Tuesday, July 26, 2016


A vacation can be composed of many, many days. Or, it can be composed of one day, with many chapters. Mine this year, with Ed, belongs to the latter kind.


I remember quite well that in 2014, Ed and I vacationed for sixteen days together (in January, in Turkey and Greece). In 2015, we scaled it back to six days (in July, in the Adirondacks). This year, we will have had only one day. Today.

Oh, but I am not complaining. It is a beautiful day -- weather-wise, we could not have willed it to be nicer. And it just happened that today offered a chance to spend this time together, as Snowdrop is occupied with an out of town visitor and Ed has a bit of respite with his machining project.

And so we are off! Well, not right away (and not far away). First comes breakfast. An early one. On the porch.

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And then Ed has a quick work meeting and I attend to the day lilies, leading me to the first real chapter of this post:

The Lily Love Fest

Oh, but I do love these flowers, even though, to preserve their beauty, one must attend to their cosmetic care every day. What other flower demands this much fuss?! Off come the spent flowers to make room for this day's bounty. And while I'm snipping, I take photos.

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There are many that positively inspire you...

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... to use the camera again and again. Snip off, snap photo. It continues like this for a good hour.

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(Oh! Do notice the little froggie! We love these guys -- they come back to our lilies every year!)

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I include today an early morning view of a fragment of the roadside bed (this year's new addition).

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But really, I am just so in love with the day lilies!

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(Okay, I also love the large flower field that marks the change in each season so well...)

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Greece 2016

As soon as Ed comes back from his meeting, we set out to visit Greece. Perhaps our bit of Greece isn't as crushingly beautiful as our run through the islands two and a half years ago (those same islands that have had the influx of migrants from troubled countries in more recent times), but still, Greece it is. We stop by the home of our Farmers Market vendor Vasileios, from whom we routinely purchase his Greek family's olive oil.

We pick up a bottle of oil, but honestly, we have come over because he'd been telling us about his two little goats (or rather, his kids' kids!) -- inviting us to have a look at their animal adorableness.

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Wonderful goats. But in need of care and attention! In answer to the question I'm predicting you may have for me -- no! No more animals! I say this as we coasted on fools' luck last night. Ed locked up the cheeper coop, but we failed to secure one of the doors and I found it this morning flapping in the wind, with the cheepers set loose, out and about on farmette land. Phew! No predators stopped by to inspect the possibilities.

Vasileios is a good cook and he invites us to try some of his freshly baked spinach pie. Delicious.

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I'll be stopping by to cook with him (and others) in the months to come.

The Beach

From Greece in Wisconsin, it is but a short ride (on Ed's motorcycle) to La Follette County Park. This is a really tiny park with not much to show for it, except, if you follow a secret path across the rail tracks, there's this:

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These are the shores of Lake Kegonsa. You wont necessarily see this just by looking at the map, but there is a very thin strip of beach (very thin!) and more importantly, there is a beautiful stretch of lake water -- shallow and sandy. Wonderful for splashing, swimming, enjoying a vacation moment.

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A mile or two down the shoreline, there is a pub -- Springers. The kind of place you'd like to find if you're hoping for a cold draft beer. With a few tables at the shorefront. Perfect.

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After, it's just a matter of finding your way home, past fields and farms, pasture and cattle.

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We pass a small road that I remember so well! We turn into it. Yes, this is where we came on our very first date in 2005. Ed showed me then where the river flowed into the lake, where the birds settled at the end of the day. Yes, it was right here...

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Today, Ed has a more leisurely approach to things.

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Field Table

Fifteen years ago, I formed an organization that I called Field to Table. In those days, it was not especially trendy nor popular to pay attention to the farming of foods that we eat. Yes, there were restaurants that cared about food sources. Yes, there were popular farmers markets. But they were niche entities. I thought then that it would be cool to take Americans to France, where the attention to food sourcing was moving at a faster pace.  I took two groups of travelers, but I chickened out soon after. I didn't think I could take this on at a time that my kids still needed me at home.

That's a very long winded way of saying that when a new restaurant opened in Madison, calling itself Field Table, I was intrigued.

Still, Ed and I rarely try new places. I like to cook. We rarely go out for dinner.

Tonight, on our vacation night, we do go out. Field Table it is. Lovely drinks, delicious food.

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The motorbike ride home is heavenly. The air is sweet, exactly warm enough, the breeze -- just right.

The vacation of vacations. Or at least -- the vacation of 2016. Beautiful and complete.

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