Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Rainy Wednesday

We've had some rain showers off and on today, which we really needed. The air was very mellow this morning - lots of humidity before the rain came. Now it is cooling off a little, but it's still  pretty drippy out there. I was on my porch when it began to rain late this morning, and at first the sound puzzled me. I'm not used to hearing rain on the roof. I never hear it in the house, so at first I thought the wind was rattling something near the house, but I couldn't imagine what it would be. In the meantime, I could hear a pileated woodpecker that seemed to be very close to the house, and for a few moments, it was like there was something very ominous or dangerous about to happen. Perhaps in the woodpecker's world, but in mine there was only some rain on my new porch roof - a very relaxing sound, once I recognized it.

I put a light by the steps that lead into my new pond this morning. I had probed with a slim rod and found a spot where I thought I could dig deep enough to set the pole. Armed with a shovel, post-hole digger and a crowbar, I began digging. I hit rocks about eight inches short of where I wanted to be. I'm not sure, but I think the probe went between or to one side of them, but since the hole was deep enough, I set the pole anyway. 

It is a mast that had held a television dish antenna at one time, and had about 20 inches of quick-cast concrete still attached from where they had set it in the ground. I had tried to chip off the concrete, but that was not working. As I struggled with it yesterday, I was reminded of the old movies where prisoners were often shown breaking big stones into smaller ones with a heavy mall, chained together at their ankles, sweating under the hot sun. That was me, but since it wasn't something I had to do, I didn't waste much time or effort there and decided to just bury the thing as it was. Except that didn't work, exactly. Now I have to decide whether to camouflage the lump of concrete that's still showing by planting flowers at the base or arranging some of the excess rocks around it. I'm leaning towards flowers. Something soft that will look pretty under the light at night. 

I have been asked to post a couple of announcements. First, Tom Segale sent me this message: 

We are putting the Red Camp - 44 Clubhouse Circle up for Sale.  Here’s the link.  Please pass along to anyone you know who might be interested. Thanks. -Tom (617.909.0960)

Then, Liz Sargent asked me to post about the No. Danville Baptist Church chicken pie
supper that's coming up soon! That's always a great meal, and I've been looking forward to it. This year it is take-out only because of the Covid upswing, but that works very well, too. We're all getting used to getting take-out meals these days instead of eating inside with large groups of people. Just be sure you call in to reserve your meal(s) before the deadline
of September 22nd. The supper is on the 25th. Call Judy at 748-8519 to make your order. Click to make the poster larger so you can read the menu. Adult meals are $15, children 12 and under $6.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Surprisingly Nice Sunny Sunday

 I was totally surprised that today turned out to be so nice! I thought we were certain to get rain and possibly hard T-storms, and while the sky looked threatening from time to time, the rain held off and it was very pleasant. 

My newly-excavated back lawn has dried out a bit and I was able to explore the perimeters this afternoon without sinking ankle-deep into mud. A few weeks ago, the area was totally off limits - a wasteland of stagnant water pools and scrub trees, marred by the big machine used to harvest the timber a few years ago. The trails we'd walked when we first came here were gone and making new ones was completely impossible without employing more machines to dispose of tree trunks, roots and boughs on the soggy, wet hillside. It is still wet where there are springs, but at least a large portion has now been reclaimed and will benefit wildlife again. I will let the grass grow in large portions, cutting it only once a year in the fall to give cover to ground-nesting birds and other creatures. There are brush piles that will slowly decompose and in the meantime give shelter to other small animals. There have already been visitors investigating the pond. I've picked up bear and raccoon poop, and there was a good clear paw print of what I think it was a fox or a  young coyote. Hard to tell. I'm sure there have been other visitors, but my game camera has been giving me all sorts of trouble - first the USB card was set for right protection and then the batteries gave out. Now I think it is operating ok again.

Dotty and Bob Noyes were out walking on Friday and sent me this photo of the Rubalcaba camp that was taken down on Barre Avenue. The Rubalcabas are building a new home there, and it will be interesting to watch it taking shape in the next few months. Another of the older cottages gone. It's sad to see that happening, but it's wonderful to see the new places that are being built for year-around use. Forty years ago, living year-around at Joe's Pond was something only the bravest or most foolhardy dared to attempt. Fred and I were among those early crazies in the 1980s. We loved the isolation and occasional challenges; but we were young and nothing fazed us. Actually, we never really left - just moved up the road a piece. And I must admit, the winters have been milder and the roads far better, especially in the spring (!), than when we were first living at our camp on West Shore Road.

Another couple will be Joe's Pond year 'rounders, but this year they are looking for temporary housing for the winter months. Here's the email I got today from Ray Walker on Channel Drive:

My husband and I are looking for a winter rental on Joe's Pond or surrounding area. We are not winterized yet at our camp and have been sidetracked with numerous medical issues with my husband most of the summer. Do you know of anyone who might be able to rent to us Nov.21-April 22?
 Thanks in advance. 

Ray (Hoar) Walker

If you would be willing to rent your home while you are away this winter, or if you know of a possible rental unit, do contact Ray. He is the Performing Arts Instructor at St. Johnsbury Academy, and can be reached by phone (919) 522-0823 or email:

That's it for now - I'm hoping to have some wildlife photos to post one of these days - if the game camera is actually operating the way it's supposed to. One more thing that Fred was good at and I am having to learn to deal with!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Thank you from the Gaberts

 Jim and Carla Gabert asked be to thank everyone who expressed interest in the items they were selling because they have sold their cottage. The sale ended today (Friday) and apparently the items have all found new homes. 

I have to say, today has been a strange one for weather. It was kind of all over the place. We had showers off and on, but they seemed to move by quickly, and behind them is the cooler (and I mean fall-like!) air. My thermometer is reading only 52 degrees now (at about 8 p.m.), and when I was outside a few hours ago, it felt much chillier than that. I've had the heat on most of the day.

My friends, Ora and Kate came for lunch with me today, and that was very nice. They have been going to some of the fairs in the area and a few minutes ago Ora sent me a short note and this beautiful picture she took at Barton fair yesterday. She had some nice ones she shared over lunch. It is always great to see them.

My pond is filling slowly but steadily. I had a bear visiting night before last. I have my game camera set up in the back yard now that all the human activity during construction is over, but I didn't get a photo of the bear. The camera wasn't functioning. But I found skat in two places, so I know he/she was right beneath my bedroom window. I have reset the game camera and hopefully I will get some pictures one of these nights. 

Jamie and Marie have finally convinced me to upgrade my phone. I've had a small flip phone for a few years now, and I almost never use it. I find it very difficult to read anything that's on it, and the keyboard is so small I have trouble dialing, and texting is really beyond me - I get all sorts of gibberish when I try to compose a message. For that reason, I only gave my cell number to family, in case of an emergency. But since I seldom had it with me, and if I remembered to take it, I often forgot to turn it on, it was fairly useless. I try to have it with me if I'm heading out of the house for a walk or something, just in case I need it. Anyway, my new phone is here and Jamie is going to give me some lessons on how to use it. I'm excited, I guess, but even though friends and family say I'll really enjoy having something I can do more with than the old phone, I'm not quite convinced. That's just being an old fogey, I know, but I really see no need to be attached to a device like that. The phone is something to be used for necessities, and I'm not sure I want to spend a lot of time on a gadget like that. But I have to admit, Ora and Jamie take some great pictures with their i-phones, and I've been less than impressed with my camera lately - I tend to inadvertently move the settings and also, it's bulky. I'll see how this new phone works out. More on that another time.

I was at Burtt's Apple Farm recently, and gosh, they are an impressive young couple. I really like their building - clean and roomy. It's too bad the barns across the road are in such disrepair. It's nice to see the orchards flourishing, though. That farm used to be a real showplace back in it's day. The house and barns were beautifully kept when the Walbridge family owned it. Later, as I recall, Bob Davis bought it when he was president of Cabot Creamery. I think they may have rented the house to someone, but it was never the active farm that it had been before that. Mrs. Davis incorporated the maple orchard into their maple production business at their home on Cabot Plain. The Walbridge farm was called Maple Glen, if I recall correctly.  I think the sign is still on the barn, or it was a while back. They were known for their maple orchard and the syrup they produced. Also parts of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Trouble With Harry," were filmed there in 1955. I think it was the sugar woods and the view beyond that showed up in the film. Shirley McClain and John Forsythe were in that, among others. The cast and crew stayed in Stowe during the filming in Cabot and surrounding towns - like Craftsbury, and other towns.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a really nice day - even a little warmer. We must take advantage of it because it's obvious our summer is disappearing rapidly. I noticed quite a bit of color in the maple trees on my way to Burtt's. It won't be long now!

Monday, September 06, 2021

Moving Sale

Jim and Carla Gabert, are selling their cottage at Joe's Pond and have items they need to dispose of. Jim writes:

We have an antique Singer sewing machine in excellent condition. It’s in a wooden cabinet. A synthetic wicker indoor/outdoor chaise lounge, like new, never used. A 4 foot oval wicker sofa table with oak top, victorian style. Two 24” wooden French doors, 15 panes per door. Chest of drawers. Pair of wooden shutters. Pair of wooden wagon wheels. Other odds and ends available.

Location is at 329 Old Homestead Rd, Joe’s Pond, 3/4 of a mile from Hastings Store on Rte 15, turn left onto Old Homestead Rd. Ours is the 1st red garage on your left. Open Wed., Thurs. and Fri. Sept. 8, 9 and 10, 8 a. m. to  5 p. m. Good idea to call first in case we leave for a few minutes, call and leave message - we will get back to you. (802) 684-2029.

