Photographs taken with a compact camera journaling everyday life in Central Massachusetts and beyond.
All Posts byjmankowsky
I live in Central Massachusetts in the United States--a wonderful area for nature, art and culture. Using a compact camera, I celebrate daily life found here in a variety of local landscapes throughout the changing seasons.
Tomie dePaola, the popular author of hundreds of children’s books, died recently.
His works were featured in my elementary classroom throughout my career. He reminded teachers to never talk down to children, to speak to them in a natural voice and not to shy away from difficult social subjects. His thoughtful and beautiful illustrations are filled with details that encourage children to look deeply at them. Indeed, Tomie dePaola makes a perfect at-home author study for children of diverse ages. The whole family, including adults, can enjoy these stories together.
“Strega Nona”, the story of a “grandmother witch” and her magic pasta pot, is his most beloved book. The character of Big Anthony, who did not pay attention, was dePaola’s cautionary tale for children. Big Anthony clamors for the praise of the crowd without thinking about the calamity his actions will cause. It is only the quiet, steady wisdom of Strega Nona that averts disaster.
May we be Strega Nonas in these difficult times, and strive to “pay attention”.
Mosses appeared on Earth more than 400 million years ago, predating dinosaurs. On this early Spring day, these everlasting benign plants with their cushiony forms and lush green tones brighten up my yard, like old friends.
Here in Massachusetts, the forsythia and red maples are in bud, and a Winter Storm Warning for several inches of snow is in effect. As Mark Twain famously said, “if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”
The little town of Hardwick, MA is celebrated for its miles of historic stone walls, some of them massive. Recently, on a bitterly cold day with threatening skies, the view from the Great Meadowbrook Farmlands was stark and alluring.
From 2000- 2004, Great Meadowbrook Farm was the site of the Over the Walls Horse Trials, one of the premier equestrian events in the United States.
In New England, mid to late February is the start of the maple syrup making season.
Up until the Civil War, using maple sugar was an act of political protest for many northern abolitionists, who refused to use cane sugar produced by slave colonies in the Caribbean. New England forests had been over logged to build ships for the slave trade of the era. Abolitionists attempted to reseed decimated areas with maple trees, and use maple sugar rather than cane for their needs.
The “Sap Castle” in Rutland, MA welcomes visitors to view the sugaring process and learn about its history during February and March.