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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!