Category Archives: The Cabin

The Fireplace

Tonight is a fire-in-the-fireplace night. Yesterday was hot and sticky and we slept with the doors and windows open and the ceiling fan spinning. It was not a typical September day in Vermont. Today dawned cloudy and cool – the rains arrived in full force by early afternoon, and tonight we’re nice and cozy in front of the fire.
I love this fireplace. To me it is really the essence of our Cabin. I’ve been told that when the cabin was built (1937 give or take a year) the fireplace cost as much as the building did. Today those round river rocks hold the same beauty that they did back then, but it’s not just the beauty of the stones that hold my affection, but the whole fireplace area.
There’s the ship’s clock that has kept time here at the cabin for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the first things I do when I get to the Cabin – a “good winding” will be good for about a weeks’ worth of tick-tocking me to sleep! See the picture next to the clock? That’s a picture of some of  the original buildings that were on this property. The cabin and the woodshed are actually built on the foundations (huge slabs of granite) of this little settlement. I’ve been told that some of the houses were moved to other sites – quite a feat I should say for the 1930’s!

Here’s the key to the clock (really, it’s quite a miracle that we’ve kept track of that key for all these years, don’t you think?) and a couple of sand dollars. Now I’m not quite sure just what sand dollars have to do with the cabin, but my Mom put them there, and I can promise you they will stay until they fall apart! And that’s just the way it is!
Ah, the cast iron collection! I love this stuff, and I’ve been trying to cook with those pans each day.
I think they just make everything taste better!
The harness race horse/Dwinell sign came from my folk’s mailbox. My dad was quite into the harness racing scene and my sister was also a horse lover. I bet you can see some other horse/barn related items without too much trouble. And the tin plate looking thing at the peak? It covers a hole in the chimney, but I don’t actually have a clue what the hole was for. Maybe it was “just in case” they decided to put a wood stove in? I guess it’s fireplace mystery. 🙂
We have wonderful, functional fireplace pokers and such. Do you know what that gadget with the little legs is ? It’s a fireplace toaster! And believe me, it does a great job! Just make sure to get all the spider webs out before you put in the bread…..
I can’t say this pot has ever heated (or even held) water in my memory, but it’s always been there on the left side of the hearth. Maybe my grandmother brought it up (she was quite a collector of interesting things), or maybe once upon a time it actually served a practical purpose. But for now it anchors that side of the hearth, and that’s good enough for me!
Well, that just about wraps up the fireplace tour. Oh, you’re wondering what’s with the baggie next to the sand dollars?
It seems that every year some little part of nature gets tacked up on the mantel for the rest of the family to enjoy. Some years we’ve had beautiful luna moths or other giant moth bodies that are found in the yard. This year we’re enjoying a snake skin. I’m not sure who tacked this up – but I’ve got a good idea! Next to the “exhibit” is a small child’s toy that my other grandfather carved out of solid piece of wood. I love that!

Thanks for coming along for my little fireplace tour.  I couldn’t mention everything, but as you can see the entire area is filled with special family items.  Some things practical (like the pokers and candles) and some things just pretty (like the “welcome” slate my sister painted).  But all together they make up the “comfort zone” of the cabin.

Can you hear it? ……I think the clock is ticking me to sleep………

My apologies

I’d like to offer my apologies for saying that Irene was largly a non-event to all of the Vermonters for whom Irene was anything BUT! Many, many cities and towns to the south and east of us were hit hard. Very hard. My friend Lynne shared this video of the streets of Ludlow (not that she took this video, since her road was completely washed out and she wasn’t goin’ anywhere!)

In our nearby town of Bradford (about halfway up the state, right along the CT river) the signs of flooding were evident in flattened vegetation along the still rushing Waits River and flooded fields next to the Connecticut. The Waits River snakes along byRte 25 as we drive outside of town to our cabin. You can usually see the beautiful river stones on its bottom, and it flows at a nice Sunday-afternoon-let’s-go-tubing speed as it heads to the dam in town and then into the Connecticut River.  Here are the “Bradford Falls” on a typical summer day –
Here is the dam when we passed it after church on Sunday –
When we ventured into town on Monday we learned that Rte 25 had been closed for most of the night due to flooding. We could see the flattened vegetation and up-rooted trees as we drove into town, so we weren’t surprised to learn of the closure.
And the river continued to blast over the falls –
even as the blue sky gave promise to better days!

Yesterday and today have been spectacular Vermont days – I suppose that makes it easier to assess the damage and get busy with the clean-up! But it will be a long (and expensive) road for many. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this monster storm.  Hardly a non-event.

First things first

We had a GREAT visit with our son, his beautiful wife and our newest grandson, Weston.
I did figure my primary job was to hold that little guy, but Gary felt that he could be a little more useful. And useful he was, transforming an ordinary closet
into a Super Closet!
Weston, of course, was amazing! At the tender age of 6 weeks, he is just beginning to smile and I even caught him chuckle. I know it was a chuckle. Don’t look so sceptical! He even had several nights in a row of sleeping 6+ hours, so while I’m sure there will be other nights of interrupted sleep, it was a very hopeful sign of better things to come. We were certainly smitten by him
and I’m sure you can see why!
It was so hard to say good-bye to these guys – one of the very hardest parts of our life on the road!

