Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Dec-Feb 2017

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Dec-Feb 2017 vol 29



Our BerkshireTimes


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

Winter Activities / Visit us at www.OurBerkshireTimes.com Cover Art by Shawn Fields / www.shawnfields.com

*Dec -Feb 2017

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

Contents 4


TO ADVERTISE CONTACT Account Representatives Kevin J. Regan kevin@ourberkshiretimes.com Debra Johnson debra@ourberkshiretimes.com Allen Timmons allen@ourberkshiretimes.com _______________ Our BerkshireGreen, Inc. P.O. Box 133, Housatonic, MA 01236 Phone: (413) 274-1122 advertise@ourberkshiretimes.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com _______________

Mill River Card Players by Shawn Fields, Artist www.shawnfields.com Shawn Fields’ art influences include a childhood subscription to Mad magazine, and exposure to American artists like Winslow Homer, Howard Pyle, and N.C. Wyeth. His work has been exhibited at ArtBasel Miami, Forbes Gallery NYC, and Arcadia NYC, and is collected worldwide. Shawn lives in Mill River, Massachusetts, and is currently working towards his next show, opening September, 2017, at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland Maine. Contact Shawn at shawn@shawnfields.com.

winter activities






food & drink home & garden

health & wellness NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST



education & workshops THE IMPORTANCE OF RITUAL


Copyeditor/Proofreader Rodelinde Albrecht _______________ DESIGN Magazine Design/Layout Kathy I. Regan _______________






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


art, culture & entertainment




featured advertisers


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

*special note: Readers, we are changing Our BerkshireTimes magazine’s printing schedule in 2017 to better accommodate our advertisers. To make this possible we have extended this issue through February. Our new schedule will then start with the Mar-Apr 2017 issue followed by May-Jun and so on. At right, “Mill River Card Players” by fine artist Shawn Fields, www.shawnfields.com.

Our BerkshireTimes magazine was first published in 2009 and is enjoyed by community members and visitors alike. We publish and distribute bimonthly (six times per year). 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

Dec | Feb 2017


art, culture & entertainment

Fun Things to Do A Home for the Holidays When: November 21, 2016, through January 13, 2017 Where: Ventfort Hall 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA Cost: (tours) $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $17 for students (18-23 years) with student ID, free for Members (1st floor only), $7 for children (5-17 years), free for children 4 or younger Ventfort Hall mansion will be lavishly decorated for the holiday season. Take a guided tour and enjoy the beautiful decorations. Come shop for unique gifts in our museum gift shop (tour admission not required to shop in our gift shop). Guided tours are offered daily on the hour from 10am through 3pm, Monday through Saturday, and 10am through 2pm Sunday; closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Contact us at (413) 6373206, info@gildedage.org, www.gildedage.org

Art on Tour: CATA at Berkshire Museum When: December 2016 to February 2017 Where: Berkshire Museum 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA Cost: see website Community Access to the Arts (CATA) will exhibit at Berkshire Museum’s Artwork: David Gardner BerkshireNow Gallery from December 2016 to February 2017, with an opening reception on Friday, December 2nd from 5-8 pm. The show includes large-scale paintings created by artists with disabilities in CATA visual arts workshops throughout the year. For more information about CATA visit www.cataarts.org. All artwork is for


Shawn says “One of the reasons I express myself in drawing and painting is that the feelings I want to communicate aren’t easy for me to put into words. The best way for me to describe what I do is to say that I work hard to create an image that will hold a viewer’s attention. I want the image to engage the person looking at it and bring out their ability to be in the now, and feel a natural sense of freedom. I do this by first trusting the original inspiration, which generally comes to me in the form of a feeling. That feeling is attached to an image in my mind. Using a process of continual Self Portrait, charcoal on paper

Dec | Feb 2017

The Nutcracker When: Sunday, December 18, 1pm-4:45pm Where: The Clark Auditorium 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA Cost: $16 for Members, $18 for Adults, $10 for Children 12 and under Christmas would not be complete without the enchanting tale of young Marie and her Nutcracker prince! Join the Clark for a special encore presentation of the Bolshoi Ballet production of The Nutcracker, screened in HD. Before the production, celebrate the season at 11am with a Sugar Plum Fairy Tea, featuring gourmet delicacies; combination tickets available at www.clarkart.edu.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) When: Friday, December 23, 7pm Where: The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA., Cost: Free The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday drama, It’s A Wonderful Life, a seasonal favorite. In Mahaiwe tradition, the film will screen free for all this December. Designated the most inspirational movie of all time by the American Film Institute, It’s A Wonderful Life is an example of cinematic awe. Sponsored by Don Buchwald and Associates and Greylock Federal Credit Union

Cover Art by Shawn Fields

alented local artist Shawn Fields, whose work has graced the cover of Our BerkshireTimes magazine twice in the past, works and lives in Mill River, Massachusetts, with his wife, Kenzie, and family.


sale, with CATA artists receiving a commission on all artwork sold. The Berkshire Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10 to 5pm; Sunday, noon to 5pm. For more information, please visit www.berkshiremuseum.org.


revising and refining, sketching, drawing, making color studies, and so on, I turn what may have started out as a hard-to-define feeling and unrealized image into a realistic painting. My work is an expression of gratitude.” Shawn is currently working towards his next show, opening September, 2017, at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland Maine. Contact shawn@shawnfields.com, www.shawnfields.com.

art, culture & entertainment

 TO


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

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


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

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


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


“It was her compassion that was so pretty.”


