Super Senior: Fred Stone

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 2:47 PM EST
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PAWLET, Vt. (WCAX) - To understand a man, sometimes you need to be taken for a ride.

Fred Stone is about to show me his corner of the world -- the Mettowee Valley of Pawlet on a cold winter’s morning. Every day the retired farmer makes his way from his house to the farm he used to operate.

The first stop is to see the girls. “My job is to clean that barn every day,” he said. Stone still get’s his hands dirty even though he sold the farm years ago.

“You see how high that bunk silo is, that’s why I retired from it. That’s no damn place for an old man up on there,” Stone said. “You make one little mistake and you’re done.”

With time on his hands, the soon to be 80-year-old has a hobby making bluebird feeders. This winter’s project is to make 40 and give them away. “Cold days you got to do something,” Stone said.

Modern technology keeps him going, including hip replacements and a cochlear implant to improve his hearing. But something that can’t be repaired -- Stone has a kind of palsy that makes the right side of his face droop. “Other than when I was in grammar school and you get some bullying, it hasn’t affected me at all,” he said.

No bird ruffles Stone’s feathers. At the Stone home, bluebirds rule. If you build it, they will come. “There’s a bluebird on the crossbar, see it,” he points out.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So what is a bluebird trail?

Fred Stone: Oh, I’ll have to show you.

So it’s back onto the ATV to one of many bluebird feeders that he fills with mealworms.

Reporter Joe Carroll: How often do you fill up the boxes?

Fred Stone: I try to go once a week.

He does it for his neighbors at no charge -- a labor of love for both him and his wife Sandy. A farmer finding a passion later in life by watching birds and a bit of himself soar.

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