Friday, August 11, 2006

Wendy stays with some Vermont farmers

I have to say Serendipity continued to follow me on my journey. One very rainy day I found myself in Sheffield thinking it would be great to find a roof for the night. Some folks told me of a farm up the mountain that breeds Walking Horses. So, up the mountain we went, the fog falling behind us into the valley below. It seemed like we rode forever- it always seems like that when it's pouring however- and finally we came around a corner to find a very well cared for, well built horse operation. We ambled up the driveway, to find the two owners, Tim and Ann Leverette, sitting on their porch, and when I told them what I was up to, they invited me in, put Jolie in a luxurious stall- after a ventilin bath of course- and let me loose in their shower and then led me to their laundry room. The result: Clean pants-sort of.

Later, when we began to talk of origins, Ann mentioned she'd sold a horse to a fellow over in Shelburne- where we began the journey. Not only did I know the fellow but he had actually given me Tim and Ann's address should I get to Sheffield. I had forgotten the paper with their name, and I ended up in Sheffield only because the roads led me there....I spent a few days at the farm and got the opportunity to ride one of their fabulous horses. I'd never ridden a Walker before and it was like getting on a Ferrari after riding a Mack truck (sorry, Jolie). The ground covering ossibilities are astonishing... It was from the Leverettes that I first learned about the aforementioned Wind Project and as I rode I heard more and more about it, because everyone in the region is going to be effected.

The Nelson farm in the Albany/ Lowell region is another extraordinary spot just below the ridgeline of the Lowell Mountains, where more windmills are planned. Their farm is on the Bailey-Hazen trail, an old road built during the revolution- It was planned to run all the way to Canada but the builders stopped at Hazen's notch because of fears of Indian Ambush and also with the realization that if they opened a road to Canada it would make it easier for the enemy to attack from the north... Don and Shirley Nelson milked cows for 30 years and raised their children on the farm. Don mentioned that he didn't love milking but that he did love animals. He told stories about his "boys"- raccoons he raised, and led me out to the barn to watch as he stroked and fed a wild one who comes in for his supper at night. He also told stories of a young deer a friend had asked him to keep during hunting season. I guess it was a fawn whose mother had died, and who had been raised with cows. After hunting season ended they let the deer out of the barn and he began to wander off. So Don and Shirley put bread and other deer-loving snacks in the back of the car and followed him until he noticed they had food. Then they opened the hatch-back and he jumped in! They said he rode between them in the car like a dog. Eventually I guess the game warden came for him because he was bothering fisherman, and tangling their lines...and so he vanished.

That's it for now. If I haven't said it before, I would just like to say that during this trip it was wonderful to be out of touch with the rather grim news of the world, and to experience instead the generosity and goodness of people. I would like to thank everyone who helped me on my way. It made the journey into something very special, and connected me to people I would never have had the opportunity to meet.

More later... Best, Wendy

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