Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trip North, part 1

Each year I take a few weeks and visit my family. It's a bit of a drive, 2000 miles one way. I get a bunch of books on CD, put the car into gear, hit the cruise button and drive!

Last Wednesday I left Knoxville and headed north west. I drove for 2 days before I crossed the border into Manitoba. My parents used to live 6 miles from the border and my Dad's grave is just 5 miles north. My first stop is always at his grave. My brother's marker is there as well and it's just part of  "going home" to swing by there.  I didn't take  a picture of Altona where they used to live. It's just a small community. It does have 4 way stops but no traffic lights. So in a way, it's a big town. At least it's bigger than the town I grew up in!! There I always buy some Pioneer Farmer Sausage and New Bothwell Cheese to take to Mom. It's what we grew up with and it's not easily available where they live. Can't bring the sausage south so have to eat some when I"m there!It's a good 7 hour drive from the border to Moose Jaw. I stopped inbetween to take a picture of how flat the land is and how pretty the canola is when it blooms. The fields are full of grain. Just a few were blooming right now. The clouds are just pretty. Big, fluffy, and seemily close to the ground. Sometimes they seem so low that you could almost reach up and touch them. We call them Canada clouds when they're the fluffiest down our way!I got to my family's on Friday evening. I had timed it right again this  year. Sunday there was a big quilt exhibit in the park. They string up ropes and attach quilts to them in a big show and tell. It's not a competition. It's just the one day. They have a few vendors as well but the big deal is seeing all the quilts. So we made a morning of it. There's a restaurant in town called Nick's Place that has a great buffet Sunday morning and every  year or two we try to go there. I thought the sign to the restrooms was so Canadian.  It's what I grew up with!Then on to the show. I thought these 3 examples of the French Braid were just cool. The rest of the pictures are just some that I took. It was a hot day but we got there before noon and it wasn't too warm yet. By late afternoon I know they were hurting. It wasn't as bad as Knoxville, not as humid, but it was over 30 celsius, whatever that means!!!My sister gave me my birthday present early this year. It was a gorgeous pot with a lid and decorated with poppies. She'd bought it at a show here in town a few weeks earlier. So we went online to look for the artist and emailed her to find out where her studio was. Turns out it was less than an hour west of here in Chaplin, Saskatchewan. Yesterday morning we went on a road trip!! We arranged to meet her at her studio and I bought a few things. I absolutely love her pottery. She's originally from South Africa but has lived in Canada for many years. She moved here from Ontario and is making a name for herself in Saskatchewan.  She is someone that would be fun to get to know. Her pottery is called Monicats and she has a website online. Once we got home I took a picture of some of the pieces I bought. Her prices were really good and I bought a few gifts that family will get for Christmas. Can't say more than that incase they see this. OK, so in writing this somehow the picture moved, by itself, to the bottom of this blog. Sorry about that. Just scroll down to see if because I can't figure out how to move it back up here!
We met a lady there as well that owned a gallery in Mortlach but it was closed on Tuesday. She said she'd open it for us at 1pm anyway, so we had some time to kill. We decided to drive over to Herbert, a good half hour away. It's another little town. Don't think there was a 4 way stop there. Anyway, they have a railroad museum with a restaurant where we ate lunch. It was Faspa. Traditionally faspa is a meal that Mennonites have on Sunday afternoon. It's buns, cheese, sliced meat, jam, pickles and some sweets for dessert. This picture of my Mom and sister show what it used to be like. Grandma would have a lace table cloth but covered with plastic to protect that lace! The food was like we grew up with as well. Could have been in Grandma's dining room!! It was only $6 each as well. Faspa was always served when you got company. It was the traditional way of showing hospitality. I'm sure it's still served in alot of homes when folks drop by.   We had to hurry to get to Mortlach about 1pm and to the Crocus Ridge Gallery. It's an old Anglican church and she had alot of good crafts. Pottery, jewelry, fine art and antiques. I'm glad she opened it for us. We had planned to come back another day but this saved us a trip by her being so kind. She is going to start having Monicat's pottery in her shop as well. It'll benefit them both. Mortlach is a small community just half an hour from Moose Jaw. It's a bit of a craft haven. We went to a rock shop as well before we went to a Welsh Tea House.They said we couldn't miss the Welsh Tea House. The owner and her husband came from Wales about 20 years ago and lived in Calgary awhile before coming to Mortlach about 3 years ago to open the restaurant. It has grown into a real restaurant. They say that ribs night Friday is something to behold! It's small but so is the town! I think they get alot of people passing through on their way east or west to have tea. We had Welsh scones and a Welsh triffle. We split them all. That triffle was interesting. It had small pieces of cake in it plus fruit cocktail, pudding, jello and whipped topping with sprinkles. Hit the spot for a  mid afternoon tea!!Here's that pottery I mentioned earlier. My sister's quilt is behind it. She's working on that quilt. When I come here we get sewing. I brought 2 sewing machines and stopped at Hancocks in Paducah for fabric to make Mom a winter quilt. She's in a twin bed now and her blankets are too big for her. Later this week we're going to start on her quilt. Right now we're working on our own projects. I have to finish my nephew's wallhanging which probably will just be a throw and I don't think I'll  bother with putting loops on the back to hang it.

The weather here is warm but not humid. The evenings cool off nicely. The topography here is flat with some rolling hills. You can see for miles and miles. When we were driving yesterday we passed a sign that said Mortlach was 15 km away. We could see the elevator there already at a distance.
I'll write again next Wednesday. Not sure what we'll be up to between now and then. No weaving but sewing some!


Linda said...

What a nice outing you all had! I wish the Tueday Weavers could have gone with you! I love scones!

The quilts are beautiful.

LA said...

It sounds like you're having a great time! Thanks for posting the quilt pictures...I really love the French Braid!

Bonnie said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. Yes, the French Braid quilts were beautiful. The places are so quaint and peaceful. Lots to do. Have fun.

Maggie said...

The quilts are gorgeous! I love the French braid quilts. And the pottery is lovely, too.

Anonymous said...

It was such a treat to read it all. In fact, I think going NW for a time is good for the soul. All the pictures are great and I think it just feels good to get out in the wide open spaces, I say it gives you breathing room. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Sharen

Anonymous said...

The french braid quilts are amazing... I don't think I have ever seen one before this.
I love poppies ... I have some in my garden ... they are huge but don't last too long.
Nice to see you mom and your other sister. We do look alike.
Hugs to you all,