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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Master Plan Meeting -- this week!

Here's an announcement, from the Town, regarding the updating of the Master Plan.
Thursday night, 6:30, Hadley Senior Center

Be there, and let your voice be heard!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Upcoming Events to Be Aware Of

It's the holiday season, as I'm sure you can tell by the amount of catalogs in your mailbox.  Here are some important dates to look forward to this season:

Nov. 23-24: Monte's March, benefiting the Western Massachusetts Food Bank

Dec. 3: Hadley Master Plan Forum, 6:30pm, Hadley Senior Center
Dec. 6: Amherst College Vespers and Smith College Vespers @4pm & 730pm
Dec.13: Mount Holyoke College Vespers @ 4pm & 730pm

I was saddened to learn that Valley Gives Day is on hiatus until 2016 -- I look forward to that every year!  Not that that means I won't be giving during this season of gratitude giving and remembering, but VGD made it just a little more fun.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nowhere Lovelier

As much as I do not look forward to the onslaught of winter weather, there is nowhere lovelier in October than Western Massachusetts.  If you can't make it out this way, or if you simply need to remember the beautiful places of the world, take a look at these photos:



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Get Involved

It is SO easy to lament the state of the world, the nation, and even our little town sometimes (think even-more construction and demolition of wooded areas), but lamenting, on its own, will not make any changes.  If you want to effect change and don't know where to start, here are some ideas for you:

Go to Town Meeting -- and town meetings.
Town Meeting and Special Fall Town Meeting each happen once a year (total: 2 meetings), and allow residents to voice opinions and vote on important agenda items and on the town budget.
Other meetings through the year include informational meetings and town department meetings.  Just recently, there were meetings for the library (new building construction) and for MassDOT (expansion and improvement of Rt. 9) and for the Select Board.
You can find information about these meetings on the Town of Hadley website and the associated calendar.

Volunteer for the Town
Hadley often has vacancies on various boards and committees -- join one!  You can find out about these vacancies on the Select Board's page of the town website.
(I recently wrote my letter of interest to become a member of the Cemetery Committee!)

Volunteer Somewhere Else
There are many organizations that could use a helping hand.  A couple that come to mind are the Boys and Girls Club of Amherst and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Find more opportunities at VolunteerMatch. or
You can also join a choir, join a church, join a library (Friends).

Find a Campaign
It's political season and the perfect time to get involved in a political campaign.  Those running for office always need people on the ground and in the ranks.  Find the contact information of a candidate you like and make a request for information on how to help.

Write a Letter
If there is something that you think needs changed, write a letter to one of your elected representatives.  You can information on our United States senators and representatives here:, or you can check on the House of Representatives site here:, or on the Senate site here:

For state leaders, visit the MA Legislature site here:

Don't have time to volunteer, join a committee, or otherwise get involved?  Mr. Madley and I try to make a small donation each month to an organization that we believe in.  Sometimes the organization is world- or nation-wide; sometimes (usually) it is much more local.  Find great places in need of help on the Valley Gives website (but don't just give on Valley Gives day!) or on Charity Navigator.

And there you have it -- ways to make a difference.  This list is not comprehensive, but it's a good jumping off place.  Go forth and make some positive change (and I don't mean in dimes and nickels!).  Good luck & have fun!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Library Building Forum

I probably should have come up with a catchy title for this blog post, but catchy isn't coming to me this evening, so I'll have to settle for practical.

The library is looking ahead to the future!  A forum to discuss building plans is coming to a Town Hall near you -- the Hadley Town Hall is hosting a library planning and building design forum on Monday, September 28, at 7pm, sponsored by the library trustees and the library design committee.  This is an opportunity for residents ask questions, voice opinions, and hear the pros and cons of various site options for a new library.

The voice of the community is a necessary part of the library building project -- add your voice to the others' and let it be heard!

