The van is loaded and we are ready to pull out Friday morning. We'll be heading for Springfield, IL, this time around. It's a long trip with lots of work that must be done once we arrive. It's an outdoor show where both Jo and I were accepted. That means we've got to get two canopies set up, the fixtures for both put into place and our merchandise unloaded Friday evening at the very least. Then, we'll need to get to the show relatively early Saturday morning and get everything unpacked and displayed before the show opens.
Packing our clothes was difficult for Jo. According to the forecast for Springfield, we'll need warmer clothes than we've had to wear in over six months. Saturday's temperatures are supposed to start out in the lower forties and only make it up to the mid-sixties. That's a big change from what we've been experiencing.
Fall has finally arrived here in the Ozarks, though. A couple of days back our temperatures were down the in mid-fifties. We haven't seen temperatures higher than the mid-eighties since then.
The garden is suffering from neglect. That always seems to happen this time of year when we get into our schedule of fall shows. (That's one of the reasons why we gave up on planting a fall garden years ago.) While it was still so hot and dry, it didn't really matter much that Jo and I were concentrating our efforts of making more pots and spoons. However, the cooler temperatures and little bit of rain we got with the last cool front have caused the weeds and grass to start growing a bit again. There's work to be done out in the garden, but we just may not get around to it for a while.
Disgruntled Cows: Jerry Joe has had all his gates open allowing his cows to roam in the woods for the past week or so. This seems to be a younger, more skittish group of heifers. They've made a major ordeal of getting themselves sorted out, roaming all over the place and bellowing back and forth at each other. Friday was the first day in several days that we haven't had to run cows out of our yard. On some of the past few days, we've had to herd cows at least a half dozen times. I've flanged up the garden as best I can and the electric fence is on. The garden may be getting into bad shape, but it would be in much worse shape if cows got into it.
Pots and Spoons: There hasn't been a great deal going on around here except Jo working on pottery and me working on spoons.
Cold: I managed to pick up cold bug while we were out on the road. That's the problem when you leave the reservation: You have to make contact with other people who may have germs. Fortunately, this seems to be a "lite" version of a cold. I started coming down with it Thursday but was already feeling better by Friday. Here on Saturday, the cold is pretty much gone except for a few sniffles. Fast -- and that's good because I really didn't have time to mess with being sick. Now, we have to see if Jo catches the cold from me.
Unpredictable Weather: At least NOAA hasn't done a very good job of predicting our weather over the past few days. A high chance of rain has been in our forecast, but all we've actually received is a tad of very light drizzle. Some of the days have even ended up being fairly sunny. Jo's managed to get one load of clothes washed and dried on the clothesline and is trying another today. She probably could have gotten more done had she simply paid no attention to the weather forecasts. Our temperatures have ranged from the upper eighties when it was sunny to the lower eighties on days that remained overcast.
Microsoft Update Problems: I'll not bore you with the details, but I've been having problems getting my Microsoft updates downloaded and installed. After much trial and error and posting a question on the Microsoft Update Newsgroup, I finally determined that the problem was my Norton firewall. If I turn the firewall off, I can get the updates to download. This is very strange to me since I've been using this firewall since 2003 and have updated Windows many, many times over the years -- just more of the fun and games involved in dealing with Microsoft, I reckon.
Now, I have to catch up with all the updates that haven't been downloading. Some of them are fairly large and take a long time to download on our extremely slow dial up Internet connection. I've decided that the best approach seems to be downloading and installing the larger updates one at a time.
Mostly we just got fully back into our routine of working on pots and spoons. We need to get a lot done since our next show is less than two weeks away.
More light, scattered showers. Another .3" rain. The weather did get more stormy during the evening, but nothing severe. Another .4" rain brought our total up to a little over and inch for the past two days.
Jo had to make a trip into town to pick up our dogs from the vet's -- actually a trip into town and halfway back to Harrison. We drove right by the vet's office on our way home yesterday, but since it was a holiday the office was closed. We knew it would be.
She made several routine stops while in Marshall, including a trip to the grocery store since we'd forgotten to take our grocery list with us on the trip and made our purchases at Wally World from memory. (Duh!) Jo said every place she stopped was a madhouse -- like a typical Monday morning, but worse. Harp's (our one and only local grocery store) was out of several item that we needed.
Since the weather is cooler (lower eighties), we moved our afternoon walk back up to 4:00 PM. While it was so hot we weren't walking until around seven o'clock. Unfortunately, our neighbor Jerry Joe was messing around doing some fencing. We had to deal with him on his tractor and someone else driving his truck on our "driveway". Rusty and Bucket went crazy. It wasn't a very relaxing walk.
