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The family that builds together: Bernardston’s Van Natta family are DIY superstars
04-08-2024 12:59 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

The Van Natta family home on Parmenter Road was the second house built in Bernardston, and walking through their 1747 residence imparts a feeling of time travel, given centuries-old aspects as well as evidence of dozens of changes over many decades....

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How and why does wood burn? A basic scientific explanation to help you better heat your home, build the best fire
04-01-2024 3:00 PM

By STEVE THOMAS

A significant number of people in this area burn wood to heat their homes, including a number of new arrivals who may have much interest in doing so, but little experience. Accordingly, I thought it would be worthwhile to write about this subject as...


For the love of coffee: Woodnote Coffee Company prioritizes the land and the folks living on it
01-22-2024 4:18 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

Co-owners Kaihla Laurent, 25, and Jaydon Diamond, 27, chose the image of a bird for their Woodnote Coffee Company logo; a woodnote is a natural musical sound or song, like that of a wild bird. The allusion seems fitting, as the young company recently...


Art inspired by nature’s relationships: Montague resident shares artworks and tidbits about our natural world
01-16-2024 10:46 AM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

Contra dance enthusiasts and Montague May Day fans may recognize today’s guest star as Jeanne Weintraub, while people who met the Montague resident following her marriage to Chris Mason — whose sustainability and alternative energy work merits a...


New to Greenfield, botanist Claire Hilsinger helping root out invasive species 
12-25-2023 5:00 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

Claire Hilsinger moved to western Massachusetts in August, but is already making positive impacts here. A professional botanist who delineates wetlands and does rare plant surveys, Hilsinger helps advise on projects like bridge replacements and...


Greenfield teen bakes up miracles
12-18-2023 4:33 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

If you relish culinary challenges, you might attempt to provide scrumptious treats for everyone in your social circle, even if some people are dairy-free, others gluten-free (GF), and still others nut-free. And of course, baking for vegans adds a...


Holland transplants thrive in Franklin County
10-10-2023 9:18 AM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

A recent Home & Garden column featured Supreme Microgreens, a burgeoning home business founded this year by two UMass Amherst students in their early 20s. It seems fitting, then, that today’s spotlight is on a Deerfield-based company founded 30 years...


Earth Matters: Juvenile plants just not ready to bloom
05-08-2023 1:58 PM

By LAWRENCE WINSHIP

Each spring the Connecticut River Valley is flooded with fresh colors and smells as leaves and flowers burst out of dormant buds on trees and shrubs. Green shoots push up through the last snow and over-top last year’s brown leaves, covering the ground...


Get Growing: Seeing emerging beauty with fresh eyes
05-08-2023 1:54 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

Earlier this week my friend Lisa, a demon flower-designer, mentioned to me that she had agreed to provide the floral decorations for her cousin’s birthday party in New York. She lamented that there weren’t many flowers for sale at this time of year...


Earth Matters: Picture books can enrich kids’ outdoor experiences
04-10-2023 5:03 PM

By ALLIE MARTINEAU

The days are longer, snow sculptures have melted and the seeds sleeping in the dirt are considering their next moves. Spring is here, and the outdoors of western Massachusetts are calling.There are plenty of day trips to community gardens, public...


Making a home while making art: Erving couple brings creativity to every project
03-20-2023 3:43 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

A decade before Bryant Stewart and Jeanie Schermesser began transforming a former church into their home and art studio, Stewart spotted the Erving building from Route 2. “I stopped in and met the owner, Clessen Field,” said Stewart, 73.Stewart had...


Film spotlights innovative landscape design
03-13-2023 6:04 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

For Laura Schlaikjer, horticultural inspirations come from multiple branches of her family tree: relatives on her father’s side were Midwestern homesteaders, and Schlaikjer says that her mother, Elise, has “10 green thumbs.” Elise gave Laura and her...


Moon gardens: Designed to shine when bathed in moonlight
03-06-2023 4:41 PM

By JESSICA DAMIANO

Planning this year’s garden? My guess is you’re envisioning plants bathed in daylight.But the problem is that by nightfall, when the sun has set and you’re ready to kick back at home, you won’t be able to see and fully enjoy the fruits of your...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: The importance of talking to plants
01-23-2023 4:37 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

A few years ago I was having coffee with my two sisters-in-law at a family gathering in North Carolina. Both of them had recently built new houses and were quizzing me about how to create gardens in the bare dirt surrounding their homes. The question...

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