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Warm havens in a cold world

  • Leigh Morrell of Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods together to form a chandelier.  <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    Leigh Morrell of Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods together to form a chandelier.
    Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • <br/>Kayla Zalewski and Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Conn., take pictures of butterflies in the warm, tropical air at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield.   <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz


    Kayla Zalewski and Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Conn., take pictures of butterflies in the warm, tropical air at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield.
    Recorder/Paul Franz

  • <br/>Kyle Spooner of Conway tends the fire at the El Jardin Bakery in Deerfield, where they start a fire first thing in the morning, bringing the temperature up all day to heat the brick oven, then baking all night as it cools.  <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz


    Kyle Spooner of Conway tends the fire at the El Jardin Bakery in Deerfield, where they start a fire first thing in the morning, bringing the temperature up all day to heat the brick oven, then baking all night as it cools.
    Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Kayla Zalewski and her fiance Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Ct, take pictures of butterflies in the war tropical air in the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    Kayla Zalewski and her fiance Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Ct, take pictures of butterflies in the war tropical air in the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Leigh Morrell of Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods together to form a chandelier.  <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • <br/>Kayla Zalewski and Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Conn., take pictures of butterflies in the warm, tropical air at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield.   <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • <br/>Kyle Spooner of Conway tends the fire at the El Jardin Bakery in Deerfield, where they start a fire first thing in the morning, bringing the temperature up all day to heat the brick oven, then baking all night as it cools.  <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Leigh Morrell of Morell Metalsmiths in Colrain forge welds several rods togehter to make a chandelier by poundiing the hot softened metal together.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Kayla Zalewski and her fiance Mike Passamano of East Haddam, Ct, take pictures of butterflies in the war tropical air in the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield.  Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD aka FROSTBITE FALLS — Baby, it’s cold outside, like we’re preparing for a fringe-freeze festival production of “The Iceman Cometh.”

So with overnight temperatures in Greenfield forecast at one point to plunge to a record minus-27 Fahrenheit, the question on warmth-seeking minds is: “Got heat?”

Shelburne glassblower Josh Simpson had heat, working with furnace temperatures of 2,100 degrees on Friday, although he wasn’t necessarily dressed for the cold, with protective layers of fire-resistant clothing. “You do get awfully hot,” he noted.

In fact, he said, “The glass is so hot it will burn your skin, and even your clothes will catch on fire if you’re closer than about 8 inches. So even in the summer, I’m pretty well covered. ”

Simpson was also heating the furnace up to 2,300 degrees to melt sand, soda ash and lime to make minerals for new glass-making on Monday, with a vent “like a giant window” in the top of the barn.

“It’s just a little cooler than an old incandescent light bulb,” he said.

The outdoor low predicted by late Friday was minus-19 degrees, and that would be close to the 20-year Greenfield record low of minus-21, set on three January dates in 1994. Next coldest was minus-20 in 1988.

In Deerfield, Mike Passamano looked practically Hawaiian as he walked around Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in Deerfield with his girlfriend Kayla Zalewski and her parents.

“We’ve been here about three years in a row, usually on the worst day,” said Passamano, dressed in cutoff shorts and a flowered cotton aloha shirt as the Haddam, Conn., visitors walked through the 75 or 80 degree emporium festooned with fluttering butterflies and flowering plants from the museum’s greenhouses (also 75 to 80 degrees, courtesy of wood chips and oil.) “It’s worth the drive. It’s like going to the Bahamas, and it’s only an hour and a half drive.”

Nearby, Donna Porter of Albany, N.Y., was enjoying the butterflies — and the balmy temps — along with her 6-year-old son, Alex, while visiting her mother-in-law in Heath. While her bigger kids went off to ski at Berkshire East, she opted for a warmer outing.

“It’s the perfect place to get out and look at stuff,” she said.

And the perfect day to do it to, agreed Tracy Adamski of Northampton, as she watched a tortoise with her 3-year-old son, Simon.

Nearby, at El Jardin Bakery, Kyle Spooner was tending the wood fire — up to 827 degrees in mid-afternoon and on its way up to over 1,000 degrees in preparation for bread baking after 1 a.m.

“It’s a nice little oven,” Spooner said, basking in the dry heat of the bakery, even though “little” hardly describes an oven big enough to handle 45 loaves. “It’s hot but not unbearable.”

Farther down Routes 5 and 10, Jenn Selivanoff was tending the front desk at the Red Roof Inn, where the heated indoor pool’s 82-degree temperature was awaiting any takers. Some were planning to hop in after check-in, including overnight guests from Bernardston and Agawam wanting to get away from the cold.

“I went in last night,” said Selivanoff, who’s from Northfield. “It was fabulous.” She even brought Mercedes and Brady, her 5-year-old and 2-year-old, who love looking out the windows at the snow while they’re in the hot pool.”

If a large indoor pool isn’t hot enough for you, as Selivanoff said it has been recently for locals from Orange, Colrain, Hadley and Conway, then how about a hot tub?

Jody Suhl, manager of A New Face day spa in Greenfield, said that nobody was taking advantage of the 102-degree outdoor hot tub Friday, but that after the overnight chill, she expects people to make reservations for today. The outdoor tub accommodates up to eight people.

Of course, some greenhouses around Franklin County were also cranking out the heat Friday — to different degrees.

At Pioneer Gardens in Deerfield, temperatures in the greenhouses ranged from about 40 degrees to about 70 degrees, as co-owner Arjen Vriend walked a visitor through rows and rows of trays of plants in various stages of dormancy and propagation. It wasn’t until midway through half a dozen greenhouses, though, with coral bells preparing for a warmer future, that our glasses began to fog over, obscuring the bleak winter landscape outdoors, where temperatures barely made it into double digits and ice floes on the Deerfield River added to the Arctic feel.

At Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain, blacksmith Leigh Morrell was working a 2,600-degree coal forge, hammering into shape part of what will become a six-arm basket chandelier after forge welding it from seven iron pieces in an intense, but controlled fire that was enough to melt away any thoughts of outdoor cold.

You can reach Richie Davis at: rdavis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, Ext. 269

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