Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autumn in Vermont

I am living a dream, Autumn in Vermont. I am writing a book for Voyageur Press entitled, "Homemade Cheese" so Vermont is the perfect place to connect with artisan style cheesemakers. Today's visits included Does Leap and Lazy Lady, both small farmstead creameries; excellent examples of innovation, hard work and strokes of pure genius.

Goats have to be the most photogenic, interesting and challenging creatures on the face of the earth. I read a book quite some time ago that had a profound effect upon me and my desires for a small farm. The book, "How to Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty" by Janet Chadwick helped me to set a course. Janet wrote about her family, her farm, her mistakes and victories. She used the word "winning" to describe the personalities of her goats. I have never forgotten that use of that particular word and I would have to strongly agree, winning indeed.

The cheesemakers here are making something that goes far beyond food. Their creations have moved on to an art form. The people who do this work are generous with their time, their products and their ideas. I have always found farmers to be an interesting lot. Some are drawn to it simply as a vocation. For a happy few the farm becomes a lifestyle, a passion and a center. Those are the kind of folks I met today.

The scenery here is breathtaking. Today I got lost but I really didn't care. I found myself climbing to Stowe, surrounded by color, mountain streams and waterfalls. Being lost was perfectly fine. Rarely, does nature draw one to the point of such emotion that tears are close, but I have to say today I was at that point. All the words used to describe beauty fall short of capturing the intense color, the scents in the air and the essence of Vermont. Days like this are a gift to be sure.