Green Mountain Showdown 2011
Stowe, VT — Five of the best action photographers in New England are set to square off in a multi-media battle that will play out live on the big screen in front of a capacity crowd of 200.
Each contestant has from July 16 to August 22 to scout, shoot and compile a five-minute slide show that they feel best captures the essence of their assigned theme: “Bike culture in Vermont.” The final slideshows will be projected onto an outdoor screen on the grounds of the Trapp Family Lodge, the central hub for all the day’s events. Entries will be judged on composition, quality, adherence to the assignment and on choreography—but the cheers of the crowd will surely factor into deciding who takes home the $1,500 cash prize.
Trapp Garden Crop Circles
Giant Sun Flower Spiral
The Rye Connection
Cabbage and Kale Circle
If interested in the crop circle phenomenon, see: http://www.temporarytemples.co.uk/
Hal the Gardener
America's Best Family Hotels
"There’s no need to leave the kids at home, thanks to Travel + Leisure’s list of the best hotels for families in the U.S."
Mid-summer in the Trapp Family Gardens
The very wet and cool spring has given way to the mid-summer heat and plentiful sun. Annuals and perennials are now in bloom and the vegetables are beginning to ripen. Mid-summer is the best time for observing and enjoying the many flowers in bloom. The plentiful moisture and summer sun this year is resulting in an outstanding display of blossoms throughout the Trapp property.
Vegetables are beginning to produce fruit. Peas, garlic, summer squash, cucumber, tomatoes and potatoes to name a few. The vegetables will be harvested and used in the Trapp Dining Room and Deli. Raspberries have been plentiful and our bakery has been using them to make tasty treats.
My biggest challenge this year has been staying ahead of the weeds and potato beetles.
Please stop by the gardens during your summer visit to the Trapp Family Lodge!
Adding compost to leaks yields a larger white bulb at harvest
Row by row,
Hal the Gardener
Vermont Beer Road Trip
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Vermont? Mountains? Maple Syrup? Ben & Jerry's? While all of those may be accurate, for me now the definitive answer is beer...and quality beer at that. This past June some friends and I embarked upon a whirlwind beer tour throughout the state including stops at Hill Farmstead, a very special visit to Lawson's Finest Liquids, the beer-friendly town of Burlington, Trapp Family Lodge & Brewery and The Alchemist.
Be sure to check out our brewery page!
An Emo Deer
As I’ve told you, we have a mini-Maria on our hands around here. E. is completely obsessed with The Sound of Music. The day I got her the DVD may have been the happiest day of her life so far.
Ever since we got it, she’s been singing the songs over and over. She watches all of the scenes with the von Trapp children closely to try and learn all the moves. Since the movie is 3 hours long, she only gets to watch it on weekends (usually over several viewings). Luckily for me, a certain captain is easy on the eyes...
The Sound of Music Home Movie Footage
Never-before-seen clips from personal home movie footage of the making of "The Sound Of Music" in 1964, provided by Charmian Carr (Liesl), Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich), Heather Menzies (Louisa), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) and Debbie Turner (Marta).
The Bright Side of Rainy Days
To say that we have endured a wet spring here in the Green Mountains would be a gross understatement. The fact of the matter is, everything feels a little damp around here and I can’t remember a day when I haven’t wanted to change my socks after guiding a tour. Spring weather, in our mountains, can be a bit fickle at times. Most Vermonters I know share an innate tolerance and good natured humor for, shall we say, our peculiar weather. Those that can’t laugh at mountain weather and roll with the punches often suffer needlessly and, are often viewed as a bit soft - adding insult to their perceived injury.
Fear not the rainy day! Every storm cloud has a silver lining. My silver lining has come in the form of mud puddles. The soft rain saturated soils have been a boom for tracking our resident wildlife. Their prints tell stories of the comings, goings, and nightly ramblings of those creatures that call our northern forests home.
Each day on the birding and forest ecology walks I take note of each mud puddle we pass. Sometimes it is a single track you find. Other times an entire path winding through the forest is laid out in plain sight. You can tell a lot about an animal by the marks they leave on the forest floor and vegetation. Their size and stride tell us how big an individual might be. The number of tracks often give insight as to whether animals are either moving in groups or as a solitary individual. The condition of the track can often tell how long ago the animal moved through, and whether they were running or walking. Often times the tracks and path as a whole tell where an animal is headed, and if you pay close enough attention, what that animal might be eating along the way. These stories are played out on a grand scale across the landscape. The amount of information in the prints and paths collectively are a graphic illustration of the circle life as it plays out in our forest.
Over the last few weeks we have seen a great number of these events play out in the mud puddles. This year’s white-tailed deer fawns are now moving about very confidently with their mothers. Look closely and you will find their dainty prints purposefully following their mother’s. When our fawn’s confidence gives way to hunger or fear you can discern where they stood together. The tracks often tell how the little one either took shelter and nourishment under the doe’s belly or bolted for the safety of the thick forest cover.
