Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hear, hear for local beer

A growler of Abner for later. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Bethany M. Dunbar, May 30, 2010

Congratulations to Shaun Hill and the rest of the folks at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro for a wonderful grand opening party yesterday.

We tried Edward and Abner and got our T-shirts, glasses and even took home a growler for later.

The live jazz music was great, and we had a good time visiting with all kinds of people who turned out to give the new brewery a try.

It definitely felt like the start of something good.  Waiting in line for a glass of this beer reminded me of waiting in a line in college back at the University of Vermont in the late 70s when a couple of guys were making ice cream.  Okay, I know, it’s making me sound old, but those two guys were Ben and Jerry.  The ice cream was worth the wait and everyone knew it.  Everyone in those lines was happy to be there it felt the same way yesterday.

The food at the Hill Farmstead Brewery, made by Laura Thompson of Parker Pie, was incredible.  I have never had a trout cake before, but I sure hope I get a chance to have another one someday.  That was just plain amazing.

Parker Pie is another great local phenomenon, and if you haven’t been there yet, what are you waiting for?

The Chronicle’s story about Hill Farmstead Brewery is up on our web site, so I hope you will check that out.

Memorial Day weekend is the first long weekend of the summer.  For news reporters it’s a long work weekend, but I got kind of lucky this year and did not have to work Saturday or Sunday, just Monday.  And Monday’s work will be really enjoyable — covering Memorial Day ceremonies in Barton and working on processing all the photos everyone else takes.  The weather is pretty great.  I’m hoping everyone is having a wonderful long weekend.

Are you putting in a garden?  Having some kind of awesome local food?  Kayaking, hiking, riding bikes?  How are you spending your first long weekend of the summer in this wonderful weather?  I hope you are having a great one.  The summer feels full of potential right now.

Thanks for reading.

It’s a small world in offbeat animal news

by Bethany M. Dunbar, May 21, 2010

This is the osprey Tanya Sousa rescued in Coventry. It only lived about a month. Photo courtesy of Tanya Sousa

The osprey died.  The moose wandering around in Barton was killed by a Fish and Wildlife warden because it seemed to have something wrong with it.

But there is some good news to report in Mutual of Barton’s Wild Kingdom (as Roland Lajoie of WLVB radio called it lately — thanks Roland).

Peter Lowry got his giant tortoise back.  And Pete the moose is going to get a pardon of sorts.

More on Pete the Moose later.

As for the tortoise, it turns out the person who had taken it had left it with someone else, and that person saw all the news stories and realized the creature was stolen.  She called Peter, and as a result the tortoise is home, safe and sound.

That’s a happy ending.

Not so for the moose wandering around in Barton Village.  I saw it (photos are posted elsewhere on this blog) trying to get into Dan McMaster’s garage and walk onto the front porch of his house.  So I knew the moose, which seemed to be a young female, was not thinking straight.  Still it did not look skinny, its fur was shiny and thick, it did not look sick.  When it did not go back to the woods for a number of days, a Fish and Wildlife warden decided, based on his experience, it was not healthy and shot it.  No tests were done.  It doesn’t seem right.

The other animal story I have written lately ended sadly as well.  Tanya Sousa rescued a stranded osprey that had been shot by some yahoo near her home in Coventry.

The bird lived for about a month after that, thanks to her action and the efforts of a rehabilitator named Craig Newman whose nonprofit organization took the bird in and tried to rehabilitate it.

His best efforts failed, and the bird died.

Tanya is trying to make something good out of something really sad right now.  She’s working on fund-raising to help Mr. Newman’s organization continue to do its good work rehabilitating birds when possible and releasing them back to the wild.  The organization, called Outreach for Earth Stewardship, cares for 13 birds at Shelburne Farms, including an American kestrel and owls.  Birds that can’t be released are kept for educational purposes, in hopes kids who see them close-up will grow up to be people who won’t shoot them.

I am very much a supporter of hunting, but good hunters don’t use a magnificent creature like an osprey for target practice.  Good hunters don’t shoot a bird like that by accident, either, because good hunters know what they are shooting at — always.  It is a federal crime to shoot an osprey, and if anyone knows who did it, they should report that person.

Here’s where the small world part comes in.  My daughter, Katie, a student at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, is studying bobolinks and other grassland birds this summer as part of her education in the major of psychobiology.

Her study takes her to Shelburne Farms — where the birds Mr. Newman cares for are housed.  Hopefully she will get to meet him and see the birds he’s taking care of there.

Back home at the Chronicle’s web site, we are starting to post some of the current week’s news stories, in an ongoing effort to collaborate with VTDigger.

