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Life & Times

"Hummingbirds" teacher Cailey Bloomgarden-Bredin shows Elizabeth Hoffman, 5, a water creature found in Fire Pond during a summer camp session for 5-year-olds at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. 
Kevin Gutting photo/Adam Orth illustration

Learning naturally: Nature programs take the classroom outside

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

As he crested a densely wooded, moss-covered hill in the middle of Conway’s pine forest, Edwin Anderson, 13, of Greenfield yelled, “Wow, come and look at this!” At his call, a half-dozen other kids scrambled up the hill. Some dropped to their knees as they examined a huge brown mushroom protruding from the pine needles on the forest floor. Moments later, Frank Grindrod of Conway knelt in the middle of the group and began to inspect the fungal wonder. “See how it’s all shaggy on top and on the stipe? This is called ‘The Old Man of the Woods.’” he said. “Oh, and look at … 0

Hooked: Reporter David Rainville reels in a good time on the Quabbin Reservoir

Friday, August 22, 2014

The first rule of fishing in a rented boat on the Quabbin Reservoir is simple: get there early. Gate 31 off Route 122 in New Salem opens at 6 a.m. and that could already be too late depending on the day and the number of cars already in line when the lock comes … 0

What you need to know if you want to go fishing on the Quabbin Reservoir

Friday, August 22, 2014

NEW SALEM — If you want to rent a boat at the Quabbin Reservoir and spend the day on the water, you’ll need two things: cash and an alarm clock. Rentals start at 6 a.m. and it’s best to show up before the gate opens. Even on a weekday, it’s not unusual to see cars lining up before 5:30 a.m., since boats are … 0

Between the Rows: beans and squash and rabbits

Friday, August 1, 2014

Beans are among the most common vegetable crops. Because they are so common, perhaps we don’t think about the great variety of beans that we can grow and enjoy. Beyond string beans, we have shelly beans, long beans, … 0

Rise of the ‘usie’

Thursday, July 31, 2014

NEW YORK — What do you call a group selfie? An usie, of course! As in “us.” Pronounced uss-ee, rhymes with fussy. “Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies,” said … 0

Said and Done: Can a woodchuck swim? Sure!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

According to notes we have here on the building of the Quabbin Reservoir, the main dam was plugged in the summer of 1939 with an immediate effect on the trapped waters of the Swift River. People in the … 0

Speaking of Nature: Seaweed isn't a plant

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Some of my favorite summertime memories from my childhood revolve around visits to the ocean. I can remember wonderful trips to Cape Cod and the coast of Maine where it seemed that every sight, sound and smell was … 0

Trail Mix: nature activities in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Unusual Connecticut River Water Levels NORTHFIELD — On Thursday July 31, water levels in the Connecticut River between Turners Falls and Vernon, Vt., will be lower than usual. FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. is supporting TransCanada Hydro Northeast in … 0

Savoring The Seasons: It’s time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By MARY MCCLINTOCK It’s time... to make “thumb jam” by using your thumb to smash fresh-off-the-vine raspberries onto hot buttered toast. It’s time ... to sit chatting with a friend on the porch while cutting green beans into bite-sized pieces, then blanching and freezing them to enliven winter … 0

Between the Rows: Flowers, so many beautiful choices!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gardeners who want a flower garden usually want that flower garden to be in bloom all season long. There are different ways to do this. One way is to have different flower beds for different seasons. I have … 0

Between the Rows: You'll find this berry interesting

Friday, July 18, 2014

Elderberries and chokeberries are not as beautiful or familiar as spring’s strawberry, but these small, dark berries that ripen in late summer pack a nutritional wallop. I’ve known the elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) since childhood, but the chokeberry (Aronia … 0

Speaking of Nature: Bill's bumper crop of bluebirds

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

With mid-July behind us, it is now safe to say that the breeding season of our local songbirds is starting to wind down for the year. Some species, like the yellow warbler, may have already packed up for … 0

Voice of Aububon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Here are this week’s bird sightings from the Voice of Audubon for western Massachusetts. An Acadian flycatcher continues to be seen down from Gate 22 at the Quabbin Reservoir. Two young Orchard orioles were found in the East Meadows of Northampton. A lesser yellowlegs was in Northfield and … 0