Jamming at the Whammy

The Whammy Bar is a tiny venue in the back of the Maple Corner Store in Maple Corner, Calais, VT, USA. There’s a small L-shaped bar, a few tables and chairs, guitars on the wall, some sound equipment, all reached by making your way past the groceries and the to-go food offerings and turning right. Twenty-five people is about max for the audience. They can cram a full Bluegrass band into the performance spot, but it would elbow-to-elbow tight. Last Friday, local Jim Ventresca played and sang just about anything the audience asked for, with Felix Grassmann helping out, as it snowed hard outside. Calais residents and friends recently bought the store, which was in danger of closing, and transformed it, and the Whammy Bar, into a community-run entity, which has to make it one of the very few such operations in the country. Stop by if you’re in the greater metropolitan Maple Corner/Kents Corner/Gospel Hollow/Old West Church vicinity.

Posted in Maple Corner Store Tagged , , , |

Doubled Down

I rarely enter photography contests, but late in 2019 I did enter two. I got honorable mentions in both, which is better than nothing, but it’s also not as good as an actual prize. On the other hand, I can honestly say that all the other images that were honorably mentioned were really good, so at least I was in good company.  Top, honorable mention #1, an all-American bubble created in the Susquehanna River town of Selinsgrove, PA, which was selected in the “Street, Professional” category in the Monochrome Awards. Below, #2, a misty morning on Lake Iroquois in Williston, VT, in the Sports/Nature category of the mammoth International Photography Awards. Click here for some of the Monochrome winners. And here for some of the IPA winners.

Posted in International Photography Awards, Monochrome Awards Tagged , , |

A Bit of Biathlon

It was a cold few days in mid-December for the International Biathlon Union trials at Craftsbury, VT, Outdoor Center. Biathlon combines cross country ski racing and rifle marksmanship, and, in this case, frost and icicles. Skiers  were vying for slots on US teams competing internationally. Top, Montanan Luke Brown steams and exhales mist as he removes his rifle after entering the firing range to shoot. Below, Vermont National Guard skier Deedra Irwin, en route to winning a trip to compete in Europe. Below that, Amanda Stone shooting and Kelly Kjorlien with own personal icicle. Click here for a gallery of three days of racing and shooting.

Posted in 2020 International Biathlon Union trials, biathlon Tagged , , , |

Top of the Rock, etc.


Just the usual pre-Christmas goings-on at Rockefeller Center.

Posted in black & white, New York City, Rockefeller Center, silhouette Tagged , , |

January in November

November turned to winter in a hurry: snow, skiing and temperatures one night near zero. Both photos, early season skiers at Craftsbury Outdoor Center, VT, USA.

Posted in Craftsbury Outdoor Center, cross-country skiing, Vermont, Winter Tagged , , , |

Climate Change Strike

Scenes from September 20, when students from Montpelier and around Vermont walked out of school to join the global climate change strike. They marched from Montpelier High School to City Hall and protested lack of action on climate change with a die-in and speeches. Below, three generations of protest. Click here for a gallery.

Posted in 2019 Climate Change Strirke, Global Week for Future, Vermont climate change demonstrations, Vermont climate demonstrations Tagged , |

Prince Edward Island: Sea, Sky and Field

Prince Edward Island, a chunk of red rock and sand cradled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, but, besides the sea, it also lives on tourism and agriculture. We were up there again in the late fall, nominally to help Dirk close up his cabin for the winter, but he did all the work. Top, fall weather on the north shore. Below, a fisherman heads out on the Midgell River on the north side of the island in search of seed mussels to sell to the commercial operations that have made PEI mussels a presence on menus all over North America; big wind turbines loom above a field of wild blueberries, turned crimson in the fall.  Click here for a gallery.

Posted in Canada, Canada's Maritimes, Prince Edward Island Tagged , , |

Anais Mitchell Homecoming

Anais Mitchell grew up in Vermont, where she  conceived and composed the musical Hadestown and performed it in bits and pieces at small Vermont venues. Hadestown is now a hit show on Broadway and last week Mitchell was back in Vermont, filling the First Unitarian Church in Burlington. She and guitarist Austin Nevins electrified the crowd. Click here for more on Hadestown.

Posted in Anais Mitchell, Hadestown, Vermont Music Tagged , , |

Vermont Cyclo-Crossing

Onion River Outdoors in Montpelier, VT, put on the annual Dam Wrightsville Cyclo-Cross races at Wrightsville Dam on Sunday: Run your bike, run with your bike, jump over obstacles, wind through the woods on a beautiful fall day. Click here for full gallery.

Posted in Cyclo-Cross, ont cyclo-cross, Vermont outdoors Tagged , |

Bringing in the Hemp

It used to be illegal to grow hemp in Vermont because it is, scientifically, the same plant as marijuana. But hemp doesn’t have nearly as much of the psychoactive substance THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that marijuana does. (Hemp plants can contain no more than 0.3 percent (by dry weight); marijuana typically contains 5 to 20 percent THC.) With the boom in the use of CBD (cannabidiol) oils and other hemp products, hemp farms have sprung up around Vermont — more than 800 growers on nearly 8,000 acres this summer.  The MontKush organization farms on land in Plainfield and scores of workers were harvesting and processing hemp there last week. Click here for something about MontKush.  Click here for a gallery. Thanks to Terry Allen for getting me out into the fields.

Posted in hemp, hemp farming, hemp harvest, Vermont Tagged , , , , |