Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Star Trek Elementary

BENNINGTON -- One tweet leads to another, and this is New Business 101.

Art Gallery Dude's eyes bulged when he read that this week's @ThisisVt tweeter had tweeted from the Crazy Russian Girls bakery in downtown Bennington, 100 paces down the street, so he quickly tweeted @ThisisVt with a suggestion that he or she stop into Fiddlehead. @ThisisVt saw AGD's tweet and replied, and 10 minutes later this transpired ...

AGD loves the last shot: old school chalk and new school tech.

Welcome to Star Trek Elementary.

Anyway ...

On July 26, the New York Times ran a story about Vermont's cool new initiative (HERE) born from the mind of Jen Butson of the Vermont Tourism kiosk (@VermontTourism) and borrowed from the fine folks of Sweden.

Butson created the @ThisisVt Twitter handle based on the idea Vermonters would assume the reins of the account each week and celebrate all of the nooks and crannies of their special piece of the Green Mountain State -- from Bennington to Burlington to Newport to Brattleboro, Rutland and Rio Blanco and Bellows Falls and Chester and Quechee and Thetford in between. The only rule is that the guest tweeter must tweet at least 84 times (12 a day).

Tammy White applied months ago to be the @ThisisVt tweeter but forgot till Butson contacted her last week. White, who lives in Shaftsbury and runs Wing and A Prayer Farm, has been a tweeting machine. She hit downtown Bennington today and has tweeted pictures from Crazy Russian Girls, Jimmy Joe's Curbside Grill and Fiddlehead at Four Corners.

Tammy White earned a marketing degree at North Adams State (now MCLA) then went into the floristry business in the Berkshires. She began to earn a teaching certificate and then her first son came along. Sickness derailed her for a stretch, but she recovered and decided to try something else in life.

It began with a piece of land in Shaftsbury and a few chickens.

Then came the sheep.

"I'm pretty tenacious," White told AGD during a quick chat after she chalked it up in the Graffiti Vault. "My philosophy is that if others can do it, we can do it. Sheep in Vermont is as natural as can be."

She did her homework by reading literature about raising sheep then visiting sheep farms in Vermont. At that point it was a go and "I settled on Shetlands because they're a dying breed."

Wing and A Prayer Farm features more than sheep. Here's the farm ...

Wing and A Prayer Farm in Shaftsbury ... website HERE.

... and the "About" section reads: Wing and a Prayer Farm is a happy place to live and grow. We raise and care for a variety of poultry, Shetland Sheep, piggies, bunnies, horses and ponies, dairy goats and honeybees. Our farm, in the Green Mountain State, is a beautiful pastoral homestead where the children have grown up barefoot and the pups can run around without a leash!"

Indeed, This Is Vermont in a nutshell.

Most of AGD's chat with Tammy revolved around the breeding of her sheep.

This is Orin the ram ...

... Orin lives a sweet life siring at least 6 ewes, including Maggie the 8-year-old grandma who has delivered 14 babies to Orin and other rams. This is Maggie ...

Orin also has engaged with Pansy, Nikki, Ruva, Lily and Winky.

Orin and Winky engaged in a December 1 "ceremony" and given the 150-day gestation period Tammy expects the ewe to deliver around May 1.

"They're going to be cute, too!" she said.

Tammy said Orin has fallen in love with the one ewe he can't do: Aisliang.

He's also been eye-bahhh-ling Bunny, Tammy said, "But she's too young."

Here are some of the other sheep at Wing and a Prayer ...

Welcome to New Business 101: Tweet or get off the pot.

@ThisisVt tweeted from Crazy Russian Girls, and Fiddlehead got @ThisisVt's attention ... and one tweet leads to another and Vermonters are supporting Vermonters ...

...@ThisisVt (2,950 followers) and @VermontTourism (11,406 followers) each retweeted AGD's tweet, and that's important because those 14,356 followers now know that Fiddlehead at Four Corners exists and features fun, funky and functional art and boasts the world's only Graffiti Vault, which led to the book "Chalk It Up!" (HERE).

And so that also means 14,356 followers might be inclined to check out Fiddlehead's website ( or visit the old marble bank when they stop in Bennington.

"Because I'm the @ThisisVt tweeter this week," Tammy said, "people have clicked on the link to our Wing and a Prayer website and we've made some sales."

@ThisisVt guest tweeter Tammy White in front of Fiddlehead
Fiddlehead's Twitter handle is @GetArtBeHappy