Category Archives: Travel
Travel and Make Art!
My close and insanely talented friend Natasha has two aws fiber arts classes she’s teaching in Europe this summer. Join us, won’t you? What could possibly be more fun?
Greece in July: http://artsandculturaltravel.com/portfolio/stitched-art-natalya-aikens-july-2-9-2017/
Switzerland in August: http://texartacademy.com/seminar-natalya-aikens-2017-e/
Be there. Aloha.
They say of Dartmouth alumni that, if cut, they bleed green. And if a Vermonter is cut, sap comes out. Kyle’s 100% Vermonty leg, a mighty maple, has been tapped.
‘Tis maple sugaring season in the Land. Let the boiling of God’s sweet deciduous nectar begin! Follow the steam. Come, partake of the Upper Valley’s golden goo.
The Calm After the Storm
If You Color It, They Will Come
There are three foliage stages: Mixed, Peak, and Sticks Plus. Then my favorite time of year, Stick Season. This year there is astonishing color — Mother Nature hasn’t put on a show like this in decades. Here’s why. For great touring info, go here or here.
Come to New England. See and smell the love.
The Fairest of the Land
‘Tis fair season throughout New England, when the bounty of the Land is displayed for fun and prizes.
Fairs provide demolition derbies; pig races; games of chance and “skill”; quality goods (studded brassieres, specialty doormats, Daniel Boone hats, gun-themed accessories); foods that combust internally upon the clicking of the seatbelt on high g-force rides; plus the Germs of Many Counties, steeling you for flu season. Bounty!
Hurry to catch the Vermont State Fair and the Tunbridge World’s Fair. No site has them all but this is okay, as is this; NH fairs are here. Don’t miss the Strolling of the Heifers in 2015.
The Sane Need Not Apply
My neighbor Rebecca, a no-nonsense Iron Woman tuffie, once emerged from her apartment with cuts and bruises like she’d lost a round with a threshing machine. No, she said, it was the Death Race. She’d been asleep for two days.
One of Vermont’s crazier offerings, the upcoming Death Race is a twisted, punishing exercise in x-treme sport nutterness. For one thing, particpants are not told until the last minute when it will actually begin. Articles detailing it appear here and here. Its competitors mystify regular folk; they also entertain. Thank you, nutters.
I say: know when to give up. Also: barbed wire is not your friend. Good luck!
There’s Just Something About a Spool
From slender filaments to giant cables, spools get the job done right. The big daddy on the left appeared down the road a piece. It made my day.
My sister-in-law, an extremely talented fiber artist, has dozens of spools. I have a lowly 30. If you’ve never wound a bobbin on a sewing machine before, you’re missing out. If mankind wound more bobbins, there’d be less misery and lower crime rates.
This place, El Taller (“The Studio”), in Lawrence, MA is a cool coffee shop with books and…spools. They write in your coffee. What’s better than that?
“Enough with the Beauty Already”
This gem was uttered by a friend in disgust after the 27th day of subzero temperatures caused by the pernicious Polar Vortex. Ours was a Jack London winter, visually stunning and physically painful, something we’d rather read about than live. But New Englanders proved their mettle once again, the nasty temps and strong winds of the deep freeze pooh-pooh’d by skiers, ice fishermen, snow sculptors, and the various groups of demented nutters that dunk themselves in Lake Champlain, this year amidst large chunks of ice. Others enjoyed their ice indoors, watching Olympic skating men of many nations on TV tossing bespangled partners sky high and—mercifully—catching them, in their giant meat paws.
Today’s post falls on the first day of spring. Which every year is either joyful or a cruel joke, dependent upon the weather. March came in like a lion this year and will leave, with any luck, like a mewling little kitten. With modern global weirding we just don’t know. Really, we never did and, besides, April is not supposed to be a balmy month in northern New England; if it is we are probably saying Welcome! to invasive species like maple-killing insects and Hey there to greenhouse gases. But every gardener is chomping at the bit and who can blame them? As one cabin fever casualty put it a month ago, “The walls seem a little…closer…this year.”
While the beauty was remarkable—frozen solid rivers, sparkling snow, monster icicles—northerners were cracking up and southerners suffered as well. Which you might think would please us northies but didn’t, if only because of the promise of heightened orange juice prices and fossil fumage. Once again we were jealous of—get this—New Jersey, which got way more snow early on than we did. Here, we had unimpressive snowfall until the recent blast, but what snow landed remained with endless subzero temps and endlesser talking about subzero temps.
Now the birds are chattering. They know this godforsaken winter will soon end, and by more than a calendar designation. We have plenty of snow, with ideal temps for outdoorsiness. April has never been more anticipated. She may, of course, present fresh snow storms and protracted sugaring, an anathema to certain wives whose menfolk in their sugar shacks try to match sap boiling with beer consumption at a gallon-per-gallon pace deep into spring. Regardless, we all hope for a superb sugar season and await April’s many treasures, including National Walk to Work Day when hundreds in the Upper Valley are seen marching 30 to 40 miles on I-89 or -91. Lucky for the Upper Valley it is not called Walk To and From Work Day.
A host of April holidays follows, with Palm Sunday, Passover, Tax Day, Good Friday, Easter, Patriot’s Day, Earth Day, Secretaries’ Day (if you are from another era, which I am), Take Your Daughter To Work Day (O, treasured episode of The Office), and finally Arbor Day, to prepare us for the greatest of all the spring holidays, Green Up Vermont Day, a.k.a. Rubber Glovin’ It Day if you pick up the HazMatty biohazards I always manage to harvest on this special day in my randomly assigned location. Try it, you’ll like it! Sign up, clean up, and green up. Great good fun.
Wow, thinking of greenery just rockets our brains into thoughts of (dare I say it?) summer. Among the collateral damage of a winter like this one: tubeside vegetation. Being held prisoner by the climate meant far more sitting around inside doing Vermonty crafts, reading and, yes, watching TV. It has taken me over a decade in the Green
Mountain State to learn that there is a heck of a lot of nudity going on here. The state is like one big nudist’s colony. People swimming, making bird houses, lounging about, doing the dishes, gardening…naked. All over the place. Where am I going with this? Right here: tubeside vegetation is very, very, very bad for nudity. We are going to have to work extra hard this year to shed those unaesthetic pounds if we want to be polite nudists, people. Tough it out.
Is today’s vernal equinox truly what determines the first day of spring? Let’s ask modern-day oracle, Google, shall we? Hmm, s/he delivers us to the Farmers’ Almanac where we can read their take—and the fighty, oddly spelled comments below it—online. Read up and take a stance. And take heart! Spring’s a comin’. Good arguing, good nuding prep, and good (snowy) spring day.
Have You Read a Ford Lately?
Behold the craftsmanship that went, letter by letter, into the spreading of this important message. Truer words were never, um, self-adhesived onto a bumper.
While each Ford has its own mystique, it’s not every Ford that serves as a reminder to dig out your cheery Floyd and Death Rattle CDs for family gatherings during this, the season of thanks. Oh and by the way, Peace to you, fellow motorists!
“Let it Snow!”
“But please, God, not too much. Snow tires eat gas and make it hard to hear my CDs.”
We drive a lot in rural America, so we put our snow tires on as late as we can push it. It’s kind of a game we play. So it’s best to stay off the roads during the first few blasts. Little tip fer ya there.
And yes, we still play CDs here.