Saturday, June 05, 2021

Loon Update

This came early this morning from Gretchen Farnsworth:

 Sadly it looks like our loons have abandoned the nest. I think because of harassment form the eagles but it certainly could have been for another reason. I sent Eric [Hansen] an email to let him know. Sometimes he checks the nest to see if he can figure out the cause. On a happier note the pair at the corner of 2 & 15 were still on the nest so I hope they are successful in rearing a chick this summer.

 Those are probably wise loons - easier to abandon the nest (and perhaps look elsewhere for a likely spot) than to hatch a chick for the eagle to get. Nature is cruel sometimes, but it's almost always best if we don't interfere. I doubt there is much we could do to protect the loons except perhaps try to discourage the eagle from hanging out here - but I don't believe there are many threats to eagles - they are pretty much at the top of the pecking order (no pun intended!)

Another beautiful day this morning, but watch out for T-storms later this afternoon. Right now it looks too beautiful out there to worry about anything, but things can change quickly and it's best not to be out on the water in an electrical storm, so keep an eye on the sky and head for home port when you see those dark clouds coming. 

I've always feared thunder storms. When we lived on Cabot Plain, the farm was at the highest point around and when lightning began to flash, there was literally no place to hide. We kids would sometimes be caught out in the pasture rounding up cows or delivering them to the night pasture after milking; or sometimes we were out in the hay field with nothing but metal machinery around us. If we were on a piece of machinery, my father would yell out to us to get off and "run for the house" when a storm approached - and from there I watched terrified as he rode the tractor, with whatever machine he was working with, as fast as possible off the pinnacle to get under cover himself. Sometimes, if the storm was too close, he'd abandon the tractor and run with us. When we were out in the pasture we were told never to take shelter under a tree, but to find a hollow in the open and lie as flat as possible in that depression until the storm passed. My cousins and I were caught in the woods several times and I remember how upset I would get with them (they two city boys who grew up in Hartford, Connecticut) because the older one, Herb, insisted that the safest place to be in a thunder storm was along the electric light line; he had heard "life line" and thought that meant it was a safe place, I guess. I had always been told to stay away from light lines, electric fences, etc. and sometimes we spent precious minutes arguing about that when we should have been high-tailing it for home when the sky began to darken. Somehow we all made it to adulthood despite the dangers we encountered (or created) growing up.

I have plenty to keep me busy today, and I really didn't intend to reminisce here this morning, so now I'm going to have some breakfast and get my day started. Be safe.


Friday, June 04, 2021

Thinking Back

 Sometimes I watch "The Talk" on CBS. I usually skim through to see who they have on as guests and to get an idea of what subjects they are talking about, and I seldom watch the whole thing. Today I was skimming through and one of the topics was about shopping with your mother and whether any of the ladies took their mother's advice about clothes when they were young.

A remark by Sheryl Underwood reminded me of my own experiences. Sheryl quipped that she and her mother never went shopping together; they sent an order through the Montgomery Ward catalog for school clothes and that was it.

I think I have mentioned before that ordering from the Montgomery Ward and the Sears Roebuck catalogues was always a big event in the late summer each year when I was growing up. We didn't have much money and none of the kids at the Plains School were the least bit conscious of the latest styles or trends, and I don't remember ever even talking to my peers about clothes. We were all happy to have something warm and comfortable to wear, I guess. Some had more and better clothes than others, but none of us paid that much attention to what someone else was wearing. Except one boy whose parents bought him a new pair of shoes for school and for days he stood on a board at the side of the school yard so he wouldn't get his new shoes dirty. I think we picked on him at least a little for that, but I'm sure the teacher intervened on his behalf; and eventually he returned to being a kid playing with the rest of us on a wet and sometimes muddy playgound.

My mother made a lot of my clothes and often adapted hand-me-downs from my older cousins for me. I remember one year she bought yards of cotton material and made pinafores for me. They were all the same pattern and all were striped. I had a blue and white striped one, another in green stripe and one in pink. Pinafores were worn with a blouse or sweater, and I remember that I really liked mine. I've done a quick sketch to show you what my pinafores were like.

I remember one trip to a store to buy clothes. We went to St. Johnsbury, I think to a shop called Weiner's, or maybe it was the Jeannette Shop or Hovey's. I don't recall exactly, but I do remember that we traipsed up and down Railroad Street trying on coats. I think I was perhaps in high school and my mother thought I needed something dressier than the plain jacket that was part of my "snowsuit." I finally tried on a long, bright green woolen coat that came to my knees. It had a lovely shiny, soft lining and I remember how elegant it felt and that it seemed very expensive. I also remember hesitating to say how much I liked it because I felt it cost way more than my mother could spend on it, but apparently she liked it, too, and she bought it for me. I wore that coat for a long time and always felt special in it.

I remember going to Nolin's Shoe Store on Eastern Avenue to buy shoes. My feet were exceptionally "long and narrow" according to the metal measuring device at that the clerk used. He brought out some "official Girl Scout shoes" for me to try. They were heavy and clunky and I hated them, but my mother said I had to treat my feet well and proper shoes were a must. I should add here that I was not allowed to go barefoot - ever. Of course I did, when my mother wasn't around, but according to my mother, going barefoot was not only dangerous on the farm (because of injury or picking up infections, and she was right about that), but it would make my narrow feet "spread out." I'm not so sure of the validity of that reasoning. I guess narrow feet were in fashion in the 1930s and 1940s, at least in my mother's mind. She bought those GS shoes and I hated them. I had to wear them one summer, and they were hot, heavy and the homeliest contraptions imaginable. Fortunately for me, they turned out to be not up to the rigors of protecting a farm kid's feet and they soon began showing serious wear (being wet, dried out, muddied and scuffed up probably didn't help) and before the end of the summer either I had grown out of them or they were just too dilapidated to be useful.

The narrow feet thing persisted until I was out of high school and on my own. The only AA or AAA width shoes available were styles my grandmother would wear, but my mother insisted that I have at least one pair of "properly fitted shoes" for best. They were always painfully tight and uncomfortable. Most of the time I wore moccasins or canvas tennis shoes, which were far more comfortable. Once on my own, I bought shoes wide enough that they wouldn't give me blisters.

When I was in high school, we had classes in Home Economics where we learned to sew. I remember one of my projects was a navy blue corduroy dress. It was princess style, buttoned up the front, and had 3/4 length sleeves. Our teacher, who was married to my cousin, Wesson Bolton, thought my project choice was too ambitious, but I persisted. She was a good teacher and my dress turned out to be very successful. I went on to make a lot of my own clothes after that. I had some successes, and some really dismal failures, but it was all a good learning experience. My kids like to tell stories about how I used to make garments out of sheets, blankets, curtains or whatever. All true, and today it's called "repurposing" and is very trendy!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Gloomy Memorial Day

 This is not the sunny, warm Memorial Day we all would have liked, but we are getting a gentle, pretty steady rain that is very much needed in our region. The trees are bursting with variations of fresh green leaves washed clean of pollen and dust by the rain. My lilac bushes seem to have deeper color and the young leaves on my backyard fruit trees are vivid against the shiny wet bark of limbs and trunks. I say "fruit trees" because I really don't know what kind of trees they are. 

I am somewhat like bluejays that stash nuts in various places and then forget where they hid them. I tuck fruit pits like cherry or peach into the ground and not only don't label them, I forget about them. My latest pop-up trees appeared about five years ago in a garden we had in the back yard. 

During those years we had an area in the vegetable garden where we dug holes and buried kitchen scraps. It was our way of composting, and worked exceptionally well. The area that we dug during any given season was then ready to be turned into garden space for crops the following year. Sometime during those years, these two trees appeared. Fortunately, they are spaced well apart and I decided to let them stay to see what they developed into. One is a light green, much like an apple leaf, the other has a pinking tinge - I suspect it could be a peach tree. So far they have both survived winters, but neither has blossomed. I have kept them trimmed and I think they are a nice addition to the back lawn, regardless of what they turn out to be.  This is my view of them from my office window. Whatever they are, I like them and they get to stay!

On Saturday, Gretchen Farnsworth sent this photo of the sunrise. It came in a different format - something new called HEIC that I couldn't open. I fiddled around trying, but failed and asked Gretchen to resend in jpg, which she easily did. Here is the photo - lovely beginning to our Saturday, but then Gretchen said the sky changed right after she took the shot. It so often is a matter of timing to get just the right camera shot. It turned out to be a fairly nice day in spite of the old warning, "Red sunrise in morning, sailors take warning." Thanks again, Gretchen. Nice shot.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Spring Meeting, 2021!

 The Joe's Pond Association Spring Meeting, 2021 went very well this morning. There was a good turnout - about like it was before Covid only the seating was spread out a bit more than normal. With extra openings of the pavilion curtains on the lee side, there was plenty of air circulation. It was also pretty darned chilly, but hot coffee and doughnuts helped, and everyone seemed to be in high spirits, happy to be back in a familiar routine at the first meeting of the season, and not minding the cold much at all.

The winner of this year's Ice-Out contest, Galina Mesko, was present to receive her Certificate of Award and a check. She is from Newport, Vermont, and has entered the contest every year since 2013 when she participated in a college project involving the contest. Her persistence and patience over the years paid off handsomely this year.

We learned today the Vice President Don Sherwood is resigning this year. Anyone interested in seeking the VP position on the Board should contact President Joe Hebert or any other member of the Board. A nominating committee has been appointed, but I don't know who is on that committee at the moment. That information will be in the minutes of today's meeting which will be posted on the web site in due course.

