Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Road to Art

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are lots of arts and craft shows to attend, now that winter has supposedly disappeared.

Today we took in the Art Journey Show and Sale in Smiths Falls.  It's an annual event held at the Memorial Community Centre, and apparently this year they have several new artists.

There is a wide variety of talent presented at this show. We not only found paintings in many different styles and mediums, we also found photography, pottery, jewelry, wood carvings
and turnings, as well as folk art made from iron.  It's not a large show, but it was well attended.

It's interesting to see how Helen Nicholson seems to like to try to incorporate familiar faces such as Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Cash or Joan Rivers into her paintings of otherwise everyday scenes.

The artist who's work captured my attention today was Margaret Martin, who joined the group last fall. The works she showed today, were more interesting to me than the ones shown on the Art Journey webpage. I was especially taken with the one of a living room, complete with a bookcase full of books in the background.

If you missed this show this year, then perhaps you can catch some of the others around the area in the upcoming months. A few that I know of are:

1.  The 416 Art Kruze between Kemptville and Cardinal June 6 & 7.  We have never done this tour, but might try to combine it with a little geocaching along the way this year, if the weather is favorable.

2. Another one I've never been to, but am certainly looking forward to exploring this year is Artfest Kingston.  It's taking place between July 1 and 4 at the City Park in Kingston. This one seems to incorporate the art of music as well as the visual arts. You can even participate in workshops, or help paint a mural.  Even the kids can get involved! A sunset dinner cruise is also available in July 2.  

3.  The 17th Annual Rideau Lakes Studio and Garden Tour, July 4 &5 which basically goes from Portland to Chaffey Locks and beyond, through the back country.  It's a lovely drive, with many interesting stops along the way.  If you have never done a studio tour, this is a great one to start with.

4. And for those who don't like to drive all over to see the artist studios, you can find a lot of great art all together at the 5th annual Art in the Barn Show and Sale, at the Lombardy Fair Grounds 5 km south of Smiths Falls on Hwy 15. That will be held on July 10-12 this year. I understand they have expanded to take in a second building as well this year.  This show is always a favorite of ours, even if we don't get to go exploring to find the artists.  Don't miss it!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Are You Ready for the Worst?

This week I've been reading a book called The Jakarta Pandemic, by Steven Konkoly.   It is, of course,  about a world wide epidemic...a pandemic. A new, and very fast spreading flu bug is especially dangerous to normally healthy young adults. People are dying at an alarming rate, and others are avoiding their jobs and in some cases, other people entirely.  You can just imagine what that sudden shortage of workers would do to society. Fuel and food chains break down, and normally civilized people go on a rampage, out of sheer desperation. Coincidentally, I just discovered that this is actually Emergency Preparedness Week

We have all seen the articles about how to prepare for emergencies. There are lists of things you should have on hand, to get you through the tough times when disasters strike. They try not to mention the sort of panic that appears in this novel, but with today's media access it's hard to have missed news stories of looting and riots.

During the ice storm of 1997, we all had to make do with what we had on hand, and some of us had very little warning to stock up our pantries.  Luckily for me, we were only out of power here for five days and five nights, but I know some who had no power in the dead of winter for a good 28 days.  When I went to the store for the last minute stock up, I just brought home a few extras of things that we commonly use around here.  I remember my hubby asking, "Is that all you want?"  I told him I wanted to be sure to leave some for other people.  In this book, the few people who did get to the stores on time managed to wipe out the stock in no time. Others became desperate rather quickly, and that's when the trouble starts. The book is making me think about things that could happen if an emergency lasted a long time, or if the nature of the problem escalated into creating more and more problems.  I think I'd rather be better prepared and will now take a more serious look at the lists created by those who understand just how bad things could get.

What have you done to prepare yourself for a possible emergency situation?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Find Something New at a Farmer's Market

At long last spring seems to have finally arrived. The fat robins are pulling worms from the ground, birds are singing, or scolding me, depending on what I'm doing, and the fields are absolutely full of geese.  The crocuses bloomed and now it's daffodil time, and I even see the buds on the trilliums are developing nicely. Nothing says spring like being able to go outside to enjoy nature, without having to bundle up first.

Something else we have had to live with out all winter will also be back soon too.  In fact, I found one at what used to be Landsdowne Park in Ottawa  last weekend.  A Farmer's Market was open inside the Aberdeen Pavilion. That building is just about all I recognized from the old exhibition grounds. All kinds of new, modern buildings have sprung up recently.  I am so glad they didn't tear down the old Cattle Castle.

We discovered there was new parking below ground, just as you turn off Bank Street into this new Landowne project. There was lots of space and while it cost us $6, that isn't bad when you consider what the hospital parking lots in that city dare to charge.
I had discovered there was going to be a maple festival at that location on Sunday, and since we missed attending both the one in Delta and Perth this year due to other commitments, we decided to take this in.  As it turned out, it just meant that several of the vendors at the Farmer's Market were featuring their maple products.

While there I discovered an area tea company  that I never knew about before. DiversiTea has some interesting flavours.  The Salted Toffee one is calling to me. That would be like having dessert without the calories.

The Milkhouse Farm and Dairy from the Smiths Falls area was selling cheese, lamb and wool. Obviously the cheese also came from sheep. We also sampled some buffalo cheese from Canreg Station Farm & Pasture Dairy located in the Finch area. That was a new experience for me. Some of it was really good too. I especially liked the Elderberry Cheese.  I had intended to bring some home but got distracted by one of the most beautiful displays of baking I've ever seen. Savoury Pursuits had so many wonderful choices and well, one cannot go home without a treat of some sort, right? 

We made off with some Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake Squares.  These were the most impressive looking brownies you can imagine and would be perfect for serving to special company. 

As for other Farmer's Markets in the area, Brockville kicks off the season by opening this weekend, on May 2nd.  Carleton Place and Perth follow by opening on May 9th, Carp on May 10th,  Chesterville on May 23rd, Kemptville on May 24 and my favorite market, at North Gower, opens on May 30th.

Take the $10 Challenge this year by visiting your local Farmers Markets and buying from local producers.  It keeps the money in the area, which is good for our economy.  Explore what the vendors have to offer.  I'm sure you will find something special to bring home.