When I worked at a residential school in the Berkshires, we had many students who were from the urban areas of Maryland and New York. When respites and holidays came, a lot of them went back to their home states for vacation. Some went by bus and some flew accompanied by staff. I always volunteered to fly the Baltimore area students from Bradley Airport to Baltimore/Washington International Airport. It’s a short flight, less than an hour, and I enjoyed flying. Once the students made it safely to their destination and were reunited with parents or social workers, we had a few hours in between flights to have a nice meal in an airport restaurant. The school gave us travel money for meals – we just had to bring a receipt back to the systems manager. The seafood in these Baltimore area restaurants was superb and fresh because the airport was close to the ocean, so it became a pleasant ritual.
When I would go to bed at night as a young boy, I would sometimes imagine that my mattress was a houseboat or a raft drifting down a river taking me on a grand adventure as I drifted off to sleep. I have always been partial to the water. Fishing, boating, and swimming are a part of who I am. I have owned canoes, kayaks, and rowboats, but there is something about the size and comfort of those motorized docks called pontoon boats that I love. Perhaps my current affection for them has something to do with the houseboat and raft fantasies left over from my youth. Or maybe it’s the fact that they are covered with a Bimini-style canvas canopy and have comfortable sofa-like chairs. It could be because there is room to walk around and visit with friends and family on them while listening to music on an awesome sound system. In reality it’s probably all of the above – pontoon boats are a terrific way to enjoy the water and the great outdoors.
The smoking of food is one of the oldest methods of preserving known to man. It was probably discovered by accident when one of our ancestors left their fish too close to the fire and found out it stayed edible for a long time. The drying action of the smoke naturally preserves the meat and in older times it was one of the only ways to preserve food besides drying or salting it.
It was two decades or so ago when I found myself working at a small residential treatment center and school for behaviorally challenged kids. The coed center was operated every day, 24/7 including holidays, and the students’ ages ranged from six to twenty years. It was a diverse group, and every major religion was represented in the population. Most of the kids came from an inner city somewhere but they had different backgrounds and presented different problems.
My grandmother’s bread recipe was epic, easy to make, and filled her house with a wonderful aroma. She would make bread almost every day, and did so until just before she passed at 93 years old. Friends and relatives stopped by at all times of day to have her famous bread, toasted and served with her fresh coffee along with charming conversation. Grandma was a great cook and a beautiful person – a nice combination. She would have been tickled that we still use her recipe. She made large batches of her bread because of the high demand, but following is a smaller, foolproof version that can be made as is or stuffed with the fillings of your choice.
Recently as I was sitting on my deck, listening to the crickets and other creatures sing their night songs. I was reminded of the nights that I spent in my childhood home in Connecticut. At the time we didn’t know we were the baby boomers but we did know there were tons of kids of all ages around the neighborhood and we all sort of knew each other. There was a little league field and a playground across the street from my house and we would play ball and hang around like kids do. We would stay out until our parents yelled for us or the streetlights came on, and then we would go home and watch one of the three channels we got on our black-and-white TV. It was a simple, carefree time.
Most of us are familiar with Charlie Brown’s iconic Kite-Eating Tree. It’s a normal tree until poor Charlie Brown breaks out his springtime kite and manages to launch it into the air, only to have it nabbed by the branches of this evil tree. A cartoon you say . . . a fanciful creature of the imagination? I think not! Not only are these trees real, but there appears to be a variety of the same species currently in existence. Almost all fishermen have encountered the infamous Tackle-Eating Tree at some point and experienced the heartbreak of lost fishing tackle that it has devoured.
Big John, all six feet five inches of him, loved to come here to the Berkshires from Provincetown (a beautiful seaside town on the very tip of the Cape) to fish for trout and hunt deer. My friend Bruce and I would meet him at 20 Railroad Street in Great Barrington whenever he was in town. We would start quietly telling fishing stories, but after a few shots of ouzo (Greek aperitif we fondly referred to as paint thinner of the gods) the stories became, how should I say . . . embellished and loud, accompanied by raucous laughter. He appreciated our suggestions about the best places to hunt and fish in the area, but it was after I got him permission to hunt at the Jug End resort where I was chef that he invited us to go tuna fishing with him in Provincetown. Bruce and I had fished P-town before but it was for striped bass, cod, and bluefish, never for giant tuna. Mind you, this was decades before the “Wicked Tuna” TV show, so we didn’t know what to expect.
For many years now people have been growing indoor plants and sometimes have not succeeded. If you are one of the people who have struggled, then you may wish to consider indoor succulents. They are the easiest-to-care-for indoor plants and survive with minimal effort. The key to the plant’s survival is that they have adapted to dry indoor environments perfectly due to their thick stems, enlarged roots, and fleshy leaves. Because of these adaptations the plants can hold more water than usual, allowing them to survive longer in dry conditions. This is especially helpful during the winter when the humidity level in our homes is low.