Blog Problems and Problems Solved

 Some of you have told me that you have had problems accessing postings on the blog. The reports I've had are that when you open the email (if you are a follower), the whole
post does not show up. Here's what is going on: The email notification will show you the beginnings of several of the latest posts. You will notice that the titles of those brief posts are in blue - so they are active links to the entire post. All you need to do is click on the title of the post you want to read and it will display all of it for you. If this doesn't work, then something else is wrong and I probably cannot help, but I do know that sometimes posts display differently depending on what device you are using. That is generally not a problem, but it might have something to do with the settings on your device. I don't know. I stumbled onto the reasoning I explained above when I learned that you were all seeing posts cut off at the same point, so after a little investigation I realized it is because email doesn't display the whole thing unless you click on the name of the post. Cool, right?

Moving on - I promised you a "before and after" shot of my memorial bench, and here it is. I took this picture early this morning. The grass will grow in so the lawn side will be better in a week or so, but hopefully it will be a while before the weeds grow back. They are tenacious, and I have no doubt they will be back eventually, but for the next couple of years, it should continue to look good, and I intend to keep after the weeds to keep it looking nice longer. A problem solved!

I am pleased that my pond is slowly filling and seems to be holding water perfectly. The upper side of the pond is still moist where there is water that will seep in from springs, and that will be good. The pond and dam are a perfect solution to the water coming down onto my lawn and now any overflow will be directed into the marshy woods where it will do no harm and where there is plenty of area with trees, grass and undergrowth to use it up. Another problem solved!

This is the final day of our Labor Day Weekend and apparently the weather is going to change after today when we will get some rain. That will help settle my pond and hopefully, help fill it up. I'm pretty sure the wildlife will find it quickly - if they haven't already explored it. I am going to set up my game camera after all the equipment is moved out and the back yard is quiet again. We had a lot of stones to play with and Ben used some to build very nice walls next to the woods. I'm planning on using the rest here and there - I love working with stones. That's a good thing because Vermont has plenty of them!

I'm hoping some migratory birds may decide to investigate the pond - no geese, though, please! - and next spring there should be some nice vegetation around the perimeter and resident frogs. The turkeys and deer will be around, I'm sure. It will be fun to see how it develops over time. I'm told it is deep enough that it won't freeze entirely this winter, so perhaps sometime I will put some fish in there. I'm not sure about that, though.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Last Weekend of the Summer!

 There are quite a lot of people here for the final weekend of the summer season. Most come by auto, but we also had a seaplane visit on Saturday. Fun to watch. Diane Rossi was on her boathouse deck when this one came in to drop people off on shore.

This has been a very busy weekend for me, too. I've had lots of people stopping by - always a joy - and spent some time at camp with the family on Saturday. Today has been busy with not only visitors, but last-minute adjustments on the book manuscript. Everything is done, but there were a few odds and ends that our editor needed to clear up before she sends the completed manuscript to the graphic designer. From this point, we expect the process will go very smoothly. Stay tuned for more details, but if you have any interest at all in getting a copy (or more) of the West Danville history book and haven't already put  your name on the list, it would be very helpful if you would do that now. Send an email to: to sign up. That way, we will have a better idea of how many books to order and best of all, we will let you know as soon as the book is published and give you details about where to find it or how to buy it on line. 

Ben put the cap on my pond on Saturday and it has started to fill. The rain tomorrow and later in the week will help, too. There is very little left to do - some smoothing and seeding of the ground around the pond, and that will be it. I expect Randy and Arnie will be back sometime this coming week to put in the screens on the porch, and that will finish that! It seems like these projects have gone on all summer, but actually they didn't get started until mid=July and the pond only a couple of weeks ago. We will get things buttoned up by winter and it will be great fun to see things coming to life in the spring. I expect by then I will have a population of frogs and other wild things in the pond, and be able to see, hear and enjoy them bug-free from my porch! That will be a whole lot of firsts!!

I don't think I mentioned that Ben also did the area around my memorial bench. I am very

pleased with that - it was completely overgrown with bishop's week and now  it's opened up and beautiful. This picture was taken early this spring, and it only got worse during the summer growing season. Michelle Parker is going to clean the actual bench for me, and it will be like new. Ben was working in that area on Friday doing some finishing touches under the porch, and did the bench area at the same time. He is so good at this kind of stuff, and so is Shawn, who works with him. Whether it's working with the big excavators or smaller "hands-on" projects like the bench, they both really know how to make things look great. I will take a picture tomorrow to show you the results of their work on the memorial bench.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Strange Happening

 I received a message this week from Thierry Guerlain about a strange experience he had a couple of days ago. He said it was one morning when he was about to eat breakfast. He looked out onto the water in front of their cottage and saw what looked like a blue plastic raft with attached ladder floating down the pond. He said he looked away for a moment and then realized whatever it was had gotten lower in the water. He watched, amazed, as it sank below the surface. He has no idea how deep the water is where it went down, but there must have been a hole that allowed water to get inside and that's why it disappeared so quickly. 

