Monday, August 10, 2009

Horses, Alpaca and Moose, Oh My!

I'm back from a week spent in sunny, Southern Vermont! A week filled with all sorts of animals, not much cooking, and precious little photography. Certainly, we ate ... our weight in amazing native corn to be precise ... but the Diva was definitely off-duty as far as food photography was concerned! Which, I suppose, is as it should be when one is on vacation.

Oddly enough, the majority of my pictures center around the exhibition of painted moose adorning the streets of Bennington, VT ... Moosefest '09, to be exact.

If you happened to catch the cows that grazed the streets of Chicago and New York a few years back, or the sheep in Pittsfield, Mass., you get the idea. Its the kind of fun, funky, public art that manages to simultaneously amuse and disappoint me. Visually, I'm a sucker for this stuff ... I mean, what's not to love about a whimsical, brightly colored moose?! Yet the art historian in me can't help but lament the fact that public art continues to be reduced to images that fail to challenge. But, I digress - and, really, that's a subject for another day, another kind of blog.

Our travels included a stop at the Alpaca Shack, located near the VT - NY border, where I learned more about these funny little creatures than I can even begin to recount. And where I met a charming llama, who - happily for me - fancies brunettes! His name is Charlie and he's pictured below with Taj Mahal, the black alpaca.

I bought some yarn, made from the fleece of Taj Mahal and some from Drake, a beautiful silvery gray alpaca, which is destined to be turned into a scarf by me later this fall ... a misshapen scarf, I'm sure!
Later in the week, we made a trip to the racetrack at Saratoga, and, for once, we both walked away winners! My patented betting system reached the pinnacle of success in the 7th race when both a gray and a "cat themed" horse finished first and second. I always bet the gray horses and I prefer to bet on those that have the word "cat" in their name. Trust me, it works ... you heard it here first.

Unbeknownst to me, the husband and I had both bet the same duo and we each won $105 on that race. Sweet. We stopped betting after that and thus ends my years long loosing streak at Saratoga. Hooray!

The balance of the menagerie includes: a beautiful turquoise hummingbird, seen outsite our living room window, a bunch of chickens that literally crossed the road in front of us, chipmunks, cows, more horses, a few goats, one lonely pig and ... one really fat mouse ... an uninvited guest in our home. Ack!

So that's my food-less report from the field. I'm back in action and heading for the kitchen. Stay tuned for a new recipe tomorrow.

Bon appetite!


pixelgal said...

Sounds like you had a really good time topped off by winning at the track. Good for you! Wish I could say the same for our casino trip the other night. But your inheritance only suffered a little as a result so not to worry. High rollers we're not as you well know. Love the moose!

Marta said...

the moose are the new cows!!! We have them all over here! I hope turtles are the next "it" thing!
I'm glad you had fun and that you're back :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hey diva, good to see you back. They had a similar thing in Bath (Uk) but instead of moose it was pigs. there were 100 painted piggies all over the city.
Thanks for the advice about the silpat. I had one, and i burned it (!!). I need to pick up another. It is fabulous stuff and much better than any baking paper.
The special edition louboutin macaroons are fig flavored i think.
Note to self: need an alpalca!

Christie's Corner said...

Vermont? For a second I thought you had been in Toronto and was going to give you heck for not telling me.

Toronto had a tourism push with wildly painted Mel's Moose (at the time the mayor's first name was Mel).

Looks like you had a great time. Nice to see you back.

stephchows said...

Welcome back! We had painted horses here in Rochester :) John and I are headed to saratoga as a pit stop on our way to the ADK's next week! Can't wait :)

nora@ffr said...

my first visit here and its very interesting!! lovely pics and a great post..
all the best!

The Diva on a Diet said...

pixelgal - bummer about the casino, but I hope it was a good time anyway. We had a wonderful trip ... so much cooler up there than here.

Marta - LOL about the new cows! Turtles would be pretty cool too. I guess many cities have now done some form of the cow art.

HH - pigs! LOL Perhaps some city will do alpacas. ;) I need one too, they have such pretty eyes.

Charmian - fear not, I am SO dropping in on you next time we're in TO ... and I hope it will be during ice cream season! :)

Steph - you're going to Saratoga too? How cool! Such a beautiful track and a fun way to spend the day. Remember to bet on the grays while you're there. :)

Nora - thanks, and welcome to Beach Eats!

The Duo Dishes said...

Painted moose you say? Fun-ny. Hopefully you enjoyed your vacay!

Anonymous said...

What a fun trip! The painted mousses and the alpacas are so cute!

words...words...words... said...

I'm glad you had some blog time off! As you'll see, most other people took some blog time off as well, even if we didn't have as good an excuse as you did.

Those cows are cool! Vancouver does the same thing with bears.

Deb said...

We had turtles here in Tampa a while back -very cute. Love the moose though - better than turtles!

Vermont is such a beautiful state - in all seasons not just leaf time. It is the kind of trip you just took that makes me miss NE a little bit but I'm not trading in Fl anytime soon especailly with winter not too distant.

Glad to see you back and renewed and "richer" too!


Anonymous said...

We had a moose exhibit like that one here in Toronto years ago!

Sounds like a fun trip.

Daniel said...

I think I'm going to apply your betting method to the stock market... I'm sure it will work. :)

Great to hear about your trip and looking forward to the next post!

Casual Kitchen

Anonymous said...

Fun trip Diva, I hope you didn't get too close to that llama, they spit. As a tour guide in Peru I saw many get a face full of llama spit, nasty. Alpaca wool is great for warmth, everywhere in Peru you can buy sweaters, scarves, hats, etc made from alpaca wool.


The Diva on a Diet said...

Cows, turtles, moose, bears ... sounds like all sorts of animals have been roaming the country of late! :)

Deb - I think I'd miss the change of seasons too. I love fall so much ... though you certainly get the better end of the deal come winter!

Daniel - Ha! Let me know how that strategy turns out! ;)

AV - apparently, the alpaca can be notorious for spitting as well, depending on their temperament. Yuck! They sure are cute though and I'm told their wool/fleece/whatever its called is superior. Excellent for those with allergies too, as it contains no lanolin.

Krissy @ The Food Addicts said...

Hope you had a fantastic vacation! Glad you enjoyed the Old Bay Seasoning gift package. What a load of goodies huh??? Can't wait to see your post on the seafood dish and the Old Bay. I still haven't had a chance to use my seafood steamer bags yet!!!

Tangled Noodle said...

With all those animal encounters, you're like a Diva Doolittle! I am so going to use your patented horse-betting system: cats and grays noted. Congratulations on the winnings!

Now, I'll add to the parade of painted municipal figures: here in the Twin Cities, it was Snoopy - apparently, Charles Schulz was a native son of St. Paul.