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Nature's Notebook

Memory foam

My feet have unanimously adopted the Skechers brand as their officially favored footwear. 

I’m a little surprised, as it’s hard to get them to agree on anything. In a recent round of visits to stores to shop for new hiking shoes, left foot was quite content with one shoe — I forget the brand — but right felt pinched. Then three left toes signaled they weren’t breathing adequately in the next shoe they squirmed into.

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Historic vistas rare along Eastern Seaboard

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Historic vistas rare

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Protecting Sharon land and cottontails

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS) has proposed a new National Wildlife Refuge called Great Thicket that would help protect shrubland habitats and young forests in designated areas across part of New England and eastern New York.   

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Birds in the bitter cold

Our backyard bird feeder, ever entertaining in winter, had the usual visitors, though some of the tweeters showed their dislike for the few days of bitter cold. 

The chickadees were quicker to dart in, beak a seed and return to the apple tree to crack it and gulp the meat. 

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The Big Night

False spring

The sap started to flow at the end of January, so my son and I trudged out over the unfrozen ground to set two spiles in the old maple tree. We watched as it welled at the spout and heard the first drops ring in each galvanized pail. It was a moment of certainty in an otherwise uncertain season, where winter had failed to impress and spring seemed just around the corner.

Sundays in the woods

Most Sundays so far this winter I’ve been able to take extended woods walks, penetrating 2 or 3 miles into a particular area near the house that I’ve not extensively explored in years past. (It’s posted property on which I have permission to explore. How much trouble can a local historian get into?)

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To tap or not

“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Jody Bronson, the longtime forest manager at Great Mountain Forest, up high on Canaan Mountain, when asked for his thoughts on the prospects for the upcoming maple syrup season. 

Lime belt

‘This lime stands high in the market and makes a very hard mortar,” D.L. Freeman of Peirce & Freeman told The Berkshire Courier more than a century ago. “In brick and stone work it makes a bond of the greatest strength. It is also used for plastering, whitewashing and hard finish.”

Earlier generations here exploited natural resources with abandon.

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