Lifestyles

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There is nothing quite like a freshly cut Christmas tree. The smell of balsam filling the house, the twinkling lights showing through windows makes even the grinchiest of grinches feel a little bit better about the season. The fond nostalgia of holidays past may spark when some who have seen…

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First on my list for holiday gifts for the gardener is this: a subscription to this newspaper. Our local papers need subscribers in order to deliver to you the news you want but cannot get on-line. Yes, local news, gardening tips that fit your climate, obituaries and more. If your loved ones…

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Grinning and giggling, my one-year-old son ran across the living room, only to trip over his own feet and faceplant on the carpet. Sometimes, two legs can be too many to coordinate. How, then, do invertebrates walk with six, eight, or hundreds of legs?

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I was recently made aware of the island fox (Urocyon littoralis) of the Channel Islands, off southern California. They look like a gray fox, but they are about the size of a house cat. This is an example of “island dwarfism,” an evolutionary phenomenon associated with the small island races …

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The next morning, the brothers drove separately. Keith planned on leaving for Boston Logan immediately after their visit with Mom. Before heading to her room, they quietly shared a bland but hot breakfast and the same bad coffee in the Maple Grove cafeteria. By now, Keith was resigned to the…

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Even if you’ve never ventured further into the forest than an urban park or a college campus, you’re probably familiar with Sciurus carolinensis, the eastern gray squirrel. While it’s easy to identify gray squirrels by sight, however, recognizing the various sounds they make is more complica…

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Living in New England is a joy, but we gardeners do have some challenges: cold winter winds, deer, rocky soil and more. As we get ready for winter, one of the biggest challenges for many of us are the deer. They are hungry and relentless. In my part of the world, there was a crop failure for…

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Later, Keith and John decided to go for a stroll. Their grandparents’ was a rare property, prime real estate right at the edge of town proper; walking distance to downtown. Just five minutes down the road, they turned onto Main Street and passed by the Piggly Wiggly, the hardware store, and …

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I personally think that the Canadians have the right idea: they have their Thanksgiving feast the second Monday in October, right after the harvest. By the time our Thanksgiving rolls around, many gardeners have eaten all their home-grown veggies. It need not be so, of course, if they are pr…

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Did the English Puritans and the Wampanoag eat turkey at the legendary first Thanksgiving? No one really knows, as no menus have survived. But the record of Edward Winslow, the chronicler of the Plymouth Colony, states that William Bradford sent out four men to go “fowling” before the meal, …

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My daily walk around my city this fall has been dominated by one plant. It is abundant and leafy with red berries and orange or yellow foliage. It seems to fit in perfectly with a New England autumn in its color and exuberance. Despite its festive appearance however, this plant – Celastrus o…

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Seasons SCAMMINGS – Part 2! If you are a native New Englander, you know that when we get warm days in November, we end up paying for them in the coming months. At this time of year, many homeowners are considering last minute winterizations and preparations for the coming season. Enter the h…

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My mother always said to me “every day is Mother’s Day” when the May celebration rolled around. She said she didn’t want a card or a gift on Mother’s Day because her kids were gift enough. I always ignored her request, but now that I am older and a mother myself, I tend to agree. Every day i…

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The musical honking of Canada geese and their V-shaped flocks streaming overhead are classic signs of autumn. I hear the clamor of geese as they fly low over my house, preparing to land in the hayfield in our valley. Sometimes I spot the large, black-necked birds before they take off to cont…

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When I was in the third or fourth grade, way back in the 1950’s, I decided I wanted to grow something indoors in the winter months. My mom grew African violets, but I had little interest in them. I wanted to bring inside some wild plants that I could tend … and watch grow. So, with help from…

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The once white, now mostly gray gambrel-roofed barn had two sets of wide, double doors, one at either end. Large enough to allow the tractor in and out. Keith grabbed a rusted metal handle with each hand, slid the suspended doors left and right on their rails, and went inside. With no window…

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Once a year, I seek out my favorite apple in the orchard. We grafted young branches (scions) of the antique Blue Pearmain apple tree that resides at the side of the field in front of the farmhouse (where it has for probably the 200+ years of the farm) onto some modern trees that we planted a…

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After you’ve weeded your garden, raked your leaves and cut back some of your perennials (and left some for the insects and birds), you may think you are done. You are not. This is a great time to work on improving your soil.

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For the last month I have been driving the back roads of Wilmot and flushing flocks of goldfinches and sparrows from the dirt and gravel. There are 50 miles of road in this little town and half of them are unpaved. Many of these flocks seem concentrated near the open fields and pastures, whi…

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Last autumn, around the same time I was laying the winter quilt on our bed, my cat became very interested in the space beneath the kitchen sink. Unsurprisingly, a mouse was huddled down there, seeking shelter in the warmth. Though I was sympathetic, and all wildlife is welcome in our yard, I…

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We have a lot of rusty stuff gracing the stone walls or piled for recycling when newer, better equipment came along or stored in barns and sheds because we still use the equipment. In many ways we are a modern farm, with social media accounts, computerized bookkeeping, credit card processing…

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