Life & Times

Recorder reporter David Rainville has a moment of unsteadiness on cross country skis while coming down a small hill towards a Recorder photographer. Recorder/Micky Bedell

Leg work

Friday, February 27, 2015

Growing up an avid alpine skier, I used to watch middle-aged folks mush along the flats on cross-country skis and think “boy, that looks easy.” When I clicked into a pair of cross-country skis earlier this month, I found my earlier sentiments completely unfounded. Photographer Micky Bedell and I went to Stump Sprouts in Hawley to learn to cross-country ski. … 0

Between the Rows: Gardening for butterflies

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bill Benner is a man with many strings to his bow, but they all play tunes of the natural world and its fragility. He will be talking about the natural world, climate change and the impact it has on our own part of Massachusetts at Greenfield Community College’s Senior Symposium on March 10. … 0

‘Hurricane Island’ offers tense mix of political critique, gripping narrative

Friday, February 27, 2015

“Hurricane Island” by Ellen Meeropol (Red Hen Press, 314 pages, $16.95) I’m not really a thriller reader. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I read the political thriller “Hurricane Island” in one day. This second novel by Ellen Meeropol of Easthampton is so packed with suspense that it converted me to the genre, … 0

Kids & Critters: the gray squirrel

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Last weekend was really interesting. Saturday was snowy, Sunday was sunny and “warm,” and then we got a huge snowstorm on Monday. I don’t know about you, but I was very glad to have a day off of … 0

Trail Mix: nature activities in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Editor’s Note: Listings in Trail Mix are free. Email 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 limited. Please contact organizers to ensure you can attend. This … 0

Savoring the Seasons: Perfect for a cold day

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

By MARY MCCLINTOCK Hooray for the folks who heeded my call for recipes a few weeks ago! Several readers have sent me recipes that I’ll share in the weeks ahead. One of those kind souls is Sandy Thomas of Greenfield, who sent me the two recipes below last … 0

Between the Rows: White flowers bring cool serenity

Friday, January 30, 2015

As I look out at the newly white fields, I cannot help but think about the white flowers that bloom in the spring. There are so many, from shrubs to tall perennials and low-blooming groundcovers. White flowers bring … 0

Book review: “Bitter Crossing” by D.A. Keeley

Friday, January 30, 2015

By TINKY WEISBLAT Special to The Recorder “Bitter Crossing” by D.A. Keeley (Midnight Ink, 408 pages, $14.95) We are in the ideal time of year to curl up by the fire with a good mystery novel and in … 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 … 0

Book review: ‘Mending Horses’ by M. P. Baker

Friday, January 23, 2015

By TINKY WEISBLAT Special to The Recorder “Mending Horses” by M. P. Barker (Holiday House, 320 pages, $17.95) “Mending Horses” may be the best book I have reviewed in the past year. M. P. Barker’s young-adult novel is … 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