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Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Hiatus

Late autumn/early winter has been bumpy at the Madley household, and so the blog has had a brief break -- time to rest up during the darkest season of the year.  It will be back in the New Year, however, with restaurant reviews, local photos, and other things of interest -- all those things you expect from Madley Hadley.
In the meantime, enjoy looking at this pronunciation guide for Massachusetts town names.  Mr Madley came across it last night and was kind enough to forward it along to me.

Enjoy the holiday season -- take some time to rest and find peace.  See you again in the New Year!

(And if you have some time off, stop by the library to see their new selections of books, magazines, and movies.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Thanksgiving officially marks the beginning of shopping season.  It's sad that a holiday devoted to gratitude is overrun by advertising and marketing, and I hope that you thought of many things to be thankful for yesterday.  I waited an extra day to post this, just so that I could leave Thanksgiving for thankfulness.

But now it is post-holiday and time for thinking about presents and purchasing and who will get what and where you will get it.  Some of you may have already been at Target or WalMart during the wee small hours of the morning; I'm going to curb my comments on that....  However, Saturday is Small Business Saturday -- a day to be especially mindful of the small local businesses in our community.  We have many small businesses -- restaurants, shops, and more in Hadley, Amherst, Northampton, Deerfield, Greenfield, and all the other towns around.  Please get out on Saturday (or today -- and any other day, of course) and support our local small businesses.

I hope you're looking forward to a happy holiday season!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

The Rocky Hill turkey was out this afternoon wishing all the passersby a happy Thanksgiving (the larger turkey family was out this morning with similar well-wishes).

I hope you are thinking of many many things to be thankful for this holiday.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Storm of '11

One week ago Massachusetts was hit with what is coming to be known as the Halloween Storm of '11.  Inches and inches of heavy, wet snow fell across the region of Western Massachusetts -- up to 28 inches in some locations.

At my house in Hadley, we received something close to 8 inches of snow.  Our electricity went out around 4:15 Saturday afternoon, flickered around 5:30, and then remained off until Wednesday evening -- 101 hours later (we are so thankful to have it back!).  According to the WMECO outage map, there are still 77 Hadley customers without electricity (I know N. Maple is still closed because of downed trees and wires) -- there are still thousands without power across the state.  We fared well, all things considered.  We lost 2 limbs off our old apple tree and a few small branches from other trees at the perimeter of our property, but others in the neighbourhood and town lost entire trees and branches the size of trees.  Massive old maples and oaks were wrenched apart, split down the middle, limbs ripped down the side.

Sunday evening we went out for a short tour.  The entire Rt 9 strip was black, except for Target; Stop and Shop was open and receiving a truckload of goods.  Darkness everywhere else.  By Monday, many of the stores were open again and we were able to charge up our cell phone at The Black Sheep.  There were shelters with charging stations, heat, and food around the Valley, but we mostly stuck to our fireplace.

The pictures below show some of the story (click on the pictures for larger, higher resolution shots).  Make a comment, share your story.  I'll follow this up later.

Waking up on Hallow's Eve eve.

Low lines, broken trees.

Detour signs on many of the frequently-traveled roads.

Some detour signs were more creative than others.
Fast food restaurants were closed.

We did a lot of cooking over the open fire....

Trees split.
Branches breaking and falling like twigs.

Massive piles of brush were (are still) a common sight along the sides of the roads.

One of the old trees sent branches crashing into the cemetery.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Town Meeting -- a Go

According to signs around town, the town meeting is still a go tonight (the listing on the page linked below says the town meeting will go ahead despite the state of emergency) -- 7pm, Hopkins Academy.
For more information, visit this advisory page.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Calendaring: Festivals, Fairs, Bazaars

Please check the calendar for the most recent information I have on holiday fairs, festivals, and bazaars!
I've noticed recently an increase of visits to last year's "Holiday Festivals and Bazaars" post.  Sadly, that information is now a bit out of date.  However, in its place is the Local Calendar (see the link to the right, just under Hadley Grass and Valley Ice Cream).  Information on the Local Calendar is regularly updated, and I make additions to it whenever I hear of something appropriate to add (or see the signs along the side of the road).  Included are holiday bazaars, craft fairs, autumn festivals, local Hadley events, and other events in neighbouring towns. 
Included on the calendar page is a link to submit local events (it reads like a comment box but submissions don't get posted until I've looked at them -- this is true for all comments on the blog) and a small collection of links wherein one can find other local activities. 
Coming soon (and already posted on the calendar) -- the chyrsathemum show, a fall craft fair, and the Twist Fair....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scenes from the Cookoff and Fire Safety Demos

If you didn't make it out for the Chili/Golumpki Cookoff and Fire Prevention Week Open House on Saturday, this is some of what you missed (click on the images to enlarge):
1926 REO Speedwagon -- Hadley's first motorized pumper; put into commission after the flood of 1927 and retired in 1955.

