Months of rain delayed this part of the clearing project, but now Bob Osgood is on site to stump the lower field. Bob will push over the stumps in the north field, rake the debris, and then bury what he can around the perimeter of the cleared space. The southern field was cleared mostly to get sun on the driveway and therefore keep it from freezing up in the winter—in addition to helping to open the view—but Bob will rake the debris on that side and get it ready for field grasses. We don’t have any plans to plant anything on that side; however, we may see if any of our neighbors want to graze their sheep on that side and save us from having to mow it.
While it isn’t necessarily as exciting as the logging part of the project, if you are interested, you can watch the excavation on the webcam.
If you have sheep you want to graze in our field next Spring, contact us.
The only thing that was missing from our checklist of “must haves” when we bought this property was an area to use for vegetable fields. Today that is about to be remedied. Today the logging crew has arrived to cut down, chip, and truck away 2-3 acres of the predominately white pine forest that is our front yard. As tree-hugging liberal, environmentalist types, it is a bit overhwleming for us; but we plan to use the cleared space not only for growing vegetables, but also to plant new groves of hardwood species such as walnuts, maples, and oaks. White pines have been crowding out many of the hardwoods in Vermont over the years because they are a fast-growing tree, and they don’t have much use other than chipping for fuel. From what we understand the trees on our property will be sold to one or more power companies to generate electricity.
The picture here was taken early this morning as the crew was clearing the spaces necessary for the chipper truck, and other machinery. Since then the process has sped up considerably. We have taken the “before” photos, and Sarah has shot some video footage we hope to upload soon. We will document as much of the process as we can. This is only the first step. The next is for a bulldozer to come in to push all the stumps into a ravine, bury as much as possible, move the bigger rocks to create a retaining wall below the leach field, and finally level some of the land. After that it is up to us to start a cover crop to get us through the winter. In between, we will take a soil sample to see what we will need to do to make our new fields as fertile as possible.
Watch the webcam today if you can stand the carnage.
Update: We made a short Quicktime video (with music!) from the footage we shot.
Sorry for the lack of updates but, as you might guess, moving into a new house in a new town takes a bit of one’s time. The last month has been a busy one on the mountain. We have been unpacking, setting up new accounts, working on small house projects, planning for our first party, etc.
The unpacking and acclimating stuff has gone pretty smoothly, other than the confusion of trying to explain to the post master that mail addressed to our street address should be delivered to our home, and mail addressed to our post office box should be left in the PO box. Apparently this is a foreign concept, and is supposed to explain why some of our mail was returned rather than being delivered to either our house or our PO box. Eventually we convinced the PM that there was a logic to our request.
The small house projects have been just that, small. Sarah made a sign for the end of the driveway to help people find the house. I took karmic hits by murdering wasps in preparation of our housewarming cookout. We thought we had avoided this unpleasantness when we removed a half dozen unoccupied nests a few weeks ago, but suddenly the front porch was filled with the buggers …errrr…. buzzers sunning themselves and chasing the dogs when they were in the yard. With a planned cookout, it was decided we needed to address the issue, and so each morning over a few days while it was still cool out (and the wasps were inactive), I found myself crawling under the porch and climbing on the roof hunting for wasp nests.
Of course, when the day of the party arrived, it was raining. While we were luckily still able to grill, neither we nor our guests spent any time outside. The wasp murdering spree was still somewhat necessary as they were threatening to Haley and Mickey, but I still wish it could have gone down differently. We are surrounded by woods; why our stinging neighbors couldn’t find a nice tree to raise their broods is beyond me.
As for the party, we had a light turnout, but had fun nonetheless. Jessamyn and Greg brought over some yummy Vermont cheeses a professional cheese-buying friend of theirs had given them. Heather brought her friend Adrienne and a jug of Rock Art Brown Bear Ale, and I drove to Montpelier to pick up our mate Mike since he doesn’t have a car.
Picking up Mike was also an excuse to drive the new car. Last month we took the Subaru to our mechanic for what we thought was going to be a tune-up, only to be informed that the car has all sorts of issues. We respect Chip’s opinion, and he suggested we consider trading the car in now before we blew a head gasket. The other option was to help him put his daughter through college and have a lot of necessary work done. We had other reasons to consider selling the Subaru, including needing four-wheel drive and not just all-wheel drive, but Chip’s diagnosis accelerated the process. So we headed on down to Shearer Honda in Rutland and a week or so later came home with a Honda CR-V that gets better mileage than the old Subaru, and has many more safety features.
Everything else is going well. I am doing some web consulting for our town’s website, and Sarah has a job interview at Vermont Law School next week. Now that it is warming up a bit, our next projects are to build a fenced area where the dogs can run, sign up for a CSA membership at Four Springs Farm, and get ready for various visitors including Sarah’s dad in May. If you’d like to visit too, let us know.
A little less than a year ago we ventured up to Vermont for the first time.* While we were visiting, we drove around for hours exploring the small towns and back roads. We even purposely came during “mud season” because we had heard from friends and family that if we liked Vermont in mud season, we’d love it the rest of the year.
We ended up liking Vermont—and mud season—so much we decided on the flight home that we really were going to sell our house and move.
The most difficult part of the transition hasn’t been the brutal Vermont winters—this one has been significantly more mild than usual, as we understand it—but acclimating to living in an apartment again. It may even be more difficult for the dogs. Let’s face it, when you’ve had a house, a yard, and a garden to poop in, it’s tough to go back to having to go for walks on a leash. Errr, I’m speaking about the dogs, mind you.
Back to us.
While Montpelier has been wonderful to us for these last seven months, we have been chomping at the bit to find our dream place. So, after even more driving around Vermont, we are all very happy to have someplace to call our own again. It’s a cute little 3-bedroom, cape-style house that sits on a mostly-wooded 10-acre lot with a brook running through it and a small one-room cabin.
Now, we just need to find jobs to pay for it. gulp.
* Perhaps our first opinions of Vermont had been skewed by the fact that we had such wonderful hosts who generously opened their home and gave their time to relative strangers. We’re still glad we’re here … so thanks you two!
The weather was so nice this afternoon that we decide to take a risk and kick-off the porch settin’ season a little early. Well, earlier than last year, since we arrived in June—arguably prime porch settin’ season. However, before we could porch set proper we needed to do all our chores. But after we went grocery shopping, had our supper, put away the dishes, and grabbed us a few beers, we were gonna porch set! Besides, the house was kinda stinky. Not that it was our fault. The window fellers used some sort of stuff that stunk somethin’ awful. Honestly, the porch seemed kinda like the smart place to get away from all the fumes. But, once we were ready, I grabbed a porter, the wife got herself a Tecate—which she says is more like a “beer soda”—and we headed for the front door!