Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jeremy

Jeremy doing his thing in the wee hours

Jeremy and Anda

I've been thinking about our friend Jeremy's daily commute on his bike and realized how inspired I am by his example. He does in deed what I would probably only pay lip service to if I were in his shoes.

Jeremy is the pastry chef at the Red Hen Bakery and arrives at work each morning somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 AM. He then works a (sometimes more then) full day and heads home.

The bakery is just shy of 12 miles from his home and he commutes each way by bike every morning and back every evening. That's nearly 24 miles a day, much of it in the pre-dawn darkness.

I think what I find most impressive is that he does this at such early hours. Maybe its a matter of adjusting to a schedule which then becomes normal, albeit earlier then average, but I imagine waking up at say, 3:00 and thinking "Hmm.. I could get up now, get ready and then bike in, or I could sleep an extra 45 minutes and then drive in...". It takes a strong will to forgo that short term indugence for the slightly less immediate sense of fun, adventure and good feeling that comes from a hearty ride. I should mention that Jeremy is the father of a 7 year old and a 5 month year old and that his commute often involves arriving in time for the hand-off of the kids when his work day is done and Sally's work kicks in. No schlumping in the easy chair with slippers and a pipe for this guy. I should also mention that he is no zealot out to change the world or convince everyone to do it his way; he just does his thing and lets his actions speak for themselves. No righteousness from this guy.

A hundred times I've found myself on the edge of the decision: "Should I ride, or should I just hop in the car and get it done quickly?" In virtually every case that I've decided to ride, I wind up feeling so glad that I made the effort and overcame my hesitancy. I feel rewarded for the decision every time and I remember that it feels harder and colder thinking about it then it does doing it. That said, I once read Grant Petersen saying that you should never ride if you don't want to, and I've taken that to heart. Its not an obligation, its a choice.

There have been a couple of periods in my life when I commuted by bicycle every day, day-in an day-out. In both cases it was about 6 miles each way and I loved it. I really miss that daily experience in my life and look forward to when I have it again, whenever that might be. My work these days is the house and lately I've ridden my bike so much less then I'd like.

I guess I've been thinking about this because Jeremy has just stopped biking to work for the season in the last week or so since the snow has arrived. If there is anyone who would make excuses for why they can't ride to work, have 'em look at what Jeremy does and then decide if its really too hard. I deeply appreciate his example and the humbleness with which he does it.

On a related note, I want to tip my cycling cap to Lize and Randy at Red Hen for rewarding employees who had the top miles accumulated cycling to work at the bakery. Jeremy came in first with somewhere over 2000 miles for the year.

Dang!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Composted Memories

The various cups, plates and cutlery from our wedding going in the compost pile, June 2007

Nancy here.

Just as the snow started to fall today, I got to a project that has been on the list for some time: the annual emptying of our big compost bin. This led to sweet memories of our wedding two summers ago. What's the connection, you wonder?

The 2009 compost bin still has some room, but sometime in January the active pile freezes and then the bin fills up fairly quickly. So each fall, we empty out the compost that is two years old and prep a bin for the next year. By April the new pile is usually quite high, but then it thaws, heats up and sinks.

I was curious to see what would be in the 2007 pile as we had filled it with compostable plates (cardboard), cups (made of corn), and forks (ditto) at the end of our wedding weekend. We were informed by Aunt Joan that she had heard that these cups don't break down and that as a corn-based product, they aren't such a bargin for the environment. So... I can report that after two years of composting, I didn't find any paper plates. I did find cups and forks on the outer edges of the pile where things don't always heat up to 130 degrees. The found cups were mostly in stacks, though a few singletons were also present. In the middle I found a few remnants of the rims of the cups suggesting that the rest of the cup had successfully decomposed. I think in total, there are about 30 cups and 15 to 20 forks -- which is far fewer than went in to the pile.
Compost coming out of the pile and going into the cold frame today

The composted material was looking pretty good. In some years, the saw dust that we use as humanure cover material is still fairly present in the dirt, but by and large it was well rotted and gone in this pile. I put wheel barrow loads of the black gold in our cold frame and on the strawberry patch and rhubarb bed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm being followed by a Moonshadow

