Sunday, June 27, 2021

Another weekend, another show

I am stunned at how easily I fell back into the requirements of show life. I could not be doing this without help, either from Beth or from the farm hands. But once my tables are set up, I'm good to go until the end.

I streamlined my set up completely. No poles to hold up the sign. It's pinned to the front of the table covering. There is Beth, unloading the family heirlooms to her table. We each had a decent day.

I do hope I did not cut off my nose to spite my face! There are only seven of us in the barn, adequately spaced. There are three along the back, and the vendor in the middle sells cards and paper items (I never promised you an art show).

The front and back barn garage doors are open. Last week the cross breeze sent her paper lanterns flying. She resolved it by closing the back garage doors to within a few inches of the floor. Her lanterns were safe, but we sweltered. On packing out I suggested she find a way to secure the little devils this week, as we suffered dreadfully for her that day.

This Saturday was even warmer than last, and the current of air was pleasantly cool. All was well until a sudden gust sent the lanterns flying. Before she even collected them, the vendor stormed back to our door and hauled it to the floor.

That lasted as long as I could stand it. Before I put the door up, I did go over and tell her that if she put her lanterns in her left, in front of the closed door, and displayed her other items in her right, all would go well in future. For the time being, I suggested she go out to the drive and select a few large stones to put in the bottom of the lanterns to weight them down. Her best solution was closing the door. When I sweated, I opened it, and so we carried on for four hours.

I had an email this morning from the director asking me to switch with lantern lady. I agreed, and also told the director my solution of booth rearrangement or stone weights. I think lantern lady will have the same problem this coming weekend, and the door will be left up. On my authority.

Beth brought a lovely fist full of wild flowers, and a Stella de Oro.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Goings on

Only a month ago I was at my first craft show in, umm, almost twenty years, my small stint at the township craft bazaar on the eve of Covid notwithstanding. And this week I looked at the calendar more closely. The next Peninsula Flea show is this weekend!

I did get the cerise towels off the loom and hemmed and made a serious dent in my basket of yellow bobbins. However, yellow towels will remain a twinkle in my eye until the July 3rd show. 

The village shops always took advantage of this end of June, first weekend in July for superior sales by piggy backing on the national art show in our township, the Boston Mills ArtFest. The ArtFest has been cancelled, last year and this. I presume these two weekends are highlighted in the village to keep up the ArtFest tradition, not to mention the thousands of visitors to the park who include Peninsula in their list of great things to do.

Beth will be at the show again this weekend, and probably bringing Caroline, for a "taste of the old weaving days", as if that poor child weren't once labor in her mother's restaurant. Any reason is good enough for me; I love the two of them, and the company.

Of course I've monitored my little gardens, rain and shine. There has been plenty of the former (and more promised for Saturday). One pot of zinnias is blooming. I took that picture last week.

I called Laura earlier this week to arrange a shopping day next week. To my surprise she said she would not be able, she would be out of town. Then she said Oh, I'll be back Thursday; we could go Friday. Ever Grandma, I asked where she was going. New Orleans. Who with? By herself. "Don't worry; I have an itinerary and everything!" OK.

On another topic, I surprised myself. I set up a website. The little square has me in its clutches. I looked at the website they sponsor. Like Facebook's marketplace, it had me flummoxed. On the other hand, I have grands who are coders, so I sent the link to Blake. Do you understand this, can you help me? I have a website and he is in charge of fixing it when I screwup EverythingOldisNewAgain  dotshop. It simply kept falling into place.

I need to do more work on the title page, but the inventory for sale is in place. Please take a peek, and I'm up for suggestions. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Lost and found

As stultifying as I find them, I attempt to maintain routines. Routine signifies, to me, the attempt to maintain order in the face of growing incompetency. Loss of order means I'm no longer competent. It's frightening.

I spent the morning weaving. I'd like another color to take to market in another week. Cerise is the current color. I'm down to the last row of bobbins, six, to finish the length. Then of course, the finishing, which also takes time. The time and motion measurer in me knows the cerise will join the inventory, but the skeptic wonders what else will interfere.

Last week I could not find my sunglasses, that lovely wrap around pair I've worn since the cataract surgery. My general remedy is to remember the last time I wore them, and try to retrace steps from there. I forgot this remedy, and just dithered. I even looked them up on Amazon, but the fifty dollar price tag made me pause.

