My Little Cohas Brook cache has been activated.

Beth and I went out there yesterday and planted it in the place I had prepared. Beth also hid another one nearby (but not too nearby).

Mine has already been solved, but as far as I know, it has not yet been found.

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About a month ago I wrote a post about how I wanted it to snow so that I could go snowshoeing with Penny. Well, we’ve had some snow since then, but not enough to justify wearing snowshoes. I wrote about the route I would take, and the things I would see. And today, Penny and I walked that route and saw those sights, albeit sans snowshoes.

Penny brought me some sticks to throw

Penny brought me some sticks to throw


I headed down the road and turned into the field that until recently was a forest. I was looking for animal tracks as I went, and found some nice ones. Here’s a set left by a squirrel:
Squirrel tracks in snow

Squirrel tracks in snow


A little farther down the remnants of the forest path I saw some deer tracks. I think these were left by at least two animals, as the tracks are two different sizes.
Whitetail tracks

Whitetail tracks


We crossed the road then and walked to Sandogardy Pond. It has been warm the past couple of days and the ice is not stable. When it gets thick again, I will hike across the pond. I just like the idea of hiking across a pond (and I have done it before). It’s a lot farther to the other side than it looks.
Sandogardy Pond

Sandogardy Pond


Since the ice was unsuited for foot traffic, I had the place all to myself. I do enjoy the solitude. I looked for muskrat tracks, but that’s hard to do with Penny along, because she dashes out ahead of me and often confuses any tracks that are there. I didn’t find any, so we headed down the path along Little Cohas Brook, and crossed the footbridge that spans it. Penny thought better of swimming across and reluctantly used the bridge. Good girl, Penny.

That path took us to the railroad tracks. The tracks become a snowmobile path in the winter, and they have definitely taken advantage of that.

Walking south on the tracks

Walking south on the tracks

As we headed down the tracks, I continued to admire Little Cohas Brook.

Little Cohas Brook

Little Cohas Brook

It was just a short walk until we arrived at a house that originally served as a railroad depot. I had been wanting to take a photo of the place from the tracks, and that was almost the point of the journey today. Too bad I didn’t bring my tripod.

Northfield Depot

Northfield Depot


I don’t know when the depot was built, but it was there when the Union Church was built in 1883. That’s how I came to know that this unusual looking house had been a railroad station in the first place. It’s pretty close to the church, and that’s how most people who attended got there. I can picture them all dressed up in their Sunday best getting off the train.

About a hundred yards to the south of the depot is a little dirt road which connects to Sondogardy Pond Road (yeah, it’s spelled differently than the Pond is). So Penny and I used that rather than trekking through someone’s yard. We headed back to our house, but stopped to take a few shots of the Union Church.

Northfield Union Church

Northfield Union Church


Nobody meets here anymore. I think it was last used in the 1990’s, but I’m not sure. You can get a key from the town clerk, and I will do that one of these days. I want to go inside and have a look around.

Penny and I walked home from there, and as you can see from the photos, it was getting dark. I put my light clip on my hat and turned it on so I could be seen by the cars. We took the paved bridge over Little Cohas Brook, and Penny didn’t seem to notice our crossing this time.

It was a refreshing walk, and I really needed to recharge my batteries. Virginia and I have a packed month coming up. We’ll come up for air again in March I think. Tomorrow the Pathfinders have our annual inspection. Next weekend is Camp-in for the Adventurers, so Va and I will need to make the church basement look like Nazareth. The following day, the Pathfinders will use those decorations for a backdrop for some video we will shoot (and I need to finish writing the scripts for that tonight). The next week we will continue practicing the play that we will present during the church service on Pathfinder Sabbath (Feb 18) – the same day as the Bible Bowl and Pinewood Derby. Less than a week after that the Pathfinders fly out to Arizona for our mission trip to Holbrook Indian School.

So posts may be sparse between now and then. I will have a lot to say, but not a lot of time to say it!

This morning I got a rejection letter from the geocache reviewer. 😦 The cavity I widened for my geocache is too close to two existing caches, and they have a rule (which I should have read first) against putting them too close together.

I knew about the rule, and I knew about the two caches that were already there. But I didn’t know the details of the rule, and I didn’t know how close my proposed site was. So yeah… I’m a little bummed, and I should have checked before I invested so much.

So now I am faced with the choice of abandoning my cache all together, or relocating it. I want it to be near the brook for which it is named, and it would be nice if there was not much bushwhacking involved in getting to it. Unfortunately, those two requirements cannot both be met. So there will be some bushwhacking.

