Sunday, May 22, 2022

It's Apple Blossom Time!

 I began noticing the fragrance of apple blossoms yesterday - and then my lawn got mowed and that overpowered the apple blossoms that were just beginning to come out. This morning the tree was in full bloom, and I've been enjoying the delicate scent all day on my porch.  Top right is some of the blossoms, and below left shows the full tree. The picture on lower right is of the crabapple tree further down on the lawn. That doesn't seem to have the same delicate scent as the one by the porch. Even the small tree I had pruned this spring is showing some blossoms - more than I've ever seen on it before, and it is at least 25 years old. It had a hard life, being moved from camp and split by heavy snow one winter. But I taped it back together and it survived, but it has never been very attractive until I had it pruned this spring. Apparently it likes its "new look" and is going to show off a bit this year. I'll take a picture if the buds I'm seeing continue and it actually bursts into bloom. I will be surprised - I didn't expect any buds at all after such a severe pruning. 

 Once again it was pretty hot outside today, so I didn't even try to do any outdoor work. I got some screens in that I've been putting off doing, mainly because they are really difficult to put in, but today they went in pretty easily. I also found time to sit on the porch and do some reading and enjoyed the apple blossoms and the birds chirping. Sometimes the din the birds make is really dramatic. There are a lot hanging out in the maple trees near my house, and others in the woods above the pond. They are a chatty bunch and today the bluejays were dominating the conversations. They are very loud! I have sparrows nesting nearby in one of my bird houses, and they can make a lot of noise, too. And this afternoon the robins were very singing up a storm, perhaps literally since it's going to rain. They always seem to know.

I've expected thunder storms all afternoon, but so far we've escaped and around six o'clock there was a sprinkle and the wind picked up. The temperature is headed down - Diane Rossi told me a few minutes ago it had dropped 10 degrees in an hour. My thermometer is reading 61.4 at about 8 o'clock. I don't know how high it got today, but it was very warm at mid-day, probably over 80, but I'm not sure. Anything over 80 is too hot for me.

It hardly seems possible this coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend. It is also our first Joe's Pond Association meeting of the year on Saturday, and Sunday there is a celebration on Danville Green for "Destination Danville," that was postponed last weekend due to heavy rain. I plan to be at the JPA meeting - and will have the West Danville/Joe's Pond history books available for sale, if anyone is interested. I will also be at Destination Danville on Sunday - with books! Word is getting out, and we are happy that people seem to be liking the book very much. I hope to see many of you at the meeting. It's always fun to see friends again after a long winter. We will hope the weather cooperates; it has been cold and even snowed on occasion at spring meetings, but hopefully this year will be nice. See you then.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Much Needed Rain Arrived!

 We have had well over two inches of rain from Saturday through last night. My pond was down 6-8 inches, but it's full again and wet along a good share of the back side where the springs above are overflowing again. I was pleased at how that bank was drying out, but now it's just like when there was melting snow up there. 

I've had ducks stopping over pretty regularly, but there is nothing growing in the pond yet, so with nothing to eat, they move on after their morning bath. I wanted to see how the water level was one morning this weekend, so in between showers I started to walk to the far end of the pond where the overflow pipe is. About half way along the shore I noticed some movement in the grass about 20 ft. ahead of me. It was a pair of ducks that had apparently been settled on the bank enjoying some quiet time when I came along. It took me a few steps to realize they were not going to fly away - they were just staying a safe distance ahead of me, waddling away and looking back to keep an eye on me. I immediately stopped and actually spoke out loud, "Sorry, guys . . . ! " and quickly turned around and went back to the house. They stayed. I don't know for how long; I decided I'd give them some privacy, so I did my thing and let them do theirs. I never did get to check the water level, but with binoculars, I can see that the water is level with the overflow and everything is working just fine.

