It is no secret that the past few months have been difficult. People across the nation are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression due to the unprecedented circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I first became acquainted with my neighborhood red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) when it visited my bird feeders last winter. Sporting a black-and-white-striped back with a red nape, this medium-sized woodpecker certainly made a visual impression. Its call was also memorable, a l…

  • +4

If I could only bring the seeds of one plant with me when exiled to a distant island, I would bring tomato seeds. Tomatoes are the center of much of my cuisine from soups and stews to sandwiches and salads. They are tasty raw or cooked, are healthy to eat, and relatively easy to grow and pro…

  • +2

Sinclair Lewis and his bride, Dorothy Thompson, bought a summer home in Barnard in 1928 — two years before Lewis won the Nobel Prize for literature.

  • +4

I’m lucky. Even though my property is relatively small — just over two acres — I have all the possible growing conditions a plant could want: wet, dry, sunny and shady. And I’m willing to try almost anything that will survive 20 or 25 below in winter.

This time of year I get impatient for the long-awaited harvest of my tomatoes and the taste of their sweet, homegrown flavor. But will I get to them before the arrival of the dreaded hornworms?

No, base tans do not protect against sunburns and skin damage. A bronze hue does not equal a healthy glow. Rather, tans and burns both signal exposure to cancer-causing UV rays.

The New Yorker published Stephen Vincent Benét’s “Nightmare Number Three” just 85 years ago. I was a bit too young then to appreciate it, but I’ve read it many times since. It describes a homicidal revolt of domestic machines. A few lines:

There was a sucking sound as my rubber boot sank into the deep black muck. Naturalist Jon Binhammer and I were standing in the middle of a hardwood swamp in central Vermont. Above us, dainty red flowers clung to the still-bare branches of red maple trees and fat black buds encircled the stem…

According to the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont still faces about from four to six infant deaths per year due to suffocation from unsafe sleeping environments. This alarming statistic still occurs despite the many years of research and parent and community education.

  • +5

My garden is the place I go in times of sadness, worry or stress. It makes me feel better. I took a few moments one morning recently to really look at what was in my garden to see what made it so special. I saw that in addition to the plants (and who cannot be happy snacking on red raspberri…

As you swat away blackflies this summer, look closely; it may be that not all those bugs are flies. Some of them might be tiny sweat bees, members of the Halictidae family, which gets its common name because some species will lick sweat from human skin.

Food has long been the great connector. Vermonters, in particular, are a foodie bunch: Whether we’re connecting with neighbors and farmers while buying seasonal produce at the weekly farmers market, lingering in conversation with friends around a potluck meal, or sharing recipes for Vermont’…

As pandemic-related restrictions ease and people return to parks and other outdoor spaces, remember to protect yourself against another threat — ticks.

Several hours of cutting firewood, followed by a late-night movie meant a late wakeup accompanied by sore muscles. But this day fell on the every-other-day when we get on the mountain bike so we set out on the trail at about 11 a.m., a hot, humid July day that had sweat slipping down from th…

It is mid-summer now, and my garden is full of gorgeous flowers, some finishing up their display, others just beginning. Here are some I love, and what I do to make them happy.

When COVID-19 first hit, few of us realized the full impact of the virus. We now know the pandemic will have lasting effects on our work and personal lives. At Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, this virus changed how we provide care. Our commitment to our patients and community has …

On Marvin Street, Victor Guadagno broke ground this spring on a large vegetable garden. But this one isn’t in his own yard; the long-time gardener and food systems advocate put the garden on his neighbor Susan Adam’s property, a woman who is in her 90s and unable to garden for herself.

Large fishing spiders walking on water can be fascinating — or terrifyingly unnerving. The latter reaction is common among Saint Michael’s College students as we sample Vermont’s streams and ponds. On one occasion, a normally macho student screamed, dropped his net and leaped from the stream…

  • +5

June, for most of us, was a very dry time. When weeds and established perennials started to droop, I knew it was time to water, and I did. But watering done well takes time and done poorly, wastes a lot of water — or doesn’t do the job. I have no crystal ball to know what the rest of the sum…

Prescription drug misuse is when someone takes a medication in a way it was not intended to be used. That could mean taking more than prescribed or taking someone else’s medication. Adults and kids are misusing these drugs. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows 12% of Vermont high…

Have you noticed lacy-looking leaves on your pole beans or roses lately? Take a closer look and you’ll probably spot the culprit - the Japanese beetle.

It feels like we wait all year for fresh lettuce, and the window seems to close quickly. How can we maximize lettuce season?

Each fall, thousands of broad-winged hawks soar across the New England sky in flocks known as kettles, on their way to wintering grounds in Central and South America. The sky swirls with hawks bubbling up on thermals of hot air and then streaming southward. It is enough to take your breath a…

I love roses, but avoided planting any for a long time. They had a reputation for being fussy. I thought they would attract Japanese beetles, and carry black spot and other diseases. In recent years, I have enjoyed growing roses and find that modern breeders have come up with many fine roses…

Randolph, New Hampshire, is not exactly Hampton Beach. From our motel of last evening, it was a 10-mile drive into Gorham for supper and breakfast; and at 1,200 feet in elevation, it was cold enough during the night that I peeked out this morning to see if there was frost on my windshield. J…

July is Eye Injury Prevention Month. Eye injuries affect about 2.5 million people every year. Household products cause more than 125,000 serious eye injuries. Hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 40,000 victims of eye injuries from sports. Below are tips for preventing injury to your eyes.

Talking to our kids about drugs and alcohol can make parents and guardians feel uneasy. It can be tough to find the right time to have these talks with our children. Thankfully, there are resources available that can help parents/guardians feel more comfortable having conversations about dru…

  • +2

In Vermont, the year 1927 is primarily remembered for the great flood in November – the most devastating event in the Green Mountain State’s modern history.

There’s a story about an early tourist from New York City who stopped his horse and buggy to watch a farmer harvesting a spring crop of rocks from his land. The farmer was loading rocks onto a sledge drawn by oxen. The stranger called him over and asked, “Where did all those rocks come from?”

In 1665, while the Great Plague was devastating London and Cambridge, the young scholar Isaac Newton decamped to his family’s home in up-country Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth. A lifelong autodidact, Newton enjoyed, while away from his college, one of the most creative and innovative years of h…

Are you looking for a delicious vegetable easy to grow and harvest all summer long? Look no further than the stringless green bean, specifically, the haricots verts. It’s the perfect addition to the home garden as seeds can be sown every two weeks from last frost to mid-July to extend their …

Let’s say you have recently purchased a house and want to create beautiful gardens. How should you begin? I recently visited Gordon and Mary Hayward, both garden designers, at their home in Westminster West, Vermont. Their gardens are as nice as any private gardens I have seen, and I wanted …

Thinking about, and certainly missing, what life was like not too long ago, I wondered if it might be interesting to recall my life only one year past. But that would not do. Things weren’t going well for me 12 months ago after I had rotator cuff surgery in May 2019. My left arm was in a sli…