“Shayla the Sheep gets Sheared in Shpring.” So silly how much I love to say this! But here we are in Spring 2012 and I’m given the opportunity to say it again. “Shayla the sheep got sheared this Shpring!” (Last year, it was even better because she got sheared on a Shaturday!)
It is only our second year at our Bed & Breakfast in southern Vermont, but we are already feeling the rhythm of some spring rituals. The sheep is sheared .The koi pond is cleaned (four fish, two frogs, and one salamander are happy about this!). The leaves are raked and the gardens are being tended to. Even the pool cover has been removed. (Not quite ready for swimming though!) It is a beautiful time of year to embrace our new home in Proctorsville, VT.
On April 6, 2012, Ignat Solzhenitsyn will be performing an evening of Beethoven, Schubert, and Prokofiev on the piano as a fundraiser to rebuild Greven Field in Cavendish, VT. The field was absolutely demolished in August 2011 when Hurricane Irene flooded the area. Greven’s “Green Monster” (pictured above) was knocked down, chain link fences were lifted and mangled, bleachers and baseball gear literally floated downstream. (See some pictures below this post.)
The concert is on Friday April 6 at 7pm at the Green Mountain Union High School in Chester. Tickets are $25 each or $20 for students. Stay at Golden Stage Inn on Friday, present your ticket stub upon ‘check-out’ and we’ll deduct your ticket price from your room rate.
This weather is incredible! Spring warmth has arrived but the bugs have not. No better time for a Vermont hike. Here are two hikes we took this weekend that we loved…
Our own Backyard….
From the inn, we walked down Depot Street and up hill Pratt Hill. Pratt Hill Rd takes a sharp right deep into (and still heading up!) the Proctor Piper State Forest. If there’s a path here, we didn’t find it. Our team of pre-teen trailblazers forged a new path as we debated if lichen is a plant or a mushroom, identified deer scat in the leaves, and photographed stunningly green moss on downed trees. Our goal was to find our way back to the inn via the woods. When we emerged on Route 103, we realized we had overshot our mark by 1/4 mile. Not so bad if you ask me! We backtracked slightly, found our bridge to cross the creek and were greeted by welcoming bahhs from Shayla the sheep. The overall hike was probably 1.5 miles and other than the incredibly steep entrance into the woods (on a dirt road), I would rate it as relatively easy.
Eleanor Ellis Springweather Nature Area (15 minute drive from the inn)…
Ironically, we learned of this hike from a guest (who grew up in the area). She and her boyfriend hiked these trails on Saturday and saw two bald eagles! We didn’t even see a Robin or a Chickadee, but this might have something to do with the fact that we were rambunctiously traveling with a dog and a gaggle of kids. Nonetheless, what a great place to hike. Located on the Connecticut River Birding Trail in North Springfield, Vermont, these self-guiding trails are clearly marked and offer phenomenal diversity (forest, meadows, pond, flood plain). The literature offered by the Ascutney Mountain Audubon Society details the types of trees, birds and other wildlife you may see on your hike. We spent about two hours here and covered most of the trail system. Pack a picnic lunch, borrow our binoculars, and be sure to make this an item on your Must Do list when visiting Vermont.
One year ago today, Michael and I woke up on the living room floor of our spacious but barren, circa 1890 Victorian house in suburban Bridgewater, Massachusetts. We dragged our mattress and pillows down the snow-drifted walkway and driveway, loaded them into the trailer with some straggling last minute things, and said our final farewell to our home of eleven years. The weight of the emptiness in the house was a strong counterbalance to the anticipation that lay ahead.
By 11am, we were in the kitchen of Golden Stage Inn, meeting with the health inspector, getting our final Board of Health approvals.
By 3pm, we were signing documents at the bank.
By 5pm, we were innkeepers. And we had a rather full house of guests awaiting cookies and coffee, dinner suggestions and wine glasses …and a full breakfast the next morning!!
Has it been a year already? Has it been only a year?! Time does funny things. Regardless, it has been an incredible 365-day journey
for our family. The schools and the community are great. And we have hosted some of the most wonderful people at the inn. It’s funny, really — we are supposed to be offering hospitality and kindness to our guests, but we find we are receiving such gifts just as often. We feel indebted to so many people for such a wonderful year. To our community, to our guests, and to our employees, we send a giant THANK YOU. One year ago, we bought a big, beautiful house. But it is all of you who have filled this building with energy and warmth, turning this house into the inn of our dreams.
We’re fully booked tonight, on our one-year anniversary, but we hope to welcome you at our inn soon.
One might think a honeybee isn’t really an animal you’d get attached to. There are approximately 60,000 bees per hive and a single bee in the summer lives only six weeks. So, it’s not like you’re building emotional bonds with each bee. But collectively, embracing the whole hive as one living organism, you do get attached. Or at least I do. I recall, with only slight embarrassment, the spring I got my first hive. I would worry about them when the nights got chilly. I would check their food supplies every few days. Like a new mom with her infant, I would lean down to the hive boxes, press my ear to the hive, and listen for the hum of life. I almost cried on a day they didn’t leave the hive, convinced they had died. (They hadn’t; they were just avoiding the cold.) Five years later, I remain attached to our hives, but I no longer fret over them. I have trust that nature will provide for them and they will do their thing, including living and dying, aided by me or not.
Of course, there are still some tasks that a beekeeper must do for their bees and one of them is to prepare the hive for the winter. Since today promised 50 degrees, Michael and I decided that we would replace their screened bottom board with a solid wooden board (for warmth), check on their food stores (they need 80 pounds of honey to get through the winter) and partially seal up the hive entrance (reducing drafts and keeping mice out). Before opening the first hive, we listened. Sadly, there was no hum. We opened the hives to find the bees dead in a cluster, where they had been working to keep the queen warm and protected. There was a white powdery mold in one of the hives, but this may have happened after their death and does not necessarily provide me with a clue as to why they died. There was honey in the hive – not enough to get through the winter, but I would have thought enough to keep them humming until now. And the bees were in the hive, which rules out Colony Collapse Disorder, as trendy and tempting of a diagnosis as that may be. So their cause of death remains Undetermined.
Regardless of how they died, they’re gone. Certainly, we’ll look on the bright side and use this opportunity to scrape out our hive boxes and replace some frames. Maybe we’ll even get a third hive in the spring, and we’ll probably relocate the hives for better viewing from the solarium. But until our new bees arrive in the spring, our yard just got a little lonely, a little more “November dreary.” (Sigh.) I think I’ll go let the chickens out of their coop and watch them enjoy some free-range frolics while they fill the yard with life.