I have some exploring to do in those woods now, and no daylight in which to do it for at least the next ten days. I wouldn’t mind exploring by moonlight, but we’ve had cloudy skies, and the moon is waning. So for now I am stuck with exploring via satellite.

This reminds me of a T-shirt I saw the other day at Tof Géocaching. “I use multimillion dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods. What’s your hobby?”

Toflabeuze left a comment on my blog last week, and I followed the link to his blog, but it’s in French, which I unfortunately do not read. Tof, I would have subscribed. Really.

Anyhow, I might have a way to get to the cache without too much bushwhacking. Right at my preferred (but disallowed) site there’s a bridge across the brook. It leads to some railroad tracks. These tracks are not used by trains in the winter, but instead are given over to snowmobiles (yeah – officially). The brook comes within 50 feet of the tracks, and if I could find a dead pine there, I could reproduce my work and create (or enlarge) a new cavity. That would pretty much make it a winter-only cache though, as pedestrians aren’t supposed to be on the tracks during train season.

I will also explore the near bank and see if I can find a place that doesn’t require the tracks. Such is the fate of those who do not follow instructions.

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After church today Beth and I went down to the cache I’ve been working on for too long. I nailed the cover over the hole in the dead pine where it is now hidden. Rotate the cover to reveal the cache.

I have not yet published the cache. I was thinking I’d wait for snow to cover my tracks (and wood chips) before doing so, but I don’t think I’ll be able to contain myself long enough for that. I might head back over there tomorrow and leave more tracks everywhere just to confuse things. David pointed out that this approach would also address the issue of the “first to find” (FTF) leaving tracks.

Before Beth went to bed last night she tried her hand at translating Abenaki so she could solve the puzzle. She managed it, but I had to help her some. Even though she has found the cache now, she won’t be the official FTF because she found it before it was published. They call those “pre-finds” and they don’t count (they’re not fair!)

This morning I found that I had been given an award for my blog by Celi. Her blog is the most delightful that I read, and you should definitely check it out. She will transport you to New Zealand or Illinois. Since she has honored me this way, I thought it would be a good idea to link you to some of my very favorite blogs:

All of these bloggers are great writers and photographers, and I love that they are all pretty regular at updating. Their blogs are a feast for the eyes and for the mind, and I thank them for their efforts. I guess you could call this an award if you want to, but I don’t know how to bestow awards. Maybe this is all there is to it!

I am almost finished insulating my attic, a project that I started before we even moved into this house seven years ago. We had snow yesterday, and because I still have four more feet of attic to insulate, I can show you what good the insulation does:

Insulated well vs insulated poorly

Insulated well vs insulated poorly


See how the snow has melted on the last four feet of the roof over there on the right (not counting the part of the roof that extends beyond the house)? That’s where there is no insulation. Heat from the house escapes through the roof right there and melts the snow. If you look closely, you might be able to see icicles on that end too. That’s where the snow melts, runs off the roof, and then refreezes. If that builds up too much, it will create an ice dam, and water will pool up behind it. Then the water will find its way through the shingles and into the house.

So I guess I’d better finish this little job.

When I posted yesterday, I had meant to include a scenic photo that I captured during my walk with Penny to Sandogardy Pond. Here it is:

Gline's Road

Gline's Road


Sorry about the water spots on my lens. I was remembering the scene, not the photo.
This little path is a class VI road, meaning it is not maintained. It is never plowed, and it is never graded. Rather, it just is what it is. I know that sometimes vehicles do drive on it, because they leave their tracks. But more frequently, it is used by snowmobiles, 😦 ATV’s, 😦 pedestrians, 🙂 and dogs. 😀
Penny and I were the first to use it after this snow. Someone actually drove on it since then with a truck or 4WD, which boggles my mind, since it doesn’t lead anywhere that the plowed roads don’t lead to more conveniently. Go figure!

Jonathan and I stopped at the pond on the way home from work. He stayed in the car while I walked the couple hundred yards to Little Cohas Cache, GPS in hand. I took some readings, and will translate them into the Abenaki tongue later tonight. I think I might nail the bark covering on tomorrow afternoon. Then if I can stand to wait, I will refrain from publishing it until it snows again. Otherwise, my tracks will lead the cachers straight to ground zero. But I don’t think I will be able to restrain myself.

We finally got some snow today. It wasn’t very much (3 or 4 inches), but it was enough to cancel school for Beth. I slept in and then did some work from home (but only managed to pull off half a day – the other half is vacation).

Penny takes a break

Penny takes a break

I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond. I also brought my camera, a one-inch chisel, a claw hammer, and a geocache I intend to hide in a dead pine tree along the banks of the creek that drains the pond. I have written about this cache before.

