Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dogs fear The Houle!

Great bit of humor I have to relay from yesterday's farmers' market in Richmond...

Local selectboard miscreant, Mary Houle, wandered through the market space on the village green. She didn't buy anything, of course. Farmers' markets abound with pinko scum, toting silk-screened, up-cycled bags filled with organic produce and other anti-capitalist foodstuffs. If you still bleed McCarthy like Mary does, to support such a peaceful institution would be tantamount to treason. On her way down the green, an otherwise passive pooch began barking incessantly and attempted to bite her. Smart dog.

Just sayin'...even dogs are scared shitless of The Houle.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dugway Roadblock

Summer is in full swing here at the Indie Market. Life is relatively quiet, save for the occasional bumbling local cop or state trooper looking to be aggravated by a lovingly belligerent proprietor. Between hiking, swimming and the occasional branding assignment, I've been content to see the store sit and grow fallow under the hot sun.

In the regular course of swimming along the Huntington River at various points over the years, I've been mildly disturbed to find that some of my long-private and secluded spots have been co-opted by bong-toting college students, a cadre of aging nudists, and families with children. Yes, it's terribly frustrating at times, but proper river etiquette requires that I make brief and idle chitchat with the offending party before flailing about the particular point of water I have deemed mine. If families are determined to stay, I begrudgingly reaffix my trunks, which in water has the potential to become a terrifyingly awkward process.

The other great presences along the river this summer include Tom Levesque, the local fire chief, and the dutiful Richmond police department. The former serves as spotter for the later, a proper and well-appointed vanguard of cruisers (usually just one), which descends upon Dugway Road to issue tickets and occasionally tase a rowdy bunch of coeds. Their actions are not completely without merit. From noon until early evening, the popular stretch is reduced to a one lane obstacle course, dotted with the occasional dreaded or heinously tattooed creature, a roving dog, or an immovable group of goateed hardbodies about to suffer traumatic brain injury; unwilling to embrace the physics of a potential steel versus skin confrontation. That said, I think there is an alternative to this roadblock.

As a local, I am perhaps embracing a bit of the Mary Houle mantra "flatlander, go home!" But I genuinely think that the sheer quantity of vehicles clogging said stretch of dirt road is truly creating a safety concern. At certain points along the way, I am confident that an emergency service vehicle simply could not pass. A ticket does not rectify this dangerous situation. However, the Richmond police department is not certainly not interested in public safety. It's a well known fact that the sheer get-off of putting pen to a fresh ticket slip is far more gratifying than working with the town administration to develop a preemptive strategy. I don't blame them-it's simple economics. Tickets generate revenue for the administration, while measured deterrents do not.

Arguably, a ticket syphons a significant amount of business away from the Bolton, Huntington and Richmond communities. Every day, the Huntington River is packed young consumers (prime and popular targets for local, police), many of whom are likely going to spend their dollars locally. If this group is ticketed en masse, it creates an immediate disincentive to spend. Nothing kills the afternoon beer and pizza plan or a trip to the farmers' market like a big fat ticket. Granted, I've never actually been cited for parking along the river, but as the local gestapo's favorite public enemy, I can certainly empathize with being subject to their misguided approach to "protect and serve." Lord knows they've driven by my car on multiple occasions in a white-knuckled rage, wishing that I was just another inch further onto the road.

I think the best solution could be achieved through a collaboration between local businesses and the town administration. There are undoubtedly a slew of cost-effective means to encourage safe parking and local spending. It really would be a win-win scenario instead of the current lose-lose. Obviously, I think that a ticket should be paired with a tow for serious obstructors, but the town certainly ought to take the opportunity to properly educate its river-leaping guests. Bottom line, emergency vehicles still need a way to make it up the road, and a ticket simply doesn't solve that. Even if there isn't an official way to fix the problem, I think that enterprising local businesses could help to encourage safe parking and direct business their way a the same time.

Stay shiny Richmond!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July, neighbors!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all backyards are created equal, that they are endowed by their Deed with certain unalienable telling state and local authorities to shove it while attempting (and completely failing) to cite you with trespassing.

Stay Shiny Richmond!

Monday, May 3, 2010


newt friend on the Catamount Trail

After this morning's completely rude and inappropriate visit from the Richmond police on behalf of the ever-unimaginative neighbor provocateur, Isaac Cowan, I decided to clear my head with a woodland stroll. It did the trick! Seeing newts in vernal ecstasy is a real treat.

