thank you so much for all of the love & support! i love sharing the beauty of autumn with people who enjoy it just as much as me!

i live in the berkshires, which is in western massachusetts. folks from all over the world come to my little neck of the woods to enjoy the amazing foliage. now that tourist season is nearly upon us, local products will be available like nobodies business. top notch any grade you’d like maple syrup & sugar candy, locally brewed hard cider with local organic apples, dozens of kinds of honey from local honey bees, raw or not. where i live has always been an autumn loving community. we’re a proud people, hands in the dirt and love in our hearts for the beauty of fall! i’ve been thinking of doing a giveaway for you guys which would end around october, with a bunch of local products and novelties and some other things i come by! reblog if any of you are interested and i might start getting some things together!

western massachusetts gothic
  • When did the Loew’s go up? It must have been over the winter. Next to it another big boxy store is expanding, and the construction brings the traffic to a standstill. In the distance you can see the oldest strip malls, one on either side of the street. They’re under construction too. The work lifts your eyes skyward, to the vault forming high overhead.
  • In the spring the snowbanks recede like glaciers, revealing what was buried beneath them. Sometimes you go for a walk to look at what was left behind. For the most part it’s sand and smooth stones, crushed coffee cups, cigarette butts, the usual debris of winter. You’ve learned to ignore the things with too many legs or bones. The town cleans them up in the dead of night.
  • Every town has a Congregational church, whitewashed like a tomb. The service hours are posted on the sign, but you don’t know anyone who attends and you don’t ask. All are built on high stone foundations, to prevent the uninitiated from peering through the windows and witnessing what goes on inside.
  • All the hills make radio reception spotty. The college stations seem to broadcast precisely as far as the town line, and in some spots you can listen to stations in Hartford. Sometimes, when you’re driving alone at night, the radio calls you by name and gives you directions, and you know to turn it off and drive in silence.
  • Potholes are everywhere, laying in wait patiently like spiders. Some of them last for years, growing deeper and more dangerous and spreading slowly. So slowly. The potholes are inexorable, but they are very slow. Usually there’s time to find a new place to live when they come for you.
  • The fall foliage hasn’t had its color for years now. “Climate change,” you tell anyone who asks. What were those colors? What were they like? Why can’t you remember? Were the sunsets always gray?

Eighteen years ago, on New Year’s Eve, David Fisher visited an old farm in western Massachusetts, near the small town of Conway. No one was farming there at the time, and that’s what had drawn Fisher to the place. He was scouting for farmland.

“I remember walking out [to the fallow fields] at some point,” Fisher recalls. “And in the moonlight – it was all snowy – it was like a blank canvas.”

On that blank canvas, Fisher’s mind painted a picture of what could be there alongside the South River. He could see horses tilling the land – no tractors, no big machinery – and vegetable fields, and children running around.

This is David Fisher’s American Dream. It may not be the conventional American Dream of upward economic mobility. But dreams like his have a long tradition in this country. Think of the Puritans and the Shakers and the Amish. These American dreams are the uncompromising pursuit of a difficult ideal.

By Returning To Farming’s Roots, He Found His American Dream

Photos: Dan Charles/NPR

Quiet lazy day, accomplishing a small summer goal of #watercolor sketching excursion up to Skinner House. View across the river over Hadley fields, Northampton rooftops, and up to the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. Loving the sun from the helpful shade of the house’s porch, plus a soothing breeze. #sketchbook