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Nature's Notebook

Hope emerges after long winter

With the third snowstorm in as many weeks bearing down on the region, it is hard to see evidence of the end of winter. The signs are there, nonetheless, in addition to the anthropogenic shift from Daylight Savings to Standard Time we dutifully adopted this past weekend. There have been changes in wildlife behavior as well that are most notable after dark. 

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Mud

As mud season approaches, you hear the groans: Oh, no, road ruts again. Dirt tracked into the house. 
Mud as we know mires our vehicles, soils our floors, icks our shoes, double-icks our children when they go out to play.
In a few months, June 29 is International Mud Day.
We have to live with it.
Mud actually has its supporters, primarily those who use it for facials, but some who also tout its happiness factor, its health benefits and its artistic potential. 

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Abandoned eagle is recovering

An abandoned eaglet that was rescued from the backyard of a residence in Lakeville on July 19 is getting stronger every day and seems likely to recover fully.
Sunny Bettley, the wildlife rehabilitator and outreach specialist at Audubon Sharon, had rescued the bird after receiving a call from John Sprague that a smallish eagle (about 2 feet tall with about a 5-foot wing span) was trying to fly around Sprague’s yard and hadn’t returned to the home nest after two days.

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Canada, eh?

I’m wearing my Québec baseball cap as this Saturday, July 1, is Canada’s 150th birthday as an independent nation and that achievement deserves notice.

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Reasons to love the ice

The Black Ice Society had several outings at the close of the old year. Technically, we did not experience black ice conditions, that glorious slick surface when a hard freeze leaves the ice transparent and gleaming like polished obsidian. 

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Winter begins in hope

It is one of the regrets of my romantic heart in these modern times never to have dashed through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. I won’t settle for a plodding hay ride; I want the full experience, on an unplowed country road, icy stars above and the warm lights of home in the distance. I can imagine developing a deeper connection to Robert Frost and Prokofiev. Even “Jingle Bells” would somehow become more to me than an innocuous old holiday chestnut.

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There’s a bear there

There’s a bear there
 
While waiting for the bus early one morning, my daughter saw a bear. Driving home at midday a few days later, my wife saw another. Neither family member thought this occurrence remarkable, even though these were their first-ever bear sightings. We live in bear country; they were bound to see one eventually.

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Even with winter, it ain’t all over

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Scouting too far ahead

It can be a sign of good leadership, to be out in front. But for Explorer Scout Nicholas Kosciuszek of Seymour, Conn., it meant a night out alone on a rugged mountaintop.
The 15-year-old came to Salisbury with a dozen members of the New Haven Hiking Club for an afternoon hike to Mount Everett in Mount Washington, Mass. It was late October in 1957, and it was cold.

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How many paddle strokes to the L.I. Sound?

To really see the Housatonic River, other than glimpse it from a car window, you need a canoist’s perspective. 

To really experience the 149-mile river, you need to canoe it from source to Sound. 

To really paddle the river in the company of experts, you need to sign up for Housatonic Valley Association’s (HVA) Housatonic River Adventure, an extended paddle trip to help celebrate the river advocacy’s 75th anniversary.

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