Bruce and I took a car trip to Florida in late April 1984. We loaded Bruce’s 12-year-old Buick with all of our luggage and fishing equipment, and took turns driving the 1,200 miles to the small duplex we had rented right on Daytona Beach. The owner of the duplex was an old friend and he arranged for us to stay in the empty, unrented half of the building . . . and when he said empty he meant it. There was nothing but four walls. Luckily there were beautiful, modern hotels on either side of us and they never missed the big comfortable lounge chairs that we used for beds. Sometimes we even slept right on the beach, listening to the ocean crashing onto the shore. We didn’t have a lot of money, just enough for the necessities (beer, gas, and bait), so we kept some of the fish we caught for dinner and some of them we traded for blankets and pillows from a local race car driver. All in all we were comfortable, tanned, and self-sufficient during our three-week stay.
Some Like it Hot!
A few years ago I sustained a back injury that left me in a wheelchair almost full time, and while it has hampered me somewhat, it has also given me an opportunity to try new things. One of these new things is gardening, but not in the traditional sense. I adapted my own method by growing very hot peppers (and other things like cukes and peas, but mostly hot peppers) in containers on an old-fashioned picnic table so I can reach them from my wheelchair. I also grow tomato plants along my wheelchair ramp. I do well with them.
I bought the little grey canoe for fifty dollars. It had a dull, lifeless finish, and it was bent and dented in many places with a half dozen bullet holes that had been repaired with some kind of fiberglass. The seats had been removed and replaced with strips of sheet metal, pop-riveted to the frame. All in all it was a rather ugly and uncomfortable way to travel, but it obviously had history. A history the strange little man I bought it from did not want to share, but I bought it anyway when he gave me a broken paddle to sweeten the deal.
Many of us have heard about a gentleman called The Dog Whisperer. You may also have heard of The Horse Whisperer. But I bet I’m the only guy who knows The Fish Whisperer!
I met Bruce when I moved to the little town of Amenia, New York, to take a job as a chef at a local restaurant. He was a bartender, and over a couple of shared cocktails I learned that he liked to fish as much as I did. We became fast friends and enjoyed each other’s sick sense of humor. We also liked the fact that all the pubs stayed open until 4:00 in the morning, but it made it hard to get up early to fish so as a result we became experts at afternoon fishing. We figured that there had to be fish on the same schedule as us, and those were the fish we would concentrate on.
Once, while on vacation, I tried to explain the sport of ice fishing to a native Floridian who had never even seen a single snowflake. I could tell by his blank, uncomprehending look as I spoke that he thought that the Pina Colada I was drinking was going to my head in the 90◦F south Florida heat. I couldn’t really blame him; the more I tried to explain it, the stranger it sounded even to me!
The Surprise - By Michael Romano
When I lived in rural New York several decades ago I stumbled upon a pond right across the street from my rented house. It had been created by a series of beaver dams; they had stopped the waters of a small creek that in turn had flooded the shower basin. It was surrounded by brush and trees but the beavers had cleared some of the bigger trees, leaving open spaces. A deer trail wound its way around the perimeter. The first time I saw it I wondered if this little body of water held any fish. I thought that maybe some bass or sunfish lived under its shallow, weedy surface.
Houseguests last summer arrived laden with gifts: home-made jams (they're jam junkies), books, fresh-picked fruit from a farm close to their Vermont home, and huge tins of homemade . . . um . . . crackers.
I have to admit, the last part left me a little less excited. Never really been a particularly keen cracker-eater. Always preferred my carbs in bread or cookie form, it must be said. Good scones, too.
But then we politely tasted the crackers. And of course, we should have known, because isn't homemade just always going to be better? Isn't that just the rule? These crackers were so delicious, and so packed with good-for-you stuff, it really was a revelation. And of course, I wanted to make them myself. And I wanted mine to be better than theirs. Of course.
Trying to trim down for summer? Detoxifying environmental toxins is key to loosing weight.
Avoid all fluoride in toothpaste, oral rinses / products, and water. Fluoride is a poison and a significant contributor to lowered IQ and a wide range of chronic inflammatory diseases, stomach problems, metabolic disorders, neurological diseases, thyroid problems, and cancer. Did you know that a single tube of bubble-gum flavored Colgate-for-Kids toothpaste contains enough fluoride to kill a small child? It simply does not make sense to try to strengthen (or so they claim) one part of the body by poisoning the rest of the body especially when there are safe methods that work more effectively. Is just "a little poison" OK for you and your family?
Poisonous Chemtrails Still Go Unnoticed By State Senator Warren
Weather forecasters call for a sunny day today in the Berkshires with scattered Chemtrails dulling down the sun’s rays! This should be the reported weather forecast today but no one seems to care or even take notice of this ever growing trend. A trend that is harmful to all life on this planet.