Circulation is increasing, patronage is increasing, general usage is increasing -- and town population is increasing! -- but the library has not been able to increase in proportion.  For more information about the building program and why it's important, read (or skim) the Goodwin Memorial Library Building Program.  In it you will find community comparisons, space usage, collection information, public input from surveys and forums, and more!  (It's a large file, so it might take a minute or two to load into your browser.)

Click on the picture below for a few of the important statistics.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Madley Report

I often enjoy reading The Lehrer Report in the weekly paper; it's a great little old-timey column with short comments on gardens, weather, and local people and places.  In response, here is The Madley Report for the month thus far:
The tomato plants are heavy with green tomatoes.  With a little luck and sunshine, they will soon start to ripen.  Some of the Cherokee White Eagle corn is presenting two ears on one stalk; this corn will make beautiful blue cornbread in the winter.  The summer squash are producing predominately male blossoms, which causes a fruiting problem.

The apple tree in the front yard needs pruning, despite its abundant load of summer apples.  With a taller ladder, I could harvest more for dehydrating.
A hummingbird flew by my window this week; it was attracted to the large purple butterfly bush and new crocosmia.

Last week I walked up Huntington Street to see that the entire wooded area at the top has been leveled for "luxury" homes. The road has been renamed "Heartbreak Hill." 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hadley Residents: Important Input on Master Plan

UPDATE (Aug 15): Surveys must be completed by August 28.  Survey results will be presented in a town meeting in the autumn, when residents will have the opportunity to make comments.

Perhaps this week you received your water bill, and enclosed in that bill was a yellow slip of paper advertising a Hadley community survey.  This survey is asking residents of Hadley to share opinions about what the town should be focused on for the next 10-20 years; these opinions will be taken into account as the town's Master Plan gets updated.

You can find the survey online here, and paper copies can be found at the Town Clerk's and Collector's offices, the Senior Center, and the library.

Please, please make sure to take a few minutes to fill out the survey and share your thoughts -- on schools, the library, historic buildings, development, communities, housing, open space, recreation opportunities, preservation, and so on....

Hadley's Master Plan Survey

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bread and Sand

Madley Hadley takes a field trip!

Earlier this summer I was given a hand-me-down magazine, a Rodale's Organic Life.  It was the July/August edition, and therefore included a few activities around the nation that focus on organic living and gardening and baking and such things.  In it I found an event that piqued my interest nigh unto excitement -- a bread fair and a kneading conference, scheduled for August, and as close by as Maine!  It was now only mid-July.  Mr. Madley had been encouraging me to make a day to visit the beach (he knows how much I love the ocean), but I had been waffling and hesitating, but when I realized I could combine a visit to the beach with a visit to the artisan bread fair (I couldn't afford the kneading conference this year, but hope to in the future!), it was decided.  I would visit the coast and then make my way to Maine.

I visited on of my favourite North Shore beaches, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island.  It is a delight and not only features a lovely beach, but also walking trails, swamp marshes, observation towers, and plenty of bird-watching.

At the end of a day at the beach, I dined at Bob Lobster (try it, if you're there -- it's a great "fish shack"), and then hit the road to Maine.

The following morning was the Maine Artisan Bread Fair, held at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds, and if you like bread, this is the place for you.  There were bread vendors and pie vendors and cookie vendors.  There were artist booths and handmade goods and demonstrations and bags of flours.  There was music and food and even a little something for the kids!  Oh, and lest I forget, there were even some delightful gluten-free breads and cookies and johnny cakes.  Everything at the fair had to be Maine-made, and even much of the grain was Maine grown (this fair is sponsored by the Maine Grain Alliance).

 I purchased a loaf of their MaineGrain Rye, which was wonderful, and a pretzel for the trip home, which was yummy.
 With so many books, how does one decide?!
Lovely concrete decorative tiles from Forma 550.  I got myself a chicken, but I happily would have purchased many more...

 Oats Any Time.  Gluten free.  Delicious.
 If these beautiful pastas had been gluten-free, I might have splurged for a rainbow mix of them....
A couple more vendors.