Home sprinkler and firefighter demonstration (those were REAL flames).
Firefighting gear on display.
Hadley's firefighters.
Hadley's manifold hose truck.
Of course,there were animals and food and music and games and raffles and souvenirs there, too -- we pet the cow and the darling little goats, had some of those wonderful firefighter fries, and picked up an informational magnet.  We missed the fireworks that night, but we sure had a good time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chili/Golumpki Cook-off, 2011

I've been hearing about this cookoff for a few weeks now and just started seeing signs for it last week, but I can never read small, heavily-worded signs while I'm driving down the road....  This morning I finally had the camera in the car and enough spare time to stop and take the picture of the Hadley Firemen's Association's Chili/Golumpki Cook-off sign:

Sounds like a good time.  Hope to see you there!

Also coming up this weekend -- the 5K for Farmland.  Sunday, Hadley Common, 10 am.  For more information, visit the Kestrel Land Trust site.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Migrations

I love migration season -- when the geese fly overhead and different birds visit our yard for a day or two to feed before heading out again.  I thoroughly enjoy listening to Bird Songs on the River with Joan Holliday and Dan Ziomek from the Hadley Garden Center, as they feature the migratory birds.  And I love seeing unfamiliar birds while driving familiar routes.
On my way to work this week and last, there's been a visitor on Rt 47 south in the lows of the fields by the river:
According to my Sibley's, based on leg color, beak color, and neck length, it looks to be a great egret, either a juvenile or an adult during this nonbreeding season.  What a beauty.  Makes my day every afternoon to see it among the grasses and water.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival

This may be late notice, but I just received in my email a notice for the North Hadley Sugar Shack's Annual Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival -- sounds like great fun!  Check it out:


Our 13th Annual Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival this Saturday Oct., 15th from 11-4.  The Tractor Parade starts at 2pm.  Fun for the whole Family!

*Pony Rides *Petting Zoo* Balloon Clown *Face painting *Cow Train ride *Pumpkin Coloring *Sugarshack Jack *Corn Pool *Haystack  *Raffles to benefit JDRF and Lots of FOOD

    See you here!
    The Boisvert Family

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Pumpkins

October!  It's time to pick your autumn pumpkins--

Friday, September 30, 2011

Photo Project

Calling photographers!
A UMass graduate student researcher is seeking 1-3 photographer volunteers to participate in a documentary community photography project on Hadley.  The purpose of the project is to study how community members value the landscape of the town and are motivated towards the preservation of its rural character.
This is going to be a fun opportunity to participate in a community-building project and share views on Hadley.  If you think you might be interested in joining this undertaking and would like more information, leave me a comment (it won't be published) with some contact information (email or phone) to pass on to the researcher.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jazz... or Garlic?

O, the disappointment I felt when on the radio today I heard announced the Northampton Jazz Festival being presented this Saturday -- the same day as the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival.  Words cannot describe the excitement of hearing about the jazz festival and then the sudden and heartfelt regret at its timing.  I love jazz.  I love live music.  I love food.  But the annual tradition at our house for the first Saturday of October is to make our way north and east for a little bit of music, a little bit of craft, a little bit of autumn, a little bit of food, and a whole lot of garlic.  It hasn't failed us yet.  And this year, if I'm brave, I'll even try the garlic ice cream....
Which will you choose -- jazz or garlic (or something else)?
I guess if I'm really lucky, I might be able to get to the garlic early -- and the jazz late.

