Doings around Carlisle – spring is trying to sneak in – which equals a post that is a bit of a rambler…

But not really making a lot of consistent forward progress.  Most of this week it has been below freezing or very close to freezing when I got up for work – but then moves into the 40s-50s and yesterday up to 60.  I did see two mosquito’s yesterday so spring is definitely on the horizon!

Leaves are starting to come out – on the weedy bushes (buckthorn) leaves are pretty well developed but for the trees at our end of town, nothing really.  In other parts of town that are not quite as cold at night maybe?  they are leafing out a bit more.

Lots of activity at the Clark Farm Stand in the greenshouses (now plural this year) and planting.

At the house, Paul and his son Tim are doing odds and ends like working on the shelving for the pantry and the closets.  Nothing really to take pictures of at this point.  Bathroom tiling and countertops are still pending – but the wall oven, cooktop and dishwasher are on site.

Paul suggested that I convert some utility lighting at the front of the garage/shop door to the same Hubbardton Forge exterior wall sconces (two).  My Dad and I took one that was already onsite outside on Saturday and held it up.  We decided that he was totally correct – so I went to Wolfer’s lighting and order two more of these babies.  To give you a sense of scale – they are 16″ inches tall.

At my parent’s house, we took advantage yesterday of the annual hazardous waste day at the dump/recycling center and took a Subaru load worth of old spray paint cans, exterior stain etc… over.  Lots of stuff that had been sitting in the woodshed for decades.  Because we were originally scheduled to have the roof replaced last fall, my Dad and I emptied all this stuff out onto the lawn – then nothing happened (Dave Ohlmstead got busy I guess) and everything sat in the snow over the winter.  Messy!

More Saturday stuff was that I went over to the house again with a Verizon and an AT&T cell phone and mapped out wireless signal strength – by walking around doing near the Kimball’s ice cream stand and then back along the trail to Bates pond, around it and beyond.  What I wanted to do was to get a good picture of where cell signal strength was in terms of direction around the my house.  Turns out that AT&T has one extra bar pretty consistently and the signal strength is higher to the north of the house.  I am still trying to figure out how to get internet and it looks like ‘cord cutting’ wireless is the only way to go.  If I do go this way, I will need an antenna booster and it looks like putting that near the computer nook will be the place to do it.

While I was walking around, I “discovered” that some very serious earthworks are involved with Bates Pond.  I always thought that Bates was a glacial hole – and it may be that – but it is pretty clear that someone went to a LOT of effort to enhance it.  On the uphill side is my property – on the downhill side is a wetland swamp that wanders off through the Greenough Conservation land eventually to the Concord River.  However, the land between the pond and the swamp is totally flat, about 30 feet wide and faced with really large rocks.  It very clearly has been shaped.  I mentioned this to my Dad and he recalled that the pond was man-made – and I think very clearly that it either is a total artifact or was enhanced heavily.  The question is why go to the effort?  Maybe it was Herb Bates creating a pond for water storage for cows while this was a working dairy?  I think some archival digging in the town library is in order – with my brand new library card I also got on Saturday!

Speaking of books and maps – I also bought two copies of the Carlisle Trails Committee map book (one for inside use, one to sit in the car for emergency ‘let’s go for a walk’ decisions :-).  I got an ice cream soda (vanilla of course) at Kimball’s while I was testing wireless reception strength and while I was looking at it, I noticed that the 1975 Bicentennial Map had listed six (6) mill sites in Carlisle.  This is two more than I was aware of based on the couple of histories of Carlisle books I had read.  A project I want to undertake is to document the mill sites – since one of them is on my property.  Now more to too look at!  The mills are:

  1. George Robbins Mill
  2. John Barrett’s Mill
  3. Adams’ Mill
  4. James Adams’ Mill  (two different locations)
  5. Robert Bloods Mill (this is on Pages Brook and is the mill site on my property)
  6. Solomon Andrews’ Mill

And finally, to round out a busy Saturday, I finally got to try out my new Axe (California Berkeley Bear fans can now be heard chanting – “We want the Axe, We want the Axe!”  – sorry, had to throw that little bit of Bay Area lore for you)

My good friend Tom McGillvray gave me an axe as a gift last year as I was preparing to leave San Francisco.  It is from a company called “Best Made” – which is an artist/artisan shop in New York.  Despite what they may say on their website, it is not a felling axe, as it is a bit too light and small for that – but it is a perfect limbing axe.  What is a limbing axe?  It is a sharp axe that is nimble enough to make its way around a felled tree and remove the small and medium sized limbs from the trunk.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it is actually an important job – otherwise, it is usually very difficult to approach the trunk itself or at least difficult to do that safely.  This new axe really, really made short work of some of the trees that fell due to storm damage over the winter.  As you can see below in a before an after.  Thank you Tom – a REALLY, REALLY nice gift!

Have a great weekend everyone!


postnote update:

When thinking about felling axes, they are a bit of a rough and tumble game.  In my personal experience, you want something that can take a beating but also be sharp – so a double bitted axe is in order – one side is very sharp for when you know you are not to bang into the ground or off a rock – the other side is less finely sharpened for trying to get in low and get at roots and things.

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