RECORDS & CDs New ● Used ● Imported MUSIC - A GIFT


Open 10-6 Mon-Sat ● 413-458-5229

131 Water Street, Williamstown, MA

Close your eyes. open your heart. concernedsingles.com


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

Alternative Fuel and Fuel-Efficient Chauffeured Transportation Alternative Fuel and Fuel-Efficient Chauffeured Transportation

Top quality limo service with a minimal impact on the environment.

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and Beyond! JFK, Boston, and Hartford, Northeast beyond! Albany, Anywhere, Anytime.

JFK, Boston, Hartford, Albany, Anywhere, Wine Tours and Anytime.

Ride Shares Wine Tours and Available! Ride Shares available! www.OurBerkshireTimes.com 413-637-1224 www.tobislimo.com tobislimo@aol.com

Dec | Feb 2017


giftguide SHOP LOCAL


& Nut Items / Wild Birds Country Store ATTRACT Seed Choose from our large collection of seed and nut ornaments including birdhouses, cylinders, wreaths,

and woodland creatures. Children and adults love to decorate an outdoor tree and give a gift to nature. Owners Dave and Jody Soules carry a complete line of products to enjoy bird watching, bird feeding, and species preservation including unique birdfeeders, birdhouses, birdbaths, and outdoor furniture (many items created by local artisans here in the Berkshires as well as from the Amish). We have 21 kinds of premium seed, suet, and custom birdseed mixtures. We also carry books, guidebooks, CDs, videos, binoculars, hardware, many one-of-a-kind, decorative accessories and distinctive gift items. Visit Wild Birds Country Store to see our extensive inventory at 783 South Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (413) 644-9007, www.wild-birdstore.com / $7.99 and up

Basket / Berkshire Organics DELIGHT Gift 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


One-of-a-Kind Fine Jewelry / LOCAL

Adorn someone special in your life with gorgeous, handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces of fine jewelry, lovingly created from recycled diamonds, sterling silver, and gold. Each item is inspired by modernity and history. LOCAL is where you will find beautiful things made by talented people from all over the Berkshires. Our shop (celebrating six years in business this December!) supports local artisans throughout the entire year. Be sure to view our Facebook page for the latest news in inventory, and come visit us in person to see what your neighbors are creating! LOCAL is located at 55 Pittsfield Road, Ste 4A, Lenox, MA. (413) 553-3557, www.lenoxlocal.com / $60 - $200


Chocolate Gift Boxes / Chocolate Springs

Treat your friends, loved ones, and coworkers (and yourself!) to decadent holiday chocolates and chocolate gift box assortments this season. 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. Buy gifts online at any time, or visit Chocolate Springs Café in person at 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, MA. (413) 637-9820, www.chocolatesprings.com 6

Dec | Feb 2017


Knife Sharpener / Brod & Taylor SHARPEN Professional Truly art on the cutting edge, our elegant European knife sharpener

automatically adjusts for professional-quality results at home. Easily and safely sharpen all types of metal blades, from standard to serrated, specialty, and even high-quality Damascus knives. Using precision-ground tungsten carbide surfaces, our sharpener delivers a superior cutting edge. Perform coarse sharpening, honing, and polishing in one compact and beautiful tool. Brod & Taylor, Williamstown, MA, was founded on a passion for making wholesome food from scratch. Our products aim to transform this often challenging process into a simple pleasure. We strive to create products that blend innovative design with simplicity and affordability. (413) 458-9933, www.brodandtaylor.com / $119


Berkshire Basket / Bella Flora

Love local? Bella Flora’s Berkshire Basket is a standout choice filled with lots of fabulous local goodies. Give Bella Flora’s gift basket pros a call . . . they’ll make sure your gifts are unforgettably delicious. Located within Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Pittsfield and Great Barrington, MA. Owners Annie and Chris Whalen enhance all their floral work with creativity and freshness. Browse their gift shops, loaded with home accents and personal accessories. Local delivery available. Order today! See their entire holiday basket collection online. (413) 496-8242, www.bellafloraberkshires.com / $35 - $200

Peek & Play / BensDotter’s Pet SATISFY SmartCat The SmartCat Peek & Play Toy Box requires cats to paw and pull their

toys out to play, satisfying their desire to hunt and stalk, providing much-needed mental stimulation. The toy box comes with two toys, but can be used with any appropriately sized toy or treat. Durable wood construction. BensDotter’s Pet carries a full range of foods (including granular and raw food diets for both cats and dogs), equipment, and supplies for dogs, cats, and parrots. 940 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (413) 528-4940, www.bensdotters.com / $20 (special holiday gift guide price)


