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Oct-Nov 2016 vol 28

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Local Events | Art & Culture | Home & Garden | Vibrant Living

Get Ready for the Holidays / Visit us at www.OurBerkshireTimes.com Cover Art by Leon A. Comstock Jr. / www.neumannfineart.com


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Our BerkshireTimes™ PUBLISHERS Kathy I. Regan publisher@ourberkshiretimes.com

Contents 4

Kevin J. Regan kevin@ourberkshiretimes.com _______________ EDITORIAL Kathy I. Regan editor@ourberkshiretimes.com

Oct - Nov 2016

art, culture & entertainment LEON A. COMSTOCK JR. A TASTE OF TEA & HONEY MORE FUN THINGS TO DO

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get ready for the holidays GIFT GUIDE

Copyeditor/Proofreader Rodelinde Albrecht _______________

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHTS

TO ADVERTISE CONTACT Account Representatives Kevin J. Regan kevin@ourberkshiretimes.com Debra Johnson debra@ourberkshiretimes.com

education & workshops MAKING IT RIGHT

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health & wellness A BEE STING SAVED MY LIFE

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mind & spirit SHEILAA HITE

food & drink SLOW COOKER BRISKET THAI RED LENTIL SOUP

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ELLIE LOBEL’S BVT PROTOCOL

FUN FACTS

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animal talk THE BEAVER

Rodelinde Albrecht rodelinde@gmail.com

DESIGN Magazine Design/Layout Kathy I. Regan _______________

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NEUMANN FINE ART

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home & garden

featured advertisers THANK YOU!

Like Us On

THE SURPRISE RIGHTSIZING

S This publication is printed with soy ink on environmentally friendly Forest Stewardship Council ® certified paper.

Our BerkshireGreen, Inc. P.O. Box 133, Housatonic, MA 01236 Phone: (413) 274-1122 advertise@ourberkshiretimes.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com _______________ COVER ILLUSTRATION

An Early Show by Leon A. Comstock Jr., Artist www.neumannfineart.com Leon A. Comstock Jr. was born and currently lives in Springfield, MA. Since 1970 his love of art has been in constant competition with his love of motorcycling and guitar playing. Comstock works out of his home studio in Springfield producing landscapes, seascapes, still life, and fantasy pieces in his signature style of exacting yet deeply personal realism. He has won multiple awards in juried art exhibits and you can find more of his work at Neumann Fine Art Gallery in Hillsdale, NY. www.neumannfineart.com

Our BerkshireTimes magazine was first published in 2009 and is enjoyed by community members and visitors alike. We distribute bimonthly (six times per year) starting each February. Most of our editorial content is contributed by our readers. We welcome your ideas, articles, and feedback, and encourage you to submit original material for consideration through our website. To find out more about advertising and submitting articles, see our website at left, and join our mailing list to receive our free eNewsletter. All content in Our BerkshireTimes™ is accepted in good faith. We do not necessarily advocate and cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by our authors, illustrators, and advertisers. We reserve the right to refuse advertising for any reason. For printing errors of the publisher’s responsibility, liability is limited to the cost of the ad space in which it first appeared. Unless otherwise noted, we use a Creative Commons License in place of a standard copyright. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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art, culture & entertainment

Neumann Fine Art building is home to my studio, where I create my own oil and watercolor paintings. Visitors to Neumann Fine Art enjoy looking behind the scenes to the studio area, where I am happy to share my work in progress and illuminate my working processes. My aim is to create deeply personal work that reflects the soul of America. Some of the artists I represent include Our BerkshireTimes Magazine’s current cover artist Leon A. Comstock Jr. (spotlight on facing page), as well as Ron Goldfinger, Joel Griffith, Joel Mark, H. M. Saffer II, Margot Trout, Don Wynn, Ken Young, Anni Maliki, and more.

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n a quiet street in the scenic hamlet of Hillsdale, NY, art lovers come to discover a world of quality, excellence, and aesthetics under the red metal roof of Neumann Fine Art, owned by Jeffrey Neumann. Presenting changing shows by regional and internationally exhibiting artists, the gallery always offers something fresh to delight the eyes. Visitors are treated to a diverse selection of paintings in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, as well as prints and drawings by gallery artists, in addition to museum quality furniture and a very special line of designer jewelry.

Q: What is your philosophy? A: Neumann Fine Art’s mission is to showcase work by serious accomplished artists dedicated to producing fine art of the highest quality, and to present the work in a friendly and relaxed environment. The gallery’s small-town setting and focus on accessible art allows anyone from first-time art buyers to experienced connoisseurs to enjoy a comfortable art buying experience.

Q: Jeffrey, please tell us more about what you do.

A: With a focus primarily on representational art, I represent a select group of accomplished artists whose common denominator is that each has achieved success with their own individual style. I tightly curate my shows to present the singular vision of each artist in their best light. I love presenting artists who put their heart and soul into their work. When artists create their work with great emotion, care, and intelligence, those feelings come across to others. The fun in my position as a gallery owner is in helping people discover art that moves them in ways that words cannot express. Consulting with my clients and assisting them in confidently making a purchase that will provide them with years of happiness is something I find very rewarding.

Q: How did you get started?

A: I hold a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a master’s degree in art education. I opened Neumann Fine Art in 2009 after a 20-year career in the fine art papers industry. My 40 years of personal artistic practice include multiple awards, commissions, and representation in numerous private and corporate collections and in other galleries.

Q: What do you offer?

A: In addition to the main gallery space, the rear portion of the

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Q: How can our readers find you? A: Neumann Fine Art is located at 65 Cold Water Street, Hillsdale, NY, on the corner of Anthony Street and Cold Water, one block off of NY State Route 23. The showroom is open Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 4pm and by appointment. (413) 246-5776, www.neumannfineart.com. See ad on page 5.


art, culture & entertainment

Leon A. Comstock Jr. Old Man Winter (self portrait) graphite and acrylic on panel, 2015

OUR BERKSHIRETIMES MAGAZINE’S OCTOBER - NOVEMBER COVER ARTIST

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orn in Springfield, MA, L eon A. Comstock Jr. has drawn and painted for as long as he can remember. As a toddler he was encouraged to fingerpaint directly on the family kitchen table by his mother, who would then wash the paint off before meals. Since 1970 his love of art has been in constant competition with his love of motorcycling and guitar playing.

In the 1970s and 1980s Comstock won multiple awards in juried art exhibits. His tribute to Norman Rockwell, an oil on canvas titled “Thank You Mr. Rockwell,” was exhibited at the original Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1983 and 1984.

In 2009, after a 29-year career as a prepress graphic artist for a large decorative engraving company, Comstock returned to painting and actively exhibiting his work. Previously known for his earlier trompe l’oeil paintings in oil, Leon has been rewarded for his return to fine art with juried competition awards for his equally accomplished acrylic paintings. Working with renewed enthusiasm out of his home studio in Springfield, Massachusetts, Comstock is once again producing landscapes, seascapes, still life, and fantasy pieces in his signature style of exacting yet deeply personal realism. You can find Comstock’s paintings and leaf sculptures on display at Neumann Fine Art at 65 Cold Water Street in Hillsdale, NY. (413) 246-5776, www. neumannfineart.com

Celebrate Our Forty-fourth Year!

Wonderful Things

Largest Selection of Yarns and Unique Handcrafted Gifts in the Berkshires Gift Certificates S Free Knitting Lessons Open Mon-Sat 9:30-5, Sun 12-4 Harry and Debbie Sano 232 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 (413) 528-2473 • www.wonderful-things.com

www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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art, culture & entertainment

A Taste of Tea & Honey at Sheep Hill SAVE THE DATE! VISIT SHEEP HILL ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, AT 4PM

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ees Across Massachusetts and the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation invite you to a honey tasting at Sheep Hill on Saturday, October 29, at 4pm. Sheep Hill is located at 671 Cold Spring Road (Routes 7 & 2), approximately one mile south of the rotary in Williamstown, MA. The cost of the tasting is $10, and will include a pound of honey to take home. Preregistration by October 26 is required for the program, which will also include tea and honey treats. Walk-ins may attend the tasting for $5 (additional honey not included but honey can be purchased at the event). Russell Wilson of Bees Across America will have a season’s worth of honey from around Berkshire County for tasting. Is it possible to tell the difference between apple and clover? Find out in this unique program. Mr. Wilson will discuss the life history of honeybees and the project to gather information about pollinators and the flowering plants they prefer. Sheep Hill is an ideal place for bees and other pollinators since the meadow has flowers blooming from spring through fall and is free from herbicides and pesticides. The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is a nonprofit member-supported land conservation trust celebrating its 30th year in 2016. Its headquarters is located at Sheep Hill, in

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Williamstown. The main goal of Bees Across Massachusetts is community education, research, and assisting new beekeepers with proper management of honeybees. For more information, contact ruraland@wrlf.org, or visit www.wrlf.org. Register at beesacrossmassachusetts@gmail.com.

