Friday, March 21, 2014

Fall Foliage and Frosty Winters

Thought for the day:  Vermont's a place where barns come painted, red as a strong man's heart, where stout carts and stout boys in freckles are highest form of art. [Robert Tristam]

[courtesy of a Vermont native]
In case you can't quite make out that sign under all that snow in the picture, it says, I am Vermont strong. I dunno about you, but I'd rather not have to be that strong. I mean, a sweet little delicate dusting of white is one thing... but that's ridiculous. Not that Vermont is the only state that's been buried under snow this winter, but it is the state we're gonna be visiting today. Ready?

You might be from Vermont if...

*  You've ever taken your kids trick-or-treating during a blizzard.
*  Mosquitoes have landing lights, and the best repellent is a shotgun.
*  You have ten favorite recipes for venison, and at least twice a year, your kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant.
*  You have more miles on your snowblower than on your car, and owe more money on it, too.
*  You consider tube socks and a flannel nightgown with less than eight buttons to be sexy lingerie.
*  Your snowblower has ever gotten stuck on your roof. (???)
*  You clean the grease off your BBQ grill frequently to keep the bears away.
*  You know which leaves make good toilet paper. (I know which ones DON'T!)
*  Your town officials greet you by your first name.
*  There's only one shopping plaza in town. (Until 1996, it was the only state without a Wal-Mart, too!)
*  The major parish fundraiser isn't Bingo; it's sausage-making.
*  You think -20 degrees F is a little chilly.
*  Your town budgets money for a zamboni instead of a bus.
*  Your state capital (Montpelier) doesn't have a McDonald's. (Only capital in the country with that tasteful claim to fame.)

[Morguefile]
Vermont is a lot more than snow. Matter of fact, I've kinda fallen in love with the state. (Except for, ya know... that pesky snow.) Talk about picturesque! And it's one of only four states that preserves its gorgeous views by forbidding billboards. (The others are Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine.)

[Morguefile]
So come on through this spiffy covered bridge and let me show you around. Vermont has nearly as many covered wooden bridges as it has snowflakes... more per square mile than any other state, anyway. Pennsylvania still rules supreme for having the most overall, though.


[Wikipedia]

Okay, last covered bridge picture. This is the Flint covered bridge in Tunbridge... with only a dusting of snow. Looks like a glorious place to walk, doesn't it? Just look at that sky!
[Wikipedia]



And who do you think might have lived in this rustic-looking cabin? Someone with a poetic soul, who was enamored with his surroundings, who wrote of such things as stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. Yes, this cabin, located in Ripton, belonged to Robert Frost. Since woods cover more than 3/4 of the state, Frost found plenty of natural inspiration around him. Plenty of seclusion, too. Even today, the only state with a smaller population is Wyoming.

Frost isn't the only one who fell in love with the beautiful vistas of Vermont. Especially in the autumn...



[Wikipedia]
The Round Church, located in Richmond, and built in 1812-13, is one of the best-preserved meetinghouses from that time period. This sixteen-sided building, maintained by the local Historical Society, is still used for weddings and other events.

[Wikipedia]






Here's a different type of building altogether. It's a prime example of 19th century industrial architecture. When built in 1846 as the Robbins and Lawrence Armory and Machine Shop, work done here played a primary role in advancing the Industrial Revolution by improving the production of interchangeable parts. Today, the building houses the American Precision Museum.

[National Park Service photo]
Didja know Ben & Jerry's got its start in Burlington, Vermont... in a former gas station? Yep, the now iconic ice cream brand made its debut on May 5, 1978, and every anniversary since then has been recognized as Free Cone Day, where every person who goes into any of their stores around the country is treated to a freebie. Any guess what their first flavor was? Yep, vanilla. Know what the company does with its ice cream waste these days? It goes to the local farmers to feed their hogs... who are allegedly real hogs for every flavor but Mint Oreo.

[Wikipedia]
Vermont is the greatest producer of maple syrup in the country. Mature trees (30-40 years old) can support from one to three taps, depending on the tree's diameter, and the average tree yields from nine to thirteen gallons of sap per season.

[Wikipedia]



To convert sap into syrup, it is boiled in a special building with a louvered roof... to allow steam to escape... called a sugar shack. (Or house or shanty.)


[Morguefile]


Maybe one of you can tell me more about this picture? I found it on Morguefile, but have no details on what it is or the significance of those figures. Only that it's located somewhere in Burlington, Vermont. Neat-looking, isn't it?

