Cabin Fever

Ethan Allen model weathervane. Photo by Ron Patch

I thought I would write an article about, “The Weathervane,” for this week. About 1984, I bought the antique horse weathervane on the barn at Stone Hearth Inn. I took a photo of that vane but can’t find it, so that story waits.

Another very large rooster vane I knew on North Street was stolen off the cupola by helicopter. I’ve owned a couple other local vanes that I will include in that future article.

Weathervane history is a subject I know well. I have probably owned 50 vanes in my day.

Barn cat

I’ve had a stray cat hanging around for several months now. I’ve been putting food scraps out for him on the coldest nights. I even bought a couple cans of cheap cat food. He’s not fussy.

I thought he should get out of the weather, so I created an entry for this wayward feline into my barn. I’ve seen his tracks in the snow where he enters the barn. Now he has food and lodging. Life is good.

Maybe he can catch mice in the barn. Those pesky little devils have built nests in clock cases or chewed on contents of boxes.

Kim Kendall had a barn cat for seven years. It didn’t belong to anyone, just lived in the barn.

CHS credit

A couple years ago, I was contacted by Jane C. Nylander. Jane was writing a book on New England Parades titled, “The Best Ever! Parades in New England, 1788-1940.” She asked if Chester Historical Society had any photos or histories to share.

I sent her two photos; one was the School Street firemen in a parade on Main Street circa 1907. It’s a full-page photo that includes history I supplied.

The second photo is the dedication of our Civil War monument in 1885. This photo shows a group of Civil War veterans, in their GAR uniforms, standing around the monument. I included about a page of monument history. It is good to see Chester mentioned in such a publication. This can’t hurt the town.

I just received a copy of Jane’s book. It’s a comprehensive book of 384 pages with many sepia tone and color plates.

My article

You may recall me mentioning a while back that I was asked to write an article for the Journal of Antiques and Collectibles, a national antiques magazine. I submitted an article about country auctions.

I am just old enough to have witnessed the end of old Vermont. If I was much younger I would have missed it. I did my best to accurately depict these Vermonters and their way of life. I think I was successful.

If you’ve ever wondered what life was like in the old days, this article might shed some light. These Vermonters were a very friendly and honest people. It was my pleasure to have known them.

You can read my article at:

When you arrive at the site, you’ll notice on the left, “Read the January issue.” This will soon change to “Read the February issue.” Wait a minute and March will appear, click March and that issue will appear. My article is pages 21 through 23.

The pellet stove

I bought an inexpensive pellet stove several years ago. It died in January. I am pretty good at repairing mechanical things but suck at anything electrical.

I had Lee Decatur take a look. Lee is pretty good on electrical gadgetry. We couldn’t find the trouble. Last week I removed the auger and motor assembly. I found a broken cotter key. At Chester Hardware I bought another key for 38 cents.

I came home and installed the new key and put the auger assembly back in the stove. Henry was convinced, “This is it!”

He was a little premature as the stove showed no improvement. I couldn’t figure it out.

Off and on for a couple weeks, I watched “How to” videos online. There’s a vacuum switch that often causes problems. The way to test the vacuum switch is to unplug the two wires to the switch. Using a paper clip, insert the clip ends to each wire connector, still nothing.

In moving the stove out from the wall to work on it, the paper clip fell off. When it wouldn’t start with the new cotter key, I looked everything over closely and noticed the paper clip missing. So I plugged the two wires back to the vacuum switch. It lives!


This week’s old saying is from Henry: “Get a bigger hammer.”

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