In 1885 George Lawson milked 38 cows on his hill farm in Barre. Every day, he separated the cream from the milk, and then churned the cream into butter. Lawson shipped 14 tubs of fresh, sweet butter to Boston each week. Each tub contained 20 pounds of butter, for a total of 280 pounds a week.

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There are places on this planet where the earth speaks. I suspect there are fewer of them each year because, perhaps, they’ve gone silent, or because their voices are drowned out by our noise. The poet Francis Scott speaks of the vast Canadian Shield: “Hidden in wonder and snow, or sudden wi…

Imagine for a moment you travel on all fours like other self-respecting quadrupeds. Extend your imagination yet a little more and with it, your body, so that a large dome-shaped shell-like structure extends out to cover you in all directions. From above, a predator would see only a disk with…

I’ve got to remember to put a new battery into the tiny travel alarm. I don’t think it needs one. But what if it does? And to paraphrase the Bard, “betrays me in deepest consequence?” My tiny NOOK, which contains enough heavy reading — Harari, Haidt — to put me to sleep a hundred times, does…

Last February, you might have seen news stories about an impending insect apocalypse. “Huge global extinction risk.” “Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature.” “Insects are dying off at a scary rate.” And those were just the headlines on online articles from New Scientist, The …

Surely, some of you remember the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South.” Set on a Reconstruction-era plantation, it features kindly old ex-slave Uncle Remus telling a couple of kids stories of the adventures of Br’er Rabbit, who, like Bugs Bunny vis-à-vis Elmer Fudd or the Roadrunner and Wile …

I do not race. I hate racing. Competition is something that colors my easy, calm, consistent morning runs with pain and labor, and I usually regret pushing myself to the degree where I’m heaving and sweating profusely by the end of it.

About a year ago, I wrote a piece, set in the Adirondacks, describing the search some friends and I had made for a mysterious Mercury dime that had disappeared somehow from under a rock where I’d hidden it over 60 years ago. It was in a difficult and almost-never-visited gap the old-timers c…

This is the time of year when swampy areas often are ablaze with gorgeous pink-purple flowers that dominate the wetland. These are the flowers of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), an invasive plant that you should not encourage — but that you probably can’t get rid of once established.

A few times a year, I bring groups of people into the woods to search for red-backed salamanders in the damp netherworld that is the forest floor. Last spring, it was eighth graders. They did their best to follow the cardinal rule of middle school social interaction — thou shalt not appear “…

Back-to-school to-do lists are likely on most parents’ minds these days. Besides shopping for school supplies, it is important to remember to schedule your child’s yearly visit with their doctor. These annual visits were likely routine when your child was younger, however, they are still imp…

I have been the tearful mother, up alone in the dark, trying desperately to feed my newborn. I know the anxiety and frustration of a difficult breastfeeding experience. Nothing is more important in the first few weeks of your baby’s life than learning to feed. Supporting our newborns and old…

SACO, Maine — Long before I cross Goose Fair Brook, about a half-hour before low tide, I spot two anglers with surf rods out. It’s no big deal, really. This morning, I am carrying my 7-foot plug-casting rod, foregoing the two 10-foot surf rods, the bait bucket and all the rest of the heavy g…

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month. Eye injuries affect about 2.4 million people every year. Household products cause more than 125,000 serious eye injuries. Hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 23,000 victims of eye injuries from sports. Toys and home playground equipment cau…

“OMG,” started a recent email from my neighbor, Paul, who owns Butterfield Farm in North Montpelier. His beef and berry operation is inundated with blueberries this year, like nothing he has seen in years prior.

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I recently planted a couple of blue spruce trees on a nice cloudy day, and want to share with you what I did. First, and most important, I checked the position of the trunk of the tree in the pot. In the wild you will notice that trees bulge out at the base, creating what is termed the “trun…

After a passing shower, when the sun comes out again, I often see a rainbow in the east behind my house, arching over the trees on the hilltop. Ancient peoples were awed by these multi-colored arcs in the sky and came up with a variety of explanations. To the Norse, a rainbow was a bridge co…

A regular chore of mine is to dispose of the mice and moles trapped in our home. I place them on a 4x5-foot patch of dirt and rock — which I have named the gravesite — beside my woodshed. There, they typically disappear overnight, taken, I had assumed, by our resident barred owl, or perhaps …

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Each summer I fill a big window box with annual flowers and vines to welcome all who approach the house. Some years it is bodacious, other years it verges on ho-hum. This year it is a delight: in the center is a black-leafed sweet potato vine that is surrounded with blue flowers of scavelola…