For many of us, the coming days are a great time of faith, gratitude and celebration. Some of us, I suspect, miss the true meaning of Christmas because we get wrapped up in the giving and getting of presents. How can we not? We are constantly bombarded in the media about Black Friday, can’t-…

Over much of the world this year, desperate people have decided that their living conditions — poverty, hunger, violence, corruption — are insupportable, that almost anyplace else has got to be better than where they are, and have begun migrating toward what they hope will be better lives. T…

I once lived in a cottage perched atop a sloping field in Western Massachusetts. It was the lone structure at the edge of undeveloped forest and sat far from the road. The cottage had a large front deck with an expansive view, and a smaller one in back that faced the forest. It was under the…

Well, Christmas is only 17 days away. What a great time to offer our readers an array of gifts, straight from the Camp Swampy Catalog. But this year, we are going out of our way to offer some must-have presents for the older folks who still have the mustard to get out there and hunt.

It’s the time of year when the landscape is laid bare, the ground is impenetrable with frost and flying insects have faded into memory. As fall slides into winter, resident songbirds like robins and waxwings must switch from their warm weather diets of earthworms and arthropods to the best o…

I recently visited my friend Alicia Jenks, of Green Dragon Farm in Weathersfield, to take a look at her house plants — some 50 or more of them. Alicia considers them her “indoor garden,” her plant friends that keep her gardening all winter. She doesn’t think house plants are hard to maintain…

During the cold winter months, you are at an increased risk of slipping and falling while going about everyday activities like walking from your car to your front door. Building and maintaining your muscles — especially when you have to travel on slippery ice and snow — is critically importa…

More teens try alcohol for the first time in June, July and December than during the rest of the year. That makes December a great time to talk to your teen not just about the dangers of drinking, but also the dangers of riding in a car when the driver has been drinking. This month may be th…

The sound of a gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis) evokes an image of the North Woods: dark green spruce trees, spire-like balsam fir, and bare-branched tamaracks silhouetted against a raw, slate-colored sky; the smell of wood smoke in the air and a dusting of fresh snow on the ground. I see th…

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This year, given the plethora of squirrels in the universe, I feel that I should just buy a dump truck-load of black oil sunflower seeds and drop it on the lawn in front of the deck. Then maybe the squirrels would let my timid titmice get to the feeder. Maybe not. But there are other ways to…

Most people follow a pretty standard smoothie recipe: A banana, some frozen berries, juice or almond milk, and maybe some spinach for extra nutrients. But one Vermonter, Steve Swanson, packs in an extra nutrition punch by adding a tablespoon of ground up crickets to his smoothies.

Mermaids and mermen have been “seen” and pictured since the Babylonian era. In past centuries, Greece, Japan, Ireland, Russia and Scotland have believed in local mermaids. There have been exhibits of mermaid skeletons; the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid”; the 19…

For breakfast I often drink a green smoothie that includes a banana, kale, some OJ, half a lime, fresh ginger, fresh mint if I have it, and water. It’s healthy, tasty and uses kale I grew. I usually pick fresh “Winterbor” kale from my garden until mid-December as even temperatures in the 20s…

Postcards are among the most popular inexpensive collectibles today, perhaps because they are easy to find. But they require time and searching to create a special collection. Postcards are wanted for the postmark, the stamp, the message or the picture on the front, and they can be framed an…

Postcards are among the most popular inexpensive collectibles today, perhaps because they are easy to find. But they require time and searching to create a special collection. Postcards are wanted for the postmark, the stamp, the message or the picture on the front, and they can be framed an…

In early November, I flicked on the porch light and took out the trash. In the brief time it took, a couple of late-season moths found their way to my porch light, and as I slipped through the back door, one of them joined me inside. I cupped my uninvited guest under a drinking glass and too…

It’s a well-known fact that the nursing profession currently suffers from a significant and growing worldwide shortage. Hospitals, including Rutland Regional Medical Center, are putting forth extra effort to ensure they are impacted as little as possible. They have implemented a number of in…

“Jingle Bells” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” are already blaring in stores in an attempt to get us in the mood to buy holiday gifts. Good grief, Halloween is barely over. Still … here are some thoughts for all you eager beavers who now wish to buy gifts for your beloved gardeners.

The White Mountain National Forest is large — over 1,200 square miles — peppered with 4,000-foot mountains and host to millions of visitors. During a holiday weekend on a popular mountain trail, you may rarely be out of sight of other hikers. Like the Adirondacks on the other side of Vermont…

Diana Moore and Larry Detweiler are members of Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice’s hospice team. Diana is the bereavement coordinator and Larry is the chaplain. Hospice offers interdisciplinary care, including pain management, personal care and social work, along with grief and berea…

“I bought a wooden whistle, but it wouldn’t whistle” is part of an old children’s song that goes on to joke about buying a metal whistle. But a modern metal whistle used by a policeman looks very different from the wooden whistle made centuries ago. And today, if a whistle is wood, it usuall…

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“It started with ducks,” said Missy Gilbert, standing in her garden surrounded by vegetable beds that had been put to sleep for winter. Two goats rambled around nibbling at old greenery, while an enormous flock of ducks waddled and clacked beyond the fence. One sat beside a kiddie pool clean…

Nov. 15, the Thursday before Thanksgiving, is Great American Smoke Out Day. This day encourages and challenges people to quit smoking or vaping for a 24-hour period. Abstaining from using cigarettes or e-cigarettes for the day can boost one’s confidence and inspire a long-term quit attempt.

One of the easiest and most satisfying gardening activities I do each fall is to plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus in containers. I keep them in a place that is cold, but not freezing, for three or four months, then bring them into the warmth of the house, where I get gorgeous bl…

To call 1918, just 100 years ago, “dramatic” would be a conspicuous understatement. Not only had the so-called Great War just ended, after claiming an estimated 40 million casualties, but as the surviving doughboys began returning home from Europe, the most lethal epidemic in human history s…

Every autumn, when the air tastes of apples and leaves crunch underfoot, my thoughts turn to tiny owls — northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) to be exact. Just 8 inches in length with a round head and bright yellow eyes, the saw-whet is arguably New England’s most endearing owl. Deer m…