10-26-2007 Caramel month

I finally remembered to post the weekly letter to the live journal. And catch up on putting up the last month of letters there, in case you’re wondering what we’ve been up to!  So this is October 26th…

I also must mention that it’s National Cookie Month (also Apple, Caramel, as well as pasta, pizza, pork, pretzels, seafood and applejack months). Sadly, as Days go, today is balogna day, and no food has claimed this week.

It’s drizzling today- I am still waiting for a good downpour so I can enjoy a roof that doesn’t leak. I think we are at peak color now, although the front coming through last weekend blew away some of the leaves and we are beginning to actually see a few bare branches.
Yesterday Bob (one of Wally’s friends) came over and took down most of the dead trees behind the barn where the goats had girdled them. They are quite dry and will burn beautifully this winter. Since cords of hardwood are about $200 each now, this was a good deal for us. Not only are the trees not going to come down on the barn roof, but we have firewood from it. Star still doesn’t like the noise level using a chainsaw, although he doesn’t mind splitting wood. And I just realized it’s the end of October so it’s time to clean the barn again.

By and large the weather has been fantastic. Two of the faire weekends we had Friday night storms- which scared away some Saturday customers even though the Saturdays were sunny, but the floor canvas had gotten damp, and the booth (tent) smelled rather musty all weekend. Except for the floor I am confident that the tent is dry enough to store for the winter, but we have the floor spread in the rain now (bottom up) to try to clean it off. (If not for the rain, we’d hose it down and scrub it with a broom), and when it’s dry it too will be put away for the winter. I wish there were a service where we could get the tent re-shaped now that it’s a couple years old and no longer as square as it was. The canvas does stretch over time.

The last weekend of faire was good- I was caught up in conflicting emotions: so glad it was over (especially as I was still weak from being sick all week), and at the same time, sad because of the friends I won’t see until the next faire season, and the way I enjoy it, and regretting the things I had hoped to do and not gotten to. On the one hand, I feel that I should see some of the shows during the times I am not drawing anyone, on the other, I don’t feel I should leave the booth unless a potential customer shows up. So I don’t really get out except for food and restroom breaks. Same with the girls- we try to cover for each other and encourage each other to go to shows. Poor Willow had enjoyed the Pope and Cardinal show so much last year, she decided to go to the “Poperah” show- and it turned out to be all naughty jokes, and not particularly funny. I was hoping to see the hypnotist, but he’s got a long show (it does, after all, take some time to get people to go under, especially new people) and never allocated the time.
One nice thing that happened was a fellow I’d drawn last year brought one of his friends back to be drawn. I get the impression that the longer we are there, the more we’ll be patronized.
I did buy a new toy- a gargoyle I’ve named Ironside after the road our booth was on. Sadly, he doesn’t get along with Tragg- the troll.
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I also got more wool- I’d given the lady who dyes a bag of onion skins since I knew she’d get to using it and I wouldn’t, and I got a skein of the wool she dyed there. I also got two log-wood skeins- one was dyed in a tin pot with alum and one in an iron pot with a different mordant (I’ve forgotten) but the iron one is black and the tin purple- very cool. One of the other weeks I got a skein of the cochineal (ground up bugs which makes red) dyed wool.
During the week we’d had “Ladybug Day” which is basically the day when the ladybugs swarm- one day you don’t see any, the next the south walls of the barn and the house are covered with them, and a few hours later they are gone. Then for a few days they are seen inside while they look for crannies to sleep through the winter. I can’t remember being crawled on by so many lady bugs in previous years. Something similar happened with wasps down at the fair- they were everywhere. Only a few people got stung, but it was still very stressful for people who are allergic. I hate to kill a bug outside because it’s where they live, but one doesn’t want people to be stung.