La Lune

110 North out of Chelsea

Yours truly

The stone carver statue in Barre

Long exposure view of the traffic on I-89 and Rt. 2 from River Road

Sunday afternoon I drove our Volvo down to Chelsea, Vermont for some expert TLC. I was a bit anxious because Chelsea is quite a distance from here and my plan was to bike the roughly 45 miles home. With guests here this weekend, I wasn't able to head down until the afternoon and by the time I'd arrived and was ready to pedal out, it was about 4:00, maybe a little after. These days it is dark before 5:00, so most of my ride home was in the dark. I find there is a fine line between excitement and fear and the prospect of doing a 45 mile bike ride in the dark on my own through some very rural areas of Vermont; it is both tantalizing and a little scary, though I think it wouldn't be as compelling if there wasn't an edge of fear around it. As often happens with situations like this, once I'm out there and engaged, I'm just psyched; I'm rolling along, I'm warm, I'm making progress, and I'm seeing and experiencing a million little memorable events that make it so worthwhile. I'm riding my bike and going on a little adventure.

The trip was great, with a slight chill, but I was comfortable for the first couple of hours. There's a big hill out of Chelsea and into Washington that warmed me up nicely. At the top I put my cap back on and zipped up for the ride down the other side. Coming down the long hill into Washington village, I started to wonder if my headlight was a bright as it should be, so I stopped at the little store in the village and bought some new batteries, and found the lamp light much brighter. (I dream about bikes and bike parts and building up a great bike some day, but this little episode reinforced the wisdom of purchasing a dynamo hub sooner rather then later. A dynamo hub is a small generator built into the hub of the bicycle wheel which powers the lamp mounted on the bike. You always have a source of power for you lights, and the light produced is impressive.)

I felt progressively chillier approaching Barre. Usually downhills are a welcome rest, but this night they were more a source of feeling cold, so I found myself semi-wishing there wasn't such a long decent to Barre. Not wanting to stop, I decided I'd adjust to warmer mittens, shoe covers, and wind shell once I reached Montpelier. I stopped at the Hunger Mountain coop in Montpelier and was pleased to find that they have a free phone, which I used to call Nancy to let her know where I was; that I was doing fine; and that I was continuing on my way home, most likely with a stop in Moretown to visit Liza and Randy.

With a slight haze, I had moonlight all the way.

Leaving Montpelier better dressed for the cold, I rode River Road from Montpelier to Middlesex and only crossed paths with one car. River Road follows the river and is a great dirt road just out of town. It was a nice quiet interval on the trip. The traffic on I-89 and rt. 2 is pronounced when witnessed from the vantage point across the river.

By the time I was rolling through the flats in Moretown I was warm again. The slight incline along the Mad River was enough to turn the tide; off came the mittens and outer shell. I stopped at Lize and Randy's for a nice visit and a little nibble, and then continued the last few miles home.

I never feel so grateful for home as the times when I come home tired, maybe cold, probably hungry and just so glad to see my sweetness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blue car blues


When I bought my Volvo 240 wagon with 165,000 miles on it about 11 years ago, the guys at the local Volvo repair shop said "It'll go to 300,000 if you take care of it."

We'll the car is now at 297,000 miles and I think it would be a not fully accurate to say that "I've taken care of it", but I have invested a lot along the way and the car has been a good friend in return. This car has seen me, and us, through many miles and many adventures, from solo trips with my little sailboat in tow to Welfleet on the Cape, to romantic camping accommodations with my future wife, to escape-the-city trips out of Boston, to doubling as a can-do utility vehicle with hay bales on the roof and excessive amounts of timber weighting down the lot.

Its a truly great car, and if I were the king of car manufacturers, I'd decree that the Volvo 240 should be built and made available in perpetuity, with the one qualification that it aim for better gas mileage. They stopped making the 240 in 1993. A sad passing.

If all this sounds like an obituary, it might be, but then again it might not. For the last three weeks the car has been sitting in our yard, parked askew with a flat tire. For months, the shifting has been a bit rough, and reverse was getting progressively harder to engage, particularly for Nancy. One morning, Nance was having trouble getting it into reverse and I strutted out and thought I'd get it in gear as I always seem to have been able to. Well, this time was different. I couldn't get it. I tried and tried, even going forward onto the lawn a bit to see if that loosened things up--to no avail. Since we couldn't get it in reverse, we would need to tow the car backwards if we wanted to get it out the driveway.

So we left it there. In the meantime, the rear right tire went flat and we just got used to it.

