Wednesday, October 29, 2014

west virginnie

Great Leopard Moth
This post is several months overdue, so I figured it might not matter if I started it with a photo of a beautiful moth.  I figure any post is a win if I can fit either insects or fungi into the flow of things...We saw this one on our way to Brandywine, West Virginia, where we visited our friend Freeman's family farm, and the site of this year's Silver Baby Cup yard golf tournament.  Yes, it continues, and yes, it is being played in the mountains, gullies and streams of West Virginia.

Seneca Rocks
The farm is on the other side of the state from us, up a long dirt road with several creek crossings. For me it is the picture of a hardscrabble mountain farm, tucked way back in a valley. Er, holler. It is incredibly beautiful and remote, with clear-running water...Freeman grew up for many years on this farm, and his sister and her family live there now.  Having won last year's Silver Baby Cup means Freeman's hosting this year. We visited with them this summer to help them prepare for the tournament, which is taking place this weekend, rain (snow) or shine!

our hosts

lookin' for balls
Look what I found instead!!! Dung beetles!!
kid central
Ani and Baby, looking for berries

prickly pear for a wound
Echium vulgare: Viper's Bugloss
Common Milkweed

That there's the new bridge, built to reach one of the greens.  In all, I think the guys built three bridges, cleared several greens (or got them on their way), and dug an outhouse in the couple days we were there.  There is also a stretch of cleared space for tent city (they're expecting quite a crowd this year) and plans for a pavilion that will house an outdoor kitchen.  I can't wait to see it all now, transformed into a golfing wonderland...

gotta try it out, ya know

building The Bridge to Nowhere

Cleaning out the outbuildings, pouring over old letters;
this one is from 1890
exploring the creek

These pictures are reminding me of the dusty smell of warm grass and the longing for a breeze.  My feet are warm in my wool slippers as I sit here writing this, but the forecast is for cold this weekend, which will be made warmer by stoking the fire, hiking around after the golfers, sipping hot toddies and, if you're a kid, runningrunningrunning in a pack that will swell to about 25 for the length of the tournament.   This peaceful farm will be transformed for a few days, and it will be An Event, that is for certain.  See you on the other side...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Honey for the Heart Parade!

Finally, the day of the parade!  Our friend Jason generously crafted these wings for Eliza, that actually move in and out, so we spent Saturday decorating them!  (Look! It's me! On the blog!)

As the day progressed, I watched Ani start to tank...until she didn't have much voice or energy and I knew things were bad when she decided she probably couldn't take all the walking - to the parade, in the parade and home from the parade - that participating would demand.  In our family's usual style, we all took part in this event but separately: the girls and I spent hours creating these last three weeks, and Dan spent all day Saturday there, helping with whatever needed finishing, and figuring out how to add some music to the parade.  Eliza decided she had enough energy to walk, and really didn't want to miss the parade, so I took her up to meet Dan, drove home, and then... popped in a Garfield for Ani and ran up to take a few pictures.  She really wanted to see if her puppet head made it into the parade...

Here they come! This might be my favorite moment every year, seeing them approaching. 

There's Dan! In the white suit...

Mantis buddies 

There it is! Ani's mask!!

There is so much joy and hard work that goes into this parade, and I feel such gratitude for this offering, for the people we met while hanging out doing papier mache, for the confidence I see growing in my kids, for the awesome spirit of the event!! The core group of artists give all of themselves for these three weeks, and I hope they'll do it again next year.   It is magical.

The one piece that was disappointing was that there seemed to be a lack of communication with the organizers of the uptown block party event, who decided to block the street with a huge sound stage, forcing the parade to divert around the block onto a much tinier street before continuing up towards the campus green.  It felt unwelcoming.  My guess is that it was just an oversight, but it was a downer, knowing how much energy and effort had been made for this beautiful parade.  I was proud to see how many folks had shown up - in addition to the Halloween revellers - to show support and enjoy the fun!!