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: an hour at the kitchen window

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It’s 6:43 on an early-January morning and I have taken up a position at the little writing desk next to my kitchen window. I am currently the only one awake in the house and I have decided to … 0

Trail Mix: nature activities in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 14, 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 limited. Please contact organizers to ensure you can attend. This … 0

What the heck is an album & why would I want one?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just before the turn of the 20th century, the gramophone record revolutionized the way the world listened to music. “Just having a disc that you could put on a turntable and play was probably the single biggest transformation … 1

Between the Rows: houseplants and nurseries

Friday, January 9, 2015

Some of us may have gotten a gift plant during the holidays. If we are not experienced indoor gardeners, this can cause some anxiety. “Now what do I do?” the recipient may wonder when the gift givers have … 0

Speaking of Nature: Birding

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

One of my favorite things to do on a cold winter’s morning is to get a cup of something warm to sip and then grab an old book off the shelf and lazily peruse its pages. The enjoyment … 0

Trail Mix: nature activities in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 7, 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 limited. Please contact organizers to ensure you can attend. This … 0

Voice of Audubon: bird sightings in western Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Here are some of this week’s bird sightings from Voice of Audubon for Western Massachusetts. A snowy owl is still being seen occasionally on the roof of the Smith & Wesson building off Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield. Rough-legged … 0

Book review: ‘The Sword and Scabbard’ by Allen Woods

Friday, February 6, 2015

By TINKY WEISBLAT Special to The Recorder “The Sword and Scabbard” by Allen Woods (Boston Heritage Publishing, 337 pages, $24.99) Allen Woods of Greenfield makes history come alive in unexpected ways in “The Sword and Scabbard.” Americans tend … 3

Lovers of vinyl have their reasons

Monday, December 22, 2014

What keeps people listening to vinyl records? Customers at John Doe Jr. Used Books and Records in Greenfield have their own reasons. “I’ve had a turntable for three years and I’m trying to build a jazz collection,” said Zack Finch of Williamstown. “The jazz world opens up when … 0

Between the Rows: ‘Digging Deep’

Friday, January 2, 2015

In her book “Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening” ($14.95), Fran Sorin makes the point that we are all creative creatures. Every baby ever born learns something new every day, laughs at something new every day. … 1