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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Neighbours

Our local turkey family came calling yesterday afternoon -- mama, papa, and six little ones.  They spent some time picking through the back yard, visiting the garden fence, and dining around the bird feeder.
(Photos taken through my old dirty windows are usually less than satisfactory, but you get the general idea.)

It was so fun watching them hang out at our house, taking advantage of our hospitality.  Made my day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Reading Extravaganza!

If you didn't get to stop by the Summer Reading Kickoff Party at the Library on Wednesday night, here is some of the fun you missed -- it was quite a circus!
Fortune telling and face painting.
Balloons & water sprinkler (it was hot!).
The library's resident clown...
Hot dogs -- yummy.
UMass Amherst Juggling Club
Popcorn and cotton candy.
Mmmm.  Tasty!

Hula hoops and hula hooping.
The balloon lady.
And a good time was had by all!
The library summer reading program promises fun all summer long -- the kickoff was just the beginning.  Kids and teens and families are invited to participate in a variety of activities at the library this summer, including a Desert Island Party, Build Your Dreams Cardboard Mania, and a guest Illusionist.  Plus, kids can earn prizes for reading this summer -- just get to the library and sign up. 
The library is a great place for anyone to go during the summer -- books, movies, magazines, computers, activities, book groups, and even air conditioning!  And, of course, it's free.

Make Contact

I've discovered that this layout/version of blogger doesn't really have a great method of making contact, other than commenting on a post.  Therefore, I'm creating this post simply for contacting me and Mr Madley.  Want to ask a question?  Know of something interesting that should be looked in to by Hadley folks?  Just want to say something?  Comment below!  If you want a response, include your email address; I won't post these comments, unless you want them published.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

White Squirrels

So today, for the second time in about two weeks, I saw squirrels near the intersection of East Street and Rocky Hill Road.  For my first sighting, there were two; for today's sighting, just one. 
Have you seen these squirrels?  Have you ever seen white squirrels before?  They are quite an amazing sight!  I wish I could get a picture to share....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wednesday Folk Traditions, Pt 2

Continuing the performance list from a previous post:

Happy 4th of July

July 11 La Charanga Libre, a newly formed ensemble of Valley musicians, performs authentic Cuban popular music of Charanga, a style introduced in Cuba in 1940 including Son, Cha Cha, Son Montuno, and Guaguanco. but known in New York as Salsa. Cuba and Puerto Rico remain the driving force behind this beautiful music, dancing, and singing emphasizing their true cultural spirit.

July 18 3rd Annual Horace Clarence Boyer Memorial Gospel Performance featuring The Total Praise Gospel Choir based at the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, MA, the twenty -voice choir performs a repertoire of contemporary and traditional gospel songs, including works by Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond. Our 31st annual Gospel performance.

 July 25 Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble perform the traditional music of the Arab world preserving the rich legacy of Arabic culture through soulful vocals, haunting rhythms, hypnotic instrumental improvisations, and electrifying percussion. "The music of Layaali moves the soul and stirs the spirit. A combination of tradition, activism, and pride, the beat of the musicians ... sends you to the Arab world and awakens your senses." -- Jeff Mendez, The Palestine Center, Washington, D.C.

WEDNESDAY FOLK TRADITIONS 2012- 31st season. Performances are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. in the Sunken Garden at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley MA 01035. Admission is $10, $2 children 16 and under. Picnickers are welcome on the museum grounds starting at 5:00 pm. This is a smoke-free site.

For further information please call (413) 584-4699 or view
Wednesday Folk Traditions is funded, in part, by grants from: the Marion I. And Otto C. Kohler Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; and the Hadley Cultural Council, a local agency, supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; and with generous support from many local businesses, including Hadley's Mountain Farms Mall and Easthampton Savings Bank, and the Walmart Foundation.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Growing in My Garden

I decided to forgo flowers in this post and focus simply on the fruits and veggies (except for where the veggies are blossoming).
Little pepinos -- baby pickling cucumbers

Sugar snap peas

Straight-necked yellow squash blossoms
Yes, a lemon, too (actually, there are 3 on the tree!)
Little fuzzy peaches
...and more peaches -- from the tree we planted last year
Baby lettuces
Colourful swiss chard

My garden is still having its troubles and trials (we did lose a good number of plants to some multi-legged critters), but every time another little vegetable plant does something amazing, like poke out of the ground after having been a seed or push out a brilliant blossom or even grow another leaf, I get so happy.

(Some plants, like the arugula and onions and leggy spinach failed to make the cut after today's photo shoot....)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I Saw in the Field Next Door This Evening

Up, up, and away!

Merry Dairy

A new farm store (&creamery) is coming to town.  It's the expansion of a dairy that I've mentioned before in admiration of its strawberry ice cream -- Maple Valley Creamery at Fort River Farm.  They are in the process of remodeling their barn to turn it into a farm store that will feature raw milk, ice cream, cheeses, yogurt, angus beef, local produce, and baked goods.
Perhaps you've seen their banner at the corner of South Maple and Mill Valley Roads; if you haven't check it out here and their website here.  (Just look at those beautiful Brown Swiss cows and that delicious looking cheese.)

