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Nature's Notebook

Memento mori in a warm autumn

I have barely turned on the heat this month, and outside my basil is still alive. This is unprecedented. Despite some frosty nights, the overnight temperature inside my uninsulated, century-old house has remained in the high 50s and I have not felt the need to turn on the furnace. 

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This rain and what it does

The sun came out for a few hours this morning. There was so much mist in the air that the sky was a shimmering gold, and silver wisps of steam rose from the east-facing rooftops. 
The clouds are back again and there is more rain in the forecast, but for a little while I felt the promise of warm days to come and I drove to work singing “Here Comes the Sun.”

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Farmhouse chic

In the grocery store checkout line one morning, I noticed a magazine near the chocolate bar rack. Christmas Farmhouse. Turns out, there is a slew of these periodicals. Farm House Magazine. American Farmhouse Style.  Country Farmhouse Decor. 
This decor is often weathered mirror frames or whitewashed pine tables or sandblasted butter molds — things you wouldn’t find in a real farm house today.

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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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