Saturday, October 30, 2010

Purrrfect Security & Customer Service

As I walked down the main street of my little tiny village, I noticed how all the century old windows in the stores were decorated for Halloween.  Very quaint and very creative.
As I walked by a window decorated as a Halloween Village, it came to life. 

What had looked like a colorful rug, stood up and followed my shadow as I walked by.

Of course I had to go into the store and meet this delightful creature.

As I entered, she greeted me, pawed me with her many toes, sniffed me all over and started doing her gymnastics all over the hundreds of boxes that were piled high to the ceilings in this little shoe store.

She actually led me to some shoes I had been searching for. I picked up the box, tried the shoes on and smiled.   They fit!      It was at this time I heard a voice behind one of the large stacks of shoes.

 The store owner emerged and introduced herself and apologized for "Paws" behavior.   She explained that this petite calico cat is the only full time store employee. She is a rodent deterrent, village watchdog, store security, merchandise inspector, box recycler, in charge of sales, education, store tours, customer service and entertainment.    Paws was rescued off the streets of this tiny town, down by the river where someone had dumped her.  She was almost dead when her rescuer found her.       A real rags to riches story.

I suggested she run for Mayor  and I volunteered to be her campagne manager.

I left the store with a big smile on my face, a new pair of shoes at an excellant price and a new friendship with an extraordinary feline.  Another great day in Vermont!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Moore Barns of Autumn

All barns tell a story.  They reflect the generation that built them and the generation that still respects them and uses them.  Barns tell alot about the past as well as what is going on right now.
The barns in the higher elevations stand alone in their fields, all the leaves gone from their companion tress.  Barns in the lower elevations are still enjoying the colorful leaves that flutter at their doors.

As if the onslaught of emails, phone calls, TV adds, plastic signs, hostile debates and political fliers weren't enough...someone had the gall to use a century old barn as a bulletin board.

Barns need to be preserved.  Owners need to try to salvage the  oldest barns, as those are the ones that witnessed the most of history. Many barns in this area were built in the late 1700's when towns were first developed in this state.

They protected our militia as they fought the British in colonial times and some were used on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.

The barn below was built in 1854 and is on the verge of being torn down to make way for more condos.

If you have a barn, protect it.  Do the repairs. Be proud of actually having a barn.    
 Every week in this state several barns are demolished, burned or collapse from lack of repair. Worse yet are the barns that are dismantled and taken to far away states to be rebuilt as expensive homes.
Remember what happened to all the hand carved carrosel animals?
Sold to the highest bidder or moved to other countries.  Gone forever.

Don't let that same fate happen to our historical barns.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rolling in the Dough

Its been a great week to make bread.  Flour is on sale, and the oven is working perfectly.  The baker in this household made 8 loaves of delicious "Vitality" bread.   Lots of very healthy ingredients in each loaf.

There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup and warm bread on a cold autumn night!

Many have asked for this "secret" recipe, so here it is;

Vitality Bread

Disolve 1 tbs of yeast with 1 tsp of sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water.

In a separate saucepan, measure

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran flakes or All Bran
3 tbs corn meal
2 tbs wheat germ
1 tps salt
1/4 cup mollasses
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs shortening
1/2 cup milk

Cook above mixture over LOW HEAT until nearly boiling.
Stir ingredients so they do not stick.
Add 1 cup cold water.    Cool.

Add disolved yeast and white flour to make a stiff dough. ( about 6 cups of flour )
Let rise until double in bulk.
Cut down, knead.
Place in 2 greased pans and let rise again until doublein bulk.
Bake 50 minutes-1 hour at 325 degrees OR 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Look Both Ways When Crossing the Highway....

I am used to seeing millions of tiny corn stems in the fields these days as most farmers have been able to chop their corn and get it into their silos for the winter.  As I drove by one field though, I noticed the "stems" in one area were higher than the rest.     This is what I found:

This was a very big buck, with very big hooves.  Almost unnoticable in the field.    The Ravens were snacking on him as I drove away.  Waste not, want not.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mr. Winter Visits

Yesterday morning snow desended and wrapped itself around leaves, veggies and the last of the delicious fruit in the garden.  I call this a "sugar dusting" of snow.

The mountains have been redecorted in pearls of white and the remaining  pumpkins in the fields look ready for Hallowen.

Did I mention that during the floods of 3 weeks ago that 160,000+ pumpkins went floating down the Connecticut River when that river overflowed its banks and pirated several hundred acres of prime pumpkins down the river?  It was a sight to behold.  Lots of videos about it online. browse: "Connecticut River pumpkins" to see some very unusual phots and video.  There are still thousands of pumpkins stuck in trees now that the river has gone down a bit from flood level.

By this morning most of the snow had melted, all was back to normal, except there was more snow on the mountains and more fog in the valley.

It is getting colder.     Time to stack more wood!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vermont Steeple Chaser

Ever wonder who repairs, cleans and paints these scenic landmarks and how they do it?

I finally caught the "steeple phantoms" at work.

These historical steeples must be repaired and maintained, usually in all kinds of unpredictable weather.

Now you have proof how its done... and by whom.

I should get extra points for these photos, don't you agree?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vermont Small Town Advantage

I now live so rurally that there is NO Internet connection.

