My Photography on Fine Art America

If you are interested in my nature photography and looking for new artwork for your home or office, or maybe looking for a tasteful gift then please consider visiting my new shop on Fine Art America.

A Good Walk

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualities are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good silence, and nothing too much.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ramp Season and Foraging

It’s that time of the year again in the Hudson Valley!! I’ve been seeing buzz about ramps and fiddleheads in my social media newsfeeds. Not so gentle reminder, just because something appears to be in abundance, doesn’t mean it is. In fact, ramps, or “wild leeks,” or “wild onions” are listed as a threatened species in Quebec and a species of concern in the northeastern United States. Fiddleheads are not fairing much better. Also, these plants are host to bacteria and not only require thoroughly cleaning and cooking but when you do forage these plants you are altering the ecosystem in very real ways. Chasing dopamine highs with hedonic palette-pleasing has serious consequences for our environment. Plant. Cultivate. But don’t steal from our wild, natural landscapes.

Image may contain: plant, tree, flower and outdoor

(Picture of cultivated ostrich ferns at the Vanderbilt Mansion.)

#ramps #fiddleheads #ostrichferns #hudsonvalley #catskills#upstateny #escapebrooklyn #newengland #maine #quebec #foraging #foodie #wildedibles #wildmushrooms #ecosystems#environment

Good reads on this subject:

AppalachianMagazine. “Mountain Tradition: Eating Ramps in Springtime | Appalachian Magazine.” Appalachian Magazine (blog), n.d. http://appalachianmagazine.com/2019/03/10/mountain-tradition-eating-ramps-in-springtime/.
Millward, David. “Fiddlehead Rustlers Threatened with Jail as US State Tries to Curb Mass Foraging.” The Telegraph, n.d. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/08/hold-fiddlehead-rustlers-threatened-jail-us-state-tries-curb/.
Rayner, Jay. “Just Because You Can Go Foraging Doesn’t Mean You Should | Foraging | The Guardian.” The Guardian, n.d. https://amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/10/just-because-you-can-go-foraging-jay-rayner?fbclid=IwAR0g8TluzOo1dE4dtbkpf5_yGAIb4dtHHesobdkrK2QyPX56CXnb1PMPyaA.
Rossiter, Kelly. “WTF Is a Ramp and Why Shouldn’t I Eat Them? | TreeHugger.” TreeHugger.com, n.d. https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/wtf-is-a-ramp-and-why-shouldnt-i-eat-them.html.

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Wish for You …

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Introduction to My Latest

Welcome to my professional page. I’m Stephen McDonald. I am, in no order of consequence: a writer, a photographer, an explorer, an Americanist cultural and historical scholar, a Progressive Christian and a devoted father a much beloved daughter. (Maybe the best for last!)

This page will include my thoughts, queries, musings and links to my writing. I also hope to include links to historical sites and places of significance that I visit to share them with you. Additional plans not limited to this page include educational videos and podcasts.

Please like my Facebook Page and follow my Instagram.

I studied at the University of Vermont but finished my undergraduate degree with a BA in American Studies from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Presently, I am a graduate student pursuing an MA in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Presently, I am writing my thesis exploring tribal identity and sovereignty of northeastern Native American tribes, focusing on the Ramapough Lunaape Nation.

My research interests include: Hudson Valley and New England history, American literature, American art, American music, social history, immigration and the peopling of America, slave narratives, immigrant narratives, social inequality, environmentalism, education, American social thought, progressive theology, and religion in American life.

Additional interests include psychology, economics, health care, science and technology, homesteading, country living, farming and sustainable agriculture. I like to sail. I make candles and dabble in woodworking. And I’m pretty good cook. I learned and continue to play three instruments: the guitar, the violin, and the saxophone. And I am fascinated by genealogical research and family history.

Pennsylvania is where I was raised. New York is where I live. Connecticut is where I study. Maine is where my heart lies.

After life transforming experience and finding renewed solace in my Christian faith, I am open to motivational speaking.

Please follow my blog if you like what you read.  Please contact me with any thoughts, words, queries you may have.

Thank you.  And Enjoy!

Stephen