Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer Time Blues

Greetings all! Well, it's hard to believe, but summer is almost over (unofficially). That kind of gives me the blues, since there is so much more to do before winter. Things are moving forward up north, with about 1/3 of the lot now seeded, and the rest will be done in short order.
The ground has dried up considerably, and allowed us to walk the property without sinking in, so now with grass going in, it will help solidify things even more.

(Freshly seeded & dry land)

There is still a bit of runoff, but nothing like what we saw a few weeks back. this was the western side of the property, where the water drains away.
I could actually still here some water bubbling as it dropped from one tier to another, cascading down over small rock and earth. So maybe we will have a permanent babbling brook, only time will tell.

Next up will be a garage before winter if everything goes right, and the stars align properly.

We also had an abundance of wildlife in the area. In talking to the neighbor, he told us how there was a large gathering of turkeys in his yard, fertilizing an already thick growth from the recent rains. Also visiting and eating the apples from his tree were a buck and 2 does. I found that they seemed to like the areas we opened up, and it looks like they found the softer spots early on.

As a side trip we drove around the back roads (not hard because in Vermont, most every road is a back road) and a short distance from the property, we found a covered bridge. (Not too hard to find these) Along with the covered bridge, were various markers and a plaque describing the area, called Greenback Hollow. Ironically, the waterway the bridge crossed was "Joe's Brook", which connects to "Joe's Pond"

The History Lesson

The Greenback Hollow Bridge-Replaced

Joe's Brook-not to be confused with the other Joe's stream above.

During the day I met Andy, who lived nearby, and used to own the farm behind us. He sold it to a family from CT, and now lives with his dad. Neither looked like they were spring chickens, but they were out haying the field across the street from us. Both fine people. Always nice to meet neighbors up that way. What still strikes me as strange, coming from "the big city" is the amount of trust people still have up there, compared to us. We lock things up tight when we go out, never imagine leaving expensive equipment out for fear of theft or vandalism. As I drive by farm, field, or house, and see snowmobiles on trailers or front porches, quads parked in front of houses, tractors left by the road in the field, it is nice to see that there is still some of that basic trust left in the world.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

High Water

Greetings all who peruse this page. It is August 10, and at the moment it is sunny, but severe storms are in the forecast for later in the day. The past week has been crazy as as the weather goes, with severe downpours @ home and in Vermont, including tornado warnings- yes tornado in CT. Reading the highlights from the Caledonian Record- the local Vermont newspaper- flash flooding has caused some severe issues up there as well. I spoke with some friends earlier in the week who summer in New Hampshire, and they told me how this has been the wettest summer they remember in the longest time.

I really believe this to be true, and in reading the paper, it appears so. From the Caledonian Record:
" At least 1.82 inches fell Wednesday morning and some places up to 3 inches fell"

"So far this month we've gotten 3.52 inches of rain, and the average rainfall for the month of August is 4.23 inches. So far, the total rainfall for the summer months (June, July, August) is 18.06 inches, when normally, this would be 11.99 inches."

Why am I babbling on about rainfall you may ask? Well rainfall directly impacts land clearing. I received a call early this week, and was informed there was quite a bit more water showing up than originally thought, and we needed to modify the original plan a bit, and construct a drainage swale to help run off the water, and allow the property to dry up. So of course I agreed. I received another call on Friday, and was told everything was set except for the seeding, and this would have to wait until things dried up a bit, and that it has been wetter up there than anyone can remember in a long time.
Originally, I wasn't going to go up this weekend, but plans changed late Friday so we made the early morning trek up to view the final land clearing/excavation/drainage installation. Again it started off very foggy on the way up, we passed what was later announced as a fatal car crash in Plainville, and a big rig rollover into center median near the Mass/VT border. finally arriving, weather clearing for nice pictures, and a light breeze blowing.

So immediately we noticed a new swale of the eastern side of the property, and water was running down, albeit slowly. As we walked the perimeter, first in a southerly then westerly direction, the swale increased in size and the water in volume.

Toward the western end water was coming from a drainage area near the septic, as well as the wet area we had known about. Now we are starting to wonder if there is a spring or artesian well in this area. But there was enough water running from here that you could actually hear it bubbling like a brook.

The water was then diverted northerly to drain out to the existing culvert in front. so in a sense, we now have a "moat" around the perimeter of the cleared area. Guess my next option would be to look to build a castle :-)

Well, hopefully the crazy amount of rain will slow down, and we can get grass growing soon, the property will dry up, and we can start looking at next steps, like building something, whether a small home or at least a garage for now. Stay tuned-and don't throw away those inner tubes yet-

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Muddy Waters, Rainy Days

Muddy Waters

Well its been 3 weeks since our last trip north, partially due to a busy schedule, partially because the ride up and back in one day tends to wear you out after a while. We left before sunrise on a partly cloudy Saturday morning, and immediately saw a young deer, debating whether to cross the road or not. Thankfully he chose to run back into the wood from whence he came.

The ride is approximately 3.5 hours, depending on traffic and other factors(i.e. radar traps) and shortly after we drove into Massachusetts, we encountered various areas of patchy fog. It amazes me how the fog can be dense, then non-existent in a matter of 1/2 mile. We encountered foggy conditions through most of the rest of the drive up.

At times it was indeed "so thick you could cut it with a knife". We stopped @ our normal breakfast spot-P&H- Exit 17 of I-91- Good food, great service. After a refreshing repast, we drove the final 30 or so miles to the property. In speaking with our contractor, he was hoping to start the stumping and grading Thursday afternoon, if everything worked out. The first step was to rough in the driveway, so they could unload the heavy equipment without damaging the road, or tracking mud and debris. All that and more was done by Saturday morning when we arrived.
As you can see the driveway has been roughed in and they have stumped about a third of the land. Included in the driveway was a culvert for the roadside, which allows the spring runoff to flow by.
Evidently they had some massive downpours Friday afternoon, so it was a bit muddy, and and a bit wet, so we walked mostly the perimeter to survey the progress.

We walked out back to the septic area as well, an they haven't gotten that far yet, but the path from the skidder was apparent, and challenging to maneuver...
Once in the back of the lot, beyond the man made destruction-or construction, nature still exists. I was unable to get any pictures of the birds calling from the trees, but still life abounds

And of course what would a trip like this be without the obligatory photo of me on the equipment :-)

After a quick detour to Lyndonville to look at a few modular homes and gather information-coincidentally right across from the Lynburke Motel-one our our famous snowmobile "rest areas", we headed back home. Holding true for a change to the weather forecast, we hit some pretty crazy weather, raining intermittently at first, but then with a torrent of heavy showers, which made the last hour of the ride aggravating to say the least. I don't understand why people forget how to drive when it rains.... ah but that's another blog for another time. So I leave you with............

Rainy Days