year away). Taxes are killing us too, and now that we've become a bedroom community for NYC, they've tacked on additional monies to a gallon of gasoline. Besides, I'd like a longer growing season for my tropicals!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:25AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

moogiemama
I can completely relate. I am used to gardening at least 8 months out of the year. SInce I grow a lot of plants that do best in the south and southwest, I work furiously to get a head start on the growing season so they can be planted by late April or early May at the latest. I keep hoping my DH will get sick and tired of shoveling and plowing the driveway. One down side to the southern states in winter is ice. They don't get much snowfall but when and ice storm rips through an area it completely disables a whole community so keep you northern winter driving skills up to par.

Penny

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 7:17AM
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moogiemama(zone 5b-6a)

I already know how a winter storm can paralyze the south, Penny. I lived in Nashville for several years back in the 70s. One winter they got snow every other day for about a week and they don't have the road equipment to remove it, or sand & salt to at least treat it. I knew what to do as far as driving, but most of the people on the roads were more of a hazard than the snow and ice! Due to folks driving on the unplowed roads (and below freezing temps), it all got packed down and turned into ice. The schools closed down and the kids there had to go to split sessions afterward to make up for all the time they lost! Tennessee had to bring in plows and salt from the north! No matter where we go, I think I'll keep a snow shovel and down jacket - just in case!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 10:51AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Yp you will be prepared even if no one else is LOL! Believe it or not the three years I lived in Biloxi on the Gulf Coast I needed a down jacket for about a month each winter.

Penny

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 4:35PM
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diane_nny(3)

Hi, mrconran, I live in St. Lawrence County too, between Canton and Gouverneur.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:08PM
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deedee2(3)

mrconran and diane - I also live in St. Lawrence County - the southeastern corner (in the Adirondacks). We have a camp in Russell, also.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:09PM
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mrconran

Well you folks are right in my backyard so to speak. I am in Gouverneur NY. Starting to get busy with spring chores. Always seems like there is so much to do in our short growing season. What ever happened to those long lazy summer days I remeber as a child????
Mr Bill

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 6:15PM
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srrn

well if you read the paper yesterday, maybe you won't be in such a hurry to move south-ward. Global warming is moving the jet stream our way and in a decade or 2, our weather is going to be more like the south's and they are going to be drought ridden!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 8:59PM
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