This week we are featuring the news about the Town Meeting in Albany about the Lowell wind project, and a new brewery in Greensboro, Hill Farmstead. We got a chance to try it, and boy is it nice!

Hear, hear for great beer!

What blogs do you read?

by Bethany M. Dunbar, May 14, 2010

Every so often I look through the Word Press blogs kind of randomly to see what’s out there.  It’s interesting to look, and I always wonder what else is out there that I’m probably missing.  Some of the photography blogs in particular are pretty fascinating.  So dear readers, I am hoping you will post comments here to tell me about your favorite blogs because I’d like to check them out.

One blog I like is written by a friend of mine, Bethany Knight.  It is called Tender Loving Calling. She posted a blog recently that included a link to something called the Five Tibetan Rites, and holy cow, this thing is changing my life.  It’s five simple exercises (notice I said simple not easy).  I’m finding that if I can do them each morning I do not have back pain.  They involve spinning, stretching and a sort of reverse push up.  It’s amazing.

For the past couple of years I always seem to wake up with a stiff or sore lower back.  Over the course of the day it often loosens up, or sometimes it doesn’t.  But the first time I did these exercises it felt fine right away and felt fine all day.

More and more in life I realize that different things work for different people.  As I get older I am more willing to try this and that, except not drugs so much.  But changes in diet, exercises, new blogs to read.  Sure, why not.

I am running again this spring at least a few mornings a week to try to lose weight.  Plus it makes my dog really happy.

Featured on the Chronicle’s web site this week are stories about diversity, the junior chef competition, and how local foods can help the local economy.  Plus we are putting up more bonus photos of events we have covered.  Pretty soon you will see some extras of the Orleans Central Supervisory Union and Lake Region Union High School spring concerts taken by Peter Cocoros.  He sells prints, so if your child is in there and you want a nice 8×10, give him a call.  He lives in Barton and he’s in the phone book.

Pete took some of the first photos the Chronicle published 30 years ago.  He is a veteran, a talented photographer and trumpet player.  I have to give him credit for making the switch to digital.  Like most of the other photographers I know, once he made the switch he found he loves what the digital cameras can do.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to give me some blog suggestions.

Mother’s Day

by Bethany M. Dunbar May 9, 2010

My mother, Helen Ellis Merrick of Craftsbury, will be 90 years old in July.  I am still learning from her.

Hi Mom! Helen Ellis Merrick. Photo by Bethany Merrick Dunbar

She has an enviable appreciation for moment-to-moment life — the beauty of the clouds, going for a ride to get ice cream, the neighbors’ kids, her family.

For Mother’s Day today, we all went out to brunch, and I gave my Mom and my sister little mother’s day cards sealed with sealing wax.

I tried to express on it my thanks for everything she has done.

Here are some of the things I said and I remember:

Mom always drove the neighborhood kids to the basketball games.  In junior high, there was no money for a bus, so Mom was the bus.  She went to all those games and never acted bored, but she must have been.  The kids in the group thanked her by pitching in to buy her a little salt and pepper set shaped like squirrels hanging on tree branches.

We spent our summers in Tamworth, New Hampshire, and in those days Mom was the one taking us kids for ice cream.  She took us to go swimming, to drive-in movies and to horseback riding lessons.  She didn’t come hiking with us, but once when we went backpacking and camped out on the river there was a thunderstorm.  My sister and our friend Lynne and I were soaking wet but still having a great time, lying there in wet sleeping bags reading out loud from My Side of the Mountain.

Pretty soon we heard, “Hello!!”

Mom was worried that we got struck by lightning.  I still to this day don’t know how she found us but she did.  Once she could see that we were okay, she left us until we were ready to come home and get dry inside.

Mom told me to wash my apples before I eat them, and to eat my spinach and don’t take medicine unless I really, really need to, and be careful with my money.

Mom grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, the daughter of an architect.  She was a Smith College graduate like her mother.  During World War II she worked on quality control at the airplane factory called Wright Aeronautical.

After my parents moved to Vermont my mother worked for the state of Vermont, Health Department, in the Women, Infants, and Children program.  She always said it was a really good experience because she got to know what life was like for the people in the program who were struggling to make ends meet every day.

My mother is an artist.  She used to make some income from selling house portraits — she painted people’s houses from photographs.  She also made a map of the whole town of Craftsbury with the names of everyone who lived in each house at the time of the map.

Mom taught me that it’s okay to express your emotions.  If you cry when you are happy, you’re kind of crying and kind of laughing.  She named that craphing, and that’s okay too.

We do it a lot in our family.

It always makes me feel very, very lucky.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and kids out there.  How did you spend your day?