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The Ashfield News
Ashfield, Massachusetts
February 1, 2021     The Ashfield News
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February 1, 2021

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‘ ’I. j . I On Making Switch to Switchel for Thirst I BY HEATHER GRAY Last year as a sort of experiment we bought flats of Gatorade. In truth, it started because we didn’t have a good pitcher and decided it was easier to buy readymade while dealing with everything else that last year brought. I then decided to hold onto the bottles because of how poor our country’s plastic recycling is, with only ten percent of plastic being success- fully recycled and reused. We got a lot of work done around the house, barn, and land, but we also drank a lot of Gatorade. It was kind of herrifying, actually. I’m taking the opportunity to stuff old rags and fabric scraps into the containers and then sealing the lids. When I’m done I should be able to insulate a section of one of our storage sheds so that the contents will be better protected from Seasonal temperature swings. ' Before Gatorade, there was switchel, swizzle, switzel, switchy, haymaker’s punch —— or, as many other folks, including my in—laws, call it, ginger water. It is what folks used to make instead of buying Gatorade and assorted other drinks. The name switchel goes back to the 17th century, but the idea of a vinegar—based drink goes back much further. Variations of vinegar-based drinks can be found as far back as ancient Rome and were consumed in many countries, both European and Middle Eastern. In some parts of the Middle East at least, their variants are called sekanjabin. The basic ingredients are water, some kind of vinegar and sweetener. That’s all that is needed to make your own energy and electrolyte—replacement drink. Switchel usually has ginger in it as well — to warm the Gift of 24—Acre Parcel Adds to Land Trust Holding in Ashfield Ashfield’s inventory of preserved land rose slightly in January, after two Northampton men, Ed Etheredge and Larry Hott, donated a 24-acre parcel to the Franklin Land Trust. The site includes forested land in both Ashfield and Conway. The trust announced the donation in January. The property lies close to other protected land in the area, including Chapel Falls Reservation, the Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area and DAR State Forest. An official with the trust said the group plans to. manage the property to enhance its value to forestry, wildlife and recreation. The site includes a section of Bradford Brook that can be reached off South Ashfield Road, on the Ashfield side of Main Poland Road. “We look forward to developing public access so Visitors can enjoy the stream and managed woodlot. We also hope to develop trails that climb through the forest and clear areas to take advantage of potential views,” Will Sloan Anderson, the trust’s head land steward, said in a statement. continued from page aesthetic concerns, the monetary value to the Robertson‘farm drew some support and some opposition. As some proponents said, the Robertson farm is the last dairy operation in Ashfield and it needs all the help it can get if Ashfield is to maintain its character as a rural commu- nity. Others objected that the town should not be in the business of supporting a dairy farm. Rules governing the hearing prevented a back—and-forth argument over any single point. That left the dairy farm question unsettled. Some took up the safety issue raised by Chief Bezio and asked how many drivers in the past three years had been left stranded on that section of Conway Road for lack of cell phone service. The chief said she didn’t have that information on hand but may be able to get it frOm police records. Will Elwell said he had been an EMT 20 years ago and had no problem communicat— ing with emergency services over the police radio network, which does not carry cell phone service. Elwell and a few others then raised the question of risk from the microwave radio wavesemanating from the tower. The ,donors bought the land in 1979 as a shared woodlot. “They say cutting your ‘ own firewood warms you twice, but in our case, it was more like 15 or 20 times,” Hott said in remarks provided by the trust. Working with Lincoln Fish, a forester, the owners enrolled the land in the state’s Chapter 61A program and obtained a Forest Stewardship Plan. The trust charac- terizes the site as northern hardwood forest. “We immediately saw the conservation value in this land,” Alain Peteroy, the trust’s director of land conservation, said in a statement. “The entire parcel is part of a large region of BIOMAP2 Critical Natural Landscape which means this land is an important piece in the puzzle of larger landscapes that support ecological pro— cesses and wide-ranging wildlife species. This is especially important as we think about using natural solutions to combat the impacts of climate change,” he said. Along with the land itself, the donors are providing a “stewardship fee” that will help the trust manage the property. Jon Mirin of the Hilltown Health services, based in Shelburne, said he had the same concerns. A woman who lives on Cape Street, some distance from the proposed site, said she suffers migraine headaches from microwaves. Fred Epstein, a researcher who said he works as a consultant in electromagnetic radiation for several corporations, told the virtual audience that anybody who goes out into the sun on any day receives hundreds of times more radiation than cell towers emit. He found some support for his assertion. Others suggested Mount Owen as a site because its elevation is higher than the proposed site and would be less visible. But because of the increase in distance from Conway and Murray roads, it didn’t garner serious support. Another opponent claimed that because most Ashfield residences have a fiber-optic Broadband installation, more cell service is not needed. This was answered with the point that in—home