One of my last skis for the 2014-15 winter….fresh single-track for classic in Madawaska.
More nice classic track at Fort Kent Outdoor Center.
Tapping trees at FKOC with the Theriault family.
View of Katadin from route 11 on my drive home.
Deciding to stop pursuing biathlon was a tough decision for me but one I felt I had to make. MWSC decided to stop their Olympic Development Program due to budget cuts. Without a program and the support of a coach on trips, biathlon is a really tough sport to be successful in. I truly enjoyed biathlon so calling it quits is tough. On the flip side, I have had five years of ongoing frustrations with the way the sport is run in the U.S. so taking that stress out of my life is a welcome relief. I'm still grappling with this giant change in my life so I'm sure I'll have more thoughts to share throughout the coming year as I continue to navigate this transition. I've been skiing and training for skiing/biathlon year-round since about 2004, so taking more than a few weeks off from it feels quite odd so far.
I am planning on continuing to race. I want to do the Birkie and will probably reacquaint myself with some classic technique so I can feel confident skiing in the NENSA Eastern Cups and as well as a few other long distance events. I've always done well in long races so I want to pursue that this coming winter. I plan on being a "lifer" in this sport…well, skiing anyways. Not so sure about biathlon yet. Nordic skiing is something I truly enjoy and even taking a few months off from it makes me sad, so I'm thinking seriously about trying to find a coaching job in the future.
For now I've moved home to NH (for the summer) to help my older brother Isaac launch a family dream. We live on a farm at the base of a hill where we have fields looking north and west toward the mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee. We've started Timber Hill Farm (what it's always been called) as a farm-to-table venue. Most of the land on our farm is under conservation easement, meaning it can never be developed. There are also strict rules that govern the management and uses that are allowed. Under the easement we can have events if they are related to agriculture or forestry somehow so we've teamed up with our vegetable farm, Beans & Greens, and will host events on our home farm with locally grown food (some actually grown here on this hill). This summer we already have several weddings booked, along with a farm-to-table dinner and an open house. Isaac and my parents bought a huge sailcloth tent and we have many, many more plans to make ours a unique and special experience.
Sunset over one of our barns at home in NH.
Helping move one of our new calves down to the farm stand for the summer. You can placate any young calf by letting it suck on your fingers….lots of slobber!
My dad and one of our tiny new chicks.
Tree across the road from the barn where I've spent much of my time home so far.
My parents feeding a calf that got abandoned by her mom in the field above our house.
She spent a few days in the barn nestled in some hay and getting bottle fed.
Now she's at Beans and Greens with the calf from the photo of it sucking my fingers (above)….the little one has been named Mo and the bigger one (on the right) is Marcy. Mo follows Marcy around like a puppy…it's really cute!
Farm table and bench built by my brother, sign burned by me!
Right now I'm working on cleaning out part of one of our barns to create a bridal pantry, or a room filled with props and extras that couples can add to their wedding. The space I'm working on has been a storage area for at least my lifetime and probably for as long as the barn's been there. When I started it was FULL of old wood, windows, doors, beams, and other random stuff. There are some cool things in there too though and I'm planning on cleaning it all up and sprucing up the items that could be used decoratively for events. I've collected boxes of old bottles and jars, an old-school US Mail box and started gaining access to some gorgeous old horse-drawn buggies and a sleigh that are also stored away in there. It's a bit of a daunting task, but it's been a nice change of pace.
Cobwebs….from about five minutes of waving the stick around the rafters and corners. I have a LOT more cleaning to do!
This is what the second floor looked like before I started chucking things out the window.
This is closer to what it looks like now, though the rest of the stuff on the right is gone and I started sweeping up the hay and corn husks that are all over. Unfortunately it seems like some animals (raccoon family?) have been living in this part of the barn. Whatever it is loves corn cobs and left droppings everywhere. Pretty gross.
My younger brother Alex and his girlfriend Emily came down from Craftsbury for a couple of days this last week and built an arbor for our events. It came out great so I had them keep building. They made a facade for in front of our "executive" porta-potties that we're going to rent for events and two wooden frames for ladder ball. They're pretty crafty.
I'll try to keep updating this blog every now and then. Obviously the theme has changed quite a bit for the next few months and after that, when I do start training later this summer, there won't be a rifle involved. New adventures are fun though, and that's what I have to remind myself of when I start to miss my life in Maine. Stay tuned for what will likely be an overdue update in several weeks, or follow Timber Hill Farm on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see what I'm up to!