Today, finally, Joe and I towed it back enough that we could point the bow up the driveway and park the car out of the way. Now we can go somewhere if we need to, as long as there is no backing up required. The tire is still an issue. The next move is to get it to a garage and see if maybe, just maybe, this car is worth getting to 300,000.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A day on a bicycle in Boston


Nancy had a day of work in Boston on Friday and I had the day to myself to do with whatever I wanted.

Having brought my bike, I parked in Cambridge just down the street from the new community center that replaced the old VFW, home to Thursday night contra dancing in Boston. The new building looks cool and was as good a starting point as anywhere. I headed into Harvard Square and then up Mass Ave towards Central Square, basically keeping an eye out for a non-corporate morning coffee place to settle into with the New York Times. Passing through MIT I crossed the river and headed down towards the South End. I knew I'd found the right spot when I came across the South End Buttery. With a neat little breakfast and a cup of coffee and settled into a window spot and indulged in a couple of hours of in-depth reading.

From my morning coffee I headed toward the Downtown Crossing area and searched around until I found Windsor Buttons, where I checked some cool sewing stuff, but walked away with some Bee buttons for Nancy.

Back up through Back Bay, I crossed back over the river and headed to the MIT press bookstore which is always a treat. I didn't buy anything, but enjoyed browsing. From there I went to the Cambridgeside Mall and bought a watch strap and some socks, having left the key in my bike lock while I was wandering around inside. Doh!

From the mall I headed up to Central Square, got a sandwich at the 1369 cafe and then crossed the street to browse around at Rodney's Bookstore. This place is extensive, but for whatever reason, I was challenged to find anything that really caught my attention. They have a really cool selection of vintage posters that are fun to check out. At this point it was getting on in the day, so I made a brief stop at the Broadway Bike School just to go in and check out the used parts and just be there for a minute since I think its such a cool place. Up through Harvard from there I then zig-zaged through Davis and Porter Squares and made my way up and around to the Fresh Pond area where I returned to the car.

It just felt wonderful to be on my bike for the first time in a long time and to enjoy the warm air, the fun of just wandering, and the invigoration of riding in the city amongst the lights, cars, cyclists, signs, sounds and traffic. Its a wide awake feeling that you just don't get around here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Extracting Honey

On Saturday afternoon we decided deal with the super of honey that's been sitting in the middle of the yurt floor for the last month or so. (A "super" is the name of the stacked boxes that you see when you see a beehive.) Our pal Rebecca, who is thinking about getting bees, was here for the night and together we cleaned up the extractor and the various implements needed, such as uncapping knives and buckets and got set up. An additional crucial element in the process was heating up the yurt into the high 80's to make sure the honey was flowing easily.


The first step is uncapping. This means cutting off the thin layer of wax capping that encapsulates the honey contained in the cells that fill up the honey frame that we take out of the super. We have an electric knife that facilitates this, plus we have an "acoustic" one that just cuts with the serrated blade. Despite past experiences, the non-electric knife seemed to be as effective as the electric one.



Once the cappings are cut off the frames of honey we put them in our extractor, standing up with their broad side facing the wall of the extractor. When the extractor is full we put the top on and spin it, just a like a washing machine spins the wash to remove the water. It doesn't take long before the honey all flings out to the wall of the extractor and then runs down to the bottom. There is a spigot at the bottom of the extractor and once all the frames have been spun out on both sides, we open the tap and let the honey flow out through a double screen to remove bits of wax and dead bees and whatever else. Its an awe inspiring moment to see the golden flow pour out.



After that we take all the equipment outside and let the bees do all the cleaning. It takes very little time for word to get out and a pile of bees are gleaning any remaining honey. We got roughly 30 pounds of honey from this one super. There is the potential to get upwards of 100 pounds of honey per hive if everything works out just right, but so far we haven't come close to that. Maybe next year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Musical interludes



Saturday night Nancy and I went to a 20's themed birthday party. Everyone was dressed for the occasion and it was easy to feel in the mode. The highlight of the evening was the musical entertainment. The hosts had seen these musicians playing on the street in southern France about 10 years ago, loved them, and always hoped to see them again on their occasional trip back to France. By chance they did encounter them again last year, and as a treat for the party, flew them over for the event. I don't know the name of the band, but they consisted of a soprano sax, clarinet, banjo, and bass, and they played, to my ear, a variant of gypsy jazz. I am not highly schooled in the subtleties of the the various jazz idioms, but this sounded pretty Django Reinhardt-like, but without guitar. In any event, they were tons of fun and we had a blast dancing to them. While they are here in Vermont they are playing a couple of gigs at other venues and I'm looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow night at the the Langdon Street Cafe.

