Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Strolling of the Heifers Kicks Ass!

Future farmers at the Strolling of the Heifers
Brattleboro, VT

For a kinder, gentler version of Spain's Running of the Bulls, head to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Strolling of the Heifers where cute young cows with flowers around their necks stroll down Main Street. That's what I did this weekend and it was a lot of fun, especially since the weather cooperated and we had a stellar, summer day. I met my friend, Elizabeth, who lives in Vermont and attended the Slow Living Summit prior to the parade of cows. The fact that my friend also has fibromyalgia was one of the reasons I was able to enjoy the event so much. She understood that I needed to take things slow with lots of breaks in between events. Only someone with fibro can really know what it's like to deal with it. To be able to continue to live life but with lots of modifications in order to avoid flare-ups and other painful episodes.

After the parade we went back to our guesthouse to rest and eat. Then we walked to the town common to enjoy the Live Green Expo with green vendors, food, live music (I really enjoyed Groove Shoes Funk Orchestra), cheese village (it is Vermont after all!), live animals and rides for the kids. At the end of the expo we stopped at the Nature Spa booth and each had a 10-minute massage. We were both so relaxed by the massage that we headed back to our rooms for a little afternoon siesta. With all the resting and eating and taking things slowly, I was able to enjoy the whole event without killing myself.

Vermont Alpacas
Gaines Farm
Guilford, VT
On Sunday we went to Gaines Farm to help with the Tour de Heifer, a farm bike tour. Gaines Farm was a delightful Vermont farm with a baby animal barn for kids to encounter baby animals, an adorable cow train that was featured in the Strolling of the Heifers Parade, and a corn maze (in the fall). Bikers were treated to bagels and cream cheese, coffee, water bottles and t-shirts before starting their six-mile farm-to-farm family ride. Elizabeth and I reminisced about the days when we would have been able to participate in a six-mile bike ride, but no more. At this point, we had to be content with handing out water bottles and information about upcoming events, like the Tour de Farms, a bike tour of Addison County farms in the fall.

We also found time to visit the BMAC, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, and saw an interesting exhibit called In the Zone III featuring artists who live or work in the state of Vermont. My favorite was a Mexican artist named Marco Abarca who creates whimsical, surreal wooden sculptures based on folk tales or the artist's own tales. As a children's story teller, I was immediately attracted to his art. The exhibit provided paper and markers for kids to create their own stories based on Abarca's work. I'm not sure how an artist from Oaxaca, Mexico made it into an exhibit of Vermont artists, but I'm glad he did. I also found out that the museum is selling limited edition prints from three well-known Vermont artists, including Wolf Kahn, one of my favorite landscape artists. Kahn will personally autograph his print for the lucky buyer, and I'm seriously considering it!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend visiting with my friend, communing with the cows and absorbing art.

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