Soul Support™ Inspirational Messages / Deb Koffman

Get unstuck, expand your awareness, comfort your soul. 42 different handwritten messages, the size of a pack of gum (3 x 1.25 inches) wrapped in a cellophane sleeve. five different color covers (red, gold, green, purple, orange) mixed inside. Use for pain relief, mindfulness practice, moving, or grounding your energy. Great for artists, coaches, therapists, anyone who wants more guidance and encouragement. Put in drawers, pockets, your friends’ pockets, anywhere that supports your soul. Choose a card or three and wholeheartedly DO what the card suggests. Contact Deb Koffman Art at P.O. Box 542, Housatonic, MA. sales@debkoffman.com. Visit website for more books, cards, and prints created by Deb Koffman. (413) 274-1201, www.debkoffman.com / $6.50, Buy 25 sets get almost 10% discount! $150.00

home, &garden home garden& landscape

Throes of the Lure: It’s Strictly a Northern Thing By Michael Romano


nce, while on vacation, I tried to explain the sport of ice fishing to a native Floridian who had never even seen a single snowflake. I could tell by his blank, uncomprehending look as I spoke that he thought that the Pina Colada I was drinking was going to my head in the 90◦F south Florida heat. I couldn’t really blame him; the more I tried to explain it, the stranger it sounded even to me! Think about it . . . we Northerners wait until it gets cold enough for large bodies of water to freeze over with hopefully at least 6 inches of ice. Then we brave an unimpeded Arctic wind to walk out on the frigid lake and drill little holes in the ice. That being done, we set up tip-ups (fishing devices with red alert flags on them) or jig through the freshly drilled hole (jerking a lure up and down with a tiny fishing pole). Usually a large fire is built on the ice (no, it doesn’t melt through and fall in – see Earth Science) and everybody sits around on small chairs or milk crates in below-zero weather (sometimes for hours on end), waiting for a red flag to pop up signaling a little fishing action. People in the tropics think we are crazy, dumb, or both – who can blame them? I even know a few people who have these outhouse-type buildings on skis, which are pulled out to their favorite fishing hole. Some of these ice shacks have wood stoves, TVs, beds and other creature comforts in them. I guess you really have to like ice fishing to put all that time and money into one of these portable shelters. They work pretty well; I used to know a man who slept overnight in his just to get away from his family. Most of us don’t have an ice condo to sleep in however. Rather, we brave the elements, just for the chance to slip and fall on the ice – or just plain fall through the ice! – get frostbite (or heatstroke from too many layers of clothing!), and a number of other things we Northerners call fun! ln one crazy/dumb/fun instance, I took a large group of special needs students ice fishing; one of these students was a 8

Dec | Feb 2017


300-pound, accident-prone teenager named Dan. He was so accident prone that even a passive activity would become a minor crisis. If something could go wrong it happened to Dan! So to be on the safe side I told Dan to sit on a milk crate next to the fire and toast hotdogs for everybody. He complied happily, and the rest of us set about drilling holes and setting up tip-ups. One of the first holes we had baited had its flag pop up while the rest of us were still busy setting up the other ten holes we had drilled. Dan saw the flag and jumped up off his crate and attempted to run over to the spot. Running on ice is not easily done by anyone, and especially not by Dan. So just to complicate things, he promptly stepped into a freshly drilled hole – not only did his foot go through but so did the rest of his leg, all the way up to his thigh! Dan was stuck like a cork in a bottle. It took three of us on either side to unwedge him from his trap. When he did come loose, his leg made an audible POP as he was freed! Dan’s very wet limb came out of the hole minus his boot and sock. They were lost forever in the depths of the frozen lake. Although we quickly wrapped his foot in a towel, Dan was shivering by the time we made the long, very uncomfortable walk back to the van. I drove him back to the school in silence. Needless to say, Dan never went ice fishing again. So as I mentioned at the beginning, trying to explain this kind of fun to my Floridian host was kind of a challenge. They have no reference point nor do I think they really want one! It’s strictly a Northern thing. ~ 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.

winter activities

knit & crochet



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

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

carhartt headquarters

Carhartt Gear For Everyone On Your List



tadium System is your Carhartt Headquarters for men’s and women’s jackets, vests, baselayer, hats, socks, sweatshirts, pants, and dog beds too! Muck, Merrell, Kamik, and Red Wing boots and shoes. Purchase $150 worth of Carhartt this season and receive a free gift while supplies last. Call to ask about extended holiday hours. Visit Stadium System at 297 Ashley Falls Road (across from Stateline Pizza), Canaan, CT. (860) 824-4300, www.stadiumsystemstore.com.

handcrafted gifts

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



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 so much more! Proprietor Mary Merselis has created a serene, enjoyable atmosphere in which to shop and there is plenty of convenient parking. Stop by for a visit and enjoy a free chocolate chip cookie as you browse.

Quilts ● Cards Handbags ● Art

Soaps ● Jewelry Pottery ● Clothing

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

130 Water Street, Williamstown, MA


Fun Winter Facts ● Earth is actually closest to the sun in December, even though winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

● People buy more cakes, cookies, and candies than any other food when a blizzard is in the forecast.

● The average snowflake falls at about 3 mph.

● Around 9 percent of U.S. conceptions happen in December, making early winter the most popular time to make a baby.

● Rochester, New York, is the snowiest large city in the U.S., averaging 94 inches of snow a year. ● It’s possible for the entirety of Niagara Falls to be frozen at once.

