Tuesday, September 27, 2005

fall chores and adventures

The rain yesterday knocked down most of the gladioli. Ann cut an armful of them and we have gorgeous flower arrangements in nearly every room! Most of the glads we have are a brilliant salmon colour, some a pale yellow, and a couple a varieagated yellow and pink.

The rain also overran the top of the stairwell to the basement, so we had another little flood. Being a sunny day today, I was able to open windows and doors and try to dry up the basement a bit.

The problem is that in adding gravel to the drive, someone raised the grade such that it pours into the basement via the stairwell at the side of the house. It would really be a simple matter (except for the back-breaking-digging part) to lay a drain--it could even be quite beautiful, like a dry river bed, leading away from the side of the house, to empty out downhill, like at the laneway. Hmnnn...

I spent most of the day cleaning up the greenhouse and bringing in tender plants. I really want the New Zealand flax to survive the winter. It would be nice if the fuschia, geranium, etc. survive too, but I really have my heart set on the flax! The flax, Phormium 'Rainbow Maiden', striped pinkish red, was stunning with Sinningia 'Apricot Bouquet', Helichrysum 'Limelight', and Ipomoea 'Blackie', in a pair of large pots on the back deck this summer. I got all these plants on a very snowy cold day this past spring from Marjorie Mason Hogue, and I have been very pleased.

Yes!! The automated venting system in the greenhouse is working (the electrician fixed the fuse problems way back in July). Now we need someone in to look at the heating.

On Saturday, I went with a new acquaintance, Betty, to Minden, to see the display of tartans. Betty has been weaving and spinning for years. She was our guide. The Haliburton Handweavers and Spinners Guild meet in Pritchard House in Minden. They not only had quite a selection of tartans on display, but several different pieces featuring the Haliburton tartan. There was a very charming piper, who was also very knowledgeable about tartans, and even very sensitive to colour-coordination problems with his particular tartan. Of course they also served shortbread (YUM!!), other pastries, tea and coffee. And I am probably mistaken, here, but I do believe the lovely couple who were the guests of honour, well into their 90's, were Pritchards themselves??

The Haliburton Handweavers and Spinners Guild also maintains a gift shop in the same building, filled with very high-quality hand crafted items, of quite a variety. They were even doing the Red Hats thing and had a few amusing pieces related to that.

Then we went to the Agnes Jamieson Gallery. They were featuring pieces from each of the artists who will be on the Haliburton Studio Tour coming up. There were also several very charming pieces by gallery members, young and old, amateur and very accomplished.

We popped into a small gallery and gift shop off Main St. and then we drove to Kinmount. The craft and artisans shop there did not excite me as much as all the places we stopped in Minden.

Betty took us by "back roads" back to her home where we had left our cars: Pinery Road goes through a re-forested area of pine trees along the Burnt River; then Betty pointed out a creek which goes underground for several hundred feet and resurfaces near(can't recall if it flows into or out of) Four Mile Lake.

Betty has a calico cat and she shared with me a little sex-linked genetic tidbit (that was one of the facts I did remember from highschool--or was it university -- genetics): you can tell the sex of a calico cat from a hundred yards. It's female! Always!

Betty's house is also full of sheep -- the easy-care kind -- knickknacks. Of what I did see of her house, I was jealous. One room was mostly taken up by a big loom, with a vest project in progress. On towels in the sun room which faces the water, gold and greenish yellow bits of fleece dyed with marigold were drying. In a corner there was a spinning wheel and everywhere more fabrics that were obviously handcrafted by Betty herself.

Betty herself is a charming, soft-spoken woman with stories and knowledge of the area that made my day a most pleasant one! Next time, I'll use the notebook I brought along, and write things down! Terrible to rely on such a poor memory for names!


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