9/29: PS -- there's also the Source to Sea Cleanup on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Festival in Hadley

After seeing a couple of signs on the road and not being able to read all the information while driving past, I finally got around to snapping a picture of the sign for the First Congregational Church's Fall Festival that will be held this Saturday (24th) from 9-3 at the corner of Rts 9 & 47.
It appears to be cosponsored by the Hadley Farm Museum.
Sounds like fun!  If you go, maybe you'll see me there....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beautiful Hadley Farms

I love the farms in Hadley -- their long fields planted in corn, squash, cabbage, beans, tobacco, and more.  They are pleasing to the eye and soothing to the soul, framed by hills, rivers, and trees.  They are definitely part of what makes Hadley Hadley and such a delightful place to be.
 (Click on photos for larger view.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Public Discussion: Rt 47+

On Wednesday, September 14, there will a public discussion at the Senior Center (46 Middle Street) concerning Rt 47, which is part of the Connecticut River Scenic Byway.  According to the notice written by Nick Grabbe in the Sept 9 edition of the Amherst Bulletin, the meeting will be moderated by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and will invite Hadley residents and business owners to identify distinguishing characteristics of the region, other possible uses (i.e. recreation, tourism) for the area, and land protection.

Update 9/17:  MassLive published an article about the meeting.  Read it here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Peachy

This is the peach I picked from our baby peach tree before Irene came to visit.
Mr Madley and I split it, and it was just like eating a little piece of heaven -- delightfully sweet and juicy and peachy.  We were very impressed that our new tree was strong enough to produce such perfect peach (2 of them, actually).  If all Cresthaven peaches taste this good, I might be tempted to give up apples!  Well, not really, but I'm definitely looking forward to a whole tree full of these mouthwatering delicacies!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Three Counties of Fun

The 3 County Fair is here for the weekend, from Friday (2) through Monday (5).  Get on over to the fairgrounds in Northampton and enjoy the agricultural exhibitions, the rides, the tasty treats, the music, the demolition derbies, the horse and oxen pulls
Want to know more?  Here's a little piece of history from the fair, and here's what's going on this year.

Looking for more fall fairs and festivals?  Check out the calendar page.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Play a Game!

I was strolling through Hampshire Mall today, stopping in at various stores looking for various things, when I came across a store not even two weeks old -- Greenfield Games.
What a great store!  This is not a store with a focus on video games and electronics, but rather a store that stocks a multitude of board games, card games, dice games, RPGs, and more.  The walls are lined with family-friendly and party games like Scrabble, Sequence, Rook, Fluxx, chess, checkers, Spot It!, Clue, Apples to Apples, Blokus, Boggle, the Catan series, and more.  There are also educational games like the 10 Days in... games and others (I can't remember them all).  Role-playing games include Warhammer, Pathfinder, Dresden Files, Doctor Who, D&D, SHOCK, and so on.
There are also frisbees, dice (of all shapes and sizes), dominoes, and kites available, as well as comic books, puzzles, and playing pieces.

I am a big fan of games and think they are a great way to pass the time with friends or with family.    They engage the mind, stifle boredom, encourage creative thinking and problem solving, and build relationships.  Small games are good to keep in emergency kits, camping equipment, travel bags, and backpacks.

The game store in Hadley is close to the food court and definitely worth checked out (don't confuse it with GameStop), whether you are just passing time before your movie starts or you have a particular game you're looking for.  (It's never too early to start stock-piling fun supplies for those long winter nights!)


If you look down the street in our neighbourhood, you would never know that a supposed hurricane passed close by.  The street is dry and clean, yards are mostly free of debris, and the sun is shining brightly.  There are a few scattered leaves and small sticks and garden soil is still moist, but overall things are clear -- we didn't even lose electricity. 
However, nearby towns were not so lucky -- there are overflowing rivers, closed roads, flooded dams, and outages throughout the area, so be wary and be mindful!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coming Soon! -- Hurrican Irene!

I'm sure you've been hearing the weather statements and news on Hurricane Irene.  It would be a fine idea to follow the suggestions and prepare a few things in case of power failures (we received a call tonight warning us that WMECO anticipates power outages for up to a week), downed trees, flooding, etcetera. has a good list of suggestions for preparing for an emergency.  If you have a phone that does not need plugged in or charged up, now would be a great time to get it out -- and don't forget to charge those cell phones while you're at it.  When last I was at Target (about 45 minutes ago), there were still lots of batteries, but not too many (if any) flashlights or unscented candles.
Take the opportunity to check school cancellations before the storm hits on Sunday -- there are already a couple of schools canceling Monday classes.
Remember that if the storm hits hard, many services will not be available on Sunday or Monday, so if you have the opportunity to grab a few extra items tomorrow, it might be a good idea.  If you don't need them this week, you'll have them for the future.
That's all for now.  Hope to be back on the blog soon!

