Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brian goes to a Sweep In (Broom making weekend)

Last year Brian grew some broom corn in the garden and he was going to learn to make brooms.  He told me so!  :-) 

The next thing I know he is telling me about a Sweep In (what the heck is that?) that is a 3 day deal in Mountain View, AR.  Aaaaaahhhhh......Arkansas, that explains it!  Just kidding...I LOVE Arkansas!  I told him he needs to go - so he did.  (Because he does as I say....HA HA !!!!!)

He made the first few brooms in the pictures below.  The one in his right hand (your left view) is my favorite.  He put a piece of the broom stuff with seeds still on it, so it is more decorative.  The other one is a real broom to be used.  Not that they all can't be used...

These are the smaller ones he made.  A couple Pot Scrubbers, a couple Wisk brooms, and the one in his left hand (your right view) hanging the lowest is a Turkey Wing broom.

A close up of my favorite broom from the first photo.  I am going to hang this one up somewhere.  It is a Hearth broom.  Everything on all these brooms are all hand stitched.  The only thing a machine helped with was wiring the tops and that was a machine patented in 1869!  Brian got to run one by himself.  :-)  And get this, one of the fellow students in Brian's Hearth broom making class is the Chief Broom Maker at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. 

These two pieces came from the same broom making session and the Wisk broom in his left hand (your right view) is his very first one!  After making the bigger one, he cut off the other end to make a Pot Scrubber/Cake Tester.

This is the Pot Scrubber/Cake Tester.  The short wired end is the pot scrubber, and the longer sticks are for checking cakes...just like we do with toothpicks.  Just pick one off and poke it in the cake to see if it is done.  Preferably chocolate thank you very much!  ;-)

This is the end of the pot scrubber side....it is wired tight and is very tough!

One of Brian's Wisk brooms.  If you click on it you can see the woven handle much better....he made this!   Okay, technically this is a Hawk Wing broom because there are segmented spaces on the brushy part....but he messed up (OOPS!) and it is now a Wisk broom.

Close up of his very first Wisk broom (red stitching) and his first Turkey Wing broom.

Thomas thought it was not at all fair that the Broom Boy was getting his picture taken and his wasn't...he is the Kat King after all!

Nakita says "Der her....my turn!"

Hemi says "Don't hate me because I am beautiful!"

Brian's Turkey Wing broom....

The rest of the pictures are from the weekend festival at the Ozark Folk Center.  It is a village with broom making, candle making, blacksmiths.....you name it, they do it.  Brian had such a great time and learned so much!  He had a lot of pictures of the work benches too...I left those out because I can't even begin to explain what all they have on them.

I call this the Harry Potter broom, but it is the broom from the Sorcerer's Apprentice.....isn't it cool how it stands up itself?  I gotta have Brian make me one of these.  I love old driftwood, but now I will be looking at it with new eyes.  :-)  Brian told me his goal for next Fall is to go handle hunting.  Ha ha!

Broom corn seed is very very small....and they were popping it!  Brian said it had a nutty flavor and was very good.

Here is one of the contraptions that squash the broom down so you can stitch it flat.  (Brian is helping me label the photos correctly and the thing that squashes the broom is the Broom Press, and the big thing is the Broom Horse that you sit on to make the broom)

A view of a home made contraption that squashes the broom corn flat to be stitched.  It is made of regular sticks and check out the wing nuts.  They are hand forged!  You can see the tied wad of broom in the middle.  You start with that then add other around it. 

One of the broom maker instructors in action - Little John.  The thing at his feet is a spool of thread that you use to tie the tops of the brooms.  Some of the people have large ones with several different colors.

The broom corn can be dyed - they do it in a big vat.  There will be a few pictures with a lot of color....the colorful pieces are put on the outside of the regular color.

I love the twisted handle on this one, and the criss-cross of the color on the broom itself.  The handle is sassafras root.

Just enough color used to accent the broom...

Creative people can even put designs on them, and check out the face on the top of the handle.  The man that made this hand carves them and lives in the area.  (Brian tells me the handle carving is a Tree Spirit.  He doesn't remember the specifics at the moment, but it is from old German folklore)

This would be my Fall broom.  :-)  YES!  A broom for all season!  Brian tells me it flies....hee hee!  It will look great by my 'Witch Parking Only' sign.  Yes, I really have one of these.

I love the color on this one....very rich looking...

The one hanging on the left has a deer antler handle.  The one in the middle has a wrapped handle (you can see it better when you click on the photo to make it large).

Selling their wares.....

I love this picture!  Lots of different types of brooms....but look on the wall between the windows.  Just below the two bigger brooms is a baby broom!  Isn't it the cutest darn thing?  :-)

Rolls of processed broom corn ready for broom making.

I love buzzards!  On the way down Brian saw these guys over a driveway.  Aren't they great?  :-)

Candles in the making......

