After our last, rather pleasant session caning on the front porch here at the Chateau D'Zaster, one of my students and her sister (another student...) kindly offered to host the next cane-weaving session at her camp on a local pond. This is actually the same pond where we've celebrated the 4th of July with some other friends who also have a camp there. As you can see for the panorama above, the location is fabulous and it turned out to be a wonderful day, weather-wise.
The plan for the day was for everyone to arrive around 1:00 PM and we'd spend time working on our caning and share a pot-luck dinner that evening when we were done.
People gradually trickled in and settled themselves, and we started in with some good, honest work and instruction. Some had not caned in a while and there was a bit of repair and checking on some of the pieces before more work could continue.
You can almost feel the intensity of focus in the picture below:
There were also some snacks and drinks to keep up the spirits of the participants as the afternoon wore on. The variety seemed to rotate as the afternoon wore on. The ladies who were our hosts, had held a recent party and had lots of small bottles of soda from a boutique soda maker in the area along with iced tea, lemonade and water. A bottle of beer or glass of wine made the occasional appearance as well...
As I said before - the location was really very beautiful and the gardens were beautiful...
This particular group of students spans several years of classes. Along with students were several spouses as well as some other family and friends who were kindly invited to join us for the afternoon. There is a builder who completed his kayak (The Phoenix...) and there are 4 students who really don't have much more to complete their canoes other than the seat caning. So, they were hard at work...
"All work and no play will make Jack a dull boy."
There was also some fun to be had as well. Some of us went for a bit of a sail - my first time of anything like sailing with some great instruction - I need to do some more! (Do I see a 50/50 sailing canoe in my future?)
There were also several canoes and kayaks and I'd brought my Wee Lassie to give people who are building the boat the opportunity to take it for a spin to get a feel for it. Here's the builder out for a spin in the Phoenix. I got my first paddle in this boat on Sunday and it is a very sweet and fast kayak - a pleasure to handle.
The water was also too inviting not to get in an afternoon swim after working up a sweat with nimble fingers. I won't say the water was too warm, but it was almost too easy to just settle into the water and float back into the pond. People worked their way back and forth from the water to the task at hand until it was time to start the grills.
Dinner was an impressive event and the groaning board was so full that we had to take the desserts out to the kitchen! There were hamburgers and hot-dogs along with sausages of various kinds, grilled vegetables, potato salad, fresh fruit, beans and rice as well as baked beans, salads and all the trimmings. If you walked away hungry it was your own fault! Blueberry cobbler and brownies rounded out the meal for those who could find space. I must say, that when we tend to have sessions that include food, there is always an abundance of truly fantastic things to eat - and I like to cook and eat about as much as I love to build and paddle boats!
One of the more interesting things that happened was the arrival of a woman as we were cleaning things up who was looking for some jumper cables for her dead battery. Fortunately, I have DW carry a a set of them, so she was able to loan them to this woman. (DW's commute is a bit remote...) On this woman's return with the cables, we started to talk about the boats - I could swear I recognized her, but couldn't place her at first. It was Lynne Padu. Lynne is a boatbuilder and educator who has also taught cedar-strip canoe making. Her work was brought to my attention by a co-worker who is an Appalachian Mountain Club member a number of years ago when he brought in a copy of an article in the AMC's Outdoors magazine featuring Lynne and her work. It was truly a pleasure to get to talk with her and I hope that our paths will cross again in the future.
Still, all good things must come to an end and so, with a gorgeous pink and orange sunset, we bid our hosts a fond farewell and headed for home.
Addendum : This afternoon, I received an email that was copied to the group by the wife of the couple building the tandem canoe in the class. They had such a wonderful time yesterday it has got them thinking of a camp of their own at the pond!