Saturday, February 27, 2010

dispatches from a blackout

That's the round table in the back of the Wayside Country Store in West Arlington. It's my home away from home here in Vermont. I stopped in this morning, barking for coffee, and ended up getting a home cooked breakfast from Nancy, the owner. Knowing I was without electricity, heat, and water—she made me a four star breakfast while I sipped my dark roast. We sat at the back table, talking about the storm and past storms. Telling stories about the 50 mile per hour winds that rushed though town, ripping out the power lines the night before. Folks came in the store, wiped the snow off their jackets, and stopped over and chatted with us—asking about older or otherwise susceptible neighbors. Everyone was watching out for everyone else. It made Nancy's scrambled eggs and cinnamon buns taste better.

I'm writing you from the office now: showered, warm, and with a full stomach. I came here to use the gym's shower and check my email/recharge my phone. I woke up a few hours ago in the cabin, a little cold but otherwise okay. Last night the candles and fireplace did their job keeping me and the dogs warm. I stayed up reading and playing guitar until my hands started to get clumsy and slow. The dogs eventually left my side around the fireplace and made a nest on the couch on a pile of sheepskins and quilts. I joined them. I have no qualms laying down beside wolves. We stayed warm, thanks to each other and the balmy 34 degree night.

I'm off to Manchester to do laundry and possibly buy a new pair of wool socks. I'm a very exciting young person.


Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe not exciting for the typical young person but you are following your heart. You are the most centered and satisfied young person that I know! Nothing wrong with that. Just think, this is just the beginning of your life and you are already this happy. Imagine what the rest of your life will be like. I consider you a very lucky young person. I'm much older and just now beginning to plan out following my heart. :)

February 27, 2010 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger ta2mee said...

woo hoo! wool socks rock!

February 27, 2010 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

How awesome that you had a place to go for warmth, food, and company. That store sounds like the old-timey general stores of yore.

Shouldn't you be knitting your own socks?.....they're only slightly trickier than hats, you know.

February 27, 2010 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Small town America... Nothing like it. Neighbors watching out for neighbors. It's how things are supposed to be.

February 27, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

from another exciting young person (well, 33 with 3 kiddos), this morning we fried eggs from our friend, drank raw milk from another friend, & then went sledding beside our river. we appreciate your level of excitement!

February 27, 2010 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

I wish I lived closer, I'd teach you how to knit socks. Felted clogs are my favorite to knit. Feet stay warm in those no matter how cold it gets.

February 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can crochet but not knit. Can one crochet socks? Maybe it's in the new book I just got.

February 27, 2010 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love having a wood stove in winter. If the power goes out, we don't have to worry about getting cold like a lot of people do.

There used to be a place like your Wayside Country Store near where I live. When the power was out, you could still get coffee and company. Sadly, it had poor management and is now closed. No more neighborhood news anymore.

February 27, 2010 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

I grew up in Potsdam, NY and my daughter was born there. I use to live in Greenwich, my son was born in Cambridge. I love your blog! My daughter and her family live at Dippikill, above Lake George. I think of her when I read your blog. She just gave birth to my first grandchild, Ethan. I so happy for you being so young and realizing what all you have. Thanks for giving me a glimpse back to a life I use to have up North. Now it's on Cumberland Island, GA. I have chickens, garden and quilt. Wishing you much continued happiness and blessing. Sandra at

February 27, 2010 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beware the sock knitters... they will draw you into an addiction you will never escape!

Have you learned about thrumming? You can take small hanks of your sheep's fleece and just knit it right along with the yarn, about every four stitches or so. The ends of each hank stick out on the inside of your sock, or mitten, or hat, creating a lovely soft and UBER WARM fuzzy lining to a warm-to-begin-with wool piece.

Thrumming is how the fisherman's wives kept their hubby's toes from getting frost bitten black. They make great boot liners too.

Here's a link to a blog with a good picture of a thrummed mitten:

It would be another way to use all that fleece right in your own back yard. Paula's right, socks are no more difficult than hats. As long as you can knit, purl, increase and decrease, you're golden. I still have the first pair of socks I ever knit... they're sitting the the mending pile waiting for a new heel.

February 28, 2010 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Affi'enia said...

Mmmm wool socks! I love that fact that you're community looks out for each other. Wish it was a little more like that round here.

February 28, 2010 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Bartleby T. Scrivener said...

I envy you! I live and work on eastern Long Island but we have a little old house in Arlington way up at the end of a dirt road on the east side of town. A lot of the woods west of us got developed since we bought the place in '94 (the land was once part of our place's farmland and pasture gone to woods) but it's still pretty and quiet and private, especially in summer when foliage hides the glimpses of other houses we now have in winter. When I'm there, usually it's Paulin's for the paper and coffee but I like to make the run out to the Wayside sometimes because it's more like the good old days in VT than Stewarts and Paulin's. Doug has invited me to join in the round table but haven't done it. Timing never works or something. That morning chat should be broadcast on VPR. Wish I were there in VT. Good luck with your writing.

February 28, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

That sounds like a nice area-country stores and cabins.You had one heckuva snowstorm up your way.

February 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Laundry and wool socks make for a perfect Sunday. Snowstorms bring out the best in us, don't they?

February 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snowstorms and wool stocks - these certainly bring out the best in people. We have had a weird combination of rain and snow in CT during the past week. Some time in front of the fire with a book will be nice. A toast to the not-so-typical young people! LOL.

February 28, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

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