31 October 2014

Autumn Crazy

Prince Edward County is a crazy place to live in the summer. Crazy-beautiful. crazy-touristy, crazy-busy. Yet throughout it all, there is an understanding that come Autumn, the leaves will turn brilliant colours and things will slow the hell down. Apparently our lives did not get this memo (although the leaves did change colour).

September saw us hosting Stickfest, another Creative Rural Minds networking event, plus trips to Calgary (my sister's surprise wedding!) and Barrie for Culture Days, where we built a cardboard village with a few hundred strangers. 

October saw us hosting our annual Scarecrow Festival, and I dashed off to Toronto to work on Clay & Paper Theatre's Night of Dread as I do every year (great photos HERE).

Me & Sandra Henderson have been working on
Night of Dread together for 7 years!

Then there was the Picton Zombie Walk, presented in collaboration with the library, which has over the past four years turned into a hilariously family-oriented activity. 

Me and my ghoul-friends post-Zombie Walk

For months, Milé has been working on an epic painting project, To the Sound of Trumpets, commemorating the centenary of the start of WW1. 

The 100 paintings he's created have an incredible range both in content and style. The show opens in Picton November 11, 2014; details HERE, great article from the Toronto Star HERE.

November 15 is right around the corner, bringing with it the Firelight Lantern Festival. We're in the midst of hosting 20 lantern-making workshops all over the County, and planning a very special celebration for our community. A few days after that is over, I'm flying to Cambodia, bringing my project Puppets Without Borders to a group of 100 kids in collaboration with Let Us Create.

I have to admit, it has been a little much, all this muchness. When you're a freelance artist and a generally yes-minded person, it is difficult to say no to anything.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, as it were, it's time to get ready for winter. The firewood is piled high on the front porch. 

Yesterday I took down the silo banner. Normally our old banners get ripped up to be recycled into puppets and things, but I wasn't ready to say goodbye to this gorgeous woodpecker by Leanne Shea Rhem, so I hung him up in the barn.

A soft rain is falling today, and there are no appointments on my calendar. I'm going to sit by the wood stove and enjoy some peace and quiet. All this work provides much to reflect on. What I've been doing, and what all of these activities add up to. Snatched from the jaws of busy-ness, days like today are to be cherished.

Sumac against naked silo

23 October 2014


Four and a half year's ago, we had our first close encounter with a blackbird here at Small pond. Earlier this week, we were confronted with this slightly more intense sight right out of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds:

I had gone into the kitchen to get some water and a quick glance out the window revealed a bunch of birds on our front yard. I filled my glass and, while taking a long, cool drink, I looked outside again and realized that "bunch of birds" numbered in the dozens. I called out to Krista to come and look while I got my camera and by then it seemed there were hundreds gathering.

I couldn't get a great shot capturing the whole scene from inside the house, but I was worried opening the front door would scare them off. Krista thought they might be crows so I risked it and went outside and caught a few seconds of them on video before they took off.

Krista was watching through binoculars by now and it turns out they were Brewer's Blackbirds. Minutes later they were flying off in the distance behind the silo, heading east...

13 October 2014


Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, a day in which we take stock of all the things we're thankful for. I'm not too much into traditional holidays, but I can get behind this one. I am so grateful for the abundance of love and laughter that was on display this weekend at our annual Scarecrow Festival.

Families from far and wide came together to make their own scarecrows... and there were some very unique creations!

Proceeds from this year's festival are going to Puppets Without Borders, bringing puppetry and art to kids in Cambodia.

This is our fourth year hosting the Scarecrow Festival, and it is always a ton of fun.

Little-known fact: scarecrows make great travel companions!

We are grateful to our volunteers who helped us out this weekend: Terry Veevers, Debra Tindale, and Brie Kaduc-Stojsic (pictured below, right).

We are deeply thankful for our sponsors, who have supported this festival year after year: Picton Home Hardware, George Emlaw, and City Revival. We couldn't do it without you!

Special thanks to Sandra Sharpe (nee Clarke) who brought her two granddaughters to the festival. Sandra grew up in our house, which was in their family for more than 80 years. Sandra showed the girls around the house, telling them stories from her time here. We are thankful to have this special relationship with the Clarke family.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you to everyone who made this weekend such a tremendous success.