The winter here has been very mild according to the natives. There has been very little snow, very few sub freezing nights, but lots of wind. The country here is beautiful, lots of trees, rolling hills, rural dirt one lane roads and lots of lakes, rivers and marshes. We are now right on Lake Champlain. The lake is the 6th largest lake on this continent, has 23 islands and goes North up into Canada. There are more people here and the economy is better. We have all the stores here we need, and what we do not have is in Burlington, VT 26 miles South. St. Albans is the main area for the Vermont Maple Syrup industry. Right now they are in the middle of "sugaring"-collecting the sap for the syrup. We are having warm days and cool nights and I guess that is ideal for the sugar maple sap to run from the trees. We have been invited to go see the process for ourselves. We have a friend in the church who is one of the largest syrup producers in Vermont and he has invited us down to his "sugar shack" and see how the process works. His company taps about 150,000 trees. Most of the trees are large enough that they require 3 or 4 taps. They do about 1500 trees the old fashioned way, by hand tapping and collecting the sap in wooden buckets and then go around and collect the buckets with a horse and sleigh. We are looking forward to the outing.
This is large dairy country out here with lots of huge dairy barns. There are several creameries here to process the milk, and also Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory is about 40 miles south of here. They also have a small processing plant here is St. Albans. Most of the large dairies here are milking 300 to 400 cows three times a day, so they are pretty much a 24 hour operation. Big milk tanker trucks are all over on the roads, whereas in Maine the only large trucks on the road were log trucks. There was more wildlife in Maine than we have seen in Vermont. There are wild turkeys, moose, white tail deer, cougars bear and who knows how many other small creatures, not too many horses and tons of cows. The work of spreading the Gospel is the hardest but the most rewarding work we have ever done. We are up at 6:30 every morning and usually don't get to bed until after 10 at night. We drive over 500 miles a week and hope our car holds out until we get back to Idaho. The country here in Vermont is lots and lots of hills and forests. Our area takes us up to within a mile of the Canadian border. We brought our pass ports with us in case we get lost and end up some where we should not be.
We are looking forward to a temple outing in Canada next month with our new converts!