Chester Fall Festival

Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18: The Village of Chester, in Vermont, has an annual Fall Festival. This was the first year I’d attended. The first day, I mostly hung out with the fiber crafters at Six Loose Ladies with my knittng – and also walked down through most of the vendors.

Then, on Sunday, I went with a couple of friends, seeing much of what I’d not explored the day before. The highlight was the presentation by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science; they have ambassador birds, unable to be released into the wild, and we got to see an American Kestrel:

a tiny Screech Owl:

and the star of the show – a Red-tailed hawk. She paid intense attention to what her handler was saying about her!

We also enjoyed live music, watched apples being crushed and pressed for cider, and ate Thai food from one of the food trucks.

I don’t need this car, even though it’s my favorite color – I suspect it lowers and raises its suspension, but sitting here it had maybe an inch of ground clearance! Wouldn’t cope with my driveway.

Dragon Cat Seeks Attention

I often go next door to use their internet, visit, snag surplus veggies, or just hang out. Especially if his people are away, Dragon wants ATTENTION – NOW!! The above series, he really wanted in, but the footing was too precarious, so he ended up jumping down and coming in through the open car door to land on my lap. And today, he wanted me to know that a live cat was much more pettable than a computer!

Black River Action Team in Action

Saturday, September 10: The Black River Action Team (B.R.A.T.) divided to conquer the trash in the Black River this year. When we started arriving, it was still quite foggy, but it cleared out nicely.

One group cleaned up the river (as they do every year) up near the shopping plaza in Springfield, Vermont; this year a group also went up river from the landing where the Black River meets the Connecticut, going upstream to pull trash.

We had six kayaks – not great for carrying tires, but good for spotting trash; two canoes (the one above was much better balanced when it had a tire in the bow); one scow shaped fishing boat which was great for hauling the big stuff. As a matter of fact, they loaded so much big stuff on it that they offloaded some on the shore where a truck could get it later! And we had one swimmer; she’s really good, and equipped with fins and goggles, was able to spot things under water that the rest of us couldn’t see.

We went upstream until boats bottomed out; at that point there was the base of a patio table, so that was pulled down to where there was enough water to float a boat. Further up, there are falls. 

It was a very productive day on both ends of the clean-up – we got off the water, loaded up boats, and went to the middle school, where the other cleaner uppers had bags and bags of trash, a pile of tires, and a pickup truck already loaded! (I should have gotten a photo of their impressive haul, but I was tired, and aimed for the pizza and B.R.A.T. t-shirt with which we were rewarded.) One more river cleaner than it was before.

Another Party Weekend!

I was invited to a triple birthday celebration on Saturday, and offered to bring cake. My good friend requested anything but chocolate – I’m not sure I know how to make things not chocolate! So I decided I’d do a Batatada (sweet potato/coconut/lime, a recipe from Macao) cake for her:

It came out more dense than I expected, but smelled heavenly, and my friend loved it. For those of us who don’t think it’s cake if it’s not chocolate, I made a roulade filled with chocolate cherry amaretto filling, and covered with ganache. It didn’t look great – not up to Great British Baking Show standards, for sure! I was in too much of a hurry to take my time with the ganache. But it tasted wonderful. And didn’t make it to the table unmolested by the friend who carried it in to the house!

It was an excellent party, held outdoors in perfect weather in the hills of southern Vermont. There were lots of people there, mostly family (some from as far afield as Australia), and I got to meet some of their neighbors and relatives, all interesting, and three generations. There were tables of food, and three more cakes, and some mini pies, and no chance anyone couldn’t find something they liked to eat. I’d taken the camper, so I wouldn’t have to drive home so late, and so that I could visit more in the morning; I spend enough time there that there is a designated camper parking spot with a place to plug in!

I left in the early afternoon, as I had yet another party to attend – this one a “Meet the Groom” party as they are getting married in October, and because he lives out of state, no one had met him yet. This was a four generation party, including the newest member of the family, born this summer. The incipient groom was a really good sport, getting into the pool with some of the grandchildren, and splashing (and being splashed) enthusiastically.

I’d been given some leftover food from the first party, and dropped it off with friends who are dealing with health issues, and was home just before dark. Busy weekend.

Happy Birthday!

It was a busy day, ending at a double birthday party for a couple of young (at least, younger than I!) friends. This is a community event – age range from just reaching toddlerhood (actually, probably at least one in utero) up to 75-ish, and three generations of at least one family. This is where you use what you have – like the firewood buffet table! Much of the food for the pot-luck is locally grown organic – many attending have impressive gardens. Games were played – volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, a croquet maze, and hide-and-seek for the youngest. I was mildly amused to note that nine out of ten men wear beards in this crowd, at least if they are old enough to grow facial hair. I left a party still going strong, although games where one had to see what the ball was doing had pretty much ended; many of us elders were drifting away.

Puppy at Wednesday Knitting

He doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so has a problem handling the knitting needles, but he definitely adds to the cuteness factor!

This post should have gone out last Thursday, but WordPress didn’t want to do that – and made me rewrite it so I could post it! Oh, well – he’s cute enough I figured it’s better late than never.

Not My Usual Fiber Craft

Saturday, August 6: Wood craft today; I have a friend with pretty severe Alzheimers, and his wife was asking for suggestions for things to keep him engaged and occupied. So I made him a peg board from scrap lying around, and a dowel from the collection. I didn’t put a finish on it, as speed was important, just cut, drilled, sanded to eliminate splinters. Anyone else with ideas, feel free to chime in! I also took over a bunch of fat yarn; he can wind yarn around the dowels, if he wants. Or just tie it in knots…

An Adventure in Cake Design

Saturday, July 30: Our family lost a dear friend after a brief fight with cancer last summer. One memorial for him was today in Connecticut. My sister and I were tasked with making a cake that would honor his passions – playing clarinet was his avocation, and his working life as a professor of biology featured the study of frog communication. He was a phenomenal teacher, a gifted musician; as a husband a true partner, and a deeply engaged father.

Yesterday was spent making the cake – a Kentucky Butter Cake and the chocolate ganache were made by my sister; I was responsible for making it look more or less like a clarinet.

I drove home last night; it’s about half way from my sister’s to Connecticut, so it breaks up the drive. And I could sleep in my own bed. And the cat was happy to have me there! I was up early, to attempt making a frog; I’d never used fondant for sculpture before. But I was pleased with how froggy it came out: