Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Ulm Weekend

 I usually call this the “Great Minnesota Sleep-Over” but not this year.  The downstairs sleepers have dropped from 15 or 20 to only 6 this year (us included).  The upstairs used to have the isles as well as under the tables filled with sleeping bodies.  I didn’t go up, this year, but friend Molly says that there were no bodies in the isles and less than half the ones under the tables.

Can it be that everyone is getting old?  Preferring to pay for motel beds instead of saving money and sleeping in Turner Hall?  Well, we were some of the few, the brave, the TOUGH and we slept there!

We arrived early Friday afternoon and carried all of our things down the stairs to the basement area (there is remodeling going on and NEXT year there will be an elevator!).  We take along our tools of the trade: Norm has a shave horse, two plastic boxes of spoons and spatulas, knives, draw knives, mallet, etc.  I have my big rocking chair (when there’s room, I take the big one, not the little one), two plastic boxes with yarns for sale, tablecloths, eating plates and cups and utensils, spinning and weaving tools, my loom (and table), my spinning wheel and a basket of wool for spinning.  We also have to bring sleeping things.  This year we brought our new double bed mattress and put it on the floor.  And I was able to get down AND up from the floor with no help from Norm, just a chair to help me pull myself up!  Good news from the tricky knee department!  Plus our sheets and blankets and pillows.  

Then there is Peanut’s stuff .  Not much, but her food and treats, her kennel and her special blanket for sleeping on the bed.

Of course food stuffs!  The group has a potluck on Friday night, so I brought some bread for that.  Our special “family” group has a potluck on Saturday night, so I brought a crock-pot of Swedish Meatballs and some breadsticks.  We also brought the cooler with pop, fruit and lunch things.

A lot of stuff?  Yes, but when you are locked in a building for two solid days and are demonstrating and selling, you need these things.  It’s not as much as the Leather-Man brings — he has four tables and several boxes of leather and skins that have to be carried in and then out .... it takes him much longer to set up and tear down than it takes us!  And everyone else has the same - if you don’t sleep in, you don’t need the sleeping stuff, but you still need the tools of your trade and things for sale.

So, we’re set up - we went up to get our potluck food and visit with others for awhile.  Then back downstairs to finish setting up and visiting with our downstairs friends as they come in and set up.  We also visited with the General Manager, Virginia ... she enjoys visiting with Peanut, as do all of our friends.  There are many who know our faces but not our names (same goes for us) but everyone remembers Peanut’s name and everyone comes to talk to her.

Light’s out!  Those who go to the motel say goodnight and the rest of us hit the sack.  

At about 8:00 in the morning, the lights are turned on.  If you are awake before then, you are quiet for those who want to sleep late.  By 8:00, though, everyone is up and organizing for the day.  There are coffee and rolls upstairs in the bar; Norm goes to get his coffee and our rolls while I take Peanut outside and heat up water for tea (I have a small hot-pot for tea water hidden in the area that we sleep).  Guests start coming to buy and visit.

We have several friends who come to shop and visit; they often sit at our stations with us so that we can catch up with the past year.  We also have many friends who are selling / demonstrating who come to visit, too.  I have two chairs next to my spinning wheel so that guests who are tired or want to watch and ask questions can sit for a spell.  The chairs are also convenient for friends to sit and visit.

And so the day passes ... I spin and weave, Norm works on spoons or spatulas and we visit, talk and demonstrate.  Closing is at 5:00 and we start setting up for the potluck supper.  There are others, upstairs, who come down to join us; we eat and visit and have a great time.  Then clean up and reset the area for the next day and fall into bed.

Peanut, during most of this time, spends the day in her kennel.  She feels that it’s a safe place from noise and strangers.  I cover her kennel with a tablecloth so that it’s hidden from view but I can watch it to see if she starts moving around, wanting to come out.  She also spends a bit of time on the bed, where we peek at her once in a while.  She chooses where she wants to be and is content, as long as the evenings are spent with Norm and I and she can sleep with us in bed at night.

Sunday is more of the same but a shorter day.  We had daylight savings time happen over night so we were up earlier, but we close at 3:00, so we didn’t have as much of a day before tearing down.

New Ulm is only an hour from our house, so the trip is not as long as when we go to other weekend events.  And it’s an indoor event so we don’t have to set up the tent.  This is the first event of the year so everyone is glad to see friends and get started on the new season.

It was a fun time, seeing old friends, getting to know new friends better and enjoying teaching guests about our crafts.  I had one little 11-year-old girl spend almost an hour, total, sitting with me; she is going to save up money and buy a wheel and a loom and is going to hone her knitting skills.  I gave her grandmother a card for our good friend Detta who has a store close to where they live, hoping that the parents and grandparents will see that this girl continues her love of fiber that she discovered while visiting with me.

Peanut and Norm, still in bed


That's my rocking chair in the background and my work area

Upstairs area
Friends Molly and Ole'

Norm always has a spoon in his hand

I am wearing a shawl that Jody made for me

It's a beautiful day that is masquerading for Spring.  You have a beautiful day!


Jan said...

You and Norm do such interesting things!

Candy Duell said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time. It gets here so fast when you travel around for the spring/summer/and fall!

Nezzy said...

What a fun get together for ya'll!!! Girl, you just too darn cute wearin' that beautiful shawl.

God bless and may the luck of the Irish rain on you today!!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Connie, You should put a list of where and when you are demonstrating. Your group looks very interesting..and Peanut looks so comfy:)