It piddled around at trying to rain off and on all day, but we only received .35"
We got up none too early and headed for the house, stopping at the Wally World in Harrison to do our routine grocery shopping. Once home, we unloaded our personal stuff from the van, did part of the show bookkeeping and then unloaded the merchandise from the van. That was pretty much the extent of our activities for the day.
Empty streets in downtown Fayetteville on Sunday morning.
Slow Day at the Art Festival
The show started out slow, built to almost fair and then fizzled out altogether. The main problem was: Nothing else was happening in downtown Fayetteville on a Sunday. All the banks, offices and associated businesses were closed. Folks had to make a special trip just to attend the art festival.
Tear Down: The show closed at 4 PM. It took us a little over three hours to tear down and load the van. (It usually does take us that long.) Jo and I were the last artists to leave the hall. (We usually are.) As with set up, Jo did the majority of the tearing down and packing up while I did most of the transporting and loading. When we can get the van closer, I usually have more time to help with tearing down.
Freight Elevators: In addition to the two regular passenger elevators we used to get between the lobby and parking garage, the Town Center building also has two huge freight elevators. How huge? Large enough that I could have used one of them to bring the entire loaded van up to the lobby -- could have, but the folks running the show didn't offer us that option. The freight elevators didn't go to the parking garage, but to a loading dock area instead, an area that provided very few places to park the van, especially on Friday. When we arrived, there was an 18-wheeler unloading at one of the docks and the whole area was fairly congested with normal workday activities. That's why we chose to use the parking garage and its elevators. There were more parking opportunities in the loading dock area on Sunday, but our only means of transport was a two-wheel dolly. If we'd had a larger platform dolly, we could have benefited from the extra space in the freight elevators, but since we didn't, the passenger elevators worked just fine.
Poor Paul: A potter friend of ours from Oklahoma had even more problems with having to use the elevators. He has problems with his equilibrium, problems that can throw his sense of balance completely out of whack if he rides on an elevator. Paul said it would take him a couple of hours to recover from one elevator trip up to the lobby -- recover enough balance to stand and walk unaided. Paul had to load his cart containing his fixtures/pots onto the elevator and then hustle to the front of the parking garage and up the stairs to the lobby level. He usually asked someone else making the trip to pull his cart off the elevator so it wouldn't keep taking up space riding up and down.
(Note: There are a few more photos taken in Fayetteville here if you want to have a look.)
Attendance at the air fair on Saturday was pretty good through mid-afternoon. A Farmers' Market that includes everything from produce to flowers to pottery and other crafts is held on the square every Saturday morning throughout the summer. Spill over from the Farmers' Market greatly helped attendance at the art festival. Our sales were pretty good too.
After the Market closed and especially as the kickoff time for the UA Razorbacks' football game drew near, our crowd declined to virtually non-existent. We did have our largest sale of the weekend around closing time, though. You just never know so it pays to stay both in your booth and awake until the show closes. Late Saturday afternoon, I was having problems doing either.
Peace Globe sculpture in front of the Fayetteville Town Center building.
Drove Over to Fayetteville, AR, And Set Up For Show
We arrived at the show site at noon. It's around a four hour trip from our place over to Fayetteville, plus time for dropping the dogs off at the vet's in Western Grove and stopping at the Wally World in Harrison to buy flowers to display in Jo's vases.
Location: I was wrong about the location of the show. It was held in the Fayetteville Town Center building, not the Walton Art Center. (A good thing Jo knew where we were going, huh?) Town Center is a multi-purpose venue for meetings, conventions and, of course, art fairs. It's on the "Courthouse Square", except the current Washington County courthouse is actually located a couple of blocks away. Private businesses occupy the old courthouse building.
Elevators: Unfortunately, I wasn't wrong about having to transport all our fixtures and merchandise from the van to our booth via an elevator. We parked in the lower level of the parking garage and the show was three levels above on the lobby level. Transporting via an elevator wasn't really any harder than usual, but certainly consumed a lot of time. Setting up took until 5 PM. Then, we left, checked into the Sleep Inn, cleaned up and changed clothes and were back at the show by seven o'clock.
Patron Preview Party: Free entertainment, beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres for the patrons (i. e. folks who paid fifty bucks to attend) and artists. Sales were modest as they usually are for such events. A couple of relatively large sales made it worth our time, I reckon. The party lasted until ten o'clock. By the time Jo and I made it back to the motel, we were more than ready for bed. Could it be that we're getting old?