fields are burning

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is it settling down?

Hello loyal readers! I won't apologize for not writing in so long, it has piqued your curiosity I hope. Matt and i are living in Fayetteville, Arkansas now. It has been about a month so far, so I will catch you up on the end of our travels.

Minneapolis was a great visit, and after leaving the cities we headed east towards Wisconsin where we visited for a few days with friends. These friends are living on a farm growing veggies and hogs, and the growing season was just starting to hop when we were there, in June. The highlight of that visit was a square dance held in our honor! (A convenient excuse for a party!) It was held at a lovely little home with a spring fed watering system for the garden and simply beautiful setting. I highly recommend southwest Wisconsin for a scenic drive, and if you are lucky enough to know anyone there, a more lengthy stay. A cool part about these particular friends is that 3 of them went to my same college, which is a tiny little school in North Carolina. One guy I had not seen since graduation, and it was good to catch up. All of us are musicians so we played a tune or two, and also went to see music out on the town (a town on 4,000).

Of course we headed back to the center of our traveling orbit, St. Louis, next. This is where we decided to move to Arkansas (insert Arkansas joke here). Why you ask? Well, it is beautiful, a change of pace, and I am enrolling in a year long community college program for an accounting certificate. After that we shall see...

The two of us jetted down to our new town, to do some house sitting, then Matt immediately found work, doing remodeling work on a friend's rental house. Amazing! I then went to another house sitting gig, a fun one because it involved caring for pigs, sheep, dogs, and a kitty. Then up again to St. Louis to get some of our junk to fill out our lovely apartment! After I returned, about 3 weeks ago, we have just been settling in, I doing a bit of work at the same house Matt is on--mostly electrical and painting--and looking for other work. Happily I have found a temp job at the University (the biggest employer in the region and literally next to our apartment) working as a bookstore host during the beginning of the school year. Hey, it's a start!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Twin Cities!

Hello! Matt and I are having fun around the cities, with highlights being a wedding on Saturday and square dancing on Monday. When M lived up here he was in a clogging group (The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers) and many of our friends up here are in the group currently. In a month they have a tour scheduled in Latvia and France and are therefore busily preparing for their adventure. The square dance is a biweekly event and this past one was a fundraiser for the Geese and their tour, and they did a demo during the break--nice stuff!

The wedding was of two of the cloggers and of course there was music and fun dancing (in addition to a great potluck and charming ceremony), pics to come!

swimming at the cabin

Jackie, Matt, and I went for a chilly swim during our stay at the cabin--refreshing and brief!

Friday, May 29, 2009

St. Charles contest

Matt placed third at a fiddle contest we attended in St. Charles that was held in conjunction with Lewis and Clark Days. It was a lovely day and the contest was held up by a passing parade in full period clothing--lots of drums and whistles! He is shown accepting his award in a gazebo, which is where the contestants played. The $50 prize paid our way to Minnesota.

Missouri fiddle contests

Before we left the St. Louis area we went to several fiddle contests, where we got to meet up with some out of town friends (I guess we are out of town now :) and hear some great music. Saturday was at Stovall's, an old dance hall/tavern in Wildwood, MO with lots of character and tasty BBQ. This contest was put on by the Missouri Fiddlers Country Music Association, of which Vesta and Steve Hall are the main organizers. Lots of great talent! The photos are of Matt and I playing then of the 1st thru 3rd place open division winners with Steve on the bass, plus one of Matt and Vesta.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

to the great white north!

Yesterday we returned from a great trip up to the Cartier cabin near Longville, MN on Maple Lake. It was a good crew with us, Bruce (M's dad) and Theresa (step mom) of course plus Nicole (half sis) was home from England and Jackie (half sis) suprised her by flying in from DC. Saturday we arrived around noon and made ourselves right at home by swimming in the lake (cold!), canoeing around, and generally relaxing. Soon, though, preparations began for a party to break in the new and lovely patio that was freshly poured.

