12 March, 2017 Guest blogger, Maple Festival 2017, Pony Pasture deer – A blog post in three parts:
Part 1, Guest blogger, my niece Wren:
The Maple Festival
The Maple Festival is a place where you meet people who inspire you to be your best self. For example take the man on the right, his name in Nathan Jenkins, “The Bodging Bigfoot.” He is one of the nicest, and most interesting people I have ever met. Nathan makes wooden products. (I assume you have seen Jay’s spurtle). Jay and I met him about two years ago, and now he is one of our favorite reasons for coming to the festival. The first year we met him I purchased a tiny wooden spoon that I used to feed my fish food with. Last year I bought two baby rattles for my baby cousin Wesson. Just yesterday I got another spoon (bigger than the first). I asked Nathan to engrave his initials on it so I could remember his name. (Jay reminded me his initials are NJ which is like New Jersey where Evelyn’s mother lives). In conclusion I will say live life to its fullest and be yourself, for only you can be your own self.
On our way to the Highland County Maple Festival I asked Wren if she’d take pictures, pick one she enjoyed, and write a paragraph for today’s blog post. Strictly optional – the reason we go to the Maple Festival is to have fun. And look at the picture she took and the paragraph she wrote. You couldn’t buy a better souvenir than this for a million dollars.
This is Nathan’s card:
“Bodging” – I’d never heard of it until Maple Festival, 2017. Here’s a definition: “Bodging is a traditional woodturning craft, using green (unseasoned) wood to make chair legs and other cylindrical parts of chairs.” Who knew? Go to the Maple Festival, enhance your vocabulary.
Wren and her sisters and I first attended the Maple Festival in 2008. Here is a picture of her in 2008 followed by one her dad (my brother Kevin) took when we got home yesterday. Wren is wearing blue in both pictures:
I’m not a father, so I don’t have kids of my own to watch while they’re growing up. So I am constantly astounded that these people keep coming along. That first I just have my brother who is a few years younger than me, and all the members of my large family have been through so many experiences together. And we’ve aged together and in sometimes (not always) even matured, and we’ve been through the joys of new children, some of whom are now new adults, and we’ve been through the sorrows of losing both of our parents, and through the joys of graduations, of weddings, of trips together, of new pets, and we’ve even been through tons of the boring parts of life that nobody ever writes about – that’s when you really get to know people.
Part 2, Maple Festival 2017
We’re always so welcome – these people who only see us once each year always welcome us like familiar neighbors they’ve known their entire lives. 2008 was our first year, and I don’t think we’ve missed a year since. Nathan (I’m talking with him in the picture at the top) we just met a couple of years ago. Now he’s the first person we go see as soon as we arrive and eat breakfast. If you go to the Maple Festival, for me there is one breakfast: buckwheat pancakes with butter and Highland County maple syrup. Then we go find Nathan. The first year we met him he made me a “spurtle” – a wooden stick for stirring porridge and oatmeal – while we watched. And last year he made an improved version, and this year I bought one he’d already made.
Except for the picture Wren took with me talking with Nathan, this is my favorite. The guy is a born teacher:
We moseyed around Monterey itself for a few more hours before we headed south to visit Fair Lawn Farm. Our first year, 2008, my only picture is from breakfast. This was what I wrote in 2008: “On the first weekend of the 2008 Highland Maple Festival – the Fiftieth Annual – we saw, with the exception of hazy hot and humid, every weather Virginia has to offer. So during a great day outdoors, the only picture we took was indoors! We saw pouring rain, a huge flash of lightning, a roar of thunder, 45 minutes of crisp, clear, sunlight, a thirty minute long raging blizzard, and 60 mph winds – all in twelve hours, all in the same small town in the mountains of western Virginia. And we had buckwheat pancakes and fresh maple syrup!” But in 2009 I have four pictures, including one inside the syrup making building at Fair Lawn Farm. Here it is:
That was the first time we heard Tim Duff speak about how they make syrup, and I realized we’d met another great teacher! Tim puts on a one man show, fielding questions and making syrup. He is constantly engaged, alternately listening and talking, but always smiling. I’m an awful indoor photographer but here’s Tim this year:
Wren was outside exploring the grounds while I was warming up inside, smelling the sweet smell of boiling maple syrup while I learned more about how it’s made. Wren came back and tugged on my sleeve and said “there’s two people from Bridgewater Rescue Squad out here!” So I came out and she introduced us – these were two long time volunteers who had been friends with mom and dad for decades and knew them well! They told us how sorry they were when mom died, and a bunch of cute stories about when they’d worked with her and dad years ago. It was so, so sweet and warm.
I’ve run out of time for this blog post long before I’ve run out of either enthusiasm or pictures, but I can’t write and play with pictures all night. I don’t know if this will be posted in time for Wren to see her handiwork before she goes to sleep! But she can see it in the morning. I would sign off now but I got a couple of cute deer pictures at Pony Pasture Tuesday and I want to put them up.
Before that – one more thing – at last year’s Maple Festival, Wren and I were driving around and I saw my first ever American Kestrel perched on a wire. I got a moderately good photograph; you can see it on that Maple Festival blog post if you click it. At this year’s Maple Festival, I saw my second ever American Kestrel! Amazing. The picture isn’t gorgeous but it’s also not terrible:
Can’t resist a bluebird either:
Part 3, Pony Pasture deer
A few pictures from our hike Tuesday:
See you next week! All best! Thanks for the excellent trip Wren!