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Neighbors: Enjoy a local winter wonderland

Hello neighbor.

Those of you who cross-country ski or snowshoe probably already know about or have been to Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area on Route 63 in Northfield.

For those of you thinking about taking up either sport, this local gem, which happens to be in our own backyard, is a great place to go with its 25 miles of carriage-width cross-country ski trails and six miles of snowshoeing trails.

There are rolling cross-country beginner trails, scenic intermediate trails and demanding 800-foot vertical climbs up the 1,206-foot mountain for those of you who are more adventuresome.

You can rent skis there or bring your own, and there are ski instructors to teach the more serious.

There’s a base-area yurt, a lounge lunch room where you can enjoy your packed lunch and a weekend trail-side warming hut.

The mountain, which is owned by FirstLight Power, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The trail fee is $12 a day and adult rentals are $14 for the day.

January is jam-packed with fun winter activities there.

There’s moonlight snowshoeing, a bald eagle program and a bread-making workshop, to name a few. Call Northfield Mountain at 413-659-3714 for more information or visit: www.firstlightpower.com/northfield/ccski.asp.

NORTHFIELD MOUNTAIN will also host “Eagles in Winter: Quabbin Reservoir” at the Quabbin Reservoir Visitors Center in Belchertown on Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for ages 12 and older. The program is free to the public and will cover where eagles go in the winter and why and what challenges they face prior to returning to their nests in the late winter.

You’ll be able to visit the Quabbin’s Enfield Lookout to search for eagles and other wildlife with Jim Lafley and Northfield Mountain’s Kim Noyes. First there will be a short walk and then it will be indoors for Dale Monette’s presentation on the state’s successful eagle restoration program and the fascinating life history of the bald eagle.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

THE UNITED CHURCH OF BERNARDSTON’S first Second Saturday Roast Beef Supper of 2014 will be Saturday at the church at 58 Church St. There will be two seatings at 5 and 6:15 p.m. The price is $10 for adults and walk-ins are welcome and seated as space allows. To reserve a seat, call 413-648-9306. It’s all you can eat until they run out.

ON JAN. 22 at 6:30 p.m., a film will be shown that asks the question, “Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?”

It covers genetically modified crops and the health of all living things — future generations that were put at risk by an infant technology, according to Jeffrey M. Smith, who made the film narrated by Lisa Oz. It will be shown in St. James Church Parish Hall at the corner of Federal and Church streets in Greenfield. You can enter via the parking lot side door.

Greening Greenfield will sponsor the film.

The event is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted. Light refreshments will be served and a discussion will follow the film.

For more information, call 413-773-5165.

LAST MONTH I GAVE YOU SOME TIPS on how to keep your pets safe during the holidays. Well, Candy Lash of Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society recently wrote me with some tips for keeping them safe and happy throughout the cold winter months now and ahead.

Despite their furry coats, domesticated animals depend on us for protection from the elements, so don’t leave them outdoors in freezing temperatures. Take them out to do their business and bring them back in immediately. And, short-hair dogs may need a sweater.

Also remember that wind chill can threaten an animal’s life no matter the temperature.

Outdoor pets need to be kept dry and draft-free. If they live in a doghouse, which they should during the winter, the floor should be raised a few inches and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should also be turned to face away from the wind and the doorway should be covered with a flap of heavy, waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Companion animals who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes their energy. Also, make sure they have plenty of water — and if they are outdoors, make sure it hasn’t frozen.

Use plastic bowls for your outdoor pets, because their tongues can stick to and freeze to metal ones in cold temperatures.

Also, make sure your de-icing chemicals are stored safely and not out where your pet can get into them. Remember that salt and other chemicals used to melt snow can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet, and antifreeze is deadly to your pet, so wipe up spills and keep it out of their reach.

If you are concerned that an animal may not have proper care or shelter, call animal control in your town or MSPCA Law Enforcement at 800-628-5808. All calls are confidential and may be made anonymously.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: franklincountyneighbors@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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