GREEN THOUGHTS: Mother Nature’s blushing beauty

DON’T GO BY WHAT PEOPLE TELL YOU, judge by what you see in the landscape. I learned this from the redbud. Some folks claim it isn’t hardy hereabouts, but take a look in Chatham, in Niverville, and along Schodack’s Brookview Road, and you’ll see them now, in full spring color mode. Normally blooming after the shadbush but before flowering dogwood, this crazy year they’re all overlapping, with the redbud the queen of the show.

While neither the buds nor the flowers are red on Cercis canadensis, it doesn’t matter, since their hot pink-purple-magenta hues hint that Mother Nature might have spent time as a showgirl. Initially shaped like miniature Christmas bulbs and covering each twig, branch and the smaller trunks, the buds open into small pea-like flowers. Since all this color happens well before the obscuring leaves emerge, redbuds can be identified a quarter-mile away. This makes a good pastime for us Yankees when we can travel south in April, since they’re common understory and woodland-edge trees from Pennsylvania all the way to Texas.

Redbud’s flash fades as spring rolls on, but it still retains charm. The overall habit ranges from vase-shaped to rounded, with the youngest branches exhibiting a distinct zig-zag growth pattern. The matte green leaves are heart-shaped, up to four inches across, and usually turn a handsome yellow-orange in autumn. The pea-like flowers yield pea-like pods that don’t prove to be as obnoxiously prolific as a maple’s. Growing to only perhaps 25 feet, it can fit into a small garden, in either a sunny or shady spot, in average soil. Read more…

COMMUNITY BRIEFS: May 7 through 14

Drive-by to donate food today

HUDSON—The Salvation Army Food Pantry conducts a Contactless Food Drive Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. to noon at 40 South Third Street.

Tables will be set up in front of the building. Donors can just drive by and drop off non-perishable food items. Call 518-822-1602 with any questions.

Rescued kittens wait for adoption at AnimalKind in Hudson.

AnimalKind needs auction donations

HUDSON—AnimalKind, 721 Warren Street, seeks items for its upcoming virtual auction, “Raise a Paw.” The event date has not yet been set.

AnimalKind plans an online auction to raise money for its rescue mission. They hope people will donate: services, art, vacation rentals, gift certificates, jewelry, antiques or any item that AnimalKind can sell at its auction. Contact: for donations and questions.

Email AnimalKind at: visit or write to: AnimalKind, P.O. Box 902, Hudson 12534. Read more…

LIBRARIES: Roe Jan, North Chatham, Hudson, Chatham

Roe Jan plans book group, in person or online

COPAKE—This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which made it illegal to deny suffrage on the basis of sex. To celebrate this anniversary, and to consider what the vote has and does mean in U.S. democracy, the Roeliff Jansen Community Library hosts a reading and discussion series on women’s suffrage, beginning June 9 at 6 p.m.

The group will read six books between June and August, and meet about every other week. Click here to see the reading list. The current plan is to meet in person at the library, 9091 Route 22, but if that is not possible, the meetings will move to Zoom. Read more…

SOFT PAWS: Find dog control officers, services during ‘Pause’

Meet Bailey, a 5-year-old Dutch shepherd who loves to run! She wants to be the queen of the household as she doesn’t get along with other animals… but she loves her people! Bailey’s favorite pastime–aside from hanging out with CGHS Adoption Counselor Alexa Caunitz–is playing with tennis balls for hours. Photo contributed.

 AS SPRING BLOSSOMS BEAUTIFULLY, not all of our or our neighbors’ pooches understand what “stay in place” means! Below, you’ll find valuable contact information for dog control officers in each municipality across the two counties we serve. If you have a lost dog or have spotted one, these are the folks to call. A reminder that cases of abandonment, neglect, abuse or cruelty are not under the jurisdiction or authority of dog control officers, and must be reported to law enforcement authorities.

A special note: It is with deep regret that we must send our best wishes to one of our finest dog control officers in Columbia County, Wes Powell, who laid down his official leash and duties at the end of March. The animal savvy, expertise, and caring that he exhibited during his many years of tenure as a DCO for multiple municipalities was unparalleled and appreciated beyond measure. There are so many people who can never be replaced… and Wes, you are one of them! Thank you!

Below the list you’ll find some new information pertinent to our ongoing services at the shelter during the current restrictions. Read more…

THROUGH THE WOODS: Golden spring

SPRING IN COLUMBIA COUNTY abounds in the color yellow, which is a perfect welcome for a season of joy. Winter, we hope, is finally gone. The yellow flowers to be found along the roadsides and in wet ditches now are spice bush, dandelion, coltsfoot and marsh marigold (cowslip) to name a few.

When we were kids we scouted the wet areas in our south meadow until we found the emerging marsh marigolds, commonly called cowslips. Our mother told us that years ago there were few or no greens to eat during winter, so people looked forward to eating cowslips in spring. If there were enough of them and would not deplete the source she would cook up a batch for us to eat. They contain a toxin (glycoside protoanemonin, which is destroyed by heat) so cowslips must always be cooked well to be eaten. We didn’t try this, but the buds can be cooked, pickled and used as a substitute for capers. Read more…