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Thursday, February 23, 2017
  • A very wonderful Vermont author, Howard Frank Mosher, died last week, just days after the publication of his final book, “Points North.” Mosher wrote many award-winning novels, as well as “Where the Rivers Flow North,” one of the . . .
  • The true origins of the day of love and kisses named for a saint are shrouded in the mists of time, but the first mention of St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday appeared in the writings of Chaucer in 1382. During the . . .
  • Whether you know it as Imbolc, Candlemas, or Groundhog Day, this mid-point between the winter solstice and spring equinox has been celebrated since ancient times — even before that pagan ritual known as the Super Bowl. . . .
  • There are times when being alone in the garden is sublime. Just after dawn on a summer day, coffee in hand and birdsong in the air, sitting alone on a garden bench is to be as close to paradise as anyone could wish. In fact, the word . . .
  • Whether it’s post-holiday letdown or a response to temperatures fluctuating from 50 degrees in the morning to zero by midnight, flu and colds, sniffles and sneezes assail us from all sides. As the best defense against winter’s germy . . .
  • Garden catalogs are inspiring and books and films set in Tuscany or Mexico a welcome respite but, really, nothing gets a gardener through the winter like an array of houseplants. When I moved into our first little cabin in Vermont’s . . .
  • Our family, unlike those depicted on television for the last two months, never give $40,000 SUVs or the latest tablet or phone as Christmas gifts. We lean toward less glitzy items: hand-knit mittens, huge amaryllis bulbs . . .
  • If there’s one oasis of sanity to be found in unsettled times, it’s in the garden. Whether it’s a tiny backyard, acres of vegetables or in pots on a patio, the place where you can prune and putter, get your hands dirty and turn . . .
  • By now you may be wanting a break from both baking and eating Christmas cookies. You may also be wondering what you can do to keep holiday-crazed kids entertained for the next two weeks. How about putting them to work . . .
  • Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger are the traditional spices associated with the flavors and aromas of Christmas. Of them all, ginger — found in everything from gingerbread to German Pfeffernüsse, in fresh, powdered and . . .
  • As Maine is officially known as the Pine Tree State, you would be forgiven if you thought that the pine was the most common tree found within its borders — but it’s not. The balsam fir, Abies balsamica, whose fragrant branches . . .
  • A white Christmas doesn’t have to mean a holiday with snow blanketing the ground. While searching through racks of antique Christmas cards and postcards over the weekend I noticed a recurring theme: holly and greens were . . .
  • Over the past few weeks, with autumn winding down and winter drawing near, we’ve been enjoying winter vegetables — carrots and potatoes, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, squashes of all sorts. Some of these squashes weren’t quite ...
  • Before beginning my turkey-brining riff, I’d like to speak briefly about gratitude. Many Americans, given the results of the recent presidential election, in which ONCE?AGAIN the candidate receiving the most votes lost in the . . .
  • As we turned into the yard after a 26-day cross-country trip, I saw drooping half-frozen flowering tobacco plants and pots of dessicated annuals. October temperatures reached near-record highs in many areas of the country . . .
  • I’m at a truck-stop plaza on I-80 in Minnesota, eyeing the myriad flavors of coffee creamers offered in tiny, single-serving plastic containers — hazelnut, salty caramel, Bailey’s, vanilla — when a California couple, headed east . . .
  • When we left the East a week ago, foliage season was peaking in northern Maine and Vermont and leaf-peepers making their annual Columbus Day weekend pilgrimage. We left the brilliance behind to travel 3,500 miles to . . .
  • I’ve traveled over a thousand miles in the last two weeks visiting friends in northern Massachusetts and Maine and the signs of this summer’s drought are writ large on the landscape. The USDA estimates that 80 percent . . .
  • Fall is officially here, with nights longer and cooler and meals becoming a bit more substantial after a summer’s worth of grilling and salads. More time is spent in the kitchen these days as I try to incorporate warty carrots, potatoes . . .
  • Autumn has come on slowly this year, with no early frost and a gradual cooling in the evenings and early mornings. In the middle of the day, temperatures have been just about perfect for working outside. . . .
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