Saturday, May 31, 2008

Brian's Graduation

Brian graduated from Colby College on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It was a beautiful day, the best day of the Memorial Day Weekend, not a cloud in the sky. The ceremony was on the lawn in front of Miller Library. The photo below was taken at the end of the graduation ceremony. If you look closely there are a lot of hats in the air, including one smack in front of the leftmost column of the entrance to Miller Library. (Click on any picture to enlarge.) It was Colby's 187th Commencement, and there were 521 graduates.

The photo below was taken after the graduation ceremony on steps behind Miller Library. This is Brian's group of friends. Brian is on the left in the back row, with the beard. Brian, if you wish, please feel free to post a comment identifying your friends.

I know a few of Brian's friends. Below are Jennifer Bushee, Lucas (Luke) LaViolet, Brian, and Brian Lam. Brian, Brian and Luke were roommates sophomore year. Brian, the tie looks great!

The day before graduation, Brian's group of friends organized a picnic for their families. The picnic was supposed to be outside next to Johnson Pond, but it rained intermittently that day and the picnic was moved inside. Here are some of the students:

Brian graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in computer science, and minors in mathematics and physics. He earned Distinction in Major. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, the only computer science major to earn either distinction. Well done, Brian!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Miller Library at Night

The evening before Brian's graduation (see next post) we attended an A Cappella concert in Lorimer Chapel. When we came out of the chapel, Miller Library was beautifully lit up. The two photos below are from the steps of Lorimer Chapel:

Laura, Brian, Emily:

Laura took the striking photo to the left. The weathervane is the sloop Hero. It was renovated in 2005.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Westview Farm

The white sign on this barn is no longer readable, but it used to say "Westview Farm":

This is the barn at the Huffman's, just west of Bill's farm on Route 15. This was the farm of Luther Putnam (1842-1929), who was Pager's grandfather. More pictures of the barn:

Joel Putnam (1814-1908) came to what is now Bill's farm in 1854. This farm came to be known as "Wayside Farm." Joel had one child who survived into adulthood, the aforementioned Luther (1842-1929). In the 1870s Luther started farming next door, on what came to be known as "Westview Farm."

"The two farms were worked together a good deal and the pastures were never fenced apart as long as Luther lived." (From "History of the Putnam Farm," by J. Kinsley Putnam, 1948; included in "The Story of the Putnams," by Harold and Lois Putnam, 1994.) Although the two farms were adjacent, they were in different towns and different counties. Wayside Farm was in the town of Cambridge (Lamoille County) while Westview Farm was in the town of Westford (Chittenden County).

Luther Putnam had nine children from two marriages. Five children survived into adulthood. One was J. Kinsley Putnam (1874-1967) who took over Wayside Farm from his grandfather, Joel. Another was Alice, who married Lester Cook. Alice and Lester Cook took over Westview Farm from Luther. Westview Farm passed out of the family in 1965, after both Lester and Alice died. Wayside Farm stayed in the family, passing from Kinsley to his son, Harold (Pager), and then to Bill. It is now known as the Putnam Family Farm.

Wayside Farm was mostly known for dairy and maple products. But Westview Farm was mostly known for its horticultural products. The first major product was potatoes. Luther "collected over 100 varieties and kept them distinct, and from 1880 for 10 or 12 years he took most of the prizes at State and County fairs and established a good trade in seed potatoes earning the title of Potato King." (ibid)

Later on, Luther became well known for apples. In 1895 he built the "fruit house." This is the house across from the Huffman's, where the Fosse's now live. Luther built this house to store apples, and only later converted it into a dwelling. Luther sold apples, and probably small amounts of other fruit, both wholesale and retail. I have seen an old newspaper photo of a retail roadside stand directly across the road from the barn pictured above, which the accompanying article said was the first roadside stand in Vermont. Here is what Kinsley had to say about it: "About 1900 the State took over the main roads including No. 15, Burlington to St. Johnsbury, and with automobile travel there was sale for fruit at a wayside stand and here Luther Putnam did a prosperous business until his death [1929]." (ibid)

One last item about the barn pictured above: I can remember as a kid helping a crew of neighbors put on the metal roofing that you see in the picture.

Feel free to add additional information or memories about Westview Farm in the comments!

UPDATE: When I was growing up, the Coolums lived in the "fruit house": Joyce and Henry, and their son Greg. Joyce died on 5/23/08, the day before her 87th birthday. The obituary was published in the Burlington Free Press on 5/31/08 (it's easier to search the online obituaries if you know the name and date of publication). Henry and Greg both died years ago and Joyce had been in a nursing home for several years.

CORRECTION: Joyce and Henry Coolum's son was Creg not Greg.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Potash Kettles

I recently published a post on my work blog (the Yankee ACA Blog) that is also of personal interest:

The Forgotten Potash Economy

The first picture of a potash kettle is in Pager's lilac garden. (Thanks, Laura, for the photo.) Note Bill's farm and sugarhouse through the lilac bushes. The second picture is in Beth and Jerry's front yard.

The article that I linked to in that post ("The First Patent") is an interesting history of the hugely important potash industry of the late 1700s and early 1800s. I highly recommend reading it. It is also interesting to note that for many years it was mistakenly thought that a Vermonter was awarded the first U.S. patent in 1790.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was on Sunday, May 11. Laura did a wonderful job pampering her mother. (Brian and Emily, you owe Laura big time!) Nancy was more agreeable to having her picture taken than she was on her birthday:

Note the tarps. Many years ago I gave Nancy a tarp for her birthday (we needed one for an awning for the camper). I have never heard the end of it—how could I give such an unromantic birthday present to my wife?? Well, this year I gave her not one tarp, but two. And not one color, but two—blue on one side and silver on the other. So now I can take twice as much abuse!

Note also the note cards with photos of flowers on them. Laura has become skilled at taking close-up photos of flowers in our backyard with her digital camera. (See the present she gave Mom on her birthday.) For Mother's Day, Laura gave Mom several beautiful cards with various flower photographs.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Congratulations, Brian!

Brian gave his mother a wonderful present on her birthday. He called to say that he had accepted a job! Brian will be working for The Healthcare Management Council, Inc. in Needham, Mass. He starts on June 16.

Brian, I know that you are doing something with computer programming. Perhaps you would post a comment about what you will be doing.

Congratulations, Brian!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nancy's Birthday

Nancy's birthday was May 5. I won't mention what year, but she's not as old as Jeff Lund (see previous post) and she has been known to note that her birthdate is all the same digit. We celebrated on Sunday, May 4, because I was leaving on a business trip the morning of Monday, May 5.

Nancy did NOT want her picture taken. Fortunately Laura made a delicious lava cake that did not mind having its picture taken.

Presents included pearl earrings, a new wireless phone system, Blue Shoes and Happiness and Chocolat. Laura framed two photographs of flowers in our backyard as a present:

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Good Woman

On April 6 we attended a 60th birthday party for Jeff Lund. Present were six adults (Lunds, Duchaceks and Putnams) and four teen-age girls, all seniors at LUHS (our three natural daughters plus our "adopted" daughter Camila, presently staying with the Lunds).

Jeff was the oldest person present, and at one point Howard Duchacek asked him, "To what do you attribute your longevity?" To which Jeff replied, without any hesitation whatsoever, "A good woman."

All three wives agreed that this was a most excellent answer. And for the rest of the evening, there were various wisecracks about "a good woman."

Somewhat later we were discussing good books that we had read recently. I ventured that I had a book about "a good woman." But it wasn't much of a book, because it was just pictures.

I got the best laugh of the evening!