ATHOL Hundreds of people got a taste of mountain life this weekend as they visited a sawmill, a goat farm, maple sugar operations and other enterprises during Thurman Fall Farm Tour Days.
At Martin’s Lumber, Marvin “Pinky” O’Dell of Garnet Lake demonstrated one of his machines that cuts firewood into stove lengths, Gary Martin operated his sawmill equipment, and crafters talked about their handiwork.
At Whitefields’ Farm, chicken scampered over the property and turkeys gobbled up food, as the couple sold produce from their gardens.
At various spots around town, maple sugar producers sold the fruits of their spring labors and talked about their tradition-steeped operations.
Members of the Thurman Fire Company, however, faced a situation less routine on Saturday. In the middle of serving their renowned chicken barbecue, a fire alert prompted them to drop their grilling tongs and scramble into fire trucks to respond to a blaze in Stony Creek.
Left behind were a couple of associates to man the grill and feed the dozens attending the popular event.
Thurman was busy during the weekend. Geocachers scoured the countryside for cleverly hidden “swag” or loot — competing for prizes. They had earlier assembled at Valley Road Maple Farm to get their instructions and coordinates for the day.
At the Peru Llama Farm, visitors from all over New England were entranced by the friendliness of the animals. At the farm, two teenagers — Michaela Dunn and Amber Ruther — promoted the Heifer Project, which provides animals to impoverished families. They also engaged visiting children in games they had devised.
Dowser Bruce Irwin captivated many, showing how to locate water underground.
The John Thurman Historical Society hosted their “Cemetery Heritage Hunt,” awarding cash prizes to folks including Barbara Carr and Duane Degutis, both of Copake, NY.
Several others also took home mementoes of the weekend — Chris Daniels of Adirondack won Martin’s Lumber pine box of gifts and Carolyn Cyr of Thurman won a giant chrysanthemum at Whitefields’ Farm.