A Thing for Light

A Thing for Light

LISTEN HERE A Shaker interior from Benjamin Swett’s show That Unruly Sun at BCB ART in Hudson,NY BENJAMIN SWETT  We take friends for walks in our woods all the time, though less so during hunting season, and one of the highlights of the excursion – actually the highlight of the excursion – is a giant, ancient sycamore tree. But there’s one neighbor in particular we’ve been trying to get over to our place for some time. A photographer whose opinion…

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Hunting with Hawks, not Guns

Hunting with Hawks, not Guns

LISTEN HERE   Falconer Max Zimmerman with his Red-tailed hawk CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR. There are lots of way to burnish your college application resume: play the tuba, be the star running back on your high school football team, or, of course, be a legacy. But here’s a rather novel one: falconry — the sport of hunting wild animals with the help of a bird of prey. Getting into his first choice college wasn’t Max Zimmerman’s goal when he took…

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Recalling Studio 54

Recalling Studio 54

LISTEN HERE Let’s be clear: New York City in the 1970’s wasn’t quite the hell hole it’s made out to be in popular culture — a crime and graffiti-riddled battlefield whose denizens also had lousy fashion sense. I know. I lived there. And yes, crime and graffiti were rampant and the city did flirt with bankruptcy. But there was also a sense of opportunity, of ambition and industry, of acceptance of others. What prompts this defense of my hometown is…

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The Stinkbugs of Autumn

The Stinkbugs of Autumn

LISTEN HERE Brown Stinkbug. Euschistus. Heritage Island, Anacostia River, Washington, DC, USA. 23 June 2012. CREDIT KATJA SCHULZ FROM WASHINGTON, D. C., USA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS A friend was telling us about another friend whose bedroom in Kinderhook, NY had become infested with stinkbugs. As she detailed this woman’s valiant efforts to rid herself of these pests I looked around our sunroom, where the conversation was taking place, and noticed for the first time that we had stinkbugs, too. Perhaps…

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Birds and Bears

Birds and Bears

LISTEN HERE Ruby-crowned kinglet WILLIAM H. MAJOROS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS  I read somewhere last winter – I can’t remember whether it was in the informative New York State Department of Environmental Conservation online weekly bulletin, which I subscribe to, or a story in The Columbia Paper, our fine local newspaper – that to avoid attracting bears you shouldn’t hang your bird feeders until November 30th. And you should take them down by April 1st. In other words, the feeders are…

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One Tomato

One Tomato

LISTEN HERE The last few weeks were spent traveling in Europe at some cost. Not financial, though that too. The currency I’m talking about is organic, indeed edible. To be precise one heirloom tomato, approximately the size of a softball and the most beautiful piece of fruit ever to usher from my garden in its relatively short but troubled history. It ripened, was picked and eaten, all while I was abroad. The consumer was my daughter so the good fortune remained…

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Strolling Through History

Strolling Through History

LISTEN HERE   An antique postcard of Ghent, NY  Gregg Berninger, the Ghent, NY town historian, offered an interesting rule of thumb to determine how Hudson Valley towns came to be, based on their geography. Those near rivers and streams employed their power to run mills. Others with picturesque village greens might have served as a crossroads for commerce and social life. And those distinguished by their flatness may have been where railroads created junctions, people and businesses following in…

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A Passion for Ponds

A Passion for Ponds

LISTEN HERE “Pool Master” Anthony Archer-Wills RALPH GARDNER JR. It didn’t take long for me to bond with Anthony Archer-Wills. No more than ten seconds from the time we met. That’s when he started singing the praises of his pond in Spencertown, NY. “The top layer is 90°,” he told me. “Four feet down it’s 80°. Ten feet down it’s 70°.” How did he know. “I have a thermometer,” he said matter-of-factly. Anthony isn’t your average proud local pond owner….

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Which Way do We Go

Which Way do We Go

LISTEN HERE Liquid filled compass CREDIT NICOLAS KAISER / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Are driving apps a good thing? This is a philosophical question. Also a literal one. The question occurred to me several times last weekend as we drove from Columbia County to a wedding in central Connecticut. I’m saying central Connecticut. Except now that I’m checking I see that our destination was actually in western Connecticut. I didn’t know because I didn’t consult a map. Which would have placed our…

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Where’s My Commemorative Coin

Where’s My Commemorative Coin

LISTEN HERE CREDIT FACEBOOK: THE WHITE HOUSE GIFT SHOP I called the White House gift shop the other day to find out where my coin was. I’m referring to the Korea Peace Talks Summit Coin, created to commemorate the June 12th meeting between President Donald J. Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. I had a hunch that whatever the outcome of the summit – it was one of those on again, off again situations when I placed my…

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