Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ridgway's 13th Annual Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous

Friday I went  to Ridgway, Pennsylvania to see the 13th Annual Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, which claims to be the largest gathering of its kind. 199 registered carvers from all over the U.S. and 9  countries gather for demonstrations and an auction at the end of the week long event. Despite a chilly wet day visitors walked the designated streets and parking areas in downtown Ridgway to view carvers at work. A friendly atmosphere with a sountrack of buzzing chainsaws.

I hope to return to Ridgway another time. Located on the Clarion river, it is the county seat of Elk County, an area of vast forests. Once a thriving town with a large tannery and lumber industries, its population peaked in the 40's but is now fading. Like so many small towns, storefronts go empty and once grand buildings fall into disrepair. There appears to be efforts to promote their beautiful surroundings. A 20 mile rails to trails bike path begins downtown and winds along the river. The river looks perfect for canoeing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A guy walks into a bar .....

and it's already past his bedtime. But he's there to see the band, or more explicitly his daughter singing in the band and they start at 10:30. She gives a warm welcome and he picks a table right up front and the brown ale from a local brewery. They chat as the band sets up and begins the set. This will be her third performance and the first time he'll hear her sing with the band.

And it is a fine evening. The band is good, really good. He has always been partial to guitarists and this one must have put in his 10,000 hours. And his daughter is having the time of her life, the stuff she dreamed about. She is at ease and confident and she can sing with the best of them.

Not a big crowd, some empty tables, but the place has the nice feel of a local bar where people know each other. Some dancing begins between him and the band, free spirited ladies and a fun loving guy. Tribal dancing 'cause it feels good.  And he is aware that all around is the energy of youth, able bodied with an aura of sexuality. It is a club where his membership expired long ago though he does not lament it. A tall blond dancer extends her hand, an invitation to join the fray on the dance floor, but caught by surprise he declines, and then is disappointed he couldn't let go of the reserve, the distance he feels.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mr. Barrow's Waffle Iron

Sunday morning waffles with butter and maple syrup - can't remember the last time I did this. Maybe 10 years ago. A rearranging of some kitchen stuff uncovered this old waffle iron and brought the idea to mind.

Much of my childhood was spent in the home where my mother was born. Our neighbors on one side were an elderly couple, the Barrows, who were neighbors to my grandparents as well. I now wish I knew what Mr. Barrow had done in his working life as he seemed such a gentleman. A lasting memory for me and my siblings is Mr. Barrow mowing his small lawn with a push mower, dressed in a starched white shirt and a bow tie. Not long after Mr. Barrow died the Mrs. made plans to move away and we were invited in to look over the last of household belongings. I think we paid a pittance for a rug and this iron.

But brother Rich is the wafflemeister in the family, making them more often in the parent's old iron (or do I recall he got one of those new fangled teflon jobs) and using Grandad's recipe. He sent this photo of his recipe card written in our mother's hand.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Honey Sampler

My friend Jerry Shue, who lives in Moab, Utah, recently sent me this wonderful gift. Jerry has been a bee keeper since the late 70's and worked as a bee inspector both in Pennsylvania and now in Utah. He is Moab's bee man, helping others learn the art and science of bee keeping.

There's a story behind the darkest sample, Moab Wild Tree. Jerry got a call about a big old cottonwood that needed to come down and was known to contain a hive. Quite a project to extract the honey and get some of the hive into boxes.