I was successful in reaching our winner late last evening. We can now tell you it is Mary Numa who lives in West Haven, Connecticut. Mary was the only one who had the exact date and time. There was one guess of 6:13 p.m. and two I noticed that were 6:15 p.m.
Mary told me in our telephone conversation last night that until her daughter chose to go to UVM a couple years ago, she had never been to Vermont, but she said she loves Vermont and was delighted when a neighbor who comes to Joe's Pond regularly to snowmobile told her about the Ice Out Contest. Mary said she immediately got tickets on line and told her daughter to have all her friends get in the contest. I have to say, her enthusiasm will be well rewarded as she will be receiving a check for over $6,000. She will be coming to Vermont very soon to pick up her daughter at school and we're hoping they will find their way to Joe's Pond. It is always fun to meet our winners and personally hand them the check.
Diane told me that Molly's Pond is free of ice, as are the first two ponds here. It usually happens that our main pond is pretty much free of ice within two or three days after the clock stops. It's interesting that in the 28 years the contest has been running, only seven times has the clock stopped in May, the latest being May 6, 1992. The earliest it has stopped was April 5, 2010 and April 8, 2012. Most frequent times have been after April 15. All the times are recorded and posted on the website. We wondered if moving the setup to a different location would have any effect, but that doesn't seem to be the case. In 2013 the clock stopped on 4/24, and the last two years, 4/29. In case you are interested, more men have been winners, but that may be because there are more men entering the contest. It isn't a big difference - over the years there have been 15 female and 21 male winners. Remember that four different times we have had multiple winners, so we have more winners (36) than contests (28). We have had a lot of local winners (28) in those years, and only eight from out of state. I expect this is more than you really needed or wanted to know about contests most of you haven't won, so I'll move on to other things.
I had a call from Jack LaGue this morning telling me he and Sue had a visitor on their deck late last night - a good sized bear raided their bird feeder. Jack said he had intended to take the feeder down but they had some seeds they wanted to use up and he really thought it was safe as their deck is eight feet or so off the ground and sort of over the water which should make it inaccessible to bears. So he and Sue were really surprised to see one out there emptying the bird feeder. He said he grabbed a broom and yelled at the beast and it took off. At least they got rid of some of their leftover bird seed! Just give the poor bear the bag of seeds, Jack - the birds are faring much better these days than the poor bears!
Now we know for sure there are hungry bears in the area, so haul in your bird feeders and keep any garbage or food of any kind well secured. They are clever beasts and have been known to somehow manage opening seemingly bear-tight containers and even break into buildings when they are hungry enough. There isn't much for them to eat in the wild right now, and not only are the adults hungry, there are hungry cubs that mothers have to feed.
I had a message from Sharyn Duplessis (Otis Drive and Montpelier) that a friend needs a rental and would like it on or near Joe's Pond for the month of June while she waits to get into her new Danville home. Sharyn said they need 2-3 bedrooms and have two well-behaved dogs. If you have something available during June, you could get in touch with Sharyn at 802-229-9804, and she will let her friend know.