It was “trick or treat” day on Sunday, and because I hated the idea of running out of candy and disappointing kids who were looking forward to it I’d made sure we had a thousand pieces of candy to start with. (Average daily “gate” or entrance numbers is three thousand, and I figured a third of those would be children, and even if they didn’t know before hand, they’d find out when they got there and start trick or treating.) I was wrong. I think we had about 100 kids, so now we have huge piles of candy- the cheap stuff: gum, fireballs, smarties, lolly pops, tootsie rolls (candy that only cost us a nickel each), so we’re set. The people next door had found mixed bags of little chocolate bars and gave their leftovers to us, so I think we have more than when we started. I noticed there was only one Reeses Peanut Butter Cup left, a couple Almond Joys and three Kit Kats- I think that they were only interested in their favorites, and saw their collection as picked over. That left plenty of Butterfingers, Baby Ruths, plain Hershey bars, Snickers, M&Ms, etc. As I recall those were from different makers when I was a kid. Since they were packaged together, I’m guessing Hersheys must have bought the others out and makes them all now.
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There was a really cool thing at the fair this week- an ent (tree man) was walking around. He didn’t speak, but he did interact a bit, and it was very cool. In the picture you can see the “famine” character next to him. There was another picture with the Green Knight (with his axe) eyeing the tree man, but someone walked between them and that shot didn’t come out. You can also see what a gorgeous day it was.
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Kat dyed her hair black, (this week or last week? I really wasn’t conscious last week), a washable color, so we are beginning to see a bit of the henna red coming through- but it’s a fun look. It does make it very incumbent upon her to wear her gothy black eye make-up or she looks very washed out. I want to do a sketch of her before it’s gone.
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We watched the Blues Brothers this week (for cultural literacy). It’s got a good sound track, but smashing cars and musical numbers does not a plot make. We also watched the movie the Number 23. (Willow noticed with amusement that she watched it on the 23rd.) Actually, I think it’s tied into the phenomenon that you see what you are thinking about. You can learn a new word that you’ve “never heard before”, and suddenly you hear it used a dozen times. One technique for studying the Tarot is to draw a card each day- and you can see how the symbols and meanings associated with that card seem to occur every day. I can say pretty much the same thing for almost any system. I’ve thought it would be fun to go through the futharc (runes in order) and have it tell the story of something like the Lord of the Rings. People have come up with connections between the Norse creation story and the runes. (and the Tarot, come to think of it) I think I just want to show how it’s possible to force almost any set of symbols. While I do believe in synchronisity, we really have to avoid taking ourselves too seriously.

I don’t generally mention my TV viewing, but we’ve gotten rather involved in the show Kid Nation. I liked the idea of letting kids see what they could do to develop a society for themselves, and I’m always annoyed when the show’s designers butt in and impose their own rules on this society supposedly being designed by the kids. As with other “reality shows”, not only did they pick people who’d be likely to be fun to watch (which is cool given that it is a TV show), but they keep doing things that force people to compete rather than to cooperate. I think they are a little better with that in this show than in others (but I really haven’t seen that many reality shows). If you haven’t seen it, they divided the kids into teams (districts) so they can compete “challenges”. They let the kids do that themselves, and the kids try to divide people up so that people were with their friends (which I thought was cool). That resulted in all the big kids being in one group, so that they tend to win anything that requires strength. Another thing they do is every few days they are given instructions on something to do to organize the town- and I am just waiting for one or more of the kids to say “these are just suggestions, we don’t have to do this”. I suppose they chose the leaders by who was most likely to be cooperative. One of the leaders is a total brat- ex “beauty queen” who is lazy and obnoxious. When her group was supposed to cook, they just stayed in bed and more responsible kids just did it because it had to be done. We like to hate her. I am really impressed by the kids and how well they are doing under the circumstances. If you haven’t watched this show, I can highly recommend it (although I’m not sure if it would be as enjoyable if you haven’t gotten to know these kids).
(We caught the pilot of Viva Laughlin- mostly to see Hugh Jackman, but if it’s going to keep being a musical with people randomly bursting into song and dancing, I’m going to like it.)

I’ve been reading a lot of books on Tarot- Llewellyn realized that there are enough “intro” books out there and has made a series of more advanced books- reversed cards, understanding combinations, designing layouts and other more advanced techniques. I’ve also been reading more on Patience Worth- the channeled poet from the beginning of the 20th century. Actually, I don’t care for her poetry that much, and don’t care what year she was born. People at the time seem to have been impressed though, and of course, there’s always a lot of discussion about what is the source of channeled information. Personally, I figure that once you’ve died, you probably lose whatever patterns of speech you developed when you were alive, so if she “spoke” in dialect, there is probably some other explanation than it was a ghost from the 17th century. A spirit pretending to be a ghost from the 17th century maybe. I was put off because the writers tended to say she was speaking in Old English which she wasn’t. She was speaking in OE, but in old fashioned English- post Shakesperian even- so it’s and early form of modern English. I have to remind myself that all language is simply a means of communicating, and as long as the words don’t foster miscommunication I shouldn’t get upset with other people’s choices of words. If I don’t initially understand, I can learn to understand how they are using terms.

I should get back to work. Having been sick last week, the house is even more of a pit than usual, and we’re still getting all the stuff that was brought up from four weeks of faire getting put away. Catching up when you’ve let things get messy is always a bitch.
This is one of my pictures- Lady Margaret (a very merry lady) I think Sir Bors’ wife. Next year they say we vendors will be given more interaction with the cast. That is something to which I look forward.
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When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. Albert Einstein

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