far too much writing, far too many photos

This area has seen little rain since my return from the other side of the Atlantic a month ago. Good vacation conditions, but abnormal, leaving the ground thirsty. Just enough precipitation to keep the countryside in general green, while the land around the house here has been slowly turning brown, dry, patchy.

Looks like some balance is now being restored. Sun, showers and misty conditions traded off all day yesterday, until the weather got serious just after dark. After an hour’s foreplay of thunder/lightning, rain came abruptly down as if someone had flicked a switch, falling so heavily, so intensely that it produced a roaring sound. Kind of eerie.

All night long, on and off, the roar of the downpour, broken up by silences when it let up, the air still and thick during those breaks. I tossed, I turned. I wrestled with the covers. Big fun.

Finally, mid-morning, it cleared out. When I headed into Montpelier, the land up here on the hill remained damp and soggy. Until I got about a mile down Route 14 where everything suddenly dried up. Dry pavement, dry ground. Apparently at least part of last night’s rainfall was highly localized. Highly, highly localized. As in hanging about over my house and dumping its load on my roof while the rest of the area got a good night’s sleep. (Grumble, grumble.)

I’m talking about the weather. I’ll stop.

Down at the bottom of this hill, a stone’s throw to the north along Route 14, stands what used to be a horse farm. A lovely place fronted by a rambling old farmhouse before which stands an enormous shade tree. A barn/garage, stables, a large arena, and many acres of land on either side of the two-lane — rolling meadows that give way to wooded land as they extend away from the road. And horses. Lots of horses, sprinkled about that beautiful expanse of land, tales switching as they grazed. It couldn’t have been more bucolic.

Two summers ago I began hearing rumors that the owners were thinking of selling out. The rumors turned out to be true, and once the wheels began turning, things happened quickly. Last summer, papers were signed, the place changed hands, by August a couple from New York had moved in.

When I got back here last month, a neighbor told me the new folks had been hard at work converting one end of the farm house into a café, a small space with a dining room big enough only for a couple of tables, a small porch outside for the short warm season, big enough for two more teeny tables.

A café, owned by people, my neighbor said, who could really cook. Those were the rumors, anyway. Not hacks. Real cooks, with a N.Y. catering service they’d run for years. And now about to provide us, the occupants of East Calais (d/b/a East Buhfuh), with a place to go for a good meal, eating in or taking out.

A huge deal, this, for us, residents of a locale where the nearest eating spot is a 10-15 minute drive. Huge.

And sometime within the last week or so, the place opened for business. This evening I picked up the phone, ordered the day’s special. Drove down the hill, picked up a container of some pretty fine-looking fare. Got home, sat down (yes, in front of the TV, I admit it). And found myself eating the single largest and most delicious fajita I have ever had the privilege of stuffing (slowly, with great self-control) between my quivering lips. Accompanied by a mound of very respectable rice&beans, veggies, avocado, and a small container of real damn tasty mango garnish.

I may be poised at the onset of a dangerous take-out binge.

We’ll see.

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