Category: ‘Small Town News’

Spring Walks In My Small Town

June 20, 2009 Posted by suefairview

I should really count my blessings. I have been happily married for 24 years to a wonderful man and we live in paradise. I am disabled with low stamina, but I try to stay in shape by walking every day. Actually, I am well known around town, since I do all my errands on foot and try never to drive my gas guzzling Jeep Wrangler unless I have to.

Spring is my favorite season. If it is going to be a hot day, I will set out in the morning as I did on the day I took some of these photos.

I surprised this bunny and was no more than 10 feet (3 meters) away when I got this photo. Notice the poison ivy in the background.

We have two public accesses to the river in our town. This one, was designed by Sean gratis for the town almost 20 years ago. His design included the gazebo and a viewing deck, as well as park areas with a free flowing sidewalk, a parking lot and boat loading ramp. This is only 5-10 minutes walk from my house.

The gazebo’s initial design had turned wooden balusters under the railing, but vandals kept breaking them. That doesn’t keep wedding couples from having their photos taken here though.

Across the river is a State Park and creek for kayaking and some small boats can get through at high tide. You can get there from the landing but you have to cross river traffic which can be daunting in the summer for a lone kayaker when your visibility is nil and boats are heading for you at 30 knots.

These are some roses that I lust for down the street from the landing. I can’t tell if they are teas or wild, but I really want to steal them. I’m sure the people wouldn’t grudge me some! Aren’t they beautiful!

These roses growing on a fence seem to be doing very well. They look large and healthy. We had some pink ones like these growing on a stone wall at our other property that we now rent. We have some dark pink ones like these where we live now. But if you cut them, they don’t last.

I also have a thing for columbines. I have not had any luck with them since we left our old property. These are some purple ones that I pass on my walk. I could have just ripped out a whole plant and taken it home and put it into the ground. But the owner was right there. Shucks! Below is a close up of them.

I love how these johnny jump ups have volunteered right at the sidewalk in the shade.

More pretty columbines for me to lust after.

Another well tended garden that I visit and watch as the seasons go by. Great gardeners, like this one, plan for something to bloom each season.

Here is the second public water access in our town. On this side of the stone bridge, opposite side of the road, there is a boat loading ramp into the cove. If you put your kayak, row boat or canoe in, you have to go under the bridge and towards us to go out the cove and into the river. There were some plein air oil painters that I had to push past to get this shot. They were painting the marina at the other end of the cove. I hate marinas. They are an eyesore in my opinion.

Here is the other side looking up the cove. You can see the steam from the scenic railway steamtrain that has just passed. I wasn’t fast enough to get the train. Sorry. Tide is up but going out. I took this photo standing on the end of the ramp.

So you might ask me “Sue, it looks like you live in the kayaking center of the world! Why do not go kayaking?” Well, you’re right, I do live in the kayaking center of the world. But I’ll tell you why I don’t go that often.

Because by the time I drag my kayak out of the metal building and heave it into my Jeep, drive my Jeep down to the landing, haul my kayak into the water, park my Jeep and launch the kayak (okay, now I am ready to roll) I might be already exhausted from my disability. And, even if I am not, I still have to haul my kayak out of the water when I get back and into my Jeep and drive home and put it away. Plain and simple I require assistance to kayaking. What can I say, my disability makes me a pussy.

So I stick to walking. I can do right from my front door.

Winter Sunrise Over the Coves

February 18, 2009 Posted by suefairview

This is how sunrise looked at 6:30 AM this morning out our front door. It was pinker than this photo shows. In the very foreground you can see the edge of my koi ponds. They have ice on them, but there is a little pump to keep a small area clear of it. Then there are thorny raspberry and blackberry bushes as well as wild roses and the land falls about 40 – 50 feet (12- 15 meters) off into a meadow with small trees and bushes where turkeys, foxes, deer, raccoons, and various other wildlife live. Song birds love the fruiting bushes and we also have woodpeckers and hawks. You can see we still have a little snow on the ground and the temperature was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7 Celsius).
Towards Pratt Cove, a fresh water tidal marsh and also the curving body of water that is predominate in the view, the land is wetland and swampy and there is a train track for a scenic railway. We can just see the antique train as it goes by with tourists in the summer months. The cove itself sees kayakers, canoers, and other small boaters. Duck hunters come during the season. The cove is rife with water birds and we see eagles notably in the winter and some are resident year round. There are even some birds in the photo, but I’m not sure you will be able to see them.

Around the cove is a protected wetland where wild rice and various other wetland plants grow. In times before Europeans came to the Americas, the Native Americans used to harvest the wild rice from their canoes.

Beyond the wild rice area is a string of trees growing on spoils that were thrown up by dredging from a marina you can’t see that is on the left of the photo. (You can’t see it because we let trees on our property grow up to cover it.) Those trees were not that big when we moved in over ten years ago. Anyhow, through those trees is the Connecticut River.

We own a little more than 9 acres of land and have water views like this on much of it. You cannot see any houses in this photo, but that is because of the poor lighting and there are actually a couple in the distance but they are not easily seen. We feel we live in paradise. In the future I will take more photos of our property and try to get more stunning photos of sunrises as well.

Most Exciting News!

June 4, 2008 Posted by suefairview

I have the most exciting news! I was out in the yard with Sean, and I spied something in our meadow that didn’t quite belong. I went out to investigate and look what I found!

