Monday, September 17, 2012

This Post Contains Goats (!)

This is a list of things I enjoyed on my trip to Vermont in July.


Quiet. (Please note I do not enjoy bugs, however, which is why there's a screen between me and this.)


Fresh eggs. (My god, they are beauties.)


Long paths. (On hot days the path can reach up to a mile.)


Quaint houses. (I don't go in for country-style wreaths, usually, but I like this one.)


Tea and cake.

Technically, these last three photos have been from New Hampshire. This one is from Burdick's in Walpole, which is a classy establishment that sells deluxe chocolates and fancy pastries and tea in funny tea bags. The tea comes in cups and saucers with CHOCOLATE and BURDICK on them which I covet because the font is SO BEAUTIFUL. They also let you draw on the tables. Here is the conversation Daniel and I had about my snail (which I drew upside-down for a perfectly sensible reason that I do not care to explain). Reconstructed conversation regarding the snail:

Daniel: Now, wait. Snails don't have legs.
Me: It's evolving.
Daniel: [a snort signifying a desire for table drawings to be scientifically accurate thank you]
Me: [a giggle signifying that there's no talking sense to me when I'm having tea and cake]


GOATS! I'm very excited that Daniel has GOATS! and perhaps will eventually have goat CHEESE! which is second only to the GOATS! themselves. They're friendly like puppies and even enjoy chewing on your fingers and being scratched. If I could figure out how to post video, I would show you how they like to stand on things and how totally awkward and graceless and adorable they are. Please take my word for it that GOATS! are fantastic.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Going North on 96

My good friend The Clergy spent a few weeks in Ithaca this summer, and I went to visit her in June. I didn't take many pictures actually in Ithaca, but I took a number on the way back. It's a nice drive, especially in late June, when long stretches of 96 are lined with tiger lilies. Interestingly, short stretches of 96 are lined with peculiar statues, including two of the same cow, one on top of a restaurant:

cow on house

This one is painted more creatively, but don't be fooled; these are sister cows. I kind of wonder if the two establishments pooled their money and bought them in bulk. (Two is bulk when you're talking about cows.)

cow on sign

What's nice about traveling on your own is that you can stop in random places to take photos and nobody's there to think you're nuts. I stopped in the middle of the road to take this:

home from ithaca

And also this. It was a really beautiful day and yes, I was listening to Oklahoma!, how did you know?

seneca lake

Since I had an entire afternoon to make a two-hour drive, I stopped in Geneva and sat by Seneca Lake for a little while. It could not have been more pleasant.

seneca lake shore

Just a bit south of Canandaigua there's a steel company that has a magnificently oversized suit of armor in front of it:


After that, I stopped at a farm market and bought some fresh veggies, home-grown strawberries, and Amish jam. As there was a Wegmans on my way home, I bought some crumpets, and had a very satisfactory albeit rather odd dinner. A lovely end to a lovely weekend, during which I accidentally forgot to take any pictures. The only photo I have is from The Clergy, who kindly photographed the old-fashioned soda fountain that we went to.

Green's Pharmacy Soda Fountain

It was at this counter that a strange elderly man sat next to me, babbled for a while, and then, although I had tried to be as unfriendly as I possibly could, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Have a happy Fourth of July! Don't rob any banks." I did, and I didn't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Promised Alpaca (with Bonus Animals!)

I have a daunting backlog of things to blog about. I will begin with the alpaca that I told you I would post about a hundred years ago in the golden days when I was a reliable blogger. This alpaca is from June, when I went to the annual Alpaca and Frog-Racing Festival in town. I'm pretty sure that's what it's called; anyway, those are the only reasons I go. Summer doesn't start until I've caught up with Meridian and asked him how he is.


Tolerable well, he says. He's getting a bit white around the snout, but he finds that age suits him. He has grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren now, and he's pleased with all of them, except for Zenith, whom he's worried lacks direction. He's pretty sure the upcoming presidential election has been giving him angina, but until his agitation for ungulate enfranchisement succeeds, there's nothing he can do. He hopes the robot doesn't win, because he's pretty sure the robot will overspend on defense, and he's a pacifist.

The first bonus animal is frogs. This year there was a frog-jumping contest. Having never seen a frog-jumping contest in real life before, I was expecting to see a crowd dressed in period clothing (the period in this case being "Tom Sawyer") gathered around a circle of dirt in which about twenty frogs are jumping wildly in all directions, spurred on by the cheering of their captors, and in the background, maybe a little friendly gambling, and not more than two fist fights. But that is not how the modern frog-jumping contest is run. This is how the modern frog-jumping contest is run:


Two local frog experts, carrying nets for the safety of the contestants, let two frogs loose in the center of a circle. Because the circle is in grass, the frogs are nearly invisible. But our experts are keen-eyed professionals, and they are each assigned to one frog. When that frog stops jumping, as it inevitably does, a professional expert sprays it with a water bottle, whereupon it starts again. This repeats until one frog crosses the finish line. As you can imagine, the contest is almost but not entirely lacking in any actual fairness. A peculiar sport to be sure.

The second bonus animal is a three-banded armadillo from the Seneca Park Zoo. He is exceptionally cute. His name is Doug.


I don't know much about Doug personally, and the cold facts about his species are easily found on Wikipedia, so there isn't much to say. He's very adorable, but if I've learned anything from This American Life, it's that armadillos do not make great pets. I will, however, be happy to visit him at the zoo.