Vermont's state motto is Freedom and Unity, and these words befit the state's independent streak throughout history. It was the first state admitted to the union after the ratification of the Constitution; it was the first state to abolish slavery; and it was the first state to legalize Civil Unions. Another interesting tidbit: Ida Mae Fuller of Brattleboro, Vermont, was the first U.S. citizen to receive a social security check. She collected her first check in 1940, lived to be more than a hundred, and ended up collecting more than twenty thousand dollars in benefits.

[Wikipedia]
Shelburne Museum, founded in 1947, contains a unique collection of artwork and Americana artifacts, folk art, quilts and decoys from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Housed in thirty-eight buildings, the museum showcases twenty historic structures, including houses, a one-room schoolhouse, lighthouse, jail, general store, covered bridge, (Of course!) and the 220-foot  Ticonderoga steamboat, as seen in the photo. The village-like setting also includes more than four hundred lilac bushes, formal gardens, perennial gardens, herbs, and heirloom veggies. (Can you imagine the sweet smell of all those lilacs in bloom?)

[Wikipedia]
Vermont isn't just known for its mountains and snow skiing, or for its woodlands and gorgeous fall foliage, or even for its covered bridges and ice cream. It also has some beautiful water... like Lake Champlain. Beautiful, isn't it? So (tra-la-la) peaceful. So (tra-la-la) idyllic. (Cue the scary music...)

Or not.

When Samuel de Champlain discovered (Yeah, I know... it wasn't lost.) the lake in 1609, he claimed he saw a monster, five feet long, as thick as a man's thigh, with thick silver-gray scales and a two and a half-foot sharp-toothed jaw. Native Americans also claimed to see similar monsters, ranging in size from eight to ten feet long. There have been many sightings over the years of the Lake Champlain monster, fondly known as Champ. Is it a cousin to the oft-reported Loch Ness monster Nessie? Are they both plesiosaurs? Or is it all a hoax? Tell ya what, Champ is pretty darned real to the fishermen shown in this 2005 video:

Okay, let's see if any crazy laws are languishing on the books in the fine state of Vermont.

        

  • It's against the law to whistle underwater. (I guess they don't want anyone trying to summon Champ.)
  • At one time, it was illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. (Does that mean it's okay now?)
  • Women must obtain permission from their husbands before they can wear false teeth. (I doubt if this law has any bite...)
  • It's illegal to deny the existence of God. (Ya think non-prophet organizations can get away with it?)
  • It's against the law to paint landscapes during times of war. (So it would seem that painting in itself isn't forbidden... just painting landscapes. Interesting.)
  • It's illegal to use colored margarine in restaurants unless the menu says so ... in two-inch tall lettering. When it is served, oleo can only be provided in triangular-shaped wedges. (Yeah. Vermont is a huge dairy state, and as you can tell, they try to discourage the use of the fake stuff.)
  • It's against the law to paint a horse. (So how are ya gonna have a horse of a different color...?)
  • Delivery men must walk backwards in driveways of homes worth more than five hundred thousand dollars. (???)
  • It's illegal to keep doves in the freezer. (The poor little guys would get too cold in there!)
  • It's against the law to give a baby a comforter. (Not sure if that means a blanket, or a pacifier.)
  • In Barre, all residents must bathe every Saturday night. 
  • In Montpelier, no law was violated on May 14, 2009, when forty-two naked cyclists rode through town. Vermont has no law against public nudity... just on public disrobing.
  • In Rutland, cars are forbidden from backfiring.  (Lotsa luck trying to get those cars to pay their fines.)     


**************************  

Well, that's about it for now. If all is well, we'll be hanging out with some of our grandchildren this weekend, so I won't be messing around on the Internet. I'll respond to your comments and visit all y'all at your blogs next week. First things first... I'm planning to squeeze all I can in with these folks. Yep, we've got some serious playing to do.


                                                       
                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.  

                                                  Life must be lived as play. [Plato]                                

72 comments:

  1. When I see the word VERMONT, I always think of the film 'White Christmas'; and, yes, snow featured there too.

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    1. I love the original version of that movie with Bing Crosby. I think it started out with the title "Holiday Inn", but they may have changed it later.

      Delete
  2. The first winged monkey appeared in Burlington, Vermont in 1976, sculpted into the roof line of an historic old building on the corner of Bank and St. Paul Streets. The sculpture was commissioned for a store called Emerald City of Oz. Emerald City was a waterbed store and a politically motivated gift boutique.

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    1. Okay, sounds reasonable to me, dude. The only other thing I was able to find is a picture of a similar sculpture on top of Union Station in Burlington, but no additional background information.

      But know what? You are soooooo talented at pontificating clever cause-and-effects jive, I'm not sure if you're spouting facts, or taking advantage of my gullibility. Either way, it works for me. Thanks.

