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Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's raining and not freezing onto anything!  This is the first moderately warm rain we've had since I'm guessing November.  We haven't even had very much of the cold and freezing kind right in our area - when some other places got rain, we got snow.  It will get colder later on tonight, but still, this is taking away a lot of the snow and with the temperature holding around 40 degrees, it actually feels like spring.  Actually, anything above 20 degrees feels like a spring day after all that cold.

There was a lot of fog this morning, especially over the ice on the pond.  It cleared away here on our hillside long before it did down below.  I noticed there seems to be only one ice shanty left on the pond right now - all of them were removed by last weekend, I think, except that one.  That will need to be removed by this weekend.  Another sign of spring is that our roads are beginning to show signs of thawing out a bit.  No big mud bogs yet, and we hope things will progress slowly enough so we won't have to deal with too bad a mud season, but I'm sure the frost is deep and sometimes that means a longer, deeper mud season.  This gentle rain will help start the thawing process.

I saw Doug Button in Hastings this morning - he and Margaret have only been back from Florida and other warmer regions for about three days - seems as if they timed it about right, at least they have avoided the deep cold.  I know there are several others headed home soon, and although there may be more snow on the ground than they expected, it may be we won't have any of the zero weather again.  It's time we got a break.

This message came from Helen Morrison: 
 I took in over 1000 returnable cans and bottles that folk have left in my garage to benefit Kingdom Animal Shelter in St. Johnsbury.  That is over $60.  That is wonderful.  Thank you, everyone.  If you are so inclined, it would be just great if you wanted to keep dropping them off.  If you need me to come pick them up, give me a call at 563-2488.   Helen Morrison, 936 West Shore Road.

That is such a good cause, helping the Animal Shelter.  It may seem like a small effort to make, but for them it means a lot.

I came upon an interesting tidbit about Joe's Pond yesterday.  In the February 21, 1906 issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, there was an item about what is now known as Pearl Island, but what used to be the home of Simeon Whittier.  Here it is: 

“R. S. Whittier, owner of the cottage on the small island, known as Twin Island, has put up four cords of ice this winter and will in the spring turn his cottage half around, put a piazza around three sides of it, clapboard and paint it up in fine style.  It is a very beautiful location away from all noise, standing out about 60 rods from the nearest point of land on shore.”  

I never heard the island referred to as "Twin Island," but since it is next to the bigger island, perhaps it was considered a twin - at least it was one of only two. The top photo is Sim (Rufus Simeon Whittier) in his boat just north of his island, probably about 1905 or 6.  The bottom photo was taken later - we think around 1920 - after he had finished his house.  The trees are about the right size for being 10 or more years older, and indeed, there is a piazza on the main house - I can't say if it actually went around three sides or not.  He was a very clever "jack-of-all-trades" sort of man, and built not only the house, but the island it stood on.  He lived on the island for many years - some of them year around until his later years when he then spent winters in St. Johnsbury.

I'm amused at the statement in the newspaper that his island was "away from all noise."  I wonder what Old Sim would think if he could be on the island some summer day now with motor boats, jet skis and sometimes airplanes sharing the water's surface - not to mention the buzz of motor cars on surrounding highways, power lawn mowers and occasional chain saws.  One sound he would not hear would be the whistle of the St. J. & L. C., the "Lake Line," at the various crossings between West Danville and Walden, and no band concerts on Flint's Point.  He'd find that pontoon boats, also known as "party barges" have replaced the chugging steam boats that once carried sightseers around the pond, and instead of the dim glow of kerosene lamps in a few cottages and an occasional bonfire dotting the night time shore, there is a glowing band of sparkling lights from dozens of homes, some with bright yard lights in every possible nook and cranny of shoreline on the pond.  He'd have a hard time finding a place to land and tie up his boat without trespassing on private property.  I bet walking on the present rail/trail would be a lot easier than when there was a track there - especially if he'd done a bit of tippling while in town.  People who knew Sim said no matter how drunk he got, he could always row his boat straight to his island - never looked, never missed.

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