Hunting For Hawthorne

Hunting For Hawthorne

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  An acquisition at the Kinderhook, NY Memorial Library book sale A local library book sale isn’t the place you’d expect to go to learn you’re a has-been. But that’s what happened to me last weekend at the Kinderhook Memorial Library book sale in Kinderhook, New York. If you’ll indulge me while I offer a little background regarding my history of book hunting. I probably need to go as far back as the 1960’s…

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Planet Earth to Trump

Planet Earth to Trump

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  Photo of the Earth taken on 12/7/72, by the crew of the Apollo 17 CREDIT PUBLIC DOMAIN / NASA Donald Trump has done a lot to amaze and disturb since becoming President of the United States. But abandoning the Paris Climate Accord struck a particularly depressing note. As he made his defiant announcement in the Rose Garden, enabled by questionable statistics, a military band, and applauding minions, you could almost hear the flowers…

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Communing With Camels

Communing With Camels

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN    Miyako Kinoshita, Green Chimneys Education Program Manager, with Phoenix, a Bactrian camel My family has this game we play. It’s not really a game; it’s more of a ritual. We call it “What’s Your Favorite Part of the Weekend?” It started in the car returning to the city on Sunday nights. We’d go from family member to family member, in no particular order, and try to pinpoint our favorite part, aspect, moment,…

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A Long Overdue Visit to Mohonk Mountain House

A Long Overdue Visit to Mohonk Mountain House

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN Mohonk Mountain House I filled a rather significant hole in my Hudson Valley education last weekend. I finally spent a couple of nights at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. I say significant and finally not just because the spectacular 259-room castle hotel, which has been around since 1869 and sits on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, is listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But also because friends and…

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Feed Your Hummingbirds

Feed Your Hummingbirds

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN Homemade hummingbird nectar  After you’ve watched hummingbirds feed at your hummingbird feeder for a while – what, you don’t own a hummingbird feeder? – you’ll realize that the box the feeder came in, the one with the picture of a hummingbird placidly sitting at each port sipping nectar; it’s a scam! The picture had been photoshopped. A hummingbird won’t let another hummingbird anywhere near a feeder if it has anything to say about…

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A Fish With No Name

A Fish With No Name

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN GRASS CARP  — Credit U.S. Geological Survey/Public Domain — Wikimedia Commons I own exactly one fish. Lately I’ve been thinking I ought to give him a name. He’s not a pet fish that lives in a bowl, though he feels more pet-like with each passing season. He’s a grass carp, a species rumored to control aquatic weeds. He’s also the last of five I bought a few years back from a fish farm…

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Shooting Clay Pigeons

Shooting Clay Pigeons

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN Lucy Gardner shooting sporting clays at Orvis Sandanona in Millbrook, NY The last time I went hunting it didn’t go well. I was aiming at a bird high in a tree with my BB gun. And I never expected to hit the thing. But hit it I did and it crashed through the foliage and struck the ground with a sickening thud. I must have been twelve or thirteen at the time. And…

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Maintaining a Well Groomed Road

Maintaining a Well Groomed Road

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio  LISTEN I celebrated Earth Day last weekend the way I do every year. By collecting the trash that accumulated on our road over the previous twelve months. I wouldn’t call it a fun time. In fact, what fuels me is righteous indignation. But on a more positive note, when I’ve completed my mission – it takes about an hour – I’m filled with a sense of temporary well-being. As well as a few deer…

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Birding with an Expert

Birding with an Expert

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio  LISTEN Birder Elisabeth Grace examining a warbler nest at Ooms Conservation Area in Chatham, NY When I started spending weekends upstate in the late 1970’s I didn’t know a blue jay from a bluebird. Having grown up a city kid, I owed my early birding education to two sources: my wife, who was raised in the suburbs; and a weekly birding column in the Chatham Courier, a Columbia County newspaper, written by Kate Dunham…

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A Visit to Lover’s Leap Farm

A Visit to Lover’s Leap Farm

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN Farmer Curt Gobrecht in the farrowing barn at Lover’s Leap Farm in Kinderhook, NY   Spring marks kidding season for goats. Sheep, at least their owners, call it lambing season. Any idea what this rite of spring is when it refers to pigs? I didn’t until last weekend when I visited Lover’s Leap, a heritage pig farm in Kinderhook, NY. In fact, I realized my knowledge of pigs was largely limited to the…

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