Local History: Ridin’ with Danny

This past Saturday, Danny Clemons and I went to the postcard show up in Quechee. We got off I-91 at exit 9, then up to Hartland Three Corners. We continued through Hartland Four Corners out to Route 4. Ever hear of Skunk Hollow?

It was a great show. One dealer had thousands of postcards arranged by state or category. Danny and I both bought cards.

The postcard with this article I bought for three dollars. It’s a clear and sharp image. In the lower right in white letters: Bellows Falls Vt. Oct 1908.

Derrick at Bellows Falls
Derrick at Bellows Falls. Photo provided

I’ve studied this card. While I don’t know where in Bellows Falls it was taken, I can accurately describe it. Perhaps there’s a reader who knows something about this photo who can fill me in.

You can see the derrick used for hoisting heavy loads. There’s a wooden structure that resembles a grain elevator. Above the elevator you can see a large bucket with cable to the top of the boom. Below the bucket is a hopper.

A man stands to the left holding a long rope. This rope goes up to the bucket above the elevator. This rope is key. Working similar to a hay grapple, when the rope was pulled it would release the contents of the bucket into the hopper.

There’s a wooden chute on the front of the elevator. In the foreground you can see a track similar to a railroad only smaller. On this track close to the elevator is an iron cart sitting on the rail. It seems whatever was in the elevator the contents were discharged from this chute to fill the iron carts.

On the right is a ditch with a couple planks across it for men to walk on. If you look close, you can see the upright steam engine that powered the derrick.

Like I said before, I don’t know where in Bellows Falls this photo was taken or what was stored in the elevator. The description I give is what I think, not what I know.

On our way back from Quechee, I said to Danny, “Let’s take the road at Four Corners that goes over to Brownsville.” It had been a while since I’ve been over that road, and it’s almost foliage time. It was a pleasant drive, and while the foliage was rather drab, it’s coming.

As we dropped down toward Brownsville, we passed Cemetery Road on our right. I asked Danny if we had toured that cemetery yet.

“No,” said Danny.

A little closer to Brownsville there’s a cemetery on both sides of the road.

The cemetery on the left is a modern cemetery. American flags marked military graves. There were a lot of flags. The cemetery on the right had older graves, many from the 19th century.

This is the time of year when Danny and I like to go cemeterying. Danny’s got a bum knee at the moment so he’s limited at walking around. But I bet we get back there in a week or two. If the best we can do is drive through the cemetery, we’ll do that. Never give up.

It’s a great way to get out and enjoy foliage. The air is so crisp and clean you might detect smoke from a woodstove drifting with the breeze. All God’s creatures are preparing for the long winter.

It’s quiet and peaceful in cemeteries. Every grave has a story. We may not know their story, but sometimes doing our research we discover long forgotten people, their lives, and struggles.

Matsutake mushrooms Ron picked Oct. 3. 2021. Photo by Ron Patch
Matsutake mushrooms Ron picked Oct. 3. 2021. Photo by Ron Patch


Matsutake mushrooms are just beginning to appear in the woods. I picked about five pounds this past Sunday morning. Matsies are absolutely the best mushroom. Restaurants pay ungodly amounts of money to shroom pickers for these delicacies.

I made a three-egg omelet with onion, dried red pepper, stinky cheese, ham, and a sautéed matsie. What a treat it was. The texture, taste, and aroma of matsies are unrivaled.

I gave my neighbors, John and Jo-Anne DeBenedetti, a couple pounds. I’ve given them to them before. John has a dehydrator so he can enjoy matsies all winter. Me, I just feast on them. I’ll go out again this week. I’d like to get into a real slew of them so I could share them with others who otherwise might never have the experience.


  This week’s old saying was said when someone had a fat lip: “It looks like you were talking, when you should have been listening.”

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