Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Saturday Ramble; or The Monster Festival that Wasn't

September is a slow storytelling month for me this year; only one gig, and that is next Saturday at the Appalachian Heritage Festival at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. So our September weekends are for the most part free. This feels odd after a summer of making engagements or canning food every open weekend. When we got up yesterday the question was, what to do?

Now there is always plenty to do around here: things that have to be done like laundry and cutting firewood, for example. Then there are the things that need to be done: weeding gardens, freezing the celery from the garden and drying basil, working on the edits for my CD. Then there are the things we'd like to do: going to festivals, visiting friends, taking road trips. This weekend we opted for #3--doing the things we like to do.

We started the weekend with a bonfire and music with friends on Friday night. Saturday morning we listed our options: go to the Southeast Ohio Storytelling Festival, the Flatwoods Monster Festival, go to St. Albans to hear John Lilly play, go to Culturefest at Pipestem, or to the blues and brews event in Charleston. Plenty to choose from on a pretty day!

We opted for the Flatwoods Monster Festival. This festival is based on events that happened in 1952 when what appeared to be a UFO landed on a farm in a remote area of West Virginia. The story is fascinating and the events have never been fully explained to anyone's satisfaction. We'd never been to the festival and I've always wanted to so off we went, with an understanding that we would stop at interesting yard sales and anything else that intrigued us along the way. The route to Flatwoods took us east on our favorite road, US Route 33. When we came to our turnoff on Route16, we noticed the Calhoun County Farmer's Market at the corner. And who did I see there?

"Stop," I yelled to Larry. Car came to a screeching halt. "There's Sue Cosgrove!"

And indeed, there was fellow Two Lane Livin' columnist and organic grower Sue, beaming behind her stand of plants and vegetables.

We had a good gab, a great hug, and the blue bowl of little tomatoes went with me for road food.

We stopped at several yard sales along the way too; I'll write about them later this week.

When we arrived in Flatwoods, the small community was strangely quite for a place hosting a festival. Where were the booths, events, people in costume or whatever else they did for a festival celebrating alien lifeforms? We stopped to ask and learned some disappointing news: the festival was held last weekend. Hunh? September 12th was the date of the occurrence, and this was September 12th!

I suppose the reasoning of the festival planners was that traffic was heavier on Labor Day, people were looking for something to do, and there were already quite a few festivals for the 12th. We decided to meander around town anyway, and saw this sign:

That, of course, enticed us further, and I'll have more about this interesting place later this week.

We left Flatwoods and headed north to Bulltown State Park, site of a Civil War battle over a covered bridge on the Weston to Gauley Bridge turnpike, a major route in central West Virginia in the mid-1800's. There are still trenches visible, and Larry decided to follow the interpretive trail through the battlefield. I was more interested in the historic Cunningham farmstead on the property and spent my time exploring the buildings, creek, cave and the remnants of the turnpike that were still visible. Again, more pics later this week.

The Cunningham homestead, and below a peek through the kitchen window.

When we left Bulltown we decided to head north and west toward home on Route 5; although we've been along most portions of this road, there are sections we don't know, and the piece between Heaters and Burnsville was one of them. The road offered spectacular rural scenes, like this one below. I didn't take many photos because the light was fading, so you know what that means--another trip in the future.

We had hoped to get back in time to go to the evening storytelling concert in Chillicothe, but that was not to be. It was almost seven when we arrived home. A friend came to visit and the day ended was another fire in the firepit and good conversation.

Today, it was back to business as usual. The laundry is caught up, dishes done, the celery chopped and frozen with the help of a friend, basil is drying, wood has been cut and split and now it is evening again and time to prepare for another work week. But we have our weekend memories of friends, places, and history...oh, and five more wineglasses, a set of tractor chains and...but all that is for the yard sale post.


Nance said...

Granny Sue, I didn't know you could freeze celery. Please educate me. Quick! and thanks a bunch! (okay, yes. that is a pun.)

Nance said...

and, oh, hey. Was in West Virginia last week. Beautiful State! Enjoyed our time there but didn't attend any festivals or celebrations.

Susan at Stony River said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend! When we stopped in Flatwoods I saw the sign for the festival and I *begged* for us to stay for it. Well we all know what the answer was (sigh).

Next year, here's hoping!

I loved your photos in this post.

Granny Sue said...

Nance, I just chop and freeze. No blanching; I'm not sure if that's the "approved" method but it's what I have always done. When I want to use it, i just knock it loose in the bag and shake out what I need. I also freeze the celery leaves for use in soups, etc. They can be dried and crumbled too, to add celery flavor to any dish. Note--the frozen celeery will nt be as crispy as fresh. I use it in stews, casseroles, etc.

Granny Sue said...

Nance, where were you in WV? It was certainly a pretty weekend for travel.

Granny Sue said...

Susan, maybe next year we can go together! Wouldn't that be fun?

I really need a new camera. mine isn't doing the things I would like to do, but that takes $$$ and right now those aren't so plentiful. So it's on the wish list.

Jaime said...

You two are able to find an adventure no matter where you go or what you do. Although missing the monster festival by one weekend sounds like something that would happen to Aaron and I.

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