Yesterday at 3:30PM I received my regular customer e-mail from Verrill Farm. This one informed me about their turkey order from Stonewood Farm Turkeys in Vermont. Little did I know that something terrible was happening about the time of the e-mail. Verrill Farm burned down yesterday. The result of a suspected electrical problem causing the propane tanks to explode. This is a very sad day for the community.
The farm consists of 200 acres. The farm started in 1918 as a dairy business. In 1982, after years of planning and negotiations, the land was placed under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, thus preventing development of this land. In 1990, the dairy herd was sold and plans began to replace the existing tent retail space with a new farm stand, which was built in 1995.
We go to Verrill all the time. I pass by it several times a week on my way into work in Boston. It's just a lovely oasis. They have the best corn and the best tomatoes, and they celebrate every summer with their annual "Corn and Tomato Festival". This year, unfortunately, the festival was cancelled because of rains. Little were we to know that this would happen shortly thereafter.
We give the Verrill's our best wishes and prayers.
Steve Verrill released this statement in early October 2008:
External Link: Verrill Farm
Walden Pond is a wonderful place to visit if you don't follow the masses. For those of you who do not know, Walden Pond was the residence of Henry David Thoreau from 1845 to 1847. Conservationists regularly quote his book Walden which is inspiring. It is a treatise on simple living in nature. As a kid we were taught how difficult it must have been for him to live in a one room house (replica shown here). Now as an adult sometimes I wish for such an existence. This quote from Walden is particularly inspiring:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived.
The worst time to visit Walden, because it will be least inspiring, is on hot summer days. People from all over flock here to swim. You will have many babies in diapers, tons of noise, and full parking lots. If you want to experience the tranquility of this place like Thoreau did, come here during the off season. Fall is the best time to visit. Bring a canoe or hike along the perimeter of the pond. Winter is another good season to visit and you should make sure to bring your snowshoes.
Thoreau grew up in Concord, attended Harvard, and became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson introduced him to other famous Concord authors, Alcott, Fuller, and Hawthorne being the most prominent, and he followed their Trascendental Movement. This movement subscribed to the philosophy that personal intuition rather than religion allowed one to achieve insight. Thoreau was a principled man. He refused to pay taxes for several years over his opposition to slavery and the Mexican-American War. Try to do that now!If you make a trip to Walden, be sure to visit downtown Concord and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Thoreau is buried at Author's Ridge, along with many other famous authors. If you have time, visit the Concord Museum which is just outside downtown Concord.
The park has many activities scheduled for August. These include guided hikes, nature crafts, and kayaking. To view the schedule, click on the Events and Programs link on the Walden Pond homepage below.
External Link: Walden Pond Reservation
There are a lot of Irish folk in Southie, but you wouldn't guess that out here in apple country. Aside from Sunday night's at JP O'Hanlon's in downtown Ayer, there really isn't a place to go to for traditional irish session music. Say hello to Mary, Phil, Marilyn, and Tom from Rhode Island and their "Celebrating Ireland" program which made its way to Marlborough and Hudson today. Marlborough is hosting their Saturday Morning Discovery Series at the Union Common and Hudson is hosting Saturdays at South Street at Cellucci Park.
Interspersed between the fiddle, harp, tin whistle, button accordion, and bodhran music, Marilyn told some rather interesting stories, one poking fun at marriage and another that may have my kids scared tonight at bedtime. They came prepared with lots of percussion instruments for the little ones (and not so little ones). It was a great time. And I look forward to them coming back next year.
If you like Irish/Celtic music, you may love the all female group Cherish the Ladies. We caught their concert at Regis College this past April and their tour schedule has them playing May 5, 2009 at The Somerville Theater. At their concert in April they did a song that the group today did called "Welcome Poor Paddy Home." Of course Joanie Madden and crew did it much better, but the song is awesome. The chorus goes:
No more do I wish for to roam
For the sun it will shine in the harvest time
To welcome Poor Paddy home
It's almost a good a song as "Fields of Athenry" about the Irish famine which was the closing song at every bar in Ireland when we were there in 1997. But you don't here it much over here. There are, however, 150 recordings of that song on iTunes and the Boston band Dropkick Murphy's recorded it for their 2003 Blackout album.