Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vermont Footwear

I remember when we were house hunting in Vermont being amazed at the piles of boots in people's mud rooms and closets: tall boots, short boots, rubber boots and leather boots, as well as clogs of all descriptions. In my pre-Vermont days, I never saw the need for more than a couple of pairs of boots—one black, one brown, high-heeled of course, to go with whatever outfit I was wearing. And a third pair for hiking. As for clogs, I thought they were something you wore for folk dancing.

Now that we have been in Vermont almost five years, our house, garage, and barn are littered with various kinds of specialized foot gear. Let me take you on a tour, starting with the barn. In the milking room there is a pair of blue rubber clogs that I slip on every day when I go into the goat or chicken rooms. Their raison d'etre is to keep me from tracking hay and manure back into the house. Next to them there is a pair of tall rubber boots, the kind you see real farmers wearing. I keep them there in case I have to venture into the goat yard in mud season. Before putting them on, I always shake them upside down to get rid of any critters that may be hibernating there.

In the garage there is an old pair of Crocs—the kind without any holes—that I use to walk the dogs and to garden in when the ground is wet but not overly muddy or slushy. There is also an old pair of running shoes that I wear exclusively to my herding lessons with Wolfie. The soles are so encrusted with sheep manure that I'll never be able to use those shoes for anything else.

Come into the house. Just inside the back door, in winter, you will find a plastic tray with my serious cold weather boots defrosting on it. They are a pain to put on and take off, but I could trek to the North Pole in them and my feet would stay warm. I have snapped some gizmos onto the soles to keep me upright on the ice. On the floor of the entrance closet (the one by the front door that nobody ever uses) live my hiking boots.

Proceed up the stairs and look in the bedroom closet. Here is another pair of Crocs, this one with holes, that I wear indoors and, if the weather is clement, outdoors as well. Note the assortment of suede clogs which I reserve for fairly dressy (at least by Vermont standards) occasions. A couple of pairs of high-heeled shoes, forlorn reminders of days gone by, gather dust on the shelf.

On the floor there are more boots. These are my “dress” boots, one pair black, one pair brown, though with substantial rather than sexy heels because you never know what kind of terrain you'll have to cross on your way to the party. Plus two pairs of regular walking-around boots.

Did I mention the snow shoes hanging in the garage?

I would say that, at least from the standpoint of footwear, I am on my way to becoming a real Vermonter. But I am lacking in one respect: around here, when people come to your house, not only do they come to the back door, but they immediately take off their shoes...to reveal some of the most exotic, imaginative, baroque socks I have ever seen. When I take off my boots, alas, nothing dramatic or humorous greets the eye. My chaussettes don't advertise my love for the German Shepherd breed or express my political convictions—they are a boring, solid, flatlander beige or black. I need to do something about that before the cold weather sets in.

13 comments :

  1. this might possibly be more boots than a minnesotan needs--at least, a minnesotan who lives in the city. i have clogs and Sorels and slip-on boots and Keen boots and tall le Canadien boots, and i, too, have the snowshoes.

    no crocs, though. hideous things.

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  2. I have got to work on my sock collection.

    The other day, just for fun, I tried on a pair of Le Chameau hunting boots (The Chausseur). Leather-lined Wellies. Yummy. Wonderful. They didn't fit, thank god, because I don't actually NEED them, and my 50% discount would only take them down to $215!

    I can see you in a pair, though.

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  3. Laurie, yes, it's the unpaved roads and driveways that make all the difference.

    Indigo, leather-lined wellies, quel luxe!

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  4. You should look at www.socklady.com for "fancy socks" they are wonderful and kooky! I subscribed to the six month, sock-a-month club and can't wait to get my first pair! I live in a city but have a friend in Wisconsin with a farm and I find my boot collection is growing just to visit!
    JB in IL

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  5. JB, I checked out the website and it is wonderful. Did you know that the "sock lady" lives in Vermont?

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  6. This is the #1 reason why winter sucks in the lower midwest. It never gets cold and nasty enough for long enough to make boots really in fashion.

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  7. Bridgett, I lived in Alabama (!) years ago, and people didn't let the lack of cold get in the way of wearing winter fashions. They did the whole shebang: turtlenecks, fur coats, and of course, boots. And deodorant.

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  8. As Eskimos have all those words for snow, so Vermonters have boots for mud.

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  9. Oh, that's right, you are both Vermonters! I guess that is why her socks are so wonderful, since she is from Vermont!
    JB in IL

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  10. Alison, I wonder if Eskimos have different kinds of boots for all those different kinds of snow?

    JB, Just to balance things out a bit, you should know that not everything in Vermont is idyllic. There are lots of ATVs, and snow mobiles...ummm, that's all the bad stuff I can think of right now.

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  11. I guess I am (un)officially a Vermonter. I've got 2 pairs of crocs for different weather, one pair of rainboots for another kind of weather and a few pairs of hiking boots that I wear for dress-up when I'm not wearing my leather clogs (and I just bought a new pair of brown leather clogs for really fancy dress-up). I rarely wear anything else on my feet.

    Am going to order some of the socklady socks though -- although I have a whole lot of colorful socks as it is.

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  12. I really appreciate you for all the valuable posts that you are sharing us through your blog.

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