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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Gretchen Farnsworth (Sandy Beach Road) sent these photos Jim took this morning. Here's what she wrote: 

Jim took these pictures of the eagle today right in front of the house. We have been watching him soar with his mate and try to snag ducks and mergansers out of the water. I’m never sure which bird to root for. Love watching the migration in progress.
Gretchen Farnsworth
 I'm wondering if having the eagles here will be a threat to our loon families. There isn't much to be done about any of the habits of wildlife - it's always the survival of the fittest, but it would be sad to think the loons might leave or end up sacrificing their chicks. We'll see what happens.  In the meantime, many thanks to Jim and Gretchen Farnsworth for these great shots. They have a perfect spot for wildlife watching, as do Scott and Gerri Pelok, next door to them.
     Gretchen sent this third picture of the eagle - cropped from the one above. 
 What a beautiful day this has been! and more to come. It's about 
time. I had a call from Ted Chase this afternoon to let me know it was him on the snowmobile Diane Rossi and Henretta Splain saw a few days ago. He said he keeps close track of the ice depth and when he was out there he measured 16 inches of very solid ice. That is plenty for snowmobiling - at least in most places. Ted assured me he knows where there are brooks coming into the pond and about the narrows being thin spots, and said we should not worry. That's good to know, Ted, but it's also good to know someone is watching and we're looking out for each other!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Finally a real spring day! We started off the day with breakfast at the Danville Inn with Jamie and Marie and our neighbor next door, Bob. It was a lot of fun and the food is good. Jamie was happy - there was sausage gravy on the buffet. Fred was happy - he had pancakes. 
     The weather inspired lots of people to finally get outside to enjoy the warmer weather and feel the sun. Diane Rossi sent this picture of Bill, bundled up but happily enjoying the sunshine. Diane said they spent quite a bit of time outside. There seems to be some green grass in the background - the difference between Shelburne and Joe's Pond!
     We lost quite a bit of snow today and probably ice, too. Our neighbor, Bob, is a fisherman and told us today that a couple weeks ago there was about two feet of ice where he was fishing at the north end of the big pond near the islands. That is more than we had thought, but not surprising - I think we may have gained some during some of the recent cold spell.
     The contest in Goshen, Massachusetts that was patterned after ours and has been running for twelve or more years, is over.  The clock there stopped on Tuesady, 4/17 at 8:37 PM. The winner received $545. They sold 1,221 tickets, and split the proceeds the same as we do, 50/50 after expenses. However, they use a "Price is Right" rule which means a guess cannot be over (past) the time the clock stops. Our winner is the guess closest - under or over.
     We will begin serious watchfulness now that the weather has turned warm for the next several days. Until now, there hasn't been much point in checking the setup - too cold, too much ice, no melting. But that is going to change, so we're getting close to the end of the contest! Will it last until May? Probably not, but it certainly could. It's only 9 days away.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Here we are, digging out from another four inches of new snow. The wind howled like a lonesome wolf last night, and snow drifted around the house, sweeping clean high spots like the top of our driveway and dropping the snow along the banks and gullies in little drifts. It felt more like a March than mid-April. Today the temperature remains in the 30s, but there is warmth in the ground and the snow is soggy, melting in spots, which is fortunate because it's too darned heavy to shovel much. I cleaned off the deck and the front walkway; Fred made two tracks down the driveway in case someone had to come up to the house, and it's all melting from underneath. A good sign the earth is warming, in spite of the cold air sweeping over us from Canada.
     Jamie's "Peach" (Jeep with a plow) has a flat tire and with the weather miserable, he has been hoping we wouldn't have much snow to plow at this late date. So when we got snow earlier this week, our neighbor, Bob McKay, came over with his small tractor plow and kindly cleared our driveway so we could get in and out. Today we didn't need to go anywhere and had nobody coming here, so Fred cleared two wheel tracks - just in case. Now Jamie is plowing us with his big tractor - hopefully for the last time this season. He'll get the "Peach" back in operation once the weather warms up so it's comfortable to work on it outside. Which reminds me - we are scheduled to have our winter tires taken off this coming week! Perhaps bad timing?
     Diane sent this picture of the clock and thermometer this morning, asking the question: "Are we making progress?" 
     I don't know how many inches of snow covers the ice right now, but the forecast is for very warm weather - possibly in the 60s next week, with lots of sunshine. That will melt the snow quickly and there will be a lot of water coming into the pond as well as all the water from the melting snow on the surface, so there will almost certainly be flooding in some areas. 
     Ray Rouleau (W Shore Rd) mentioned the other day that in the week since they've been back, we've had nothing but winter weather. Ray and Cyndy spent many winters in Vermont before migrating to Florida after retirement, so they are no strangers to the frustrations of sprintime here.
     Someone said to me recently that this has seemed like an unusually long winter and cruel spring - like some of us remember and talk about with relish as being like it was in our childhood. The figures do not seem to bear this out. Statistics gathered by NOAA reports that March 2018 in New England was 42.6 degrees, 1.1 degree above average, and precipitation was 2.42 inches, .09 inch below average. That is not representative of Vermont's temperature range, however. Take a look at these charts of March and April.
Click on images to make them appear larger.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Construction Update
Cabot Danville US 2 Reconstruction
FEGC F 028-3(26) C/2
Project Location:  The 1.4 mile project extends along US 2 from Last Road to Danville Hill Road in Cabot. This is a multi-year project with most of the work occurring in 2017/2018. Completion is scheduled for 2019.

