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Messages - Norton

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16
Current News & Events / Re: The White House & Habitat for Humanity
« on: March 07, 2014, 08:52:44 AM »
For the record, I love the White House and always have.
As I return from a trip and head down Hunt Street,
it has represented "home".

However, the building is old and has served its purpose.
The school owns it and is interested in tearing it down.

Yes, the building is old.  Old is good.  Old is history.  Old defines Vermont's scenic villages, including Fairfax.

Has it served its purpose?  Its purpose is to be a home.  In the past it did that, and in the future it could, too.

It made sense to move the town office out.  The improvements necessary for it to continue as a public building would have cost too much.  But thatís totally different than the requirements for a private residence.  Why tear it down?  It could be sold to a family, thereby providing perhaps a quarter-million dollars to the school, plus four grand or so a year in property taxes.  There would be no demolition expense, and the town would retain one of the classic buildings that give our village its character.

The lot isnít useful for anything else.  Tear the building down and we would just have an empty lot to maintain.  Itís not big enough to provide any significant parking, even if the school wanted to incur the expense of paving and maintenance.

Of course the building needs work.  But look at it.  The roofline is straight, the roof and old clapboards are still in good shape (mostly), and the interior has the original woodwork.  Itís a nice house.  Why destroy it?

17
Current News & Events / Re: Carbon Monoxide Scare
« on: December 23, 2013, 08:59:57 AM »

It's worth noting that the natural flow of air in cold weather moves air from an attached garage into the house, almost never in the other direction.  The interface between the garage and house is never completely airtight.  Generators should never be used in attached garages, even with the overhead doors open.  There were deaths a few years ago in Underhill from a generator in an attached garage.  The overhead doors were open, but that didn't keep the CO from migrating into the house.

18
General Discussion / Re: A Question From A New Fairfax Resident
« on: November 12, 2013, 05:49:50 PM »

We live near there too.  It's pretty common to hear them.

What sort of dog do your have?  Big dog (coyote repellent) or small dog (coyote lunch)?

It's very rare for coyotes to attack humans, but if you have small pets it can be a concern.

19
General Discussion / Re: Looking For Slate Chalkboard
« on: November 12, 2013, 05:45:53 PM »

I've used a paint-on coating that (more or less) behaved like a chalkboard.  Not quite as good as slate, but handy and cheap.

20
Political Issues/Comments / Re: are you going to vote for shummy again?
« on: September 27, 2013, 06:21:33 PM »

Rod, I think it's way too early to decide who to vote for, don't even know who's running.  But you could reduce the chances of my voting for Shumlin if you could give me some specific examples of "all the stupid stuff he has done in the last year".  Do you have any?

21
Current News & Events / Re: He's Back
« on: September 22, 2013, 10:00:37 PM »

3plusk, I didn't mean to imply that your bear was baited.  I apologize if it sounded like that.

Yes, it's bear season.  And it's illegal to shoot bears at a bird feeder.  And if you look at the definition of "baited area" given above, I think it's clear that going up to Skip's back yard and killing the bear that has been attracted there by food is illegal, even if the food was placed there to attract birds.  If you think it's "responsible" kill wildlife illegally, I guess that's your opinion.

Leaving food out is the main reason for bears in people's yards, even if the intent is to feed other animals.  To me, it seems reasonable to follow the Fish & Wildlife advice I quoted to minimize the bear problem. 

22
Current News & Events / Re: He's Back
« on: September 22, 2013, 07:59:57 PM »

This is from the Vermont Dept of Fish and Wildlife website:

People love to see the Eastern Black Bear in its natural surroundings. But when bears venture into human territory, problems can occur. Often, bears pay the price. Bears can get all the food they need from the forests, but they are opportunists. This means they eat whatever food they can find most easily. When a chance for easy food presents itself, bears take advantage of it. People often encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food without realizing it. Once bears become used to these food sources and come into frequent human contact, people sometimes call them "nuisance bears." But, they are just being bears! Some of the most common sources of food provided by people that attract bears are: pet food, bird feeders, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, and campsites with accessible food and food wastes.

Here's what you can do to keep from attracting bears out of their forest habitat. Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally. Feed your pets indoors. Feed birds from December to March only. Store trash in a secure place-trash cans alone are not enough! People need to remember that bears are wild animals. Everyone is better off when bears stay in their natural habitat-the forest. People love to see the Eastern Black Bear in its natural surroundings. But when bears venture into human territory, problems can occur. Often, bears pay the price. Bears can get all the food they need from the forests, but they are opportunists. This means they eat whatever food they can find most easily. When a chance for easy food presents itself, bears take advantage of it. People often encourage bears to come out of the forest by providing food without realizing it. Once bears become used to these food sources and come into frequent human contact, people sometimes call them "nuisance bears." But, they are just being bears! Some of the most common sources of food provided by people that attract bears are: pet food, bird feeders, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, and campsites with accessible food and food wastes.