      Delete
  3. Oooh. If I can't live in Antarctica, Vermont looks like a close second. And I could probably live with most of the wacky legislation too.
    Have fun with the grandbabies.

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    1. There ya go. And I do believe Vermont's "warm spell" may last a few hours longer than Antarctica's, too.

      Thanks. (We did!)

      Delete
  4. I'm marking May 5th on my calendar right now! I do consider flannel nightgowns with less than eight buttons, and tube socks to be very sexy! Beautiful family photo, Susan! I used to love dressing my boys in matching outfits, and they get an added bonus with your granddaughters! Have a great trip!

    Julie

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    1. HA! I should mark my calendar, too. (Do you like Samoa Girl Scout cookies? Breyer's has a limited-time Samoa cookie ice cream out right now. YOWZA, is it ever good!)

      Thanks. I love that photo. We have a much larger color version of it on our wall. Makes me smile and get a teensy teary-eyed every time I look at it.

      Delete
  5. The law about delivery men walking backwards seems a little ridiculous to me! Ditto not giving a baby a comforter.
    Champ looks just like a large animal swimming at first, a moose (without antlers) perhaps, then at about 1:28 you begin to see longer sections of body further behind.
    I've read about Vermont in novels and how green it is, now I've seen it with snow.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not sure about that walking backwards stuff, either. Maybe the delivery people weren't considered "worthy" (or trustworthy) enough to take a peek at such grandeur?

      Delete
  6. I love reading these, I learn so much about different states, I loved that one about using a shotgun to get rid of mosquitoes... remind me not to go there in bug season, lol

    Have an awesome visit with your family Susan... those are the best times :)

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    1. I've never been to Vermont, but I have seen some super-sized mosquitoes. They were discussing whether to dine in, or do carry out.

      Thanks. We had a terrific time.

      Delete
  7. What a lovely family!
    As for deliverymen walking backward, what the what? C'mon. Do you want your package or not? If I were the deliveryman, I'd be tempted to just chuck the packages in the ever present snow!

    I love Vermont though. My daughter is considering UVM for college. If she gets in, we might spend a lot more time there.

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    1. Thanks. That's a smaller version of the family portrait they gave us for Christmas.

      Very cool that your daughter might go to UVM. You'd probably love the skiiing up that-a-ways.

      Delete
  8. I once considered moving to Vermont and buying a B&B. Then I saw the very long poles on the fire hydrants so the fire departments could find them in the winter. As beautiful as this state is, it takes a hardy soul to endure those long winters. But, oh those springs, summers and autumns, they are magnificent - all three months of them.

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    1. I'm pretty sure those long poles would have scared me away, too. Three months a year ain't bad, though. Then you could live in California the rest of the year. (Your grandchildren would be thrilled!)

      Delete
  9. Yeah, I'm definitely not of hardy enough stock to live in Vermont. Not in the winter, anyway.

    Have fun with your beautiful family!

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    1. Nope, I'm not hardy enough for a Vermont winter, either, but I'm not even sure I'd fare all that well in your neck of the woods. You've had a heckuva lot of snow this year, too.

      Thanks. (We did!)

      Delete
  10. Now I'm curious...I wonder what a whistle sounds like under water.

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    1. Hmmm, I dunno. After your research, wanta report back?

      Delete
  11. unique folks in Vermont - lots of stalwart character. Love the covered bridges. I think snow in Vermont would be nice because they know how to handle it there. Strap on the cross country skis and move. You gave us a good compilation of Vermont views. Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Oooh, good description. I like that: "stalwart character." I think the first foot or so of snow would be nice, but after that, not so much.

      Delete
  12. I really enjoyed this post. I don't know that I will ever make it to Vermont, but now I feel a bit more inclined to try. I love covered bridges. Just saying that makes me laugh a bit. As a teen, I did a lot of eye rolling over my mom and grandma's love of covered bridges. Who cared? I had a Walkman. Now... I have turned out just like them. So, I really enjoyed those covered bridge pics.

    That meeting house was incredible. We have so little "history" here (compared to places like Europe), so the idea of visiting what remains is extremely appealing.

    That law on the books about walking backwards when approaching an expensive home... do you think that maybe the "richies" didn't want the hired help to see anything and talk about it? In other words, it was to discourage gossiping? Sounds like the Papparazi (sp?) wouldn't be welcome in Vermont... at least not in the olden-days.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love covered bridges, too. Fear not. I think we're all destined to "turn into our parents" at some point.

      You could be right. Maybe the rich folks didn't want the deliverymen to gossip... or to case their places for a possible return "visit."

