My people in town were pretty excited to know that the forecast was calling for warm weather this weekend. By warm weather, I mean above freezing. Boy, do you appreciate above 32 degree temperature after spending the majority of the past two months below freezing and way beyond. I could not wait to run outside, after spending dark gloomy mornings on a treadmill.
Well, evidently, all other regular runners around Madison were as excited as I was, because yesterday morning, within literally five minutes of running out my door, I passed nine runners (individual runners, not in one big group). I was surprised to see that there were still ice fishers on the lake. My challenge in the morning (and an exciting one at that!) was trying to figure out what outdoor route to do. There are so many options here. You can do the bike path, which as far as I know, is accessible out of anyone's doorway, the arboretum, which is a six mile loop, along the lake, or along the mansions in Maple Bluff, and the list goes on. I chose to do a mixture of lake, path, various parks, including Olin Turville and passed by the arboretum. At this point, there were so many runners, it looked like a pre-race stretch. Only in Madison. Ah. Oh yeah. I did this in shorts. It was 37 degrees! That is hot around here!
Last night, I took a spontaneous trip to my aunt and uncle's farm house in Spring Green. One of the things that really enticed me about this town was that farm. When they bought it, about three years ago, and I came to see it, something called my name. There is something about 60 acres of breathtaking landscape, and it just talks to me. Now, I am only about 40 miles from there. In a matter of hours, I was in the kitchen of the farmhouse, making a spontaneous dinner of local ingredients, drinking red wine, my dog frolicking outside in the blackness of the night. (I will leave out the details of what she was snacking on).....
Although a farm town outside of Madison, it does not have that "middle of nowhere, small farm town attitude." It features the House on the Rock, Taliesin, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's registered historical centers, and The American Players Theatre, which is an outdoor amphitheater that does mostly Shakespeare, in the warmer months. (Although not a huge Shakespeare fan, it's on my "To Do" list for this upcoming summer.)
While I know the street and the land somewhat well, I had never driven to the General Store, and I was in for a pleasant surprise this morning! As a result of the time that I was looking for a job, I have become addicted to coffee. Unfortunately for me, this means I develop a headache if I don't have any. We went to the store in search of coffee, as I was hindered by the old fashioned looking coffee maker, circa 1920, that was supplied in the kitchen. Not only did this store offer coffee, (typical town in the vicinity of Madison - these farm towns never cease to amaze me), they also carried a ton of organic and all natural products, locally made goods, and what else? A sustainable breakfast. The atmosphere will probably lure you in - specifically the four season porch. Let the sun shine in!
So after a breakfast of local food, we went back to the farm, and I snowshoed for the first time. I can't believe I have never done this before. For the past four winters, I said I would buy a pair. Now I am writing it, so I am telling you that I will. The concept of not submerging into a pile of snow every step you take always made sense to me as a dog owner. I know, I know - most of you don't walk in 16 inches of snow during a snow storm, but my dog loves it, and I am a sucker for her getting as much exercise as possible so that she will be a calm and happy dog. If you have never gone for a 45 minute walk in this type of snow, let me explain it to you. You take a step on the surface, and your leg comes crashing down into a soft, powdery snow, usually up to just below your knee, or even higher. It's a fantastic workout for your hamstrings. With snowshoes, this is no longer the case. And, because it finally warmed up around here, I did it in a light fall jacket.
After a cold winter, I hate to say that I do hope it snows a little bit this week, as I have plans to do another candlelight ski, and I wouldn't mind spending another weekend evening at the farm in Spring Green. Because I have so much guilt about my dog not having enough time to run around, even though she gets to the park about four times a week. And we got home from the farm about ten hours ago - and she is still sleeping....