Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Travel notes: Mountain School Reunion, Vershire, VT

This past weekend we took three days and enjoyed an adventure up to Vermont. The Mountain School is an intensive and independent program that offers juniors in high school an opportunity to live and work on a farm in rural Vershire, VT. Each semester 45 kids from around the country pile into this magical little destination for learning and experience and their lives are changed. I was one such kid, so it was fabulous to go back and celebrate my 15-year reunion.
A perfect excuse to use our new tent, the orange light in which we found to be very comforting. The first crop of hay was almost to harvest height.

Thankfully they mowed a patch atop Garden Hill before we got there so we were able to score the perfect camping spot, amidst the apple orchard.

We ate so well, as did the chickens that got to feast on our scraps.

So funny to think how I suffered with Tree ID when I was a student all those years ago. This time around I was having a ball revisiting all the species in their natural surroundings, the birch (above) and all the rest.
Wood crew was one of the best workjobs because along with the sugar crew you really learned how to manage a forest. There is something so therapeutic about chopping wood. Simple things like this woodpile made me miss country life.
Eventually we did hop on the road out to the sugar shack and took ourselves a little hike.
The landscape behind the classroom building still breathtaking. For a few months I would have to come out here first thing in the morning and feed the four new calves we had at the time. The hay I had to wheel up in a rusty old wheelbarrow from the barns down near Miles dorm. I enjoyed that chore.

And then going in to the big round dining hall for breakfast and morning meeting. Because we all know that "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".
...a bit corny.

The maples were towering overhead. I decided at the last minute that bringing my climbing gear was silly and unnecessary. If we had been able to stay longer I would have loved to have gotten up in some of those old beauties.
Most of the farm was much the same as when I was there in spring of 1994.

But this time I was much better at identifying the flowering trees and shrubs around like this lilac (Syringa).
Above there to the right is the new hay barn - the most recent addition to campus.
The hoop houses I remember cleaning snow off of in January had started tomatoes and other veggies that looked amazing and well on their way.

Many more piglets this time. When our semester was there it was only Annie the pig, but trust me she was no lady to take lightly.
Might be June but if you think about it Thanksgiving will be right around the corner. I cared for the baby turkeys one summer doing farm crew with Martha and Greg and Becky before moving to Hanover, NH, for the summer with fellow alums from Loomis Chaffee. That was some time ago.
The new hay barn was great looking inside with the sun pouring in. Pretty sci-fi, no?

Jack Kruse quality signage still in full effect.

The chicken coop on the way up to Garden Hill.

The gazebo atop Garden Hill and the signs of other alums.
A few of the old fence posts still had the clay masks I remember from the early '90's.

The views still amazing.

and all of us, happily together again.

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