● The word winter comes from the Germanic wintar, which in turn is derived from the root wed meaning wet or water, and so signifying a wet season. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Dec | Feb 2017


Handmade Holiday / By Rodelinde Albrecht


hristmas in Salzburg, when I was a little girl, was a magical time. Back then, our tree was lit with real candles, carefully spaced and securely fastened to the branches with tin holders. (A pail of water with a large rag in it was at the ready for any unwanted ignition. We never needed to use it.) The ornaments included silvery glass globes and strands of heavy tinsel that glittered softly in the flickering candlelight. The lighted tree never became something that stood, ignored, in the background. The family would gather around it, singing the sweet carols we loved so well. The candles were extinguished the moment the last notes faded into fervent silence. Some years, the decorations included homemade ornaments, such as gilded walnut shells. An adult would crack the walnuts. There was an art to this: you had to line up the nutcracker with the seam of the nut so that it would break in half right there, rather than into ragged chunks. Each pair of shells was carefully set aside so that matching shells could be reassembled. Then we children would extract the nutmeats – some were saved for Christmas baking, but quite a few found their way into our mouths – and glue each pair of shells together again, over a loop of narrow ribbon for hanging. Finally, we’d paint the shells gold. 10

Dec | Feb 2017


Even simpler were the stars, hearts, and pine tree shapes we’d cut out of thick aluminum foil, using our cookie cutters as patterns. We’d pierce a tiny hole at the top for ribbon or string loops. And of course there were gilded pine cones, with yarn loops neatly tied onto the stems. Handmade ornaments have not gone out of style, though they vary greatly in degree of sophistication and the amount of time and patience required to craft them. If you’d like to try your hand this year, here are just a few more ideas. If you can find dried sweet gum cones, use them as is or spray them with gold or silver paint. Transform Styrofoam balls by covering them with ribbon, beads, sequins, tiny buttons, and even bits of broken costume jewelry fastened with tiny pins. I sometimes use a hatpin to secure the ribbon loop to the top and a pretty tassel to the bottom. Do you have a collection of seashells, sand dollars, or sea urchins from vacation trips? Carefully drill holes in the shells to accommodate a ribbon or wire hanger. Sand dollars and sea urchins are too fragile to drill, so glue them together back to back in pairs, with a ribbon loop in between. Of course you can gild these, or even embellish with glitter. Myself, I prefer the subtle natural colors.

winter activities

Origami birds, especially made with white or metallic paper, add a delicate touch to your tree. Small pomander balls (lemons, limes, tangerines, or even kumquats, stuck with whole cloves) are lovely, fragrant ornaments. Go online, or check your library for books, to find instructions for making these. In a folder devoted to craft ideas, I recently rediscovered a number of clippings with instructions for homemade decorations. I plan to try several this year. One project I’ve already started is Queen Anne’s lace ornaments. I’ve got a dozen of the lovely white filigree flower heads drying in my press. From what I’ve read, although the dried flowers look like delicate snowflakes, they’re sturdy enough to hang on the tree. Can’t wait to see! Traditional salt-dough ornaments are a great choice for a project to make with your children. Here’s how to do it: Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Combine 4 cups flour, 1-1/2 cups water, and 1 cup salt, knead into dough, and roll out flat. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes, and poke a hole in the top with a drinking straw. You can embellish the shapes by pressing in scrap bits of dough or buttons or beads (make

sure they can take the heat!). You can create a stained-glass effect by cutting out the centers of your shapes and filling them with crushed hard candies (Life Savers work great) in different colors. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (If you’re making the stained glass ornaments, you might want to use wax paper underneath, and wait till they’ve hardened a bit before removing from the cookie sheet.) I also want to try these unbaked, fragrant cutouts: Mix 3/4 cup applesauce with a 4.12-ounce jar of ground cinnamon to form a stiff dough. Roll out a quarter inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Using a drinking straw, punch a hole at the top. Dry on a rack for one or two days, turning occasionally. Hope you’ll try your hand at some of these projects! ~ Rodelinde Albrecht lives in Lee, MA, where – among other things – she directs Concerned Singles. In the words of one now happily matched former member, this progressive introduction service “makes it possible for those of us with deeply held values to locate the germs of wheat amongst all of the chaff.” (413) 243-4350. www.concernedsingles.com. See ad for Concerned Singles on page 5.

the egremont village inn THE HOME OF BERKSHIRE HOSPITALITY


he Egremont Village Inn is a 14-room inn with multiple beautiful common areas, free Wi-Fi, and a game room. The inn serves a delicious country breakfast to its guests. Open all year and situated 10 minutes from two of the area’s best ski mountains, The Egremont Village Inn is on the Historic Registry and you can feel the old-world charm as you relax by the fire this winter. Formerly known as The Weathervane Inn, the property has undergone an intense 4-year renovation. In addition, the Barn at The Egremont Village Inn reopened in July of 2016. Formerly known as the Robbie Burns Pub until the 1980s, the renovated 1820s barn has already hosted a rich array of artists and varied entertainment. Offering a full bar and food, the Barn is quickly becoming a Berkshire hot spot. This winter at the Barn we are offering Open Mic Night on Thursdays and various ticketed events on the weekends. The Barn is open as an internet café during the day. For more information about the inn and upcoming events go to www.theegremontvillageinn.com, www.theegremonbarn.com.



