Monday, August 29, 2011

Storm Damage

A friend and I took a little trip yesterday afternoon to check out how our part of the world was faring with all the rain we got as a result of Hurricane Irene. We were amazed to find that all of the small brooks and rivulets in the area had become raging torrents of chocolate-brown rapids, spilling over into the road, tearing up culverts and shoving boulders downstream. When we drove down the Brook Road, I could see that the bridges and a few properties were in danger of washing away completely.. We stopped and took photos of the local swimming hole, now a boiling cauldron, and then the little bridge in the village where it and two houses were perilously close to being overwhelmed. We continued our trek into Manchester to see that many properties were completely flooded before heading back up north to Danby. In the hour or so that we were gone, Danby village was impassable; one of the houses had completely collapsed to create a dam that blocked the passage of the stream, flooding streets, basements and backyards. Our second attempt to head back up into the hills to the store was stymied when we found that Route 7 north was completely under water, so we headed back south and through Dorset to Danby Mountain Road. We managed to get halfway through before the road had crumbled away where a giant culvert had been upended. Our fourth and final option was to try heading into Pawlet to approach Danby Four Corners from the west. As luck would have it, that road was closed too, but we were able to take Herrick Brook Road over to where we needed to go.

People this morning who stop in the store are reporting similar odysseys as they try to get where they need to go. The old Vermont cliche, "You can't get there from here" has never been more apropos. Humor aside, it is going to be weeks, perhaps months, before all the damage is repaired. And parts of our landscape will have been irrevocably changed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Past, Present and Future

Danby Four Corners Store has been a landmark to locals and travelers alike for decades. The building is listed on Vermont's Register of Historic Buildings. When it was built in 1865, it was likely considered to be a very grand addition to this once-thriving village, when logging, mining and sheep farming were the primary industries. The growth of the marble business led to the advent of the railroad, and Danby's village center gradually migrated southward, closer to the station.

Danby Four Corners Store had been successfully run by members of the same family for decades, eventually garnering a reputation among musicians far and wide, who come for the country hospitality, a wide range of string instruments and accessories, and the opportunity to play together.

We are continuing this tradition, with jams starting later this fall. To begin with, it will be by invitation only, so be sure to let me know if you're interested in participating.In the meantime,
we invite musicians of all levels to come in to play our instruments, including the house piano. We also offer beginner lessons, restringing and repairs, and are always in the market for quality used string instruments in good condition.


Monster Tomato Plants

Friday, August 19, 2011

Greetings, Friends!

Summer is waning here in Danby Four Corners. I can't believe that we are already well into the second half of August. Our busy season is in full swing as vacationers and travelers looking for sustenance and diversion drop in. Our local customers, too, have been busy with farming, fishing and barbecues, necessitating trips to the store for beer, wine and snacks.

I don't get much time off, but have managed to enjoy the summer just the same. I've been down to the swimming hole a few times, have taken some wonderful walks with my dog T-Bone, and have been to a pig roast, a graduation party and my nephew's wedding celebration in New York's Finger Lakes.

My house-mate and I put in a garden this spring with the help of local farmer, who supplied the top soil. It's not a very big garden, so we only planted a few things. I managed to harvest quite a lot of green beans and Swiss chard, but have only gotten a few summer squash. Mostly we planted tomatoes. The vines are monstrous! I spent part of my morning pulling out some of them because they were crowding the basil. Unfortunately, although there is plenty of fruit, none of it has ripened. Tomato blight has been an issue in Vermont the last few years, and I am afraid I will not be eating any from this garden, unless they're fried green.