Monday, June 29, 2015

CHS Plant Sales Past

Thanks to Nancy McMillian, the daughter of Pat and Craig Rankin, we have a wonderful collection of photographs of previous year's plant sales. None of us are sure when Craig, a landscape architect, decided he could make money for the Cavendish Historical Society and enjoy doing what he loved best, planting and sharing his bounty with his community. Pat made delicious jellies and jams to sell that day. While we're getting a better handle on keeping Craig's tradition alive, his last one was in 2007, we're going to work on the jellies and jams recipes for 2016.

Pieter van Schaik took up the challenge of continuing the plant sale and has done a remarkable job. So we're wondering if there is something about suspenders and planting. Thoughts on that?

Craig's Price List 
Craig tending his plant sale gardens. 
Unloading plants for the July 4, 2006 plant sale. Pieter van Schaik is in the truck. 

Craig tending his plant sale nursery gardens. 

Pat relaxing on the steps of the Cavendish Historical Society Museum. 

Craig probably 2006 sale.

Craig and Pat at the Great Hosta Sale
Pieter van Schaik unloading the hosta. He's still using the same
truck to haul hosta to and from the sale.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cavendish Historical Society Plant Sale Photographs

Many thanks to all those who made the Cavendish Historical Society Plant Sale a great success-Pieter van Schaik and his team (Norma Randall and Brian Pelkey); Steine van Schaik;  Kem and Svetlana Phillips; Bruce McEnaney; Lou Choinere; Jen Leak; Gloria Leven; the Tings and Moonlite Meadows Farm (best compost ever); Anna Shapiro; Bob Naess; Cooper Naess; and Margo Caulfield. Photographs by Svetlana Phillips.

Since it's a rainy day-the perfect planting day-CHS will continue to sell plants at their "rainy day special" from 2-4 pm on Sunday, June 28. The Museum will be open so stop by and explore the new exhibit areas.

Still some good plants left at the end of the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tiemann Memoirs: Chapter 17/Calculating Wood Need

Getting the wood in for the coming winter was an important summer focus for Philip Tiemann. Following Chapter 17, is information on gagging how much wood you might need for a Cavendish winter.

To read the prelude and other chapters of Tiemann’s Memoirs go to Coming to Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann.

 Our first year at Windy Hill ended most pleasantly with the visit of a family of former neighbors from New Jersey. The brooks provided entertainment for the younger fry,- in fact, we older folks took advantage of the swimmin’ hold to get cool on hot summer afternoons after work. Also I derived great benefit from help and instruction in car mechanics, - the new cylinder was installed and other adjustment made, and be­fore the friends left Lizzie was ready to take the road again. And may­be we didn’t appreciate it!

If the hay is in, August is something of a between month; still plenty to do but with the crops under control and time to devote to other things. While Isabel and the children took care of the garden produce, (such as it was) and picked berries, I put the finishing touches on the new chicken shed,- wire across the open front (which later would be protected by a sunray-admitting, translucent plastic material) and a sliding door, besides various small projects. I also "changed work" for a few days with neighbors, helping them get in hay. It was necessary to cut more wood (not a very good job in the summer.) And I took time to walk over the place, checking boundary walls and fences, estimating possibilities of fields and pastures and reviewing successes and fail­ures of the past year.

For such greenhorns as we were, we certainly had been blessed with good luck,. Especially had our associations with our several neighbors been valuable, both in a personal way and in what I had learned. Working in company with practical farmers was the best possible method to acquire, knowledge of how to do things: not always the most up-to-date, perhaps, but the fundamentals were sound, Also I had a pile of Government bullet­ins which I studied as they applied to whatever I happened to be doing, which offered a more scientific approach. (As a result of this and the arguments it sometimes led to with my more experienced friends, I discovered I had been dubbed "the book farmer.") Of course my year of practi­cal experience was quite priceless, and altho I still did some things the hard way I was learning fast.

As a start for the second year I was determined to do better with the wood supply. There was enough in the shed to carry us for a while. Any which was cut at this time of year could be stacked to season for a couple of months; then altho still green it should not be sappy and after being sawed and in the shed for a while it should be usable- un­like some of the logs I had dug out of the snow the past, winter and burned almost immediately. The selection would be better, too,- gold rock maple and beech and birch (both yellow and white) with a minimum. of other species. I hoped thus to avoid further trouble with creosote, that bubbling, black, sticky, smelly goop dripping from the pipe joints.

