I didn’t look far enough ahead, and my, blog-every-two-days schedule, fell on its ass again. We couldn’t wait till Saturday to go to the Mennonite market, because the daughter and I were busy, so we went on Thursday. I might have tried to get a post ready on Friday, but the wife and I were busy getting ready for Saturday. If you’re confused and whirled in circles by that paragraph, you have some idea what I felt like.
Another couple of blocks past the daughter’s place from the big park where the Multicultural Festival was held, is another, smaller, neighborhood park. Since the smallest, pedestrian-only entrance is off Cherry Street, some bureaucrat named it Cherry Park. It’s been two weeks since the big festival, and cherries are just coming into season, so the neighborhood association schedules a local cherry-festival get-together at this time each year.
There are things for adults and kids, but again, commerce is the unifying force. There are two or three food suppliers, bouncy castles, a Latin-American band, and a municipal employee handing out information about seniors’ services available from the city. Beyond that, there are a couple of dozen purveyors’ booths. There were two offering temporary tattoos, one with roses made from wood, a palm reader, and a woman knitting and selling all her knitted items.
The daughter and one of her friends like to attend. Between them and the wife they put out a mixed offering. The daughter has her artisanal yarns, and shawls, scarves and crocheted cat-toy mice, made from them. She takes along her spinning wheel to give demonstrations and entice customers. She and the girlfriend make up cell-phone charms, bracelets, necklaces and earrings from beads, wire and yarn. The wife makes the same kind of thing but puts the beads at the ends of fancy yarn to make bookmarks she calls book-thongs. Lay it in a paperback, with the beads at each end, and close the book. The grandson still has a few pieces of primitive pottery, from his course last year.
The thing the daughter believes draws the most customers, is the wife’s hand-made beeswax candles. She concentrates on tea-lights, both in the plastic cup, and refills for those who already have enough cups, as well as votives.
There are two honey vendors at the farmers’ market. We buy honey from one, but get beeswax from the other, to make candles from. While the first has good honey, when he melts the wax down, he does so at too high a temperature, and *chars* the wax.
The grandson is allergic to all grasses. Sugarcane is just an overgrown grass, and he is sensitive to cane sugar. We used to be able to obtain reasonably cheap and available beet sugar in town, but a tariff changed several years ago. Since then, we have used our trips to metro Detroit to stock up on white, brown and icing beet sugar. Michigan has a large beet sugar industry. Unless it says cane sugar, you know it’s beet. Sugar beet growth and processing used to be big here in town a century ago, but times and crops change.
The grandson also sweetens some things with honey. Both of the honey vendors offer honey sticks, like thin drinking straws filled with different types of honey, and sealed. On our most recent trip, the better honey guy offered orange-blossom sticks. There’s not a lot of citrus grown in southern Ontario. The wife says he means from mock-orange bushes. They have an orange smell and impart the taste.
As previously noted on one of my posts, when something creative is happening, my portion of it is usually getting things out, cleaning things up and putting things away. While the wife poured about fifty candles, I ran down to the basement storeroom and back at least a dozen times. If we don’t use our heads, I use my feet. My diet is still lounging on the couch, but he gave me a big thumbs-up.
The wife had a nasty nasal infection about a year ago. It affected nerves, and almost wiped out her sense of taste and smell. They have come back a little bit, and we hope for more, but, for someone who relies on them for cooking, this is a devastating loss. She used to be able to tell when pasta was cooked. She now relies on me to smell or taste things.
We were well into the candle-making when I remarked the entire house had been imbued with the smell of honey. “Oh really,” she said. “I can’t smell any of it.” The sweet smell of honey was so thick that I could have toasted a piece of bread, and just waved it though the air to pick up the taste. It doesn’t last until the next day, but it does help make the work more pleasant.
While socially enjoyable, the daughter did not have a great commercial day. A couple of people watched her spin, and took her card with her email address, saying that they would contact her about specialty yarn. Of the few things that sold, the wife’s candles were at the top.
Next weekend the friend wants to have the daughter join her at a display at the anti-violence fair, back over at the big park. Neither of us has ever been there, but I guess I get another day of set-up, take-down and schlepping. First, a hundred-mile Tuesday round-trip, so the daughter can get her anti-pain med-infusion. She should be in better shape to handle it. If I find it interesting, I’ll post a story about it. It’s been a big day. Now that this blog is up, I need some rest. Till then!