There were some obvious places, and I looked there. I had little faith. The place for my sunglasses is on my head or in my purse. The point is being able to find them, no matter what. The same for my keys: in my hand, in the ignition, in my purse. Fortunately the very few times I could not locate them, they were in the door lock. 

I was folding laundry this week, and I saw the glasses, in the tool bucket. Now they are in my purse. I remembered leaving laundry in the dryer when I left for an appointment. My firm rule is finish the job at hand before leaving. Put it away. A place for everything, etc. It's the rule that steadies my life. But when I came home from my errand, apparently the sunglasses lived on top of my head, and to prevent falling, I stashed them on top of the tools while I got something from the dryer.

Even worse than the sunglasses, I only removed what I needed from the dryer that day. So, when I stepped from the shower yesterday, there was no towel on the rack, but out in the dryer in the hall. If I went out for it, I risked letting the cat into the bedroom before his time. Fortunately, you are not me, yes?

It's raining and too cold today. That means I needn't water, and it also means the right of center citizens hereabout will continue denying climate change. It won't be on their conscience. I am sleeping in a flannel winter nightgown in June! My next step will be the unconscionable job of wrestling the goose off the shelf behind the winter coats.

I have so many pictures to post I may need to join the Sunday Selections of Elephant's Child and Drifting, to post my extraneous pictures. But, not yet. The pot of zinnias up there is from from hand harvested seeds.  So far I see red and purple on the way to blooming.

These seeds I purchased. So far just leaves. I remain astounded by the pot of Gerbera daisies, up there. New blossoms unfurl their shy little heads daily. I deadhead them often, and new flowers look up. The Gerbera on the step above was a birthday gift, March 31st. In spite of a new pot and new soil, and a small jolt of Miracle Grow, my only reward is staying alive.

And I'm so pleased with my mandevilla, as you well know. Even a downed blossom makes me smile. Filled up by the rain like a little fairy pool, to sit on the edge and splash the feet.

Back to the loom. I'm listening to A Woman of no Importance. I must remember the chapter I'm on; it's one of those muddled books; the recording begins somewhere, but not chapter one. When I found chapter one, it reads chapter thirteen, so it's not a matter of that stupid skip function to jumble songs. It's a test of remembering, as if I need one more challenge.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Big Picture

I just took the last blueberry crostata for the month out of the oven. Yum, for lunch tomorrow and the next several days.

So, no time like now for the cherry custard recipe. Custard is comfort food. Don't let this put you off: my most enduring memory of custard, way past my grandmother spooning it into my little mouth, is of my dad. Over the few weeks of his last decline, he ate only custard, three or four ramekins a day. I believe he would have had nothing to eat, except for the pills. He and mom had a deal. He could die at home if he would take all his anti-seizure meds, and he swallowed a lot of pills in a lot of custard. That was long ago, in February, 1978. He called Janice and me "daughter" when he spoke, because he couldn't remember our names. I don't remember what he called our brother or mom. Anyway,

Baked Custard: (this is the basic recipe, in the event you need a good one)

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

I made cherry custard by omitting the sugar, vanilla and salt, and substituting a small jar of tart cherry jam.

All ingredients at room temperature. I use the glass mixing bowl for the baking pan. Crack four eggs into the bowl. Froth the eggs well with a beater. Next time I will use the hand blender to chop the cherries smaller. Many sank to the bottom, which was OK, but a lot more in the custard would have been nice.

Add the milk slowly, continuing beating the eggs and jam. Put the bowl into a pan of water and put into a preheated 350 degree oven. If using ramekins, it takes about twenty minutes. In my standard mixing bowl, it took an hour to set. The custard is done when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

I will make this again, over and over. I will experiment. I will use only half a jar of jam next time. For maximum servings, I would slice the custard in half and each half into thirds for serving. The slices lift out reasonably well. As I said, it was very tasty and was gone in four servings, so I will be a tad less piggy in future.

An amazing picture. I happened to glance up from the table and there it was. It hung about for perhaps five minutes, not moving. I don't know how long it had been around. It didn't hurry off, but it did look carefully around between every bite. 

I tackled a long overdue project this morning. I know I said I would sell the books on line, but the site I found offers about a dollar a book. My book avarice has declined, but is not yet under control. So, I decided to tidy the area, see how much room a year and a half of books consumes, and then make other decisions.