Not only was it messy but it could be a hazard. When one of our friends noticed the condition he cautioned  us, "You'd better clean that pipe and probably the chimney. Get clogged up and you'll have a good chimney fire. If that ever happens," he advised, "throw a lot of kitchen salt into the stove and close the drafts, and call the fire department. They may get here in time to help but it may burn itself out anyway without setting the house afire." I lost no time in doing as suggested and found both the pipe and the chimney lined with a combustible crust. After the job was finished my clothes had to go into the wash and it took a couple of days to get the grime out of my skin. Thereafter 1 emptied the pipes of soot at least twice every winter. Despite precautions we once did have a chimney fire. It started mildly but soon was burning with a whooshing roar that turned the pipe rod-hot and was more than a little terri­fying. This is why sound chimneys are important, as crevasses in the brick may permit fire to reach interior woodwork,- and then, so long, house! Even a good volunteer fire company can't do much arriving after a fire gets a start and too often having a limited water supply, (So, country houses have high insurance rates.)

Like so many other good intentions I didn't begin to accomplish as much as I had planned, nor as soon, 1 did at least stack up several cords of wood and continued adding more until time to get it up from the woods to the shed, where my pile grew to about seven cords ready for sawing, It looked like a lot. Just about as snow was in the air a neighbor with whom I had worked - this one, from over the hill - came with his big old circular saw rig (drawn by a team) and set it between the woodpile and the shed, "Don't expect that to go you all winter, do you?" ho joshed me, "I thought you'd have twice as much," "There's a good seven cord," I responded. - "I guess maybe, Well, let's get it sawed up. But next time leave more room for me to get in with the rig," He put up the horses; then with some delay and a good deal of sputtering the single-cylinder engine was persuaded to start and the saw picked up its high-pitched whine,- As he could not spare more than a few hours at any one tine we worked off and ­on for a number of days, he "laying on" and I "taking away," that is, he pulled and lifted the logs from the stack onto the saw table with a stove length projecting and pushed it into the teeth. As the saw sliced thru with an angry buzz I supported the end of the log so its weight would not pinch the saw and when it came off heaved it as far as I could into the shed. I confess I was very glad the sawing periods were no longer, and that there was time, helped by the children, to pick up the chunks which had accumulated in piles and stack them properly else there would not have been sufficient space. When this was finished the supply was quite impressive...but it still proved less than enough for a long Vermont winter.

As hoped, the summer kitchen had proved-more comfortable, when the heat was not boxed in by a ceiling, But this worked both ways, and when it commenced to get really cold we couldn't keep any warmth out there, We hated to move the stove inside so Isabel stuck it out until the canning was completed, which was in early October, By that time the scrub wood we had been burning in the fireplace had boon used, and I didn't want to waste our precious supply of stove wood. So the stove came in.
That autumn we were lucky in not having a real freeze before October, when one night it got down to 26, This time we recognized the signs and prepared for it. Most of the more perishable things were already harvest­ed, the field corn was in, and the soybean hay mowed down so it would not suffer much flat on the ground, We hastily got in the last pumpkins and squash and covered some remaining beans. The latter were all we lost: they froze thru the covers. The cabbages being hardy were left out under baskets and pails hoping they would grow some more. Next morning the Swiss chard looked rather sad despite protection but I immediately cut and soaked several bushels and Isabel canned it at once. I had to strip the outer leaves from the smaller cabbages but the tender and succulent hearts could be used. - We finished the harvest soon after. As I pulled the large cabbage heads, they were hung by the roots in the cellar. This way they keep well, However, as I have indicated the kitchen garden was a disappointment and we had less on hand than the previous year.

This was not the only misfortune: the apple crop was short and besides those we used currently during August and September we had very-few to keep. This was thru no fault of ours, as fruit blossoms had been nipped generally by a late spring frost. In order to have some on hand we pur­chased a couple of bushels from a roadside stand on the way to Brattle­boro, - However, the field crops were in good condition, especially the hay. When I came to husk the corn it was very nice. Also it was a satisfaction to have the garden cleaned up and things in shape for the winter somewhat earlier than before. And having weathered a pretty rugged year on our own we were much more self-assured, and felt that our technique was improving.

So How Much Firewood Do you Need for a Cavendish Winter: As we’ve read in the first 17 chapters, Tiemann had a hard time figuring out how much firewood he would need. So how does one judge what you’ll need for the coming winter?