Click to enlarge

A lupine had volunteered in our meadow! When I was a kid, Verne and I used to ride our bikes to a meadow a mile or so away that was filled with lupines because they drew butterflies and we used to catch them. My hope is that this plant will go forth and multiply and become many plants filling my meadow with lupines. It is so exciting! (Can you tell how dull my life is?)

Memorial Day

May 26, 2008 Posted by suefairview

I haven’t painted anything yet.

I’ve been busy doing other things and I’ve had this migraine. So, you may ask, what has Sue been doing? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been working on the Veteran’s Memorial in our town. It is on Main Street and was beautiful, until they chopped down the two rows of Northern pine trees on each side of it that were at least 40 years old.

You heard me right; they just lopped them right off down to the nubs, and then chipped the stumps out of the ground. It all started because a certain WWII vet, who was a colonel, wanted to see the memorial from everywhere on the planet and those damn trees were blocking his view. He failed to notice that the trees were providing shade, shielding neighbors from noise, covering the back of the memorial which is not supposed to be seen as it has the mechanical stuff and adding beauty to the site. Okay, a couple of them were dead or dying, but hardly all of them. Many towns’ people complained to town hall when they were cut down. I was one of them. But, I was lied to. The clerk I spoke with told me the cutting would stop. Plainly, he lied. The cutting continued. Now, there is just one tree left.

The owner of the Bed & Breakfast adjacent to the memorial, Ms. E, has been protesting the tree cutting formally with town hall, by writing letters. If this last tree is cut, she will lose much of her protection from the light and noise of downtown. As the selectmen gathered evidence that the tree was ailing, she gathered more than 50 neighbors’ signatures on a petition to stop the cutting of the last tree.

In addition, a row of new trees have been planted. They are ornamental cherry trees that only grow to about 20 feet tall and die after about 15 – 20 years. They are very susceptible to disease and pests, and also to nicks on the bark. Susceptibility is increased because we have them in monoculture when they are supposed to be a show tree. Our specimens are already showing nicks on their bark. They hide nothing and will never give us shade that we need during parades.

So, I was thinking that what we really need is a landscape architect to take a look at this memorial park. I was sure that since it had to do with the veterans and the park that we could get one to volunteer their services to the town. I mentioned it to Sean and he thought it was a no brainer. So, I mentioned it at our next party meeting and no one was interested. I was bummed. But, I resolved that I would go to the town meeting about the tree and sell it there.

But I had a mega migraine, so I took my drug to fix it so that I could attend the town meeting about the tree and the park. At the meeting, I stood up and spoke briefly about how our town is about volunteerism and how we constructed the gazebo at the town landing and how it is now such a beautiful spot that is enjoyed by all. An architect offered his services for free (Sean), materials were donated, and it was constructed by townspeople and pretty much didn’t take any funds to complete. I pointed out that we could work on the veterans’ memorial park in the same way. We could get a landscape architect to donate services, we could get a grant to pay for plants, and the towns’ people could plant them. The whole enterprise could be completed for free. Town management would look good, the people would benefit, and the veterans’ would be honored in a way they deserved.

To make a long story short, my talk started a cascade of action that ended with the veterans’ park committee being extended by 3 people, having a volunteer landscape architect added, and donation checks were flying to the group. Now, a new arborist has examined the tree in question and declared it healthy. So it will not be cut down. A new park plan has been developed and will be planted next spring.

I think it is okay that I haven’t begun painting yet.


November 7, 2007 Posted by suefairview


I guess we got overconfident after the Town Hall Addition was defeated so resoundingly. We live in a very small town and about 1800 people voted. For all of the town’s positions, the votes were about 1050 to 750 in our opponent’s favor. We were all caught off guard by the loss.

This was our first time running a campaign and was our experiment in democracy and forming a party. We had a great time and I met lots of neat people who were very dedicated to making a change for the better in our town. We did get a third Selectman in. Now he has to sit there with the two incumbents and be in the minority. We have vowed to be there and support him. I am sure we will.

The fight continues to protect our town from going to hell in a handbasket. Unfortunately, the government stays the same, and now it will have the same first selectman for 20 some odd years, or grows in incestuousness. We just heard that a new position has been formed for the sister of the second selectman who has just been elected to serve for his 18th year.

The people of our small town are just not ready for change. To a large extent they continue to be uninformed of the issues and satisfied with the status quo. They will stay with a government that has given them one of the 5 the lowest credit rated of all the towns in the state, a Planning & Zoning Commission that has broken the law on the gas station proposal, proposed a $3 MM addition to Town Hall that was rejected, a $3.7 MM addition to the firehouse that will come up for a vote in November, is currently building a huge ugly Walgreens on Main Street, proposed a horse crematorium, has approved a large 200 per day ton rollover waste facility for construction garbage from all over the state (soon to be increased to 5oo tons), and our major money earner is a sewage treatment plant that processes sewage from other towns. Frankly, our quaint little berg earns its money from taking garbage and sewage from all over the state.

We sought to find a better way for our town, but not enough people heard us. We fought the good fight. Maybe this explains the problem with the USA today. Not enough people are informed of the issues. Apathy rules the day. George Bush is President for two terms. I think I understand now how he won.

Back to the hot guys.