Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nevada County Fair 2010

I drove 350 miles today to demon-
strate with the Foothill Fiber Guild at the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley, not to be confused with the state I live in. Birdsong and I arranged to have this shift together. We are spinning the same fleece, one that we purchased about five years ago at a farm visit, split and sent off to be processed. I had my half blended with alpaca. It was especially effective in our demonstration that I was spinning lace weight and Birdsong was spinning thick-and-thin for a sweater. That amazed the folks and brought home that we call the shots when we make the yarn.

We are in the new arena they're calling Ag-sperience, along with master gardeners, Forest Service, etc. Gus, who admirably coordinated all the guild activities, is right behind us. We were wonderfully swamped with curious children after they left the Lego pavilion.
My memories of this fair date back to high school when my brother brought me here. Years later, when my 1st husband and I moved back from his overseas duty station, we moved to this area and brought our children to the fair. It's not such a long drive when you consider the memories and that this fair was voted the best county fair west of the Mississippi - that's what the groundsman told me when he helped me relocate my wheel from my initial spot in the air conditioned fiber building. Birdsong and I opted to sit in hay barn - I think we got the best audience we've ever had. They put the carnival right in amongst the 200' tall sugar pines which provide much needed shade in August.
After our four hour spinning stint, we toured the exhibits. Nevada County is the heart of the Mother Lode and the '49ers gold boom, and so a huge area is given over to the single stroke belt-driven engines. This is a mini-mill and as you can see, it pummels a small amount of ore - enough to assay a sample.
These aficion-
ados love to show how many devices can be propelled by one single-stroke engine and multiple belts. The man in the blue short is working at a lath making fountain pens. I'd show you that picture, but I thought this one was more interesting, especially with the 1956 Airstream trailer.

As an aside, when Ian and I picked up my loom in Stockton from Gilmore, Bob Allen gave us a tour of the facility. At the time the equipment was still belt-driven, just like this. That's a documentary waiting to happen.

We bought Frosty Freeze cones so you have to picture us viewing machinery and licking these cones that were melting all over us. I even had drips on my legs when I got home. We loved this guy's contraption, which has a saw right in the middle, though the best is the tub on the right - all from one single-stroke engine.
We loved the sense of humor here in the tub of recycling water and it wasn't until I got home that I realized I could have taken a video with my camera to catch the sounds of the single-stroke engines. The sounds of these are almost half the exhibit. Stamping foot - darnit! I have some fiber photos as well, but that's enough for today. The crickets are singing lullabies.


LA said...

What a fun time at the fair! Those old engines are fun to watch.

Jody said...

Looks like you had a great time!

margene said...

I love the picture of you and Birdsong spinning the same fleece. How fun! The whole day sounds worth the drive and the time.

Benita said...

The old timers here call single-stroke engines "hit and miss" engines and they are one of the things I love about going to country and our state fairs.

It looks like you had a lovely day with the spinning wheel. How was the temperature?

What fun!!!

Annie said...

Good! I thought I was the only person who always forgets a camera can take videos nowadays....
Looks like you had a nice day at this fair.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful fair - those engines must have been interesting.

Birdsong said...

Thanks for sharing our experience so well! I had such a fun time, and demonstrating spinning is the best.

Nina said...

It's wonderful to have a great fair like that. Our local fairs seem to be slowing fading away. People seem to have forgotten that to keep it going, they need to participate. I'd love to go to a fair like yours.

Leigh said...

And a good time was obviously had by all! Dan would have loved to have seen that machine exhibit. I would have enjoyed it too, but my mind likes fiber better. He understands the mechanics of things while I think of their creative potential