Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life on the farm 11/02/09: Last Market of 2009

(Arethusa Collective sets up in 25-mile-an-hour winds)

After three inclement Saturdays in a row, I was ready for the farmer’s market season to be over. Most customers thought it had ended weeks ago, after the sun started refusing to appear during the day.

Once the anticipation over the next fruit or veggie to come into season has waned, and it’s no longer temperate enough to relax and eat lunch on a blanket in the park - it pretty much sucks to be vending in the cold for six hours straight. Thank you, October 2009.

In spite of that, we had a bit of luck because on the last market day it was warm and the drenching rain held off until market hours ended. But the wind!

We had to stake down our ground cover during set-up so it wouldn’t blow away in the 25-mile- an-hour wind (and even stronger gusts). We bungeed our tent to a tree and put the sides down; even so, I was barely able to get a tablecloth anchored down.

My husband Dan attached a windbreak to the food-vendor’s tent on our left to help keep their propane stove from going out. I was worried that our clipboards and flyers would become airborne, and packed them securely away.

The final market day fell on Halloween.

(Flapper Girl and Military Man face off in a leaf-throwing battle)

It’s a colossal costume party in the city, all day long.

Half the fun was trying to guess who the revelers were supposed to be, but the biggest surprise was how many Pugs and Papillons also came in costume. Who wouldn’t crack a smile at a doggy bumblebee, red lobster, or Krypto The Superdog sniffing at the communal pee-tree?

We decorated our booth with masks, witchy accessories, and had a basket of candy bar minis to hand out. My favorite visitors were the ones who couldn’t quite reach the tabletop, especially a Cowardly Lion...

...and a fluffy white Abominable Snowman - you know, the character from “Rudolph”, with the blue hands?

Napkins and paper plates from food vendors’ stands took flight and tote lids tumbled across the green; signs blew down, and an un-anchored canopy rose six feet off the ground and headed to Church Street.

(Our specials sign swung dangerously during tear-down, when the tempest resumed)

At least there were no serious injuries or property damage. It’s days like these that are the reason for the mandatory liability insurance that all vendors have to carry.

The sun shone brightly, and the wind died down for an hour or so.

(Danielle from Arethusa gets a costume adjustment)

More interesting people ventured out.

Then it started all over, again.

In the past ten years we’ve ended the market season in rain, snow, and hail, but never in gale. The tent just about tore itself down.

(Cadets? Or awesome costumes?)

On our way out of town we saw someone on the street dressed as a Hasidic Jew. I was reminded that our friend Lieutenant Morrison of the Burlington Police Department was at our booth in uniform, and had been asked if her “costume” was authentic.

Best not to similarly embarrass ourselves by giving a hearty thumbs up to the serious-looking guy wearing ringlets, just in case.