Friday, December 16, 2011

Standing Stones

Friday, December 16, 2011, 9:00 PM

The day flew by quickly today as I knew it would. It's not that the holiday season is about us and there is lots to do, it was the fact that today was the last guaranteed warm day before December becomes what December in this part of Vermont is supposed to be. Cold and snowy. But today was in the high 30's here and I knew this might be my last opportunity to clean up some outside chores, one of which required laying on the ground.

I started the day at the Community Center where the Food Shelf delivery was supposed to arrive between 8:30 and 9. It arrived at 7:45 and I received thank yous for coming to help and suggestions that I return next time. I was assured my help was needed and that the "new" driver was ahead of schedule today. I'll return in a couple weeks even though the food that was delivered today will be gone by tomorrow night.

Next stop was at the flower farm where I removed the batteries from the zero turn mower and "Gail's golf cart." Two years ago Gail told me that if I insisted on planting row upon row of daylilies at either end of our five acre plot, the choices were for me to dig them all for customers myself or buy her some form of travel. I got a deal on a used golf cart and it has paid me dividends. I do not know if Gail knows it has a battery that should be removed and properly stored for winter but it matters not.

After a quick stop at the hardware store I headed home to move the wood chipper, disconnect and store the brush hog from the John Deere and change the oil in the New Holland tractor. Then it was a quick sandwich and out to the writer's cottage to do some insulating. I don't think the wind ever stopped blowing today and for sure it was cold at times but not as cold as it will be when morning arrives and the projected temperature is in the low twenties.

As I had a chance to read my mail tonight, mention was made of a YouTube video on stonework. The video was of a dry wall stacker from Kentucky. It immediately made me think of Vermont's own Dan Snow, a certified dry stacker and author of In The Company of Stone and more recently Listening To Stone. Dan has a great blog named after his first book and if you're into stonework like I am, this is yet another resource to subscribe to. Either book would make a great Christmas present, whether the recipient wants to learn the trade or hire out some stone work.

I have had a chance to do some stone work myself. You become a quick study in the art of mechanical advantage and although it's unlikely you'll ever get to Pyramids 101, you can quickly become confident in some of the simple work. I hired a guy in 2000 to drag out and plant what became "The Seven Sisters", the start of a beautiful shade garden, and a couple-three years later I traded a truck load of potted perennials for a truckload of flat stone for steps and walls around the Sisters.

You might not think of giving stones for Christmas but it could be a welcomed present. I like John Cleary's place on Governor Peck Road in Richmond or Mitchell's Quarry in Plainfield. There are other stone dealers around Vermont and if all else fails, ask your local town clerk for advice as they know everything.

My gardening friend, Julie from Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg, offers stone workshops and the first one of the new year is in January. Again, this might be a nice surprise for your gardening friend or partner. Check out Julie's site at

So folks, books to read, a delivery of stones or a workshop to attend--all good choices if someone you know likes stone and you have to come up with a holiday gift that will please. I don't like to use the word "hate" but I hate people who re gift presents..... but..... re gifting a truckload of stone might be interesting. Good gardening wishes to all!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the temperature is now falling and the wind has stopped. But nothing stops the noisy coyote conversations tonight at the edge of the woods.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always available to help you or a friend grow your green thumb!

No comments: