July 31, 2010
The Friday night before the mayhem starts is when we walk down to our campsite, check out the lay of the land (shifts every year) and chain up a picnic table or two to a tree (take that, thieves!). We’re not allowed to bring cars in or start setting up until the land negotiations are finished on Saturday (jumping through bureaucratic hoops is just part of this kind of vacation). Walking through this place when it’s just like any other campground is a little eerie when you know just what it’ll be like in a few days, when the twelve thousand other people get here.
The first few mornings after Land Grab (Saturday), there will still be a few Canada geese on the lake, but by Tuesday they’ll have retreated to quieter places. One of my favourite parts of the early days of Pennsic, which are mostly taken up with the heavy grunt work of setting up massive pavilions and building walls and digging holes, is to take my tea up to the lake in the early morning and wave the last few geese off home. Imagining that they come from the same place I’m from, because I’m sentimental like that.
Peter and Claire in our campsite, block E24, with the lake behind them.
This is a good table. We chained it to a tree before we left.
Posted by jodi on July 31, 2010 at 6.18am
July 30, 2010
5 prs. of salwar (poofy pants)
2 ghawazee coats
And all so I have something pretty and not deathly hot to wear on vacation.
Posted by jodi on July 30, 2010 at 9.26pm
July 25, 2010
Drinking my coffee in the rainy coolness of the porch this morning, I sensed movement beneath my chair and looked down to see a streak of pale gray fur. At first I thought it was Cleo, since she’s slender and pale gray as well, but then I caught sight of her in my periphery, crouching at the top of the porch steps, glaring. And look over here at who was cowering under a chair in the corner of our porch!
An adolescent possum, still small enough to seem cute (everything is “cute” so long as it’s small, right?) but already on the verge of ugly with its long, ratty snout and dangerous claws and that horrible pink-skin wiry tail. I’ve seen baby possums, suckling-age, and they’re truly adorable, like mewling wobbling newborn puppies, their faces still flat and womb-crinkled. But that was in Georgia, and possum families aren’t all that common around here.
We never used to have possums in Ontario at all, not until around ten or fifteen years ago. The first ones came across the border from the States clinging to the bottoms of trucks. That sounds like a story you’d tell kids just to pull one over on them, but it’s true. I always used to imagine a great escape, a daring and adventurous young possum from a foreign land setting out from home, rucksack in hand, to make the dangerous trek to a new life in a new country. I’m sure the truth is more likely that they’re up under a truck for whatever reason and surprised there when the engine starts (like kittens who climb into engines for warmth in winter and wind up getting smooshed in fan belts), then cling to whatever they can for dear life until the truck stops moving and the terrified possum drops to the ground and bolts for safety, suddenly finding itself in Canada. Still, a storybook worthy journey, perhaps.
I gently shooed this little lady off while Claire held Cleo at bay (not that Cleo posed much danger; at 20 years old she knows her limits and might not even remember the hunter she once was). Here’s the wee wet thing, scuttling back out into the rain.
Posted by jodi on July 25, 2010 at 9.26am
July 24, 2010
We’re thinking of tearing down the ramshackle pressure-treated lumber fence along the back of our property and replacing it with a low wall of screen block, then replacing the 3 or 4 trees that would have to come out in order to do such a job with redbuds, dogwood and sumac. It’s a lovely picture I keep in my mind every time I gaze out the back door at our unruly, chest-high meadow of a backyard with its waiting-to-be-hauled-to-the-dump heap of crap at the back.
This screen block wall was spotted while walking around Chicago’s Little India neighbourhood last weekend. It’s a pretty common block pattern you see a lot in institutional buildings of a certain era (the same pattern as the Monastery I photographed so often while living in North Bay), only the blocks are about half the size and made of terra cotta instead of concrete. I don’t know if you can even still get this kind of block but it’s awfully pretty. Especially with the rows of block offset instead of jack-on-jack like you usually see (as in the Monastery). Just close your eyes, forget about the half-finished porch, and all of the scotch thistles that need to be uprooted right where the patio is going to be, and the long grass and the infant trees coming up everywhere and the falling-down fence and the awful mulberry tree and the pile of scrap wood to be cleaned up, and imagine cool filtered light and delicate redbud branches arching out over this wall (only lower). Lovely.
Posted by jodi on July 24, 2010 at 8.32am
July 23, 2010
Measuring marks, counting lines.
Posted by jodi on July 23, 2010 at 12.52pm
July 22, 2010
Little lakes, big lakes.
Posted by jodi on July 22, 2010 at 9.09am
July 19, 2010
Could have been taken 25 years ago were it not for that horrible 1990s cladding on the “Square One” building.
Posted by jodi on July 19, 2010 at 8.39am
July 13, 2010
Our big yearly camping trip takes us to an incredibly nerdy place, one we’ve been going to for so long it feels like a second home. Our idea of camping is pretty luxurious, with sprawling pavilions and real beds and places to hang our clothes and a shower with hot and cold running water that we assemble and disassemble each year. Our fancyass shower setup also provides hot water for dishwashing, which we’ve always done in a couple of plastic bins set on a platform that’s backbreakingly low. This year, as our contribution to camp luxury, Peter and I are building a proper height countertop dishwashing station with double steel sinks, which will drain directly into the sump hole (no more carrying heavy bins of dirty dishwater!).
We started with a set of double sinks (not pictured) purchased at the Habitat for Humanity store, and a nice big piece of plywood.
Our new countertop with a hole cut for the sinks, all sanded and stained a beautiful blue (we’re kind of in love with this blue stain right now and are using it on everything, including our bedroom shelves, a table we recently rebuilt and our wooden tent poles).
With that all ready it’s time for the important work. You might think the important part is the plumbing, or building a frame to support the thing, but that would be silly! That stuff can all be done at camp. The important part is decorating the thing with heraldry. Naturally.
Posted by jodi on July 13, 2010 at 1.51pm
July 9, 2010
She’s smooth. And pretty. And also quite talented.
Lemmy’s first singles:
From these mixed wool batts from Spritely Goods:
Here they are plied:
I haven’t done a whole lot of spinning and I’m not all that good at it. I don’t really understand a lot of the terminology or the different ways to spin stuff or any of that. I don’t know much about planning for what sort of pattern will emerge in the finished yarn spun from handpainted fibre, for instance, and so I mostly just go for it and see what happens (although, in spinning the last yarn pictured down below, I did figure out how to make the blue areas of the yarn bluer and not so much homogenized with the orange, so, go me!). For now, Lemmy and I are just working on curbing our tendency to underspin everything. Once we’ve got a good pile of sturdily overspun yarns, then we’ll worry about the fancy techniques. We can’t try any of the Jacey stuff until September when Lemmy’s jumbo plying head arrives (insert crass joke about orifice size here) (need I tell you how many orifice-size jokes were flying around the Sit and Spin set? Some ladies, not saying whom, never get tired of talking about our orifices. Anyway, currently mine is small but come September it is going to be HUGE. Positively gaping).
Ahem. More two-ply, this one a blend of soy silk and merino:
Better, de-bobbinated pictures of the spinnings later when I figure out where the homemade knitty noddy got to. Something tells me it got left behind in Georgia.
Posted by jodi on July 9, 2010 at 1.21pm
July 7, 2010
Plastic animal parade, soon to be garden ornaments.
Posted by jodi on July 7, 2010 at 9.24am