Ralph Gardner Jr.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Visit From Dr. Soot 'N Cinder

11 hours ago
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Family Splitting

Nov 11, 2017

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?

Ralph Gardner Jr: Gone Beagling

Nov 5, 2017
Master Beagler Jack Kingsley and several canine members of the Old Chatham Hunt Club
Ralph Gardner Jr.

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.”

Ralph Gardner Jr: Tea For Town

Oct 28, 2017
Carrie Chen conducting a Chinese tea ceremony at Casana Tea House in Hillsdale,NY
Ralph Gardner, Jr

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Bittersweet Season

Oct 21, 2017
Ransom Hall, Kenyon College
Cbc717 / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Visiting Consider Bardwell

Oct 14, 2017
Angela Miller in the brining room at Consider Bardwell Farm
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

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 surgery.

Ralph Gardner Jr: The Tesla Of Chickens

Oct 7, 2017
Anna Hodson at Kinderhook Farm
Ralph Gardner, Jr

Does a pampered, pasture-raised, animal welfare approved, and all around well loved chicken taste better and is it healthier for you than your typical supermarket broiler? Is it worth paying multiples of the price for the former? Or is the enhanced flavor mostly a figment of your imagination?

candy
Ralph Gardner, Jr

On a visit to WAMC’s studio in Albany last week a friendly staffer offered me a marshmallow peep. I hesitated and finally had to reject her generosity.

Ralph Gardner Jr: A Master Gardener Offers His Diagnosis

Sep 23, 2017
Master Gardener Gerry Weber at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Thinking Of Tortola

Sep 16, 2017
Photograph of Lambert Beach, Tortola
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Getting Into A Jam

Sep 9, 2017
Ralph Gardner Jr. picking raspberries at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, NY
Ralph Gardner Jr.

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Traveling Beyond The Headlines

Sep 2, 2017
A memorial to victims of August's terrorist attack in Barcelona
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Grocery Shopping In Third Gear

Aug 12, 2017
Ralph Gardner's backup bike
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

The food scene in the Hudson Valley – forget the Hudson Valley, I just mean on our road – has become developed enough that we can purchase everything we need to make an excellent dinner during our Saturday morning ten-mile bike ride.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Dissecting August Light

Aug 5, 2017
Ralph Gardner Jr.

There’s something about August light that makes it superior to the light at any other time of year.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Going Overboard For Lobster

Jul 29, 2017
Pedro Leitao buys a hundred pounds of lobster for his annual Maine vacation
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Growing Local Hors d’Oeuvres

Jul 22, 2017
The first homegrown cherry tomato of the season with Hawaiian black lava salt and refreshments
Ralph Gardner Jr.

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Dodging The Raindrops At Tanglewood

Jul 15, 2017

I love Tanglewood. The problem is Tanglewood doesn’t love me back.

Joan K. Davidson, President Emeritus of the J.M. Kaplan Fund
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: City Vs. Country

Jul 1, 2017
Dancers at Sunset Park in Brooklyn
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

The question comes up often these days: Where would I rather live? The city or the country?

And the answer is… both.

Ralph Gardner Jr: One Less Carp

Jun 24, 2017
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Officer Jeffrey Cox
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

About a month ago I penned a commentary about the single fish in my pond – a grass carp. I suggested that I probably ought to give him a name because, after a number of years swimming around in solitude and growing to the approximate size of an ocean-going tuna, he’d assumed the status of a family pet.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Hunting For Hawthorne

Jun 17, 2017
An acquisition at the Kinderhook, NY Memorial Library book sale
Ralph Gardner, Jr.

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Planet Earth To Trump

Jun 10, 2017
Photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Communing With Camels

Jun 3, 2017

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?”

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Feed Your Hummingbirds

May 20, 2017
Homemade hummingbird nectar
Ralph Gardner, JR

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.

Ralph Gardner, Jr: A Fish With No Name

May 13, 2017
Grass Carp
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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Shooting Sporting Clays

May 6, 2017
Lucy Gardner shooting sporting clays
Ralph Gardner, JR

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Maintaining A Well Groomed Road

Apr 29, 2017
garbage
Ralph Gardner, JR

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.

Ralph Gardner Jr: Birding With An Expert

Apr 22, 2017
Elizabeth Grace examining a warbler nest
Ralph Gardner, JR

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 and her partner Elizabeth Grace.

Ralph Gardner JR: A Visit To Lover's Leap Farm

Apr 15, 2017
Curt Gobrecht at Lover's Leap Farm
Ralph Gardner, JR

Spring marks kidding season for goats.

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