Friday, September 25, 2009

Crazy Summer

Our summers tend to be very busy, and 2009 was no exception. We had a wonderful staff at Bluemont but money is tight so the staff was a little smaller and there is just so much to do! We put on 67 concerts and special events in 9 communities. We started with Scott Ainslie, an old friend and one of my favorite musicians on this planet - that's Scott above, performing on the steps on Dodona Manor in Leesburg. We finished up the summer concert season with April Verch, a Canadian fiddler & step dancer who delighted us all. The other high points for me were working once again with Eric Brace & Last Train Home and the Junkyard Saints of Baltimore. A whole lot of wonderful music.

But there is always time to enjoy the music.

On the home front, we got to see a lot of our girls, especially Lily Rose, as she agreed to come work for Bluemont, one last summer. Here she is giving away the doorprizes at a Leesburg concert, with Desiree's able assistance and a few small volunteers. Hannah was in Belize until mid-July, working on the Coral-Edventures project again, doing some coral reef research and teaching at an ecology camp for local kids. Ruby had a summer internship at NYAC in Washington DC.

Healthwise, this summer was a little rocky. I developed iritis in my left eye in mid-June, and while it was mild and resolved fairly quickly, as soon as it was all better, I had iritis in my right eye! I have had iritis numerous times - it is one of the common symptoms of reactive arthritis - but never one eye after another like this. And then in August I got shingles. I was appalled when the doctor told me what the funny rash on my back and left hand was, but it proved to be a mild case and turned around with one dose of anti-viral medication. The lesions are very slow to heal, though - I can still see them on my hand 6 weeks later.

Also, Peter landed in the hospital in August with blood clots in his lung. They kept him a week while they pumped him full of coumadin and waited for it to take effect. We are still looking for the cause of the blood clots - after many tests and visits with our GP, the next appointment will be with a hemotologist. But it's lucky he went to the ER - we were told that 50% of people with pulmonary embolisms don't make it to the hospital. Reality check!

I headed off to Colorado in September to teach some classes in Colorado Springs. First I spent almost a week in the Boulder area, visiting my nephew Miles and his kids. The photo above is from my morning walk around a small pond a few blocks from Miles' house. My sister Carolyn came out with her daughter Jodie and we did a modest yarn crawl - 3 stores in 2 days - and got Jodie sucked into the knitting vortex to boot. We went to Mew Mew's Yarn Shop, Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins and The Recycled Lamb

Here is the family portrait - from L to R, me, Jodie, Caleb, Miles & Carolyn, with Josh in front.
I really enjoyed getting to know Miles & his kids. He's a wonderful Dad and a great guy.

Through a kind introduction from Joanne Seiff, I went up to Longmont on the Sunday to meet up with Deb Robson & Donna Druchunas. We knitted and chatted and got to know one another a bit - it was a delightful afternoon; one of the high points of my trip. Then I took a drive from Longmont over to Lyons where I explored a great quilt shop and then drove up a windy road through part of S. St. Vrain Canyon. As I drove up into the rocks & trees it felt like a cool drink of water and I realized that i had been in plane/car/suburban town for days and days. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and I'm used to a regular dose of forest & mountain; it was so refreshing.

Then it was down to Colorado Springs for a week to teach a 3 day 18th Century Linens weaving class for the Pikes Peak Weavers Guild. I also had the pleasure of being the program for their monthly meeting; I sang my Cottage to the Factory program of old songs relating to sheep, spinning & weaving, and threw in an old ballad and a love song for good measure. I also taught Shetland Lace & Aran Knitting for a day at Green Valley Weavers & Knitters in Colorado Springs.

Here are the intrepid linen weavers, after 3 long days of weaving fine threads!
Next class we'll take the photo at the beginning of the workshop...

This is the view west from Weldon & David's ranch - if it were clearer, you would see Pike's Peak. It's a beautiful place out on the high desert plain east of Colorado Springs. They have 160 acres and about 100 beasts of all kinds: cattle, horses, alpacas, sheep, goats, turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, 3 pigs and numerous cats dogs & birds. A lively and busy ranch. I took a lot of animal photos - here are the sheep. Weldon was a wonderful host and it really was great having fresh goat's milk every day - now, if I can just figure out how to make that work at home.

After a week in & around Colorado Springs, I went back to Boulder for a few days before I left. Here is my new best friend and great nephew Josh while out for a walk with his favorite creatures.

And I'll leave you with the Fenn men, heading for home.