Posts Tagged ‘Renaissance Faire’


I promised my dear friend, Mary (Beyond Mirays), that I would help her at the Canterbury Renaissance Faire near Silverton, Oregon, this summer. It seemed simple enough: a Saturday and a Sunday helping sell the fine artwork my friend creates.

This was not a strict SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event, so there was a lot of leeway on the costumes. I’m not certain how I feel about that. yet: certainly people took advantage of the lack of guidelines, and the fact that this event is sandwiched between The Oregon Country Fair and Faerieworlds meant that it attracted a lot of, um, er – creative costumes. Faeries abounded.


The Queen made her rounds. She rode her horse through the camp on Saturday morning, visited each vendor during the afternoon, and ended the Faire with a final walk-through. I liked the fact that we had royalty on the grounds for the re-enactment as it made up for the lack of true participation among some of the vendors and many of the visitors.



It was all so – royal. I’m still not used to the shouts of “God Save the Queen”, but I know that if I put my heart into the character played, it would seem quite natural.

This first weekend was my Dress Rehearsal for future events. I do not plan on going to another Ren Faire event this year, but I could hone my dress and acting skills for next year.


Mistress Mary was adept at drawing in prospective buyers and it seemed we always had at least a pair of fair maidens perusing the adornments.


The biggest draw at her booth was the Turret. For a dollar, a child could stick his or her hand into the darkness of the castle and feel around for “treasure” – or rats! The rats were gummy rats or cinnamon-flavored rats on a stick; the treasure was hand-made jewelry for boys or girls. Mary’s ten year old grandson made all the jewelry. It was so much fun to draw the kids in, entice them with visions of treasure, and congratulate them on their prizes (and most were just as pleased with rats as they were with the chap trinkets).


Right in front of Mary’s booth was this diseased alder tree.


It didn’t take me long to develop a story about the fairies who lived there and grabbed at passerby. The tree attracted a lot of male attention – and a few chuckles when I espoused my fairy tree theory. For me, the photos are inspiration for future projects.


This pony was a patient sort and was very much needed on Saturday when the temps rose higher than predicted! It reached the low 90’s on Saturday.

There was jousting, but I did not attend the events. Music, jesters, plays – I felt a responsibility at the booth (when you tell someone you’re going to help out, that’s what you do). We were not far from the main stage and music drifted over us all the time, so I do not feel as if I missed a single thing. The jousting was really for the pleasure of the Time Travelers who came to visit – and it provided a much needed break in the activity of hawking and selling for the vendors. Our feet really needed those breaks!


The fellow with the pet rooster (a Silver Phoenix from Japan) was discussing feathers with a former client of his (whose hat sports the breast and tail feathers of a Silver Phoenix rooster). I liked the irony of the living, breathing pet and the plumage of a former rooster on the hat.


The rooster was a hit among Faire-goers, whether they were of the time period of from the future.


The Queen’s handmaidens were always wandering about, as were the Knights.


The wizard-like character was selling Goblin Ear purses. He was a hoot. He never left character. I talked him out of a business card, so I guess I should purchase a goblin ear from him in the near future. I can use it for other costumes.

Oh, I had so much fun. I can hardly write about that – there’s simply no way to put into words how much enjoyment I derived from the characters, the smells, the vendors, the sounds – and a few of the smiles on children’s faces. There were visitors to the faire that did not understand that they were walking into a play, but they viewed it as a market of sorts (“a flea market” my friend said). They would not engage with the actors (vendors), but walked through as if their sole purpose was to pass from one end to the other as quickly and as cheaply as possible.


They have forgotten how to view the world from the eyes of a child – if ever they knew. You can’t walk into a venue like this and leave your imagination and wonder back inside the television at home. You have to come in, wide-eyed and expectant. The world is all new at a faire: you are in the middle of a play and you are one of the actors!

I did peruse some of the other vendors when Mary and I allowed ourselves breaks from the action. There were some great artists showcasing their merchandise – and there were also a few reselling something mass-produced from somewhere else (yawn). Most everyone was having fun with the play.

Sunday was much cooler. Throughout the day, we could hear hawks overhead but it was not until the later afternoon that I spied them. I walked over to where a small group of knights were staring up into the trees, counting the birds. There were six. I peered up and suggested we were looking at sharp-shinned hawks (or, rather, queried if that was the case). No, those are peregrine falcons.

Of course, I snapped as many rough photos as I could (I was without my 300mm lens on Sunday). I hoped to get at least one identifiable photo out of the bunch to see if I could identify the birds.

This is a link to the Peregrine Falcon. Note the tail – this is important. Also – listen to the bird.

This is the Sharp-Shinned Hawk. See above: note the tail and listen.

The latter bird is the one I heard all day.


This was my best photo. You can see from the links above that it is *not* a Pergrine Falcon. I did look at the Cooper’s Hawk as well, but the song is all wrong. We were looking at Sharp-Shinned Hawks.