      Delete
  13. What a lovely picture of your family! Enjoy your time with them.

    I love New England but have never been to Vermont. One of these days I'll make it. Absolutely love the covered bridge pic and the lake sunset - how gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! We had a wonderful time.

      In doing the research for these "stately" posts, the shots I've found of Vermont have certainly been among the most picturesque. Maybe some day...

      Delete
  14. Tying giraffes to telephone poles? Gotta think about that one. Maybe the circus came through and the giraffe got himself tangled in the wires and blew a fuse???

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  15. Love those last three - lol. And I'm with you on the whole snow/winter thing. My new goal in life is to become a snow bird and fly south in the winter.

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    1. If you're not a huge fan of the whole snow/winter thing, um... whatcha doing living where you're living? Ah yes, a snow bird. That's the answer. Your area is gorgeous most of the year, and a winter spent in Florida would be just dandy. No problem... after you start raking in those big royalty checks, you'll be good to go.

      Delete
  16. As I started reading your post, a thought went through ym head (keep in mind that I live in Arizona, which has only one season)....

    Is it fall already?

    LC

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  17. Wow, rough on dentures there
    Maybe even the type of wig hair
    Trick or treating in the snow
    Would suck if one sank below

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    1. Seems to me, though I don't know
      That you're no stranger to a bunch of snow.
      It ain't exactly tropical where you live up there,
      But at least dames can get dentures if they dare.

      Delete
  18. I've been wanting to go to Vermont, although not in the winter. It looks beautiful.

    Enjoy your family time.

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    1. Me, too. Fall is absolutely gorgeous there.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  19. Been there! I think it was July, or maybe early August. X had business with Ben & Jerry's. We toured the factory and stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge. No one burst into song or made clothes out of the curtains. It was raining, and we darn near froze to death. Then the sun came out and we headed for Montreal. Lake Champlain was beautiful.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Oh, how cool! Too bad nobody broke into song there, though. I'm afraid if I'd been there, I would've HAD to sing. (Doggone it, if they don't want anyone to sing, they should change the inn's name!)

      You darned near froze to death in the summertime? Yipes. I guess you didn't see Champ, huh...?

      Delete
  20. Having lived in the Buffalo area, I can relate to all the snow they have in Vermont. One of my Floridian friends looked at a photo of a snowed-in car much like the photo at the beginning of you post and just shook her head. "How do you even begin to dig out of that?" - I knew the answer to that: "You start by uncovering the license plate first." Hah!

    Beautiful family picture. Enjoy the grandkids!

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    1. YOU might uncover the license plate first. I'd wait for the snow to melt on its own. Then, and only then, MIGHT I consider sticking my nose outside the door.

      Thanks. We did!

      Delete
  21. >>... In Rutland, cars are forbidden from backfiring.

    I was on a road trip once that took me through Vermont (and through a covered bridge or two). I was with my friend Pooh, and I'm pretty sure he must have "backfired" while we were in Vermont. (Pooh didn't care where we were, he'd backfire anywhere.) Good thing Pooh is a person and not a car or he could have found himself in heap big trouble for the noise and smell.

    Vermont is pretty, but I wouldn't want to live there. Heck, I don't wanna live HERE, where I AM currently living either. I'm pretty sure the grass is greener everywhere else.
    [:-)}

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Pooh is a pretty appropriate nickname (At least, I HOPE it's a nickname!) for a frequent pooter.

      Delete
  22. Hi Susan .. have fun with the squeezy kids ... it'll be great - cold perhaps but plenty of indoor time for a grandkid cuddle or two! I think I was in Vermont in 76 .. we went skiing from NYC; and I came back for Sarah's wedding in October 78 ... beautiful fall colours as you say ...

    I don't know where you get all these facts from .. just an incredible array of fun information .. cheers and happy week - Hilary

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    1. We had a wonderful time with the wee ones, and it wasn't at all cold. Downright warm, as a matter of fact.

      How wonderful that you've already been to Vermont... and in the fall yet! You're way ahead of most of us.

      Now, that's funny, Hilary. The amount of info I put in these posts doesn't even come close to all the neat stuff you post. I guess we belong to a mutual admiration society...

      Cheers to you, too!

      Delete
  23. Sorry, I'm still trying to pick myself up off the floor! :-) That was a fun post. I didn't know much about Vermont. I feel now as if I'm sharing the snow with you. Lovely photo at the end. Have fun with the kids! :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Glad ya liked it. I've really enjoyed doing the research for these state posts. I've learned a lot of new stuff. (If I can remember it.)

      Thanks. Greetings back atcha.