Have You Heard?

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ccording to the National Honey Board, the color and flavor of honey differs depending on the nectar source (the blossoms) visited by the honeybees. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States, each originating from a different floral source. Honey color ranges from nearly colorless to dark brown, and its flavor varies from delectably mild to distinctively bold, depending on where the honeybees buzzed. As a general rule, light-colored honey is milder in taste and darkcolored honey is stronger. Some common U.S. honey floral varieties include alfalfa, avocado, blueberry, buckwheat, clover, eucalyptus, fireweed, orange blossom, sage, tupelo, and wildflower.


art, culture & entertainment

More Fun Things to Do Bizarre Bazaar When: Saturday, October 15, 2016, 9am-4pm Where: Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center 165 East Street, Pittsfield, MA Cost: $2, children under 12 free This community craft fair is one of Berkshire County’s favorite autumn traditions! Handmade crafts, fine arts, gifts, and great food make this our biggest fundraiser. The Bizarre Bazaar features products from all over New England as well as a bake sale and raffles for crafts, cakes, and a money tree. Food will also be available for purchase. All proceeds support Brigham Center programs and services that are designed to empower children and youth, with a special emphasis on girls, to become responsible, confident, and personally fulfilled individuals. www.brighamcenter.org

The Pumpkin Trail When: Thursday-Saturday, October 20-22, 2016, 5-7:30pm Where: Naumkeag 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA Cost: member adult $12, child $6; nonmember adult $20, child $10 children under 3 free

Berkshire South Arts & Crafts Festival When: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10am-3pm Where: Berkshire South Regional Community Center 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, MA Be sure to visit this holiday market featuring contemporary, local artisans, crafters, and food producers. From clothing, pottery and jewelry to gourmet foods and locally roasted coffee, it is one-stop holiday shopping. www.berkshiresouth.org

Festival of Trees: Festive Premiere Party When: November 18, 2016, 5:30pm-7:30pm Where: Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA Cost: $50 adult, $25 child; museum members $30 adult, $15 child; children 3 and under free Lights! Camera! Action! Join us for a family-friendly movie-themed extravaganza as you walk the red carpet to see more than 100 dazzling decorated trees, bedecked in cinematic finery, reflecting this year’s movie theme. The festival of trees is a true celebration of cinema, from film noir and sci-fi to action-adventure, westerns, and animation.

Come to the Naumkeag Pumpkin Trail for a magical treat. With a guide, walk along a pumpkin-lit garden trail where nocturnal woodland creatures from our local forests emerge to share their stories. Learn fact from fiction about some of your favorite local critters. This is a non-scary event for all ages! Costumes welcome and reservations recommended. Guided tours leave every 15 minutes and fill up quickly. Rain or shine; flashlights are encouraged. The trail is not stroller friendly and does have uneven footing. Find out more about Naumkeag by visiting www.thetrustees.org.

A Berkshire Home Companion When: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 6pm Where: First Congregational Church UCC 4 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA Cost: $20 for adults; kids under 12 free An evening of storytelling, singing, and all-around merriment! Enjoy music by folksinger JoAnne Redding, the Mount Everett Madrigal Singers, Stockbridge Opera All-Stars: Marjorie Dix, Nellie Rustick, Steve Hassmer, and John Demler. Also, The Intercontinental Radio Theater: Hana Kenny and Chris Brophy. Proceeds will benefit historic preservation of the 1824 Stockbridge Congregational Church. Pie contest with all entries available for purchase after the show! Our guarantee: No election jokes! www.stockbridgeucc.org www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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giftguide SHOP LOCAL

GET READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

Necklaces / Cheshire Glassworks MAGICAL Stunning Handspun glass adds life and beauty to any situation. If you love eye-catching jewelry, or are looking for a

special gift for a friend or loved one, you will adore these stunning, creative necklaces handcrafted from sterling silver and artistic handblown glass. Cheshire Glassworks, run by artist/owner Jill Reynolds, is an independently owned studio and gallery located in the northern Berkshires. You will find everything from pendants, earrings, bracelets, and rings to whimsical glass vases and imaginative sculptures. Jill lovingly creates each one-of-a-kind piece with the magic of fire, glass, and brilliant color. Celebrating 10 years in business! Visit Cheshire Glassworks for a truly unique shopping experience at 24 South Street, Cheshire, MA. (413) 743-7828, www.cheshireglassworks.com / $125-$145

FRESH

Gift Basket / Berkshire Organics

Our signature gift basket highlights the finest the area has to offer with locally made jam and granola, honey and maple syrup, Ooma Tesoro homemade marinara sauce, Klara’s cookies, Berkshire Bark, a fresh assortment of freshly picked local apples and pears, and much, much more. Beautifully arranged in a wicker basket, wrapped with a bow, and delivered to their door. Help support our local community of farmers, producers, and artisans while delighting everyone on your list! Available in three sizes year round to suit your gift-giving needs. All of our gifts are available for shipping, and will be shipped in a gift box with the Berkshire Organics logo. (413) 442-0888, www.berkshireorganics.com / $29 and up

ENTERTAINING

Subscriptions / Our BerkshireTimes

Don’t miss a single issue! Enjoy the convenience of home delivery with a year-round subscription. Our BerkshireTimes magazine is independently published, “locally grown” (in the Berkshires since 2009), and offers six print issues per year. We print on high-quality, gloss, 80# FSC-certified paper with soy ink. Most of our editorial content is contributed by community members, and we welcome your editorial and artistic contributions. We publish a variety of editorial content that informs, educates, enlightens, entertains, and inspires. Share your passion! Go to our website home page to subscribe. (413) 274-1122, www.ourberkshiretimes.com / $5.95 per issue

CHARMING

June-July 2016 vol 26

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Complimentary

Our BerkshireTi

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Local Events | Ho

Art & Culture in the

Berkshires / Visit

Cover Art by Deborah

den | Vibrant Living | Art & Culture

us at www.OurBerk

Van Auten / www.van

shireTimes.com

auten.com

The Wrens Inn Birdhouse / Backyard Heirlooms

37 bronze screen windows, mahogany doors, copper valleys and flashing, and a cedar shingled roof grace this charming, realistic birdhouse. It’s also easy to clean! Imagine an heirloom dollhouse replica of the home you were raised in – not just any old dollhouse, but one that you will cherish for generations. Or, how about that tree house you have been dreaming of for your grandkids? Did you know that every piece I build, whether it be a birdhouse replica, dollhouse, or treehouse, is worth more today than the day I built it? That’s what an heirloom is and that is what I can build for you! Visit Backyard Heirlooms at 525 Main Street, Great Barrington, and on Facebook. Open Sat-Sun from10am-5pm and by appointment. (413) 528-3095, atbackyardheirlooms@gmail.com / a price for every budget 8

www.OurBerkshireTimes.com


BEAUTIFUL

One Evening in Monson / Leon A. Comstock

This strikingly beautiful painting (32” x 48” acrylic on panel) will create a sense of tranquility in any room that it is displayed in. “Leon Comstock’s compelling work goes beyond mere virtuosity; opening a door to the artist’s intensely personal reality,” says gallery owner Jeffery Neumann. Leon, a Springfield, MA, native has won many awards for his art and works with enthusiasm out of his home studio producing landscapes, seascapes, still life, and fantasy pieces in his signature style of exacting yet deeply personal realism. You can see more of his work at Neumann Fine Art in Hillsdale, NY. (413) 246-5776, www.neumannfineart.com / contact for pricing

