Okay, so we left the Cities and headed down to Albert Lea on a beautiful warm sunny day. We got there about 3:00 and started setting up. But what SHOULD have taken only about 2 ½ hours took over 4 hours! Tent went up, tent went down, tent went up, crooked – let’s straighten it, tent went down.
Fortunately it was Tuesday, not Wednesday, so we felt no pressure to get finished and just got sleeping arrangements done, then decided to finish setting up in the morning. We then went to Hi-Vee, a great grocery store and deli and had Chinese for supper.
While deciding what to get, who should show up but Wally and David. David had ridden with Wally and they had gotten set up enough for sleeping and came over for supper, too, so we sat together and talked. Then got a few necessities for the next day and ice cream for dessert and headed home.
While starting the “4-dog stove” in the tent to take the chill off, Norm accidentally let Peanut’s leash slip and she wandered outside. Now, in the dark, a little dog that does NOT come unless she feels like it, it was impossible to find her. David was wandering by, so he offered to go find a flashlight but Norm found Peanut with her leash caught on a bench, so we headed back home. David joined us but wouldn’t share our ice cream, as he claimed he was stuffed from supper. But he did share the heat of the tent with conversation.
Next morning, Norm and I started setting up the outside of the tent and unpacking and hanging clothes in the tent. I got the kitchen set up the way I wanted and THIS time had the icebox under the fly so that I could reach it when (there was no “if” in the forecast) it rained.
We were able to relax and visit – David came over for an invited breakfast and helped Norm set up his fly for demonstrating. Wally popped over for coffee but had already eaten.
By Wednesday night, everyone that was demonstrating was set up. I was very disappointed that Kelly and Marie were not there this year. What was I going to get Candy for a thank-you gift for babysitting the farm? And missed seeing and visiting them, as I had last seen them in May. We settled down for a long Fall’s nap and woke up to rain.
RAIN – the story of the entire weekend (nearly). It was cold, never over 50◦ and wet all the time. The only things going for it were: we were getting paid to be wet and cold; there were no bees (2 years bee free for me!!!!), and most of the children were dressed warm for the weather.
The total for the long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) was about 3”. A lot when it was coming in through the canvas down onto us. Canvas is waterproof, to a point but when canvas gets saturated, it starts to drip. And drip. And drip. And DRIP!! We had towels on the floor to pick up the excess water on the carpet and had an extra carpet that we tried to keep dry so I could walk out to the spinning wheel without getting stocking feet wet (I simply can NOT spin with shoes on!). It worked, to a point. I kept taking socks off to dry in the tent – the stove in there was kept burning all day long and into the night, then lit again early morning.
Saturday, late afternoon, it stopped raining and we actually had nearly dry canvas to pack up on Sunday afternoon.
The company was great, though. Wally, David, Patience, Harley, Roy, Ole, Dave J, Shawna, Margot --- several that I enjoy seeing (or love very much) were there to help pass the time. Patience and Harley came by at night to visit and sit by the fire (we had a fire pit by then as well as the brazier for cooking). Ole stopped over to visit and grab coffee. On Saturday night, we had Patience, Harley and Wally come over for Beef stoup (combination stew and soup – not thick, not thin) with egg dumplings. We were going to have popcorn for desert but we were all pretty stuffed, so I made popcorn on Sunday afternoon and Patience came by as “Icky Ethel” and ate some.
All in all, it was a great time – barring the rain and cold – and I enjoyed it. I tried not to complain too much because I was enjoying not worrying about bees. We ate well (I do cook well on brazier, fire pit or stove top, if I do admit it myself) and even had food left over when we came home. We tore down Sunday after 4:00 and were ready to leave about 7:30. Not too bad for time! Grabbed Arby’s for supper on the way home and go home before 11:00.
We came home to a cold house – 55 degrees – as I had left the air-side of the furnace monitor on. We turned the heat-side on and got it up to 68 degrees rather quickly, pulled on a bunch of extra wool blankets and fell into bed. Unpacking was left until Monday morning.
So, demonstrating is done for the year. Now we are re-packing things and putting them in the boxes they belong in and organizing our life back to normal. It was a beautiful sunny, chilly day today. We have “promises” of snow tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!