June 20, 2013 - 3rd.Thursdays Celebrates Baseball with the Pittsfield Suns 4th Annual Green Mile Race Supports New Pittsfield Farmers Market
Guardian Life and the Pittsfield Suns team up to help celebrate the City of Pittsfield's love of baseball at the June 20th 3rd.Thursday. From 5pm-8pm, upstreet Pittsfield is busting with baseball, and the friends, music, food and games you enjoy most at your favorite ballpark. The Green Mile Road Race also heads down North Street for the fourth consecutive year, organized by local running gurus at the Berkshire Running Center, this time with special help from youth musicians from Berkshire Rocks. Expect to see over 200 runners flying by at 6pm in a race that benefits upstreet Pittsfield's new farmers market.
Pesticide Use in Berkshire County: Why Do We Allow It to Continue? By Alan Inglis, MD
Anvil is a commonly used pesticide. This chemical is being fog-sprayed weekly and biweekly [by truck] in at least seven towns in Berkshire County in the summer months under the Mosquito Control Project. Towns involved include Clarksburg, Hinsdale, Otis, Richmond, Sheffield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham. Spraying is either requested by homeowners or initiated as a result of surveillance that identifies areas of high mosquito density.¹ The practice is allowed because the available science is interpreted to mean Anvil is safe when used to spray in these ways. Those entities that actually conduct the spraying are simply relying on what is accepted as “expert opinion.”
This practice poses potential hazards to residents. The use of Anvil is based on fundamentally flawed thinking on what is safe and what is dangerous. I will confine my remarks in this brief article to comments on Anvil. My principal points also apply to most herbicide and pesticide use, including the chemicals used on lawns by thousands of homeowners countywide.
Hotchkiss Portals Chamber Music - Free Admission to Opening Concert, June 24, 2013
Hotchkiss Portals Chamber Music
10 Years of Concerts With a View
2013 Opening Concert:
Melvin Chen and 2013 Portals Resident Quartet
Monday, June 24, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
2013 marks the 10th year anniversary of the Hotchkiss Portals Chamber Music Series, Concerts With a View, June 24-July 20. This incredible concert series features internationally acclaimed musicians who perform in the magnificent Katherine M. Elfers Hall, Esther Eastman Music Center on the bucolic grounds of The Hotchkiss School campus. The concerts are free and open to the public; the hall is air-conditioned and handicapped accessible. Throughout the series, student musicians will also offer public performances. Please visit www.hotchkissportals.org for a complete schedule, or phone the concert hotline, (860) 435-3775.
Led by science educator Lisa Provencher, Science in the Parks is a FREE program where kids will learn about water and the environment and why keeping our parks clean is important. All ages are invited.
Join us this summer and discover a fascinating world right in our own city parks. Parents plan on your kids having fun and getting wet and dirty. We will be testing the pH of the water, identifying water plants, aquatic insects, frogs and turtles. Children will learn to identify invasive species. There will be observations of wild animals as well as meeting some live animals up close and personal. Come on out and play with us and learn some new stuff at the same time.
Third Saturdays Pittsfield Repair Cafe
The next Pittsfield Repair Cafe will be Saturday, June 15th, between 1:00 and 5:00 pm in the basement of St. Stephen's Church, 67 East Street, in Pittsfield.
The Pittsfield Resilience Circle has been holding monthly repair events since January, fixing Berkshire County residents' broken and damaged items for free, at the Pittsfield Repair Cafe.
The next Repair Cafe on June 15 is in need of a sewing volunteer or two, a computer repair person, and a bicycle repair person. If you would like to volunteer, contact Tom Harter at 413-212-8589 or email Janet Henderson at email@example.com.
The original Repair Cafe idea started with one event in the Netherlands in 2009 (repaircafe.org) and has spread throughout that country, where there are now 100 groups holding the free events. Recently, people in other countries have started their own Repair Cafes. The Pittsfield Repair Cafe is one of the few being held in the United States to date.
Anyone is welcome to bring non-working lamps, vacuum cleaners and other small appliances, and all types of clothing and fabric items to the Repair Cafe, where they will be repaired by volunteers.
If you are interested in having something repaired, remember the event is held only once a month, on the third Saturday, from 1:00 until 5:00 pm. You needn't arrive right at 1:00; in fact, organizers say, it works better if people stagger their arrival times throughout the afternoon, so there isn't a rush all at once.
Volunteers fix as many articles as possible in the time available. Guests can watch their item being repaired and learn a little about how repairs are done. Repair persons say that, if your broken item needs a part, and you know what it needs, it will save time if you bring the part with you.
You can see photos of past Pittsfield Repair Cafes on Facebook at The Pittsfield Repair Cafe: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pittsfield-Repair-Cafe/349694531801567