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“Rumors generally grow deformed as they travel.”

 

 

Sugar Hill Road -- just after Tropical Storm Irene

There was a rumor floating around here that our road down toward East Wallingford was not going to be finished this year and in fact it was not going to be opened at all during the winter. The purported news made me groan. That’s just going to be a pain in the butt and I was simultaneously angry at myself for being so selfish. Yesterday, we were out and about and passed a road that was still gone and the only means of ingress and egress for residents on that road was a single person width temporary metal bridge. As we drove by, an older woman, carrying plastic grocery bags was traversing the bridge, evidently coming home from the store. So easy to forget that there are still a lot of people who are dealing with a lot more serious consequences of the storm than my inability to drive down my road and instead the idea that I would have to drive a few miles out of my way. But I digress. Could this rumor be true? I didn’t know, but I did what any self respecting resident would do, I went down to Town Hall and asked the powers that be. Imagine that. Instead of taking the bait from whatever poor source it had come, I decided to make some effort to find out whether or not it was true. I was told that the Selectboard meeting was that evening and although they didn’t have an answer for me, they did know that road status was on the agenda. 

I am embarrassed to say that in the years that I have been living here, I have not had the opportunity to sit through a Selectboard meeting other than the annual Town Meeting, which is more of an event than an actual meeting.

It so happens that another resident up this way was soliciting neighbors to attend that very same meeting to voice complaints about the roads and the progress being made.

It so happens that Tom and I attended that meeting. We wanted to hear firsthand what was the status of the road we rely on daily. Others showed up as well. While one of these residents was voicing concerns,. Tom and I were grouped with them, meant to demonstrate to the board that there was a showing of support to his cause. That did not sit well with me. I do not like being lumped in when in fact that was not the reason that I was there. I made a point to let everyone know that I was not there as part of the disgruntled citizens — I had simply been advised that if I wanted to make it past the rumors I should attend the meeting. Presumptions can be wrong and dangerous. No one asked me why I was there, it was assumed.

Turns out the rumor was not true. Sometimes things are not always as they appear.

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Today I had to run a few errands this morning. As I was walking to my car in the parking lot, a woman came up to me, a little older than myself. She asked me if I had any idea where the FEMA offices were located. Someone had told her Commons St. and she was unfamiliar with where that was located. I knew where it was since my doctor’s office is in the same complex. I gave her directions. She asked if we sustained any damage in the wake of Irene, I told her no, that our road was washed away, but otherwise we were okay. I asked her about her damage. She looked at her car, parked next to mine and said “All I have left is my car. Everything else is gone washed away.” I expressed my sympathy for her losses. She looked at me, smiled and said “It makes you appreciate the simple things in life.”

Hard to gripe about the difficulties in your own life when you come face to face with that, isn’t it?

Appreciate the simple things….

Image: Fat Toad Farm

Who can’t resist caramel? Especially as we come into apple season. Or, if you’re refusing to let go of your summer, caramel over your ice cream. In any event, please go to Fat Toad Farm today and buy some caramel — or a really cool Tshirt or Hoodie. Please? Pretty please?

The reason for my pleading is that today Wednesday September 7th, Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield VT is helping out their friends and our friends Evening Song Farm with a fundraiser where they are donating all profits from orders placed today to Kara and Ryan at Evening Song Farm. For those who might not know, Kara and Ryan lost everything in Hurricane Irene, their farmland has been decimated and now has the newly re-routed Mill River running through it, rendering the property completely useless for farming.

Fat Toad Farm folks, who escaped the storm relatively unscathed are trying to help out fellow farmers, fellow goat people, fellow Vermonters. Can you help too?

 

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Here are some pictures from Wallingford Pond Road and Chapin Road in East Wallingford. These are two roads down the street from us.

I couldn’t be happier to see my friend Kara of Evening Song Farm at the Rutland Farmer’s Market this morning! Kara and Ryan were able to pick tomatoes prior to the storm and of course they were already drying their onions, shallots and garlic in the barn, which thankfully wasn’t damaged.

They are maintaining a very positive attitude with the help of such great community support. I was heartened to hear that they are undertaking the task of moving forward with the same veracity to which they attended their crops.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Evening Song Farm is a 3 acre farm owned by Kara Fitzgerald and Ryan Wood-Beauchamp in Cuttingsville. They purchased the property just a little over a year ago and have put their heart and soul into turning the land into a community supported agriculture farm. Their farm which bordered the Mill River was forever changed by Irene. The course of the river literally changed and now runs through what was their bountiful farmland.

Here is a video where Kara and Ryan show the devastation to their land.

If you are inclined to help, please visit their webpage on how to donate to their rebuilding effort.

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So, thankfully we are okay up here on the hill. We have good friends and neighbors and we’re making the best of a bad situation. I keep reminding the boys that we are inconvenienced –no power(they are saying it could be two weeks), phones come and go and limited road access — but we still have a house and our lives. Many here were not as fortunate.   Part of our road down has been made passable by the efforts of the town road crew and local folks so at least residents can get out if needed. The roadway headed down from here toward Route 103 is completely gone so that is going to require way more than a truckload or two of gravel and some equipment.

Friends on Facebook have been circulating pictures of the damage all around us, a lot of which is absolutely horrific. We hear parts of Route 7 headed to Rutland are completely gone. Killington lost its base lodge, this was the picture online today. Many of Vermont’s beautiful covered bridges were ripped away by the flood waters.

Lots of work to be done to repair roads and build new bridges. It will be a while before things return to “normal”.

Photo: Rutland Herald

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It is incredible how much damage Irene did to Vermont. We are seeing and hearing about incredible damage. So very, very sad. We are very fortunate that the damage to our property was extremely minimal compared to those around us. We lost a couple small trees. The road leading to our house has been washed away almost completely in both directions and we are without power. The road crews are doing their best to get us a way down off the hill via Sugar Hill Road, although there really aren’t a lot of places to go from what we understand since so many roads and bridges are just completely gone.

One of the extremely disheartening stories about our neighbors involved our friends at Evening Song Farm. The farmland was literally destroyed by the storm. The river berm gave way and the river has diverted through their property.

The land in this picture was farmland as of Saturday evening. Acres and acres of vegetables for their CSA patrons and farmer’s market customers. As you can see, not only is everything washed away, the farmland has been replaced with river silt, sand and rocks. Their land has apparently been rendered unusable as farmland.

This was Kara and Ryan’s first year here in Vermont and in our community as CSA farmers. My heart breaks for their loss. Yes no one’s life was lost here but their livelihood was destroyed and the devastation is heart wrenching.

We were able to get down there and express our sympathies for their loss and in a true testament to the spirt of Vermonters, while we were standing there talking, several folks stopped and offered their hands to help.

Here are some more pictures taken today as we wandered around the hill. The devastation is incredible.

Evilwife on the move

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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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