Archive for May, 2009

The Wood Lot

Way back when snow covered the ground, we saw a little ad in the local rag about State Forest land that would be available for cutting trees.  All we had to do was call to be put on the list and then wait for an assignment.  The original offer was for about 3 cords cut for about $10/cord.  We thought that might be an inexpensive way to get some fire wood so we signed up.  We also roped in some friends who heat their home with a Tarm wood boiler.

wood lot #3We waited several months to find out we were assigned a lot on the back of Okemo with about 5 cords of standing hardwood.  There are 5 lots in this parcel and our friends’ lot is just up the road from ours.  We went in early spring to check it out and were very relieved to find that ours was a nice level lot and everything is relatively near the “road”.  Our friends’ lot is uphill but gravity will help bring the wood down to where we can load it up.  No big equipment is allowed (skidders, tractors, front loaders, etc.) so this is not a walk in the park, nor for the faint of heart.

wood lot #3We solicited our son’s help and he gave us his 3 off days between shifts at the fire service.  The bad news is that it has been raining almost non-stop while he’s been here.  This morning, however,  the weather was just overcast and damp so welichens decided to see what we could accomplish.  We took 2 pick-up trucks, 2 chain saws, a pair of loppers, and the dog and decided to stick with smaller stuff since it was just the three of us.  When we arrived, our lot looked so different with all the leaves on the trees.  It’s a good thing  – that red three on that white birch.  We had to really look to find the marked trees now.

The woods were full of lovely things: Jack-in the Pulpit, Bluets, Foam Flower, and many species of ferns.  We saw some interesting moss and lichens too, but we were making way too much noise to see any wildlife.  James and his chain sawBy the time we were spent we had filled up both pick-ups, one with all the smaller stuff and one with all the large rounds.  Most of the pieces are not yet cut to size and those large rounds were heavy to carry out of the woods.  Cutting the lot is only half the job; I think we’ll be splitting logs for a long time.  Stay tuned…


More Celebration – the unexpected

It seems that while we were in Baltimore for Ellen’s graduation, she and her husband signed up for a 5K foot race to benefit Blood: Water Mission, an organization that builds clean water wells for the people of Africa.  The race was sponsored by Blood: Water Baltimore, one of many local organizations which exist to support the main mission.  I went along when Doug went to pick up their registration packets.  It sounded like a good cause, we were in town, I had gear I could run in…. so I signed up too.

Blood: Water 5KWhat was I thinking?!  I hadn’t run more than 2 minutes at a time in the last 6 months and that was probably down hill!  But Ellen assured me that she hadn’t trained either, was very out of shape, and she would run with me even when I stopped to walk to catch my breath.  The race organizers assured us the course was flat (I’ve heard that before from people who run hills for fun) but it turned out they were mostly right, except for the little hill up to the finish line.

Ellen had just one request:  Could we just not be the last runners to cross the line?  I told her I would do my best.  Most of the runners registered were in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.  There were only a handful over 50 and several in their 60’s, so I thought perhaps I had a decent chance of finishing before last.  Of course, my only goal was to finish; I knew I couldn’t run the whole way.

ribbonWe hung around for the awards (which were minimal – it was a fund-raiser after all) and to my surprise, I won first place in my age group (a blue ribbon and a certificate to come later in the mail).  In all honesty, I think there were only 5 of us and there were quite a few (even younger ones) who straggled in after me.  Mission accomplished.

Then we went back to their place to finish spreading 8 cubic yards of mulch.  A good exercise day.

Celebrations: A wedding and a graduation

We’ve been galavanting to these momentous occasions and not posting on the blog.  And in between the wedding and the graduation, we’ve been helping our kids out with house maintenance and outside chores.  It feels good to be home now so we can rest.

We’re very proud of our daughter Ellen and her graduation with honors from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.  I tried the video feature on my newish little point-and-shoot digital so I could share the moment here but you can see that I did a pretty bad job of videography and I didn’t start soon enough to get the announcement of her name.  But here she is getting her BSN and walking to her seat.

yellow shoesSomehow I always notice interesting shoes at graduations.  Maybe it’s because we usually don’t know very many people at these affairs and we do a lot of standing around, waiting.  These yellow shoes really caught my attention on several occasions because they really upstaged the rest of the outfit.  navy and white shoesThen there were these navy and white pumps that complimented the pieced sundress very nicely.  And finally, one of Ellen’s friends Leah was sporting these classy plaid sling backs.  They spiffed up the plain black gown just fine. (I’m sorry that the photo is a little blurry.)

It was a glorious day in Baltimore for the ceremony at the Lyric Opera House and dinner afterward at Phillips in the Inner Harbor.  We ate outside and enjoyed the rest of a beautiful day.
plaid shoes

Morning Dew Drops


Spring 2

On a walk yesterday I took these pictures.  Mouse over each picture for a brief commentary and click on the thumb nails to enlarge.

Horsetail, a fern of the Equisetum spThese ferns will lose their wooly cloaks as they grow and unfurl.A view of Mt Ascutney on the Vt/NH borderThis fern's little black hairs make the fronds look like they're covered wiSunny Colt's foot grows in all the leftover grit along the side of the road.  The leaves will come long after the flowers have gone to seed.This happy little patch of Trout Lilies is in the woods at the end of out driveway.


trilliumSpring comes slowly here in Vermont.  Finally, we’re starting to see some color in the trees and early flowers blooming.  Today, while we were out hiking in the woods we found this beautiful red trillium in bloom.  We’ve seen Colt’s Foot and Trout Lilies, Witch’s Hobble, Spring Beauties and Blood Root.  We finally have daffodils and forsythia blooming too.

early treesBut the most amazing thing to me is the colors of the trees.  I didn’t notice this until I lived in New England.  Usually we think of color coming in the Fall, but the trees turn amazing shades in Spring too.  The oaks turn a delicate shade of salmon; the maples are various shades of rust and red; the birches are that classic shade of spring green; some of the alders are a pale grey-green.  It makes for a beautiful hillside before there are any leaves at all.

Here are two pictures I took last weekend in Connecticut.  They show a greater range of tree colors since they were further along.  Click on the thumb nail to enlarge.

spring trees 1spring trees 2

Experiments in dyeing 2

mulberry, lime green and bronzeA friend came to use our top loading washer for some felting, and while we waited for the soap and hot water to do their magic, we mixed some more dyes and treated a few more pieces of fabric.  The colors this time were bronze, mulberry and lime green.  I plied the same tactic of adding more fabric to the diluted dyes to achieve a lighter color with the lime green bronze, mulberry and lime greenbut kept adding color to the mulberry (I was hoping for a more red color so I added some scarlet)  and the bronze (too orange so I added more black and navy).  Again this time I got nice mottling and interesting pieces.  These colors make me think of sherbet!

I’ve used up almost all of the 5 yards of PFD fabric I purchased in Chicago and I’ve ordered more on line.  It’s addictive!


Art Every Day Month



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May 2009
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