EXOTIC

Winter Holiday Potpourri / Campo de' Fiori

Our winter holiday potpourri is composed of locally harvested botanicals, exotic spices, and 100 percent essential oils. The crisp wintry fragrance of balsam fir combines with the warmth of cinnamon, sweet oranges, and rare frankincense and myrrh to create an ambiance of hearth and holiday. Each autumn we handcraft and cure a fresh batch of potpourri, offering it to you at Thanksgiving. Display in a shallow bowl (seen here in the Aged Venetian Fruit Bowl, always in stock), and toss gently now and then to release fragrance. Available mid-November. (413) 528-9180, www.campodefiori.com / $15-$30

Cake / Chocolate Springs BLISSFUL Chocolate Nothing is more decadent, more delicious, more blissful than

chocolate cake for a holiday, for a special event, for a romantic evening, or even for your own enjoyment! Chocolate Springs is a European-style chocolate and dessert café with decades of experience in crafting the finest handmade bonbons. Milk and dark chocolate, truffles, amazing ganache, and award-winning hot chocolate are made fresh every day using only the finest seasonal and organic ingredients whenever possible. Visit Chocolate Springs Café in person at 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, MA. (413) 637-9820, www.chocolatesprings.com

STYLISH

Mid-Century Modern Side Chair / Sisters Used Furniture

Make a statement in your favorite room with this rich honey-colored midcentury modern chair that will complement any decor. At Sisters Used Furniture, you will find beautiful contemporary previously owned pieces that fit every budget and style. From mirrors, lamps, and original artwork to dining sets, sofas, and dressers. Discover one-of-a-kind treasures for yourself or as a unique gift. Join us for our only sale of the season Thurs-Sun, Nov 3-6. Our season ends November 6 at 4pm. We will be reopening May 2017. Visit Sisters Used Furniture at 402 Park Street (Route 183), Housatonic, MA. (413) 274-9900, www.sistersusedfurniture.com / $225

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Get Ready for the Holidays! Fun Facts

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alloween is on Monday, October 31, 2016. Fun facts – did you know that: ● Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween. ● The first jack-o’-lanterns were actually made from turnips. ● Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 BCE, which means it has been around for more than 6,000 years. ● Boston, Massachusetts, holds the record for the most jack-o’-lanterns lit at once. ●Halloween is the second most commercial holiday of the year. ● A full moon on Halloween is actually quite rare.

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hanksgiving is Thursday, November 24, 2016. Fun facts – did you know that: ● Thanksgiving is not just an American holiday. Canadians celebrate it too, but on the second Monday in October. ● It was not until 1941 that congress declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. ● A spooked wild turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour and can burst into flight between 50-55 mph in a second. ● The first Thanksgiving took three days and Pilgrims ate items like lobster, hickory nuts, cabbage, goat cheese, and squash.

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anukkah begins this year the evening of Saturday, December 24, and ends the evening of Sunday, January 1. Fun facts – did you know that: ● The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. ● Hanukkah is the preferred spelling, but it can also be spelled Chanukah or Chanukkah. ● Though it is one of the most well-known Jewish festivals, according to religious tradition Hanukkah is actually a more minor holiday than Passover, Rosh Hashana, or Yom Kippur.

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hristmas this year is Sunday, December 25. Fun facts – did you know that: ● Some zoos feed donated Christmas trees to their animals. ● A large part of Sweden’s population watches Donald Duck cartoons every Christmas Eve ever since 1960. ● A number of very popular Christmas songs were written by Jewish composers. ● We frequently abbreviate Christmas as X-mas because of ancient tradition. X is the Greek letter “chi” which is an abbreviation for the word “Christ” in Greek.

knit & crochet VISIT US TO BEGIN YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY

Join us for Sit & Knit! Wednesdays, 2-4pm. All skill levels welcome. Open Wed-Fri from 12-5pm, Sat from 10-5pm

130 Water Street, Lower Level, Williamstown, MA

www.spinoffyarnshop.com ● (413) 344-6257

handcrafted gifts FROM JEWELRY AND HANDBAGS TO QUILTS AND POTTERY!

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ick up a special gift for a friend or for yourself! Mountain Goat Artisans features the handcrafted work of local artisans including pottery, furniture and woodwork, scarves, knits and weavings, jewelry, candles, honey, totes, handbags, art and photography, and more! Proprietor Mary Merselis has created a serene, enjoyable atmosphere in which to shop and there is plenty of convenient parking. Enjoy a free chocolate chip cookie to nibble on as you browse and relax on our back deck overlooking Green River! 10

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ellowship and community building are crucial for humans to share knowledge and grow in spirit. My favorite time at The Spin-Off Yarn Shop is Sit & Knit, Wednesdays, 2-4pm, when knitters from all walks of life gather with infectious enthusiasm. Whatever the reason we knit and crochet – to escape life’s stressors, keep hands busy, or for creative outlet – knitting provides health benefits by exercising the brain and developing spatial skills, focus, and concentration. Visit us to begin your creative journey. ~ Beth Phelps, Proprietor

Mountain Goat Artisans Local, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts

Quilts ● Cards Handbags ● Art

Soaps ● Jewelry Pottery ● Clothing

(413) 884-5339 Open 12-5pm Wednesday - Saturday

130 Water Street, Williamstown, MA

www.mountaingoatartisans.com


get ready for the holidays!

new & vintage

TOONERVILLE TROLLEY

RECORDS & CDs

A MUSIC STORE THAT GOES BEYOND THE BAR CODE!

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New ● Used ● Imported

oonerville Trolley Records & CDs is an independent music store with a stock of thousands of new and used vinyl treasures painstakingly accumulated from obscure warehouses, now-defunct distributors, and discerning collectors. We also carry a selection of (now hard-to-find) interesting new and used CDs from all genres of music. ln addition, we carry supplies for record cleaning, mailing, and storage, plus guitar strings, picks, capos, and so on.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles! Find the perfect gift at Hobby World! Come see our extensive stock of all things fun and creative . . . models & kits ● kites ● remote control trains ● airplanes cars ● metal detectors ● puzzles ● paint sets ● and more!

(413) 743-7223 ● 171 Grove Street (Rt 8), Adams, MA www.hobbyworldonline.com ● follow us on Facebook

MUSIC - A GIFT

THAT LASTS!

Open 10-6 Mon-Sat ● 413-458-5229

131 Water Street, Williamstown, MA www.toonervilletrolleyrecords.com

toys for all ages COME SEE OUR EXTENSIVE STOCK OF ALL THINGS CREATIVE

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obby World, located in Adams, MA, was launched in 1999 by hobby enthusiast Bob Blanchette. During the last 18 years, Hobby World’s inventory has grown and diversified in many ways, meeting not only the needs of their steady r/c car customers, but almost every other type of hobbyist requirement including model trains and radio-controlled vehicles, rocket kits, doll houses and supples, stamp collecting, paint by number, and so much more. Toys for all ages. You name it and Bob probably carries it!

studio space GIVE THE ARTIST IN YOUR LIFE THIS LIGHT-FILLED SPACE

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his historic structure, built originally as a Methodist church in 1849, is ideally situated right up the road from Gedney Farm, and backed by a tranquil stream and distant mountain views. Permitted use of the property allows both commercial and residential occupation so it’s ready and waiting to be transformed into an amazing light-filled studio space, country store, café or restaurant, fabulous home, museum, antique shop, bakery, or office complex. The building has a beautiful stone foundation with original doors and double-hung windows. The windows have their original “wavy” glass panes. The siding is full thickness old growth clear pine and is in great shape (only needs paint). The frame is a massive chestnut post and beam design in excellent condition with high ceilings. This structure has undergone careful internal renovations respectful of its history and integrity as an historic landmark. The main section has been gutted, insulated, and dry-walled (fire code). A new 400-amp electric service was added as well as a new Viessmann boiler and cast-iron radiator heating system. The maple floors have been refinished and are in good condition. It’s located on one-plus lovely acres with plenty of parking and newly planted elm trees bordering the Route 57 side. For more information call Russ Stein at Berkshire Property Agents at (917) 886-9652. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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get ready for the holidays!

 TO

READ?

the perfect gift

Visit us and find out more about our Frequent Buyer Program! Discounts available for seniors, teachers, students, and military.

