Post #631 A Dreary Day in Paradise

March 31, 2019 at 3:39 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Well, at least in Vermont, anyway.  All week long, the weather reports were calling for rain on Saturday and sun on Sunday.  So, we got sun on Saturday, and rain on Sunday.  But what are you gonna do?  Our Saturday was already full of errands and chores, so we just kept our schedules as we’d set them out.  So what do you do in paradise on a rainy Sunday?  Let me tell you.

First, we slept late . . . for us.  We slept until 7:30am.  Even Buddy was lazy this morning.  Then we had a leisurely breakfast of cherry turnovers.  So yummy, but I will admit that they were frozen Pepperidge Farm turnovers.  I haven’t made homemade turnovers in a very long time.

We had talked about going to a general store that was known for its bakery and butchery, but I said I wanted to go hiking, and to a welcome center to pick up brochures.  And we both wanted to be home during the afternoon to relax and get geared up for the upcoming week.  So how did we resolve the “crisis”?

We did all of it, of course.  After breakfast was over, we watched a television program to let breakfast settle then about 9:30am we headed out, with the dog.

We both grew up out west where distances are greater than here.  And we’ve spent many years living on or near the 95 corridor on the East coast so we’re automatically thinking traffic.  Neither of those issues is relevant here.  Particularly on a Sunday morning when if you find something open, it’s a major surprise.  Remember last weekend where we had a 45 minute drive to find the only open hair cut place?  I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating.

So, I hopped onto the computer and into the Explorer’s Guide to find an easy trail for us to hike.  I found the North Branch Nature Center, which, since it was Sunday, wasn’t open.  But, it has 24/7 trail access so we headed there.  And it was raining.  Not hard, but more than a drizzle.  And it was coming straight down.  No breeze.  So even though it was raining, it was fairly warm.  Or else we’re getting used to the weather here.

As luck would have it, we saw signs for a visitor’s center on the way to the nature center.  And as we went by, we saw that it was open.  On a Sunday morning around 10.  Boom.  Into the parking lot, and into the building.  We had a nice chat with the lady running the place today and grabbed massive quantities of brochures hanging around.  My thought is it’s always easier to find fun events and activities by what’s being sold to tourists.  Brochures are perfect for that.  It really was fun wandering through the various rooms.  The lady told us that all the products for sale were Made in Vermont and switched out every few weeks.  So we’ll probably hit it up once a month or so to see what’s there.

We told her we were headed to the nature center to check out the trails and she was very encouraging about that.  The visitor’s center didn’t have anything on trails or hiking but she did suggest we go online to look up a couple of the trail clubs.  From my previous experience with the Appalachian Trail in VA, I knew the primary trail club in the area was the Long Trail club and the Green Mountains club.  So, good info there.

We headed out to the nature center which turned out to be about five minutes away.  The North Branch Nature Center is located on the north branch of the Winooski River.  It’s fairly small, just 28 acres, but does a major effort at teaching and community outreach.  We got us all out of the car, and immediately remembered A) that is was still raining, and B) it was the start of the mud season.  Everything in the parking lot was squishy.  And everything was still covered in snow.  It wasn’t cold, so there was a mist rising from the snow as it melted that lent a lonely and isolated feeling to the place.  There were only two other cars in the lot, so we didn’t figure we were going to run into anyone else.

I wanted to see the river so we chose a path that seemed to go towards it.  The snow on the path was beaten down and firm, but slippery at times.  The snow off the path was deep, slushy, and cold.  For the first time since I was 9 years old, I got snow inside my shoes.  After that, I stayed on the path.  Buddy wasn’t so lucky.  He wanted to explore and sniff to the full extent of his retractable leash and often found himself up to his stomach in snow and floundering, unable to get his footing.  One time, he lifted his leg to pee, and his front legs sank up to his face.  So he was struggling to get his face out of the snow, keep his leg lifted, and pee at the same time.  He managed it, though.

Just as we came over a slight hill, we noticed a gentleman X-country skiing towards us.  I wanted to step off the trail (it’s multi-use so we had every right to be there), but I didn’t want to sink up to my knees.  We were already pretty wet so we just stopped and left him as much room as we could.  He chose a different path so he went by us instead of on top of us.

I’d love to say that we chatted about the nature center, skiing, the trails, and the snow, but he was tired from a long morning of skiing and heading home so he simply nodded at us and smiled as we greeted him.  He gave us a quick explanation saying “Heading home guys” and he was gone.

We walked to a bridge so we could see the river.  With all the snow, that water looked COLD!!  The rain had gotten a little heavier, so decided to head back to the car.  Overall, we hiked in the snow for about a mile and a quarter.  But when you’re sixty-odd years old and haven’t hiked in snow for a LONG time, it can be wearying.

Back at the car as we warmed up, Partner/Spouse suggested that try finding the general store since it was still early.  He plugged the address into his phone and off we went.

Over a mountain.

On a dirt road.

When it would have been easier to just go back the way we came.

Sometimes I hate GPS.

But we found the store.  It’s next to a covered bridge.

In the next picture of the store from their web site, you can see it on the right.

So, in this state general stores are “big business”.  They tend to be very popular and are designed in the old tradition of selling a little bit of everything.  This one has a bakery that pulls people in from all over.  They have a deli, and a butcher counter, but I doubt that we’ll be using it much.  Their selection today was minimal, but I don’t know if that’s normal or not.  Today, the place was crowded because there were other people there.  They have some tables where people can eat but those tables are in the way if you’re trying to shop.  And the folks at the tables today were clueless about being in the way.  I was as polite as I could when I asked to slide by, but one lady (I use the term loosely) was less than thrilled that I interrupted her breakfast.

The bakery counter was only about 8 feet long, but was packed with goodies.  Partner/Spouse got himself a few cookies, and I got a piece of chocolate raspberry cake.

Doesn’t that look good?  I can’t wait till dinner is over tonight.  Tonight is simple salad and grilled animal flesh.  Chicken maybe, or pork chop.

Even with all that, we were home well before noon.  Buddy got a couple of dog treats and hit his bed and has been sleeping ever since.  We each made lunch for ourselves (reheated shepherd’s pie for him; crackers and cheese and salami for me) and put the new Mary Poppins on the tube.  He snoozed and I worked and it was a fun day.

I promise at some point I will share a recipe or two.  Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies, but realized way too late that I had no baking soda.  I used about half the amount of baking powder because I didn’t have time to research a substitute.  They turned out okay.  I discovered that if I hit cancel for the timer, it turns the oven off.  Ooops, but I figured the cookies were not going to be my best anyway, so I just turned the oven back and guessed when they were done.  Not too bad.

Well, that’s this week in Vermont.  More coming up!  Next weekend we’re going to a Made in Vermont fair.  Can’t wait!

As always,

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