Saturday, June 27, 2009

Noam's Paddling Expedition Part 3

The second to last day of our trip had us stopping at a park I knew well for lunch. Before we ate, we toured the rural life museum, which was a collection of buildings from the just post-Civil War era and many objects that one might find in an old, off the beaten path, kind of town like those in Southern Prince George's County at the time.

The first building was a chestnut log cabin built buy a former slave, Charles Duckett. Many of the beams were the original chestnut that Duckett hewed himself.

Stew is ready!

Just outside the Duckett Cabin was a quaint little garden. A lovely museum actor told us a lot about what it must have been like to live in such a cabin, sustained by such a garden.

The potatoes look good.

One of the highlights of this town-like museum is the Sears Modern Home, a home-building kit sold in the catalog of Sears Roebuck and Company in the early 1900's. It seems I was quite lax in getting pictures of the outside of this house, but Noam had some fun inside.

The bed is soft.

Re-cord. Neat!

The Duvall Tool Museum was really neat too. It had many items in common use in the early 1900's. There was a dentist's chair, an apple cider machine, and even an old cash register. Noam was very interested in the cobbler's and cordwainer's tools.

If it's not mushrooms, it's shoes!

There was also a child's school desk and related items.

And musty old books!

An area was set aside to look like a general store. I liked the old cash register. Noam stopped to have a chat with an old rag doll.

You would not believe the stories she had to tell.

After this stop, we camped along my favorite creek. I paddle ths creek often, and even had the chance to go at night. The night paddle along my favorite part of this river was beyond amazing. The look of things usually familiar in the starlight, the sound of night creatures in the wetlands. And we even encountered a family of six Barred Owls. Just unbelievably beautiful.

The next and final day of our paddle had another mishap. We managed to miss the creek where we were supposed to land and have lunch. We realized where it was later: at a part of the river where the water was very shallow and there were ten or more Great Blue Herons wading in it. We paddled silently by them. By the time we realized we had gone up the wrong creek, it was closer to just keep going to the end than it was to go back up the river to the planned stop.

It's hot out here and I want lunch!

We finally made it to the final landing, and so did lunch. So, all's well that ends well! We have one more adventure planned for the end of my two week long vacation: a quick weekend visit more than two hundred miles away from this river to see my brother. More to come, stay tuned!

Note: Garden Gnomes are not waterproof and should be protected from excess moisture. This Gnome is being carefully guarded by a trained Gnome-handler and experienced kayaker. Please be sure you and your Gnomes know the risk before attempting this or any stunt. Gnome doctors may not be able to save your Gnomes in the event of a mishap. No Gnomes were harmed in the photographing of this adventure.

Noam's Paddling Expedition Part 2

Our first day of kayaking ended up being more adventure than anyone wanted. To make a long story short, recent rains and the opening of a dam made the river too swift for many of the paddlers to handle. I was instructed to secure my boat to an old gazebo on the side of the river, in the rising water, and walk through private land to get to a road where someone could pick me up and take me back to camp. Noam was terrified, even though we were never in any danger, so he stayed snug in my dry bag.

The incident of fifty kayakers abandoning their plans for an eight-mile paddle caused an unbelievable media frenzy. They're like vultures! The media ended up being the real problem, we were in more danger in being covered in that filthy water than we were for any other reason, but they kept trying to make a story out of it. (Many of them ended up reporting wrong information, but that's irrelevant to Noam's adventure.)

I think the cameras scared Noam quite a bit. The EMTs had taped off a section for us so we could get some peace as we regrouped, had lunch, and made a plan to recover boats and make it to the next camp site. I found Noam hiding in a tree!

Keep them back!

They're scary!

I didn't like talking to them much either, Noam.

I sent Noam to the campsite with one of the other paddlers. He was done with the water for the day, but I had to go back for my boat. After many hours, I arrived at the campsite. We were to have a fun party with music and contra dancing into the wee hours of the night. Noam may not have liked the cameras, but I think he likes being on stage.

