Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"I Love Garbage!"

Heather and David visited Fern Forest Treehouse for two nights from Worcester, MA, where David is on spring break from medical school. Heather has been on hiatus from her work on organic farms but moves into The Kitchen Garden farmhouse in Sunderland this spring to start planting. I found one of Heather's postings on an organic gardening site that said, "I love garbage!" She's an expert on compost and those adorable and fragile little worms that help break down kitchen waste.

It’s always interesting to make a meal for people who don’t eat anything that has a face, which includes no dairy. So we fed them lots of fruit and soygurt and offered warm vegan muffins and scones from Stone Soup in Burlington. The second morning they feasted on gluten-free and dairy-free pancakes with sweet Vermont maple syrup. There were no complaints.

They had parked their car at the edge of the woods, and when they tried to back out on Saturday, the wheels on the driver’s side were stuck in mud. We’ve cautioned guests about snow and slippery roads, but we forgot how in mud season nature can nearly swallow a car. They fetched H from his wood shop (which he has named “Maybe I Will,” described in a previous post). He carried up a box of sawdust, which, with a shove, did the trick and they were on their way to the Battel Trail. They hiked a bit up Mt. Abe but encountered rain and so came back to the treehouse for a rest.

In the evening we shared hummus and carrot sticks and conversation. Heather met David when they were students at BU, and they found each other again when they each independently spent some time in Seattle. Heather’s from Memphis but lost her twang in Boston so that now her accent is sort of soft Jersey shore. Being from Virginia myself, I agreed with her that acclimating to Yankee culture is challenging. Like H, David grew up on Boston’s North Shore, and our guys have helped us with the transition.

Heather’s father, she says, has fully assimilated in Tennessee. He was sent from Cuba at eight years old to escape the revolution and has never been back. Heather says he doesn’t like to talk about life in Cuba, but she and her sister are planning a trip for their parents back to the homeland—it’s time to make peace, Heather says. David is in his second year at U Mass Worcester, currently studying psychiatry, and I hope his classmates don't think he's nuts for spending his hard earned free time in a treehouse. He’s a beanstalk of a guy who doesn’t toot his own horn. “Heather’s much more interesting,” he says.

Saturday evening they headed to Burlington for dinner at Vermont Flatbread and, instead of schmoozing at one of Burlington’s many bars, they came back to Fern Forest and hopped into the spa. The clouds had cleared out, which gave them a stunning view of the diamond-studded sky. The 105 degree water jetting onto the back relaxes the muscles, which made for a solid night’s sleep in the treehouse loft.

When they left on Tuesday, we invited them to come back again. Heather, a jovial little sprite, responded, "Maybe I will!"

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