17 Main Street South Egremont, MA 01258 413-528-9580

theegremontvillageinn.com theegremontbarn.com


Dec | Feb 2017


food & drink

Ban ana Pudding d e r e y a L e e Gluten-fr S - PERFECT FOR ANY HOLIDAY! / From Guido’s Kitchen



Ingredients (serves 4 to 6) 6 T sugar 5 to 6 T all-purpose gluten-free flour ⅛ tsp kosher salt 4 extra-large egg yolks 3 cups milk (low fat is fine)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1½ T unsalted butter 2 tsp dark rum (optional) 15 to 20 gluten-free ’nilla wafers 3 ripe (but not overripe) bananas, sliced into disks Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Instructions In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, 5 tablespoons of the flour, and the salt. Add the egg yolks, and mix to combine. In a separate, medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat.



Slowly pour ¼ cup of the warm milk mixture into the sugarflour-salt-egg yolk mixture in the large saucepan, whisking constantly. Return the large saucepan to the stove, and turn the heat to medium-low. Whisking constantly, add the rest of the milk mixture in a slow pour. Continue to whisk over medium-low heat until the pudding begins to thicken (about 2 minutes). If the pudding does not seem to be thickening, add the final tablespoon of flour, continuing to whisk. Remove the large saucepan from the heat, and stir in the butter and the rum (optional). In a medium glass bowl place a layer of ’nilla wafers, then a layer of banana slices, and a layer of pudding. Repeat the waferbanana-pudding layers until you reach the top of the container. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled, at least two hours. Top with whipped cream before serving (optional).


Dec | Feb 2017


food & drink

Haflinger Haus Restaurant  Tavern  Inn

17 Commercial Street, Adams, MA 413-743-2221 Welcome to the Haflinger Haus!

Austrian-American Cuisine


Stop at our Tavern for a drink. Gift cards available! www.haflingerhaus.com

~ The Haflinger Haus Restaurant and Inn was voted Best of the Berkshires two years in a row ~ From Wiener Schnitzel, Hungarian Goulash, and Lobster Spätzle, to fresh seafood, steaks and pasta, we bring the best of Austrian and American cuisines to the Berkshires ~ Dine in the beautiful fireplaced dining room, the casual tavern or seasonal outdoor Biergarten where you can catch a glimpse of our vegetable and herb garden ~ Make it a special treat and stay over in one of our guest rooms located upstairs in this turn of the century mansion ~ We also host special events Like us on Facebook and see our weekly specials

● Espresso ● Scones ● Hand Pies ● Soup ● 31 main street, stockbridge, ma 413.298.7271 ● info@sweetsavourymain.com www.sweetsavourymain.com


entrées available


Wholesome ● Homestyle ● Delicious SoCo Ice Cream ● Local Free-Range Eggs Milk ● Liquor ● Beer ● Wine ● Pastries Lotto ● Post Office ● Fishing Bait


Photo by John Phelan

Route 71, North Egremont, MA (Near Prospect Lake)

Call (413) 528-4796

Tues-Sat dinner only • 150 Main St., Lee 413.243.6397 cheznousbistro.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Dec | Feb 2017


home, garden & landscape art, culture & entertainment

Lessons in Gratitude



hen I was a little boy and we’d all be sitting at the dinner table having supper, if anyone complained about the food my Mama would say “Be grateful for what you have; there are children all over the world starving!” We didn’t have much but we had a lot more than those poor starving children. My Pawpaw taught me a trick about how to eat things you don’t like. You take everything on your plate and mix it all together really good and then sprinkle it with a lot of salt. It worked pretty well when my sister cooked, but I never really had a problem with eating. In fact, my problem was just the opposite. I would eat anything that didn’t eat me first! Except pickled eggs and pickled pigs’ feet. As I was saying! We didn’t have a lot of things when I was a kid so we had to invent our fun. When we did get something, we took good care of it because we knew that was all we were getting so it had to last. I grew up learning to make the most with what you had. Like flinging June bugs! All you needed was a spool of thread and a June bug. Everybody’s mama had a spool of thread and June bugs were free. They are a big metallic green dung beetle that lives only in the hot south. You catch it and tie one end of the thread on its spindly hind leg and then you gently release it. It will fly off just like a little airplane in slow motion. We’d go around and around spinning in circles for hours at a time. We used to see who could fly one on the longest thread, or for the longest time. This was my version of a model rc airplane. One money can’t buy! The most important point of this story is that when we stop and take the time to look around us, we begin to see a whole world of possibilities. I feel so rich just being alive. I learned in my short 58 years’ time here that if you want to be happy in life, I mean really truly happy, you must learn to be grateful for what you have. 14

