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Essex Column

This Saturday, March 9, Essex Farm is hosting a tour which starts at 10 a.m. It’s mostly a walking tour, so be prepared for whatever the weather may bring. You can safely bet it will be muddy, so leave your dancing shoes home and wear something waterproof. The morning will be devoted to looking over the fields and farmstead, followed at noon by a pot-luck lunch and more investigating in the afternoon. The farmer in chief, Mark Kimball, may be out of commission following a recent serious knee injury at Whiteface and surgical repairs, but the tour should be interesting nevertheless. Please call the farm if you plan to join the tour; the farm is on Route 22 a mile west of downtown Essex.

The next offering in the Grange’s Lyceum series on American agriculture is next Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. with a talk by UVM history professor Dona Brown. It’s titled “Back to the Land: The enduring dream of self-sufficiency in America.” She came out with a book a couple of years ago with the same title. This is the second to last event in this particular series.

I’m in Austin, Texas as I write this, and it’s spring time, the best part of which are the wild flowers. Since winter here isn’t much more than a few 40 degree days, spring is not very exciting. More of a gradual warming rather than a bursting forth of new growth. Lawns are generally brown with hints of green, and the new leaves on the trees are dull and muddy compared to the fluorescent verdant glory we experience. Of all the flowers in action now my favorites are the bluebonnets, which are wild lupines. They grow in swaths along the roads and cover wide open spaces with blankets of deep iris blue. People find them irresistible, so you know the quality of the bloom by the number of cars parked along the roadsides. Brides and grooms are photographed standing in them and poetic types (and refugees from the north) simply flop down on their backs amongst them for maximum enjoyment.

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