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Our daily bread

The rewards of homemade bread really do outweigh the work; photo by Kasey Rogers.
The rewards of homemade bread really do outweigh the work; photo by Kasey Rogers.

I’ve been thinking a lot about bread lately. As a child, I use to pester my neighbor Mrs. Swanson for bread and butter. Somehow, hers always tasted better than my mom’s. She coated each piece with a thick layer of butter. It was heaven to me.

My love affair with bread never ended. No matter how many loaves I bake, there’s still an excitement when I take a loaf out of the oven. I can almost hear the steam that escapes when it’s sliced. The long, cold nights in the Berkshires where I live might be one reason I have bread on my mind. Is there anything better than dunking a piece of chunky buttered bread into the bowl of soup? It’s so much better than using a spoon to get the last of the liquid.

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The Green New Deal

Caring about our future and doing something about it are two different things. While both are noble enough pursuits, only one of them will yield fruit.  There has been a lot of talk in the news these days about something called the Green New Deal, and it encompasses both caring about our future and taking action to do something about it. The benefits, both economically and socially, could be countless, the undertaking enormous, and it will require that we inform ourselves, as citizens, the best we can in order for it to succeed.

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New Shows! New Performances! Not to be missed!

Paul Feeley, 1910-196; A Girl With A Doll, in Works on Paper: A Decade of Collecting [source: Bennington Museum]
Paul Feeley, A Girl With a Doll, on view in Works on Paper: A Decade of Collecting [source: Bennington Museum]

Supposedly, February is the off-season for cultural happenings in the Berkshires and neighboring communities. Don’t believe it! From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s incredible Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York, to Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, to Smith College Museum of Art’s opening exhibit, Plastic Entanglements, Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials, the breath, depth and diversity of our region knows no bounds. The above are, but a few of the incredible opportunities within an hour of north county to witness new, innovative art or fresh new discoveries of Vermont Folk sculpture. Fortunately most of these exhibits are on view for at least a month and some through the spring season. Plan ahead and enjoy!

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Turning Cabin Fever into Cabin Solace

Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art; photo by Sheila Velazquez

A friend made the comment that “February is good for nothing.” I’ve never felt that way. I enjoy the peace and calm of the month to which “cabin fever” is so often attributed. Instead, I think of it as the month for cabin solace, the calm between frantic end-of-the-year activity and the longer days leading to spring. 

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To lead in word and deed

 Before we hear the president address our great nation tonight with his State of the Union speech, let’s review what it is that makes someone a good leader.

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Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction

Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas [source: Gallery 51]
Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on canvas [source: Gallery 51]

Overwhelmed by large museums? Would you like to take a moment to look at artwork, but you don’t want to pay admission or dedicate an entire afternoon? There is an answer. MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main Street, North Adams, Mass.  Now on view is Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction.

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A clear and present (actual) national emergency

I have no problem with the president declaring a national emergency, under The National Emergencies Act of 1976, when it is absolutely necessary to do so. We have ignored one particular dire threat to our country’s safety, security, and the well-being of our future for far too long.

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“Kasey à la mode,” a column of flavorful phrases, debuts

2Beans Café & Tearoom, the former bistro owned and run by Kasey Rogers, author of "Kasey à la mode."

Ah, food! Is there anything more delightful than eating a home-cooked meal? Yes! Preparing one! As a child, I picked wild blueberries in the woods behind our house. Then I’d help my mother roll out a pie crust. I remember eating cucumbers straight from the vegetable garden in our backyard. Cooking was a creative outlet and an expression of love. Was it Cesar Chavez who said, “the people who give you their food give you their heart?”

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Girls are officially in Boy Scouts. Now what?

By Creighton Holub, guest columnist
cypressnewsreview.com

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past year or so, this might be breaking news to you, but starting today — Feb. 1, 2019 — the Boy Scouts of America have opened the final door to girls participating in the organization’s keystone program: The Boy Scouts.

With one minor change: The program for 11-to-17 year olds that is most famously known for the Eagle Scout Award also changed it’s name to “Scouts BSA” today.

Screeeeeeech!

Did you hear the sound of tires screeching on pavement? Just a few sentences in and I feel the need to explain this further.

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Tea and Sympathy

Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The sympathy is for those of us, including me, who can’t seem to shake whatever bug it is that has invaded our chests, heads and thinking. The tea is part of that sympathy, because a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, and perhaps a warm muffin, is the next best thing to mom holding you on her lap, wrapped in a blanket, rocking back and forth in time to the lullaby she is humming.

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No excuse to stay home this weekend!

MCLA, Gallery 51, Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction, Kathline Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sarah Sutro, Image: Painting by Kathline Carr.
MCLA, Gallery 51, Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction, Kathline Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sarah Sutro, Image: Painting by Kathline Carr.

As you head into the weekend, do not be sequestered in your house. Northern Berkshires and the Bennington, VT area are inundated with free events that include family and child friendly events. Don’t forget Project Snowshoe at the Clark Art Institute. Borrow a pair of snowshoes and investigate 140+ acres of incredible landscape on easy hiking trails behind the Clark Art Institute.

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Family Ice Fishing Festival on for February

Ice fishing, circa 1910.
Ice fishing, circa 1910.

The question of how long humans have been ice fishing might be best answered by another question: How long have humans run out of food in the middle of winter? One can imagine an ancestor gazing hungrily out over a frozen expanse of lake or pond, a gnawing ache in the belly matched by a gnawing panic about the survival of self, family, tribe. A prehistoric thought likely occurred one desperate day that provided a glimmer of hope: “If I’m awake and hungry during this deadly, dormant season, maybe, just maybe, those tasty fishes are awake, too, under that barrier of ice.”

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