Dec | Feb 2017


Gratitude is the key that unlocks the door to happiness. When we become grateful, we become conscious of those around us. We begin to develop empathy and understanding. Empathy expands our mind’s eye, and understanding is the key to wisdom. It’s a simple formula. Laid out long before my time and repeated millions of times over, because it works! When I was a young man, I wasn’t always so grateful. But I learned enough through the years to realize that nothing lasts forever. It can all be taken away much quicker than the time it took to get it. Each and every moment we all have together is precious. With this holiday season and a new year upon us, please take the time to look around at all the beauty life has given you and be grateful for all that you have. I’m grateful for my family and my many wonderful friends. I’m grateful for this fantastic community I live in with its diversity of awesome people. I’m grateful for all the things that have occurred in my life – both good and bad because I know that each and every experience I’ve had, from the darkest and most tragic to the highest elation, has brought me to the place I now stand. And that is absolutely amazing! May peace be with us all – Happy New Year, everyone! ~ Allen Timmons designs, builds, and sells oneof-a-kind custom heirloom-quality architectural sculptures including birdhouses, dollhouses, playhouses, tree houses, and more. His business, Backyard Heirlooms, is located at 525 South Main Street in Great Barrington, MA, (across from the Wainwright Inn), and is open on weekends and by appointment. You can contact Allen and his wife, Nancy, at (413) 528-3095, atbackyardheirlooms@ gmail.com, and on Facebook.

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Dec | Feb 2017


animal talk

Pets Under Stress


ets, like humans, experience immune issues related to the total amount of daily stress they are exposed to. According to Dr. Steve Sanderlin, DVM, when a pet is under stress, immune function is one of the first areas where their health is affected. Stress can come from changes in routine, holidays, travel, separation anxiety, trips to the vet, loss of a pet friend, or even when a new furry member is introduced to the family. Rescue pets that have gone through past traumas may have ongoing stress issues. Poor nutrition or infections can also contribute to the stress our pets experience, and any of these stressors may lead to behavior changes and/or erratic eating habits.


When your pet is in a stressful situation, it is important to address the stress response as soon as possible to help support their immune system. A good first responder for giving the immune system a kick start is a special strain of lactobacillus (a probiotic that provides immediate immune support). Not just for restoring gut bacteria, the cell fragments of lactobacillus contain biological substances including muramyl peptides, DNA, and amino acids. These substances act as stimulators to help the immune response take action to fight any foreign invaders that may be lurking about.


Dec | Feb 2017


Another important reason to address the stress response as soon as possible is to help your pet fend off a tide of inflammation. If inflammation is suspect to rear its ugly head, you can give your pet curcumin which is a natural anti-inflammatory (please consult your holistic vet for dosage). Beets also make a healthy treat that is loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds like anthocyanin. To help keep inflammation in check you will also want to avoid chemically filled processed dog food, supplements, tartar-preventing products, and plastic chew toys. A second essential peptide that supports the immune system is colostrum (from mother’s milk). First-milking colostrum is especially high in immunoglobulins and proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs), which are essential for developing and maintaining the immune system. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that attach to foreign invaders in the body so the immune system can destroy invaders and stay healthy. Colostrum works by educating or modulating the immune system so that the host can recognize specific antigens and foreign invaders and alert the immune system – sort of an early warning system. This is why some claim mother’s milk is much like a baby’s first vaccination. In an adult

animal talk

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pet the PRPs signal an increase in immune activity to mount an attack against viruses. In addition, colostrum contains antibodies, proteins, and enzymes that boost immune function. Whey protein may also boost your pet’s immune system and strengthen muscles. It contains a high level of cysteine, an amino acid that helps to boost levels of glutathione which supports the gut (where 70 percent of the immune system function occurs).

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Last but not least, remember that lots of love and bonding, as well as appropriate exercise are excellent medicine for just about everything including immune support, systemic inflammation, and overall health and mood (for both humans and their pets!). ~ Nina Anderson is a Specialist in Performance Nutrition and author of 18 books on natural health for people and pets. She performs symptom review and potential cause assessment for adults and children through Berkshire Spine Clinic in Great Barrington, www.nlpberkshires.com/houseinspect. Nina’s research has uncovered a supplement especially designed for pets that includes a number of the substances mentioned above. Email Nina for more information at safe@bcn.net.

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Dec | Feb 2017


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Dec | Feb 2017


education & workshops

Coming Together: The Power of Shared Rituals By K. Meagan Ledendecker


y mother has a tradition of telling about when she was a little girl. She calls these tales Grandmother Stories. When she comes to visit, or when we go to see her, these stories are like a touchstone. They ground my children and help them feel comfortable even amongst travel and transition. Recently my eight-year-old daughter and I uprooted ourselves for two weeks so I could spend time at a school in Tennessee. I wanted my daughter, my middle child, to have the opportunity to travel with me and have some one-on-one time with her grandparents. On the first leg of our trip, I realized that we were in uncharted territory. In our family’s previous travels, she and her sister had established a familiar routine, a routine that didn’t include me. I expected her to want the window seat on the plane; she was used the aisle. I didn’t have the same games or supply the same gum as her sister. Everything felt different for her without these familiar airline rituals. The process of inserting ourselves into my parents’ home also held its own set of challenges. Yet as I spent my days observing and teaching, my daughter latched onto a place of familiarity and comfort, asking for Grandmother Stories and creating collaborative, grandparent-friendly games. Each day I would come home and find that she had found a deeper place of connection. My daughter and I also began to take evening walks; we used the time to share stories, get some exercise, and enjoy some fresh air. Regardless of the day, we could both look forward to our amble outdoors. We feel comfortable and more connected when we know what to expect. The routines or rituals of our lives help define who we are, as individuals and as cohesive groups. Are we a family that

