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Friday, February 06, 2015

    We aren't out of the cold yet, and again we're getting "snow showers" with precious little sunshine.  It's been a little warmer, actually, up to 10 or 12 above during the day, but it was something like 15 below last night  - I've given up checking the overnight low.  It only makes me more frustrated that we don't get a break in the weather.
     I had an e-mail from Diane Rossi a few minutes ago and she said there was a truck out plowing roads on the ice.  I went to the web cam, but I guess I was too late.  There are lots of ice shanties at the lower end of the pond, and probably whoever that was either has a shanty on the pond or intends to be out there fishing this weekend.
    I also saw Burr Morse's latest newsletter today.  Now, you may not have the same reaction as I, but when I read his recipe for sugar-on-snow made in a microwave, I was just a little skeptical.  How in the world could crushed, compacted ice out of a blender and microwave-zapped syrup ever replace packing clean snow into a dishpan and boiling syrup on the kitchen range until it sheets just right off a spoon?  Apparently it works, and the whole process takes only a fraction of the time.  Of course, I know almost everyone is in an awful hurry these days, and goodness knows what terrible chemicals and germs may be lurking in even our super white, apparently ultra clean Vermont snow - but somehow what Burr described doesn't quite do it for me.  It's been years since I've had sugar on snow, but if I get a yen for some I think I'll make it the old fashioned way.  Sorry, Burr.
    I know I sometimes bore a lot of you with my meanderings down memory lane or with historical tidbits - but then there are a few readers who say they enjoy my wanderings, or at least you are kind enough to lie to me.  I accept you may be stretching it a little, but I admit your kind words always give me a big boost.  
    Here's something that I came upon by accident today.  I've been searching through old editions of newspapers, and like often happens, my eyes wander from what I'm supposed to be looking for and land on something way different.  Today it was a short note under local news of St. Johnsbury:  "John Bolton of West Danville has sold 1,000,000 feet of sawed lumber to E. & T. Fairbanks Co."  It was in the May 23, 1889 issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian.
    Now, here's why I was so interested.  John Bolton was my great grandfather, and although the Bolton farm was firmly planted on Cabot Plain, the family transacted a good share of their business in West Danville, and I imagine, like some Cabot folks on the southeast side of Cabot still do today, they may have had a West Danville mail address.  My grandfather would have been a young man of about 30 years old at the time, and no doubt worked with a crew of men cutting timber all winter (for perhaps more than one season, judging by the amount sold to Fairbanks) and hauling it onto the ice at the head of Joe's Pond.  The logs were held in a boom until spring and then floated down the pond to the sawmill that was just below the present bridge in West Danville, owned by Nathaniel Burbank at that time.  There was an item in the North Star on Feb. 22, 1867 about Burbank building "a new and large saw mill at West Danville on the site of the former one that was destroyed by fire some time since." 
    I knew about the "log drives" my grandfather participated in on the pond, but I had no idea there would have been that much lumber involved.  Here is a photo of a small boom of logs in the cove next to what is now Point Comfort, waiting to be guided to the sluice at the mill.  Like a piece of a puzzle, it all fits into a place in history.  And that's my contribution for today.
    I have something that will make you smile, now.  Andy Rudin sent me this link for Woody, our cat.  Click here.


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