Want a sampling?  Stop by Taste of Amherst this weekend -- they'll be there!  (You can also get their ice cream at Maple Farm Foods, Atkins Farms, and Barstow's Longview Farm.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CSA: The Kitchen Garden

Yesterday was part 2 of my CSA visits for Open CSA week, and Mr Madley and I visited The Kitchen Garden on Rocky Hill Road.  The Kitchen Garden is relatively new at its Hadley location (previously having been home to Stone Soup Farm), and is still under a little construction (the barn should be finished within the next few weeks).  Most of the farming and crop-growing is done in Sunderland on Silver Lane, but the Hadley location has pick-ups, a wonderful assortment of chatty chickens, and pick-you-own gardens.  Plus, a few of the farmers were there unloading the beautiful produce from the van for distribution.

Flowers, eggs, bags, an informational card, and a sign-in welcomed members and guests;
The white-board listed today's share portions.
Beautiful bunches of radishes (3 kinds) were part of this week's vegetable share,
as were garlic scapes, swiss chard, lettuces, bok choy, and kohlrabi (I don't think I'd ever seen kohlrabi before -- pretty!).
The farm offers different kinds of shares and add-ons -- vegetable shares, fruit shares, and egg shares; plus, special winter and spring shares and market shares. 
Strawberries and rhubarb were part of this week's fruit share.

Happy chickens lay tastier eggs for the egg share.

The Kitchen Garden produce is also available at farmer's markets in the area, including the Wednesday Market at Kendrick Park (which I'm really hoping to get to go to soon).  If you're looking for more information, take a gander at their website -- it's loaded with information on the farm, CSA shares, farmers markets, the produce they produce (storage tips, recipes, etc.), restaurants, and the farm philosophy.
Another fantastic CSA opportunity right here in Hadley.  

CSAs are a wonderful way to participate in the local farming industry and to support the local community.  Open CSA week is now over for the year, and I've highlighted two local CSAs.  If you have hesitations about joining a CSA, start by visiting the farmers markets and farm stands in the area.  Don't miss out on your opportunity to partake of the fresh, delicious produce grown here in the Valley and to sustain the local agriculture that has built the foundation of our community.  Enjoy those fresh summer crops!

Friday, June 8, 2012

CSA: Next Barn Over

It's open CSA week, and I took an opportunity to visit Next Barn Over CSA after work today during their open hours.

When I arrived, people with shares were happily picking strawberries in the open strawberry field.
I made my way past some fields of young vegetables,
and on to the barn to check out what was inside.  Inside the barn I found shelves of jams, sauces, honey, and popcorn, as well as a cooler with yogurt and cheese, and a rack of bread and coffee.
I turned the corner and discovered the greens selection.  All kinds of things, from garlic scapes to boston lettuce to kale.  It was a beautiful sight (and it smelled so green and fresh). 
I really like the paintings on the walls.
Back to my car.  And I passed my favourite part of all -- the rows and rows of sugar snap peas, of which members can partake, and which might just be enough to convince me that this is the CSA for me.  (I LOVE sugar snap peas!)
If you're interested in learning more about Next Barn Over, visit their website or visit their CSA on a pickup day (Mon/Wed 2-7, Fri 12-4) and pick up an informational flier at the entry to the barn.  This is great stuff.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Entrusting the Commons, Take 2

Opening Reception for the Exhibit “Entrusting the Commons: A Community Photography Project Exploring Hadley’s Heritage”
June 9th, 2012 at 2pm
HADLEY - The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum will be hosting an opening reception for the exhibit “Entrusting the Commons: A Community Photography Project Exploring Hadley’s Heritage.” The exhibit and reception will be held in the Museum’s Corn Barn on June 9, 2012 at 2pm. Both the reception and exhibit will be free and open to the public. The curator of the exhibit, Angela Labrador, and some of the photographers will be joining us for this event. To read more about the exhibit, please visit:

The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum is located at 130 River Drive (Route 47) in Hadley, two miles north of the junction of Routes 9 and 47. The Museum is open for guided tours Saturday through Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm (closed Thursday and Friday) and by appointment. For further information about the tours and programs, call the museum at 413.584.4699. or visit

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Historic Hadley

While doing a little web searching, I discovered this gem of a site on the history of Hadley -- featuring primary sources.  With all of my interest in Hadley, I can't believe I didn't find this before.  Visit the site and enjoy the photos from past and present and the little niblets of written history.

There and Back Again: The Story of One Small Town

And while you're checking out historic documents online, take a look at the C/WMARS Digital Treasures -- a digital collection of the agricultural and industrial history of Central and Western Massachusetts.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chilly Day, Warm Bread

What does one do on a chilly, rainy Saturday when the plan was to enjoy the great outdoors?
Bake bread, of course!

Today was my first try at making wheat-berry bread -- whole wheat, graham, flax, oat bran, and red winter wheat berries, with local milk and honey, also.  So so good!  (Isn't it beautiful?)

And so Mr Madley wouldn't feel left out, I also baked him homemade gluten-free bread.  Turned out quite nicely.  I'm still trying to perfect this recipe, but it gets better each time I make it.
If you have any interest in fresh and local bread or grains, Wheatberry offers a heritage grain CSA that sounds marvelous!  Check out the information on their CSA site.  They offer whole grains of wheat, corn, spelt, beans, and oats, and even have a grinder you can use if you don't have one of your own.