I need to learn an instrument.

He had some fun with the second group of players, the ones leading the dancing, as well.

And, turn to the left, turn to the right, bow to your partner!

I didn't have much energy to be dancing all night, after that very eventful day. I went to bed early. I didn't even hear Noam crawl into his sleeping bag.

The next day, we actually got to hit the water! There was a big black cloud that caused some worry, though. The group I was with beached the boats while it passed. It didn't send more than a few raindrops on us, but it is still better to be safe. I sure don't want to be on the water with nothing around, holding a big metal pole in my hand when lightening has potential!

It was a little boring waiting for the cloud to pass. Noam was busy chatting with some of the other paddlers.

And then he said....

We also worked on some river restoration and education projects. I chose to work on the nature play area, and Noam and I spent two hours making a sign for it. I burnt my hand on the hot bit when it flew out of the drill, so the wetlands sanctuary had better appreciate what I went through!

I worked hard, too!

This day ended with a fantastic sing along. Noam didn't know these songs that I learned some twenty five years ago. It was really fun to teach him.

The fox is on the town-o!

The gent who normally plays the fiddle in this group had a fiddle mishap (it was in two pieces!) so he played the mandolyn instead. I play fiddle as well, but always struggled with the mandolyn. Here he is, showing Noam a chord.

Was that C or G?

And so ended our third night. We've got two more days on the water and one more night camping to go.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Noam's Paddling Expedition Part 1

This year, I was very excited to go on the annual Patuxent River Sojourn. Noam was thrilled to be coming with me. It was a new experience for both of us!

The first day was Thursday, and not much was going on. Noam waited in my little camping chair.

When does the fun start?

After the tent was all set up and the kayaks unloaded, I left Noam to go park the car at our final destination. I took a bus with other paddlers back to our camp ground. Just as we got back, everyone was getting ready for dinner.

Time for chow!

Dinner was a barbecue beef thing and some yummy veggie salads. It was also a great time to chat with and get to know other paddlers.

Are you going to finish that?

After a brief meeting about the trip and what to expect, we had drumming around the campfire. I was told these were some kind of Navajo drums, Noam just liked to jump up and down on them.

Boom! Boom!

After a long night of drumming, it was time to hit the sack! We had to rest up to get an early start for one of the two longest paddles of the trip.

Goodnight, Gnome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back From the Trip

I'm back!

Noam came with me on an extended kayaking weekend. He has many stories to tell you about his adventure. I'll load pictures for him a little later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacation Alert!

Hello, lovely blog readers! I'm here to tell you that Fyrecreek's Bazaar is going on a little vacation! The shop is still up and you may purchase anything you like, but I will not be able to process your order until next Tuesday, the 23rd. I'm sorry if this causes any inconvenience for you.

See you next week!

The VARF, Part 3

Noam's VARF adventure continues!

After the alpacas, we ran across Mad Maggie. She was juggling. Noam had never seen such a thing before and wanted a closer look. Mad Maggie obliged. I don't think that's quite what Noam had in mind.


Noam found some pirate ducks on a board. He decided to follow them. They did not mind, but said he needed an eye patch and warned him that he might get wet. Noam did not want to board any further.

We're boarding!

Next, it was back to the militia encampment to visit with my dad again. Noam did not understand the stocks. He wanted to go in so he could see for himself.

I'm innocent!

One of my favorite features of this festival is the stone labyrinth set in a field. It is a meditative process to walk the spiral-like paths in to the center and back out. Noam really enjoyed it.

There's peace here.

As is tradition after any day at a Renaissance festival, we were starving! We fought some traffic and finally found a nice restaurant to take a break, replenish some fluids, and fill our bellies. At the end of the meal, Noam played with the origami bunnies.

Two, three, and hop!

It was another long car ride to my parents' house were Noam and I were staying for the night. He settled in before I was even ready for bed!

Turn off the light, please!

Noam and I had so much fun at the VARF with our friends. I hope we can do it again soon!

Noam's next adventure is this weekend's kayak and camping trip. He's got his gnome bag all ready. I know we'll have a great time. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The VARF, Part 2

Noam's VARF adventure continues!

After the great fun with the trumpet fairy (and maybe still a little too much wine in his little Gnome system), Noam found an empty stage and did his best rendition of Puck.

If we spirits have offended....

An audience gathered! They looked to be having fun!

They love me!

After his performance, Noam decided to take a break with some of the ladies of court. I hope he didn't say anything embarrassing!

I'm a lady's Gnome.

I was very happy to learn that the creator of fine soaps, GreenDeva, was back again this year. We spent a little bit of time here, my friend telling the nice lady of Noam's adventures. She asked Noam to pick his favorite soap. It was Cranberry, of course.

Just like my hat!

GreenDeva also had a little Buddha that Noam took some time to meet and speak with.

What is the sound of Gnome hands clapping?

There are alpacas at the faire! I love these critters and the worried sound they make. Noam wouldn't go near. He thought the alpacas might eat him!

It's behind me, isn't it?

That's all for today. Tune in tomorrow for the final part of Noam's VARF adventure!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The VARF, Part I

Yesterday, Noam accompanied me to the Virginia Renaissance Festival. I made a special Gnome Bag for him that he can sleep in and ride around in. In this way, he rode around with me to see the faire.

The adventure started with the long, more-than-an-hour car ride to the site of the festival. Noam got a little bored because he wasn't tall enough to sit securely in his seat and look out. He needed to be buckled in, though. Safety first!

Safe and Secure!

One of our first stops was the wonderful kettle corn makers. I'm not a big fan of kettle corn, really. I can take it in small handfuls only. Thankfully, they were giving out free samples that were just handfuls! Unbeknownst to me, Noam got his little gnomey mitts on a nice, warm kernel of corn.


After our snack, we went to visit my dad, who works at the faire. We followed him to a little show then wandered around some more.

On our way about, we found a shop that had a ton of Gnomes! They were all so cute, Noam just had to spend some time with them. It was like a Gnome reunion.

Hi, everyone!

Noam's new friends even invited him inside their mushroom house. It looks so cozy in there! And I bet it was nice to get out of the sun!

I'll make some tea!

The VARF is on the grounds of the Lake Anna Winery. They had a little booth at the faire were we could sample and purchase some of their tasty wines. Noam had to be careful about how much he drank. He's just a little Gnome!

I liked the cider best!

Noam might have had a little too much to drink, because I found him having a grand time with this fellow. He was a trumpet fairy, come to the faire for Midsummer week eve. Noam told many Gnomish stories, and the trumpet fairy had a lot to trumpet back to him.

My friend!

That's all for now. There were just too many pictures for one little Gnome to put in one little blog post! The adventure continues tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Meet My Gnome

My world is a gnomish place. It is full of Gnomes. I have a colony of Gnomes, eagerly awaiting new homes.

One Gnome decided he did not want to go away to some other home. I told him he could stay with me, and he told me his name was Noam. Noam, the Gnome.

Noam says hello!

I am going to be on vacation for the next two weeks, and Noam wants to come with me. He promised to take lots of pictures so you, dear readers, can follow him on his vacation.

Noam's journey started with getting to know my home.

Noam loves Miss Luna!

Noam liked cuddling up to my cat, Miss Luna. She was warm and fluffy!

Look out, Noam!

I think Miss Luna thought Noam got too close. Poor Noam!

Goodnight, little Gnome!

After an ordeal like that, Noam was exhausted! He cuddles up with the bucky creature, Vímn. She's full of comfy buckwheat hulls. What a great bed!

Next, Noam experiences the Virginia Renaissance Festival. Stay tuned!