The Joy of Bird Feeding

Birds are some of the most wonderful manifestations of nature; they are characterized by endless variety and diverse personalities. I’ve always loved spotting and watching birds, a pleasure that was rekindled upon joining the board of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society this spring.  With some work, I have been rewarded with a perpetual show viewed from my living room and deck. Here are some tips for happy bird feeding:

Choosing a Feeder

There are many types and sizes of feeders, easily found online or in local stores. (One such store, located in Tilson, New York, near Rosendale, is the Tilson Birdwatchers Country Store.) Some feeders are more decorative than functional, and some are poorly made. I’ve found that functional feeders produced by a well-known company are best.  Keep in mind where the feeder will be placed: hung from a tree, on a pole, or on a hanger from a wall or fence. You’ll want a feeder that has good capacity, as hungry spring and summer birds can consume a lot of seed. Hang your feeder in an easy-to reach-place.

Choosing Seed

Good-quality birdseed produced for the Northeast region will attract a greater variety of birds. Watch out for seed that has become moldy.  A great source of seed is PHAS’s annual birdseed sale, coming up soon.


Squirrels are hungry too, and they are extremely ingenious at getting onto bird feeders. There are a lot of tips online about how to prevent squirrels from raiding feeders, but it is often a futile effort. Some people just give in and throw seed on the ground for the squirrels. I have found that creating a barrier with chicken wire is pretty effective. Another downside is that birds can be messy, littering the ground with cracked seed shells or bits they don’t like. Some cleaning up is necessary but is worth the effort.


Birds are an essential part of our natural ecosystem; they help everything else survive. They are also beautiful and entertaining to watch. This was our third summer here in the Hudson Valley and our first feeding the birds. I was amazed at how many more birds came to visit us and feed and grow.



Enjoy the endless spectacle of overwintering birds of all shapes and sizes by putting up a bird feeder and watching them in the comfort of your own home. The beautiful autumnal display in the Hudson Valley is a signal for bird lovers to start cleaning out and putting up feeders. It is also time for PHAS’s Fall birdseed sale. We hope you will support this fundraiser, which also benefits our feathered friends.  We sell only high-quality clean birdseed without fillers.

An order form can be found on the PHAS website:

Orders should be sent in by Monday, October 16, with pickup on Saturday, October 21, from 9 A.M. to noon, at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center. Audubon birders will be available to provide advice on feeder placement and birdseed choices.


A Winter Walk on School Mountain Road Hubbard Perkins Conservation Area

In the 1800s, this land was worked by tireless farmers, miners and timber men. Vestiges of their presence are like ghosts of a bygone error.  The historical traits like these make every one of the 22 Hikes in Philipstown a lesson of the past and add to their natural pleasures. We’ve now hiked 15 of the 22, each has its own story to tell. Continue reading A Winter Walk on School Mountain Road Hubbard Perkins Conservation Area


I’ve Been Terribly Remiss – But Have Lot’s to Share

Is it just the winter months, or some astrological influence, that lead to my ennui. The days seem so short, who wants to be gazing into a computer screen any longer after a day of work The early dark evenings are hardly inspiring.

Nonetheless, we’ve had lots of adventures and pleasures and so many pictures to share. So stay with me.

Some of what I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks include jaunts in and around Hubbard-Perkins Conservation Area in Philipstown and Poets Walk in Rhinebeck. Such fascinating places with remnants and vestiges of the farming and commerce that thrived here over a century ago.

We’ve now walked 15 of the 22 Hikes in Philipstown. And have noticed how popular the Arden Point/Marcia’s Mile trails near our home have become.

Dining has meant many return visits to what have become our favorites on the east bank of the Hudson like Doug’s Dogwood, Ziatun, Quinn’s and Kitchen Sink.

And new places charming Juanita’s Kitchen in Nelsonville which we like a lot.

The new Beacon Hotel Restaurant an exciting spot with a very enticing menu.

and Hudson Valley Brewers, John-Anthony Gargiulo’s thriving place.

And more trips across the Hudson to Newburg for Newburg Brewery, Ms. Fairfax, which we adore and others.

I’ve got a least 20 new articles to post so stay tuned!




Palate Wines and Spirits Newburgh NY


We’ve been very curious about the buzz on what’s happening in Newburgh to revitalize this once vibrant city.  Having passed through town on our way north or south on 9W, Visited the waterfront, and gotten mixed messages.