phone service doesn’t reach outside. The Planning Board will have information from its consultant ready for the next meeting on February 10. The board has indicated it hopes to have a decision on the project by this spring. stomach, it was thought, and to prevent an overheated, dehydrated person from getting stomach cramps upon finally having a drink of water. Ginger can actually help with cramping and is also good for blood circula— tion. It also has anticoagulant properties, enough so that if you’re going to give blood or get a flu shot you should probably avoid drinking ginger tea beforehand. I did that once; it wasn’t a major problem, although I did need a gauze pad instead of just a Band—Aid after the shot. There are quite a few recipes on the internet, which is one of the reasons I included so many names to use as search terms. Another term is “shrub,” although that is technically a vinegar-based sugar syrup you can add to alcohol (the American colonial version of shrub, not the 17th- and 18th-cen- tury English version). Have a look, try different recipes, different flavors. Just remember to include some type of vinegar or all you have is flavored sugar water. Sweeteners traditionally used are molasses, honey, brown sugar, and, at least in our area, FEBRUARY 2021 THE ASHFIELD NEWS 9 maple syrup. Cane sugar will do if that is what you have on hand. These sWeeteners have different tastes, costs, and levels of sweetness, so likely you’ll want to tweak your recipes accordingly. To give you a start, this is the recipe used by the Gray family recipe: 1 cup medium syrup 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1%: tsp. ginger Enough water to make 3 quarts A few final notes: If you use dark syrup, you’ll likely want to use only 1/2 cup of maple syrup or the taste will be overpowering. Leave a. chopstick or stirring spoon in the pitcher, as the ginger likes to settle to the bottom. Feel free to tweak the proportions in the recipe to your liking. Ginger water isn’t at all hard to make, and you can save money as well as reduce plastic waste. This year, try switching to switchel! ‘Aggressive’ Dog Moved Out Select Board Frustrated as Dog Escapes Its Jurisdiction BY DAVID KULP The fate of the dangerous dog Shadow is largely out of the hands of the Select Board now that the dog has been moved out of town and its owners plan to follow suit. The Select Board held a dog hearing on January 19 because the town had been notified on December 11 of a new complaint of aggressive behavior, in violation of the order issued September 28 after a Census worker reported that she was bitten. Priscilla Allen testified that the dog charged her while she was walking in the Creamery Road cemetery and lunged at her. Allen said she was initially hesitant to report the incident because she “felt bad for the dog. But my concern was about people’s welfare who might also walk [in the ceme— tery]. I came forward because my biggest concern is people’s safety.” “I don’t scare easily and I’m very comfort- able outside,” said Allen, who has owned and trained pit bulls and mastiffs. “I know an aggressive dog.” “Had I not been an experienced animal person with a weapon, who didn’t know to stay calm, it could have ended up badly. In this situation there is lots of opportunity for people to become seriously injured,” Allen said during the hearing. According to testimony by Police Chief Beth Bezio, Patrol Officer Michael Gralenski visited the property on December 10 and found the dog to be running off leash, which the owner, Nancy Edelstein, said was because the dog was being trained. “Technically he was not allowed to run free,” Bezio said. “I haven’t had any other complaints.” Animal Control Officer Warren Kirkpat— rick testified that he learned on December 28 that the dog had been transferred out of town for a month to live with a trainer, but was I informed on January 13 that Shadow had returned home. ” Arborimlture The Select Board hastily scheduled a hearing the following week. ' Although Edelstein attempted to rebut testimony of others during the hearing, Select Board Chair Steve Gougeon adamantly prohibited her from speaking, noting that she was allowed uninterrupted comments during her own testimony. When Edelstein spoke, she did not deny any claims, but said simply that “Shadow is no longer in Ashfield at all.” And that the dog was “in care and custody of his trainer.” She said, “We are moving.” After the testimony, Gougeon addressed the fellow board members, saying, “our options seem to be narrowing doWn.” Board member Tom Carter reviewed the September order noting that “the easiest parts were accomplished” including signage and neutering, but the bulk of the order had not been followed. He noted that there was evidence that Shadow was not consistently restrained and that the 90—day training had not occurred. “Four months later and many items not accomplished.” Gougeon said that according to town counsel, the town could order that the dog not be removed from town, could order the owners to construct a two—foot fence, and could seize the dog at the owner’s expense, which could ultimately result in euthanizing the dog. But the board expressed frustration that they seemed to have limited authority if the dog were removed from town. “We can’t tell Warren to go to Hadley and seize the dog,” Gougeon said. Select Board member Todd Olanyk said that additional clarity from town counsel was needed. The Select Board unanimously approved a motion that Kirkpatrick would notify the Hadley animal control officer of the presence of a dangerous dog in their town, direct Kirkpatrick to seize the dog if it returned to Ashfield and to continue the hearing to February 1 after further review with town . counsel. ' Certified Arborist Certified H'orticulturist . Horticulture n LLC General Tree Care 0 Landscape Design Fine Pruning 0 Installation Orchard Restoration - Mantenance Consulting 0 Stonework Jim McSweeney, M.C.A., M.C.H. 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