Reduced Speed Limit – The posted speed limit has been reduced to 40 mph through the project.  Please reduce speed and use caution traveling through the construction zone.  

Week of April 23, 2018

Crews will be installing the temporary bridge on the west of Houghton Road.  Work will also include placing erosion control measures such as silt fences along the project perimeters.

All work is weather dependent.

Traffic:  Traffic may experience intermittent interruptions to allow construction vehicles to enter and exit the project area.  Flaggers will be present to assist in maintaining traffic flow.

It is illegal in VT to use any handheld portable electronic devices while driving. The law carries fines of up to $200 with points assessed if the violation occurs in a work zone. 

Contact Francine Perkins, Project Outreach Coordinator, FRP Enterprises, LLC with any questions or concerns with regards to the project at 802-479-6994.  Construction updates are posted at www.roadworkupdates.com


We have snow flurries this morning adding to our six or eight inches left on the ground. There is more snow than bare spots on our side of the pond, but we have some nice weather coming our way, I think, so we may see a huge difference in the way things look (and feel) by the end of next week.
     We heard from Henretta Splain, who logs in Ice-Out tickets for us that she is nearly finished. She expects to have a final count for us later today, if all goes as planned. Fred and I will post the number as soon as we get it - he will put it on the website Ice-Out page, and I will post it here on the blog.
     Both Henretta and Diane reported there was a snowmobile on the pond yesterday or the day before (I don't remember the exact day). That seems a bit risky to me. There is a lot of open water in both the narrows, and I'm sure a stretch from the channel leading into the pond, too. Anywhere there is a brook running in, there will be open water and punky ice. Also, there are spots in the broad lake area that seem to open up sooner in the spring and stay free of ice later in the fall than the rest of the pond, so it probably means there is warmer water from springs or something in those spots. Whatever the reason, those spots could have thinner ice and now there has been some over-all thawing, it might not be too safe to be out there. Every year, we worry, those of us standing on firm ground watching the shenanigans that go on out on the ice. I remember when Fred and I lived on the pond year around all those years, we had some scary moments watching ice fishermen with their vehicles - and other dare devils driving out onto the ice just for kicks and sometimes getting stuck in slush. We tried to think of ways we might be able to help if something happened, but fortunately we were never put to the test.
     We've had several trees come down along West Shore Road in the past couple of weeks. I called Cabot road crew this morning about one just above Sandy Beach Road - the top of a rotten tamarack or spruce, I think - lots of small branches in the road, and people have been driving around it okay. Best to get it taken care of, and I was pleased that whoever I spoke to apparently got in his truck right away and came to take care of it. Within about 15 minutes I saw the truck go down by and then return a few minutes later. There have been larger trees down on this road recently, but they were taken care of right away, as well. We've had some pretty strong winds as the weather changed back and forth. It's good to weed out the dead wood, but those big old dead trees can block traffic and are dangerous, especially for some that travel the road at excessively high speeds.