A little research for an afternoon jaunt brought us to charming Liberty Street home of  Ms. Fairfax,  Washington’s Headquarters, Wherehouse bar and a new Bistro, Liberty Street.


If I was opening a wine store it would be very much like this.


Wines and liquors I love with reasonable prices.

Opened in May of last year by former Brooklynite Philippe Pierre who carefully selects every bottle here. The shop is small but adequately diverse, you can be confident you’ll enjoy the wines you’ll find here. In fact, I expect to be back for a case in a couple of weeks, and I was.

We found two wines from Puglia we really loved. A Fiano and a Primativo.

Trip to Puglia 

Palate Wines & Spirits

115 Liberty St, Newburgh, NY 12550
(845) 419-8466


A Fall Hike Up Sugarloaf Hill


Fallen leaves present a new beauty and longer vistas on the high hills like Sugarloaf in Hudson Highlands State Park. Our 13th of the 22 Philipstown hikes.

A interesting historic area from the entry point off route 9D near Garrison Institute. You’ll pass old farms and barns and catch views of the magical Osborne Castle Rock and remnants of ancient stone walls and carriage trails.


The trail starts easily with long views of farm meadows and hills far beyond, across the river.


Following the red marked trail you’ll come across a pretty restored gazebo with a place to lunch or simply refresh. Please be sure to take out waste.

sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-gazebo-view sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-gazebo-view-seat

Keep walking and you come to a beautiful pond held in place by a wall of men’s labor.

sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-reflection-pond sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-reflection-pond-trees

Further up the trail goes from moderate to somewhat difficult but takes you above Castle Rock and with no leaves a beautiful view.

It was a gray cloudy day so capturing great photos was a little challenging. These have been computer enhanced for beauty.

sugar-loaf-woods-high sugar-loaf-woods-high-hiking

The red trail intersects with a blue trail that goes over the mountain and down to route 9 by 403.


In the distance you can see the gazebo there. We walked that trail last spring, called White Rock Walk I believe.


Heading back we passed a stone marker like those you find at the entrance of Arden Point trail.


And enjoyed more views.

sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-meadow-viewl sugarloaf-hill-philipstown-meadow-view-long-distance

Sugarloaf Hill Hike



Doug’s Pretty Good Pub, Is a Lot More than Pretty Good


Our fourth visit to Doug Price’s heart-warming, Cold Spring, local bar that brings steady pleasure for those looking for a welcoming old school place to have a good glass of beer and some flavorful bar food in a relaxed comfortable setting.

We met Doug this time and learned that we might have been shoulder to shoulder in one of our favorite old Tribeca, NY bars of the early 80’s like good old Puffy’s or Barnabas Rex.  We worked and played down there, oh what fond memories.  It is sure different now.

Doug’s place brings back those great feelings in a place that has been a bar since the 1800’s. It has that beautiful old atmosphere but is current with great local craft beers…


and fresh tasty well made bar food. Like this crisp garden salad.


Three types of chicken wings.


And several delicious burgers, this is the classic. The unique Japan Burger, and the Bleu, Swine and Tears are favorites. The burger  options span the glob with flavor, and don’t worry there is a vegetarian burger too. There is more on the menu check out the website below.


Of course Guinness is always on tap.


Doug’s Pretty Good Pub

54 Main Street Cold Spring, NY 10516


Highlands Current Article

Tribeca Memories



Amazing Double Rainbow Over Garrison Landing

amazing-rainbow-garrison-landing-ny-2Our precious home on Garrison’s Landing has perpetual front row seats to an ever changing display of exciting natural beauty.

Yesterday after a day of scattered sun beams, clouds and showers we were treated to a rare and fortuitous double rainbow.

I’ve never seen such a rainbow before. Seers and tellers of folklore say that Double Rainbows are a symbol of transformation and a sign of good fortune. They bring good luck.

amazing-rainbow-garrison-landing-nyHard to capture by camera, but trust me a truly remarkable and inspiring site.

amazing-rainbow-garrison-landing-ny-3The trees lit like fire by the sun against the dark gray sky.



Thanksgiving Cocktails are a Generational Tradition


That we carry on from our parents to our children.

This year’s cocktails.

Fall Figroni

love the flavors of dried fruits in the fall, love figs all year round, best when they’re fresh but much more richly flavorful when dried.

To make this cocktail I muddled sliced California Calimyrna Dried Figs in an ounce and a half of the vermouth in a cocktail stiring pitcher, let that sit and marinate for awhile.   Then add very good ice, an ounce and a half of a mild gin and an ounce of a wonderful Amaro, Cynar.

