Friday, August 23, 2019

TWIST Fiber Festival

Last Friday Terry and I drove to the Quebec town of Saint-Andre-Avellin, about an hour east of Ottawa, for their annual  "fiber festival" that draws weavers, knitters and spinners from all over North America.

My mother, who taught weaving and spinning in her younger years, would have been in her element.

There were workshops in yarn dyeing (something my mother also did).

For serious yarn-people, the festival provides a chance to network.

One vendor was selling whole fleeces of sheep wool - unwashed and uncarded (or untangled) - by the pound.

There was also wool that had been washed and carded  - and either dyed or not -  ready to spin into fine yarn for weaving or thicker yarn for knitting or crocheting.

Seeing this weaving loom brought back memories of the large loom my mother kept in her back porch in her working years.

For me it was interesting to see how this "dying" art of yarn dyeing and spinning is still very much alive, enjoyed by women (and men) of all ages.

Terry was amazed by the wide variety vendors there - all in some way connected to crafts that employ wool fibers.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Enjoying Brockville!

A few weekends ago, Terry and I headed to Brockville with one of our barbecued-rib-loving sons to attend the annual Brockville rib fest.

It's a fund raiser for the local Boys and Girls Club, an organization that we like to support.

(We even bumped into a friend from Ottawa! We're obviously  not the only ones who love ribs!)

After eating, we wandered along the path beside the St. Lawrence River. It was an busy place. It reminded me of my teen years and the boat our family enjoyed on the Okanogan lake.

What kind of boat did Grandpa have? my son asks as we watch boats of various kinds go by.

A fiberglass boat with a steering wheel and a 45 hp motor, I tell him. Nothing fancy - but strong enough to pull my brother and me water-skiing. 

Boating was a favorite summertime family pastime... 

We parked our boat in the Kelowna yacht club all summer, so it was easy to go out in the boat for several hours in the evening. We'd drive over with a picnic supper, then water-ski for a while.

Seeing others boating brings back the memories...

In town, I noticed an interesting flower display in someone's yard: a picture frame propped up to highlight a particularly beautiful... bunch of flowers.

Cute! I've never seen that before.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It's Hard to Get Rid of Old Cards...

One of my goals this summer is to go through filing cabinet drawers and shred or toss papers we no longer need... (This is no easy task: We have five filing cabinets!)

Among the papers are bundles of cards and letters my mother treasured and brought with her when she moved to Ontario at the age of 83: Lots of birthday cards, a few souvenirs from her own wedding, and a large bundle of sympathy cards she received when my father died.

Marie Kondo (the Japanese organizing guru) suggests that when getting rid of sentimental "clutter," one should take time to appreciate the friends and occasions that the cards (or gifts) represent. Then say good-bye.

As I read the cards, I am reminded that my parents enjoyed a large network of friends and family. What a treasure!

But there is also nostalgia here... In the bundles I've encountered cards from people I knew well, too. Many of them, my parents' generation, are no longer alive - like my godmother, Ruth and other close family friends.

Seeing their handwriting and comments brings back such strong emotion that I have to resist the urge to dig through the recycle bin and retrieve the cards.

Saying good-bye is never easy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

African Violets in Bloom

I love it when my African violets bloom in winter - when there are no flowers outdoors!

But here they are - beginning to bloom in summer - competing with the beautiful outdoor flowers!

I haven't managed to figure out their blooming season...

Maybe they don't have one! Maybe they bloom - when conditions are right - any time of the year!

Monday, August 19, 2019

August Gardening

I've learned the hard way that spring is not a good time for me to weed my flower beds...

I have a hard time telling the difference between flowers and weeds! If I weed in spring, very few flowers bloom in summer...

So I let it all grow - except for the gout weed, which is clearly recognizable, and which would grow over top of everything else!

But now that August is here, most of the perennials in my flower beds have already bloomed.

Now I can trust myself to trim and deadhead those that have finished blooming - so that the few beginning to bloom are clearly visible...

Flowers like the late summer yellow lilies that were a gift from one of Terry's co-workers whose husband runs a landscaping business...

Also the pink and white phlox. (The pink, in the pictures above; the white, near the backyard hedge which - in summer - becomes overgrown with wild vines.)

I also want to see the echinacea coneflowers that were hidden behind the dead daisies until I trimmed them back.

For me, August gardening is mostly about trimming back plants that have finished blooming - so that the late summer bloomers will not get lost amid dead flowers and vines - so that I can enjoy them all!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Water Levels are Lower Again...

Driving back from Toronto and Guelph two weeks ago, we noticed that water levels on the St. Lawrence were lower again...

As we passed my favorite summer home, I noticed that the footbridge that leads from the mainland garage to the nearby island home was above water again!

The last two times we drove by, the bridge was partially submerged...

Glad to see that life has returned to normal after our rainy spring!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

New Guelph Dining Experience

Last time we were in Guelph, the weather was warm... perfect for eating outdoors.

Our daughter suggested we eat at the Broken English Bistro.

Their east European cuisine was delicious...

Terry and I both had schnitzel...

Our daughter had a cabbage roll and perogies... She also tried their Polish beer!

It was all so charming! We felt we had been transported to Europe!