Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Festival Season 2012: visting the Fairy Lake Artisan's Festival

Last Sunday I drove 20 or so  minutes north to Newmarket and the Fairy Lake Artisan's Festival. I knew two local artists exhibiting there and I wondered if I would know anyone else. Looking up info about the show I found out it's 15 years old. That's usually a pretty good sign.
As it turned out, there were artisans from out of town and that is another sign of a decent show. You don't travel for nothing.
Or you hope so anyway.
I recognized Out of Ruins, an Ottawa fused glass company and The Funky Clothesline, a tie-dye clothing company,  both have been around about a decade.
I remember when each of them started doing shows.
The fact that I saw artisans from out of town told me something about the calibre of this show. I've only lived here a little over a year and I had no idea this was going on or I probably would have applied to be there. But that's ok too, as this is my summer of visiting shows in the area, shows I've always wanted to see like Muskoka and Haliburton, which were just that-much-too-far from me when I lived in Ottawa to leisurely drive there for a visit. And then there are other shows like The Purple Turtle Art Festival  and the Eaglewood Folk Festival which are nearby and completely unknown to me. 

First signage for Fairy Lake show on Bayview in Newmarket
It was a relief to see the first sign telling me I am in the right place. The day after the market I am kind of a basket case so this sort of directional marker is very welcome.

cops at the entrance to the show directing traffic: peds, canines and cars
Walking over to the show I kept passing big clumps of people, almost crowd-like, and when I reached where I had to cross I was astounded to see traffic cops directing all manner of traffic. Was this show that busy, I wondered?
security at the entrance to turn away would-be car-parkers no doubt
This security volunteer guy was like a military sentry. He never wavered while executing his Duty..
this is Fairy Lake in Newmarket, Ontario
Fairy Lake turns out to be a real lake afterall, not just a lets-put-a-water-feature-in-town-for-the-tourists kind of thing. They are rehabilitating the shoreline and further down, past the show itself I came across people fishing. I plan to go back there and set a while over the summer.

Very bright and bold sign exorting us to ENJOY! OK.

The show was bigger than I thought it would be.
more booths
In fact it went on
and more booths
and on.

The level of artisanal work was pretty high. Seemed like the first day of the two day show was the best as it dove-tailed with the Newmarket Farmer's Market on Saturday. The crowds were huge I was told and people were buying things. On the Sunday the sky threatened to open up and the air was heavy and humid. It was a strolling-by day. I did take a few business cards myself and if my year continues to progress well I hope to get something very special made in the fall.
ATM on wheels; looks crafty!  Who wouldn't want a trailer like this?
The ATM cracked me up. This set-up on wheels just looked so do-able but imagine what you'd have to do to actually do this? I met someone ages ago who was one of the first guys to bring ATMs to events. It was such a novelty, but none of his were as stylish as this little number. I would have liked to have seen an airstream trailer beside it.
bye bye

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Good Earth

I have a community garden.
3 transplanted Crimson Red Watermelon.
All my transplants are taking root (new perky leaves)
but none have started to take off and grow grow grow yet
I haven't had a garden of my very own in a few decades. I've done what I could but it was either too far away, or too shady, or too small. The last one I created was mowed down by the rental complex's gardener guy so I really gave up then. This garden is a short 5-10 minute walk, pretty much around the corner from me. It's not too full of gardeners. The plot is a decent size: 18' x 18' and the price is right: $25 for the season. If we're still here next year I will probably garden two plots; one with the goal of selling its bounty at the farmer's market... but I am wayyyyyy ahead of myself.

It was a bit discouraging at the beginning, about 2 weeks ago.   
first look at my garden plot: full grown weeds
I got the call to come get my garden well into June. I thought the plans for the garden had fallen through but what happened was that the farmer who tills our soil is a double amputee and he broke one of his prosthetic legs and/or his tilling equipment was on the fritz. Whatever the story, the garden was untilled when I got it. Bad. And the soil is... yep, clay.
clay soil as it came off my shovel
Heavy clay. And it's been pretty dry so the clay is really tough to dig into and the weeds are HUGE.   

But I thought just dig where you're going to plant and plant your stuff, you can pretty it up after. So I did, and I didn't wreck my body either. Surprisingly, after the first day I was very sore and then it was gone. Since then I haven't been in much pain at all from the digging. I start to clean out the garden tomorrow though. The thistles (eek!) are really coming back as is that crab grass and of course the dandelions. My seeds need me on their side to keep their beds as clean as I can.
Already I've had growing success! I planted all my seeds last Friday June 8th. We had heavy rain yesterday and the day before and overnight. Before the rain my Sparkler Radishes had peeped up.
Sparkler Radishes germinated in 2 days
I think some of the lettuce came up too: Kweik Butterhead Lettuce. Hard to tell though as it takes until the first set of leaves sometimes to recognize that that thing growing is a veggie and not a weed.


  I was presented with a lot of this kind of thing today  See image above... lots of these guys everywhere I planted stuff.

And in my northern climate I am trying a few experimental things. I am growing tomatoes directly seeded into the ground. I am waiting for them to germinate unless they already have (see paragraph above). The tomatoes I am trying are called Cosmonaut Volkov, a Ukrainian variety said to produce until the frost. Also directly seeded at Chinese 5 Colour Hot Pepper and Hungarian Hot Black Pepper. I think the 5 Colour Peppers are up. I don't think the Hungarian Black Pepper is.
inside Richter's Herbs greenhouse
I visited Richter's Herbs and bought a packet of rare seeds: Areni Jumbo Striped Banana Squash. 6 seeds per packet. Squash two feet long. The mound holding the seeds had a giant crack in it where some very vigorous thing is pushing up from below.
Like judging the size of a dog by the size of its puppy-paws, I await the debut of the Jumbo Squash seed leaves. I'm a little scared truth be told. Luckily the garden behind mine is empty so I envision pushing the giant vines over there if they are jumbo-sized too.

My Muncher Cucumbers are up! 4 little guys are enjoying the sun.
Muncher Cucumbers

Not seen yet: dill, yellow patty pan squash, Minnesota midget cantaloupe, shallots, and potatoes.
Black Valentine Bush Bean
Other things (possibly up): white kohlrabi, parsnips, purple outside/orange inside carrots, baby finger eggplant (also direct seeded!),  and beets.
Carrots? Parsnips? Peppers? Tomatoes? Eggpplant? Lettuce? or just weeds?? Everything just looks like this right now.

Tomorrow I am hoeing, trying to stymie the growth of the weeds. I may dig. I may not. I'd love to smother with black plastic the aisles where I walk to get rid of the weeds but it's not my permanent garden. If it was, I would definitely do that. I don't mind fighting the weeds. The whole thing is such a pleasure.

One more thing, this community garden requires us to grow a row for the local seniors. I've got 5 brussel sprouts and 4 cauliflowers and 1 broccoli planted for this purpose. These are all things I've never grown and probably wouldn't grow so I get the joy of watching them all season too.

This garden satisfies me in the same place that making art does.
weeds in pavement
It's in that same place. No wonder I've fallen so in love with it and feel like none of it is work at all.

It is just pure joy.