The gin we purchased at Palate Wine and Spirits in Newburgh

Also सफेदgroni Bianaca Negroni


Inspired by Indian cuisine, flavored with Cardamom this white Negroni called by the Hindu,  सफेद, Saphed, or Italian Bianca it tests the boundaries of what rightfully can be called a  Negroni. Yes purists would protest loudly but we love this drink nonetheless.

Created with a very smooth and harmonious Catskill Distilling Company Peace Vodka More



Walking Meditation in the Garrison Institute Labyrinth


On a walk on the Glyncliffe Loop we found a side path which took us around the north side of the Garrison Institute property and came across the gate to the former monastery’s walled garden where a beautifully meditative labyrinth grows.

It was built and dedicated 10 years ago and is discretely open to the public.


I learned much about the magical power of labyrinths from our dear friend Garrison artist Diana Carulli who has created many beautiful public labyrinths. In an article discussing her work in Union Square she shared how walking a labyrinth brings focus and clarity and said “It clears thoughts…it gives insight to walk in that way,” she also expressed “the labyrinth has a multitude of functions, from being a work of art and a method of meditation to an efficient use of space for people to exercise when the lines of the labyrinth are followed.” The Villager 


Walking meditation here is with “ritual and contemplative significance going back to neolithic times.”  This labyrinth “is a living reminder of the spiraling, interconnected, organic, vital community that has grown up around the Institute”, where people work together  “to create transformative change.” Garrison Institute. Something that is truly needed in times like we face today.

You can see more about Diana Carulli Labyrinths here:  East River Reflections





Enjoying Newburgh, Amazing Dinner at Liberty Street Bistro


Since we moved to the Hudson Valley almost two years ago we’ve had many wonderful meals, so many great places to enjoy, yet this dinner, on quiet historic Liberty Street in the up and coming revival city of Newburgh, has been our very best so far.

We had the pleasure of meeting Chef/Owner Michael Kelly who looks too young to be this good, yet the rich flavors and purity of his finespun cuisine comes from years of the often grueling hard work to become a graduate of CIA and gain the incomparable experience he has won under a veritable Who’s Who of New York City restaurateurs.

The comfortable welcoming vibe that greets you here also comes from Micheal’s passionate Hudson Valley roots, and community spirit.


The dining room and bar are nicely separated giving a distinct identity to each. Towards the back is another dining area that has a view of the well appointed and deeply staffed kitchen.


The pleasant to the eyes old world Edison like lighting sadly did not illuminate well for my photos of the food but here you go.

liberty-street-bistro-beef-tartare-caper-dijon-carrot-pesto-framedBeef Tartare, Raw Egg,  Capers, Dijon Moutardes, and a Carrot Green Pesto with perfect bread. It tasted fresh, delicious, safe, and wholesome.

We paired the entire meal with a lovely Willamette Valley, Oregon Pinot Noir called Whole Cluster from the very well chosen wine list.

Kelly’s cuisine is as he describes “contemporary American” with  “classic French-influence” done  “in a modern and simple style”  that embraces “the community, culture, and bounty of the Lower Hudson Valley.”

A rather humble expression for what are actually extraordinarily balanced yet highly complex creations.


We have tasted the very best of Pates in and from France and from American makers and must say that this Pate de Campagne with Testa, a seed coating, Cornichon Pickles, Mustard, Fennel, Greens Chiffonade and Cured Ham, was very possibly the best we have ever tasted.

The cold appetizers came quickly and we were allowed a nice period of time to enjoy, finishes and breath. The main courses came in due time, thankfully not rushed.  They were…


A Duck Confit Strudel, with Lacinato Kale, Fingerling Potaotes, and Eggplant. And…


Pan Roasted Chicken, Mashed Celeriac, French Lentils, a spectacular Jus. and a medley of other vegetable accents. Perfect! The Jus was amazing, but we would have liked more Celeriac.

The thing about Michael Kelly’s cuisine it is that it is slightly exotic yet very familiar and comfortable. The ingredient/flavor guessing game we always play was challenging, exciting and pleasingly surprising.

And we should mention the staff is attentive and congenial, very purposeful to your dining experience.

To close our meal we enjoyed this…


Liberty Street Bistro Sweet Cornbread and House Made Ice Cream with a wonderful warm and cold contrast.

A very happy meal it was.


Liberty Street Bistro

7 Liberty Street, Newburgh, NY