The Destination Danville event has been rescheduled for May 29th, Memorial Day Weekend; same time, 11 - 1 o'clock. I plan to be there with our West Danville History book. That will be a busy weekend. The spring meeting is on the 28th, at 10 a.m. at the JPA pavilion. That reminds me, if you haven't paid your dues ($40 plus any amount you wish to go to fireworks, pickle ball or the playground, etc.) better get that off your list of "to-do things" now. The cost of everything has gone up, and I'm sure everyone is feeling the effects, one way or another. However, JPA dues are the same, and will hopefully not increase. During the Great Depression years, the newly-formed Joe's Pond Association suspended dues. I think they were something like $1 per person at the time, and that was a hardship. There were no meetings that year, and no social events. Money was really tight. You will find details about those times in West Danville, Vermont, Then and Now, 1781-1921. I have copies, also they are at Hastings Store, Walden Stop-Inn Shop, and at the Danville Historical Society, open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-5. It's a good read, if I do say so myself! Our mantra when writing it was, if we're going to do this, let's do it right. I think we did. JPA member, Bruce Palmer, wrote a very nice review for the JPA Spring Newsletter, and Patty and I both thank him for his kind words. It means a lot when a member of our own community expresses approval. That makes the eight years of hard work putting all of that material together worthwhile. Thank you so much, Bruce Palmer.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Loon Report!

 This came from Gretchen Farnsworth (Sandy Beach Road) this morning: 

I’m happy to say the loons are on the nesting platform as of yesterday [Sunday] afternoon. Jim has just finished putting the signs out. I hope that kayakers and canoeists will give our little family space to hatch without the stress of human interaction. The eagles were a huge problem last year, first when they were on the nest, and also I’m quite sure they got the young loon. As always, will hope for the best for the loon family.

Thank you, Gretchen. That is good news! There isn't much anyone can do to prevent the eagle from harassing the loon family, but certainly we can give the loons space and not add to their problems. So please stay away from them - even kayaks and canoes are an intrusion on wildlife - so steer clear of the nesting platform and/or loons swimming in the pond. With any luck, they will be able to raise a chick or two this year.

The "Destination Danville" event on the rail/trail was cancelled this Sunday and will be tried again on Sunday, May 29th. I will post more about this soon, but it is my understanding that there will be a free breakfast at Three Rivers Pavilion in St. Johnsbury, with stops along the way including Goodfellas, Marty's 1st Stop, and finally, the Danville Railroad Station and lunch available on Danville Green. This is a family event, and there will be things for youngsters to enjoy as well as for adults. More details later.

Jamie Dimick is getting buoys set around the pond today, so if you see him out there with his pontoon boat loaded with an assortment of colorful objects, you'll know what is going on. Give him a wave and a holler! But once the buoys are in place, please do not hitch your boat to them or disturb them in any way. They are there for a purpose - for your protection so you don't damage your boat on rocks or get in trouble for speeding through narrows. They aren't meant for use as water-exercise toys, diving platforms, or convenient tie-ups. Keep your distance and respect the "hands-off" approach to these important warning devices. Jamie (and boaters who depend on them to be in the proper place, not off their mark) thank you!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Destination Danville Cancelled

 I'm not sure what happened or why, but I just received a message from Patty Conly saying that the event planned for tomorrow - hiking/biking from St. Johnsbury to Danville where there was to be events taking place at the former railroad station and on the green - has been cancelled. Liz Larrabee Hudson was going to be at the railroad station, and I was going to be on the Green, with the West Danville history book, in case people wanted to purchase a copy. I was disappointed. It's always fun to meet people and talk about our book. But there will be plenty of other opportunities this summer to do that, I'm sure.

Here is a seminar - actually a webinar - that you might be interested in: Vermont Lakes & Ponds is celebrating 50 years on June 3, and has a lineup of interesting speakers who will be exploring climate change initiatives, global warming trends and the effect on lakes. This is by Zoom, and is free to anyone who wishes to attend. You will find all the necessary information on the above link.

