Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A little trip to Hartland, VT

The kids are whispering to each other in the loft after a long morning at the pond.  They think I can't hear them, so they're being very sweet with each other as they avoid taking their nap.

The stone bridge/damn is coming along, we skimmed all the grass the weed-whacking covered the pond with, and in the process chased a dozen frogs around and around the pond's edge.

I took the plunge, the middle is over my head, and holy-crap.  Still the coldest water I have been in, outside of Reflection Pond in Denali, and come on, that's glacier runoff.

Sunday, only a few days ago, (catching up!) we headed over to Hartland to visit family for the day.  We had to turn back twice as the first route the GPS and google tried to send us on had been washed out since the 20s, and the second route was washed out last year by Irene.

The drive was wonderful, with a gorgeous day and new back-Vermont roads to explore, and two kids in high spirits singing in the back seat.  We were headed to two parties, so they had a discussion about how shy they would be, what factors played into their shyness, and how long it would last. I wasn't part of the conversation; it was fun to listen to.

Our first stop was u.Mike and a.Mary's new net-neutral house built on a lovely hill in the backlands of Hartland.

You can tell this place is a culmination of long thought, with the layout fitting in with the surrounding land, the infrastructure and flow coming together for that elusive "comfortable."

The front room, across from the open kitchen:

The outside view of that same room.  Wrapping this side of the house is an impressive stone garden/water course, ending in a chemical free stone pool/pond.

Part of the net-neutral, this house is super-insulated, solar electric and solar hot water, geo-thermal heat pump, and radiant heat throughout the concrete basement and sub-floors.  

The heart of the beast.  It's slightly complex...  I did my best to follow u.Mike's explanations, but I think I'm going to have to get a book or two on the details.

a.Mary did a wonderful job of thawing out the kids.  When we first arrived they had just fallen asleep, despite my efforts to keep them going on the drive, and a.Mary took them around the house in their un-talking-clingy-grump phase, and when they came back they were chattering and running around.

Though it was a chill morning, the kids saw that pool, insisted on getting in their bathing suits, and went right in.

It looks pretty cool, no?

Really, right in.

u.Mike.  I've known this fellow my whole life, we've been through a fair amount together, and I count him as one of my quirky favorites.

Caspian learning how to erg.  Annaliese was tromping around in a.Mary's cross country ski boots.

After the kids had a hot bath, we piled into the truck and headed the mile or so over the hill to my grandparent's house for a father's day gathering.  My grandmother, in her 90s, has recently moved into a nursing home a short drive away in Windsor, and this was her first trip home since that move.  We Coughlins took the opportunity of having an immediate-family gathering: 90% of the attendees were made up of my parents, sisters, brother in laws, and my troupe.  It was a nice afternoon, with a nostalgic twist in the mostly empty grounds that used to be so alive and manicured, and full of the rest of the family.  Of the 9 children in my father's generation, three came to this gathering.  

Uncle William in the orchard with the kids.  They had a blast.

After that full day, we came back to the cabin, and Annaliese grew a fever well into the night.  It spiked at 104, and with proper dosing of fever reducer and cool compresses, we finally got to sleep around 1.  The new rule: she is not allowed to kick off her pjs in the night, as she did the previous night, because it gets cold in VT.

No comments: