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Column: What is beauty, anyway?
03-20-2023 8:41 AM

By MICKI COLBECK

Folks living anywhere near the town borders of Strafford have long been aware that Coburn’s General Store is our social hub. When the virus stopped cultural gatherings in the Upper Valley, we got by, having Melvin and the gang at our neighborhood...

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A Solitary Walker: We are owed nothing, but spring comes anyway
04-12-2024 6:25 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

The dogs and I walk out along the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc every morning through hayfields and riparian forests. A few days ago, I felt like yelling, “Wake up, wake up,” at every living thing. It looked like the snow might really be gone....


A Solitary Walker: Restoring the health of our once-wild rivers
03-08-2024 4:48 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

The people in the Ompompanoosuc valley used to love their river — good fresh water for gardens and drinking, and a beautiful thing to look upon, but then she changed. She became faster and stronger and destroyed the things people built, who then...


A Solitary Walker: The first presentiment of spring
02-02-2024 10:01 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

It is Imbolc, the time for lambing, seed catalogues, and garden sketches. Groundhogs and bears are stirring. The sun lingers on the western hills, listing just a bit more to the north each afternoon. We are at the halfway point between the longest...


Column: Trail divides town but not sense of community
10-24-2023 2:55 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

The little dogs and I went for a hike yesterday. We go hiking most days, but this one was different. I had been feeling tense and distracted from some conflicts in town in which I was a major player. Hiking trails versus snowmobile trails. It was...


Column: Ferning with friends
09-06-2023 10:40 AM

By MICKI COLBECK

“Let’s wade out here. I feel sure we’ll find some Isoetes away from shore.” our instructor, botanist Robbin Moran said joyfully as we followed him into the lake, pants rolled up, magnifiers in hands, heads down. We were searching for an elusive,...


Column: Being alone with loons
07-31-2023 9:37 AM

By MICKI COLBECK

Sitting on a grassy patch where the clean tea-colored water begins, the lake is flat, calm, wide, the color of blue pewter, the morning sun just showing behind clouds, the air quiet. The gang of ten, as I call the loons that have gathered off to the...


Digging in to rescue a beloved forest parcel
07-13-2023 4:35 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

I love to go hiking. I’m always game for a walk in the woods. There are so many ferns and flowers and mosses and rocks to identify and so many birds and frogs to hear. We now have a new place on the edge of town for hiking and nature walks. The trails...


Column: Rewilding under a plaster moon
02-20-2023 5:00 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

February has been an icy month, a challenge for those who count on skiing the powder and harder on those already unsteady on their feet. Perhaps this February’s full moon should be called the “plaster moon” for all those broken bones.This morning, as...


Column: Sharing a big, old house and staying loose
01-22-2023 3:37 PM

By MICKI COLBECK

There is a term in ecology used to describe the sharing of scarce resources by various species. This survival strategy, resource partitioning, occurs across the animal kingdom, and I suppose, if one looks at fungal connections, between plants as well....

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