• Insulation: How much do you have in your house? The less you have, the more wood you’ll burn.

• Size of the area you plan to heat: Whole house or just one room?

• How warm do you want to be? If you are comfortable keeping the house at 65, you’ll need a lot less

• Type of Stove

• What type of wood do you have- very high-heat-value woods (equivalent to more than 220 gallons of oil per cord) which include hickory, apple, white oak, beech, and hornbeam, will give you steady fires of long duration and create deep beds of coals. The low-heat-value woods (less than 140 gallons of oil per cord), include most softwoods, poplars, basswood, and butternut, burn fast and make few coals. How seasoned the wood is also impact burn time.

Ultimately it’s better to have too much than too little. So if you think five cords will get you through the winter, add another cord or two just to be on the safe side.

Did you know that Vermont has a Roadside Firewood Lottery?  Between Jan. 2 and Jan. 16 you can apply to be part of the lottery. Names are drawn at the end of Feb. Those who receive permits are responsible for cutting and hauling their own wood from marked trees in the state’s forests. Learn more about residential wood heating at the VT Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation website.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

CHS Plant Sale: A Tradition that has continued for over 35 years

No one seems to remember the exact date, but at least 35 years ago, Craig Rankin started a plant sale to raise money for the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS). Craig came to Vermont from Long Island where he was a landscape architect working on a wide range of high-profile projects, including Yankee Stadium, the Wollman skating rink in Central Park, Jones Beach, and the New York State Thruway.

Craig was to hosta as Johnny Appleseed was to the apple-everyone needed to have one. As a result, nearly every home in Cavendish has a hosta plant.

Craig also graced Cavendish with his incredible artistic skill, of pen and ink drawings of well known landmarks in and around Cavendish. CHS has some of his original cards for sale that he drew as part of the "Save the Valley" campaign, which prevented the damming of the Black River. 

With Craig's passing in 2008, his legacy of the plant sale continued. This year the sale will be on Saturday, June 27, from 9-2 at the CHS Museum on Route 131 in the Village of Cavendish. Yes, there will be many different varieties of hosta, along with other types of perennials (iris, day lilies, pachysandra, ginger, forsythia, Lady's Mantle and more). For the first time, we have tomato plants all ready for your porch or patio. 

Other items for sale include fire starters and magical flowers made from the cans found on Cavendish’s highways and byways.

FMI: or 802-226-7807

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chapter 16 Tiemann Memoirs/Summer Memoirs 1950s

With the close of school this past week, its interesting to see how the Tiemann children spent their summer months. Following Chapter 16, is another memory of Cavendish, kids and summer, but this one is from the 1950s, when drive-in movie theaters were popular.

To read the prelude and other chapters of Tiemann’s Memoirs go to Coming to Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann.

I should have said, "school vacation." The children probably felt' they were worked awfully hard at home, but they generally were good about it. And we did have some nice times together. "How would you like a picnics?" we asked Joyce on her birthday. There could be only one answer to that, so we made greet preparations and carried baskets of food across Second Brook to one of the delightful spots on its banks. Here, at a wide pool, it was decided to have a "swimming” hole." So, after we (and the ants) had enjoyed lunch, the kids got busy carrying stones and building a dam. The water didn't get very deep but they seemed to have fun.

After a while they got tired of this and went off up Strawberry Hill to do some picking. Isabel and I assembled the picnic gear and returned to the house. In the cellar keeping moist I had 200 asparagus roots or "crowns" received the day before, and these I carried up to a garden strip I had prepared in the mowing and began to set them in. There were to be two rows, each 200 feet long, which is quite a lot of asparagus when it has to be placed deep. It required more than the one afternoon.

The field crops were well up, and even the vegetables sprouted hopefully. But we again were having almost too much rain and the garden was very wet.  We sold more old hay; then bought turkey eggs to set under a couple of still-broody hens. This seemed a worthwhile experiment as one of our friends hid a fine flock, but I guess we lacked the proper touch. Of the few poultry that hatched and survived, we found the care of rearing them and then the task of preparing them for table were more trouble than they were worth. Again, experience.

Our cat Lena ("Leaping Lena") had been in a family way for some time, when one day she disappeared, and when next we saw her she was lean and bedraggled. "Where in the world are Lena's kittens?" was the anxious question. We couldn't find them, and had visions of their dying under the floor of the shed. But in due course Lena produced them with pride. The children were almost as pleased as she was but I didn't like it so well. Kittens could not be given away in that neighborhood.

