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On The Trail

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, when waiting for me on my first email adventure was a comment from an angler who, like me, fished a section of Mill River containing the site of Deerfield’s first grist mill (1693) on Sawmill Plain, not far from Pekarski’s Sausage on Route 116. He said he, too, always did his best to skirt that peculiar roadside recluse who lived just downstream. The note came from Michigan, … 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 ice chunks still strewn high … 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 down, scooted off in the opposite direction and vanished for more than an hour. It … 0

On the trail: Branching out

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saturday morning, after 10, gray, damp, rain holding off, me reading, phone rings. My buddy Cooker’s calling from the field on his cell, hunting over young male springer spaniel, Gizmo. “Hey, I’m hunting down by Duncan’s and, trust me, it’s your kinda covert. You ought to head down. … 0

On the Trail: Myth mayhem

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As the Beaver Moon builds in the midnight sky, I’ve been stuck on the ancient beaver myth, my meandering thoughts briefly disrupted by backyard leave-removal chores and a fresh cordwood load dumped out back Wednesday morning by Blue Sky, a good man who left a tidy mound in … 0

On The Trail: Weirdness

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weird: that’s how I’d characterize what’s been happening in my travels since we last met. Then, at other times, same-old, same-old, nothing at all peculiar. Oh well. That’s life. The weirdness started on my ride home from work through The Meadows before midnight a week ago. In a … 0

On The Trail: Sweet 16

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I returned from my daily walk with the dogs Tuesday morning, taunting firewood load piled on the lawn in front of the backyard woodshed, and was greeted by a long, narrow, triangular package leaning upright against the iron vice attached to the carriage-shed work bench by the side … 0

On the Trail: Hunters moon

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The equinox has passed and the Hunter’s Moon is big and bright. The time’s right to write about the new bear-harvest record. But, no, even though I probably should begin with that tidbit, it happened in September and the press release arrived last week at deadline so, in … 0

On the Trail: Feeding, reading

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raw and rainy, ripe for a soggy Wednesday walk, the backdrop bursting with flashy splashes of new fall color each day as drab, premature yellow maple leaves with dirty brown stains fall like feathers to the turf, never to attain their flame-orange splendor. I trust enough leaves will … 0

On the Trail: Nut job

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Harvest Moon has passed, wild asters smile and Henry Ford was a fascist. If you don’t believe it, look it up. It’s true. I don’t know where that came from but must admit I’m under the gun. Off to a late start. Where does the time go? … 0

On the Trail: Animal instinct

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A strange, busy week it’s been, spiced by interesting visits, some physical, others mental, maybe even a tad esoteric. We’ll begin with a light little deer caper anyone can get their head around — an unusual encounter that, due to its rarity, will not be soon forgotten — … 0

On the Trail: Guinea Gulch is Calling

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An interesting crosstown trip to the feed store after my morning walk, a behemoth faraway bear, many familiar people, my ears buzzing with swarms of feedback about this and that, all of it pertaining to recent topics aired out right here in this space. Why not a little … 0

On the Trail: Transitions

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don’t let this hot summer weather deceive you. Fall is slipping in. I have felt it for a while now, seen it in the swamps, the sumacs. Just this week I spotted a nice, full, bitter but tasty triangular bunch of blue wild grapes, and the sight and … 0

On the Trail: Old & eager

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The swamps are sporting their royal, invasive purple, yellows are lining the edges, rose of Sharon’s in bloom, mud-splattered acorns are scattered underfoot, my favorite sweet-16 side-by-side is in the shop for repairs and — ah! — life is good. Yet, still, I find myself pondering the mortality … 0

On the Trail: Nuts & bolts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photographer friend Erik Hoffner, whose eclectic interests intersect mine in several areas related to nature, worldview and politics, chimed in from the wilds of Ashfield this week speculating that, judging from what he’s seen thus far around home, there’s a bumper-crop of acorns this year. Although I haven’t … 0