Just Phyllisophy (150x67)By Phyllis Galowitz

The hummingbirds are back and those frisky chipmunks and red squirrels are just as anxious to get the sugar water from the feeder as the hummingbirds are. I don’t know what to do about keeping them away. I’ve heard of putting Vaseline on the pole, using a squirrel baffle; none of these seem to work, in my experience. My answer is just to feed all of them! They do provide me with a wonderful source of entertainment. I love watching the bird life in my backyard, through the glass doors next to the kitchen table. Just about 20 feet away is a bird house, where every year, new tenants reside while they bring their new offspring into the world. This year there’s a pair of nuthatches. I can’t see what’s going on inside. Have the babies hatched? There’s lots of activity as one keeps an eye on the house while the other one scouts for food. I love the fact that both the male and the female seem equally involved in preparing their babies to live in the world.

May has been a difficult month in the garden. We had unusually warm weather in early spring that hastened the growth of early flowers, only to be followed by freezing cold temperatures that made them droop or die completely. It was a bad season for forsythia and lilacs. They just didn’t flower. What a disappointment. The daffodils came and went with hardly time to enjoy them; however, the strong dandelions flourished.

My trip to the transfer station on Saturday morning is one of the highlights of the week; passing Argyle Farm with its beautiful lambs and goats and the well-trained dogs that guard them, barking at me when I stop my car to admire them. Next door are horses and a little farther along the road I have to stop again to admire the peaceful hill, with cows munching away, or lazily napping in the grass. A few chickens are cavorting back and forth, right next to the road. What keeps them from wandering onto the street?

The transfer station itself is attractive. You wouldn’t expect that of a place, which in some towns is called “the dump,” but here in Andes “the transfer station” is neat and clean, with different categories of what we discard carefully separated and housed in their appropriate bins. When I drive my car in, Chris, the caretaker, motions me to open my trunk and he removes the bagged weekly discarded “stuff” and carries the bags to the proper containers; not at all what I remember in other places that we’d bring our garbage to—usually huge, smelly, open piles with noisy birds hovering above, hoping for choice bits of food.

Then there’s the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville, another treat after dropping off the recyclables, where the pool is magnificent and there’s every type of fitness apparatus, all kinds of classes to keep one healthy and fit—I love that place.

Yes. We have it all, not to mention the sheer beauty of just getting from place to place, especially at this time of year, when every day something new is happening; another tree is leafing, blossoms are opening, wildflowers emerging. Gardens are waking. Color is everywhere!~