Oh, Snow

Oh, Snow

LISTEN HERE Consider Bardwell Farm RALPH GARDNER JR.  I did something last week anathema to my nature. I tried to avoid the snow. It was traveling from south to north and I was heading from the Hudson Valley to Vermont. So I tried to get ahead of it. I was on my way to West Pawlet to interview my friend Angela Miller for a project I’m working on about people’s second acts. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there are…

Read More Read More

A Winter Memory

A Winter Memory

LISTEN HERE Jan and Ed Tishman in Warren, Vt. 1971 With snow in the forecast, at least somewhere, and ski resorts already making snow (they’re making snow already, right?) I think back fondly to the family responsible for making me the proud intermediate skier I am today. Their name was Tishman and they had a house in Warren, Vermont, located minutes from Sugarbush Mountain. But the Tishmans, Jan Tishman in particular — I was sad to learn she died earlier…

Read More Read More

The Case for Crowds

The Case for Crowds

With holiday shopping season fast upon us, I’d like everybody to shop local –for entirely selfish reasons. No, I’m not a main street merchant. I don’t have some charming storefront that sells bric-a- brac. Whatever bric-a-brac is. Truth be told, I’m not much of a shopper, period. If the economy depended on me we’d be in a perennial Great Recession. Advertising agencies would go out of business since I’m almost unpersuadable. I’d don’t enjoy the ads on TV. I enjoy…

Read More Read More

My Grandparents, the Forgers

My Grandparents, the Forgers

LISTEN HERE An antique lamp created by Myra and Ben Gardner CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR. Last week I opened a drawer in the antique high boy in our front hall and found photographs I’d never seen before. They were of my father’s family, and they dated back to the 19th century. If this were any other house and any other family the discovery might come as a revelation. But ours isn’t like any other house. At least any other house…

Read More Read More

A Visit from Dr. Soot’n Cinder

A Visit from Dr. Soot’n Cinder

LISTEN HERE Doctors Soot N’Cinder. Bob Balfoort (left) and Kurt Straub RALPH GARDNER, JR. Consider kindling – you know the stuff you start fires with – and its ability to sow marital discord? What promoted me to do so was last week’s hard frost and a visit from our friendly, local chimney sweep – Dr. Soot N’ Cinder. We happen to be fortunate in that we’re surrounded by trees and have an endless supply of twigs and fallen branches. That’s…

Read More Read More

Family Splitting

Family Splitting

LISTEN HERE Ralph Gardner Jr. (left) and Malcolm St. Clair cutting wood down to size You might ask yourself, as I did, where’s the silver lining to having a two-hundred year old oak tree come crashing down on your pool house? Besides, luckily, being covered by insurance? Or a huge limb from perhaps the oldest tree on the property call it quits across your front lawn? The silver lining is that you have enough firewood to get you through this…

Read More Read More

Gone Beagling

Gone Beagling

Master Beagler Jack Kingsley and several canine members of the Old Chatham Hunt Club CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR. LISTEN HERE   Last Sunday – the one with the high winds and torrential rains – might not sound like the best weather for beagling. That’s the sports where, to quote the website of the Old Chatham Hunt Club, the organization that sponsored the event, “a wily rabbit leads an eager pack of hounds through a whirlwind tour of the countryside.” But…

Read More Read More

Tea For Town

Tea For Town

Carrie Chen conducting a Chinese tea ceremony at Casana Tea House in Hillsdale,NY RALPH GARDNER, JR LISTEN HERE  Hillsdale, New York probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind as the setting for a Chinese tea ceremony. But Hillsdale is happening. There’s the brand new Casana Tea House where the ceremony was held last week. And right next door, connected by new concrete sidewalks on both sides of Route 23, is Matthew White’s HGS Home Chef, a sparkling kitchen…

Read More Read More

A Bittersweet Season

A Bittersweet Season

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  Ransom Hall, Kenyon College I shouldn’t be talking to you right now. I should be at parents weekend. That’s where you could have found me on this weekend, or thereabouts, for much of the last decade. We have two daughters, both now beyond college. They attended the same school in Ohio — Kenyon College — but there’s a five-year age difference so they didn’t overlap. That adds up to eight years dodging the…

Read More Read More

Visiting Consider Bardwell

Visiting Consider Bardwell

  Angela Miller at Consider Bardwell Farm I don’t know if it’s a sign of the growing sophistication and success of their operation, Obama era rules and regulations, or a combination of the two; but on a visit last weekend to the brining room at Consider Bardwell, our friend Angela Miller’s prize-winning goat cheese farm in West Pawlet, Vermont, I was required to scrub down and suit up almost as thoroughly as if I were about to perform open heart…

Read More Read More