Category Archives: Blog

Lepidoptera

Though both moths and butterflies are classified as Lepidoptera and are often confused with one another, there are several anatomical ways to tell them apart.  Their antennae, wings, pupae, and eyes are different, though it might take an advanced degree … Continue reading

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Familiar faces

The snake is back in the vegetable garden.  I heard him this morning, slithering through the dead leaves between the compost bin and the sprouting raspberry canes.  I haven’t seen him yet, but I know what he looks like: a … Continue reading

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Color of the Sky

Spring is arriving in the Berkshires in fits and starts. It’s a slightly disorienting, in-between time. The sun is higher and stronger, but the trees are just beginning to leaf out, and the harsh bright light can be blinding. It’s … Continue reading

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The night migrations

I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the wild geese overhead. Their cries seemed to go on and on. This is the time of year when hundreds of thousands of birds are migrating across the skies … Continue reading

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The Dead of Winter

It snowed last night.  It’s snowing now.  It will snow through the afternoon. There’s been a rhythm and repetitiveness to this winter’s weather that’s a bit like a Latin conjugation: amo, amas, amat.  Though there’s been very little to love … Continue reading

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Vixen

I sensed her — a blur in the woods, a fresh set of tracks in the snow — before I saw her.  At times, when the feeders were usually aflutter with activity, the birds would suddenly vanish.  I had the … Continue reading

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Good bones

This is the time of year when the contours of the Berkshire hills once again dominate the view. Gentle and curvaceous, they recline against the winter landscape, silent as the snow that often covers their flanks. Melville imagined Mount Greylock … Continue reading

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First snow

The heavier snow was supposed to fall north of us.  We were to get just a light dusting. The long mild November had managed to keep the idea of winter at bay. Only a week or so ago the oaks … Continue reading

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Yellow landscape

It’s been a muted fall in the Berkshires. The spring plague of gypsy moths followed by endless weeks of rain (July was the wettest on record) did a number on the leaves. Some just seemed to drop en masse overnight … Continue reading

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Asters

This is the time of year when clusters of small daisy-like blooms dot the landscape. Some are tiny and ghostly white, more froth than flower; others the size of half dollars with bright periwinkle petals and chrome yellow eyes. The … Continue reading

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Joe Pye Weed

Its pink, furry florets shoot up along roadsides and in fallow fields, the tallest kids in the class. Though a little ungainly, Joe Pye weed is reliably sturdy just when other showier plants are starting to wither and fade. For … Continue reading

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Romano beans

I’ve always loved them. Long, broad, and flat, Romano beans look like  professionally ironed versions of their string bean cousins. They were called “Italian beans” when I was growing up, only available frozen and always on a hit and miss … Continue reading

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On the forest floor

When I’m hot and tired after working in the garden, I’ll walk up into the woods to commune with the ferns and moss that carpet the forest floor. Cool and fresh-looking on even the most oppressive days, they exude a … Continue reading

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Bleeding hearts

Intricate as origami, among the first plants in the garden to flower every spring, bleeding hearts are as cheery and old-fashioned as hand-made valentines.  They seem to appear, fully formed, overnight. Their sprays of blossoms — each a heart-shaped pouch … Continue reading

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