A few people mentioned that the address I posted here yesterday to sign up for a copy of the West Danville history book is not active. It is an email address ( and I thought I had made it active so all one had to do was click on it and your email would pop up, but that does not happen; however, if  you copy it into your regular email messaging, it will allow you to send an email. Just include your name and indicate how many books you think you will want. This is not a binding agreement to buy, but is meant to help the Danville Historical Society Board of Directors decide how many copies of the book they need to order. Full information about the book will be on their website (and here) as soon as we know what the cost will be. At this point we aren't sure how many pages the book will run, so we don't know how much it will cost to print. 

Photos posted here of today's meeting are by Jamie Dimick. My thanks to him for remembering to do that. That is just one more thing Fred always did so I didn't have to think about it.

Enjoy the Memorial Day celebrations honoring the men and women who have died serving their country in the U. S. military. For many of us, Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it used to be called) is also a time to visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of loved one; for others it is a time to gather with family and friends to mark the beginning of summer. Many towns have parades and special memorial services centered around the military. Here in Vermont, Memorial Day is often cold and wet and hardly appropriate for cookouts and fun in the sun and water, but it still marks the beginning of summer, even when it doesn't feel like it. Summer here is short - we don't want to make it shorter by waiting until the air and water temperatures cooperate. Most of us will get things rolling this weekend - so what if we have to wear winter jackets and mittens to keep from turning blue? Let's not waste precious time. Let's get out there and plant some flowers, wave an American flag, applaud the parade as it passes by, and get those hotdogs and hamburgers cookin'!!

Friday, May 28, 2021

A Few Announcements

 Good frosty morning! 

It got down to 31F here at my house last night - and was likely colder in some spots. I had brought in my only tender plants (two of them) but I haven't looked at the forecast for tonight so I'm not sure it's worthwhile to put them back out. It may be better to let them stay safe in the garage for another night or two. Looks like a chilly weekend ahead.

For Joe's Ponders - the JPA meeting is tomorrow, Saturday, at 10 a.m. at the pavilion. President Joe Hebert and the Board of Directors stated on the Events Schedule in the newsletter: Masks and Social Distancing Required if not fully vaccinated. Please keep that in mind. Some people may want to wear their masks even if vaccinated - it depends on how crowded it gets and whether the side curtains are up for free air flow or down to keep us warmer. Your choice, use common sense. Also, remember that it is going to be definitely on the cold side at the meeting, especially if the wind is blowing - and when does it NOT blow at Joe's Pond? Wear warm clothing and be prepared.

There have been reports that kayakers have been going very close to the floating platform where the loons are already nesting. Please stay away from that area. There is a sign to warn people away from the platform, but apparently some people are ignoring that and going close to the platform. This could spook the loons so they might abandon the nest or an egg could be accidentally knocked out of the nest if the loon was frightened off - it's just not something we what to see happening to our loon family. Stay away. Take your binoculars and watch from a distance or take photos with you zoom camera. There are enough predators in the wild that threaten the loons without humans adding to their misery.

One of those threats has been mentioned by Gretchen Farnsworth who tells me there is an eagle in the area again this year. The eagle has been suspect in past years when loon chicks have suddenly disappeared - an easy lunch for a watchful eagle, probably. There are also large fish that can threaten the loon chicks, as well as a few other animals. That we have a possibility of two nesting pairs being successful in raising chicks again this year, one between the first two ponds and the other at the platform off Sandy Beach Road, is an exciting prospect. We will be watching both families carefully - from a respectful distance!

I also want to let you know that the email address given in the newsletter for people can sign up to reserve a copy of the West Danville history book when it is printed later this summer, is wrong. Here is the correct e-mail address to get your name on the list:  If you still have trouble, please let me know and I'll put  your name on the list. My email is:

I was at the historical society yesterday and we were able to iron out a few of the last wrinkles to get the photos and captions done and inserted in the right places. The ladies thought they might be finished with this complicated phase by the end of today. That would mean the complete manuscript can go back to the editor one last time, then Randee will format it into a pdf and it's off to the printer. The editing and formatting will take time, but we are much, much closer to publication now and I'm confident we'll have books in hand by late summer - if not before. I'm always the optimist. The photos in the book will be great - there were many that were not good quality and could not be used. We decided with all the work done on the text of the book, we wanted to be sure the photos were high quality, as well. Some that we wanted to keep would simply not reproduce well and could not be replaced or re-shot. We think we have made good decisions in this respect.

Enjoy your long weekend, stay safe, warm and healthy. I hope to see you at the meeting tomorrow!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Bill Rossi

Very sad news this morning - Bill Rossi passed away early yesterday morning at the Residence at Shelburne Bay in Shelburne, Vermont. Diane was with him, and his brother, Ted and wife, Nancy had been with him the day before.

