Category Archives: Columns

Published pieces I’ve written, primarily in The Recorder, Greenfield, Mass.

Shad-Run Surge

With fragrant pink weigelas in full bloom and mock orange buds opening into white flowers, I know the annual Connecticut River American shad run is near its end, typical with Memorial Day in the rearview. Long ago were the days when I was among the eager anglers wading the margins of deep, narrow migration channels […]

Constant Bliss Ambush

Gray, rainy, spring morning. Woodstove idle. Cool indoors. Still writing in my comfy winter kitchen nook. I’m thinking about colonial New England soldier Constant Bliss, who, by chance, popped into view during recent local-history meanderings. What a name, huh? Constant Bliss. Something to stive for. Perpetual joy. Very un-Puritanical. Born to Reverend John and Anna […]

Great Horned Owls Nest

All I can say about last week’s start of the four-week 2024 Massachusetts spring turkey-hunting season is, what a difference a year makes. It matters not that I no longer view wild turkeys through a hunter’s lens. My interest in the state gamebird will never fade. I will forever continue to observe and learn about […]

New Weir Information

I spoke too soon about ancient Indian weirs in the neighborhood. So, with new information in hand about the stone fishing structures, a follow-up’s in order. My last column questioned the curious (to me) design, and thus the functionality, of two extant, manmade, downstream-pointed weirs on the lower Westfield and uppermost Chicopee rivers. Little did […]

Indian Weir Dynamics: A New Twist

A long, winding path sat me in this bow-back Windsor chair this morning – seasoned-oak oozing warmth from the woodstove to stimulate thought about Indian weirs. My introduction to these manmade fish-catching structures occurred more than 30 years ago. Deerfield artist/illustrator Al Dray had been following my columns on salmon, shad, and ancient spring fishing […]

The Penalty-Box Home Run

March daybreak. Frosty. Spring in the air. Calm and clear. Brooks rattling – one a soothing roar, the other a gurgling whisper. Endless dawn sky blushing to a soft, warm blue. Soon the glitter of frosted lawns would vanish under the first rays of sun peeking over the eastern horizon. The perfect setting for an […]

Punch Brook Revisited

One never knows what peripheral treasures will appear during deed research. This one focuses on new information about a brook I wrote about less than two years ago. First, a preface. The brook reference jumped off a deed last week while I was trying to figure out a fascinating Revolutionary War powder horn owned by […]

Sugarloaf Suicide

Boyhood memories, however vivid they may seem, can be unreliable. Of this sobering fact I was reminded recently regarding a Mount Sugarloaf suicide that occurred during my free and easy days as a South Deerfield youth. I have over the past decade or so tried unsuccessfully many times to chase down that story in newspaper […]

Sturgeon Survive, Native Fishing Camps Fade

Two recent meetings I chose to attend pulled my focus to Connecticut River Basin fisheries and, more specifically, those of our own Pioneer Valley – a topic I have explored in depth over the years, be it with books, scientific reports, fishing rods, shotguns, or paddles in hand. First came the January 17 meeting of […]

G.W. Mark Rests in Secret Peace

Friday morning, raw and rainy, January fading away, and I’m pondering George Washington Mark… again. You may recall that I wrote about this famous Greenfield folk artist in recent weeks after finding his painting of a storied hound that was once the sporting pet of blacksmith and tavernkeeper Henry A. Ewers (1806-1867), a previous owner […]

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