Vermont Journal

from the B&B and around Vermont

Time to Prepare for Winter: Three Great Teams Assist Us

Early Winter Snow at West Hill House B&BIt’s time to prepare for Winter and three great local teams help us here at West Hill House B&B.

About 20 years ago Patty Weston, owner of West Hill Gardens, assisted the previous owners of West Hill House B&B to lay out the 🌻🌾 gardens.  Planning for gardens both around the house and across the road around the barn and the various ponds. Patty designed the gardens to incorporate hardy perennials plants as well as a variety of plants that would provide color from early spring until covered with snow.

Patty’s work did not stop there though. She and her crew continue to work on the gardens, adding new plants, moving some to spots where they might grow better or changing the location of colors. As well, always keeping on top of the general dead heading and weeding.  Patty doesn’t slack off in the winter, watch for her at Sugarbush Resort, she’s one of the ski instructors.

Creating a garden
Patty works at creating our beautiful gardens.

New ideas for the gardens are always forthcoming. Some ideas are incorporated while others go onto the “wish list”. Just now it is time to prepare for winter so the gardens are getting their last look over before the late November snows fall.

Raking leaves 🍁🍁🍁is always a fall project. And believe me, we have plennnnty of leaves to rake. The first year we were here we made the rookie mistake of leaving the leaves thinking they would decay over the winter, thus self-mulch. Wrong! Come spring we had 2 acres of soggy ‘cornflakes’ to rake up and that was no picnic let me tell you. Self mulching might work for a suburban home with a couple of decorative trees, it certainly doesn’t work for a home in the midst of a maple tree forest! Fortunately, most of our property is forest land however the couple of acres around the house is full of raking potential.

For the next few years, we did the raking ourselves. Raking involved many hours of work each day for almost a week. To prepare for winter, we raked leaves onto a large tarp then dragged the tarp to the ‘back 40’ and dumped the leaves onto an ever-growing leaf compost pile. Some years, guests have taken advantage of our “Leak Raving’ Special” and come to rake leaves with us.

Last leaf raking of the fall.When we purchased West Hill House B&B, we contracted Doug Rickets and his team to cut the 2+acres of grass on the property. Doug’s team with their super zero-turn ride on mowers get the job done nicely.

As we became busier with guests and the B&B operations, we asked if they would add leaf clearing to the work at the B&B. They have a really cool vacuum attachments for their lawn tractors so are able to get the job done in one full day’s work. We appreciate the hard work done by Doug, his son Austin and Jeff Ciampi. Thanks to men and machines, their assistance to prepare for winter has lightened our workload. We are also lucky to have this crew looking after the heavy snowplowing of our parking areas.

Whitney Tree Service looks after our two huge maple trees🌳 and our large birch tree cluster. Adam and his able bodied crew also check the trees in close proximity to the house and barn and bring down any which are in bad shape. Dealing with trees in bad shape isn’t just a warm weather activity, Whitney Tree Service is also busy in numerous locations throughout the winter dealing with trees that have come down due to heavy snow fall.

The wood from the downed trees is not left to decompose, it’s what we burn in the fireplaces at the B&B. In order to prepare for winter, Adam and his crew cut the trunks into 5-foot lengths and we take it from there.

wood splitter at work
Splitting wood for winter fires.

We cut each log into roughly 16-inch lengths, split each into four or more pieces, move the pieces to the woodshed,  then stack them to dry so they are ready to be brought into the B&B. Our family has visited and helped with this process over the years which has been a real blessing as it is hard work. Teamwork gets the job done so much faster – and it’s more fun!

With the efforts of Patty, Doug, Adam and their crews, the major exterior aspects that need to be completed to prepare for winter are well looked after.

Along with turning off outside faucets, bringing in the hoses, moving patio furniture into storage and putting stakes in the ground to mark snowplowing hazards, winter preparation is pretty well wrapped up.

Bring. On. The. Snow. ❄️❄️☃️



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