Theirry said when he first saw it, he intended to go out and retrieve it, but he was in the middle of breakfast when this happened. As it happened, he probably wouldn't have been able to get to it before it went down even if he had left his breakfast and gone immediately. It wasn't something he recognized as part of a neighbor's water front toys, so he asked me to put a notice here to let people know that if it is yours and it came loose or has disappeared from your waterfront, he can tell you exactly where it is - under water near his cottage.  Contact him and he'll point out the spot for you!

I'm not that familiar with water toys these days, but it could have been an inflatable, I suppose, although from what Thierry told me, it seemed to be a solid structure. Someone will be missing it. If you recognize anything about it, get in touch with the owner or with Thierry. His email is or give him a call at 802-343-6566.

Thierry also mentioned that he has been unable to subscribe to this blog. I was aware that Feedburner, the company that provided that service to discontinued it in April this year. I recall seeing the announcement, but I thought there would be an alternative provided. However, that hasn't happened. Those of you who have already subscribed as a follower will still get notice in your email when a new post is added; however, no new subscribers will be able to sign up to get those email notifications. 

I'm looking into some way to work around this - and hoping that Feedburner will reconsider and offer that service again, but from what I've found so far on line, that isn't going to happen, at least not in the foreseeable future. I am still exploring options, but will need some help from son, Bill, I expect. I'm not good with technical stuff on computers. If it can't be fixed with a screwdriver or a hammer (and often a hammer seems like a good option to me these days!) I'm lost. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, after you've put Joe's Pond Reflections into your search engine a few times, it will probably come up automatically with other frequently-visited sites when you go to your search engine. That's the best I can offer for now.

Jamie and Marie came down yesterday afternoon and put my recliner chair together for me on the new porch. I was thrilled to have it done. I had put the two rockers together myself, but I knew the recliner would be complicated, and the instructions even said that it would be "easier with two people." For them, it was super easy and done in about 15 minutes.

Randy came unexpectedly to deliver the screens for the porch yesterday, and he will be back in a few days to put them in place. Then, the porch will be all done!

The pond is almost finished, and Ben expects to be out of here as early as tomorrow, if all goes well. He has some last-minute work to do around the porch area where the newly seeded lawn took a beating during the porch construction, and will fill and seed in the "road" that is now firmly packed across the back lawn. I will have pictures of the beautiful stone walls he and Shawn have built with some of the rocks that were "growing" where the pond is now. When I exclaim over the amount of rocks they have uncovered, Ben just shakes his head and says, "This is Vermont." 

Already, my lower lawn is drier. The gnarled underbrush and tangle left from a lumbering operation several years ago is gone and the area is now clear and useful again. I'm hoping there will be plenty of wildlife to watch this fall, and especially next spring - from my bug-free porch! Fred would love this. We had fretted about how awful our lovely woodland was after we had the soft wood trees cut out. I will never, ever, have one of those big machines that cut, limb and pile logs all in one swoop. It was a monster machine and not only did it leave brush and stumps in it's wake, there were huge gouges in the earth, even though the work was done in the winter. The snow was deep and the ground was not frozen solidly because of all the springs in there. It was a mess. Now, at least part of it has been reclaimed.

There should be an official announcement about the West Danville history book very soon. We will be meeting again soon and planning our next move to get detailed information out to everyone possible - perhaps with a fairly firm publishing date! We are confident it will get published before the holidays. Our problem right now is that we can only afford the cost of printing 500 pages, so if it goes over that, we will need to make more severe cuts - either text or photos. It will be large - 9 x 12 , soft cover, perfect bound, and 500 pages. I can tell you that we will keep the cost under $50. Printing and other costs are running very high, so we will need to sell a lot of books to make that back so the historical society can break even - even though an enormous amount of the work on this book has been volunteer. There have been expenses for editing, formatting, printing, and sometimes photos and documents that we had to obtain from other sources such as libraries, town clerks and other historical societies. Hardly anyone does anything for free these days. We were fortunate that four people were willing to devote eight years to researching and writing as volunteers, and we're also grateful to so many people who have freely contributed information or services along the way. It's been an adventure, and we are very sad that two of our original committee members , Jane Larrabee and Dot Larrabee, are no longer here to enjoy seeing the book in print. So, stay tuned - I'll have more information soon!

Rainy Wednesday

We've had some rain showers off and on today, which we really needed. The air was very mellow this morning - lots of humidity before the...