In addition, there are numerous places where the small song birds are coming down to bath in the puddles. The numerous prints combine to create a pattern that looks like the crackled glaze on an old ceramic vase.
But the crème de la crème has been those tracks left behind by a black bear passing through Maria’s Plaza headed down through the Sugar House woods. It’s steady un-interrupted gate and deep prints are straight as an arrow. The tracks are so clear, un-hurried, and self-assured that one is left with the impression that the bear had a purpose in mind as it walked through the tall sugar maples. I have a long history with black bears. They are magnificent animals. Any sign of their presence is - in my mind - good luck, and just as much proof of a benevolent God as any religious relic or doctrine. So, you can imagine my excitement.
Every storm cloud has a silver lining and every rainy day has a bright side to it. Animal tracks show up in the soft mud a lot better than they do on hard, dusty ground. The tales told by the prints in the rain saturated earth are of endless fascination to me. They document the: who, what, where, when, why and how of the animal community as they move about the landscape; while we aren’t looking. So a little rain is nothing to mope around about.
New Mountain Bike Trails At The Trapp Family Lodge
With a rainy forecast the next few days, Scott and I decided to take the day off and get a bit of mountain biking in before the trails turn wet and muddy once again. This has been the rainiest spring on record here in Vermont and it’s been tricky trying to find open trails and good days to ride between running. So we seized this opportunity! Plus it turned out to be a cross training day on my training schedule! And I feel that mountain biking is so good for running! It’s a great core workout and utilizes so many different muscles! So dust off that mountain bike and join us next time!
We love the Trapp Family Lodge and are very lucky to live within 35 minutes from the fantastic cross country skiing and now mountain biking! This place has some of the best spurcross country skiing in Vermont and we are so happy they are in the process of building a great network of mountain bike trails. The singletrack trails will be fully completed in 5 years but at the moment they have some very nice riding available that is worth the trip. It costs $10 for a day pass which is a bargain when you consider all the work that goes into building and maintaining nice mountain bike trails. I was also curious to see if it might be good for trail running which I am happy to report that it would be! So we purchased our tickets in the ski/bike shop and grabbed our trail map.
It is a time of new beginnings. Everywhere one looks new life flourishes. It is all eye candy if you spend any time, at all, tracking the cyclic ebb and flow of the season here in our northern forest. What changes and surprises the next day brings one can only guess.
It is best to stay vigilantly observant and take a few moments each day to look beyond oneself and take note of what is going on around them in a world not associated with the day to day grind of man. A momentary break to take refuge in a world forgotten by most people as they whiz through the responsibilities of daily life in a society that demands more and more attention. We are very lucky to be surrounded by the natural world and the ceaseless change that defines the spring. It makes the succession of spring driving toward summer, through time and space, all the more heady.
My field note book is filling up quick this year. I have been more consistent in documenting my observations this year. For weeks I have been making lists of birds at locations around the area noting new arrivals. I think it is safe to say that most all have returned to raise broods and pass on their legacy/genetic material to the next generation. The cacophony of bird song punctuates each morning. A far greater intensity exists in the morning symphony than a month ago. If you sleep with the windows open you know what I mean.
This morning I spent some time nosing around my friend Roland Beliveau’s property. In just 5 minutes I tallied up over a dozen different bird species including a black and white warbler that spent the entire time foraging along the trunks and branches of the sugar maples that define the edge of Roly’s lawn and a striking indigo bunting that has been visiting his property over the last couple of weeks. This is the time of year made for ornithologists and bird watchers. Each morning I wake wondering who will greet me with song at my doorstep.
Another major change is the complete leaf out of the forest that has taken place over the last 2 weeks. It seemed like yesterday that my walks through the woods were defined by full on sun that reached the forest floor. Trout lilly, trillium, Spring beauty all sprung forth in those early days, but now in the dappled shade of the forest they have already begun to die back giving way to the host of ferns that are unfurling from fiddle heads , wood anemone, star flower, Canadian mayflower, and jack in the pulpit. The forest is a different place than it was 2 weeks ago and it will continue to change again and again leaving me to scratch my head and scribble in my note book.
Late last week I traveled to Norton Pond and was surprised to find that only an hour’s drive north from our Sterling Valley home the forest is at least a week behind our own corner of the state. It left me wondering what the forest looked like 2, 4, and 8 hours north of Stowe. It occurred to me that the cycle of change, rebirth, and new beginnings is an awful lot like a tide that sweeps across the land coming on strong in some parts and slowly working its way into others. Someday I will take the time to ride the tidal bore of spring north surfing the front end of it and maybe getting a little understanding about how it moves over the land.
Everything is getting wound up in a big way. Spring peepers fill the dusk and night with frog music. Eastern garter snakes and American toads are finally showing up in my perennial gardens to sun themselves on the rocks and take part in the age old struggle between predator and prey. The fish are rising in the rivers and streams once again warm enough to fire the metabolism into a feeding frenzy. Plants are sprouting, birds are singing, and new beginnings happen with each tick of the clock. These are great days. Don’t miss them.