Sunday our friend Joanne came over to check out the house and play a little music. Joanne and I met through Yestermorrow and she recently received a degree in architecture, so she had a fairly informed curiosity seeing the house and the various features, design decisions, etc... After our tour we sat down to play some music and had a great time, as always. I find my ability and my willingness to take little musical risks increases slowly but steadily, and that feels great. Making music is right up there with cycling, great food, hanging with my sweetness, dancing, and sailing. Food for the soul.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Applesauce and Olives



Our late season preserving continues with making a batch of applesauce made from the apples we gathered from around the property. There are thousands of apples and we spent an hour or so last weekend collecting a nice haul. Tonight Nance borrowed my mom's Squeeze-O to grind and smush the steamed apples into sauce. Its amazing how yummy and easy it is. Nance has been the project master while Joe and I have been employed cranking the Squeeze-O. Our friend Carlene gave us some applesauce she made which in turn inspired us to give it a go.

A few nights ago we spent some time cracking green olives that were sent from California. The olive season is in the fall and you can buy them fresh and uncured and then cure them yourself, which we've done for the last couple of years. Again, Joe and I were put to work with some little wooden mallets I made just for this project, cracking each olive. Once the olives are all cracked, the bucket they are in is filled with water and then the water is changed every day or so for a week, give or take, to remove the bitter flavor. Eventually they are stored for the long term in a salt brine with olive oil.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recent Harvest

We went away last weekend and there was a frost in the forecast, so we harvested a bunch of stuff we didn't want to lose. Beyond what's shown in the photos we've got piles of onions, celariac, canned tomatoes, shallots, a bunch of herbs, potatoes, tons of basil (that is now pesto), carrots, squashes, and countless other excellent items that I can't recall at the moment.

We grew pie pumpkins for the first time this year. That's the orange/green squash-like stuff in crate on the left. The bin on the right contains our haul of sweet potatoes. We are particularly excited about the sweet potatoes since we've learned how to do a better job of keeping them warm and moist under plastic and row cover. Last year's take was okay, but nothing like what we got this year.


The garlic has been hanging to dry since early August. We took it down and cut off the stems. All told we've got about 40 pounds or so. This should last us through next spring with enough to plant this fall for next year's harvest.


Nance holding a couple of peppers.

Tomatillos.

We decided to go after some of the wild apples available all along the property line. They don't look very good, but boy, some of them are super yummy. We plan to make apple sauce with them.

A pile of sungolds. We slice these in half and then dry them in the food dehydrator. Yum.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cyrus Pringle


There's big excitement around here lately regarding the advent of locally grown and milled white flour which my brother-in-law Randy is completely excited about.

To fill you in: Randy and his wife Liza (my sister) are the owners of the Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex, Vermont. It has long been a hope that there could be wheat grown locally that would meet the complex requirements needed to produce a local loaf that could meet or exceed performance expectations. Red Hen incorporates Vermont whole wheat into its breads (sourced from Gleason's Grains), but there is very little (almost none) in-state production of white flour. Three years ago, a farmer in Charlotte planted 30 acres of red winter wheat as a test plot with the intention of milling the wheat into white flour. The first two years, the wheat was tested and found to lack enough protein for bread baking (protein gives a loaf its loft) so the wheat was sold as animal feed. Borrowing a technique used by wheat growers in Quebec, in this third year the wheat was harvested early and dried under controlled conditions. In the hot and dry Kansas climate, wheat can dry on the stalk in the fields. Not so here. This third batch of wheat was tested and found to have promising results. Within a week, Randy was experimenting, using the white flour to make bread. He was heard to utter these words: "giddy with excitement." Once some of the logistics are worked out (and there are surprisingly a number of them), Red Hen plans to roll out a new loaf made from 100% VT wheat.

Stepping back slightly: there have been efforts to find or develop a variety of wheat that can do well in the short, damp growing seasons of Vermont. UVM Extension Agent Heather Darby found heritage wheat seed (in a seed bank in Washington State) and she's been working with several farmers to trail and cross breed these wheat varieties that were in significant use in Vermont 100 years ago when the state was known as the bread basket of New England.