Here's what you can do to keep from attracting bears out of their forest habitat. Never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally. Feed your pets indoors. Feed birds from December to March only. Store trash in a secure place-trash cans alone are not enough! People need to remember that bears are wild animals. Everyone is better off when bears stay in their natural habitat-the forest.


Hunting bears with the use of bait is prohibited

Hunters may not use bait or a baited area to take bear.  A ďbaited areaĒ is defined as an area where meat, carrion or any other substances capable of luring or attracting bear has been has been placed or deposited.

It is illegal to shoot a bear that is visiting a bird feeder.

It is illegal to feed bears.

23
Current News & Events / Re: He's Back
« on: September 22, 2013, 07:45:29 PM »

Quote
Our squirrel baffle did not keep this guy from helping himself to an afternoon snack in our backyard

Quote
a rubbermaid container with a top on it, containing about 30 pounds of birdseed, was gone

Quote
bear took down 2 of our feeders


Isn't the cause of the problem obvious?  Is there any need to feed squirrels or birds this time of year?

There are folks volunteering to shoot it once it has been baited into the back yard.  Is that fair to the bear?  Or "sporting"?

24
Current News & Events / Re: Asking Your Indulgence On A Particular Topic
« on: August 29, 2013, 05:59:28 AM »

Henry, I'm willing to abide by your wishes for your forum.  But I can't help be frustrated that those with one opinion are silent, while those with the opposite view seem to have no hesitation to voice it.  Makes the "discussion" kind of one-sided.

25
General Discussion / Re: New Scam Alert
« on: July 24, 2013, 08:29:34 AM »
I've also gotten this call several times.  Yes, it's a recording.  Done pretty well, it appears like a live person at first.  I've got a referee's whistle ready, thinking about buying one of those compressed air horns.  Next time I'll "press 1" or whatever and wait until I get a live person, then use the loudest device available to give them some "feedback".

26
BFA Sports Events / Re: Go Bullets!
« on: June 13, 2013, 06:41:15 AM »

Does anyone know if either of the games will be broadcasted online?

27
BFA Sports Events / Go Bullets!
« on: June 13, 2013, 06:25:50 AM »

I'm amazed that no one has pointed out in Henry's forum how well our softball and baseball teams are doing.

Both are ranked #1 in their division
Both are undefeated
Both won their semifinal games yesterday and play for the state championship either Fri or Sat.  The girls play in Poultney, the boys in Burlington.  I think the date and time is still TBD.   

28

Burlington Electric Dept isn't making a profit.  They are a municipal entity, owned by the people of Burlington.  You could call them a socialist utility.

The windmills don't benefit us in Fairfax directly, but the environmental benefit is shared among all of us who like to breathe and have clean water for our grandchildren.  And the power that BED doesn't buy elsewhere is power that our utility might buy slightly cheaper because there is less demand for it.  And any additional generation in our area is usually good because (at least over the long haul) it means fewer large-scale transmission lines.  There is something to be said for having capacity in state, even if not all of it serves us here in town.

But I still get what you say, Lena.  I'm on the same street as you and they seem very close.  Can't help but wonder why none of the juice can come this way.

29
Current News & Events / Re: perpetual garage sale...
« on: April 15, 2013, 04:26:56 PM »

It's not a garage sale as most of us would define it.  It is obvious that it is an ongoing retail business.  He's not trying to get rid of stuff, he's buying and reselling as a business enterprise.  He should have to register and comply with the laws applicable, just like anyone else.

And it is certainly a traffic hazard.

As a long-term resident of Fairfax, I think he should be shut down if he is not willing and able to play by the rules.

