If you blaze through this piece just looking at the pictures and fail to click the link to the audio at the end, you will have missed 95% of the story.
This is the story of three people who lived not far from my Etna, New Hampshire home. Willem Lange, in his earlier days as a contractor, built an addition onto our house. Now in his 80s, he is an writer, storyteller, and TV personality with NH Public TV’s “Windows to the Wild”. A few years ago he moved to the Montpelier, Vermont area.
Will tells a story which is often broadcast around Christmas time of two of his Etna neighbors, Favor Johnson and the “flatlander doctor” who lives on the hill above him, though he does not use their real names. Here is a photo of both their farms on a snowy November 21, 2016. Favor’s house and barn are near the bottom just above the road and trees. The doctor’s house and barns can be seen in the trees up the hill.
Here is part of the doctor’s farm on November 6, 2016; Favor’s farm is 400 yards beyond the pond.
In the audio I hope you will listen to, the “village” is Etna which consists of a Post Office, Library, and small store. The “brook” is Mink Brook which eventually enters the Connecticut River in Hanover. Will mentions Three Mile Road, a dirt road I hike and bike often. It is so named because it is 3 miles from the Connecticut River.
Favor Johnson had a ramshackle farm where he made maple syrup and raised cattle. He has passed away. Doctor Jennings and his wife still farm the land next door raising sheep and selling wool at the Norwich, VT Farmer’s Market. Here are Favor’s home and sugar house as they looked in late October, 2016. You can see the house and barn uphill from the sugar house in the second photo.
The doctor who bought the land above Favor’s farm also does some sugaring himself. Here is his sugar house in spring when he was inside boiling sap.
Doctor Jennings gathers his sap the old fashioned way. Here are his buckets in Favor’s side yard. You might be able to see my wife in the background walking along the road.
I took the photo below late October of this year standing near the doctor’s sugar house. The arrow points to our house which is barely visible. You can see we live in the woods.
I very much hope you will CLICK HERE and listen to Will telling the story of Favor Johnson. You will be glad you did.
You can buy Will’s illustrated Favor Johnson book HERE. It makes for a wonderful gift for a child. This is a great time to order it. If you click this link you will see the story is set in Vermont, but it happened in Etna, NH. A disclaimer — Will has no idea that I have written this piece.