Changing my Transit Ways

Happy Spring, all. If Spring has arrived in Vermont, it must have found you by now. I hope! A quick question for your Monday morning: what is your preferred mode of travel in the good weather? I’ve been calling these days the happy weather in Vermont. It’s warm, beautiful, people are out and about, everyone’s mood has lifted.

And after a refreshing weekend of barely any need for a car, I’m attempting to scale down my daily vehicle use and rely on the bus, if possible for work, and my feet and bicycle for in town trips. It’s not entirely possible or easy, but perhaps a good (affordable, healthy) challenge for the next five or six months.

Have you altered your transit? How and for what reasons? Financial? Environmental? Efficiency?

Pink dogwoods for spring.

Pink dogwoods for spring.

Preservation Photos #182

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The Vermont State House with its gardens in full bloom. How lucky it feels to see this building every day and observe it with the changing seasons.

The State House in the summer and winter.

Sugar Season

Maple sugaring is an important economic and cultural tradition in Vermont. With spring, the days warm up, the nights stay cool and the sap flows. Sugar houses dot the landscape with billowing smoke flowing out of the chimneys, buckets are seen along the roadside, and sap lines are flowing from trees to collection tanks to sugar houses. Seen any signs of sugaring where you live?

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Preservation Photos #174

Shard Villia in Salisbury, VT.

Historic Shard Villia in Salisbury, VT.

Sometimes even the winter/spring of March in Vermont lends itself to beautiful snapshots. More of Shard Villa later today.

Flamingo Spring

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Thanks to Eric Gilbertson for this photograph.

It’s spring in West Woodstock, Vermont! Who else wants to crash this flamingo party?

Architectural Survey Photography Tip

Early spring is the perfect time for architectural survey photography work. Before the leaves grow and the flowers appear, but after the snow has melted away, you will be able to capture the best shots of buildings. Take a look at this church in Waitsfield, Vermont as an example.

The United Church of Christ in Waitsfield, VT. April 2012. Note that this picture was not taken for documentation purposes; this is not a photograph that would satisfy NR or HABS standards (partially because it's a bit crooked), but I still like the image.

Summer is beautiful in Vermont, but the trees will obscure the church steeple in a few weeks. I don’t know about you, but I love looking in between the tree branches to the buildings. It makes looking up at rooftops even more interesting.

This is just an iPhone photo, but you can see how the tree does not block your view of the building. March 2012.

In other words, take your cameras outside to capture springtime views. While it’s more fun to stroll around with a camera in June and July (depending on where you live), you’ll be more pleased with your early spring photographs. You’ll thank yourself later, when you’re attempting to write an architectural description from photographs or remembering the top half of a building.

Anyone else have a great tip for survey photography?

Happy Saturday

I hope your Saturday is as lovely as these images from historic Pittsfield, Vermont.

Library in Pittsfield facing the village green.

Flowering crab trees on the Pittsfield Village Green.

Pink flowers on a perfect spring afternoon!

A cemetery across the street from the green.

A serene road in the cemetery.

Have a great weekend!

Running in the Evening Light

In the wintertime I wrote about running in the cold, dark evenings: quiet, solitary spans of time that allowed me to catch glimpses of the interiors of the beloved historic houses. The yellow glow of lights provided that cozy feeling; each house seemed loved. It is a good reason for loving dark winter nights.

But the cold eventually grows tiresome and I have been more than happy to welcome the fair spring weather. Evenings are still a good time for neighborhood explorations as the sun is not in my eyes and the sidewalk traffic is less. Yesterday while running I realized just how much of the built environment details I have been missing in the winter months. For those months my eyes watched the ground ahead carefully for roots, ice and frost heaves. My eyes were drawn to the parts of buildings that I could see; hence, the interiors and fenestration. But now with all of this daylight and the dry roads and sidewalks my eyes can finally wander again. I can mix up my routes, whereas I had been running on trusted routes – where I knew what was beneath my feet.

I noticed patterned slate roofs, including one I had never before seen. I noticed a beautiful Queen Anne house painted in all brown, desperate for some color. Fences have been painted, trees have been trimmed. Wood storm windows are still in place on many houses, probably until Memorial Day. Tulips are blooming. People are outside enjoying their yards, tending gardens and tackling the ever existing tasks of home ownership.

Thank goodness for the season changes. Every time a new one turns, a different facet of the built environment is highlighted and provides new adventures, stories and thoughts.

Hello Spring

It may still be mud season (it very much is), but all of a sudden everything is green and it looks like spring here in Vermont. Everything is so green and lush; buds are growing and soon they’ll be blossoming. It’s beautiful.

This picture does not do the day justice: sunny, skies as blue as can be, temperatures in the high 70s, and such a beautiful scene around Caspian Lake in Greensboro just the other day. Yes, there is still ice on the lake. Welcome to the Northeast Kingdom.

Evidence of flowers for spring, photograph taken last week next to my house. Blue & green - those colors say Vermont to me.