30

Rod, it says this:


Vignettes from the Campo; El Bejuco Nicaragua, 2013

We had no real idea where we were going; it doesnít even appear on google maps; yet, we were on our way; two vehicles laden with food and heath kits and school supplies and mattresses and our own personal gear.
After a tasty meal in San Jose de Las Remates (which is on the map!) we began the final leg of our journey. The road into El Bejuco is stony, dirt, narrow, and in some places, treacherous.  Each hill drops into a wallow where, often, a stream flows. 
Our vehicle labored up  each hill often scraping bottom in the wallows.  The ride was long, sometimes unnerving, but  the scenery became increasingly beautiful as we wound our way up and down through what remained of a dry tropical forest.  Bromeliads of all sorts decorated spreading tree branches; scattered cows dotted the hillsides.
Trees punctuated the green hill pastures;   you could see how the forest had been cut back to create a semblance of pasture. An occasional tree with  pink or orange blossoms glistened in the sunlight.  It was stunningly beautiful.
The few houses were tucked into level areas on the steep hillsides, and occasionally there were houses close to the road.
Despite the fact that the houses were scattered widely, that people walked miles every day to work on the coffee farms, visit, worship,  there was a strong sense of community, perhaps generated by the existence of the coffee co-op, where we would be staying.
None of us had even been this way before. It was all new, and wonderful and beautiful.
 1. Sounds of the morning...
  One sleeps fitfully on a cement floor whose hardness is ameliorated by a thin foam mattress.  Daylight begins to creep across the sky at 5:30.  Soon  our cooks Marta and Thelma, who have walked several miles to serve us, will arrive. Laughter and chatter is followed by the  violent sound of a machete thwacking pieces of wood as Marta cuts wood for the fire that will cook our breakfast. A rhythmic slapping sound says that there will be fresh corn tortillas for breakfast. The rush of water tells me that Gerald is taking the first cold shower. One by one by one birds begin to sing to each other.  Clattering hooves tell me a vacero is riding by with milk. I step out to watch the clouds slowly lift off the mountains  revealing the fields and forests that roll and stretch in front of me. And if I am still.  And if there is quiet.  And if I listen carefully. I can hear them; off in the distance, on the ridge of the forested mountain, they are there, and I can hear them.  How far away that ridge is I donít know; a mile, perhaps  as the crow flies.
No, matter, I listen and can hear the faint whoo-whooing of howler monkeys in the treetops, talking to each other; looking for food, tending each other.

2. Itís All Relative.
There had been  email chatter amongst the group.
Joel, the CEPAD coordinator for the mountainous area we were going to visit had told us it was going to be Ďcool.í Should we bring long pants and long sleeved shirts: how many?  We knew we might be getting dirty doing agricultural work; we wanted to be civil; we didnít know if we would be able to wash clothes...what to do! All of us ended up taking up precious luggage space by packing long pants and long sleeved shirts. 
And,  of course, after a long and hot day of visiting and walking and learning, the evening brought a breeze and lower temperatures.  Ah, we realized, this, this breeze, this slight drop in temperature,this was ...COOL! We all  looked at each other and laughed!  Cool, they donít know cool.  This is just right.     We rejoiced in the cool.
Itís all a matter of perspective we declared, laughing at ourselves.

