CHARLOTTE, Vt. (WCAX) When Yvan Plouffe was farming in Charlotte he could see Camel's Hump to the east and Whiteface to the west -- call it a million dollar view, but with not so much in the bank.
Milk prices soured in the '80s, so Plouffe sold the herd, and later much of his land. He's now down to 10 acres, but is still getting his hands dirty. His nursery is filled with tomato plants ready for planting.
"The water comes down from the roof and it's always nice, warm water to water everything -- my garden," Plouffe said.
It looks like your average greenhouse, except for one thing.
Yvan Plouffe: I don't sell anything.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Why not?
Yvan Plouffe: I'd rather give it away, it's more fun.
That's right, no cash, a thank you will do.
There are no roses yet, but in late June the greenhouse will be bursting with flowers.
Yvan Plouffe: On good years I've done 10,000.
Reporter Joe Carroll: 10,000?
Yvan Plouffe: Oh yeah.
It's not a thorny issue pricing the flowers either, because it's zero, zip, nada. He tried selling them once at a farmer's market. "A woman came around, she said, 'My son is getting married tomorrow on Sunday.' She said, 'Can I have some roses?' I said, 'Lady, you can have everything,'" Plouffe recalled.
His farmer's market foray lasted just a half a day. Not a total loss though, he realized giving away the flowers suited him better. "I love it," he said.
It's the same with his peaches and plums. "They produce like crazy," he said.
And his hardwood.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Again, free?
Yvan Plouffe: Of course!
Plouffe says it was his upbringing in Quebec that showed him how to treat people. His parents took in and fed the homeless.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Giving away roses, giving away plums, furniture, wood.
Yvan Plouffe: Yup. Hey, I'm not going to take it with me.
At 80, the life-long bachelor understands his own mortality. It became very clear recently. "It was not fun. No fun. No. No appetite. I couldn't keep any food in my stomach," he said.
His doctor thought he had a bout of depression and prescribed pills. It made him numb and out of it. "If you take eight pills a day you know, you don't accomplish much," Plouffe said.
Ten months later he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, not depression. After getting treatment he says he's feeling much better.
Reporter Joe Carroll: How far did you get with your education?
Yvan Plouffe: Oh boy... I'm dyslexic. You know, if you're dyslexic in those days, nobody knew what it was -- you're an idiot. I was the idiot of the class obviously.
For a guy who was called an idiot, there's a lot of wisdom and generosity -- that's looking, well, pretty smart. "I try to make life worth something anyway," Plouffe said.