Our snow had all been washed away by several days of warm rain, but yesterday it returned with a  vengeance and this morning, the first morning of 2009, it is bitter, bitter cold.  Here are Alfie and his good friend Sophie, who lives nearby and comes to play often, at the front door, wishing they could come in and have a cup of coffee with me and Sophie's mom.

Alf & Soph

On Monday and Tuesday,----fortunately when the weather and the roads were still clear---I was in Maine to tend to the water problems at my house there. I met with plumber, well-driller, landscaper, carpenter--- and then left them all with a go-ahead to start their work. They tell me I'll have water by February.  A new well---he estimates 300 feet deep---will be drilled down through, gulp, my front yard. New plumbing in
the basement, of course, and a line going through the granite foundation which dates back to 1768, when the house was built.

I stayed at a local B&B overnight, and among the other guests there was a man whose father, born in 1909, had grown up nearby. This man remembered, as a child, helping to bring the cows in from pasture at my house, herding them into the barn (badly, he said; he never got the hang of it, and the cows disobeyed)  Such a long history, that barn!

On the old maps the property is deisgnated Brigham Hill, and this man says there were still Brighams in the house when he was a boy. There are many Brighams in the small cemetery down the road. Old men dead in their 80's, and beside them a sequence of wives living only to their 20's and 30's... died in childbirth, is my guess.  And of course the little headstones of their babies and children.

BrighamHillFarm This is a photo my son took once from a small plane. The big roof is my barn, the house to its left partly concealed by trees.  This must have been in early fall, before the trees turned color but after the fields had been mowed.  Here's a picture of the view looking down across that unmowed front meadow, in midsummer, to the lake below.  Wild turkeys on the lawn!