Tag Archives: New England

What it means to have your roots in Vermont

If you are in Vermont and it is still below zero when you read this blog post, you might think you are either completely nuts, part timber wolf, or the most hardy of souls. To remain here in the northern tundra of New England during such a winter is a true testament to your depth of character.

We have had a good old fashioned cold snap here in Vermont this winter. If you are the rugged, salt-of-the-earth type, you are relishing your resilience right about now. We Vermonters tend to think of ourselves as befitting the stereotype. We are resourceful, determined, unflappable, indomitable, optimistic, independent, witty, tough, and above all entrepreneurial.

We have our roots here in Vermont. These New England proverbs hold a ring of truth for us:
“Wishing isn’t doing.”
“The world is your cow. But you have to do the milking.”
“The hardest work is to do nothing.”
“The quickest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.”

pieWe take particular pride in what we make and what we do. We strive to be the very best. You might think of it as Yankee ingenuity on steroids, but really it is more of a stubborn kind of survival instinct. We quash cabin fever with creativity.

Here are two great examples of what we’re talking about, both happen to have their origins in Greensboro, the current epicenter of awesome, about an hour’s drive from Northfield, the home of Comfort Colors. The Vermont cheesemaker, Jasper Hill, recently won a “best in the world” award at the annual World Cheese Awards in London. Its Bayley Hazen Blue sweeping the other 2,600 entries in the competition. Jasper Hill also won two “super gold awards for its sheep’s milk cheeses.” And for those of us who cannot live on cheese alone, Hill Farmstead Brewery makes the world’s best beer. This award was given by by RateBeer, a beer peer review site – the world’s largest and most popular. (Source: http://www.wcax.com)

Like our neighbors, we take great pride and comfort in our roots. And like them, we also try to keep a little bit of a sense of humor about it.

To the European, a Yankee is an American.
To an American, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To a New Englander, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
To a Vermonter, a Yankee is someone who eats apple pie for breakfast.
And to a Vermonter who eats apple pie for breakfast
a Yankee is someone who eats it with a knife.
~An old Yankee joke



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Is it T-shirt weather yet?

Spring will come some day. We are almost sure of it!

Spring will come some day. We are almost sure of it!

All along the East Coast and New England, residents are breaking out the bad language. First they were stoic, then humorous, but now they are just downright angry. These normally pleasant people have had enough of winter. Especially in Boston where record-low temperatures conspire with record-high snowfall – even the New York Times calls this winter “Boston’s Winter From Hell.” (You can read the article here.)

Many of us heretofore considered Hell a little bit warmer. But now we know better. Which brings us to this important perennial question: “Is it T-shirt weather  yet?” Depending on how hardy a soul you are, T-shirt weather might be 65 degrees. Our Southern friends might not consider baring arms until the temperatures reach the upper 70’s.

With the Vernal Equinox, the official start of Spring, less than a month away, we thought we’d take a look at some regional forecasts for shirtsleeves season, T-shirt weather.

Let’s say that for the average T-shirt lover, 70 is warm enough to go out there in just a T. Given this 70 degree benchmark we took a look at average high temperatures in some of our nation’s larger cities.

T-shirt season comes to these cities in April:

T-shirt season comes to these cities in May:
Kansas City

T-shirt season does not come to these cities until JUNE!

We are so sorry, Boston! Being a Vermont company, we are in the same, chilly seasonal boat. Can we recommend something in nice long-sleeve t-shirt or maybe a nice warm sweatshirt?

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Keeping Warm in Winter: It’s for the Birds

With apologies to our favorite customers in the South (or maybe just envy), we thought we’d take a look at a more Northern subject this week: keeping warm in winter. Earlier this week, most of New England was having a bit of an arctic blast with temperatures plummeting well below zero and windchill factors increasing the regional penchant for indoor winter activities such as watching the Golden Globes and playing with the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator.

We seem to be having a proper New England winter this year, so we are beginning to wonder about our feathered friends out there at the feeder. How do birds keep warm in winter? We dress in layers starting with comfortable and colorful t-shirts, of course, but how do birds do it?

Like us, birds are warm-blooded – which almost always means that they have to work to keep themselves warmer than their environment. They do this in primarily the same ways we do using feathers (layering), huddling, and fat reserves.

feathersLike multiple layers of clothing, bird feathers are terrific insulators. Downy feathers, just like cotton fibers, are great for trapping pockets of warm air next to the body. When birds puff up, they trap even more warm air. We do this by adding another shirt to our ensemble.

Huddling is something we do, too (though sometimes we call it cuddling). By scooching close to one another (imagine sitting with a friend at a hockey game, believe me, you are going to scooch) birds consolidate their body heat and expose less of their surface area. At night many birds roost, or crowd together in tight places to share body heat (we do this, too, but this is a G-rated blog post, so we won’t go into it here).

And finally, fat reserves. Birds store up on fat reserves early in the season. Even small birds can build up fat reserves “to serve as insulation and extra energy for generating body heat. Many birds will gorge during the fall when food sources are abundant, giving them an extra fatty layer before winter arrives.” (http://birding.about.com/od/birdingbasics/a/howbirdskeepwarm.htm) This is something we also do which may explain the prevalence of sweet fatty treats during Thanksgiving and the early winter holidays.

Whether or not you agree that this cold weather “is for the birds,” we, like the chickadees and titmouse at the feeder, can do something about it. Keep warm.



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