Toad in the Hole

Seattle comes to Vermont

View over the lake, sans Mountains

There has been some sort of global rerouting in weather this summer.  The weather service has got the addresses wrong.  While at home in usually temperate Seattle friends have been reporting temperatures akin to hell, back East corn crops are being plowed under due to too much rain.  Every native (included several Quebecers) have asked us how we’re tolerating the rain, to which I’ve replied, but it’s warm rain, a great improvement over that cold stuff we get out west.  Clearly, I’m not getting it.

The night we returned from Quebec, however, the rain made it’s presence known.  Almost three inches fell in this area overnight.  Flash flood warnings went out, culverts raged and the lake rose, ending in a glorious storm hangover.  The Adirondacks were swallowed and I could have sworn I was back home in Seattle in early November.

Luckily, unlike home, the weather picked itself up, shook off the clouds and revealed a marvelous day for the Farmers Market, though the rain’s effects were still visible.  Otter Creek, which had a rather jubilant little waterfall anyway, was a torrent of silt and water and foaming phosphates.

otter creek high II

At the market, clips of conversation attested to the impact of this unseasonal weather.  The tomatoes are still orange, the melons aren’t ripening and there is virtually no corn for sale, though there are fields of it all around that have yet to set out their tassels.  This didn’t stop us from tithing to the local economy.

market haul two

The tomatoes were some of the few that looked really good (and they taste magnificent).  One of the zucchini has already gone to the grill, with some grass fed ground beef (also from the market, but already in the fridge at this point).  The pie was raspberry-rhubarb, but is already eaten, and the bag up top is full of chantrell mushrooms, perhaps for a risotto or just sauteed with those onions.  Despite the agricultural woes, we’re having no trouble finding things to eat.

With the weather still clear after the market, I hurried down to the kayak to get out on the water, but was stymied by a peculiar ownership negotiation.  I’ve been keeping the boat down on the waterfront, because setting it up and taking it down, while convenient for storage, is time consuming.  I’ve been accustomed to having to do a thorough spider eradication each time I roll the boat over to launch.  The arachnids think they own this place and will spin a web on anything sedentary for most that twelve hours.  But during the storm, more than just spiders decreed my boat a convenient hidey-hole.  It’s dark, cool and full of a delicious array of insects and this guy moved right in.

boat toad

I rolled the boat over and he looked up at me from the seat, either confident that this was his place or hoping that if he sat still enough his presence would go unnoticed.  He realized he’d been spotted after I took a few pictures and reached in to evict him, so he high tailed it up into the stern where he was conveniently out of reach.

toad in the stren

We had an extensive conversation about how this was a single passenger kayak and that, while I’m a huge fan of his cousin Kermit the Frog, there was just no way I was going to have him hopping all over my feet out in the middle of Lake Champlain.  Not to mention, I know how to use gravity to my advantage.  After standing the boat on end a few times, I transferred him to a much more toad-appropriate muddy rock and thanked him for consuming a majority of the usual squatters.

The toad, however, had the last laugh, because mid-lake I almost jumped ship at the sight of one mammoth mottled gray arachnid scurrying determinedly up my leg.  If only I’d brought my toad.

sunset over Chimney pt bridge

Sunset over Lake Champlain and the Chimney Point Bridge from Motorboat.

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