I recently spent an afternoon walking around the UMass Amherst campus with Mike Dirr, my favorite tree authority and author. I already had several of his books, which I depend on before buying a tree. I purchased his terrific new book entitled, “The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landsca…

I wanted to be awake for an exactly 24-hour day, but didn’t dare pick up the pace to make it home by the deadline. The car behind me was hanging right there, about 200 yards back, and I couldn’t tell what it was in the dark. But I needn’t have been anxious. Right at one in the morning, I pul…

As a kid, I was fascinated and terrified by the idea of carnivorous plants. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, my only exposure to this particular subset of the plant kingdom was the ravenous, larger-than-life Venus fly trap in “Little Shop of Horrors.” If I stumbled upon a carnivorous plant…

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.

“Squish, squash.” I was walking gingerly on a soft, spongy carpet of sphagnum moss in a northern Vermont bog. Magenta blossoms decorated the sheep laurel shrubs that lined the edge of the open wetland — beyond them the pointed spires of balsam fir and black spruce reached towards the sky. Ah…

Rutland Regional Medical Center is proud to host the third annual Vermont Great 2,4,6,8K Run & Walk, Saturday, Sept. 21, in beautiful downtown Rutland. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the race starts promptly at 10:30 a.m. All proceeds from this special event will benefit the Foley …

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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…

As an inpatient doctor at Rutland Regional Medical Center, I see hundreds of cases of sepsis annually, but many patients and families have trouble understanding the condition. In honor of Sepsis Awareness Month, I felt it would be appropriate to answer the most common questions I receive reg…

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Big yellow buses are growling as they lumber down country roads, delivering their children to school. Soft-serve stands are warning of imminent closure. Favorite flowers are finishing their blooms. Sigh. Fall is here. But don’t despair: There are plenty of colorful plants to fill vases and w…

It was a cold start to the morning. Looked outside at the kitchen-window thermometer last week and, wow, a chilly 44 degrees. To put it into perspective, that is only 12 degrees above freezing.

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 …

Have you identified whom you want to speak on your behalf about your care if you are not able to communicate? Have you shared your wishes with your family? Advance directive (AD) forms can help you provide instructions for your doctor, family members and your local hospital to rely on in a d…

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Folks who only have shade often give up on gardening because they cannot grow things like poppies and peonies, and only know “boring” shade plants planted for their foliage rather than their blossoms: hostas, pachysandra and myrtle. But even those plants don’t necessarily grow vigorously in …

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.

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 “…

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.

School refusal is a term used to describe the signs of anxiety a school-aged child has, and his or her refusal to go to school. It is also called school avoidance or school phobia. It can be seen in different types of situations, including:

If you traveled along Vermont Route 100 last weekend, you may have seen some of the 800 runners traveling the same path. On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay race took runners from von Trapp Brewing’s Bierhall in Stowe to Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow.

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…

Have you ever noticed something bright yellow or orange on your bark mulch after a rain? You may notice that this blob actually has moved across the mulch over the course of a few days.

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…

If there’s one place you’d expect to see a sandpiper, it’s on the sand. However, there is one member of this family of shorebirds that prefers streamside to surfside. Almost any time you go for a paddle, you are likely to see small brown birds skimming low across the water with stiff, rapid …

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…

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Ferns are under-rated and largely ignored by gardeners, but should not be. They can add much to a garden. I recently went to Walpole, New Hampshire, where I met with Michael Nerrie of Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail. He introduced me to many ferns and also sold me a copy of a wonderful…

“Now, Wee-yull” — my name long ago in west Texas — the old man began, and I could tell there was some advice coming. The temperature was 108 degrees in the shade, and there wasn’t any shade, and we were about to quit for lunch and a siesta.

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…