3. Sometimes old fashioned is better....
And then there are umm, well, the bathrooms.In  an attempt to be up to date, the folks who built the coffee cooperative building  where we stayed--essentially an empty building of concrete with a separate kitchen area--had installed  two sinks and two toilets, both with running water. Alas, the water pressure was too great for the plumbing that was available, and since there was no handy hardware store, they had to turn the water off or be flooded.   So,  Sunday morning we awakened to no water at all.
The kind farmer up the road offered that we could avail ourselves of his latrine.   Up the road we treked, through the gate, past the cows wandering in to be milked.
The farmer kindly put a third side on the latrine for us. The view was spectacular.
Walking back we all decided that a latrine with a view of the mountains was far better than non working modern plumbing. 
4.   Finding joy in the lack of things.
There had been electricity. We saw the fixtures, the switches.  At great expense the community of scattered farms had purchased a turbine for a hydro plant.  Alas, no one told them that the turbine wasnít big enough for the power of the water.  The turbine broke; there was, no electricity. 
Evening came quickly once the sun dropped behind the steep hills.   We sat in the growing darkness with our flashlights ready. Often we ate  our rice and beans by headlamp and candles. We would occasionally stop talking to listen to the insects and night creatures calling; buzzing, chirping.  We reveled in the fact that  because the moon was full and waning we had moonlight.  And when clouds blocked the moon  we would walk out to the middle of the road, turn off all our lights, look up, and as our eyes adjusted we began to see the sky fill with stars, and see the milky way, streaming across the sky.
5 Yup, gotta keep thinking about that perspective
Unless you stay at the Intercontinental or some other fancy hotel, the concept of a hot shower is a dream. We werenít at the Intercontinental. we were in the cement coffee co-op building in the middle of nowhere.  Sudden shrieking; giggles; noise..indicated one thing:.someone is taking a shower. The water pressure was strong; the shower, a garden hose; the water; freezing.  The only way to deal with it was to exhale loudly; exclaim, and afterward, be happy in being clean and no longer sticky.
In Managua, the water comes from a dribbly shower head, and the temperature at its warmest is tepid.  However, when we returned from the mountains to our place in Managua suddenly  that tepid water became hot!
6 It was just a little church
Service trips have allowed me to worship in a small Catholic church in La Paz, beneath Vulcan Mombacho, in a Catholic church in Batahola Norte, a center of learning and service in the barrio Batahola. And I was warmly welcomed in all these churches.
At 9 I heard bells ringing and knew that  somewhere was a building that served as a Catholic church.  It was expected that we  go to the evangelical church whose service began at ten.
Birds carolling around us we walked up the dirt road, and there it was:
a little church, cement blocks, metal roof, shiny new tile floors, a small bema in the front with a lectern, and the universal plastic chairs;
There were neither flowers nor cross nor candles.
The pastor,dressed casually in an open necked sports shirt, welcomed us expansively.
Knowing  I was a pastor asked if I would like to read some Scripture of my choice.  I assented and looked for some I thought appropriate for the day.
Marta, our powerhouse cook, community leader, is also a leader in the church, and she began worship by  welcoming  us into their midst  and then she sang a  powerful, heartfelt song.   Alternately one person would sing a solo, and then the whole church would rise and sing; sometimes the songs were lively, filled with spirit and energy; sometimes they were plaintive and  thoughtful
The pastor played the guitar, and someone accompanied him on the accordion.
I sat and listened; awed that so many could sing all the long songs by heart.  Good grief, we were lucky we could remember the lyrics to one verse!!!
The pastor gave his sermon, alternately being silly and serious--the little ones left for Sunday school...and then he asked me if I would say a few words...hmm...I though I was supposed to read.  Oh well.
7 Ah, the children...
She was about 15 we guessed, but we hoped she was older; it was early morning and she had walked from somewhere up to the coffee co-op to meet a friend with a toddler.A charming girl with rich black hair, coffee colored skin and a bountiful smile,
she held in her arms a delightful baby girl of about 2 months old.  Of course, all we abuelitas gringas descended on her and she allowed each of us to take a turn holding her baby, cooing  at her baby, and essentially making fools of ourselves over this sweet infant. What did she make of this flock of strange white-faced women? We donít know, but she was patient with us, smiling benignly as we loved her baby. Her babyís name was Genesis.

  He just showed up one morning, hovering around the edges of whatever activity was going on. He was about 11 or 12 and his name was Ezekiel, but everyone called him Kiel. One of our team members played a fierce game of catch with him, and that was it.  He was ours.  Soon he was helping the cook, traveling with us, listening to us and watching us.  He would sit and watch us knit with great intensity.  Saying he wanted to learn how to knit, we asked someone who was coming into the mountains to look for knitting needles  in Managua, but they couldnít be found.
 Of course, we wondered why he wasnít in school. With the help of our translator we discovered that he had been kept back in the 2nd grade since his attendance was so poor. He was a good reader, having read the newspaper aloud to one of the team members. We found out that he was apparently the youngest of his family, and his other siblings were much older. Perhaps his parents got tired of trying to get him to go to school; perhaps he was humiliated by being 12 in the 2nd grade, even though he was in a one room schoolhouse.
  It was difficult to eat lunch while he just stood nearby, so we invited him to join us, and he would wait until everyone had served themselves, then he would get his food and sit with us. He would be sure everyone had a chair before he sat down. And none of this was done obsequiously; he was just a polite kid. Though he was reserved,  he found ways to be helpful; we enjoyed his presence and would often tell him that even if he just wanted to be a farmer there, he needed school. But who were we to tell him how to live a life for which we had understanding.
It was a sad parting; there were many hugs, and very graciously, he came around to each of us, shook our hand, and said Ďadios.í I see him now, shyly smiling, his baseball cap pulled down, a shock of black hair sticking out, and his sunglasses on the brim.
Adios, Kiel.  Dios te bendiga.
There are more...
 Always, there are more stories, more memories, more images than words can describe. Stories that linger, create sadnesses, joys, and thought.  Stories that suddenly emerge at the sight or sound that evokes a memory. 
And, too there are the faces: of the children, bemused by this strange white lady who wants them to sing  of Lionel, earnest, passionate leader of his community; of Marta with her ready smile; of all the people who wandered in and out of our times.  Faces, real people, shared lives, shared presence. Love.   

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