Capitals and Ice Cream
~Friday, October 8, 2021~
Quite a packed day which all started with 0% power, so goodmorning generator. Where our trailer is situated in the forest gives us prime solar time between the hours of 9:00 to noon. But with cloudy mornings as of late, we’ve needed the extra boost from the generator. This would be a great time to have an inverter, but not $3,000 nice. The inverter would convert D/C power to A/C power in the rig, allowing us to use our plug-in devices (including the We-Boost). I’m trying to not let the “no connection” for a second straight week in a row get the best of me. It’s just so hard playing catch up on the website (thanks for your patience guys). At least I’m able to edit photos/movies and keep up my writing while offline. It’s all good though. We really do like the balance of not being connected to having those extra amenities.
Today’s day began at a good hour. We were at the door by 11:00 to get to the town of Barre to pick up an extended round of antibiotics for my face and a noon appointment for Sadie. We were a little confused why Google Maps was taking us to Barre when the CVS and vet clinics say they’re in Berlin. We found out that more people would prefer to have the association to Berlin (right next door to Barre). I guess it’s a nicer town?
What a nice staff including the doctor. He went above and beyond in the appointment with his examination of Sadie and offered a lot of helpful information which I’d like to share with our fellow dog owning friends and family. Take from it what you will…….
Because Sadie is a Labrador and a water-loving dog, we were advised years ago to annually treat her with a Lepto vaccine (for waterborne disease prevention). What I learned today is that some states (Vermont is not one of them) offer a combined DAPL vaccine, not just the DAP. Good to know. We also had a long discussion about diet. Though he thought Sadie’s weight and overall health was excellent, he’s asking all of his patients about what they’re feeding their dogs. As many of you know, there has been a lot of controversy about the ever popular “grain-free” products for our pets. We jumped on the bandwagon, like millions of others, thinking this was a sound alternative to the standard dog food. But there have been significant studies done over the past 10 years that show an increased risk of heart disease in dogs because of it. Whenever there’s a change, it takes a few years to catch up on the benefits and risks, right? It’s kind of like the whole egg thing with humans. We went from being told ‘an egg a day is fine’, to ‘have no more than 3/week to keep your cholesterol in check’. Now we’re back to the egg/day recommendation. Anyway, in the past decade their findings are that replacing grain (a filler) with peas (a high protein source), is giving dogs too much of a good thing. Too much protein is not good for the heart. Sure enough, our dog food, as excellent as it is, has a good portion of peas in it and we’ve been feeding her First Mate ever since she was a pup. I’m not freaking out yet, but will definitely look into alternatives. Most people have never heard of First Mate, since it is not found in most big box stores. Thankfully, we’ve been able to get it through Chewy, coordinating deliveries with various campgrounds/RV parks. This dog food company is headquartered in Canada and is a private, family-owned business where quality control is set extremely high. So we really want to stay with them. I found out that they do offer “grain-friendly” options, but haven’t yet checked the price. Her current 28-pound bag is around $80. I have a feeling this “grain-friendly” version will be a little more expensive. But, it’s better than high vet bills down the road. I know many of our friends feed their dogs a grain-free diet, so I thought I’d share some resources that our vet offered today, not to scare you, but to educate everyone a little more. The power of information.
Here are the links to a few pet food articles for reading on the grain-free diet and heart disease link:
The vet also recommended the following grain-friendly dog food brands:
Hills Science Diet
Purina Pro Plan
Anyway, we ended our visit with the DAP and Rabies shots where they offered the distraction of feeding her peanut butter while they administered them. Great idea. Especially for a food-driven lab.
We decided to check out Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier with a population of 7,500. The last time we were in Montpelier was about 2 months ago with our 1-night layover at the Morse Family Maple Farm (see August 30th post). We didn’t have time back then, to see the downtown. One of the highlights was the State House built in 1859
with its gold-domed Greek Revival decor and the beautiful backdrop of orange, red and yellow mountains. The town is beautifully historic with many state government buildings, a lively arts and music scene, great restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, boutiques and museums. And I don't think we’ve ever seen this many church steeples in one city. The three that stood out to us had a variety of patterns, colors and textures on them. The city really does remind you of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Next stop…..Ben and Jerry’s. Probably not the best thing to have on an empty stomach as you’d quickly go from a 1 scoop order to 3.
But first, a little background…..Like many entrepreneurs, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, childhood friends, had their struggles. Cohen wasn’t having much luck selling his pottery and Greenfield had been rejected by numerous medical schools. So instead, entering the unfamiliar world of ice-cream seemed more appealing, though they thought about starting out with bagels. But, equipment costs were too high for bagels. So they enrolled in a $5 course at Penn State, in ice-cream making. The more expensive premium brands of ice-cream at the time only held 11% of the market. With a $4,000 personal loan from Cohen’s dad and another $4,000 bank loan, they began their humble beginnings in an old converted gas station in Burlington, VT on May 5, 1978. Their timing couldn’t have been more perfect entering the premium ice-cream scene. Focused on chunky, intensely flavored, creative ice creams, their first batch “Rum Raisin” was an instant failure as most things are when starting out. But after many batches and staying focused on their down-home wholesomeness brand, by 1987 they had built a $30 million empire. By 1994, the year Cohen stepped down as CEO, they hit the $150 million mark. They’ve opened nearly 200 franchised shops with reported earnings of $237 million. In addition of their many years of success, they’ve also been very philanthropic, supporting “Farm Aid” whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, as well as supporting the global Fair Trade movement. And they’ve always believed in true, wholesome ingredients in their products which is still upheld today since Unilever bought the duo out in 1990. Jeff and I always appreciate things more when we know a little of the background story.
Back to our visit. Sadie was more fascinated with the cows in the pasture than the ice-cream. The line to get a tasty treat seemed a mile long with about a 30-minute wait….all worth it though. While waiting, we enjoyed chatting with the couple in front of us, who also have a Lab (chocolate) back at home, with just as much spunk at 4 as she did when she was a puppy. Sounds familiar. Of course, he couldn’t wait to show pictures. Anyway, by the time we made it to the front of the line, the docent apologized for the factory tours being closed, with the hope of reinstating them in January of 2022. Hope to visit another time. We definitely went BIG, as we both ordered a waffle cone with 2-scoops each of delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, one of their top 5 flavors. The grounds are very family-friendly with walking paths, a huge playground area and the “graveyard’ of 6-foot under flavors.
There must have been at least 20 “oldies” laid to rest , with one of the longest running being Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt. The epitaph read something like this:
“So now we know: our dough Fro Yo
Just wasn’t as great as expected.
Folks who love Dough as well as Fro Yo
Love ‘em separate, not interconnected”