The professor and I are both really, really tired. It has been sort of a long week, and it isn't over yet. That said, I think I should post about his adventures last weekend before we completely "lose the
plot" and become too tired to reflect on the fun stuff.
Festival du Voyageur is a festival held here in February that celebrates the French fur traders and First Nations' roots of Manitoba's history. There are lots of people who dress up in traditional fur trader clothing, interesting displays, and plenty of time to stand around outside in the (very cold) beautiful out of doors.
I loved it last year but nixed going this year because a) I can't stand up for too long b) the twins in my belly do not dig the cold and c)bathrooms (washrooms for you Canadians) are in short supply--which really doesn't work for me these days.
Instead, I sort of helped the professor arrange a "play date." I still want him to go out and do fun stuff even if I am just better equipped to sit on the couch these days. He went to Festival with a biomedical engineering professor and a microbiology professor. I daresay they had fun together! This is a photo he took of his two friends admiring one of the snow sculptures. Note the
sculpture has 3 knights and their steeds. 3 friends? 3 knights? sweet, huh?
Since it was cold, they spent time inside the heated tents. They made maple syrup taffy with the snow.
They visited with the blacksmith, who was apparently a one man show. A bunch of school kids visited, and one said, "I saw you here last year!" The blacksmith never missed a beat and said, "Is that so? You know, I think I recognize you too! You grew a lot!! Oh, and is that a new pair of winter boots? A new coat?"
This was said very earnestly. The professor and his friends were laughing quietly because of course, this would apply to most any kid who came by the blacksmith display. That said, the kid felt very proud and acknowledged, I'd bet! The professor told me that just in case we were considering doing living history at some point in the future? He thought maybe he could try out blacksmithing... You know, for when butterfly and moth genetics research wasn't paying the bills or something?!
They visited the fur trading/general store area and saw the "store" doing a brisk trade. Just as an aside here, the fur trade is still alive and well in Canada these days and you can buy all sorts of pelts in Winnipeg to make your winter time mukluks
or your caribou parka.
I'm serious about this--you see people wearing mukluks all the time here in winter. Every year on the CBC, you hear radio features about the warmest winter garb. Someone is ALWAYS swearing by his handmade parka, and usually it is made by a friend or family member. Check out this recent article in the newspaper
to learn more about this traditional process.
The professor saw several handspun yarn displays, including this one. He made sure to snap a picture in honor of all the new spindlers I taught in February!
I am sure they visited another tent and listened to a band or two. They might just have visited a First Nations living history interpreter who talked about winter time activities in his teepee. The teepee I visited last winter was remarkably warm, considering the outdoor temperatures...
Eventually, they made their way over to see my friend (and wife of the microbiologist) Carol. She is well known for her beautiful fingerwoven sashes. Check out more about her and her work here.
All in all, a great day out that I have enjoyed vicariously--I hope you did, too. I could go into detail about why we're so tired (a grant proposal for the professor, a lot of doctors' appointments for me, and a childbirth class that lasted over 2 hours...but I won't. I will say though that either I am really old, or carrying twins is just hard, or maybe I just am NOT a night owl. I'm not sure I will make it through these 7-9:30 pm classes. I get the feeling the babies will come out one way or the other in any case....but next week, I've got to schedule in a nap somehow.)
Labels: festival du voyageur, festivals, fingerweaving, sash weaving, Winnipeg, Winnipeg spinning, winter