This week I have been clearing my ski trails. They are short, but lead to a fantastic 600 acre property full of groomed trails. Thank you Mike and Vivien Fritz of Beaver Brook Farm!(check out http://www.bbftrails.com)
The old “Pent Road” bisects my property to the south and is one of my trails. This is an old town road most likely thrown up a hundred years ago, but is now just a ski and logging trail. It runs by the foundation of an old Starch Factory, and on to Carpenter Road in Marshfield. The beavers have built their dam on the site of the factory’s dam, and the old mill pond is
full of water. With the help of friend Mr. Nate Smith, we cleared all the year’s worth of blow down trees, fixed water crossings, and widened a short stretch for a future drainage ditch along the road.
I often arise early to get in a quick ski before I get my boys up for school. Using two head lamps (one for seeing ahead and one pointed in front of my skis) I do a short 40 minute loop out my trails to the neighbors’ and back in time for chores and breakfast. Some mornings the coyotes are really howling! Sometimes I will hook up my dog Leah with a sled dog harness and have her pull me along. When the boys were much smaller, I would put Wesley in a back pack and Wyatt in a front harness to go skiing. I made those very short trips!
Another one of my trails is the Chester Memorial Trail in memory of our Dalmatian. This trail goes by the granite ledge where the foundation stones for my farm house were cut, through the sugar woods where my 1400 taps and sugarhouse stand, by the north end
of the runway and hooks up with the Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail was set up as a High School Project by one of my neighbors several years ago and is now being reclaimed by the Cabot Rec. Department.
Working on trails is the beginning of my winter work in the woods. Firewood for heating the house, sugarwood for boiling sap into maple syrup, and an inventory of logs for the sawmill are on tap for the next few weeks. This inventory of logs, mostly soft woods of pine spruce and fur, will be milled into dimensional lumber (2×4’s, 2×6’s etc.) and boards. These I stack to air dry for future sale. I also spend time each winter clearing snow from the runway. I have less flying jobs in the winter, but winter flying can be spectacular; the visibility is very clear and the air is very smooth, and most of my flying jobs in winter are scenic tours.
In winter the woods are a place where I work for my farm and also where I work to make spaces for enjoying the natural beauty of the Vermont landscape, whether I’m skiing, hiking, or flying high above it. I’ve shifted gears for a new season and I hope it’s a good one!