You might recall that, in a fit of energy, I promised you some images from our trip to the Great Lakes Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival in Wooster, Ohio -- five days ago or so. Sigh. I'm getting old, and maybe I'm getting cranky. I'm really annoyed at myself.
We drove off in our (not very nice) Chevrolet HHR (sorry, Lois, but I really didn't like driving it!!!), the title to which belongs to Enterprise Rentals, and meandered through maybe a dozen absolutely delightful Ohio towns.....before which, of course, you have to get to Toledo, along the perpetually-under-construction Interstate 75. They will never finish. It's some kind of out-migration scheme (keep 'em at home by shutting all the roads down for 9 months of the year).
Some of those wonderful rural towns are full of Mennonite and Amish peoples. You can tell by the absence of automobiles in some farmyards, the presence of the occasional carriage, and the well-tended appearance of a small farm -- not to mention the taller-than-usual garage or shed doors. Gorgeous horses. Healthy people. I wish I knew more about Mennonite dietary habits, because they are among the healthiest and longest-lived of all Americans, and it has to do with physical as well as spiritual well-being.
And of course there is a certain amount of sadness in some of those towns. In the otherwise charming Lodi, Ohio, we found echoes of the mid-19th century, when towns like this flourished, and fairly burst at the seams with migrants from New York and Pennsylvania. Look carefully at the top of this very old building's cornice. It's not going to last much longer. The tin work is going, and the paint needs renewal badly. And all of it takes money -- I wonder how much damage this recession will do in that regard, pushing homes and buildings and farms that are on the brink of difficulty completely over the edge:
and there were the usual, wonderful collectible shops -- usually found dead center on the main streets of towns like Lodi, Ohio. We found some more buttons, of course, in this one:
.....here is what you should NOT do to old dishes (click on this one -- you won't believe it):
But then, of course, there was the festival itself. We got to talk to a lot of old friends, about the Third Coast Fiber Arts Festival upcoming and lots more. Bought SEVENTY-FOUR SKEINS of undyed wool-alpaca, made-in-Ohio yarn, very soft and lofty, from an Ohio mill, which I've now taken to the studio for sale, some of which I'll try to kettle dye. Here are some of the outside vendors at the Great Lakes festival:
And HERE (blare of trumpets) is either the world's largest bread bowl or Paul Bunyan's cradle:
FINALLY: This is the best reason of all to attend the Great Lakes festival -- setting aside the high-quality vendors (about 80 in all) and cool collectible shops. In the center of Wooster is TULIPAN, maybe THE best Hungarian bakery and espresso shop in the entire midwest. Maybe in the world. Well, there are such things in Hungary, I imagine, so I'd better not overdo it. We came at closing and were so crestfallen that the two lovely young women stayed open to make us some gorgeous coffee, fruit, and a piece (for Larry) of amazing almond torte. We went away happy. LOOK AT THIS.
More later. Need to go knit awhile. The computer has completely worn me out today.