Wednesday, 2 September 2015

2015 Renaissance Festival

So we went to opening weekend of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and then went back for the belly dance weekend. Unfortunately I completely forgot my camera on the belly dance jaunt so I only have a few photos taken with my phone. Nonetheless I want to put up a few pictures to show what a great time we had.

As always we saw some interesting people and thingsThe first is that, when you enter now things have changed greatly. It seems there are only a few places in the U.S. where the sand for fracking can be come by and so they are literally digging up the ground beneath our Renaissance feet (and tires). The parking lot is smaller and we have to walk much farther to get to the festival. As you can see below we have to walk down into the pit and then back up to get from the parking lot to the realm.

Of course we had to visit our friend Marla at M. Ferrara Leather. She doesn't seem to age or get any less beautiful. 

We also stopped to see the Danger Committee who had a few new stupid tricks up their sleeves as well as some of the same old diatribes about the renaissance festival and its attendees.

We saw a new tumbling act called "Tumble and Toil".

They're still working out the kinks, but we enjoyed seeing something new.
Jim and Lazlo did most of the same jokes at the feast. They tried adding a few new ones but I can't say that it improved the show any. It was still bawdy and the guys loved the infantile humor and the women seemed pretty intoxicated and oblivious.

They had this new thing where they took trash cans with elastic plastic across one end and used them as guns to knock cups off of people's heads (or hands as seen below). Later they fed smoke machine smoke into the trash cans and shot smoke circles. That was pretty cute!

One of my favorite parts is the Royal Revelers. They sing bawdy limericks and even though as far as I can tell they don't change lyrics either too much, the costumes and voices are beautiful and I always enjoy hearing them sing.

The food was good and they kept the wine flowing.

...and we got to hear Zilch the Tory Steller do his Renaissance Free bird rendition onhis Mandolin. "Nay, Nay I cannoteth Change. Nonny, Nonny I cannoteth Change..." 

There was also a magician and of course the belly dancers.

The first day we had lovely sunny weather and everyone joyed in it.

I enjoyed seeing the costumes...

and interesting people.  These women came to see the belly dancers and had a marvelous time.

Of course we did too, because the dancers were entertianing and energetic.


These fairies were a delightful addition to the fair ambiance.

I laughed really hard at this woman's shredded turkey leg which she held up gingerly as she ate.

There turned out to be two dogs in this wagon!

And I didn't get a good shot, but the cooler weather of the second weekend meant more people in mail and armor.

We also stopped by the gypsy camp to see the tribal dancers.

We did a lot more and bought some stuff too, but that is a bit of our visit this year!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Just a Couple of Redheads

So this blog is going to focus on things that are red on top. Like these flowers in my garden:I replaced the birds nest spruce that didn't make it with a miniature rose that is supposed to be hardy in our climate. I have my doubts (I seem to kill all my roses - but I refuse to "tip" them as is the custom here - which means  digging a hole and burying them on their sides for the winter. I guess the price of laziness is death, but I will try and mulch these real well and try to pull them through.

The long awaited answer to the color of my new clematis is in and the answer is burgundy purplish.


It sems to be a miniature clematis and is full of buds all at the top of the plant. It isn't exactly what I expected, but this means I'll want to find a taller plant to put in front of it next year.

I dreamed of fields of poppies when I bought two packs of flower seeds with my Mom last June. Well, I've managed to get one  at a time thrice - not exactly a field, but it is better than my prior record. One pack is pink and the other orange. Still, I'm thrilled I have a 300% improvement over prior years!


Here is a different redhead. I had been thinking the red squirrels were the ones destroying my birdfeeder by gnawing away the palstic so the seeds would run out into the garden.  Looks like I was wrong! It just shows my prejudice against squirrels.

So I have been visiting my docotr, who is not happy with my weight and my helath. I won't go into it here, but he has transferred hi sdispleasure to me, because now I don't get to eat any sugar or caffeine and I have been commanded to lose weight and experience less stress. (How does telling someone that they are severely threatening her helth help her reduce stress, she wonders!) So I have gone back to meditating and dusted off the old Tai Chi dvd and have begun an exercise program of awlking at least one dog every night. But what has made me feel best of all is that tried and true femalle dictum of when you don't feel happy with yourself, change your hair. So I ordered the henna, slathered my head in moldy smelling mud and and sat in a shower cap while I worked and voilå some 3 hours and countless rinsings later a very, very red-headed AFKAPW!