Once we find a suitable wheat, there is the need to have the milling infrastructure available to then turn Vermont wheat into white flour. Small farm-based mills exist that do a good job of milling whole wheat flour, but to get a white flour, a large "industrial" mill is required. Fortunately, Champlain Mills, an organic mill, is located in NY on the western shore of lake Champlain. There is no in-state mill that we know of that can produce white flour in volume.

Some of the heritage wheat in the field trials was originally developed by Cyrus Pringle (no relation to the familiar Pringles chips) who was born in Charlotte, VT in the 1800's. Pringle was a botanist and wheat breeder who cross bred potatoes and apples and became notable in his field. Beyond this, Pringle was a Quaker. He was drafted into the Union army during the Civil War and refused to participate in military duties. This led to harsh treatment; he was granted a reprieve from President Lincoln.

Randy's been searching around for a suitable name for this new loaf of bread and was familiar with Cyrus Pringle from a presentation given by Heather Darby. Randy then put it out there to family and friends and a number of possiblities have surfaced: Pringle's Pride, Cyrus' Honor, Cyrus Pringle, and recently, Pringle's Progress.

Jeremy's chicken coop





The other day we had breakfast with Sally, Jeremy, Anda and Silas to celebrate Anda's birthday and just visit. It's always great to see them and if we don't get the opportunity to "recharge" by hanging out once in a while I start to notice.

Anyway, Jeremy built an excellent chicken coop that I thought I'd post a few pictures of.

It's a double decker, with the bottom open to the earth and an "upstairs" where the hens roost at night and are protected from rain and weather. Jeremy has cleverly designed a small trap door that becomes a ramp when it is opened via a string from the outside. This lets the hens travel down to the bottom area. Feeding happens on the second floor and foraging and fertilizing happen downstairs. There are access doors along the side and a cleaning and egg gathering door at the end.

I very much admire the combination of function and design happening in the triangular shape --with neither being sacrificed, as far as I can see. The coop is moved twice a day around the lawn to keep fresh foraging ground available to the chickens and fertilization (in the form of chicken poop) spread out around the yard.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lately...

The big event recently has been the house, but I thought it'd be fun to post a few photos of some non-house stuff we've been up to recently.

This is Joe's home while he's living here during construction. I helped him set it up and I think it's the coolest thing.


Here's some of the tomatoes Nancy canned this week. The final count: 35. Go Nance!

Here's our good friend Damon May who came for a quick overnight visit. He did a quick tour up Rt. 100 on his beautiful mid-eighties BMW.

On Saturday we spent much of the day watching Ted Kennedy's funeral Mass and burial via webcast. It was a moving, inspiring tribute to a great man.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Late Season Blight


We found evidence of late season tomato and potato blight in our garden early this evening. We are in good company as the blight has impacted farms and gardens throughout New England this year. We've been hearing of others who have lost their much loved tomatoes too early in the season to enjoy a single juicy red ripe delicious beauty. This morning at the farmer's market, we talked with a farmer who lost his entire crop overnight earlier this year. He repeated what we've read in the paper; that a large supplier out of Alabama sent diseased plants north this spring supplying big box stores with starts. Unsuspecting gardeners planted these starts and then the rain started, and continued to fall for much of June and July creating perfect conditions for the blight to spread, and it has spread far and wide.

This topic has been filed under "really interesting" in our minds; we've discussed it at length. It illustrates interconnected issues including global warming, industrial agriculture vs buying local, and crucially, will we be eating tomatoes this year?

In response we cut off all of the greens from our potatoes and put them in plastic garbage bags. One plant was all mush and stunk! Another had a large patch of spore underneath the leaves. Otherwise the plants seemed okay and we hope we caught it early enough to save the tubers (the disease is systemic so it moves from leaves to stems to tubers/fruits). We removed two tomato plants and carefully removed impacted leaves from others. A Cornell website suggests that if we stay on top of it and it is sunny, we might be able to nurture the plants along. We'll see. We are very lucky in that a lot of our fruit is ready to pick and we have plan to can tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shining Sea Bikeway-Build it and they will come


Nancy and I spent a few days on the Cape last weekend visiting her family. We were lucky to have some really nice weather which led to some great time at the beach.

