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November 20, 2008

First Snow

first snow

For the past four years I’ve made the transition from Raven to land during the week of Thanksgiving, usually the Tuesday before. Last year we logged our last 30 miles of the year during a major winter storm – 30 knots of wind on the nose with a foot of snow in the offing. On the day Raven was hauled we hastily winterized the engine and fresh water systems and retreated while the nor’easter passed. When we returned to erect the winter cover over Raven’s decks we had inches of solid ice to contend with. It wasn’t fun.

This year, I decided to haul early. On November 12th I prepared the boat in a t-shirt under sunny, 45-degree skies with no wind. What a difference weather can make! We put the winter cover on two days later with a warm wind blowing 55-degree air from the south. Raven is currently tucked in at the Shelburne Shipyard and we’ve made the winter migration to Gypsy Rose on the land in Tunbridge.

first snow

The warm weather did not last, however. We arrived in Tunbridge as a long-lasting cold front swept down from the Canadian Maritimes. Snow squalls dusted the meadows in white and the overnight temperatures dropped to 12 degrees.

first snow

I’ve been enjoying my trips to fetch water at the stream that flows at the base of the slope. Tonight I stopped to photograph the ice that has begun to form on the stream bank vegetation. Water freezes as it flows down the stems and then begins to spread as “pools” of ice across the stream’s surface. I look forward to watching this landscape transition into its winter sleep.

November 06, 2008

Around the World and Back Again

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I’m writing this entry from my seat on an Amtrak train. Marion and I are on the final leg of a three week journey we’ve titled the “Daughters Tour 2008.” Along the way, our route has taken us through 19 states on a great circle loop across the northern plains, down the California coast, and, as I write now, into the Colorado Rockies. The trip has exceeded all expectations (and delivered some long awaited hugs).

Marion and I have both traveled extensively. During our years as U.S. Air Force radar technicians (long, long ago) we crisscrossed the states, including much of the countryside we’re seeing today. In my years I’ve taken countless transcontinental flights, driven cross-country several times in cars and trucks, ridden a motorcycle from the Golden Gate to Vermont, hitchhiked across the nation (after reading Kerouac while in college), bicycled across (twice), but, until now, I had never taken the train. With many other modes for comparison, I must say that the train is tough to beat.

Yet, as magnificent as the view is from our coach window, we both agree that there’s no place like our home in Vermont.

autumn

We’ll be returning to a landscape that has already seen the first of winter’s snow. Raven is scheduled to be hauled from the waters of Lake Champlain on November 12th and we’ll make the seasonal transition to our Gypsy home. A greenhouse/workshop and the installation of solar power will be at the top of our project list for the coming weeks.

autumn

Above, Marion transplants a garlic chive from our summer garden in Burlington to the apple orchard in Tunbridge.

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Gypsy is back in place, astride her newly poured footings, ready for snow!

autumn

Home sweet home!