Mrs. Cupcakes and I took the day off and headed east to Brooklyn, CT. What was there, you ask? Not much this time of year, but it was a nice day for a drive.

It's on the scenic CT-169, which is nice for spring, summer, and especially fall, but there weren't many things open to visit (museums, cafes, restaurants, etc.). We took notes on things to revisit. All of the above, but also, orchards.


We ended up heading south from Brooklyn on 169, and then taking I-95 over to Madison, CT, recommended by various locals as a destination. We ended up visiting a coffee shop, a bookstore, and a really great wine store, the Madison Wine Shop, where Rick Lewis was (and usually is) conducting a blind tasting in the back of the store. He had 6 different wines in brown paper bags, and honestly wanted us taste each one and have a discussion about what you were tasting and how you were tasting it. It was very educational. Mr. Lewis, the proprietor, has a different take on tasting/purchasing, basing his store inventory mostly on wines he has tasted and enjoyed, disregarding rating numbers and for the most part, price tags. He does factor taste and price into his consideration of value, but he truly understands that wine price shouldn't dictate quality. I highly recommend you check out the website, just for his comments, reviews, and explanations of terminology he uses to talk about wines. We bought 4 different bottles, and we've added the store to our new but ever growing list of CT wine stores, including TOAST (where things are arranged by taste) and Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits, which has a great selection and is right by work.

We had a great day, finishing our Madison visit at Madison Chocolates, selecting a half-dozen truffles to try tomorrow, FOR MY BIRTHDAY. We got almond, lemon, Bailey's, hazelnut, dark chocolate, and semisweet chocolate for our 6 selections.

Tomorrow, I will turn 34. Also, I will go bowling.

Looking good!

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I washed my car today (not pictured above) after a week of slush/melt cycle, and in order to prevent it from freezing shut, I drove it down CT-9 to Essex, home of the steam train museum. Things were pretty quiet there, but they do keep quite a few of the collection pieces outside where you can see them.




leaf springs


They also had a very fine plow.


This is but a tiny sampling of what they have to offer, so sometime this spring I'll have to return. They also do an honesttogod dinner train that you can ride from there, or ride the train north and then take a riverboat back south.

On my meandering way back home I came across about a dozen wild turkeys, out and about, wandering through the woods in a very expensive looking neighborhood.


Not a great picture, but you can see a few of them.

Now the car is relatively clean, and I'm ready for more snow, like the dusting we got this very morning.


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A little pot

tiny pots

We went to find the second location of Sit 'n' Knit up in Wethersfield on Saturday. Turns out they moved into an upstairs location at the Comstock, Ferre & Co., which is the oldest continuously operating seed company in the United States. The tiny pots above are from there little greenhouse room on the back of the building.


There were also quite a few cacti and various succulents, and these cool collapsible bamboo trelli.

collapsed and expanded bamboo

Wethersfield just keeps getting better and better.

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"new" CDs

...from Half Price Books in St. Paul...

Johnny Cash Collection, Vol. 3 - Johnny Cash (Sun recordings)
At The Organ - The Minus 5
The Best Of - Ben E. King & The Drifters
Tyrannosaurus Hives - The Hives
Remix Album:Happy End Of You - Pizzicato 5
Terroir Blues - Jay Farrar

"At The Organ" is on the Yep Roc label, located in NC. Artists on the 10 year old label include:

Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys
Billy Bragg
Chatham County Line
The Comas
The Go-Betweens
Kristin Hersh
Robyn Hitchcock
Laika & The Cosmonauts
Legendary Shack*Shakers
Los Straitjackets
Nick Lowe
The Minus 5
Bob Mould
The Reverend Horton Heat
Southern Culture On The Skids
Two Dollar Pistols

They have good company in the Chapel Hill music scene, and along with good ol' Merge Records and other indy outfits in that area are recording and releasing really great stuff.

We had a pile o' holiday cards awaiting us upon our return to CT, and we have a few more things to mail out if you never got one of our cards. Sit tight!

Tonight we have a small NYE gathering to attend. The "theme" is food fit for a King and/or Queen. Mrs. Cupcakes has prepared a "King Arthur Flour Chocolate Indulgence Cake". I have secured a small quantity of red and black caviar, smoked oysters, and as a royal joke, a few tins of "King Oscar" sardines. I wanted to go get a bag of Whoppers™ from Burger King, and some of those paper crowns they give to kids, but the timing wasn't right.

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