I can feel the pounds melting away already! ;-)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Summer Tanager

Just a quick blog on this bird I'd never seen at my feeder before.  It turns out it was a juvenile, which made it much harder to identify. Thanks to Rabbi Uncle Bob for identification. IT's red hasn't grown in fully, but it is beautiful the way it is!

The Frank Lloyd Wright House and Workshop

We signed up for a Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Tour that was really interesting. In the Architecture society offices they have a huge model of the Chicago skyline.

We started our tour at the Frank Lloyd Wright Residence and workshop.  We were taken there by bus and passed by the Unity Church on the way. Unfortunately for us, it is being restored, so we could not see very much of it.

A little bit of the faccade could be seen amidst the wrapping.

Here are some internet images from wikipedia:

The home was not pure Prairie style but an early version of Wright's work. You enter through a courtyard that has a garden and one of the Sprite staues that you see in garden catalogues.

The roof of the studio has two of these marvelous torsos.

You can see the placement (On either side of the entrance in this shot).  The pillars are supported by cranes. (Beautiful ornamental style).

We entered the house in a neo-classical style foyer. Wright had gottenthe temple frieze decoration via mail order at in 3 foot pieces. (The guide said the frieze was still available today by mail order.) As you enter (slightly right on the image you can either go up the stairs to the right or enter a greeting room on the left.

The greeting area had this little nook with the family motto and a cut through on the right hand side that went through to the dining room (which would be behind the stairs in the first picture.)

as you head farther left through the larger greeting space there is a smaller alcove/sitting room at the edge of the room in the front part of the house (corner.) Wright put three sets of double windows together to make a bay window that gave the space lovely soft light.

I am standing on the threshhold to a working area that had a table and a beautiful glass window.

The next shot shows the other half of the room . (The table and window shot to the left and the cabinet to the right as you face the back of the house.)

This is the window that casts light onto the table.

You can see how it sits in the room here.

This area has changed a bit according to the picture.

We continued on to peek at the kitchen area and innards of the house before we got to see the formal dining area (in the back right corner of the home.

The formal dining room was one of the most impressive rooms of the house.

Wright only had gas when he was working on the house, but anticipated electricity  being put in so he built the ceiling fixture so that it could be used with electricity once it arrived in Chicago.

Here is a photo of the original room.


The lighter colored chairs are all original to the house. The darker ones were obtained from elsewhere.

Upstairs we got to see the bedrooms. The children's rooms were seperated by a wall that did not go all the way up to the ceiling, so the girls threw things over the wall at the boys at night when they were supposed to be sleeping and vice versa.

Wright had special stencils designed for the childrens' room. Below you can see a panel a bit closer up.

They also had a genuine flushing toilet.

Wright also built a special sewing room for his wife with a long window that would give her plenty of light for the work that she would do there.

This cradle was in the family and ended up being used for Wright's granddaughter, none other than Anne Baxter. She gave the cradle to the house when they started trying to put things together.

This chair dominates the space and has the windows (which are not transparent because of neighbors) above and behind it.

Downstairs was a play room with two lovely murals and a special play area for the children above the stairs. Wright encased his organ pipes in the staircase also. They have the blocks displayed that his mom brought him from the world's fair. These blocks were designed by innovative German educators to enhace the creativity of children.

Wright recorded memories of his Fröbel blocks: "For several years I sat at the little Kindergarten table-top ... and played ... with the cube, the sphere and the triangle—these smooth wooden maple blocks ... All are in my fingers to this day ..." (Alofsin, Anthony (1993). Frank Lloyd Wright--the Lost Years, 1910–1922: A Study of Influence. University of Chicago Press. p. 359.)

After visiting Wright's home we went on to his studio and then visited homes he built in the neighborhood. (But I must contine this in another blog as this one has gotten pretty long!