My contribution was a pleasure to make as it involved the most glorious of mushrooms, the morel! They are becoming somewhat of a theme for we are following the spring and that is their time. What happened is that a big wind storm knocked down a tree behind Bruce and Theresa's, landing on a fence. Upon inspecting the damage Matt looked down and the floor was covered in morels! They were several days old but amazingly they were beautifully dried right on the ground, with minimal insect damage. They smelled great. We collected up the best ones, a dozen or more, and packed them up to the cabin. I made a morel cream sauce over pasta, very well recieved!

Matt and I stayed up at the lake for a few days after the others returned on Sunday, filling our time with canoe rides, fishing, and croquet. Amazingly the weather hold all the days we were there and it started raining as we left. A great time!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Following the spring

Hello! We have arrived in Minnesota after a two day trek along the great river road, next to the Mississippi River. It was awesome through Wisconsin! As a special bonus we passed a sign for a cidery and could not pass up the chance to sample our favorite beverage--Maiden Rock Cidery did a good job of creating old world style ciders. It was super windy during our final 2 hours, with a huge amount of dust in the air and low visibility. Up here they just had a day of heat that broke the record by 8 degrees!

So we were in the St. Louis region about a week but most of it for me was spent recovering from the mean giardia bug, aka 'beaver fever'. Not pleasant! Luckily it cleared up quickly after taking the medicine I was prescribed, and I had a very comfy place to recover--my folk's house! It was also the weekend of Winefest, a festival that my parents have volunteered with since we moved to Washington, MO, and luckily I was feeling better, well enough to sample the lovely Missouri wines.

St. Louis we stayed in for two nights and did some visiting with a variety of folks. Our host on the north side were so kind, and their gardens are looking great! I forgot to take photos :{ Matt and I got some much needed exercise too, on the riverfront bike trail up along the river.

Hope everyone is doing well out there!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jig Dance!

Hell all, here are some photos from the fun dance that Matt and I attended at the Taney Center in Forsyth, MO. Lots of couple's dancing and of course squares. The band is Ashley Hull, who studied with Bob Holt, and our favorites Kim on guitar and Jim on banjo. No pics of squares 'cause we had to dance them all! The dancing photos are of the final number, a jig dance, the traditional ending of a Missouri square! The man taking photos in the striped shirt is a journalist from PBS who showed up and did a few interviews.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

moving on north

Hello friends and family! We are sitting in gloriously tacky Branson on our way to a square dance in southern MO. After successfully retrieving our van we spent a few more pleasant days in Fayetteville, where thankfully the rain dried up for a day or two and we could again bike around. We busted a hole in the wall thru Skye and Paul's kitchen into the living room to open up the space, and it was a fun and dusty project.

Leaving Fayetteville we headed out to beautiful Sweden Creek Farm to visit our mushroom growing friends Curly and Carole Anne. Check them out at great old tunes! The farm is amazing, tucked back into the Arkansas hills. We played tunes, ate fabulous food, and got to go on a hike to a Nature Conservancy protected area adjacent to their property. The goal of the hike was to check out the 100' waterfall which we did, and it was beautiful!

Happily around the bend from Sweden Creek was Way Out junkyard specializing in old VWs--it was serendipitous as we had a few pressing needs including a side mirror and a pad to finish our bed in the van, both of which we found quickly in the tidy junkyard. The owner was planning on leaving the next day for a cruise so we timed it just right! A super resource. We spent the night camping in the van for the first time last night and it was comfortable and of course kept the small amount of rain off of us! The van is stained by red red clay which is aggravating as it is very sticky.

So the goal of this current round of traveling is to scout out a new place to live. Fayetteville rated highly and it just might be the place we move. Highlights of the town include a good farmer's market, a community bike shop, urban biking trails, a VW mechanic, a food co-op, a university, beautiful surroundings, affordable, and several old time musicians. It is a little small and somewhat remote. A nice place!