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October 10, 2020 - The Wood Arrived, the Stove Arrived, the Cold Arrived

There are many signs around Vinton Camp that the cold is coming! But luckily everything we need to be ready for October arrived in just the right order.

Blaze Orange

A lot of our friends do not know what "Blaze Orange" is. In fact, I didn't know what it was until I met Nate. I'm determined to make Maine's hunting season staple a year-round fashion statement for families with young children. It's just generally safe in any setting. If we were all in blaze orange on the ski slope we'd never lose each other. If we were all in blaze in a crowded bluegrass festival scenario (like in 2019 or 2022), we would never lose track. If we were biking in a crowded city street, blaze orange would protect us there too. Blaze orange is just safe all the time. And, well, especially when the season for moose and bird hunting has officially begun!

Here the girls are on their morning bike ride to get mail.

Root Vegetable Harvesting

Our Thursday work at Betsy's farm in Denmark was all about harvesting root vegetables this week. Then we roasted them! I can't believe I'd never pulled a carrot or parsnip out of the ground. IT WAS AMAZING! So satisfying. You pull carefully and wiggle and pull and wiggle and then the long thing is released from the earth and comes out. It's always a different shape and length from the last.

The Wood Arrived

Our hardy cousins, the Morrows of Groton, were here when two cords of woods arrived, delivered by our friends at Lovell Hardware. Here's a video of the wood stacking, each kid earning a dollar for their labor. Notice Charlie, the industrious 4-year-old, never flagging while the older sibs and cousins engineer ways to speed productivity. Charlie just keeps going. A true example of the turtle and the hare. There were two cords, one seasoned and one green. Whoever stacks the green pile gets $2.

The New Woodstove Arrived

The new cast-iron woodstove arrived yesterday. It's in the central hearth of the main house, which has not been safe to use for 15-20 years. It's a top-loading Vermont Castings stove linked to a new chimney liner installed by the experts from our favorite local business, Dirty Bristles Chimney Sweep of Bridgton, Maine. It's the Dauntless model because we are DAUNTLESS about the cold, at least through Dec. 1. Deb, the wife of the husband-wife team at Dirty Bristles homeschooled their son and she has been a wonderful source of support to us.

This is what it looks like as I write at this moment. And here is Sarah and Lukie checking it out.

A shout out to Uncle Huck!

Nate and I called in pest control experts about sealing the walls from intruding animals. We also called a basement scientist to get advice about the crawl space under the kitchen. Do we lose heat there? Do animals get in through there? Are they mammals or reptiles or some of both? How many get in there and how often? Can we talk about bats?

Both of these professionals could hardly focus they were so distracted by the quality and perfection of the construction the basement foundation. They were astonished! I was with the mice-control guy on Wednesday and Nate was with the crawl-space guy on Thursday. The the placement of the stones! The tightness of the rocks and joists!. The perfect repointing of the masonry! They rhapsodized. The bug guy said "I want to bring my futon in here and set it up and lay here and admire it." The crawl space guy said, "Well, you don't really need me." (The mice, by the way, are getting in through sealable gaps in the bulkhead and the wooden floor of the living room.) Both visitors said they visit many, many cellars and basements around rural Maine and did not expect to find such a specimen of perfect masonry. THANK YOU UNCLE HUCK!

... For those who didn't know him, Uncle Huck was Arnold Smith, who married the eldest Vinton girl, Frances. Huck was from the next town over. When he showed up in the 1950s, the Vintons had a dirt cellar with a wood-burning furnace that they had to stoke all winter with firewood dragged out of the surrounding forests. They finally got an oil-burning furnace in the 1960s -- only after Huck and his father and brothers dug out the cellar, built up the walls with exceptional skill, and, in Huck's case, married the eldest daughter. Huck later became a father to three sons (Nate's much-admired older cousins Jeff, Doug and Steve), and did a ton of improvements around camp and was a lifelong role model to Nate's dad. Huck Smith and John Vinton spent many, many fall days hunting deer in the woods around Lovell and fishing in the lakes and streams along the West Branch of the Penobscot, especially around Chesuncook, ME. Growing up, Nate did a lot of fishing with Huck too, and says he learned from him the living definition of the word "gentleman." Here's a picture of Huck around 1982, playing cars with Nate's brother, Andrew, in the kitchen.

And here are some candids from the week. Clockwise from the top left: Snack time on Thursday afternoon - ready for recess! Cousin Charlie and Sarah. And the war canoe has gotten a lot of play this week!

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