Saturday, April 13, 2024


Spring is here in earnest, and, consequently, I'm going through my annual behavioral changes. The winter was very warm – it barely got down to zero just once – and there was little snow until the very end. I got one foot one day and seven inches a few days later. The new snow blower came with a couple of defects, but overall it is easier to operate than the old one. I've already put it away for the year, and the tractor is ready to go. The yard here is completely different from the one in Middlebury. It was planned and maintained by one person, the woman from whom I bought the property, from 2000 to 2023. It is flat, with well-maintained borders and beds. Since there are more rocks and boulders here than in Middlebury, the perimeter of the yard is a row of rocks, and one large boulder was left in a bed. The flower beds have fruit trees and perennials, which are coming up now. They all have borders and are mulched. Overall, the yard is much easier to maintain than the one in Middlebury, which was not flat and had been haphazardly maintained by various owners since 1800. The owners from 1978 to 1997 had hired a yard service and put in beds, which were not maintained after 1997. When I moved there, the beds and yard were a mess. Here, it only took me a couple of hours to clean up the beds from last year, and the lawn takes half the time to mow as the one in Middlebury. I don't really care about perennials but will at least keep the beds tidy-looking. The previous owner, like many women, was a gardening fanatic. She lived here alone, and apparently that was her main hobby.

I am generally returning to my old routines, which were completely disrupted a year ago. I've planted tomato seeds indoors and will create a small bed for about four plants behind the house. Because the yard was carefully planned, there are no trees near the house, and there is plenty of sunlight, though the temperatures may be a little lower due to the slight elevation increase. I am also planning to create a telescope installation in the yard with my remaining telescope by placing an anchor underneath it to prevent wind damage. The woods surrounding the house limit the field of view somewhat, but overall it isn't much different from the house in Middlebury. The recent eclipse was visible from the yard, but wasn't total.

My hiking activity is curtailed, as it usually is at this time of year. One of the trails that I go on in Pittsford is a wetland along Otter Creek, and it periodically is impassible due to flooding. I still go on trails near Middlebury, such as Belden Falls and the Robert Frost trail in Ripton. The Abbey Pond trail is closed due to storm damage last July. It looks as if there may be more storms this year.

Having now lived in this house for almost a year, it appears that my expenses will be manageable. In Middlebury, I paid $800 per month in rent, which is three times my current property tax. I also paid half the utilities; the utilities here are about half what they were in Middlebury, so there is no change there. Also, though I don't particularly like investing in real estate, the value of the property is going up. So, overall, my financial picture hasn't changed much, other than a decrease in liquid assets.

Predictably, for seasonal reasons, I'm not very excited about reading at the moment, but I will start another book soon. I have no biographies in mind at the moment. Biographies are my favorite reading currently, because they seem to be one of the few ways that one can find out about other people. I think that for most people alive now, they either don't reveal much about themselves or have unremarkable inner lives, or both. The impression I have is that social media tends to trivialize everyone who engages in it. Thus, for example, although I never met Carson McCullers, who qualifies as interesting, I think that my understanding of her is roughly the equivalent of spending about twenty years with someone in real time now.


  1. As you probably know, Paul, I still read your blog. I'm not sure why I'm moved to comment now, unless perhaps it's to say that, before my parents bought their house in Weybridge, I spent a summer in Brandon (the summer before I started college, if I remember right). The house my parents rented that summer was the last house but one (or two, if you count the Brandon Inn's hidden old tea house) on Old Farm Road, a short, steep climb above route 7. It was not at all far from the center of town, but its location on that hill made it seem out of the way. I sometimes went back to Brandon, almost always with my parents, in later summers.

    1. Nice to hear from you, John. I like Brandon and was getting a little tired of the collegiate atmosphere in Middlebury (though that wasn't the reason why I moved). I live in the northeast, near Forest Dale, but go downtown regularly. We should get together again if you ever come this way. I currently have no plans to travel to Europe, but may eventually. I liked Geneva when I visited in August, 2000.


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