These are called Crumb Brushers and can also be used as Cake Testers like the pot scrubber up above.  (Brian says they can also be used by seamstresses to pick up stray pieces of thread)

Table decoration.....it reminds me of a Native American dance....

This one is actually called Dancer....

There were also people who made stuff out of the broom corn to decorate gourds.  I have a huge bin of gourds!  Brian will keep busy while I ride horses....hee hee!  Oh, notice the big box of wine behind the gourd?  A lot of trading goes on thru the weekend.  :-)


Turkey Wing brooms......(they used to use actual turkey wings....that is how these little guys got their name)

I love these!  Brian bought a couple of these and I think they are so cute!  They are corn silkers!

More corn silkers.....

A funny sign Brian saw on the way down there....

Here are some more Pot Scrubbers.  The other ones earlier had a long end and a short stubby end so they were Pot Scrubber/Cake Tester combos.

Another Turkey Wing broom with an unfinished handle....

Another version of the Turkey Wing broom....

Both of these pictures are from inside the main Broom Shop at the Ozark Folk Center.  Every broom is either made by the owner or his 17 year old daughter. 

This is a Marriage broom.  Look at the double handle that joins the brooms and handle as one.  Isn't it romantic? 

He had a great time and is looking forward to next year.  A lot of the work tables he can make himself.  And there is a lot of it that I have no idea where he will find what he needs......it is very old stuff and is stuff that is hard to find. 

Until later.....Karen and Tripp who thinks Brian needs to make him a Butt Scrubber broom! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Short video of Tripp and I crossing the wood bridge at Knob Noster State Park

I love this bridge!  Tripp has never crossed anything of this size before and I think he did great!  I sure do love him!

April Trail Ride at Knob Noster State Park

The day after this trail ride I got the call.  I was headed out of town for three weeks!  I did get a bunch of pictures posted on Facebook, but I still wanted to blog them but had to wait. 

I had hollered at some friends who came here to ride at the wildlife area and wanted to know if they wanted to ride at Knob Noster State Park, which is about 10 miles from them.  They pretty much grew up riding out there and I had heard the stories...I wanted to go!  And they were game!  Woo hoo!

I let Tripp mosey around the yard while I was getting myself together.  Little did he know that he was on his way to becoming a REAL trail horse!  Ha!

The park is close to Whitemans Airforce Base and was closed for a while...some old artillery stuff was found out there.  It is open again with a new parking lot (trying to figure out who planned this lot....it seems backwards for parking trailers).  The trails were not refurbished - which has made many equestrians happy.  It is a rustic place to ride and people like it like that.

Tripp is ready to go.  We are going to be riding with Chris and her mustang Jewel, and Phil and his mustang Jim.

Phil and Jim are ready to go.  See the big scar on his hip?  (Jim's....not Phil's...hee hee)  He had an accident when he was on his way back to Chris and Phil.  Chris and Phil got a call saying they were going to put him down.  Chris said to fix him up and bring him home....they would fix it.  And they did!  This big boy is a sweetheart and has many miles under his belt.  

Thank goodness for mounting rocks!  I was so happy to see them strategically placed at different trail entrances.  :-)  

Away we go...into the woods.  The majority of the trails are like this.  Single file, lots of brush with fallen trees all over.  It was a great place to ride and the weather was great!  I imagine mid summer brings the hummingbird sized mosquitoes!

There were a couple of switchbacks....Chris and Phil are above me.  I bet they were ready for me to put my camera down and RIDE!  Hee hee! 

Nature at its finest....deadfall which means homes for critters.

This hill goes down into a creekbed and is much steeper than the picture looks.  Chris and Phil are reminiscing....Jewel hates mud and on a ride she was trying to go around the muddy area.  She slipped and rolled down into the gully and was stuck on her back in a crevasse.  They said that mare did not move at all ..... thankfully the mare has a great mind and the humans figured out what to do.  It took quite a while to get to a vehicle to get rope etc.....I had heard the story before but seeing the area gave me a sick knot.  The rider was okay too - he bailed once he knew they were going down.

Jewel leaving the scene of the accident.  She doesn't think she wants to do that again...she still doesn't like mud and understands why Mom makes her go thru it every chance she gets.

Moseying down the trail....it was so pretty and we saw a few deer and a lot of different types of birds.

There are many big old dead trees in these woods. 

There are a lot of fallen logs across the trails, and some were fairly tall.  We joked about Tripp getting high centered over them.  He actually did great!  I was so proud of him!  There were a couple that were tall and he hopped over them nice and light.

There are a few steep hills to go up and down.  This one was pretty rocky on the way up. 

Me having fun!  :-)

The trail came out to a road....we rode up it and there were little yellow butterflies all over the place!  I wish I could have got them in film because they were beautiful!

One of the only places on the trail to ride side by side.  Here is Chris and Jewel.  Tripp is not used to riding side by side, so this was good for him.

Then it was time to go down the big hill.....Tripp took the lead.  He isn't used to that either.  