I have been doing a bit of research about Little Cohas, the Abenaki man who lived near the mouth of this creek. Cohas means “small pine tree.” I believe that “Sandogardy” also derives from Abenaki – “Sandagaji” means something like “next Sunday,” as best I can tell.

So what was the chisel and hammer for? I found a large, dead pine tree with a lot of holes in the trunk. My plan was to enlarge one of them so that it could accommodate the cache container:

Ta-da!

Ta-da!


Part two of the plan was to break off a sheet of bark and nail it over this hole to conceal the cache. I did manage to dislodge a large enough sheet from the tree, but when I put the nail through it, it broke into four pieces. So I put the pieces in my coat pocket and took them home. They have since been glued to a piece of mason board. I drilled a hole in the top of the cache “door” and put a nail through it. The other end of the nail will go into the tree just above the cache hole. It should be easy to rotate it out of the way and reveal the cache.

This will be a puzzle cache. The coordinates are written in the Abenaki language, so people will have to do a little digging to find it. Don’t tell anyone!

It snowed a little today. We got about zero inches. I noticed the flakes out the attic window. Yup – I was up there installing more insulation. I am now well past the half done mark, but that includes the work I did two years ago too. I’m pretty sure I will finish it (or come very close to finishing it) before my holiday break ends.

When I had about all the insulating I could take in one dose, I headed down the stairs. Poor Penny had not been taken outside for exercise all day. David has been sick with a sinus infection, and Va was in town running errands. So I grabbed my camera and took her down to Sandogardy Pond.

It has frozen over now, but I don’t think the ice is safe yet. I did go out on it, but if I had fallen through, it would not have been deep enough to wet my knees. It was plenty slick though.

Sandogardy Pond is frozen

Sandogardy Pond is frozen

The puddles in my driveway are frozen now too, so it’s almost like it’s paved now. In places.

Penny and I headed down the trail that parallels Little Kohas Creek. Penny does not like the bridge that crosses the creek, but the last time we were down there, she crossed it anyhow. She thought about wading across, but I told her not to. Then she tried the other side, and again I told her not to. Then I told her to sit. I was not going to go very far. I was looking to see where Kohas might have built his cabin (no luck there). But Penny could not stand it. She carefully treaded over the bridge with much trepidation. Of course that meant she would have to cross it again, but on the return trip, she went over without hesitation (but still with plenty of trepidation).

Today she toddled right over. I still have no idea where Kohas’s cabin was, but I am planning to plant a geocache along the creek in his honor. I found a place to hide it last time I was there, but then got to thinking about the snow. When it comes, it will make the cache inaccessible. It’s better to hide them higher up so they are accessible year-round. But it’s also harder to find a hiding place up off the ground. I thought I had found a spot, but now that I think about it, it might not be above the creek’s high water line. Or maybe it is. The pond regulates the creeks depth pretty well.

While I was out looking for a place to hide my cache, I spotted a strange fungal formation in a tree.

Funny Fungal Form

Funny Fungal Form


There are two growths there. A very large one on the trunk, and a smaller (but still large) one growing on a dead branch. It looks a little like the lid to a teapot to me.

But back to the cache. I ordered some plastic toys which are models of some Powhatan Indians. Kohas was probably a Pennacook Indian, not Powhatan, but the Powhatans were the only eastern tribe I could find on the Innernets. Most are Plains Indians (and come with cowboys). When my Powhatan come in, they will go in a Lock-n-Lock container along with the cache log, a pencil, and maybe a little more swag. I will eventually find a place to hide it.

I am also going to hide a cache near the Northfield Union Church. That church was built in the late 1800’s and given to the city of Northfield so that any denomination that wanted to use it could, and free of charge. The first four to do so were the Methodists, Congregationalists, Freewill Baptists, and Adventists. Each one of these denominations has an organizational logo, so I am looking for lapel pins depicting them to go in the cache as trade items.

The Adventists who met there were probably not Seventh-day Adventists (because there is no mention of anyone meeting there on Saturdays), but I am going to go with an SDA pin, because that is my own denomination, and I have a dozen SDA pins already (mostly from Pathfinders).

For the Freewill Baptists, I may have to go with a more generic Baptist pin. I plan to check out a local Christian book store to see if they have anything like what I want, and if not, I will turn to the Internet again. Keychains would work just as well as pins.

When Penny and I got home again, I was pretty tired. I sat down for a few minutes and then broke out the vacuum cleaner and ran a load of dishes. Va was in town running errands. By the time she got home, I was snoozing on the couch. She made a nice pot of chili and a batch of cornbread, and that revived me again.