Monday morning, December 4, 1012 we were off by 8, on the first leg of our trip to Perry, Maine. Our first stop would be Brunswick, ME to visit Joanne and Ed, friends or ours from when they lived in Troy. However we had hardly left home when I remembered our route would take us near Walden Pond so Margaret began studying the map and found the exit that would get us there.
Arriving at Walden Pond I immediately saw the cabin Thoreau lived in, I thought. It turned out it was a replica of the real cabin. The actual site of his cabin was at the far end of the pond. Two ladies, when asked how long it took them to walk around the pond, responded “25 minutes”, proudly in their out of breath voices and added, “If you walk fast!”
The walkway at first was fenced, to keep people on the trail, with occasional openings on the pond side where you could go down a series of stone steps to the pond to fish or just sit and rest. We found the cabin site with foundation markers and spent some time looking around and reading the information signs. The following was on one of the signs.
I WENT TO THE WOODS BECAUSE I WISHED TO LIVE DELIBERATELY,
TO FRONT ONLY THE ESSENTIAL FACTS OF LIFE, AND SEE IF I COULD NOT LEARN
WHAT IT HAD TO TEACH, AND NOT, WHEN I CAME TO DIE,
DISCOVER THAT I HAD NOT LIVED. Henry David Thoreau
It was a very moving encounter with the spirit of a man whose life impacted so many who desire to live their life simply and in fullest measure.
We had a wonderful dinner and visit with Joanne and Ed and were off early Tuesday morning for Perry, ME after enjoying a hearty breakfast. The principal reason for going to Perry was to pick up a scythe from the Scythe Supply Co. Local hardware stores carry scythes, just in case you are wondering. But of course their scythes don’t measure up to what you can find in Perry, ME. The Scythe Supply Co. scythes have Austrian blades and the European style snath(long handle of the scythe). They are lighter than American scythes and the fine steel in the blade allows you to get it sharper.
We spent 3 ½ hours with Carol and Richard asking lots of questions, discussing options, making decisions, and in particular, getting a properly fitted scythe, practicing the nearly effortless rhythmic pattern of mowing, learning how to sharpen (peening and whetting) and care for the blade, exchanging lots of stories and getting to know each other. Finally all the scythe parts were boxed up and we were off on our return trip to Troy, awed and happy by the experience of the day. We got as far as Bangor on the rainy Tuesday night and found a motel .
On the road by 7:30 Wednesday morning with the intent of driving some scenic back roads through New Hampshire and Vermont. The weather forecast had the prediction of rain with freezing rain and snow by evening. We decided it was prudent to get home as soon as we could and thus we drove via the interstates, through constant rain, arriving in Troy mid afternoon. It was one of those symbolic and historic trips, much like Paul Revere’s ride, heralding in a new era.
Ps -1 I built a cradle for the scythe with the assistance from, welder, Nick Schroder.
Ps-2 I am interested in knowing of anybody in the capital district who is into the sharpening method of peening and whetting.
Ps-3 If you are interested in getting a high quality European scythe, check out The Scythe Supply Co. of Perry, ME, and tell them Stoner sent you!
Ps-4 On another note, here is my ode to the Sun Oven and a deal for you if you are interested in cooking without fossil fuels!
My Sun Oven
My sun oven cooks brownies and cake.
If it is bread you want just set it on bake.
It makes wonderful baked potatoes
Or dehydrates ripe tomatoes.
Macaroni, meat pie, lasagna, peas,
Cookies, rice or most anything you please!
Get yours today
While the discount code helps you pay!
I have a discount deal to share if you are interested in buying a Sun Oven. See details here.
Howard Stoner is a retired math professor, gardener and lives in a home retrofitted for energy efficiency. He is interested in doing things by hand, the use and care of hand tools: crosscut saws, harvesting scythes, grain threshers, grinders, rollers, etc. He can be reached through Member email.