Heath Fair

120817 Heath Fair Banner

The Fair started for me Thursday evening when I dropped off my blanket and rug at the exhibition hall.  There were helpers everywhere and you could feel the excitement building.  They have this fair down to a science.  I was given labels that were already printed with my name and category, I attached the labels to the corner of my goods with the name hidden and handed them off to one of the many workers with the checkered aprons walking around the hall.  Then the waiting began.

For me part of the anticipation is not knowing what your competition is.  How many people weave and put their work in a small country fair? I know many people hook rugs but are there any around here that do?  Are they willing to haul them to a fair for a ribbon and maximum premium of $3.00?

Sister Sue and I made our way over about 10 AM Saturday.  The fairgrounds were bustling with activity.  We toured the sheep barn and the poultry/rabbit building.

130817 Heath Fair (4)

We ran into our friend Russell who told me he only won second place on the rocking horse he had made for his grandson. (The only category it fit into was Craft Other – I’m glad I wasn’t judging that one). After catching up with them for a bit we went to the Exhibition Hall to see how I did.  It took me a minute to figure out where the textiles were.  I was also amazed at how many people brought things to the fair.

130817 Heath Fair (5)

Blue Ribbon for my rug but the only other competition on this was a really beautiful woven rag rug.  Again, another difficult judging situation.

130817 Heath Fair (6)Then a blue ribbon for the blanket – woohoo!  There was a lot of weaving in the fair this year which actually surprised me.  Who knew I was surrounded by weavers and didn’t know it?  There’s another reason to compete at the fair – you get to know the competition and they are just like you.

Once we left the exhibition hall we made our way down the food lane and picked up some fried dough with Maple Cream from Hager’s Farm for breakfast (it’s sort of like a pancake right?).  With food in hand we watched the herding exhibition – with ducks.

130817 Heath Fair (8)

Then it was on to the main reason I was at the fair so early – Horse Draw.  I always plan my fair visits around this event.  The animals are stunningly beautiful and you can watch them doing what they are trained to do.

130817 Heath Fair (7)You also get to see the teamsters in action.

130817 Heath Fair (3)

These horses are very similar to dogs (except in size).  They are bred to pull, they have a job.  It’s the trainers job to teach them how to do it.  There are a lot of differences in how these horse’s people work with them and that’s the difference in how well they pull.  Early on in the draw you have a sense of who will win just by how they are handled by their drivers.

The competition was light in the 3,000 pound category.  There were 5 teams competing, 3 of the teams were from the same farm. There were 2 other fairs this weekend with horse draw competitions.

Honestly, one of the best parts of this event is sitting in the stand with all of the other interested parties.  This is redneck farmers at its best.  Horse people are an interesting lot (and sometimes a little scary to look at).  They joked about small wagers on a particular team.  Arguments ensued over who knows what and people were generous in their knowledge of the sport.  One explained in detail how the draw was measured and how the timing of each pull was handled.

130817 Heath Fair (2)Then there were also teamsters helping out teamsters if someone was short for a particular pull (competitors, helping competitors).  It’s all about the horses you see (at least to them).  They apparently don’t know that we’ve figured out that it’s their work, their temperament that is really what makes their team perform at their best.

When the pull was over we went home.  I returned later with the family – they wanted fair food for supper.  We watched a little of the truck pull before calling it a day.  The crowd was enormous – a sea of camouflage and dirty ball caps.  For a people watcher this was gold.

For me the fair concluded last evening when I picked up my entries and winnings.  I’ve concluded that the only way to see the fair is to compete in it.  You have skin in the game and every one around you knows it.  Now to start working on next years entries.

130818 Entries


Dyeing for Dragons

DyeIt always amazes me how one craft leads to another, then to another.  A few months ago I wrote about a dragon rug that I wanted to hook.  The design has been enlarged, next I will transfer it to the backing.  The problem with this project (and the fact that I am kind of a control freak) is the only way I can hook this the way I envision it is to dye my own wool.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because it’s something I’ve had a passing interest in.  This project just gave me the push to do it.

I’m not unrealistic in thinking that somehow this will magically be an easy thing to do but really the whole thing seems like a lot of fun to me.  Mixing colors, measuring, the accuracy of it all – I love that sort of thing so it will just add another dimension to my crafting abilities.  You can never know how to do too many things, right?

Yesterday I mixed up my basic colors, this coming weekend (or before) I will start with a simple recipe so I can get a feel for what it does – then it’s off to the races!

The dragon rug I envision is so much more than hand dyed wool – it’s hooked with sparkle and surface design and topped with a hand blown glass eye.  Visualizing this project has been more fun than any I’ve done in a while.  I want to do Mer’s drawing justice.

121202 Rug (3)I wonder if she visualized this in color as she drew it?

Snow Day



Today, while everyone had a miserable rainy day, we had another day of snow.  I had come up to be here when they changed the internet from satellite to DSL.  I went to bed after 11:30 last night and was seeing the moon peaking through clouds.  This morning there was about 6 inches on the ground at 7 a.m.  Verizon showed up about 9 and did a cursory drive through then called about a half hour later to say everything was all set.  I spent the next 4 hours trying to get it all to work.  It is now so I will stop complaining.

The snow is very heavy and wet.  Jay came to plow and had a difficult time moving it much of anywhere.  I shoveled a little and played with the dogs.  Chester was excited about the snow but now so much about how wet he got while he was in it.  The wind is really picking up now and it’s still coming down.

I have a nice fire going in the fireplace and think I may pour myself a glass of wine.  Then I will do a little rug hooking or read a good book.  There’s a lot to be said for a snow day.


Reflections on 2012

With the last day of days upon us and the end of the calendar year here as well I thought I would make a list of things that were important to me this year.  Then I thought I would post them with photos.

1. Daughter Caitlyn graduated from Springfield College with her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.120511 (15)

2.  Helped my father transition into assisted living.

120719 (19)

3.  Took over the care and feeding of Fort Pelham Farm.

120827 New Garden Morning

4.  Learned to hook rugs.


5.  Learned to weave.

Twill Towels (2)

6.  Gardened and canned in competition with sister Sue.

Fall Garden

7.  Loved my dogs.

120719 (5)

8.  Watched loons in a sunset on Lake Winnipesaukee.

120713 (10)

9.  Began blogging more about the past and present.

This Old House When It Was Newer

10. Got a little more serious about eating local food.  If I didn’t grow it much of it came from local farms.

120828 Cranberry Bean Instagram

The year has been a stressful one but out of that stress good things have come. I have learned a lot of things this year.

I’ve made an effort to learn new crafts and along the way I have met some truly amazing people.  Pottery was not mentioned in the list but I have to say that class taught me one thing I really needed to know.  I am not a potter, I will never be a potter, move on.  I spent great time with my sister this year including the aforementioned pottery class.  I laughed a lot.  I found out that there are a lot of crafts I know how to do but there are many things that I should stay away from.  Textiles are good for me, so is woodworking (your very basic kind).  Anything that you can measure and keep square works.  Pottery is so . . . uncontrolled.

I have learned that life is too short to have the past get in the way of renewing old friendships.  I have been reminded about this over and over and over again.  What’s done is done, move on.

I’ve learned that digging in the dirt will clear your head faster than anything else I can think of, plus you end up with something good to eat.

Sometimes you just have to ignore all of the noise.  Rowe is the best place in the world for that.  No cell service.  We do have wifi and currently tv but I think after the first of the year the tv will go.  There are always the DVDs.

The next 11 days will be spent disconnected from work, internet, the outside world.  What I’m really afraid of is not wanting to come back.