Thursday, 27 October 2016

Backus woods again, with Aimee.

I walked part of this trail last year when I was "in training" for the Inca Trail. When Aimee mentioned that she needed to get out and walk more (as do I!) it was the first place I thought of.
I took a picture of the trail system so we could refer to it if needed although last time I was here there were excellent maps at every intersection. Aimee however did get lost with a map, and a compass, in Rome, so the photo  was insurance.
We both had our trekking poles, cell phones and jackets, granola bars, water (you'd think we were going to be gone for "days and days"). The weather was cool but clear and there was rain in the forecast for the afternoon. It was lovely.
The meadows we went through first had a lacey look created by
the seeds of a variety of plants.
The area is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada
and I remember when the farmers fields were being "naturalized" and planted with native species.
But now it just looks natural.
After the meadows its into the woods.
The great thing about walking with Aimee is that she is as "into it" as I am, stopping to
observe and comment that the ground is covered by red and orange maple leaves here, but just back there the tree dropped yellow leaves and up ahead they are copper and bronze from an oak tree.
Wondering, out loud, what these small shrubs are with the black berries and leaves fringed in red?
Identifying the work of a very industrious woodpecker.
Noticing a large mushroom that I couldn't even see until I was almost upon it
and enjoying the sculpturing of the dead tree roots that reminded us both of the driftwood on the beach.
We walked about 5 km, up and down, woods, a creek and meadows. We felt we had earned the lunch at the deli in Port Rowan, even the brownie (Aimee) and the butter tart (me).
Aimee "shared the wealth" of a giant Puffball she had been given.
I battered it with egg and cornmeal (I didn't have the breadcrumbs that the recipe called for) and pan fried it in olive oil and butter. It was delicious but not as flavourful as regular mushrooms. I made the rest into mushroom soup.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The birds take back the beach.

When I wake now, its not to the sounds of children on the beach but to the honking of geese. With few people walking and lots of hunters on the bay side, the birds are taking back the beach.
They fly overhead in huge flocks and settle on the beach or on the sandbars. In the evening they fly off again.
So different from a summer walk on the beach; no toys, umbrellas, towels, tents, hibachis, coolers - no people.
Just waves,

and time to contemplate whether to take the picture of the driftwood with a wave creeping in,
or with the perfect reflection
or with the shadow instead.
Sand sculptures
Garbage disposal
Flocks of gulls and terns
and about half way to the horizon, flocks of ducks, "rafting", amassing to fly across the lake.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Woolstock 2016 - Woodstock Fleece and Fibre Festival

I got up before the crack of dawn yesterday (so you know it was something I really wanted to do) and drove up to Paris to get on the "Fleecy Bus" (Pam drove the van). 6 of us headed to Woodstock to be in line before the Fiber Festival even opened (at 9). The others had been before and knew that the crowds made shopping difficult later in the day.
There was everything imaginable for knitters including a great selection of yarns, some imported and some local.
Even the pottery fit the theme with these bowls to hold a ball of wool and mugs that looked knitted.
There was everything for weavers; raw wools, spinning wheels, looms, equipment and of course finished products.
There was everything for felting; roving, welt felted pieces and equipment and of course finished products.
There were, also, rug hooking vendors, but I have posted enough pictures of vast arrays of luscious wools, "as is", overdyed, textures, spot dyed etc etc in previous editions. Needless to say that is where I was doing my shopping.
It was all a bit overwhelming, especially as the crowds started to build.
By 10:30 we had done the bulk of our shopping and moved on to the other 2 barns that were open. Although these had some vendors like the main building they also had other stalls; a lavender farm, a vintage stall (with mostly wool items) where I scored a natural coloured wool blanket to practice dying with, sewing accessories and animals (llama, sheep, angora rabbits and herding and protecting dogs). There were also demonstrations and the opportunity to pet and learn about the animals.
We decided to have lunch at this booth at the back of one of the barns. Made to order and cooked in the wood fired oven while we waited.
Jennifer and I shared this Hawaiian vegetarian and it was plenty.
We left around noon, loaded down with our purchases, and glad we had got there early.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

My talented sister.

My sister, Nicola, was a quilter decades ago and has recently returned to it. With a vengeance! I  wrote a post last summer about her quilting weekend at the cottage. It entailed mostly washing, ironing and cutting. Well she returned on Thanksgiving weekend with the completed quilt!

