It’s a difficult life we lead out here on the shores of Lake Champlain, trading with the natives across the water, wresting milk from old Bessie twice a day and praying the wind cuts the humidity enough to dry sheets on the line…. Hardly.
Saturday, we crashed the Middlebury Farmers Market and I was laughed at for insisting on taking a picture of our haul.
Blueberries, blackraspberries, multigrain bread, zucs, summer squash, cucs and cabbage from the Middlebury Farmers Market.
Missing from this picture are the meat and dairy – herbed goat cheese, organic steak and fresh ground pork sausage (fabulous) and we’ve already begun listing what we want to take home next Saturday. There’s something about learning the story of your food as you buy it that makes it taste…more like food. The bread, we learned, is handled by the baker from seed to oven. The milk is from his cows, the grain from his fields. I imagine if so much of your toil went into crafting something, it might stir emotions to part with it. It must take a certain stoicism on his part to know that we’re going to take his art home and eat it. Very quickly, as it turns out. I want two loafs next week.
I also managed to have conversations with all the berry sellers at the market. The blueberries came from a man who had picked the pint; they were going so quickly he was having trouble keeping his pint baskets full. The black raspberry seller also sold all variety of gooseberries, of which he encouraged me to try several. They were gorgeous, some like champaign grapes on the vine and others large as grapes with painted tiger stripes, but the had the consistency of eyeballs (the big ones, at least) and, I was sold at black raspberries, which I can only get at home off weeds in people’s backyards.
It was a lovely day for it, too. The market itself is set right behind the Otter Creek falls which, I still maintain
Middlebury Farmer’s Market, VT
are far too large to be a creek. They are they the falls that are the reason for the town of Middlebury, at least originally, running the waterwheel for the mills.
Otter Creek Falls, Middlebury, VT
Sunday, despite humidity reminiscent of breathing underwater, we attempted a monumental bike ride out to the Chimney Point Bridge, where we originally crossed from New York into Vermont. The road winds along the lake, through bucolic dairy farms and vacation cottages and the majority of the traffic is working farm equipment. (We’ve grown friendly, through emphatic hand signals, with the driver of the s**t-spreader who passed us often spreading the wealth of dairy farm manure to hay fields across Bridport.) So, it didn’t seem like such a big ride – an our in, an our out, with a little museum and bridge-picture taking sortie in between.
Chimney Point Bridge across Lake Champlain.
Well, no dice. Turns out, when there’s a fabulous breeze cutting the humidity one way, when you go back in the other direction, it becomes a formidable headwind. And all that lovely sloping downhill, gracefully dipping down toward the lake? Exactly. And I swear, those moments when I was ready to get off the damn bike and hitch a ride with the manure guy, the wind actually picked up like it was issuing a challenge. There’s a sadistic underbelly to this country, I tell you.
After yesterday, we gave the bikes a rest I went back to the lake where the wind still reigns supreme. At this narrow section of the lake, the water looks more like a river running with this steady wind charging up from the south. This time, I think I was a little more savvy and paddled into the wind as long as I could take it, the drifted back down lake on the current.
Kayak riding the wind northward on Lake Champlain
To keep ourselves from settling in to completely, we’re driving up to Quebec City for two days to pit my high school French against their miraculous crepes. Don’t place any bets.