Every day I must search for a library on my way to and from various jobs to do my reports, office work, disaster alerts, petfinder uploads, blogs and emails. 

Since I work with many disabled farmers that rely on specialized equipment to keep them able to farm safely, I must get my reports into the main office asap so that grants can be approved and checks can be mailed to buy the assistive technology necessary for disabled farmers to keep farming.

The local librarian was surprised to see me so early this am.
 I explained my very frustrating and unusual predicament.

Thirty seconds later, I was handed the keys to the local library.

I now have my own parking space, a corner desk and 24/7 access to this tiny library that is usually only open 3 days and 18 hours a week.

Agriculture is #1 in this state.            These keys prove it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vermont Colors

Lots to see as I drive the rural back roads of this magnificent state.

Barns, Birds and Bovines.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flood Photos

The Connecticut River overflowed and travelled 1/2 mile inland, flooding fields, farms, barns and homes.

One of the flooded roads.

Acres of corn under water

The famous Round Barn.
Pasture under 5 feet of water and water lapping at the barn door....

When the beaver dam up on the mountain exploded with water from the 7 inches of rain, the mudslide came with hundreds of trees, boulders and a "new waterfall" that destroyed this farmers pasture.  The cows escaped when a fence was cut and they floated to higher ground.

All his topsoil is gone, replaces by giant granite boulders and lots of broken timber.
You can see the waterfall in the back ground.

My street washed out and started a damaging mudslide into a cute house below it. Knocked it right off the foundation, destroyed the yard, picket fence, porches and garage.  Tons of mud and trees blocked the road and cut the power to our end of town.

Waters are receeding today and hopefully the rebuilding of barns, homes and farms can start as soon as we all dry out.      Janis

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vermont Flooding

You probably all saw it on theTV last evening.
Vermont got 5-8 inches of rain and intense flooding.

Not as bad as the Carolinas, but wicked bad for us.

We have been in a drought situation all summer and the rain came down so fast that the moisture did NOT have a chance to seep into the ground where it is needed.  The water just ran off the ground and caused all kinds of chaos.

The Connecticut River, that separates Vermont and New Hampshire ( look at a map ) looks like a raging ocean today and has flooded and eaten up thousands of acres of corn fields that were waiting to be made into silage for the many herds of dairy cattle on both sides of the river.

Yesterday morning I headed out to work in the pouring rain and as I turned the first little bend in my road, the road was GONE.  Just a cliff with a 70 foot drop remained.   

My road, which is on a steep hill, washed out and slid down the hill and crashed into a house on Water Street, knocking the house, at the bottom of the hill, off its foundation and making the chimneys crash through the roof.  3 dozen big pine trees slid with the mud and water and must of scared the tenants in the middle of the night.   The electricity went out all over town when the huge landslide hit the telephone poles on Water Street.

Also had a heck of a trip home last night from work.  My 40 mile route home winds along 3 rivers and the water was splashing out onto the roads at 6 pm.  Road crews were sandbagging and dumping gravel to protect roadways.  They all looked exhausted from their 14 straight hours working like crazy to beat Mother Nature.

All the rivers had thick white froth on them from the force of the water being propelled over the dams, stone walls and vehicles that had been sucked into its wake.  Small streams were now wide rivers.

My fear was that my cows might be in a perilous situation as the pond above their fields was the cause of the washout of the road.

I drove to their location and saw the farmer jogging along the road checking fences that had been washed away by the engourged river that just 2 days ago was a tiny stream.  My cows were fine. They were drinking the water that puddled on their fields and they continued to graze near the flock of ducks that were swiming in the field and the turkeys that were eating all the bugs, worms and other assorted snacks that floated by.  72 wild turkeys were with the cows for most of the day, from what I have been told.

When I finally reached home I found the cellar was flooded with 4 feet of water  and of course the furnace was under that water.
The neighbor stopped by, with higher rubber boots than mine, and ventured into the cellar.  He said he saw trout and a shark, it was so deep.  This man is on the state road crew so he told me all about the many water incidents on our side of the state:     One of the largest beaver dams on top of a mountain broke loose and flooded most of Rt 5.     Fences had to be cut and cows herded to dry ground.   Remember the pretty photo of the round barn that was posted here about 3 weeks ago?  The entire front and rear field is under water.  The road is closed for 6 miles.

This morning more roads are closed, the Connecticut River is higher, wider and madder and detours are so numerous that my GPS almost had a nervous breakdown yelling "Recalculating" every 15 seconds!

I saw some dairy cows in precarious positions this morning as the waters rose.
They were in fields surrounded by water.  Still grazing, oblivious to what could happen.

I have volunteered my services and disaster equipment to the local Fire Department should livestock need to be removed or domestic pets need crates or a dry place to stay for a short term.

The Vermont Red Cross assisted the family in the house that was torn off its foundation. They paid for a motel for them for 3 days.   I wonder what will happen to them after tomorrow. They were only renting that house. After the family was extracted from the house, the fire department sucessfully "rescued" the antique Harley Davidson motorcycle that was "trapped" in the garage after the landslide.  Thats the news from here.    Stay safe,    Janis