She had intended to sew a picture panel into the centre but opted instead to learn to applique and the galleon looks great.
She also appliqued the little compasses in each corner and
cursed the waves.
It is a lovely gift. Nicola is 3 for 3 this year having made this one, Chris and Jason's wedding quilt and

this quilt for Maya (that Avery seems to think is his)
This called for a celebratory walk and drink on the beach.
Thank you Nicky.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Ripley, West Virginia - Southern McGown Teacher Training, Day 4

Yesterday I received my Show and Tell assignment for next year. Can't tell you what it is, its a secret!

Today was our class on How to Teach. Taught by Iris Simpson who has extensive experience as a teacher of Elementary School and Special Needs children along with years of Rug Hooking Teaching experience and credentials.
Iris talked, joked, informed and engaged us. We created bios and brochure write ups. We heard each others teaching experiences and offered suggestions. It was a lively and informative day and aside from the learning, we got to know each other better. 3 of us returned from last years trainee group. There were 3 new trainees this year and 2 that had come over from Southern and joined us for a couple of classes - a fun group.
At lunch I walked behind the cafeteria and found a peaceful pond (one of the Cedar Lakes in the name)

I was hoping to get some pictures of the reflections I had seen yesterday but it was breezier today, reflections weren't as clear.

Wild asters are in bloom.
From the wooded hills above the conference center I could see the rolling countryside around.
This evening it was surprisingly thrilling to witness the Accreditation  of 3 of the women I have come to know through the last two years of attendance. There were tears.               

Ripley, West Virginia - Southern McGown Teacher Training, Day 3. Appalachian Distillery and Fairplain Yacht Club.

Yesterdays dye class was exciting, informative and exhausting. Today's was a lovely, relaxing contrast. It was taught by Katherine Webster and was a wide cut.
Attic Treasures. Designed Jane McGown Flynn. Hooked by Katherine Webster.

Katherine did not emphasize the primitive aspect of the pattern, so we did not feel compelled to follow a primitive style colour plan. Instead we each chose colours that suited us and she was very encouraging of our individual choices; from white tulips to spot dyed ones, dark backgrounds and light, 5 cut to 8 cut.
My colour palate.
Katherine explained the choices she had made when hooking the piece and demonstrated some techniques and the use of black and white photographs of the work in progress to check values..
At the end of the day this is what I had completed. My plan is to dye and overdye paler golds and blues for the tulip like flowers, terra cotta/gold for the vase and dye a mahogany/seal brown spot dye for the background. I'm still playing around with whether I will add any sort of border.
After class we left the "campus" and drove to Fairplain Yacht Club for dinner. Across the parking lot is the Appalachian Distillery so we had to check it out.
Aside from "Straight Moon" (which was a smooth burn) they make a variety of flavored moonshines including Apple Pie, Spit Fire (which tasted like cinnamon hearts candy), Peach and Paw Paw (a fruit that grows in West Virginia).
The friendly proprietor let us taste a few and then took us on a quick tour of the distillery. This container holds the corn and barley which is steamed to make the mash. It is then transferred into large plastic tubs until there is enough to put into
the Still. Here it is distilled, up through the copper section that eliminates the sulphates and provides some flavor. The first liquid taken out through"the beak" is the "head", which contains the gases, and it is re-distilled. The "heart" is bottled. Three Xes on the bottle means it has been distilled 3 times.
I love the look of the copper elements.
At this point they bottle and affix the labels by hand but hope to get a bottling machine.
Jennifer, myself and Marjorie. The owner, Dwayne, invited us behind the bar for a picture and also let us taste the bourbon that he is making but not yet promoting for tasting.
A little distillery decor.
Then it was across the parking lot to the Fairplain Yacht Club for dinner. We opened the door into a country bar that I felt I had seen in many movies and TV shows. A large barn of a place, bar at one end, wooden tables and chairs, stage and lots of room for dancing. I bet it really hops on a Saturday night.
The owners daughter told us the story of the name when asked. Her Italian mother always wanted a restaurant and her father tended bar. They opened the place 9 years ago and her mother thought it would be funny to call it the Yacht Club because it sits next to a pond.
Good steaks and shrimp, sweet potato fries and broccoli with cheese sauce and an extensive beer menu. It was Trivia night and the parking lot was beginning to get crowded as we left; 50cent wings the next night!