(413) 528-1521 ● Great Barrington, MA ● www.thebookloft.com

IMAGINATION & DISCOVERY AWAIT!

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ndependent since 1974, The Bookloft is conveniently located in Great Barrington at Barrington Plaza, 332 Stockbridge Road. We carry a wide variety of titles and subjects, and offer gift certificates for all of your gift-giving needs to help make any holiday special. If we don’t have what you want in stock (feel free to call and inquire), we will gladly order what you need. Most orders arrive within 1-4 business days. Stop in to visit. Under new ownership since May 2016.

beautiful things Unusual and Thoughtful Gifts A Treasure Trove of Beautiful Things Visit our store in Lee or shop online at ebay: stores.ebay.com/arcnoli

413-358-0170

266 Main Street, Lee, MA gifts@theuptownstore.org

www.theuptownstore.org

SHOP ONLINE THOUGH EBAY OR VISIT OUR STORE

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ocated in the heart of the Berkshire mountains on Main Street in Lee (across from the world-famous Joe’s Diner) you will find the most unusual gifts at Uptown including a large assortment of art, furnishings, vintage stereos and equipment, crystals and eastern Asian gifts, and so much more. From antiques to mid-century to odd and ends and collectibles, we strive to have a little something for everyone. We ship worldwide. Uptown can also assist you in the valuation and sale of personal and business assets.

quality flooring & more Carpeting & Flooring | Carpet Cleaning Mattresses | Blinds | Shades | Area Rugs

(413) 274-6001 380 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA

www.countrycarpetsma.com

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FIND THE SERVICE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

urn to our family-owned business, Country Carpets, for the personal, detailed service you deserve. We take pride in providing the highest quality, affordable products that include carpet, tile, vinyl, laminate, fiberglass, rubber, padding, natural fiber products, and “green” options. Our services include carpet cleaning, professional installation, and free estimates. We have Serta mattresses, Graber blinds and shades, special order area rugs, and select wall to wall carpets 20 percent off from now until the end of 2016!

take a peek inside . . . 1950s -1970s AMERICANA

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C: 413-441-2239 ● P: 413-243-0025 395 Laurel Street (RT 20), Lee, MA

www.RetroPopShop.com

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ake a peek inside the Retro Pop Shop . . . it’s a very cool, funky little eclectic shop in the heart of the Berkshires in Lee, Massachusetts. It features a large variety of vintage sodarelated collectibles, an unsurpassed collection of advertising pieces – major signage! There are also “fun” vintage gas pumps, telephone booths, jukeboxes, pinball machines, dozens of classic soda machines, and one of the largest Coca Cola collections anywhere, and so much more!


food & drink

Slow Cooker Brisket with Root Vegetables A SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS WAY TO COOK BRISKET / From Guido’s Kitchen

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10) 1 large onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 1 purple-top turnip, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 1 rutabaga, peeled cut into ½-inch pieces 1 brisket, 5 lb 5 T all-purpose flour Salt and ground black pepper 3 cups beef broth 1 can crushed tomatoes, 15-oz 2 cloves garlic, minced ⅔ cup brown sugar 1 tsp dry mustard 2 tsp chili powder 1 tsp ground cumin

Remove brisket from cooker and allow it to rest. Slice the brisket against the grain, arrange it on a platter, and ladle the vegetables and sauce over it.

Instructions Arrange onion, sweet potato, carrots, turnip, parsnips, and rutabaga in bottom of a slow cooker (a 6-quart slow cooker is best for this recipe). Evenly coat the brisket by thoroughly rubbing it with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top of vegetables in the slow cooker. In a medium bowl combine the beef broth, crushed tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, and cumin. Pour mixture over beef. Cook on low for 10 to 11 hours or until meat can be easily pierced with a fork.

Pittsfield & Great Barrington, MA guidosfreshmarketplace.com #guidosfresh www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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13


food & drink

Thai Red Lentil Soup SIMPLE, RICH, TASTY / By Rebecca Schirber

Ingredients

Instructions

Makes one gallon; serves 10

In a generous pot, cover lentils with water, add kombu, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until soft.

1¾ cups red lentils, sorted and washed 2-inch strip of kombu (seaweed) 2¼ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into smallish pieces 1½ cups onions in large dice ⅓ cup grapeseed oil or coconut oil Salt to taste (about ½ T) 1½ T Maesri (or brand of your choice) red curry paste 2 cans coconut milk, 14-oz each

In a large soup pot, sauté squash and onions in grapeseed or coconut oil with salt. When squash and onions are starting to soften, add the curry paste. Add the coconut milk and cook until squash and onions are completely soft. When the lentils are ready, add them to the rest of the soup. Puree until smooth. Add water to bring to desired consistency. Salt to taste. Red lentils tend to burn easily so heat soup over low flame. Red lentils are high in fiber and lutein. High-fiber foods have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and to help keep your digestive system healthy. Lutein is a yellow or orange pigment found in some foods. Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of your eyes and is necessary for good vision. A diet rich in lutein many lower your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. ~ Rebecca Schirber is an acupuncturist (with a history as a personal chef) currently practicing in Lenox, Massachusetts. www.goingbeyondwellness.com

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food & drink

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art, culture & entertainment

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art, culture & entertainment

Throes of the Lure: The Surprise By Michael Romano

W

hen I lived in rural New York several decades ago I stumbled upon a pond right across the street from my rented house. It had been created by a series of beaver dams; they had stopped the waters of a small creek that in turn had flooded the shower basin. It was surrounded by brush and trees but the beavers had cleared some of the bigger trees, leaving open spaces. A deer trail wound its way around the perimeter. The first time I saw it I wondered if this little body of water held any fish. I thought that maybe some bass or sunfish lived under its shallow, weedy surface. I sat and watched the pond one sunny day and thought I noticed some kind of surface action, like a fish or frog jumping. I walked back to my house and got my fishing pole and a select bag of bass lures, and hurried back over to my secret little pond. The first fishable clearing was about halfway across the pond so I set out in that direction. I quickly found out that a deer trail is not a man trail. The path started out marshy and quickly turned muddy – I mean the kind of deep mud that sucks your shoes right off your feet. I did almost lose my shoes so I took them off, left them on the path, and continued barefoot. Then came the thorns; they were everywhere along the path and by the time I got through them I was bleeding from a dozen different places, but still undaunted I pushed forward. The next thing I encountered were bees – thousands of them – a nest hung from the biggest oak tree in the area. Luckily the bees were all very busy with the swamp blossoms, but I crept warily by the nest just the same. My exertions did not go unnoticed however, as I was soon covered by a swarm of mosquitoes. One can only slap so many so I gave up trying and let them feast.

I finally made it to my selected area a little muddy, bloody, and bruised but still intact. I tied on my favorite bass lure, a 5-inch Rapala (a Swedish hand-carved balsa wood fish with many hooks). These lures are kind of expensive so you can understand how frustrated I was after trudging all that way, only to have my first cast land on the beaver dam ten feet in front of me. I gently tried to ease it off the dam but of course one of the many hooks snagged a stick just above the waterline. I made many new curse words as I tried yanking the lure off the stick, but it wouldn’t budge. I then waded in a few feet with a long stick and tried to knock it free, again with no luck. I was going to be damned if I was going to lose my favorite and most expensive lure, so I did the only thing I could think of and threw a log at it . . . it worked! The lure now floated freely alongside the beaver dam and as I reeled it in something grabbed it with a giant splash about five feet from shore. There was a brief, fierce battle but I landed it – a beautiful five-pound brook trout! The biggest brook trout I had ever seen, and this after screaming curses, beating the water with a stick, and throwing logs at the beaver dam. So much for spooking the fish! At that point there was very little I even noticed as I rushed home with my catch – not the mosquitoes, not the bees, not the thorns, or even the mud, although I probably should have grabbed my shoes. ~ Michael Romano, a Great Barrington, MA, resident for almost 40 years, is an avid fisherman who in his own words “kind of treats fishing as a contact sport and has had more than a few misadventures in the process.” He has fished many local waters and also enjoyed quite a few saltwater trips. Michael is a retired chef – he and his wife Susan worked at the now closed Kolburne School in New Marlborough, MA for many years where he enjoyed taking many of the students fishing.

