Heading Home: Hailey, Haddi, Herman, Hoover, Horrace, Happy and Hope

On Mother’s Day, Parth flew the H-team – 6 six-week-old lab puppies and a 6-month-old lab – to their new moms and dads as part of a pilot relay for Mile High Lab Mission and Pilots N Paws. Tina, the sending foster, graciously drove down to 3CK from Wisconsin with the 7 dogs. Parth flew them to St. Louis in 1:38, where he met the receiving foster Ed and handed over the precious cargo.

While waiting for the second relay flight to bring another 8 dogs from Milwaukee, Parth and Ed were chatting at the pilot lounge. Ed had spent five years in Bangalore in the late 80's and loved it. That was another era, observed Parth. India is a different country now. Ed has been taking care of animals – treating, transporting, saving, and finding new homes – for a long time. By his own count, he had "touched about 25,000." Twenty five thousand! It's amazing, and we hope Ed continues to help these voiceless creatures for a long time to come ... that's a lot of good karma, Ed.

Ed would foster the dogs for about three days. Then a pilot would take the dogs to Kansas on Wednesday. After that, the pups would take one last flight leg to their destination in Colorado. Apparently the plane ride to Colorado had 18 dogs going to new homes. Parth wishes he had a plane that BIG ... he's gonna keep dreaming.

Deb missed out on all the fun because she was in Detroit on a scrapbooking marathon with her mom and sister. So of course she was interested in this online puppy scrapbook about another group of puppies who were flown to their forever homes. Very nicely done! Hmmmm. May be an online N33815 scrapbook coming soon ...

Saturday Morning of Good Food at the Capitol in Madison

So do you see the Capitol?

How about now?

Ahh here it is, we made it to Madison today.

As revealed yesterday with more detail, today's trip was to Fromagination and the Farmer's Market right by the Capitol in Madison.

Like those who live near Napa and its wine, we are gifted to live so close to Wisconsin's cheese and other dairy products. We should take advantage of the abundance. It's a very easy hop of a flight away.

If you choose to do this trip too, plan to arrive much earlier than we did. The Farmer's Market vendors were closing when we arrived at 1:10. But we still saw everything from black popcorn and oyster mushrooms to bakery goods like cheese empanadas and various cookies, and so many spring plants -- from baby herbs to 4-foot Japanese maples. One vendor had more young tomato heirloom plant varieties than we ever thought existed.

We miss the lack of an urban farmers market where we live, and the color and characters that go along with them:

The atmosphere was electrified with sounds of a cheering crowd on the other side of the Capitol building. What is that? Truly it sounded like a Big Ten football stadium. Once we got there, we found a crowd at a Capitol steps demonstration challenging the recent Arizona immigration law, which makes sense as this is International Workers Day. It was not lost on us that many aspects of today's experience, from aviation to the food to the existence of the cities we travelled between, credit much to people who immigrated here generations ago.

And at 12 South Carroll Street is Fromagination. It's a jewel of a cheese store. The staff will give you taste samples of cheeses before you buy, so don't worry about trying something new. You just might find a new favorite. As for Deb's favorite, she picked up a chevre that the owner said is the "best chevre he's ever tasted," and another said it's "the best chevre in the world." Oh my goodness, can a chevre possibly be better than the chevre we wrote about yesterday? Oh yes, yes it can! And it is here:

Fromagination has a local focus with many artisan Wisconsin cheeses, all in one place, mixed with choice international cheeses. We tried a bunch of different flavors. We even tried an ice cream with goat cheese in it, interesting and yummy. The chevre is from Fantome Farm in Wisconsin, where they specialize in raising goats, making cheese and selling it fresh. We also took home a gouda with cumin in it, a pecorino from Italy aged in walnut leaves and made with a 200-year-old recipe, a cranberry chipotle cheddar from Wisconsin, and this Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese. It tastes like it comes from very content cows, and people who love their art.

While there, we met one of the Wisconsin cheesemakers who told us about his Smoky Bear cheese. It definitely had a pleasing smoky flavor and Deb was thinking a beer right then and there would be good with it. Indeed, they then suggested it would go with a beer and a pesto sandwich. We're catching on to this! A good reason to fly there again for more cheese! The way basil grows in our yard, we'll soon have plenty of pesto and Deb makes a mean homemade ciabatta bread.

We enjoyed sandwiches (with cheese on them of course) and chips under the sidewalk umbrella outside Fromagination. It was a pleasant day for people-watching and planning when and how to eat our cheese finds.

Fromagination also has a tempting selection of honey, oils, mustards, preserves, and other accoutrements that go with cheese, and beers, wine and chocolates. We picked up a chocolate toffee with pistachio in it, made in Wisconsin with belgian chocolate, wisconsin butter, and french sea salt. Yum.

Beyond the good food, we got a good show at the Madison/Dane County Airport when right after we landed, before we could even get in the FBO, six F15s took off! Very loud, very exciting.

Say cheese ... In the air

-- Posted From My iPhone in the air!
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