I hadn't heard from my friend, Mary Whitcomb, for some time, but it seems she has been busy with her camera and sent me some lovely shots taken  this spring. It made me want to get out into the woods - but the black flies are here and they love to gnaw on me - not to mention ticks. I hate putting all the "stuff" on to ward off these pests, so looking at Mary's photos are a great substitute - until I find the energy to "suit up" and venture forth to experience nature first hand myself. She sent more than I'm posting today, but I'll share some of those later. Starting at the top is an  adder's tongue, or trout lily, also sometimes called fawn lily or dog's-tooth violet; above right is a trillium - a beautiful woods flower, but it has a very unpleasant odor that nature has provided to attract flies since this flower does not have nectar to attract bees. We used to call the "nosebleeds" when I was a kid - their odor was sort of like blood - or rotting meat! Next we have Dutchman's britches, named for the traditional style of trousers worn by the Dutch. I saved my favorite woods flower for the last - the spring beauty or mayflower, also called trailing arbutus. This delicate little flower is not only very pretty - it smells nice. I've always thought trailing arbutus and mayflowers were different plants, but from what I found online, they are the same. I'll consult my wildflower guide later. Thank you, Mary - your photos are always a joy.

Right now, I'm thirsty, hungry, and ready to settle in for the night. I won't need to rush around tomorrow to get to my post in Danville - so perhaps, if the weather permits, I will be able to get some work done outside. Today was way too hot for me to be outside. I barely made it to the mailbox and back late this afternoon. I was grateful that there were a few sprinkles in the air when I was out. However, I discovered the black flies are definitely here - and right on cue. There are several wild cherry trees that burst into bloom today - the signal for black flies to appear!

The rain didn't amount to much, but I think we are going to have showers later tonight and into tomorrow. We really, really need the rain. My lawn is crisp in spots and my pond is down several inches. Take care, stay safe and dry.


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Summer is Here!

 Wow! Another wonderful spring-bordering-on-summer day! I kept thinking as I went about doing a few things outside today - this could be the only summer we get! Of course, I don't really think that is true, but it did cross my mind. With weather patterns changing as they are, I expect we will have a hot, dry summer; but the weather could change on us and be cool, wet and miserable. Only time will tell, so let's enjoy this nice stretch for at least one more day!

I don't know about you, but that young bear Cheryl Castner told us about recently has been on my mind from time to time. Cheryl sent an update on the bear - and the outcome was good. That is one lucky bear! So good to know sometimes these dreadful collisions of wildlife with man turn out ok. Thanks, Cheryl, for sending the update.

There was an interesting thought posted on Front Porch Forum the other day. There have been numerous posts there about bear sightings, and this particular post suggested that it might not be such a great idea to post sightings as it seems there are training sessions for dogs used in hunting, (called "hounding"). The postings of FPF, and possibly blogs like this, can alert hunters to where bears may be. After reading about hounding, I'd say that is not something I'd want to be responsible for. I know bears can be pests, but if we are careful about our trash and garbage, they are less likely to bother us. Hunting with dogs has always seemed cruel to me - I was not aware there was much of that going on anymore, but apparently there are hunters who use dogs. I remember men going coon hunting in the fall with dogs when I was a youngster, and I know dogs are used for rabbits, but I never thought about it much. The man who wrote about this mentioned a mother bear would try to lead the dogs away from her cubs and in so doing, they could be left alone for very long periods of time, and would be vulnerable. Obviously, other animals are raising young, as well, and could be impacted. It's a valid concern. I know it's exciting for the hunter, hearing the baying of the dogs as they chase their prey, but it does seem like an unfair advantage - and these days, are hunters going for food for their family, or just hunting for the sport of it? I can sort of see both sides of this, having grown up with hunters in my family and having done a fair share of it myself. But now it doesn't seem quite that necessary or sporting. Just saying!

I just finished watching the graduation ceremony at Texas State University where my granddaughter, Jo-Ann graduated today. I am so proud of her. I have a hard time reconciling the beautiful, self-assured adult she has become to the awed ten-year-old I met at the airport all those years ago when she first came to this country from Namibia. The road hasn't always been easy for her, but she has always been a real trooper and very determined to achieve, no matter what the obstacles. She is a beautiful, loving, caring adult now, ready to face life head on. Mom, Dad, and sister Tangeni, will be returning from Texas within a few days. Jo-Ann has a busy summer ahead of her in Texas. I'm hoping she will have time to get home for at least a few days this summer. 