Get vernal Richmond, it's springtime!

of coffee and cops

Not surprisingly, Isaac is back to his usual business of harassing neighbors through the all-to-eager-to-oblige Richmond Police Department. Didn't they learn a damn thing from last year? I guess it's time to put 'em through their paces again.

Stay tuned-we're undoubtedly gearing up for an interesting week at the LTCM.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

return of the underground

...looking forward to some spring time antics :-)

Stay shiny Richmond!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Far Side of The Market, Part 3

Wicker by a waterfall

I'm fast forwarding a bit here. Last week was too fun! The weather was great and I had my first opportunity to munch some early trout lilies on the Catamount Trail and drink from the springs up on Robbins. The taste of snow is already gone from the water, which is a delightful surprise.

Breakfast of black beans, quinoa, and eggs

I really like to play around with comida típica, often finding ways to combine it with farmhouse standards. This dish is black beans and quinoa with onions, apples, arugula, and some eggs with goat cheese. I really enjoy simple dishes that get the job done.

Wicker and Oakley on Lookout Mountain

Pack nap

The creatures have been put through their paces now that the weather is nice again. We generally stuck with 3-6 mile treks depending on the winter temperatures, but now we are all back up to our usual 5-9.


Another glorious tradition of spring is naked hiking! I recommend that everyone, everywhere give it a try. It's a peaceful way to challenge the puritanical public ordinances in your respective communities. It's a lot more fun than regular hiking unless you are about to traverse a field of briers. In those situations, I always advocate clothing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Far Side of The Market, Part 2


In early fall, we were set to drill. The dudes were in place. It was brief moment of excitement...not to last, however.

Donation slips at Jacque's in Huntington

It was a turning point in the project. One that allowed me to set the store aside and focus on tertiary objectives. The LTCM isn't about corn-laden consumables or cheap beer-it's about community. I pitched an idea to the Richmond Food Shelf and sponsored the project with the help of designer Shawn Patrick Rice. It's been a joy to see how successful its been for them.

3rd week in October

I planted some tiny raspberry plants in the spring, and they shot right up, much to my surprise. They continued producing until the last week of October!

Wicker Robbins, 11 months old

Friends were mostly back to school and I was starting to go a little stir crazy, so I decided to participate in some canine respite. His name is Wicker and he is a white shepherd and husky mix.

Wicker catches a grouse for dinner

We had some epic adventures throughout the fall and winter, during which I discovered his many talents.

We were joined from time to time by a neurotic luck dragon (labradoodle), Oakley.

creature pile

Not surprisingly, everyone got along with Sir Carl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Far Side of The Market, Part I

Gillette Pond

Things have finally dropped below a fever pitch here in Jonesville, and these days the only thing bubbling over is my sourdough starter. Lately, I've been engaged in a bit of digital housekeeping, and amidst the desktop rubble, I discovered some great memories from the past year. It's been an interesting reflection on how I chose to navigate the clear absurdity of life at the LTCM, when not otherwise engaged in slinging mud, setting traps, and fighting dragons.

Sir Carl of Wickett

Perhaps the most important individual for you all to meet is Sir Carl of Wickett. He's my pet gremlin, who I discovered in the stairwell of my apartment on the corner of Church & Main in Burlington. Malnourished, covered in fleas, with respiratory and eye infections; he was the perfect oddity. Having the keystone apartment in Burlington does require an appropriate mascot, and Sir Carl appropriately fit the bill.

Sir Carl of Wickett

He quickly became a local legend after escaping from an open window on the second floor, dropping directly into the late night fray of a typical Saturday. From eyewitness accounts, we learned that he spent the night boozing his way around town before shooting up some ungodly substance on the back steps of City Hall. Two days later, he eventually wandered into the Contois, where he was discovered by a group of thespians.

Wheat Beet Dough

The forerunner project that launched this whole mess with the store was a brief, but successful pie venture, Backcountry Pizza. I ran my small wholesale operation out of the Green Grocer until it closed doors in early spring. A lot of folks like to work with unique topping combination, but my big thing is crust. I've always felt that not enough people like crust enough to finish it, so that's where I wanted to focus my energy. Toppings were far from arbitrary, as they were largely informed by what type of base they were being paired with. Fan favorites included the cider rye, maple kabocha, and wheat beet.

Catering Prep

I catered a wedding in early fall. It was great to feed over 125 people, using only Vermont products, save for a spot of King Arthur flour. All of the meat and veggie toppings were sourced in Huntington, where the event was held. The total cost of ingredients, from Gleason's to Grafton ran shy of $300, an impressive feat considering the quality, variety, quantity and source of each product.