A Master Gardener Offers His Diagnosis

A Master Gardener Offers His Diagnosis

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN    Master Gardener Gerry Weber at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties Photo credit:  Ralph Gardner Jr.  When my brothers and I were born my grandmother planted spruce trees for each of us on the front lawn of the house that has now passed down to me. One of my brothers passed away in 1987 and his tree around the same time. I hope there wasn’t a direct connection because,…

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Thinking of Tortola

Thinking of Tortola

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  Lambert Beach, Tortola CREDIT PUBLIC DOMAIN / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS My wife visited the British Virgin Islands in the late 1970’s, part of a crew to sail a boat back to New York City. Their departure was delayed several weeks, giving them a chance to get to know Tortola, the largest of the islands. Debbie returned with me the following winter and my first impression of Tortola was, well, equivocal. I’d been to St….

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Getting into a Jam

Getting into a Jam

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  photo credit:  Lucy Gardner With the headlines – a Mexican earthquake sandwiched between two superstorms – sounding apocalyptic, mental health almost requires those of us out of harm’s way not only to give thanks but also to take solace in life’s smaller pleasures. Canning, for example. Canning, it seems to me, is more popular than it’s been probably been since the days of the pioneers when people put stuff up just to survive…

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Traveling Beyond the Headlines

Traveling Beyond the Headlines

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  There are many benefits to taking a vacation abroad – the charming, if unquantifiable stimulus on the brain when you visit new places; good food; and the opportunity to relax; whether in my case that means taking long walks through terrain more dramatic than our woods or going swimming in bodies of water significantly larger and less murky than our pond. But this year add another perk to getting your passport stamped. That’s…

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August Light

August Light

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN   There’s something about August light that makes it superior to the light at any other time of year. I realize that’s a large claim to make. Why should one month be any different or better than another? Every month, every day, each hour potentially has its moments. Wouldn’t the quality of light have at least as much to do with the weather – if it’s overcast or clear, sunny or rainy. You can…

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Going Overboard for Lobsters

Going Overboard for Lobsters

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN     What is it about lobster rolls? A trip to Maine would seem incomplete without one of these tasty treats. About the only thing that can compete on a consistent basis in the counter food category is a charcoal-grilled cheeseburger and fries. And when I say a trip to Maine would be incomplete without a lobster roll – my wife and I spent a few days there last week — I don’t mean…

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Growing Local Hors d’Oeuvres

Growing Local Hors d’Oeuvres

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN   The first homegrown cherry tomato of the season with Hawaiian black lava salt and refreshments Last holiday season I received an advent calendar from the Burpee company. Instead of chocolate, or whatever treat is typically secreted behind the twenty-five doors of an advent calendar, this one contained seeds: beets, basil, tomatoes, poppies, cauliflower, radishes, watermelon. Last holiday season I received an advent calendar from the Burpee company. Instead of chocolate, or whatever…

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Dodging Raindrops at Tanglewood

Dodging Raindrops at Tanglewood

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN   I love Tanglewood. The problem is Tanglewood doesn’t love me back. My wife and I attended opening night last week and got rained on – and due to my low tolerance for excessive moisture – rained out for the second year in a row. It probably doesn’t say much for my status as a classical music lover that it took me approximately thirty years of visiting the Hudson Valley to make it over…

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Partying for a Good Cause with Joan Davidson

Partying for a Good Cause with Joan Davidson

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN   Joan K. Davidson, President Emeritus of the J.M. Kaplan Fund CREDIT J.M. KAPLAN FUND The first goal of being a philanthropist should be to do good. But there’s a second, perhaps undervalued side of giving away your cash – having fun while doing so. I don’t make this observation based on personal experience. Since the bulk of my philanthropy goes to causes such as caulking my roof. But rather by benefiting from the…

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City vs. Country

City vs. Country

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN   Dancers at Sunset Park in Brooklyn The question comes up often these days: Where would I rather live? The city or the country? And the answer is… both. One makes you appreciate the other more. If someone put a proverbial gun to my head, I suppose the country would win out because it’s, well, more civilized. I suppose that’s an ironic thing to say since cities are synonymous with civilization. But the country…

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