You may recall, the original lot consumed half of the front of the shelf, standing, and the other half lying in the side. I moved it all to the back and commenced a new row standing.

The project required close supervision of the cat. 

There is ample room to acquire more. At least a year's room on that shelf. I keep the box because ...

I received a birthday gift, probably the year before Covid. It has a lovely, lacy little adornment on top. I remember my friend's husband telling me how much time he spent crocheting the lace, and there was a lovely little gift inside. Later there was such a falling out over the gift, and nothing I could do would set it right. I keep the box visible as a reminder of the value of a friend and the cost of losing one.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Remiss, negligent, or both

It was difficult to pull myself together enough to write about the show. Now we are a week later and I still am gone incommunicado. What is wrong?, I hope you have asked.

Little or nothing, in fact. I joke sometimes about "terminal ennui", and I would accuse myself except I have spent a lifetime of the opposite behavior. Perhaps I was bone tired and needed to sleep. I don't think so. I simply need to find a constant source of people who will interact. Time to investigate groups again.

I know we should stay united on the issues that brought Biden to the presidency. Again, I should look for people to support and participate with. I feel little happened during "shut down", and we should be reuniting behind causes. Again, I know of nothing to jump into, and need to begin researching the best new fit for me.

One bit of history I've thought of, lately. I wonder if the Palin effect could happen to the former president? 

There have been some home front developments. I took El Gato to the vet for annual vaccinations, plus. My vet is admitting a controlled number of patients to the office. I still prefer the routine of handing over the cat carrier and waiting in the car. Toby was updated on vaccinations prior to going to the salon for another close shave.

He also was prescribed an antibiotic for presumed urinary tract problems. It is sprinkled on his food daily, beginning today. As I was making my own breakfast, Mr. Cat came out of his room and planted such a look I knew he could only be referring to dose one. I hope this does not become a contest.

This car pulled into the vet. I wish I could identify it. Here is a close up of the insignia. Any guesses?

We had daily rain this past week. That has meant flourishing plants and no watering by myself. Here are some wonderful pictures.

The Gerbera, and little more to say. I cannot remember one that bloomed so profusely.

This is a silly shot; the pot of wildflowers holding a downed white Mandevilla. The glass lady stands guard.

A nose dive into the zinnias. There is a little flower bud in the very center of each green shoot. Soon the pot will be waving with blooms, and zinnia are among my favorites.

Every mandevilla is a beauty. The pots are beginning to fill in and have lots of blooms.

And on that note, off to lunch and some weaving. Lunch is cherry custard. It is so delicious that I will consume the entire batch, four eggs and a quart of milk, in four lunches. All I can say is, if interested in "jam custard", just do it. Eggs and milk are completely forgiving. After your mixer froths the eggs, add the jam of your choice, then the milk, and just bake it up. Mine took over an hour to produce a clean knife to the middle.

Monday, June 7, 2021

A Day at the Fair

I set the alarm for way too early Saturday morning. I was not so rusty or out of practice as I thought. I rose on pure adrenaline at 5:30, finished my household necessaries (you're welcome, Cat), and ate my breakfast by 6:30. With nothing more to do, I left for the farm.

Farm hands unloaded me and set up my two tables. With nothing more to do, I sent them off, and waited for my daughter to arrive with the table coverings. At length she arrived and we commenced the old drill.

Though, as Beth pointed out, unlike the old days there was no tent to erect and nail to the ground, no wire grids to assemble, then hang "the goods", no zipping up at night and off to a restaurant, to begin all over the next day, sans set up. But wait, then after the close of the show, there was tear down and loading the remainder back into the van.

Beth had the front table, with old glassware and linens. I took the side table, stacked with towels. Many sales were made via the little square, and eventually Beth realized that putting the unit flat on the table and sliding the card was the charm. Apparently neither of us have hands steady enough to satisfy the unit while swiping.

The most evident phenomena of the day was the pure joy of the people who came. To be out, on a beautiful day, and in a fair venue was such a treat for body and mind. To have a conversation with the artisans was a pleasure. Happiness was in the air; it was palpable.

A dragonfly came past my face and landed on the window. I took its picture and told it to try the open back door, a few feet past. Hours later I looked again, and felt it was willing the glass to give way. Beth enticed it to a piece of paper, and the instant she cleared the end of my table and had it facing the door, it was off.