Identifying the hawks was a private moment of glory – I really was more interested in the transcendent moment of watching them and feeling the beauty of God’s glory in their awful creation. They were dining on small creatures and I overheard someone say they found a dead Heron chick under the hawks’ nest. Nature is nothing short of brutal in its beauty – and honest.

I love playing “dress-up” and have one more fair slated for this summer – the last Faerieworlds at the current venue (Mt. Pisgah by Eugene, Oregon).


Read Full Post »

I need to write, but there is so much I cannot write about at the moment. Life is quite complex. I can blog about Harvey, the Wonder Setter.

Harvey has been a really wonderful dog of late. A surprising dog.

He is not our Alpha dog – that title belongs to Murphy, but every once in awhile, Harvey does something that trumps the pecking order and surprises the humans. Once, he nailed Murphy in a spat over some left-over gravy. I guess you don’t get between Harvey and gravy. He has the waist-line to prove it. (Do dogs have waist-lines?)

We have recently been spotting rats in and around the crawl space of our home. These are the common brown rats, not the big Norway rats that freak me out. We’ve lived in homes where the big Norway rats have come in. Rats are a common problem in the Portland metro area, so close to major shipping lines and major rivers. I even quit feeding the birds so as to not be also feeding the rats.

July 4th, both dogs were on high alert and it was not due to the fireworks. Murphy charged the fence line a couple of times, but there was never anything there. Harvey was always close on Murphy’s heels. We suspected they were bird-watching (there’s always a number of fledglings around and about). They calmed down and took up positions on the edge of the lawn, with a view of the greater portion of the yard, heads up, ears perked forward. Then -they both leapt up and ran toward the shed.

Murphy caught it – a rat. Harvey bulled right in and snatched the rat from Murphy’s teeth. He gave it several fatal neck-breaking tosses before dropping it onto the lawn. He stood guard over it, not permitting Murphy close. Harvey pulled the Alpha Dog card on the rat-catching debut.

Hopefully, that was the one and only rat we have to deal with.

Two nights ago, Harvey took a sudden dive through the little wire decorative fence I have around the island garden (specifically to keep dogs out). I mean: he dove. His whole fat body snaked through the widest opening in the wire (and nearly pulled it down in the process). He snaked – literally – into my big aster, under the wire cage that holds up the faded peonies, under the cage for the aster, and under the low limbs of the tree peony. I was flabbergasted. WHAT THE HECK!

Only moment earlier, a Spotted Towhee had hopped through there and a Song Sparrow had eyed the bird bath. Now, my ninety-pound English Setter was making like a Dachshund without directions. He carved a cave of dying peony branches and aster branches before coming out on the other side.

I yelled at him. My FLOWERS! Granted, they’re not blooming right now, but those asters are my entire September’s worth of bloom!

He heeled and lay down by my feet, but he remained on high alert.

I saw it then: a flash of mouse-brown fur. Rat? or Mouse? Harvey tensed, but he knew he was In Trouble. Hanta Virus tip-toed carefully out into full view, big brown eyes and soft mouse ears on the Big White Dog. Harvey trembled, but he was In Trouble. And Hanta Virus sensed it. She boldly pranced toward our deck stairs.

Harvey couldn’t stand it anymore and broke his hold, dashing in for the – miss! Hanta Virus made it to the safety of the underside of the decking.

Darn! I shouldn’t have yelled at the dog.

Good dog.

Another thing I can blog on: the weather, We’ve been having what I call “Real Summer”. That means, temps above 84 degrees Farenheit. All of Portland is sweltering and complaining (including my Dear Husband). I took my sweater off after lunch today.

It’s too hot to sit upstairs at my computer when we have lovely summer conditions in the metro area. I’d rather be sitting outside in the shade, swatting mosquitoes, than to be sitting up here. If you’re going to have summer, have it OUTSIDE. Therefore, while the rest of the city hides in air-conditioned places (or, in my husband’s case, up in the cool woods) – I am sitting outside in the sun, wishing I was ten, again, and that the Winnemucca Municipal Swim Pool was open. (We’d buy maple bars at Hooft’s Bakery after swimming, and then walk home on the 110-degree pavement. Barefoot, of course. If it got too hot, you walked in the gutters because the concrete was cooler there. You ran across the railroad tracks because the creosote heated up hotter than asphalt.)

Yet another thing I can blog about: my next few weekends are busy, busy, busy. I am going to go help my friend sell her wares at the Canterbury Renaissance Faire in Silverton this weekend (I’ll post links later, when I blog about the faire). I’ve been working on costumes for both days. I should buy a good sewing machine but that would mean I am turning into my mother and I actually like sewing).

The weekend following, is Faerieworlds. My costume this year is very simple. I just want to enjoy the venue and watch my son-in-love with my youngest (they aren’t married, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love this man who loves my girl). It is his first time to Faerieworlds and Chrystal is planning their costumes. Can’t wait!

AND – in August – we are having a yard sale. That should be an epic event.  More on that later.

In the meantime – I miss blogging. Summertime is not a good time to try to write in a stuffy bungalow loft (which is really nothing more than a glorified attic). Can you say “sweaty”?


Read Full Post »