I know - I'm a day late and a dollar short on this one, and I apologize. I dropped the ball. The block went through the ice at 4:57 yeaterday, April 10. Diane let me know right away, but I had about a million things going on yesterday and it completely slipped my mind to post it here. We won't know the winner(s) for several days, at least - Henretta is not finished logging in the hundreds (thousands!) of tickets that were sold this year. If predictions are correct, this could be the year that tops all others for number of tickets sold. That translates to the largest amount for the winner(s) as well.
As soon as all the tickets are logged in, Henretta will search for the date and time. It may be right on, as it has been many times, or it might be the closest date and time. Then there is a process that needs to be followed: the winning ticket or tickets will have to be verified. Some years it has been hard to locate the winner; however, I don't recall there ever having been a time when the winner couldn't be located and the committee had to move on to the next closest, but certainly that could happen. There have been some years when it was REALLY difficult to contact the winner, and that delayed getting the information to the public. We expect all will go smoothly, however. I'll try very hard to let you know the name of the winner as soon as I get the information.
This morning my daughter-in-law, Marie Dimick, told me she was "pretty sure" she heard a loon calling. A few minutes ago, Gretchen Farnsworth confirmed that our first loon is back. Gretchen said it was on the south side of the islands, enjoying plenty of sunshine and open water. Nice to have them back! A sure sign that summer is almost here.
It may be another day or so before the third, or big pond is completely free of ice, but the two small ponds are fully open now. We had intense sunshine this morning, but there is a bit of thin cloud cover now and rain is expected momentarily. We can certainly use the rain - everything is very dry and fire hazards are posted in many towns.
We have been very fortunate that our road, both the Cabot and Danville sections of West Shore Road, have been far less troublesome than some years. Both towns have been quick to treat mud holes and Cabot has been out several times with the road machine to hone. Danville has put material on the muddy flat just off of Route 2 at least twice, and perhaps more than that. It hasn't been the quagmire it often was in the past. Good work, road crews!
We have seen a small spike in new Covid 19 cases locally: Caledonia County reported 8 new cases on Friday, April 9; Washington County reported 10 new cases. That said, the governor has relaxed restrictions for some businesses and travel, so the state is obviously moving in the right direction. Amtrak service will resume in Vermont by July 19th. The company is in the process of evaluating the tracks and to get the word out so passengers can purchase tickets to travel after that date. The Canadian border remains closed, so Amtrak service will terminate in Burlington for the time being.
On a lighter note, I had a nice conversation this morning with Frank Nolin who used to spend summers at Joe's Pond when he was a youngster. He is related to the late John Prevost and other familiar St. Johnsbury families. His family cottage was in the vicinity of Otis Drive. It is always a pleasure when someone reaches out to me for information after they have accidentally come across something about Joe's Pond that has triggered fond memories. It happens pretty often. Many times these people haven't visited here for years and they are amazed when I tell them how many year 'rounders we have these days. Sometimes they remember long-gone farms that were still operating around the pond in the 1940s and 1950s, and find it hard to believe they are no longer functioning. It seems the older we get, the more nostalgic we get. It's always nice to do a little time traveling - and to make a new friend, even briefly.
I've heard from several Joe's Ponders that they are planning to return earlier than usual this year. I'm not certain why that is - perhaps because it's been a stressful year no matter where people were and Joe's Pond seems like a welcome, quiet, safe retreat. Those of us who stay here all year recognize how good we have it here, believe me; we understand! Stay well and as you return to Joe's Pond, travel safely and we'll be happy to see you!