Sunday, July 4, 2010

At the Farm

Last weekend the Franklin Land Trust’s annual farm and garden tour provided the excuse to venture up to the top of the hill and visit old Mr. L.’s farm, now renamed Birchmere Farm under the stewardship of young farmer C.
C. welcomed us up at the top and chatted while we admired the view, her cows (Jerseys and Jersey-Holstein crosses), the horses and chickens. We bitched companionably about other neighbors and talked about her plans for cheese making, meat selling and other hopes for the farm.

We also talked about her seven-year lease, which seems long for a lease on a house but precious short for a farm. And would the spot really escape development long-term? What would the family do? What could we do? Looking over her view, thinking about the wet marshy meadow by the beaver pond in back of the cemetery, started feeling a little desperate.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Flowers

Spied these bloodroot this morning on my way into the woods, came back in early afternoon sun to see them fully unfurled.

Up at the pond, Petey instituted warm-season weenie-cooling procedures this morning, the earliest date for such mud-lounging ever… climate change, duh!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The hill is alive with the sounds of water moving. Running, rushing, dropping, dripping, oozing. Splashing (Suzy). There’s usually a bunch of water moving downhill right about this moment in the season and after the last two days of torrential rains it is distinctive.

Roaring Brook is roaring.

I feel that our humble home-on-the-hill is blessed by the fact that our basement doesn’t flood. It’s enough to challenge my normally robust gloomy belief that if there’s cwap to be stepped on that I will.

F the Plumber tells me that even in the summer we have 12 something-or-others of pressure at the point the water enters our house from the well. Our 365-foot well is truly artesian, the pressure pushing water out of the ground, overflowing through an overflow valve 12 months a year to keep the well cap from exploding.

What a gift. To live where you want to live and not have to struggle for water. Half the world is trying to catch the drops that fall on their roofs every once in a while or drink vile stuff and we’re letting it run down the hill to keep the well from exploding.

And we are spoiled. Our water tastes better than any other.

In the last month we’ve gotten 6.47 inches of rain, 2.96 inches of it just this last week. Last year the same whole month saw 1.64 inches.

Note Suzy peering over the waterfall at Old Cricket Hill Road... ("her" waterfall.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

You say potahto I say potayto… groundhogs or wood chucks, they all get their day in the sun.

L. tells me that Petey and Suzy did see their shadows this morning. Since we haven’t actually located or met any of the Groundhogs of Cricket Hill, the dogs are the nearest things we’ve got to go by. Anyway, six more weeks of …

Unfortunately, the National Climatic Data Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina has bad news about this prediction. Those good folks have evidently made good use of federal tax dollars by studying the accuracy of groundhogs’ predictions for the past 40 years and report only a 39% accuracy rate.
So reading about the history of GHD, it seems like it used to mean just a simple Winter Done Yet? Y/N kind of thing but then Christian Europe changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and now even if you make it through the six weeks, winter still isn’t over. (In the old days 6 weeks was the actual calendrical end of winter). I don’t really handle the change-the-calendar thing well, cognitively. I find I have to just take it on faith, sort of like the international date line…

Anyhoo, Groundhogs of Cricket Hill makes me think of one of those fundraising calendars like Hotties of the Hartford Fire Department. Can’t you just see those Marmota monax showing off their little buff furry chests, standing on their hind legs, craning their necks looking for the damn shadows?

My friend W. Pedia tells me the darn things are also known as whistle pigs, an evocative name I’d say. Wiki P. has been kind enough to provide a table of famous groundhogs, 23 of them in all. Memorable names among them: Queen Charlotte, Sir Walter Wally, French Creek Freddie, Wiarton Willie, and Spanish Joe.
Which brings us to the unfortunate Mrs G. Some lame PR hack (like me) trying to get some publicity for a Mass. non-profit has spent the last several years promoting their own ground hog (“Mrs. G.”) for adoption by the state legislature as the official state GH. Evidently they haven’t managed to enlist any biotechnology trade groups to lobby for them and the thing hasn’t gotten any traction. What do you expect, going up against the likes of Sir Walter Wally with “Mrs. G.”

This blog’s brief hibernation seems to be over even though things are still pretty quiet out there on the hill. We’ll see; we do that.

(I’ve just reread this post and it sounds like I’m channeling Andy Rooney… scary.)