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Life & Times

Mary Jo Maffei of Shutesbury stops to take a drink of water while snowshoeing with her dog Walter in the woods behind her home Friday January 9.

‘There is a sacred quality to it’

Friday, January 23, 2015

Several times a week during the winter months, Mary Jo Maffei steps into her snowshoes and heads out the back door of her Shutesbury home and off along a trail that was cut by her son. The red-blazed trail, which the family calls the Quackenbush Connector, leads uphill into a forest of hemlock, maple and birch. She hikes quickly, usually … 0

Strap on & Go!

Friday, January 23, 2015

“Put a pair of snowshoes on,” says Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center manager William Gabriel, “and you can go just about anywhere.” For those looking for more specific locations, however, here are a few: DAR State Forest, 78 Cape St., Route 112, Goshen, 268-7098, http://tinyurl.com/qy99cuj Skinner State Park, 10 Skinner State Park Road, Hadley, 586-0350, http://tinyurl.com/mfoknft Mount Holyoke Range State Park, The … 0

Between the Rows: Conifers, a large and versatile family

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pines, firs, junipers, spruces and others are all conifers, cone-bearing evergreen trees. Within this large family there are many sizes, from low-growing ground covers to very tall trees, with many types of foliage and many foliage colors from green to blue-green to gold. Evergreens like pines, firs and spruces have needles, while junipers, … 0

Speaking of Nature: Tufted titmouse tilts total

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back on Jan. 8, I confessed that I am a compulsive list-keeper when it comes to birds. I keep daily lists in my red field journal and next to that I keep a single sheet of paper that … 0

Voice of Audubon: bird sightings in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Here are some of this week’s bird sightings from Voice of Audubon for western Massachusetts. A golden eagle and two Bohemian waxwings were found in Williamstown. A Barrow’s goldeneye, lesser black-backed gull, Iceland gull and glaucous gull were seen at Turners Falls. An Iceland gull was reported in … 0

Dave Barry's Year in Review

Friday, January 2, 2015

It was a year of mysteries. To list some of the more baffling ones: ∎ A huge airliner simply vanished, and to this day nobody has any idea what happened to it, despite literally thousands of hours of … 0

Pursing grace on the ice at Collins/Moylan Arena

Friday, January 16, 2015

As I laced up my skates and took to the ice, I felt both trepidation and unnaturally stiff. I peered down at my feet. My ankles were leaning in toward each other, my feet riding the edges of … 0

Far Cry: Anika Balaconis’ sci-fi zine offers a home planet for the thoughtful, the weired

Friday, January 9, 2015

“The advisor approached Gene slowly, its antennae and mouth pincers working, its body seemed hesitant, as a dog sniffing a new person. Slowly, again, Gene sprayed “report” and then, on a hunch, sprayed “carry away.” The advisor stroked … 0

Trail Mix: nature activities in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Editor’s Note: Listings in Trail Mix are free. Email outdoor@recorder.com. The deadline is Tuesday by 8 a.m. Questions? Call 413-772-0261 ext. 276. Weather may cancel or force the rescheduling of some of these events. Additionally, space is often … 0

Speaking of Nature: The European starling

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My wife and I sometimes play a game called “time travel.” This is usually something we do in the car, or possibly even at restaurants while we enjoy a glass of wine. The whole idea is to explain … 0

Between the Rows: Broadleaf Evergreens

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rhododendrons are probably the largest group of broadleaf evergreens that are familiar to most of us. They can play a big part in adding substance and interest in the garden during the winter. I do confess it took … 0

Dreaming of Vinyl

Monday, December 22, 2014

Scott Seward spent a lot of time during the 1980s and ’90s rooting around the basements of perfect strangers, looking for something valuable to feed his addiction. Seward didn’t have a drug or alcohol habit — he was … 0

Model who says Cosby sexually abused her meets with police

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

LOS ANGELES — A model who claims Bill Cosby drugged and sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion met with Los Angeles police on Wednesday to pursue criminal charges against the comedian over the 2008 incident. An attorney … 0