Farmer’s Calendar for July 2018

August 11, 2017

We’ve been visiting this shoreline for more than 40 summers, and now, for the first time, there are egrets around the offshore rocks.

Those rocks were once the exclusive province of double-crested cormorants. You can still see a few cormorants there, spreading their wings to dry,
but nowhere near as many as in the past.

This little piece of waterfront also used to be the haunt of long-established families who came back
every summer to relax and play with their cousins in the other houses. There were softball games and Sunday evening hymn sings.

That’s changing, too. As children and grandchildren multiply, it’s harder to share the old houses and pay the steep property taxes. So old families cash in and sell the Victorian-era “cottages” to high-tech millionaires, some of whom immediately tear them down and build new palaces on the beach. It’s a succession as natural as that of the birds.

But something is lost. There are fewer softball games, and when it’s time to haul the big swimming raft in or out of the bay, there are fewer strong young bodies to do the hard work. And the Sunday evening hymn sings are disappearing, like the cormorants.

About this Podcast

Welcome to the monthly Farmer’s Calendar podcast. These essays come from The Old Farmer’s Almanac annual publication. They are recorded by Julia Shipley, the author and poet. She draws from her life raising animals and vegetables on a small farm in Northern Vermont.

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