I took this photo from the live streaming of the graduation. Almost as good as being there! - or maybe better. I would never have gotten this shot, immediately after she received her diploma, if I'd been there. It was a huge crowd - and of course, I worry about Covid . . .  but the joy of the day prevails.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Beautiful Spring Day

 This is starting off to be another gorgeous day, even warmer than yesterday! I have one more short announcement I couldn't write about yesterday because I wasn't sure of the name of the event, but now I know it is "Destination Danville" and the Danville Chamber of Commerce is doing it as a potential annual event to promote the rail/trail, and local businesses. This is not only for hikers and bikers on the rail/trail, but for anyone who would like to stop by the Danville Green for food, crafts, and to meet old friends and meet new people. It sounds like it will be sort of a "mini Danville Fair" - except the rides will be your bikes and the food and crafts will all be locally sourced. And, it's in early spring, to start off the season with fun! Liz (Dot Larrabee's daughter) will have our West Danville history books available at the train station, and I'll be set up on the Green. We hope you'll stop at either (or both) to say hello and perhaps get a copy of the book, if you don't already have one. I look forward to seeing you!

I learned today that an old friend and former Joe's Ponder, Mary Allen, 94,  died recently at the Canterbury Inn assisted living facility in St. Johnsbury. Mary and her daughter, Jean Brice, owned two cottages on Old Homestead Road, and Mary and her late husband, Jack, spent many summer weekends at camp in the 1970s and 80s. I've known Mary for almost 70 years. Due to Covid, I wasn't able to visit her often at Canterbury, but whenever I saw her, she was always upbeat and smiling - still the beautiful little Italian girl who was a good and caring friend for so many years. I will miss her.

Another friend passed away on May 5th - Mert Leonard, who was town manager at Danville for several years. I knew Mert and his wife, Nancy, from his days working at Fairbanks, Morse Company in the 1960s. Later, I enjoyed my contacts with him when he was at Danville. It is always sad when old friends pass. Mert was only 78.

My thoughts are with both families as they face the loss of their dear ones. Deaths in the spring are somehow especially difficult. It has always seemed to me to be some sort of huge error that people struggle through the bleak days of winter only to die as nature begins to emerge with life. But then, losing a loved one is difficult in any season.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

 I have a few notifications and reminders for you today. The summer season is almost here and already things are beginning to buzz around the pond. Jamie Dimick was out rounding up buoys today - the one at Smith's Point took a hike up the pond on an ice floe this spring, but Jamie spotted it this morning and was able to haul it back in place. He told me he saw Ted Chase and stopped to talk with him a bit - Ted is looking good and like all of us, ready for a nice summer.

Lots of people will be returning this week and next. I had a message from Richard Gagne today and a link he thought some people would be interested in around the pond. Click HERE to see it. 

Also, Shelly Walker reminded me that there will be a memorial service for her dad, Don Walker, on May 17 at 11 a.m. at the Berlin Corners Cemetery. If you have questions, give Shelly a call at 802-563-2357.

After reading about me possibly have a bear on my deck chewing at my weather gauge,
Cheryl Castner sent an email and this photo of a bear near her in New Jersey. The poor thing! Wildlife people have set a trap, hoping to capture the bear and remove the plastic on his head.  I expect the bear will be able to work it off eventually, but it must be pretty uncomfortable! Bears are very hungry this time of year, so please be extra careful about leaving anything outside that has had food in it or that you've used for cooking, etc. Even grills can be damaged by hungry bears, put them inside after using - otherwise, the bears will smell the residue on the grates and try to get to it. They are powerful beasts - even the little guys. 

All of you who are heading back for the summer - travel safely. We look forward to seeing you soon and to a great summer ahead.

It's Apple Blossom Time!

 I began noticing the fragrance of apple blossoms yesterday - and then my lawn got mowed and that overpowered the apple blossoms that were ...