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17


home & garden

● Multiples are low-hanging fruit. How many large stock pots

or 12” sauté pans will someone need in their smaller home where they will no longer be entertaining large numbers of friends and family? Will Mom need 17 vases in a two-bedroom condo? Use the words favorites, beloved, treasures, invaluable, and terms like “can’t do without” to help discern what to keep.

● If we’re hanging onto the past, it’s more difficult to be active

in the present. Feeling guilty about a hobby or project you started but didn’t follow through with keeps you from trying other hobbies or getting involved in new endeavors that you may really like.

Rightsizing

H

LESS IS TRULY MORE / By Julie Ulmer

ave you noticed some of the new lifestyle trends toward downsizing such as tiny homes, minimalism, and the magic of tidying up? These concepts are based on the idea that less is truly more. It’s about getting away from keeping excess stuff so we can spend more time experiencing life instead of dealing with our possessions. Working as a professional organizer, I’m the one that people call when they are overwhelmed by their belongings – paper, clothing, knickknacks, and even digital clutter. It’s not just the newer generations who want to live with less. As the baby boomers get older, they are faced with the idea of aging in place or moving into smaller accommodations with a lifetime of personal property to deal with. Just the thought of downsizing can invoke negative connotations and overwhelm, which is why some of my colleagues now refer to household decluttering as “rightsizing” (a term often used for businesses). Following are a few tips to keep in mind if you are ready to tackle excess and send clutter packing.

● Keep hands-on decluttering sessions somewhat short and start small. Pick a drawer, shelf, cupboard or 3-foot by 3-foot area to start with, and limit yourself to thirty minutes or an hour; less if your attention span is short. It’s mentally fatiguing making lots of decisions. Don’t expect to do it all in one day. It took time to accumulate, it will take time to decimate. Sort into categories like toss, recycle, donate, shred, and of course, keep.

Donate what seems like a gift, not a curse. For instance, a nice set of coffee mugs would be welcome by most charities but lose the five mismatched mugs with broken handles or deep staining. It’s OK to throw some things out, really it is. No one wants old Tupperware! 18

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If you’re thinking of passing heirlooms on to your adult children, don’t be offended that your offspring aren’t interested in Grandma’s tea sets, china, glassware, or knickknacks. They are trying to keep their homes from being overrun and they may prefer to keep just one thing and a few pictures or letters instead of material things. Can you sell or donate what your loved ones don’t want?

● If

you’re keeping some things that were gifts that you don’t really like but feel guilty about, let them go and embrace the good intentions in which the gifts were given. The gift giver probably wouldn’t want you to feel remorse and guilt over something material. Keep the best of the best and lose the rest.

● If

you’re really unsure about a few pieces, put them on probation in a box labeled with the contents and the date. If six months or a year has passed and you haven’t needed, wanted, or used what’s in the box, you may be able to let go of the entire box without even having to look in it!

Are you holding onto something just in case you need it in the future, it’s broken and you fully intend to fix it, or because you spent good money on it? These might be excuses that are just holding you back. Depending on the item, the worst-case scenario is that you might have to purchase a new one or borrow it from a neighbor or a friend. You might be able to do without or find something else to do the same job.

● I don’t believe in once-and-done decluttering solutions,

because clutter is a constant in our lives. We can limit what comes into our homes but ultimately we will always have to make decisions on what stays and what will go. I encourage people to ask themselves four elemental questions; do you use it, need it, want it, or love it. While toilet plungers may not “spark joy,” most homes benefit from having one.

~ Julie Ulmer is a Columbia and Rensselaer County native who has built an extensive business as a professional organizer since 2003. She services the Capital District as well as Columbia and Rensselaer counties of New York and the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Julie is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, The Institute for Challenging Disorganization, and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. www.mindingyourmanor.com, (518) 821-4682


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19


animal talk

The Beaver That Changed My Life TO THIS DAY I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN HIM

A

By Allen Timmons

ll my stories are true, to the best of my recollection. And none is truer than this one! But before I can tell you this story, I have to paint you a picture. I want you to understand that I grew up in a different time and place than the world around us now. I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at the very end of the trail. The other end, where the trail turns into red clay and the hickory forest becomes cotton fields. My ancestry is Scottish/Cherokee. My family came off the boat and settled into the southern mountains. They founded Timmonsville, South Carolina, and later moved into northeastern Alabama and built one of the first water mills in the state. It was about this time, as I’ve been told, that one of my great-grandpas married a Cherokee woman. This story, plus the fact you could see the native blood so pronounced in my father, always fascinated me and made me proud. From my earliest age, the American Indian held a special place in my life because of this. My brother and I grew up not too different from Huck Finn. Every day, we were either in the woods or floating down a river. The Cherokee blood that flows through my veins had a huge impact on me. I read anything and everything I could about Indians. I wanted so desperately to be a native that I often felt I was born out of place and time. That God had made a mistake. So, as I ran through those woods, I would retreat into my imagination and pretend I lived a thousand years before Columbus. I made my own bow from hickory and I learned how to start a fire with nothing but what nature provided. I knew everything there was to eat and I knew how to catch about every critter there was, alive or dead. And I had become particularly proud of my ability to trap. In fact, my brother and I had become so good at trapping that we would often boast about how there wasn’t a creature in the forest safe from us. I had taken this great gift of my native ancestry and misinterpreted it to mean something entirely different than what it truly was. American Indians didn’t kill indiscriminately. In fact, they have special prayers for every creature that falls prey to their needs. They have never taken more than they needed and they always gave thanks for what the earth provided. But the problem with me, not unlike many other boys in my time, was the influence of television. How it portrayed Native Americans is a horrible crime we committed in an ugly attempt to whitewash the true history of this beautiful people. But there was no one in my life to teach me otherwise. My dad was always ashamed of his Indian blood and I never understood why. It was one of those times when your very own words come back to haunt you. We were running our trapline as usual and bragging to one another about what great trappers we had become. We had mink and muskrat and even a red fox, but when we pulled up our last trap we had the greatest prize of all: a massive old beaver. Really old! He 20

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animal talk

Pet Partners of the Tri-State Berkshires

was so old that his face was almost all white. I had never seen a beaver this old and big before. Later, when we weighed him, he turned out to be 55 pounds, the largest beaver on record for that month, according to Fur-Fish-Game magazine, but we couldn’t report it because our trapline was illegal. (I was raised to believe that the law is important only if you get caught....) But the most striking thing was that, upon closer examination, we realized this old beaver only had one leg and that was the leg in my trap. He had been trapped at least three other times in his life (probably by kids just like us) and chewed his leg off in order to survive. I had read they would do that but had never seen it. At first I was angry at the trappers before me who had done this. “This would never happen in one of my traps,” I said. The animals I kill all die quick and efficiently. Then, as I looked into that old beaver’s face, something overcame me. For some reason, I didn’t feel so very proud anymore. Instead, I felt disturbed and ashamed. I realized that in my boasting, I had actually described the real sin here and it was of my own doing! That beaver had such a thirst for life that it chewed off its own leg in order to survive! Not once, but three different times! I tried to imagine all the incredible hardships it must have endured and all the awful suffering it went through. All those years! And then came I!

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To this day, I have never forgotten that old beaver. That moment in my life was the last time I ever harmed another living creature. I got rid of my guns and picked up a camera instead. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud and grateful for the things I know and have learned in my life, but I’m ashamed of what I did with it. Our Earth is a precious gift. She provides all that we need and asks nothing in return but to be respected. All life is precious. From the unseen to that which has not yet been seen, we are all connected and one!