      Delete
  24. As a lover of all things winter, I really want to visit Vermont someday! I would love to have all that snow. And I bet the Vermont mountains during autumn are beautiful beyond words...

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    1. I have a feeling you'd love Vermont. (Take lots of pictures!)

      Delete
  25. When I saw the picture of Ben and Jerry's I had to try to focus in. I could have been in it. I was in college three miles outside of Burlington at the time. In those days, Ben and Jerry were behind the counter themselves, servicing their yummy ice cream!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, how totally cool is that! (Didja see yourself...?)

      Delete
  26. "Delivery men must walk backwards in driveways of homes worth more than five hundred thousand dollars.?" Is this a new spin on bending over backwards to serve the rich?

    Vermont is relatively close but I've never been. I do love snow, but given the state is landlocked, it's probably not the place for me.

    Gorgeous family. Have a wonderful time with the little ones (and the big ones!).

    VR Barkowski

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  27. Sounds like an interesting place!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Adorable family. You'll be busy giving out kisses. I've never been to Vermont, in fact I've really never been anyplace out east.... just flying in and out of some of the bigger cities. But that whole list of Vermont stuff could also be Montana. Isn't it strange that when you are young, you try so hard never to be identified as a hick but when older (or old, one welcomes "hickdom." What a
    whirly squirrly world this is.
    I got a kick out of the flannel nightgown and sox one. So typical of here too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, lots of kisses and hugs, giggles and silly songs. (sigh) I miss them already.

      No, I don't think it's so much a case of embracing "hickdom" as it is having a better appreciation for the simple things in life, and not caring about the superficial glitz and glamour. Oh heck, maybe that IS hickdom. If so, I guess I'm a hick. Sobeit.

      Delete
  29. So pretty!! But I think I'll visit during the summer sometime :) I'd really love to see all that foliage. So long as it's not "a little chilly"!

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm not interested in experiencing their kind of "little chilly" stuff, either.

      Delete
  30. That's an awesome family pic! Look at those cute babies (not babies, but you know...they're still cute babies to me). :)

    Michigan is cold and you've got to be tough. From the looks of it, you do not have to be 'Vermont Tough!'

    Lots of fun facts...and pretty sure riding a bike sans clothing would not be on my list of things to do. Surely the good folks of Vermont would thank me for that too. :) :) :)

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    1. Thanks. Hey, to me, they're all my babies... even the ones who are over forty. (It's all a matter of perspective.)

      HA! I don't think I'll be doing any Lady Godiva bike riding, either.

      Delete
  31. Lovely photos. And it all looks so beautiful to me!

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    1. Glad ya liked them. Vermont looks beautiful to me, too.

      Delete
  32. Vermont is a gorgeous state. We have a couple of friends who live there. Hope you had a wonderful time with your beautiful family.

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    1. Just a little bit different (i.e. colder) than your home state, eh?

      Thanks. We sure did.

      Delete
  33. Dear Susan,
    sorry that I comment so late - I had (surprisingly) much translation work to do (and urgent). I can feel that you love Vermont, - and thank you for that much information! As always I like those -- interesting-- laws especially; and the video of the Champ: great! Wouldn't swim near to it - one never knows...

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    1. Dear Britta,

      It is NEVER too late for you to stop by.

      HA! I know what you mean. I'd like to SEE Champ, (or Nessie) but I have no interest in swimming with it! (Jellyfish are bad enough!)

      Delete
  34. Oh my goodness...I'm cold just from reading this! But I do love the crisp beauty. We were living on Lake Ontario for a little while, and it took two years in Florida to thaw me. Granted, I LOVE the scenery and the quiet, but whew! I don't think I could survive there. How do Canadians do it?

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    1. How do Canadian do it? They spend the winter in Florida! Or at least, a bunch of them do. We were down there one year when it was kinda chilly, with a stiff breeze. Not cold, but I was wearing long pants and a jacket. There were a bunch of Canadians lying on the beach in their bathing suits... and splashing around in the water! I guess it was toasty to them, eh?

      Delete
  35. Oh my Vermont seems to be covered in lots of snow this winter.

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    1. It's not the only state. Winter has seriously overstayed its welcome.

      Delete
  36. Yammy Friday!!!!! Finally I read your Vermont post! Yes, we're a sweet but strange state. Every June we Stroll the Heifers down Main St in my town. We are also the first state to be enacting a GMO labeling law! Go VT! After 19 years here, I can't live anywhere else.

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    1. YAAAAY! I was thinking about you when I wrote this... especially the part about Ida Mae from Battleboro. It's easy to see why you fell in love with the state.

      Delete