This year I intended to get in the hay myself, and it was just right when I began mowing on June 18. I was able to get most of it into the barn dry, altho interrupted by showers. The area is subject to not in­frequent sharp thunderstorms. After a fine morning, and perhaps with hay down, the big puffy thunderheads would begin rolling up over the horizon about noon. This was the signal to immediately get as much dry hay under cover as possible, so disregarding the lunch hour frenzied activity would, proceed until the lightning cracks began, to come near. Then it was wise to seek shelter in the house. (I once was in a barn when it was struck, a never-to-be-forgotten experience.) And presently the rain would come driving down. Later that afternoon if it had clear, or certainly the next morning, we would proceed to the mowing to shake out any down hay, which had certainly gotten drenched, perhaps having to do it twice before it could be brought in. We didn't mind so much the extra labors that the hay should get spoiled.

 It required experience to learn to apportion the time in order to ac­complish the most. Altho the haying took precedence there were hours unsuited to that work. Then there was corn to be hoed or cultivated for which I used the horse,-drawn sprig-tooth which was adjustable to a narrow width; the asparagus also, "which unwisely had been placed in a spot dominated by witch-grass, and to keep the rows relatively clear was an unending struggle. The kitchen garden demanded more time than it should have; in the moist soil the 'witch-grass was even more a problem. In fact we found this pest almost all over the place; it grew from tough roots, which spread their way for almost any distance and required a garden fork and much patience to get rid of even temporarily. Any bit of root left sent up new shoots. For hay, it had the virtue of strong growth but was coarse and made only so-so.. foredge. (As compensation, there was no poison ivy anywhere near.) And work on the chicken coop continued to consume spare time; with the chicks growing fast I began to feel really pushed,

The first part of July was good haying weather and to my satisfaction I finished that job. Besides having a full barn, 1 sold some standing in the field. While the garden was noticeably backward the kids be­gan pulling radishes, the earliest annual "crop" - and then came green peas and chard, - We had discovered in the long grass "across the street" some ancient rhubarb plants; this we liked very much and 1 moved it to the spot back of the house where the scrubby plums had been before dying of black rot,

Of course the animals had been turned in the pasture as soon as grazing would permit, which that year was toward the end of May. It depends on the weather, as the grass has to be permitted to make a good start first or it will be cropped too close to the roots. Even Pat was nibbling green stuff at a great rate, but he could not be allowed with the others as he would much have preferred to get sustenance from his mother; so ho had to be tethered or kept in the barnyard, he was growing beautifully,

The brooks were really paying off. Aside from their very practical use of providing plenty of fresh cool water for the animals. they were, as, soon as they warmed up a bit, a source of much enjoyment to the children, who splashed around without much on and were getting fine and brown.

Summer Memoirs 1950-The Drive In: Sandra Stearns, who grew up not far from Windy Hill, on what is today the farm on East Road close to the intersection of Brook Road. In her book “Cavendish Hillside Farm 1939 to 1957,” she writes about her memories of the 1950s.

In the 50’s Drive-in movies were popular. Mom, Dad, Junior and I would pile into the old Chevy with a big batch of homemade popcorn and a gallon of homemade root beer. At dusk on many spring, summer and fall Saturday nights we would head to Ascutney or Bellows Falls. Each car had its own speaker to it could be tuned up or down as desired. The car was parked on an incline so the passengers in back could see just as well as those in the front. The screen was immense and built high in the air. There was a playground set up for children, which was busy before the movies began and during intermission.

Drive-ins were double featured with a snack break between the features. At intermission time pictures of food you could purchase at the snack bar were displayed on the screen to whet you appetite. Small children came  dressed in pajamas, for they surely would fall asleep before they returned home. The advent of television diminished the popularity of the Drive-in. Now families could sit at home, be entertained, eat and talk as desired.

The 50’s also saw the opening of Claremont Speedway-Jalopy Racing. “Babe” (Carroll, Jr) Davis and Oscar Towle were early participants from Cavendish. Dad loved the excitement. Lots of summer Saturdays were spent at the raceway, cheering on our favorites. Tires squealed, engines roared and the dust flew. As the cars sped around the track, there were numerous bumpings and bangings. Drivers lost control and went into spins, hitting the fence or going into the in-field.”