wants to spend more time outside? Do we want more fun in our lives? Who is willing to tend to particular household jobs? After a few days of being in my parents’ home, I noticed a change. One evening, as I cleared the dishes after dinner, I joked about how I had taken over my father’s job of dish duty. He was trying to find space in the fridge for the leftovers and I realized that my daughter and I were no longer trying to find space in their house. Rather than being guests, we were sharing space and forming community. Shared rituals provided us with a sense of belonging and connectedness. My daughter and I left our two-week stay in Tennessee feeling closer to each other and more connected to my parents. I listened in on Grandmother Stories and began to think of stories I could share about my own childhood. I wondered if we could keep up our evening walks despite the dark and cold of New England. On our flight back, my daughter asked to sit next to the window and we enjoyed our own routine of getting out gum and checking the in-flight magazine. I cherished the fact that in a time of travel and transition, we were able to pay attention to our rituals, to share them, and even reshape them. During this holiday season, I hope we all can remember the power and promise of rituals, these shared experiences that define us and ultimately bring us closer together. ~ K. Meagan Ledendecker, Director of Education and co-founder of The Montessori School of the Berkshires, is thankful each day as she watches children create a strong sense of self in the midst of community collaboration. Shared rituals play a key role in this process. www.berkshiremontessori.org. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Dec | Feb 2017


health & wellness

Traveling with a Natural Medicine Chest Do you enjoy writing? Share your passion! Send in articles for consideration through www.OurBerkshireTimes.com.



combination of personal preference and sky high airline baggage fees are responsible for lighter luggage as we head overseas. If you are visiting underdeveloped areas of the world, do you scrutinize your valuable luggage space and wonder which natural medicines pack the most punch for their weight and for the space they will occupy? As we leave our very sanitized society, the water and food we encounter in our travels can pose common threats to our health. Two easily packed and used herbs that contain antimicrobial properties are garlic capsules and goldenseal root capsules. Garlic capsules taken with each meal can help prevent food-borne illness and offer some protection against parasitic infection. Goldenseal root capsules provide more concentrated antimicrobial and immune support whether it is the beginning of a cold, a GI issue, or a skin rash. In addition to swallowing the capsules, both garlic and goldenseal root capsules can be opened and mixed with purified water and applied topically to abrasions and cuts. Added to purified hot water, goldenseal root capsules make a tea that can be swished around your mouth to hinder oral problems. It can even be applied to burns. Other helpful herbal remedies that take up a minimal amount of space in your luggage are: • A mushroom-based immune support supplement. This could be taken daily to strengthen your natural immune system.

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• Colloidal silver spray to prevent small cuts and scrapes from turning into major issues. • Turmeric extract capsules, which are a great antioxidant and also support a healthy inflammatory response.

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Dec | Feb 2017


• Activated charcoal capsules will help absorb toxins-treat poisoning, drug overdoses, and most types of digestive distress. • Oregano oil is a powerhouse! It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Happy Travels! ~Anne Browne, Lenox Village Integrative Pharmacy, Lenox, MA. (413) 637-4700, www.lviprx.com.

health & wellness

Swallow Savvy: The Best Way to Get That Pill Down BY JANE APKIN, MA, CCC-SLP


ave you seen the size of this thing I’m supposed to take?” If you haven’t said this yet, you probably will someday. Many people struggle with pill dysphagia. Try this experiment to learn more about your swallow mechanism. 1. Take a sip of your drink and hold it in your mouth. Now look directly overhead and pick out a spot on the ceiling to fix your gaze. Keep your head and neck in this position and swallow. How did the front of your throat feel as you swallowed? Repeat as needed to appreciate the full sensation. 2. Now take another sip of your drink and hold it in your mouth. Look down at your lap and fix your gaze at a spot anywhere between your knee and hip. Swallow. How did the front of your throat feel as you swallowed? Repeat as needed to appreciate the full sensation. The old wives’ tale about holding your head up to swallow a pill is just that – a wives’ tale. When you tip your head back to view the ceiling, you extend (or pull) your laryngeal muscles as far as they’ll go. This stretched position reduces the available range of motion for these muscles during the swallow and creates strain. Conversely, when you keep your chin level or bend your neck to look down, these muscles have plenty of slack and can move about freely. This improved range of movement results in a much safer and more effective swallow. In addition, gravity assists in holding the pill in the front of the mouth until you’re ready to begin the swallow. Can you imagine if you had to flip your head back to swallow every bite of pizza? Why then are so many of us tossing our head back to swallow pills? That “horse pill” is probably smaller than our average bite of pizza. Your tongue is quite agile and strong; it’s fully capable of pushing even the largest pill to the back of the mouth to be swallowed. The chin-level-or-down position reduces strain and enhances the movement of our laryngeal muscles when swallowing pills. If you’re still having difficulty, try these tricks: • Drink something cold beforehand to sensitize, or wake up, your swallow mechanism. • Chew gum before meals and regularly throughout the day. Favorite brand: Extra Polar Ice tends to create a lot of saliva and results in a good workout for your chewing and swallowing muscles.