These handmade spoons and forks (and magic wands!) were lovely.  I ended up with a small butter spreader.
Oh yeah, this was definitely a winning table for me!  Beautiful presentation, delicious bread, local grains, mostly sourdoughs.
Thrashing and sifting the grains -- I wish I had one of these nifty machines!

So, the bread fair was fun and full of marvelous things.  Being a bit out of the way, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make the 4.5 hour trek just to visit it again, but if I were to add on the kneading conference, I'm sure I could convince myself -- especially if I went with a friend.  Also, I hear there are many other wonderful things to do in the area, and I passed at least one blueberry farm and a few antique stores and such that would make wonderful additions to a trip. 

Now all I want to do is bake bread, and learn how to make even more delicious varieties!

If you are interested in local grains (which is one of the main thrusts of Maine Grain Alliance), there is hope if you live in or around the Valley.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that a few years ago I got involved with a local grain share.  It is still up and running, featuring even more grains than before.  You can find it at Pioneer Valley Heritage Grains (  They feature beans and corns and wheats and other delicious grains.  They have now made the share customizable, which is a great boon for those of use who have gluten-free folks in our homes.  (That was not the case when I bought into the share, and I am still working through the wheat I bought then!)

It's August, and there's still time to get to the beach.  Unfortunately, you will have to wait until next summer to make the Artisan Bread Fair, but in the meantime, save your pennies so you can also go to all the classes at the Kneading Conference.  And maybe buy into the grain share so you can practice your baking skills on fresh, local grains!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cruising Down the Connecticut

The Quinnetukut II is a 44-seat African Queen-style riverboat that makes a 12-mile round-trip cruise along the Connecticut River starting in Northfield.  The cruise is narrated and full of history, geology, biology, and ecology -- plus, there's a lovely view the whole way. The cruise is run by FirstLight Power Resources as part of the recreation programs offered out of the Northfield Mountain location.

Mr. Madley and I made the cruise on Saturday for the first time, though we had tried, unsuccessfully, to get tickets a few years ago.  The cruises run July-mid-October, three times a day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  As we witnessed, it is important to call ahead for reservations: (800) 859-2960, and to arrive early at the Northfield Mountain Visitor Center to pick up tickets (sometimes you can find discount coupons here:; tickets run $6-12 depending on age.

I was in love from first sight.  The Connecticut River is beautiful, and I always love riding on a boat.  Being out on the water makes me unreasonably happy, and to be on such lovely waters on such a lovely day was wonderful.  Along the way, the guide discussed the history of the rocks on the shore, the European and native histories of the location, and some of the wildlife we did and didn't see (we saw swans and a juvenile bald eagle -- which shows up in one of the pictures -- and some dead fish).  We passed under the French King Bridge and made our way down to Barton's Cove then made the return.  Pictures included below.

The trip takes about 1.5 hours from start to finish, and I definitely recommend it for nice low-key excursion.  Just make sure you make reservations!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Scenes of Summer

(I should probably repost this in January or February to remind us just how beautiful and warm Hadley can really be!)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chesterfield Gorge & Gilbert A Bliss State Forest

If you like spectacular views of granite cliffs...
If you like the roar of water tumbling over rocks and boulders...
If you like to walk paths in the woods...
If you like catch & release fly fishing...
If you like sunning on rocks...
If you like not-terribly-difficult (mostly flat) mountain biking...
If you like to picnic...
If you just like to get out in nature...

you need to visit Chesterfield Gorge and the East Branch Trail along the Westfield River and the Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest.  Check out the photos below for more reasons why.

You can walk for miles along the East Branch Trail, or find a nice rock next to the river the relax on.  Dogs are welcome, and it is likely that you will run into one or more along the trails. There is parking with a small fee (~$2) at both the gorge entrance (Trustees of Reservations) and the state park entrance.  There is also a place to get food near the state park entrance and off the trail a little ways.

It's a fabulous place to be; I've been twice and already am looking forward to going back!