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

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 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

“Avo-Nice Friday,” a poem by F.D. Kindness

Friday, January 16, 2015

“Avo-Nice Friday” For a cashier who writes, the goods people buy can be springboard to poetry. Not the everyday ham and cheese on rye, nor the standard coffee and Bath bun, but fancy named sandwiches, or the curious coupling in one bag of banana, cantaloupe, and red onion … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Valentine’s Day Poetry Event at the Co-op

Friday, January 16, 2015

Maybe you love chocolate. Or you love locally cultured cheeses, oranges shipped from organic groves in Florida, or leafy green kale grown in a hilltown right around the corner. Maybe you love sitting down with a friend for … 0