(Can you believe -- hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes in Massachusetts within the space of 3 months?!?)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fairs & Festivals Galore!

The end of August is the ramp-up for local fair and festival season -- they start this weekend with the Heath Harvest Festival and continue into November with Cider Days.  There are so many fun things to do in the Valley in the autumn.  Discover a new festival or find an old favourite on the calendar page.

Know of a local fair or festival that's not included?  Add a comment on the calendar page, and I'll get it added!  (Please include a link to the festival/fair webpage and town location.)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pioneer Valley Local Greenie

Back in April I received a notice that this blog was chosen as one of the recommended blogs on the new Pioneer Valley Local Greenie website.
The PVLG is a subset of the Local Greenie sites, which focus on local and green products and businesses (the name pretty much says it all).  The site includes links for entertainment, jobs, shopping, food, hotels, and more; it also features local blogs and other informational sources.
Check it out -- you may discover something new & useful!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Edible Books -- Yum!

This may be almost late notice, but tomorrow is the Edible Books program at the library!  The flier from the library says:
Wednesday, July 27 – 6:30

You are invited to submit an entry in this year’s Edible Books Contest.  Use your love of literature and the culinary arts to create an Edible Book. 

Your creation can look like a book, allude to a book’s title, refer to a book’s content, or even involve a witty book pun.  It can be baked from scratch or assembled from purchased items.  Your imagination sets the limits!

6:30 p.m.  Edible Books drop off and showing
6:45 p.m.  Judging / Stories & crafts for youngsters
This sounds like lots of fun, and I know it's a program that the library has done in years past.  Check out some creative examples from the Duke Library's Edible Book Festival and the Goodwin Library's program from last year (see below), and start putting together your edible book!

Get those creative thinking caps on -- the challenge has been issued!
Check out the catalog or visit the library for book ideas.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Library: Things You Should Know

1. New A/C -- Yes, the library is now a very pleasant place to visit during these long super-hot days of summer, because it has a brand new air conditioning unit.  Stop in to the library, pull up a chair, and chill out.

2. eBooks -- The library has access to all the materials available through the C/WMARS digital catalog. These include ebooks, audiobooks, and videos that can be downloaded and played on a variety of electronic devices, including computers, iPods, Nooks, and more.  It's easy to use (though there is an occasional glitch with setting up the Nook with Adobe Digital Editions -- troubleshoot here) and best of all, just like library books, these books are free to use!

3. Museum passes -- According to the library website, the library has museum passes available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Museums include MassMoCA, Norman Rockwell Museum, Eric Carle Museum, and more, and most of them are worth free admission for 2 adults and 2 children (though not all).  Check them out!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Daytripping: Ashfield

The area of the Pioneer Valley and surrounding Western Mass is rife with lovely little towns to visit and spend a day -- we love to make the occasional jaunt to Shelburne Falls and Brattleboro.  A few weekends ago we made the short trip to Ashfield, where we spent the better part of the afternoon and evening.
In the autumn, Ashfield has a lively fall festival full of crafts, foods, music, dancing, tag sales, and feats of agriculture.  But there is definitely more to Ashfield than just their fall festival.

Chapel Brook & Pony Mountain: Ashfield is home to some beautiful falls & hiking trails along Chapel Brook and Pony Mountain.  Trails run along the brook, and in the brook there are falls to splash under, pools to cool off in, rocks to sit on, and natural water slides.

Elmer's Store: If you're looking for a snack or a morning meal, don't miss out on Elmer's Store. It boasts daily breakfast and lunch and a Friday night dinner, but it's also a corner store with a bakery, some pantry basics, local art and music, and occasional events.  Call or stop in for info -- the website is not updated regularly.

Ashfield Lake: The lake sports a couple of beaches, one of which is reserved for residents and one of which is open to the general public.  It's a large lake with plenty of room for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, or just wading around.

Ashfield Lakehouse: Right on the lake is a restaurant that looks to have been there for years and years.  It has outdoor deck dining with great lake views, a bar, a piano, pinball machines, and regular live music.  The online menu prices are a little out of date, but the burgers and fries were pretty good.