Bill made friends wherever he went. Fred and I often went with Bill and Diane for dinner or to investigate something Bill was interested in. Our adventures sometimes took surprising turns as Bill's attention turned to something totally unexpected, or he struck up a conversation with a stranger, but there were a lot of good times before Bill became ill. 

Bill was a big supporter of Joe's Pond Association and loved living at the pond year around at the same spot where his parents, Ted and Alba Rossi, had a summer cottage for many years. There were trials of snow, slippery roads and daily commutes to Barre during the first years, but after Bill retired, he concentrated on other things like daily trips to the post office at Hastings store where he enjoyed banter with anyone and everyone - especially Diane Jeger when she was working at the post office. (Photo of Bill and Diane at right.)

Bill spent a great deal of time putting together a photo directory of all the cottages on the pond. He and Fred spent many hours in Bill's boat getting photos for the book, and took many road trips together to get photos of the ones that were not directly on the water. Diane was a huge part of that book, as well, typing, editing and encouraging. (Bill, the author, at his computer, right.) Bill had a large circle of friends at Joe's Pond.

 Fred always enjoyed Bill's enthusiasm and although hey were opposites in many ways and sometimes had opposing ideas about politics or other matters, I believe each respected the other's opinions and they remained friends. Bill had a unique wisdom and a healthy appetite for life. He enjoyed good movies, jazz and opera, and Diane's cooking. He was always on the lookout for hermit cookies, a good hotdog, whole-belly fried clams and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Bill enjoyed traveling. Diane took this photo when we were on a trip to Maine and waiting for the next boat to take us on a cruise around Portsmouth Harber. Bill was also generous in opening his home to visitors.

Left, Bill models the waders he wore when getting his boat in and out of the water, and on the right, a photo by Andy Rudin of Bill and Diane after Bill moved to the Residence at Shelburn Bay. 

Bill was one of a kind and will be missed by his family and many, many friends.

Our most sincere condolences to Diane and the family. Cards and messages may be sent to Diane at P. O. Box 228, Danville, Vermont 05828.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Busy Day

 Yesterday was a very busy day around here. It started off with just Bob, my lawn mowing guy, coming at about 10 o'clock. From there on it was so busy I could barely keep up taking pictures. Soon after the lawn Bob arrived, Bob, the cement guy came with two trucks and two workmen. They were here to prepare for the retaining walls under my porch. Bob the cement guy left the other two to dig out the crevasse between the two big ledges because that is where they decided to put the wall. It was more secure to have the footing firmly between the two ledges than trying to pin it to the smooth, sloping surfaces on either side.

I think it took 1 1/2 - 2 hours for them to finish digging and setting the rods in place along the length of the footings space. Bob the cement guy returned with his truck just as Bob the lawn mowing guy finished the lawn. With three trucks and a small utility trailer in the driveway, it was an interesting juggling process getting everyone switched around and out of each other's way. Turns out, the two Bobs knew each other, so it was all good. I stayed out of the way!

When Bob the cement guy left, his two workers finished up by washing down the ledges and as if on cue, Carroll's Concrete truck showed up. That truck is massive. The driver had to navigate between two garages, a well head, trees and the  side of the house,  very close quarters on the northwest end of the house to make a right angle turn to get to the "big dig" on the southeast side of the house. Probably not too difficult going in, but then he had to back out. I feared for my little fruit trees , but more important than those, the well and the eaves of my house and garage concerned me. The compacted lawn was beside the point.

It all went very well. The footings were poured, leveled and are drying nicely this morning. The driver of the cement truck was no slouch, and with a little help from the two digger guys who held back the small fruit trees so they wouldn't be caught on the side of the cement truck, and directed the driver, he made it back onto the driveway and went on his way to the next job, all without incident. They were all pros and did a great job.

As all of this was going on, I was dashing from one window to the other to watch - from a safe distance. It was quite a process. I'm posting only a few of the over two dozen photos I took so I would have a record of the whole process. 

Along with all of this, we are in the very final stages of finishing up the West Danville history book. We hadn't been able to come up with a photo that was good enough quality and just right for the cover, so we handed off the assignment to Nate, who works for Jamie at KATV in St. Johnsbury and is a photographer on the side. With the book editing progressing to a close, we have to have everything aligned so there will be no glitches when we send it all to the publisher. We are determined to have this book published this summer.

Another beautiful spring day here at Joe's Pond, and I hope to see many of you at the meeting on Saturday morning at the pavilion, at 10 o'clock.

Loon Update

This came early this morning from Gretchen Farnsworth:   Sadly it looks like our loons have abandoned the nest. I think because of harassme...