Some indicators of the severity of the coming winter are: the thickness of a walnut's husk; the ratio of brown to black segments on a Woolly Bear; the number of acorns an oak tree drops.
Some indicators of the severity of the coming winter are: the thickness of a walnut’s husk; the ratio of brown to black segments on a Woolly Bear; the number of acorns an oak tree drops.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking with my family when I observed the little fellow in the above image making his way across our path. I had heard that Woolly Bears are prominent in folklore as predictors of winter. I thought I’d poke around and see what other indicators we have. Here’s what I found.

Woolly Bears (the larvae of Isabella Tiger Moths): the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the coming winter; the shorter the brown band, the longer and more severe winter will be. The woolly has 13 segments to the length of his body–the same number of weeks there are of winter. From what I can tell of this picture, my little friend only has four solid-brown segments with a couple that are both black and white. Uh, oh.

Black Walnut trees: The thicker the green husk on the Black Walnuts the snowier the winter, because nature knows when the walnut needs more protection from the elements.

Onion skins: If thin, a mild winter is coming.

Corn: Husks are thick and tight and the silks are heavy — these are indicators of a bad winter.

Apple skins: If tough, winter may be as well.

Oak trees: If the ground of your yard, driveway, or porch is covered with acorns, folklore predicts that these same surfaces may be blanketed by snow this winter. This one makes me feel a little bit better about what my Woolly Bear friend told me. Some years we can hear the acorns pinging off the metal roof of our storage shed. This year I haven’t heard any.

The Month of August: For every fog there will be a snowfall. If the first week is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long. If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry. We’re not far from the Connecticut River and a small area of beaver-created wetlands so fog is not unusual.

Spiders: Spinning larger than usual webs

Honey Bees: will store honey in mass in preparation for a severe winter

Yellow Jackets: build nests either high in trees or in the ground depending on what the coming winter has in store.

Squirrels: If tails are very bushy and/or if they’re more active than usual, a severe winter is on its way. Hmmm, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an INactive squirrel.

Ant Hills: If they are unusually high in July, it will be cold and snowy. Darn, forgot to measure them last summer.

Thanksgiving Goose: If the breast bone of the Thanksgiving goose is red or has many spots, expect a cold and stormy winter; but if only a few spots are visible, expect a mild winter.

If the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground, the winter will be mild.

Final assessment: I have no idea what the winter will bring us in Southern Vermont. I’m just grateful I’m only a short walk from Stonehurst!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Furniture Store

When you think of a furniture store, a certain image might come to mind. You might imagine a busy strip mall full of people rushing in and out to make their purchase and move on with the day, or a giant warehouse showroom full of basic furniture pieces. At Stonehurst, however, what you will see is much different than that. Vermont’s newest furniture store is unique in its ability to capture the spirit of Vermont in its warmth and simplicity– as well as the breathtaking natural area that surrounds it. We invite you to view these photos of Stonehurst and see for yourself some of the small details that make Stonehurst more than your average furniture showroom. (Click on the small photos to start a slideshow!)

Vermont Furniture Store

If you like what you see, we’d love for you to visit us. We’re open 9-5, Monday through Saturday. Stop on by to check out our furniture and see this unique shopping experience for yourself. See you soon!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Apples in Wooden Bowl at Vermont Woods Studios Showroom
Ok…ok, so we love Pears too!

 

There’s been a lot of buzz from Vermonters about apples lately. Probably because A) they’re delicious B) they’re perfect for fall and C) they have a long history in the state of Vermont! Well, we love these sweet natural treats just as much as any other Vermonter–so, lets talk apples!

Did you know that…

  • The first Macs grew in Canada. The first McIntosh apple tree sprouted from one of several seedlings that were discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Ontario!
  • In 1868, Dr. T.A Hoskins brought the McIntosh to Newport, Vermont right from Ontario. A descendant of John McIntosh, William McIntosh, planted these apples in his West Berlin, Vermont orchard in 1870…and the first printed reference to a mac apple appeared in 1876. 
  • In 1920, the “big four” Vermont apple varieties were McIntosh, Fameuse, Northern Spy, and Wealthy.
  • In the 1980s, Vermont had an average of 79 growers on 3,500 bearing acres in total, and produced an average annual crop of 1.25 million bushels of apples. 
  • In England, to destroy an apple orchard was seen as almost sacrilegious, and it was said that if an orchard was destroyed to make way for another crop, the crop would never prosper.
  • An old Samhain charm was for all the district’s unmarried young people to tie an apple onto a piece of string and whirl it around before a fire. The one whose apple fell off first was said to be the first to marry
  • McIntosh, Vermont’s “bread & butter variety,” remains  within the top six apple varieties desired by consumers.
  • The 2007 census reported 264 farms growing apples on 3,241 acres of land in Vermont, and the 2011 survey found those same results!