When I came in last night I saw all the plants had survived a fairly hot day with no additional water, save the Gerbera daisy. I mixed up several gallons of water and fertilizer and went out to give them my sincere apology. At the bottom of the steps:

and a big pot of zinnias to the right. There is also a pot of mixed wildflowers, names to be disclosed on blooming:

At the top of the steps I have the little pot of salpiglosis, started from the seeds I harvested.

And finally, all the Mandevilla:

And that's it. Home from the fair. Next are June 26th and then July 3rd. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Another show

You might be happy not to know me back in the show days. I loved every minute. Sometimes I stood in the field or the exhibition hall and shouted "I love this show!"  Setting up. Seeing people Putting on my best show to give the public a pleasant day at the fair. Seeing friends. Sharing a meal. Falling into bed, dead tired!

All these years later nothing has changed a lot. I used to say if I could still lift the hand truck back into the van I was ready to go another year. I've managed to find someone to load everything into my car and I'm promised unlimited young people to unload it all to my booth.

My sister sent two lovely quilts to mount behind me to define the back of the booth. I will sell them too, if I can. That would be nice.  I just counted, and have 118 towels to take. I just added the orange towels to my inventory; there are 11.

Sales through the blog fell off dramatically this year, but a saturated market is, well, saturated. There are many towels of many colors to set out for the show. 

I put up the orange towels on the blog, so everything is out there. I also put up a new color wheel, and I like the layout I've done this time. The next set up to weave is cerise, but they won't appear for a couple of weeks. Here is the current color wheel:

It's good to add another strong color to the repertoire. Everything is packed in the van except the catch all bag, stuffed with everything that does not have a solid title, like "towels to sell". It will be the last out the door tomorrow.

I had lunch with Ruth today. It was good, as ever, and we are quite caught up now. She decided next I should go to her house and we will plan a trip to Aladdin's Eatery in University Heights.

Poor neglected kitty. Imagine when I come home with tabouli on my hands. Or falafel.

On a trip to the store recently, I made an unexpected purchase. I don't often buy "off the list" when I go shopping, and I could deliver a lecture straight from my mother's mouth on the pitfalls of gratuitous spending, but I won't. It was only $1.50 at the dollar store, which probably is as evil as You Know Who and You Know What, but small enough I can handle an unexpected trip for laundry soap.

I miss having a bird feeder, but not the mess. I have only occasionally seen a hummer at the mandevilla's, but I have seen them and certainly should tempt them more. And when I saw this tiny hummer feeder, I bought it. 

Here's to a good day for all of us tomorrow. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A new post

I've worked hard, for me, these last several days, getting ready for Saturday's craft show and finishing Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder. Like Finding the Mother Tree, this book compelled me. It may be because I seriously contemplated this life style. Remember when I thought about getting off the grid? The pictures are still on the post:

The Mercedes Benz is a lovely illustration; not in my budget . I looked at used models and other brands. I could have done that in my budget. I drove a bigger van for twenty years. But this is after I'd broke my leg and the better part of valor was do not do it. And especially, do not need to work.

Nomadland is a report on people my average age surviving in homes on wheels. The author spent several years following groups of "houseless" people, documenting their pleasures and pain. They may be a larger group than ever, swept from the American dream by the Great Depression. The houseless have always been with us, from Westward Migration through the Great Recession. The houseless are everywhere and all time; Tinkers, Romani, migrant workers. 

The people in this book are relentlessly cheerful, can-do, helpful and sufficient. They work the mean hours, jobs and pay of places like Amazon warehouses, this country's national parks, fields of produce, stocking groceries. They mourn the passing of friends, often alone, without family or friends, and carry on to the next job.

Linda, the center traveler of the book, works the mean jobs and searches the country for the place to settle down. She finds her acre a few miles from the Mexican border and we leave her contemplating beginning construction of an Earth Ship, a home built from sand filled tires. She may do it, or give it up and find a new dream.

Quoting the author,  “America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves . . . Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters.”

Paraphrasing the author, life seems to be growing more difficult for people who use the free parking places. Park rangers are using modern electronic methods to track vehicles that stay more than forty five days on public lands. City law enforcers are doing the same. And people of color certainly could never consider this life style.

The people in this book never considered this life style while they were CEO's, CFO's, managers. brokers, owners of traditional homes, apartment renters, consumers of everything they must dispose of to live in a small or tiny vehicle. Now, they are an America no one knows of or thinks about.