Just about a 1/4 mile from the house is the Shining Sea Bikepath, which runs from Woods Hole up to North Falmouth for a total of about 10.7 miles. The path was built phases. The first section ran from Woods Hole to Falmouth village and was built in 1975 for a total length of about 4 or so miles. This section runs on old railbed through some stunning coastal scenery with glacial ponds on one side and Vineyard Sound on the other.

Short sections have been added periodically and sometime in the last year the path was extended by another 5 or so miles, again on old railbed and this section is largely in coastal forest with a few beautiful views out to Buzzards Bay. As bike paths often do, it finishes of with a dull thud in North Falmouth.

I've never been all gaga about bike paths for a variety of reasons, but I have to say that I was truly impressed by just how many people were out there the afternoon Nancy and I rode the path with her parents. It strikes me that people want to ride bikes, that they enjoy riding bikes, and that they will ride bikes if and when the conditions are present that the feel safe, able, and comfortable. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much people are even willing to be a little heroic in order to ride a bike; I see folks with their seats painfully low, or riding with knobby-tread tires on smooth pavement -- things that work against feeling good on a bike, and yet they persist out of some desire to simply be on a bike. There was almost a highway quality to the numbers of people out on the path and I was impressed and left with a hopeful feeling about human nature.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blueberries


Sunday, Nance and I drove down to Sunshine Valley Berry Farm in Rochester, Vermont to pick blueberries. The day threatened rain, so we tried to get up and go. We've been really busy with the house and work and all sorts of stuff, but getting our berries for the year is important to us.

We are reasonably good at tracking things like how much we picked the year before, so we knew we needed to pick somewhere in the range of 18-20 quarts of berries. We freeze most of what we pick and then use them up slowly through the year. In fact, one of my most favorite treats is a little of our yogurt with a few blueberries and some of our maple syrup, so I eat the majority of them. Our haul was pretty impressive --19 quarts all told-- but picking didn't feel ponderous; the bushes were full and it was easy to gather up big full ripe berries pretty quickly. When we got home we left them out for a while before freezing them to let them sweeten up a bit more.

We spoke with Rob and Patricia, the owners at Sunshine Valley, and they do a sort of work trade for berries in the spring. If you come down and help out, you get some experience pruning and shaping the bushes and earn a discount on the berries once they come into season later on. We're going to put that on our calendar.

Back here at home, we have 8 blueberry bushes that we planted 3 years ago. They were a present from Nancy's dad Lou and this year they are really starting to show their stuff. For a while there I was a little over eager with mulching and as a result kept down some of the new growth that was trying to come up. I've amended my ways and the bushes are all looking pretty good. (See the picture above). So far we've gotten 2-3 quarts here at home with a bunch more still to come. Its exciting to watch them come along. We look forward to expanding our fruit trees and bushes over time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Champlain Valley Folk Festival






We spent this past weekend at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival over at Kingsland Bay in Ferrisburg, Vermont. Kingsland Bay is a lovely site on the shore of Lake Champlain and the CVFF is an excellent event that is a highlight of our summer. For us it as much a social get-together as it is a music and dance event, not that the music and dance are anything less then wonderful. Having attended much larger festivals that are similar, we've come to really appreciate the CVFF for its scope, its setting and the slant of performers one is likely to encounter. My perspective is that "folk" is almost a little misleading; I'd almost call it more of a "regional traditional" festival, i.e. lots of Quebecois performers as well as bands and players from all over the world, but not so much of the typical singer-songwriter lets-all-sway-together kind of stuff. Maybe its just that I sorta pass that stuff up, but I think there is less of that typical folk stuff, and I'm glad for it.

A highlight of the weekend was going for a swim au natural around midnight after the Saturday night contra dance. Crowfoot played the dance and they rock, so we were all sweaty and ready for a cool dip to top off the night. So, a pile of dancers all descended down to the pier and jumped in, while an improptu session of fiddlers and other players provided accompanyment. Camping is just a short walk away, so we were back at our tents and cozy in short order.

Unfortunately Sunday turned rainy early on in the day. The rain didn't really stop anything from happening, but it always puts a bit of a damper on things.

A few highlights for me were: Dancing to Crowfoot, watching Reveillons! perform, seeing our friend Joanne Garton dance and play, and hearing Tim Eriksen play for the first time in a few years. I also joined in on an Irish session and had a really good time. Sometimes sessions can be a bit overwhelming, but this one felt good.