The trail comes to a campground that is no longer open.  I really hope someone comes in to brush hog the place....it would be a waste to let the pens rot.

Pens at the campground area.  It is all grown up.  I would love to come stake out a couple of my horses for a couple of days.  That would mow it down nice, eh?  :-)
Chris said this place used to be packed on the weekends.  I don't doubt it...it is a pretty place and very horse friendly.

At the edge of the corrals the trail goes back into the woods.  The grass is real tall and this is where Tripp and I started having a battle.  He wanted to eat, and I didn't want him to.  We battled earlier but it was easier for me to get the upper hand with shorter grass.  By this time the grass was tall and he knew my arms were tired.  Plus there was no way for me to work his little butt! 

One of my favorite parts of the trail!  The bridge!  There is a little concrete bridge to cross and Jim thought he had been over it enough times in his life....he didn't need to show now greenhorn how to cross it!  Phil is showing him the err of his ways.  Ha!
I really think Tripp would have crossed it first, but Phil had to show Jim that they were going to cross that thing, and now!  So we waited.....while I was eyeballing the BIG bridge ahead of us.  Wow, it was a beaut!

Tripp was not so sure about this.  It makes a lot of noise and looks weirder than anything he has crossed before.  I LOVED IT!!!  I love bridges, so that means Tripp has to love bridges too.  Look at his ears...he is really paying attention and on edge, but he is moving along for me.  (I will post the video in another blog post)

Then we tried going across ourselves and Tripp said he didn't think we needed to.  We made it safely across once and that was enough.  Chris and Phil walked back across and Tripp NOT being the buddy sour horse he is said he would wait right over here, thank you very much!

View on one side......

View in the middle......

View from the other side...

Tripp finally went and I got a self portrait with Chris following.  Woo hoo!

Phil was wonderful and took a few pictures for me.  He got the pictures from each side of the bridge too.  Thanks Phil!  Tripp says "Okay, we can go now!"

I am happy to say that Tripp finally decided it was okay to go first.  I was so happy!  :-)
I love him so much!

Hanging out in one of the clearings chatting...

Aren't they cute?

My other favorite thing was the real water crossings!  I have only been around small ones.  He was okay on this one - a little hesitation but he did it.  I think he would lay down if I slowed down long enough. 

Creek behind me....

After a butt sliding hill we dropped down into this creek.  Now this one was another story!  The gravel was real squishy and not like anything Tripp has walked on.  Getting close to the water made him decide he was going to go back the way we came - even if it meant hauling my big butt back up that steep hill to get to the trail!

Chris and Phil went on ahead thinking it would entice Tripp to go.  Remember?  He is NOT buddy sour...so he was just fine not going along for that ride across the water!  
Here is what happened......Chris came back and took my mecate rein - and she lead us across the water!  Ha ha!  Embarrassing?  A little...but it sure did help Tripp to be more brave!  Tripp didn't want to go at first...he was swinging his head back and forth, but he finally gave in and realized it was not all that bad.  I think in the long run he liked it and can't wait to do it and cross that bridge again!

Tripp has never been sandwiched between other horses.  In the past he has even taken a bite at others so I was keeping an eye on him. 

Tripp wants to know how Jim got closer without him noticing.

Hmmmm, while Jewel is here I might as well whisper some sweet nothings in her ear.  ;-)

And we did it!  Jewel, Tripp and Jim.  Tripp did real good and I could feel his nerves, but nothing that made me think he would react.  

The mushroom in a tree that looked like an out of control flying saucer before it crashed.  There are so many neat things in these woods.

And this my friends is THE END!

The day was so much fun and I really could not have planned it any better.  The weather was gorgeous for us this day then turned bad the next. 

This was Tripp's first ride on the kinds of ups and downs we encountered - reminded me of the stuff I used to ride when I was a kid.  Chris and Phil and their mustangs were great teachers and mentors for Tripp. 

My one and only complaint was Tripp thinking he could eat whenever he wanted.  It was the first time I can say I was truly mad at him.  He knew better, and by the end of the ride my arms were exhausted.  He knew there was no room for me to work his little butt and going single file made it impossible work around trees etc.
Here is how I know he knows exactly what he is doing.  We had this battle at the wildlife area close to home and when he would try to pull away, I would work him.  One of the times he rubbed his nose on his leg (he caught me on this one a couple times) he stopped rubbing, then slowly tilted his head sideways to peek up at me!  This is no joke!  He slowly started rubbing again and then brought his head up.  Of course I had to laugh....but that tells me he knew exactly what he was doing and he knew he had me.  So we are going back to school.  :-)  We have already started....it is going to be a long road but we will get there.  He did great last night when we went out.

Thanks Chris and Phil for a great day, but my biggest thanks goes to Tripp.  I sure do love this guy and he was a doll!!!  I do think he had a fun time too.

Until later....Karen and Tripp who wants to cross more bridges because his girl wants to cross more bridges.