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On The Trail
Two mature, longbeard gobblers are caught on camera doing battle at a secluded Montville, Maine, farm. Such battles are now common here in Franklin County, too. It's that time of year when toms are jockying for dominace and gathering springtime harems. The above battle was robust, covering more than 100 yards, matching opponents the photographer has known and named over the past three or four years. Within minutes of the spirited bout's conclusion, the two birds rejoined the single hens they had seperately arrived with, then stayed in the same field not far apart ignoring each other. Call it a rite of spring.
Submitted photo

On The Trail: Turkey talk and housecleaning

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Full Corn-Planting Moon is building as the landscape greens, turkeys gobble and shotguns roar from distant hills. Yes, it’s spring turkey season, a fine time of year for a man so inclined. And, word out of Montville, Maine, indicates the time is ripe. But first a brief diversion — the first of two little housecleaning chores from last week, … 0

On The Trail: Splashback

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do rivers speak? Well, if you listen. Cool, sunny Sunday morning, 10-ish, variable wind gusting to stir small, random oak-leave tornados out in the open along the north wood line of a closed, two-acre meadow. A splendid day for a walk with the dogs — nose-dominant beasts that rely on winds to deliver information that can quickly accelerate their pace. Descending the earthen … 0

On The Trail: Springtime buzz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Illuminated in a high, bright morning sun, it and a refreshing south breeze in my face, there it lay, clear as day: my trodden trail carved into a short March-brown hayfield, the thin, angled depression still easily discernible after a long, cold, snowy winter freeze, no foot-traffic I’m aware of in quite a while. I myself hadn’t taken that familiar route for months, … 0

On The Trail: Lessons learned

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There’s something about flowing water that I find liberating, metaphorical to human thought and emotion — be it the rattle or roar, foaming riffles descending into roily runs and step pools, the gentle swirl of frothy eddies. All of the above are likely spots for lurking trout when … 0

On The Trail: Hermit tales

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mention in last week’s “Fish tales” column of a haggard roadside hermit familiar to travelers earlier in my lifetime along Route 5 and 10 between Greenfield and South Deerfield drew additional anecdotal information from near and far that’s worth reporting. The feedback started right off last Thursday morning, … 0

On The Trail: Fish tales

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The cardinals have been singing their happy song this week, brightening my outdoor morning chores with the dogs as the snow cover shrinks. Who knows? Perhaps those beautiful red birds, too, can hear the brook gurgling through widening gaps in the thick, punky ice out back, massive, foot-thick … 0

On the Trail: Scabby mess

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whether it was winter’s final roar or a soothing song of coming spring depends upon your perspective, I guess. But to my gray tiger cat sleeping peacefully across my lap on a bright, spring-like Monday afternoon, it was threatening indeed. Visibly alarmed, she rose to her feet, jumped … 0

On The Trail: Legal issue

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Midday has passed, it’s cold as a witch’s dark heart, wind blowing, ice getting harder and slicker by the second — and the phone rings. The caller-ID informs me it’s old pal Killer, a hunting buddy who spent many a day with me chasing pheasants and deer, more … 0

On The Trail: Live & learn

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March is near, the deep-freeze just won’t let leave, and I’m dry-docked, thinking about place — my place and that of my ancestors, the one I chose not to leave and continue to learn about by the day, the month, the year, and when things get really exciting, … 0

On The Trail: The key factor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Isn’t it refreshing to discover that indeed an old dog can learn new tricks? I rode just such an updraft earlier this week while reading with interest a fascinating R. Dale Guthrie book titled “The Nature of Paleolithic Art” — cutting-edge analysis of deep-history art forms, such as … 0

On the Trail: Snowed in

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More than a month, now, sleeping in a La-Z-Boy recliner, and the winter doldrums have set in. I’ll get through it. Always have. So why dwell on it? Which brings me to an interesting development brought by unexpected visitors. They left their tracks overnight Tuesday along the wide … 0

On the Trail: Devil’s dance

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here I sit, dry-docked, sparse snow waltzing through gray peaceful sky peering down. The dogs are disappointed, our daily walks temporarily on hold because of deep snow and a base too icy to get even a four-wheel drive with aggressive tires off-road to park. I’ve heard more analysis … 0

On the Trail: Humdinger

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I remember well the wry grin worn by last week’s new crescent moon slouching east and facing west in the southern sky. I now know that sly, waxing sliver of amber energy building toward next week’s full Snow-Moon climax brought with it winter fury … and local suspense. … 0

On the Trail: Cougar Spatz

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh no. Not again. Of course, I should have known better. Doesn’t cougar chatter always draw feedback? Sometimes from faraway places you’d never imagine? Although, really, I can’t claim this one came out of the clear blue. No. In fact, I had given thought of hitting this man … 0

On The Trail: No way?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how, whenever I write about cougars, emails come flying at me, reporting local sightings or curious discoveries that could be the work of cougars. Last week was no different: first, a deer hunter who explores Mt. Toby’s deepest reaches, then a woman … 1