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Now Now enrolling enrolling for for 2017-2018 2017-2018

Montessori Montessorimeans means

Celebrating Celebratingthat thatshe sheisisunique unique


education & workshops

“Making It Right”

A Process of Restitution

By K. Meagan Ledendecker

A

fter a great deal of crying and feeling horrible about how she had treated her sitter, my eight-year-old decided to write an apology note. When she was done, we brainstormed ways she could try to make amends for her actions. The process wasn’t an easy one. When we make mistakes, it can feel like squeezing too much toothpaste out of the tube. Getting the excess back in can feel virtually impossible. My daughter’s process was fresh in my mind as I milled about after a workshop with other Montessori teachers discussing how children confront social challenges. One teacher shared that when a child apologizes, he acknowledges the apology as a good first step, but that it is only that . . . a first step. This comment caught my attention. How do we support children who have made a mistake and aren’t sure about how to make amends? Genuine apologies certainly aren’t easy, but it’s a lot easier to apologize for a mistake than it is to fix it. With this in mind, I began exploring Diane Gossen’s work on restitution. The definition of restitution revolves around restoration – restoration of something damaged, lost, or stolen – basically restoring what was affected to its original state. Gossen’s recipe for restitution, though, is designed to help the mistake-maker experience a healing process, a self-restoration perhaps. According to Gossen, the process of making things right again should include the following components:  The person(s) affected by the mistake will feel that the restitution is acceptable and appropriate.  The restitution will require effort.  By making amends, the mistake-maker will be discouraged (or at least not encouraged) to repeat the mistake.

For the process to be really exceptional, three other characteristics may be involved: 

The restitution will be logically connected to the mistake.

 The process will connect to a deeper understanding or big picture of how people treat each other.  The experience will actually strengthen the mistake-maker.

Gossen notes that in supporting the process of making amends, we must be very careful to refrain from criticizing, inducing guilt, or expressing anger. Also, we must not feel like we are overextending ourselves. The person trying to fix the mistake must own the process. I’ve been attentive to chances for my own children to try to make things right. Recently when my four-year-old, in a state of extreme frustration, tossed his plate to the ground, I saw his outburst as an opportunity. When the plate hit the concrete patio it shattered into an infinite number of shards. Sharp shards. I didn’t react, though. I let him feel the intensity of the moment. After a bit of time passed I let him know that I would be willing to help him, but that the pieces would all need to be cleaned up from the patio so they wouldn’t cut our feet. He got me shoes. He picked up shards. He got a little cut on his finger. He retrieved the dustpan and dust brush to help sweep. The process was long and effortful. Later when I was tucking him into bed, I reflected aloud about how hard he had worked to fix his mistake. He nodded and snuggled into me. Although the plate had shattered, my son’s sense of how to make things right certainly seemed strengthened. He didn’t need to apologize. His actions were restorative. ~ K. Meagan Ledendecker, cofounder of The Montessori School of the Berkshires in Lenox Dale, Massachusetts, appreciates all she’s learned from her mistakes. She hopes one day her three children will feel that way, too. You can learn more about The Montessori School of the Berkshires at www.berkshiremontessori.org. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Oct | Nov 2016

23


health & wellness

A Bee Sting Saved My Life:

Poison as Medicine

ADAPTED AND REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION FROM WWW.MOSAICSCIENCE.COM (3/24/15) / By Christie Wilcox

“I

moved to California to die.” Ellie Lobel was 27 when she was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. And she was in her early 40’s when she decided to give up fighting for survival.

just relapse right back into this horrible Lyme nightmare. And with every relapse it got worse.”

Caused by corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which enter the body through the bite of a tick [and potentially by other insects as well], Lyme disease is diagnosed in around 300,000 people every year in the United States. If doctors correctly identify the cause of the infection early on, antibiotics can wipe out the bacteria quickly before they spread through the heart, joints, and nervous system.

“Nothing was working any more, and nobody had any answers for me,” she says. “Doctors couldn’t help me. I was spending all this cash and was going broke, and when I got my last test results back and all my counts were just horrible, I knew right then and there that this was the end.” [Ellie’s doctor told her she had four months to live].

But back in the spring of 1996, Ellie didn’t know to look for the characteristic bull’s-eye rash [which does not always appear] when she was bitten – she thought it was just a weird spider bite. Then came three months with flu-like symptoms and horrible pains that moved around her body. Ellie was a fit, active woman with three kids, but her body did not know how to handle this new invader. She was incapacitated. “It was all I could do to get my head up off the pillow,” Ellie remembers. Her first doctor told her it was just a virus, and it would run its course. So did the next. As time wore on, Ellie went to doctor after doctor, each giving her a different diagnosis. Multiple sclerosis. Lupus. Rheumatoid arthritis. Fibromyalgia. None of them realized she was infected with Borrelia and potential coinfections until more than a year after she contracted the disease – and by then, it was far too late. [Lyme bacteria are exceptionally good at adapting; evidence shows that they are capable of dodging both the immune system and antibiotics unless caught very early. And even with early antibiotic treatment, a percentage patients don’t get better]. There are testimonies of symptoms persisting – sometimes even resurfacing decades after the initial infection. “I just kept doing this treatment and that treatment,” says Ellie. Her condition was constantly worsening. She describes being stuck in bed or a wheelchair, not being able to think clearly, feeling like she’d lost her short-term memory and not feeling “smart” anymore. Ellie kept fighting, with every antibiotic, every pharmaceutical, every holistic treatment she could find. “With some things I would get better for a little while, and then I would 24

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After 15 years, she gave up.

“I had outlived so many other people already,” she says, having lost friends from Lyme support groups, including some who just couldn’t take the suffering any more. I didn’t care if I was going to see my next birthday. It was just enough. I was ready to call it a life and be done with it.” So she packed up everything and moved to California to die. And she almost did. Less than a week after moving, Ellie was attacked by a swarm of Africanised bees. Ellie was in California for three days before her attack. “I wanted to get some fresh air and feel the sun on my face and hear the birds sing. I knew that I was going to die in the next three or four months. Just lying there in bed all crumpled up . . . It was kind of depressing.” At this point, Ellie was struggling to stand on her own. She had a caregiver on hand to help her shuffle along the rural roads by her place in Wildomar, where she had chosen to die. She was standing near a broken wall and a tree when the first bee appeared, she remembers, “just hitting me in the head . . . all of a sudden – boom! – bees everywhere.” Her caregiver ran. But Ellie couldn’t run – she couldn’t even walk. “They were in my hair, all over my head, all I heard was this crazy buzzing in my ears. I thought: wow, this is it. I’m just going to die right here.” Ellie, like 1 to 7 percent of the world’s population, was severely allergic to bees – when she was two, a sting put her into anaphylaxis, a severe reaction of the body’s immune system that can include swelling, nausea, and narrowing of the airways. She nearly died. She stopped breathing and had to be revived by defibrillation. Her mother drilled a fear of bees into her to ensure she never ended up


health & wellness

in the same dire situation again. So when the bees descended, Ellie was sure that this was the end, a few months earlier than expected. Bees – and some other species in the order Hymenoptera, such as ants and wasps – are armed with a potent sting that many of us are all too aware of. This is their venom, and it’s a mixture of many compounds. Perhaps the most important is a tiny 26-aminoacid peptide called melittin, which constitutes more than half of the venom of honeybees and is found in a number of other types of bees and wasps. This little compound is responsible for the burning pain associated with bee stings. It tricks our bodies into thinking that they are quite literally on fire. When we experience high temperatures, our cells release inflammatory compounds that activate a special kind of channel, TRPV1, in sensory neurons. This ultimately causes the neurons to send a signal to the brain that we’re burning. Melittin subversively makes TRPV1 channels open by activating other enzymes that act just like those inflammatory compounds. Jellyfish and other creatures also possess TRPV1-activating compounds in their venoms. The endpoint is the same: intense, burning pain. “I could feel the first five or ten or fifteen but after that . . . All you hear is this overwhelming buzzing, and I could feel them hitting my head, hitting my face, hitting my neck,” says Ellie. “I just went limp. I put my hands up and covered my face because I didn’t want them stinging me in the eye . . . The next thing I know, the bees are gone.” When the bees finally dissipated, Ellie’s caregiver tried to take her to the hospital, but she refused to go. “This is God’s way of putting me out of my misery even sooner,” she told him. “I’m just going to accept this. I locked myself in my room and told him to come collect the body tomorrow.” But Ellie didn’t die. Not that day, and not three to four months later. “I just can’t believe that was three years ago, and I just can’t believe where I am now,” she tells me. “I had all my blood work done. Everything. We tested everything. I’m so healthy.” She believes the bees, and their venom, saved her life. The idea that the same venom toxins that cause harm may also be used to heal is not new. Bee venom has been used as a treatment in East Asia since at least the second century BCE. In Chinese traditional medicine, scorpion venom is recognized as a powerful medicine, used to treat everything from eczema to epilepsy. “Over millions of years, these little chemical engineers have developed a diversity of molecules that target different parts of our nervous system,” says Ken Winkel, Director of the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne. “This idea of applying these potent nerve toxins to somehow interrupt a nervous disease has been there for a long time. But we haven’t known enough to safely and effectively do that.” Despite the wealth of history, the practical application of venoms in modern therapeutics has been minimal. That is, until the past continued on page 26

Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme For more information about BVT and Ellie Lobel’s mission visit: ● www.facebook.com/TheBeeBusMission You can also request to be invited into Ellie’s closed Facebook group: ● “Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme Disease”

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A Bee Sting Saved My Life: Poison as Medicine / continued from page 25 ten years or so, according to Glenn King at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. In 1997, when Ellie was bouncing around from doctor to doctor, King was teasing apart the components of the venom from the Australian funnel-web, a deadly spider. He’s now at the forefront of venom drug discovery.