• Sing a song. The changes in pitch exercise the same muscles that control the swallow. Be sure to take a deep breath before each bar to provide plenty of support for the vocal cords. • If acceptable, cut the pill in half or crush it. Most pharmacies sell pill cutters and crushers. Never cut, crush, or chew time-release or extended-release pills. • Ask your doctor for a smaller substitute or a liquid form of the medication. • Not just for Fluffy: hide the pill in some food such as a piece of soft cheese, fruit, applesauce, or pudding. If you find that you’re struggling with swallowing more than pills (such as food and/or liquid), it may be time to request a physician’s referral to a speech language pathologist who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia, or swallowing disorders. Just like any muscles in the body, the muscles that control the swallow mechanism can become weak, but they can often be restored through therapy. ~ Jane Apkin, MA, CCC-SLP, served as a medical speech language pathologist for more than 20 years. Jane specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of neurogenic swallowing disorders. Jane is now the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors® in the Berkshires and Western Massachusetts, a nonmedical service that provides help for seniors by seniors. (413) 822-9988, jane@shswestma.com, www.seniorshelpingseniors. com/berkshires www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Dec | Feb 2017


mind & spirit


heilaa Hite Intuitive Counselor

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Tarot • Astrology • Palmistry • Psychometry Mediumship • Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy • Life Coach Consultations in Person, by Phone or Skype Classes, Parties and Events


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The Allure of Standing Stone Circles By Sheilaa Hite


e’re fascinated by standing stone circles. Our fascination began more than 5,000 years ago when they first appeared in the British Isles, Turkey, and Egypt. Each circle was built to serve the community that built it – as a place of worship, a meeting place, an astronomical calendar, as well as being specifically built on an energy field that amplified the connection between it, the people, the place, and its purpose. It’s the amplified energy that continues to draw us back time and time again to these magical standing stones. Although a scientist might think they’re only bits of old rock, an intuitive person like myself knows they’re much more than that. They’re repositories of the legend of life and the histories of the communities that built and relied on them. Whenever you stand near them, they “tell” you the stories of their existence, their purpose, and your connection to them. I’ve conducted many ceremonies in the stone circles of Avebury, Stonehenge, and Calanais and the experience is always moving, enlightening, and transformational. Just by standing near them and touching them, you’re somehow transformed. If healing of the heart and/or spirit is required, if you need to surrender old baggage or release energetic blockages, if you need to access your power and make the important commitment to fulfil your life’s purpose – all of that happens there.

March 22 to April, 1, 2017

Join Us in the Centre of the Circle Odyssey “Now more than ever, we need magic in our lives. Each of us is a Masterwork of Divine Intention – reconnect with this truth as you join me for a once in a lifetime experience – Heal and clear past Karma and enhance your life! Experience ancient soul memories, sacred places, soul-time, fun time, breathing time. Embrace wholeness, happiness, grace, peace, and power.”

Our Odyssey Includes  Private Visit to Stonehenge Inner Circle of Stones  Alignment with the Most Powerful Stone Circles  Ley Lines  High Tea in Bath at Jane Austen Centre  Eilean Donan Castle  Soul, Grace, and Power Reconnection Ceremonies  Ancient Isle of Avalon, the Tor  Many More Wonders!

For Full Itinerary, More Information, and to book your space please contact Sharon Polidoro at Berkshire Travel Group at (413) 443-9188, spolidoro.btg@gmail.com. Or contact Sheilaa through www.SheilaaHite.com (Registration closes January 2, 2017)


Dec | Feb 2017


As a leader of spiritual Odysseys, I guide people to places of great meaning and power so that they can experience themselves as the Divine sees them – worthy and entitled to a life of infinite joy. Truly the gift that keeps on giving, my Odysseys are infinitely rich and rewarding; so much so that many of last year’s participants are going on the upcoming Centre of the Circle Odyssey on March 22, 2017, to the most powerful standing stone circles in Cornwall, England, and Scotland. I wholeheartedly invite you to join us and participate in what will be one of the most energetically, spiritually, and emotionally liberating and empowering experiences of your life. You can read more in depth about the previous adventures and next March’s upcoming Odyssey at www.sheilaahite.com. ~ Sheilaa Hite, CHt, CLC, is an intuitive counselor, author, teacher, life/ success coach, certified hypnotherapist, and spiritual guide who is listed in Paulette Cooper’s book, The 100 Top Psychics and Astrologers in America. She can be reached through her website, www.sheilaahite.com and at (413) 637-0085.

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CARING FOR PETS SINCE 1957 Convenient Location with Ample Parking on Route 7 less than a minute south of Guido’s

Monday-Friday 10a-6p Saturday-Sunday 10a-4p



We’ve built our reputation on our offerings of carefully selected and reasonably priced foods for your cats, dogs and parrots, as well as our expertise in sound, thoughtful nutritional and behavioral advice. But we’re not just about pet food, we’re also about quality equipment and supplies. And stay on top of our clinics, programs, articles, and monthly specials by following us on Facebook!

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