Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I visited the NorthEast Kingdom, and all I got was this lousy virus

We all flew out to VT last Friday for an extended weekend visiting grandparents and cousins. I didn't mention this before, because you can't be too careful with all the burglars clicking that 'show me next blog' link until they see that somebody's in Vegas next week, which they note for either their own fiendish purposes, or to pass along to somebody else in the sophisticated network of 'blog-burglars'.

One of the highlights of the trip was going up to Craftsbury, VT (the name sounds like it was created by a team of marketing professionals tasked with coming up with a cute, rural-sounding Vermont name, but as far as I know, it was not), where my brother in law works for a small college as a farmer.

Craftsbury is in the Northeast Kingdom. It's in the Northeast part of Vermont, and it feels like another country. Actually, it feels like another planet. The light is different. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the latitude, maybe the lack of pollutants - car exhaust and general industrial filth, but it's very bright and clear and eerily different. So much so if I were to look up and see two suns, I might even be relieved to have an explanation of what's up with the light.

I noticed that the last time I visited the Northeast Kingdom, a couple years ago, when we visited my brother and sister in law on the organic yogurt farm where he was working. That trip was very memorable because I got to see a man stick his arm into a plastic sleeve, then up a cow's ass, and clear out a lot of cow crap so he could stick a 3 foot long needle into the cow and get her pregnant. I dodged a very thick stream of cow urine that started flowing during this process, and watched my brother in law stick his hand in a cow's mouth and pull out the ruminant. Prior to this gig, my brother in law worked on a farm camp for at-risk youth, run by I think the Farelly brothers.

Anyhow, my daughter was along this time, so I was hoping we wouldn't be seeing any of that. It was springtime, and it was time to see the baby animals. So we all walked down the street to see the chickens. There were numerous chickens walking about in the yard, and my brother in law scattered some feed for them.

'I want to go to the farm.' my daughter exclaimed.

From there we went to a greenhouse where spinach and other greens were growing. My daughter ate some spinach, and pronounced it yucky. Later during the trip, she would try to grab some gum under a seat at an airport.

'I want to go to the farm'.

The next stop was inside a shed where we heard the peeps of real live baby chicks. We got to look at them and even got to hold them.

'I want to go to the farm'.

After that we went to the barn to meet a mama goat (who had an unfortunate swollen teat that had the effect of making her look like the goat Ron Jeremy) and her two babies. They were extremely cute and jumped around a lot. We were able to pet them although they were hard to approach.

From there we went to the field populated by sheep (mamas and babies) and a llama. We were told to bow to the llama, and we did. The llama didn't really do anything in response, but apparently it's more a matter of what happens if you DON'T show the llama respect.

After the sheep we saw the cows, including some calves. There was cow excrement everywhere. I was amazed how much those cows produced. It didn't smell particularly bad (in the Northeast Kingdom, the light is different, and cow shit smells ok), but it was everywhere.

My daughter by this time was convinced we were finally at the farm.

The other highlight was riding the shuttle in the Detroit airport on the way back. It takes you back and forth along the terminal. We got at one end of the train, where if you're 2 you can ignore the signs saying 'don't sit here' and sit right there looking out the window pretending you're driving the train, and further pretend that it's not the shuttle at the Detroit airport but Gordon from the 'Thomas and his Friends' show. It's great family fun and created the
only good memory I have of Detroit after visiting Detroit on a couple of different occasions.

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