(There are more Weston pictures HERE – bet you’re surprised about that!)

So, Irene.
With all the news coverage of this storm, we decided to leave Lancaster a day early in an effort to beat the hurricane up the coast. Not that we could actually do anything about whatever the weather would bring, but at least we could “tip” the house a little to avoid any major leaking from the driving rain. (Let’s face it, we live in a tin can with two gaping holes in the side that are filled with moving parts. The chance of rain coming in in a bad storm is pretty high.) The rain arrived right on schedule, but I’m happy to report that aside from a good hard rain most of Sunday with a couple spells of some gusty wind, Irene has been mostly a non-event up here. Oh, there have been a few power outages due to trees down, and the nearby rivers are running wild, but I think basically the area is breathing a huge sigh of relief. We made it up to the cabin (after checking that Lizzie was is good shape) with only one detour to find that we were (as expected) without power. We pulled out the kerosene lantern, lit a couple of candles, built a nice cozy fire, and enjoyed the rain on the roof.
Pretty romantic, don’t you think?
OK, so going out in the rain to the outhouse wasn’t all that fun, but in the overall scheme of things, it was a good day all around!

Hope you were safe with all this crazy weather too!

P.S. Power came back on before dark, but those candles were pretty nice…..

A Sibling Saturday

Saturday we took one last (well, until the end of August) drive up to Bradford, VT, for a day at the Cabin with ALL of my siblings and their spouses! What a treat! We left early Saturday so we could stop at the Fairlee Diner in (you guessed it) Fairlee, VT (about 8 miles south of Bradford).
Fairlee Diner-1
Although this lacks the classic “Diner Car” look on the outside, it is Diner All The Way on the inside-
Fairlee Diner-2
(That’s real Vermont Maple Syrup in that little container 🙂 )
Breakfast was a real treat – blueberry pancakes for Gary and a wonderful cheddar/spinach omelet for me. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Fairlee Diner-3
We were set until dinner!
I couldn’t resist just one shot of the row of counter-sitters – This was one hoppin’ place on a Saturday morning!
Fairlee Diner-4
But, of course, the main event of the day was not Breakfast, it was an afternoon with my siblings and their spouses. Although the four of us siblings have been pretty regular in getting together each year (it’s pretty easy during Girls’ Week since Dewey lives about an hour away and we get together to talk over any “Cabin business”), to have us all there with our husbands and wife is a whole other story. I can’t tell you we accomplished great things or solved any of the world’s problems, but we did spend lots of time catching up with each other, comparing memories (it’s really amazing how the same event is remembered differently by each of us!), and looking forward to what is ahead for each of our families. We shared a delicious meal, enjoyed some late afternoon sunshine (after 3 days of rain so that was real treat), and thoroughly enjoyed each other! Here we are –
Not a bad looking group for a bunch of “Seniors”, if I don’t say so myself!
We have been so blessed to have this cabin property in our family (thanks to my grandparents!) –
but oh, even that blessing pales in comparison to the blessing of being part of this family!
Love. You. Guys.

I’m baaacccckkkkk…….

OK, so maybe you didn’t really miss me, but I missed you! Well, a little anyway. Several times during the week I thought about posting a little blurb about the wonderful week I was having with my sisters. Maybe share about our long mornings in front of the fire enjoying our coffee and then how we just moved to the front lawn and sat in the sunshine and tried to identify birds. And then suddenly it was 1 PM! Ah, the excitement of Girls’ Week. I did a terrible job of “documenting” our week – no official Sisters Picture, no picture of our time with Aunt Berta and cousins Dorothy and Catherine, no pictures of the family gathering we had on Saturday. Really, a terrible job. But, since I couldn’t let the entire week go entirely undocumented, here are a couple of random shots that I did manage to take. There were the birds….
(an Eastern Phoebe, I believe)
(and that’s a Yellow-bellied sapsucker, doncha know)
And then the flora –
The beautiful Blue Flags that are starting to ring the pond
and along the edge there are the sundews – an honest to goodness carnivorous plant living right in our little corner of the world. Who knew? (They are pretty small, actually, but pretty darn interesting!) Some of them are even enjoying a meal!
And then there were the sunsets…..
Oh, yeah, the sunsets.
And then there was the precious sister time. As expected, we did lots of laughing. Some down-right-tears-running-down-our cheeks-laughing. We did some serious talking too – sharing how the Lord has been working in our lives this past year. The ups and the downs. The praises and the petitions. We took care of some cabin business (always some of that to do), and were very thankful for Gary who came and mowed the grass when he dropped me off and then mowed again (best he could in the rain) when he came to pick me up. We stayed up late (well, for us anyway), slept in as much as possible with those birds waking up with the sunrise, and took our fair share of naps. We played games in the evenings, sang through our favorite hymns a couple of nights, and ended each night with thankful hearts. We are so blessed to have this treasure we call The Cabin, but more importantly we are blessed to have this treasure called Family.
Oh, and did I mention we ate a fair bit of chocolate, too?
After all, it was Girls’ Week!