     

    If you loved these apple facts as much as we do, take a minute to check out Vermont Apples, a website with tons of information and history about apples, including more facts, orchard listings, and apple news! And for brilliant, tasty apple recipes… take a look at The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, a 300+ page  book containing 100 magnificent apple recipes!

 And let us know what your favorite apple recipes are & your favorite places around New England to apple pick in the comments section or on Facebook!

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Stonehurst | Vermont's Newest Fine Furniture Showroom and Art Gallery
Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest fine furniture showroom and art gallery is open and ready for business. All we need now is for Governor Shumlin to come down to Vernon and cut the ribbon on Tuesday October 22 at 3pm.

Dear Governor Shumlin,

We know you’re busy with economic development, health insurance and other important issues. But we’re hoping you can break free and make a quick trip to Vernon on Tuesday October 22 at 3pm for our ribbon cutting ceremony at Stonehurst, Vermont Woods Studios‘ new fine furniture showroom and art gallery.

Now I realize one might ask why such a busy man would carve time out of an already ambitious schedule to visit a small Vermont furniture business? We’ve thought of many reasons, but here are the Top 10. At Stonehurst you can:

  1. Marvel at the world class handwork of dozens of Vermont’s fine furniture makers
  2. Learn how a small Vermont business transitioned from a spare bedroom to a scenic destination shopping experience in the last 3 years
  3. See how Vermonters are marrying the best of old world craftsmanship with cutting edge communications technology to make Vermont the Fine Furniture Capital of America
  4. Visit Pine Top, a former Vermont ski area that not only showcases fine wooden furniture but also provides 100 acres of forested backdrop where customers experience the value of working lands and sustainable forest management
  5. Enjoy original artwork of talented Vermont artists like Susan Osgood, Linda Marcille and Janet Picard
  6. Check up on how we’re investing the $100,000 grant monies we were awarded by the Vermont Working Lands Initiative
  7. Experience the beautiful landscaping artistry of celebrated author/gardener/landscaper Gordon Hayward and Torben Larsen of Putney, VT
  8. See the positive signs of growth in Vernon and connect with a community that’s struggling to plan a new course for the future
  9. Witness the synergy and collaboration among Vermont’s fine furniture professionals that’s bringing our work out of the woods (so to speak) and into the homes of customers in all 50 states and several countries abroad
  10. Visit a local, green renovation project in action where great care was taken to restore a c 1790 farmhouse using Vermont made materials (local maple flooring, Vermont slate hearths, Green Mountain Windows, Vermont castings stoves and more)

If that’s not enough to convince you, how about just sitting down to relax and enjoy the view?  That alone makes Stonehurst worth the trip.

Enjoy the view at Stonehurst, Vermont's newest fine furniture showroom
Sit down, relax and enjoy the view. We’ll provide the wine.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Click photo for source. Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival.

Vermont’s most popular summer art and craft festival begins today! We’re proud of Vermont for its amazing support of its craftsman and artists, which is why we are super excited about the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival. The festival had been hosted in Manchester for 30 years, but the 2013 festival will be held in Bennington, Vermont! This provides advantages because its in a more southern region of Vermont, which will hopefully bring in a larger turnout than in previous years! The festival will host over 160 talented artists who will display and sell their one of a kind artwork, as well as traditional and contemporary crafts, and pottery!

From Friday, August 2nd to Sunday, August 4th, this three day event will run in conjunction with the town wide Bennington Arts Festival Weekend. The festival is put on by a variety of community arts organizations and venues, so expect a jam packed weekend with live music, art, and activities ranging from art walks, open studios and receptions, live entertainers, and a historical architecture exhibit! As always, you can expect lots of kid friendly activities, local food vendors, ice cream,craft beer, and more!

If you don’t have plans for the weekend, why not add the Southern Vermont Art and Craft festival to your agenda and find some inspiration in the work of talented Vermont artists!

 

 

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.