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King’s group was the first to put funnel-web venom through a separation method called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), which can separate out different components in a mixture based on properties like size or charge. “I was just blown away,” he says. “This is an absolute pharmacological gold mine that nobody’s really looked at. Clearly hundreds and hundreds of different peptides.” Glenn King thinks his lab may have also discovered a major breakthrough in pain relief – in centipedes. Over the course of the 20th century, suggested venom treatments for a range of diseases have appeared in scientific and medical literature. Venoms have been shown to fight cancer, kill bacteria, and even serve as potent painkillers – though many have only gone as far as animal tests. At the time of writing, just six had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for medical use (one other – Baltrodibin, adapted from the venom of the Lancehead snake – is not FDA approved, but is available outside the US for treatment of bleeding during operations). The more we learn about the venoms that cause such awful damage, the more we realize, medically speaking, how useful they can be. Like the melittin in bee venom. Melittin does not only cause pain. In the right doses, it punches holes in cells’ protective membranes, causing the cells to explode. At low doses, melittin associates with the membranes, activating lipidcutting enzymes that mimic the inflammation caused by heat. But at higher concentrations, and under the right conditions, melittin molecules group together into rings creating large pores in membranes, weakening a cell’s protective barrier and causing the entire cell to swell and pop like a balloon.

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Because of this, melittin is a potent antimicrobial, fighting off a variety of bacteria and fungi with ease. And scientists are hoping to capitalise on this action to fight diseases like HIV, cancer, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. For example, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, have found that melittin can tear open HIV’s protective cell membrane without harming human cells. This envelope-busting method also stops the virus from having a chance to evolve resistance. “We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” Joshua L. Hood, the lead author of the study, said in a press statement. “Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat.” Initially envisioned as a prophylactic vaginal gel, the hope is that melittin-loaded nanoparticles could someday be injected into the bloodstream, clearing the infection.


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Ellie is the first to admit that her tale sounds a little tall. “If someone were to have come to me and said, ‘Hey, I’ll sting you with some bees, and you’ll get better,’ I would have said, ‘Absolutely not! You’re crazy in your head!’” But she has no doubts now. After the attack, Ellie watched the clock, waiting for anaphylaxis to set in, but it didn’t. Instead, three hours later, her body was racked with pains. A scientist by education before Lyme took its toll, Ellie thinks that this was not a part of an allergic response, but instead indications of a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction – her body was being flooded with toxins from dying bacteria. The same kind of thing can happen when a person is cured from a bad case of syphilis. A theory is that certain bacterial species go down swinging, releasing nasty compounds that cause fever, rash, and other symptoms. For three days, Ellie was in pain. Then, she wasn’t. “I had been living in this . . . I call it a brownout because it’s like you’re walking around in a half-coma all the time with the inflammation of your brain from the Lyme. My brain just came right out of that fog. I thought: I can actually think clearly for the first time in years.” With a now-clear head, Ellie started wondering what had happened. So she did what anyone else would do: Google it. Disappointingly, her searches turned up very little. But she did find one small 1997 study by scientists at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, who’d found that melittin killed Borrelia. Exposing cell cultures to purified melittin, they reported that the compound completely inhibited Borrelia growth. When they looked more closely, they saw that shortly after melittin was added, the bacteria were effectively paralyzed, unable to move as their outer membranes were under attack. Soon after, the membranes began to fall apart, killing the bacteria. Convinced by her experience and the limited research she found, Ellie decided to try apitherapy, the therapeutic use of materials derived from bees.

Her bees live in a “bee condo” in her apartment. She doesn’t raise them herself; instead, she mail orders, receiving a package once a week. To perform the apitherapy, she uses tweezers to grab a bee and press it gently where she wants to be stung. “Sometimes I have to tap them on the tush a little bit,” she says, “but they’re usually pretty willing to sting you.” She started on a regimen of ten stings per day on either side of her spine, three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Three years and several thousand stings later, Ellie seems to have recovered miraculously. Slowly, she has reduced the number of stings and their frequency – just three stings in the past eight months, she tells me (and one of those she tried in response to swelling from a broken bone, rather than Lyme-related symptoms). She keeps the bees around just in case, but for the past year before I talked to her, she’d mostly done just fine without them. Modern science has slowly begun to take apart venoms piece by piece to understand how they do the things they do, both terrible and tremendous. We now know that most venoms are complex cocktails of compounds, with dozens to hundreds of different proteins, peptides, and other molecules to be found in every one. The cocktails vary between species and can even vary within them, by age, location, or diet. Each compound has a different task that allows the venom to work with maximum efficiency – many parts moving together to immobilise, induce pain, or do whatever it is that the animal needs its venom for.

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Rare cases like Ellie’s are a reminder of the potent potential of venoms. But turning folk knowledge into pharmaceuticals can be a long and arduous process. “It could take as long as ten years from the time you find it and patent it,” says King. “And for every one that you get through, ten fail.” Since the 1997 study, no one had looked further into bee venom as a potential cure for Lyme disease, until Ellie. Ellie now runs a business selling beederived beauty products called BeeVinity, inspired by how good her skin looked as she underwent apitherapy. “I thought, continued on page 28

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A Bee Sting Saved My Life: Poison as Medicine / continued from page 27 ‘Well, people aren’t going to want to get stung with bees just to look good.’” Ellie has partnered with a bee farm that uses a special electrified glass plate to extract venom. As the bees walk across the plate on the way to and from their hive, harmless currents stimulate the bees to release venom from their abdomens, leaving teeny little droplets on the glass, which are later collected. Ellie says it takes 10,000 bees crossing that plate to get 1 gram of venom (other sources, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, quote 1 million stings per gram of venom), but “those bees are not harmed.” For her, it is more than just a way to make a living: it’s “an amazing blessing.” Proceeds from her creams and other products support bee preservation initiatives, as well as Lyme disease research. In addition, she sends some of the venom she purchases – which, due to the cost of the no-harm extraction method she uses, she says is “more expensive than gold” – to Eva Sapi, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, who studies Lyme disease. Sapi’s research into the venom’s effects on Lyme bacteria is ongoing and as yet unpublished, though she told me the results from preliminary work done by one of her students looks “very promising.” Borrelia bacteria can shift between different forms in the body, which is part of what makes them so hard to kill. Sapi has found that other antibiotics don’t actually kill the bacteria but just push them into another form that is more dormant. As soon as you stop the antibiotics, the Borrelia bounce back. Her lab is testing different bee venoms on all forms of the bacteria, and so far, the melittin venom seems effective. The next step is to test whether melittin alone is responsible, or whether there are other important venom components. “We also want to see, using high-resolution images, what exactly happens when bee venom hits Borrelia,” Sapi told me. She stresses that much more data is needed before any clinical use can be considered. “Before jumping into the human studies, I would like to see some animal studies,” she says. “It’s still a venom.” And they still don’t really know why the venom works for Ellie, not least because the exact cause of post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms remains unknown. “Is it effective for her because it’s killing Borrelia, or is it effective because it stimulates 28

