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!




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



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.



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





A Different Sort of Beach Walk at Little Stony Point


We’ve walked so many beaches, oceans and seas, continents, none quite like this one just a few miles from home, along the beloved Hudson River, a precious place to explore.

Best time is the early morning, during the week, as you might expect it becomes very populated on the weekends. This visit was on Wednesday September 7th.

Little Stony Point, part of the Hudson Highlands State Park is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Hudson Valley. Sadly the park is not cared for by the many visitors as much as Pete Seeger had, a frequent habitué who was know for always taking out a bag of litter. We did.

Though if you walk beyond the closest trails you’ll find the many unsullied magical spots as we’ve captured here. The  Little Stony Point Citizens Association does a lot to keep this place beautiful, but they could use all our help. If you do visit we hope you will.

diana-walking-back-if-you-come-to-a-fork-in-the-roadAt the entrance there is a fork in the trail and as Yoga Berra advised, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Either way the paths lead you to the river and the contemplative beaches.


Through the trees the sun glistens off the water.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-sandy-beachAnd entices you to broader views and placid spots to mediate.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-view-to-the-northTo the north. So exciting.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-view-to-the-southAnd the south. The view can be vast.

The further you walk the cleaner the park is. But do watch out for what some careless dog owners leave behind.


A stony path.


Stony dunes.


And a meadow.


A fire would be nice on a chilly night.


Gnarled roots. Look like slithering prehistoric snakes.


Pretty sand. We may bring our beach chairs next time.


Funny sites, does a bear live here?


Stony beach with inviting water.


Graffiti is dismaying, but I do love the words.


Magical light above the beach.

diana-walking-along-water-little-stony-pointYou can get lost in reflective reverie, with great joy and comfort.


Little Stony Point Citizens

Little Stony Point – Hike the Hudson Valley


The “GW Six Oh” a Very Special Hudson Valley Cocktail for a Very Special Birthday


We drank and ate and laughed and played,  a weekend of fun and friendship at cherished Long Beach Island Loveladies beach, with best friends Gail and Marc, part of a year long celebration of Gail’s 60th birthday.

Of course an original cocktail just for Gail Wagner was in order. “I love your cocktails,” were Gail’s words, “but they are too sweet for me.” Well ok, I can make dry cocktails, and crafted this Sherry Martini with Hudson Valley Tuthilltown Spirits Indigenous Fresh Pressed Apple Vodka, Lustau Almacenista Fino Sherry from, Artisan Wine Shop, Beacon, and the very fine 1830 Antoine Amédée Peychaud bitters, accented with raw almond stuffed black olives. The result … ” Yum!  Very delicious and not sweet!” called the GW Six Oh!

The recipe:

For each cocktail

2 oz  Tuthilltown Spirits Indigenous Fresh Pressed Apple Vodka

1/2 to 3/4 oz Lustau Almacenista Fino Sherry

Canned Pitted Black Olives Stuffed with Raw Almonds

3 drops of  Peychaud Bitters

  1. Chill a martini glass or four with ice and water or in your freezer
  2. Stuff a bunch of good black jumbo olives, the pitted kind in a can with raw almonds put two on a toothpick
  3. Add ice to a shaker and the vodka and sherry and shake well
  4. Let it sit for a moment as you empty the ice water from the cocktail glasses or   pull them from the freezer and place the stuffed olives in each glass
  5. Gently pour the cocktail over the olives and add three drops of the bitters
  6. Toast sip and smile

Blogs and Pages

My 60th Birthday Celebration

Tuthilltown Spirits

Made with 100% Hudson Valley apples grown at selected local orchards, it is so smooth and delicious.

Sherry and Vodka Available at

Artisan Wine Shop Beacon




Hudson River Sunset at Garrison Landing


The Beauty and Bounty of Boscobel


The Boscobel House has quite a history, a story that is created year after year with memories like these of the annual Big Band Concert and Sunset Picnic. This was the 16th. The Big Band tradition started with the turn of the 21st century. Seems like a long time ago but it is really just a fraction of Boscobel’s 200 year life, two centuries!

The event rings out the end of Summer with a night of festivity for young and old.


Picnics with one the most wonderful Hudson River views.


The event is attended by a full and happy crowd, dining, dancing and enjoying the Big Band sounds.


This is just one of the many events held here that include the Summer season of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, tours of the house and garden, a wonderful tangle of paths that we have walked often. Frances Stevens Reese Woodland trail

If you drive 9D between Garrison and Cold Spring you will certainly have noticed the deep green signboard announcing the many seasonal events.

boscobel-entrance-gate boscobel-entrance-sign boscobel-family-bonfire boscobel-fred-rich-sign boscobel-rhyme-time-sign

Boscobel House and Garden

We love Boscobel so much we named a cocktail in its honor. The Boscobel, a Fig Shrub Manhattan