Belding Memorial Library: Open 3 days a week, this old library is a beauty.  Sit on the wood benches in the front lawn or enjoy the relaxing field-and-forest view from the stone bench behind the library.  If it's open, be sure to take a look inside.

If you're out for a stroll while in town, try not to miss the amazing Japanese lilac at the Inn at Norton Hill across the street from Elmer's or the classic hardware store on the main drag.
(There are lots of other places to go and things to see in Ashfield, but these were the highlights of one afternoon's visit.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Guardian Catbird

I like to take my cat out in the afternoons for a few minutes. He loves to roll around on the cement, eat grass, and take in the atmosphere.  His being outside, however, makes the birds very anxious, and there are generally quite a few who congregate in the nearby trees and bushes wailing out warnings to the other birds and small creatures in the vicinity.  The first to notice and take offense is one of our catbirds, who perches in the firebush and screeches and squawks until we both go back inside.
Just the other evening, the catbird was out in the bush with its youngster in tow -- a family outing to badger the resident cat (though young catbird didn't bother with the cat at all, preferring instead to dance through the branches of the bush).
Our guardian catbird.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Fledgling at the Feeder

This little darling is becoming a regular visitor at our feeder for breakfast in the morning with papa.  He sometimes hops around the base of the feeder picking for seeds, but more often he's found in the lilac waiting for papa cardinal to bring him some tasty vittles to get the day started.
There's another young cardinal that has been coming to the feeder, also, but he doesn't seem to be part of this family -- papa cardinal scolds him if they're there at the same time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Name That Bug: Stripes

Check out those stripes!  This attractive fellow was on our screen door the other day.  Do you know what he is?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Farewell, Farmstands!

Two local Hadley farmstands are disappearing -- have, in fact, already as the houses they were attached to are being put up for sale.
First, a basic stand that sold asparagus, strawberries, and holiday wreaths on North Maple (sold, already).
Second, the Garden of Delights that sold just about everything from starts to produce (corn, rhubarb, strawberries, squash, tomatoes, etcetera) on Rocky Hill Road by the intersection with East Street.
Both are farmstands I used to visit with some frequency, and I'll be sad to see them go.  Hopefully, the former Garden of Delights, with its double barns and large lot, will make a comeback....
Farewell, farmstands!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wildlife Sanctuary -- Our Back Yard

Mr Madley and I like to believe our yard can be a wildlife sanctuary of sorts for birds and butterflies and lightning bugs and bees.  We plant flowers and fruit trees and bushes to attract the butterflies and bees, and we let the grass grow long to give protection to the lightning bugs.  We love to see new and unusual (for us) birds at the bird feeders (like last week when we saw a beautiful rose-breasted grosbeak, whose mate is at the feeder as I write this).  We even like spotting the rabbits, despite their tendency to decimate my garden.  And so it was a blast to look out my kitchen window this morning and see a pair of turkeys tranquilly enjoying the tall grass and the warm sunshine in our back yard.
I know I live in Western Massachusetts, where whole flocks of turkeys can be found dining in front lawns, but it's not so very common at my house when I'm home to see them.  It was a happy way to start this summery week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Acorns Grow Trees

Yes, oak trees really do grow from acorns, as is proven by the number of oak seedlings in our lawn.

Kind of amazing that that huge tree grows from that little nut; it's also amazing that I keep finding more and more to pull out of the yard....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Cardinal

One of the male cardinals that makes residence near our house.  Isn't he a handsome fellow?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anniversary + a Week

One year and one week ago, I posted my first MadleyHadley post, featuring the 2010 Hadley Memorial Day Parade.  Since writing my first post a year ago, MH has had over 2000 pageviews, with the record two days being the day and day after the article was published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, I've added 4 pages with useful (at least I think so) information, and have posted almost 70 posts.

This year, to celebrate the anniversary, I thought I would post a few pictures from the 2011 antique tractor show that happened on the same day as the parade.
There was a farmer's market, an ice cream truck (Scoops), a live band -- and Local Burger was there to provide the food (yummy burgers, great fries, though we didn't have any that day).  All in all, a happy Memorial Day weekend and one more brand-new experience for us in Hadley.
Happy June!