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the immune system?” asks Sapi. It’s still a mystery. There’s a long way to go for bee venom and melittin. And it takes a lot of work – and money – to turn a discovery into a safe, working medicine. But labs like King’s are starting to tap the pharmaceutical potential that lies in the full diversity of venomous species. And King, for one, believes that scientists are entering a new era of drug discovery. In the past, venoms have been investigated because of their known effects on humans. Such investigations required both knowledge of the venom’s clinical effects and large volumes of venom, so until now only large species, like snakes, with easily extracted venoms have been studied in any depth. But that’s changing. Technological advances allow for more efficient venom extraction as well as new ways to study smaller amounts of venom. The preliminary tests for pharmaceuticals can now start with nothing more than a genetic sequence. “We can now genomically look at the toxins in these animals without having to actually purify the venom,” says King, “and that changes everything.” Ken Winkel thinks venomous animals will be excellent drug resources for devastating neurological diseases, as so many of their venoms target our nervous system. “We really don’t have great drugs in this area,” he says, “and we have these little factories that have a plethora of compounds.” No one knows exactly how many venomous species there are on this planet. There are venomous jellyfish, venomous snails, venomous insects, even venomous primates. With that, however, comes a race against time of our own making. Species are going extinct every year, and up to a third may go extinct from climate change alone. “When people ask me what’s the best way to convince people to preserve nature, your weakest argument is to talk about how beautiful and wonderful it is,” says Bryan Fry. Instead, he says, we need to emphasize the untapped potential that these species represent. “It’s a resource, it’s money. So conservation through commercialization is really the only sane approach.” Ellie couldn’t agree more. “We need to do a lot more research on these venoms,” she tells me emphatically, “and really take a look at what’s in nature that’s going to help us.”


health & wellness

Ellie Lobel’s BVT Protocol By Kathy I. Regan

T

here are a growing number of people using Ellie Lobel’s live bee venom therapy (BVT) protocol for Lyme and associated coinfections (more information can be found on Ellie’s closed Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ groups/398477540313310). The hope is that a 2- to 3-year course of Ellie’s protocol will eradicate the infections. Although there is some indication to support this theory in laboratory testing, it has yet to be proven in human trials (you can however follow the progress of members on Ellie’s Facebook group mentioned above). The pain and general symptoms from chronic Lyme and coinfections are so disabling and difficult to treat that the discomfort of BVT is mild in comparison and offers hope and notable relief for many. Anyone considering using BVT should be certain to consult their professional health care provider before starting any new treatment, and thoroughly do their own research. Ellie indicates that is it absolutely imperative to have an EpiPen® available at all times during BVT treatment, to understand all aspects of the protocol, and to carefully follow the protocol instructions. Below are two local testimonials. Before starting BVT [but after standard treatment] my Lyme symptoms continued and included insomnia, brain fog, headaches, depersonalization, adrenal fatigue, low cortisol levels, anxiety, liver and kidney pain, heart palpitations, hot flashes/night sweats, and weight loss. Since starting BVT six months ago my sleep has returned. The horrible feeling of depersonalization has gone away. I have gained back most of my weight. Liver and kidney pain have subsided. Heart palpitations are less frequent. I have much more energy and a noticeable difference in brain fog. BVT is by far the easiest therapy I have tried to date and I’m seeing visible changes in my health. I am fully committed to staying the course and would highly recommend it for anyone with Lyme. ~ Stella Deluca, Egremont, MA

JAN HEALEY, RN Palliative Planning Animal Communication Mediumship

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I had Lyme symptoms for 19 months before a diagnosis, meaning it was well into the chronic stage. I did manage to get the infection load down [with prior treatment], though I still had lingering symptoms including heart palpitations, chronic sore throat and earaches, migrating back and torso pain, chronic lower back pain, frequent headaches and nausea, random dizziness, constant fatigue, no stamina, little enthusiasm, joint pain, constant gut issues, sleep issues, tight lungs, rashes, difficulty with name and word recall (you don’t want to hear what is was like when it was bad!). I started BVT at the end of January 2016 and worked my way up to the 10 stings per day, three times per week as per the protocol by the beginning of April. The first positive thing I experienced was euphoria! That was almost unfamiliar, it had been so long since I felt anything like that. As I continued it was a mix of energy, enthusiasm, and profound fatigue. It is a mingled experience that brings up many old wounds and makes the chronic infections acute [as I heal], mixed with better stamina and energy. The sore throat, earaches, and dizziness are gone. The gut is much better, lungs are very good, headaches very infrequent, and better memory. It is an up and down and around journey but I definitely do feel better than when I started. I highly recommend BVT! ~ Lari Manz, Hudson, NY www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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specialize in getting to the heart of any matter while helping people find their truth and make their dreams come true. I am a catalyst of the soul and mind and I have a gift for implementing the practical, down-to-earth processes necessary to make rewarding, empowering, transformational change for my clients and myself.

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Q: What is your philosophy? A: To live in joy and encouraging everyone else to do the same is the nature of my being. To work to make that a possibility is my passion. I love seeing people tap into their potential and awaken to the realization that life is a grand adventure and they can live the life of their dreams. I love my work, love that I’ve been chosen to do it, and love that I’m good at it.

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heilaa Hite is a naturally gifted Intuitive Counselor with an accuracy rate of 95 to 100 percent. Able to “see” and interpret information from the ethereal plane far beyond most in her field, she brings practical solutions to spiritual and worldly issues as she helps clients understand and fulfill the purpose of their lives. Featured in Paulette Cooper’s book, The 100 Top Psychics and Astrologers in America, Sheilaa is also a Tarot Master, Astrologer, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Past Life Regressionist and Certified Mentor/Life Coach. Through her travel company, Odysseys, she also conducts tours and leads retreats to inspiring, beautiful places throughout the world.

Q: Sheilaa, would you please tell us more about what you do?

A: As an Intuitive Counselor with a very high accuracy rate, a Certified Life Coach, and a leader of spiritual Odysseys, I 30

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Q: How can our readers find you? A: By going to my website, www.sheilaahite.com. I can also be e-mailed at in2itivone@aol.com.


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Thank you very much for being so much more than just our general contractor. cannot express myfor being so much more than just ThankIyou very much pleasure enough from start to nish our general contractor. cannot express my pleasure and everything in-between. WeIchose enough from start to finish and everything in-between. to have our work done while we were in FL for the winter because we did not We wantchose to liveto through the noise, have our work done while we were in Florida mess, of not forand theinconvenience winter because wehaving did not want to live through a kitchen or master bathroom; we had noise, andtoo inconvenience of not having a the the wood oorsmess, re nished and that or master bathroom; is ankitchen entire mess in itself. Any second we had the wood floors homeowner whotoo thinks to entire mess in itself. Any refinished andthey thathave is an be around micromanage who any type or they have to be around asecondtohomeowner thinks scale of remodeling should speak to to micromanage any type or scale of remodeling should me; it is not at all necessary when you to me; it is not contractor at all necessary when you have havespeak a superior, trustworthy like aSteve. We hadtrustworthy complete trust and superior, contractor like Steve. We had concomplete dence in MHI andand the confidence crew. The trust in MHI and the crew. communication between us was constant with emails, photos, and The communication between us was constant with emails, phone calls. Questions and concerns photos, and phone calls. were answered immediately. EachQuestions and concerns were crew focused on the details crewanswered focused onimmediately. the details andEach it shows qualityinofthe the quality of the workmanship. Even the andin ittheshows workmanship. Even the cleaning cleaning crew did an exceptional job and we did not have crew did an exceptional job and we did from thethe floors not any have any dust from oorsbeing being refinished on both floors. h dust That isonremarkable! Weiswill recommend you to everyone re nished both oors. That remarkable! We will you who needs anyrecommend work done and will use you for everything to everyone needs any future. work done we needwho done in the So glad we found you! Thank and will use you for everything we you again for a very easy and need done in the future. So glad we rewarding experience. found you! Thank you again for a very With much gratitude, easy and rewarding experience. With much gratitude, Rhea and Ken Werner

www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Rhea and Ken Werner

Oct | Nov 2016

31


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Profile for Our BerkshireTimes Magazine

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Oct-Nov 2016  

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine is your resource for local events, community news, personal growth, and vibrant living in the Berkshire, Massach...

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Oct-Nov 2016  

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine is your resource for local events, community news, personal growth, and vibrant living in the Berkshire, Massach...

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