Tell me a story

The Stinson House, Quechee, April 2005

We’ve heard a lot of stories about the yellow house since we moved in 5 years ago. We’ve been told at various times that our house is haunted, was built from the first lumber out of the Dewey Mills sawmill, belonged to a successful Quechee businessman named Mr. Tinkham, is the oldest house in Quechee, was a major party house in the 1980s, had a front door painted lavender, and was once condemned.

Some of these things are true: one of the partiers who lived here is a friend. Some are false: the Dewey Mills churned out woolens and satinet, not lumber. Some things we made up ourselves.

As to the question of ghosts–it’s easy to understand why one would assume we are haunted. We are situated near the old and new Quechee cemeteries. The old, “inactive” cemetery is just across Old Quechee Road. It’s a lovely place, and the destination of a Valley Quest treasure hunt.

The new cemetery is at the top of the hill behind our house. You can see a corner of it in the photo above. I walk Cammy there from time to time. I haven’t investigated how many plots are still available, but fresh graves appear regularly. Some of the grave markers don’t have death dates–a kind of planning I’m not capable of yet.

But we do not appear to have ghosts. Sure, we get spooked walking by the cemetery at night, but have seen no evidence of paranormal phenomena. Sometimes when I’m home alone at night, I’ll look up from what I’m doing and wonder about all the people who have passed through these rooms, treading the uneven, creaking floors, living through their own moments of joy or sadness. So odd that they seem not to have left a trace.


Rosa Granada

Yesterday was everything a summer day should be — sunny and hot. I went to the Norwich Farmer’s Market in the morning. The local strawberries are in; the peonies are abundant. In the afternoon, we went swimming in Lake Pinneo. The water was so cool and fresh.

Coming back from my morning walk with Cammy, I noticed three roses in full bloom in the front border. They smell heavenly. They are right next to a stand of peonies that I transplanted from a shadier border four years ago. The peonies finally started blooming last year and they have a lovely rose-like scent.

The garden is doing so well. Right now the goldflame honeysuckle is the star. I didn’t prune it as severely as I have in the past and it has taken over the central part of the fence. It is frequented by a ruby-throated hummingbird — always a delight to see.

I wish I could say I knew what I was doing with this garden, but it’s a lot of luck. I inherited some of it, but have tried to focus on adding new perennials. A lot of the plants I inherited are listed in my flower encyclopedia as “tending toward weediness.” This seems to be polite gardenspeak for “don’t touch this with a ten-foot pole.” I’ve tried to contain or eliminate the more aggressive of these species, and have met with some success.

Still Life with Labrador

Cammy O’Rose, June 22, 2005

She is old, but not old enough to sit quietly while I work.
Her cold nose bumps my left hand, warm tongue
Slipping out to taste the salt of my palm.
She sits back and waits; staring at me implacably,
Her liquid eyes saying: “Take me walking now.”

Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man