The days might be chilly, and the snow piled up, but people still enjoy the Historical Village. They walk their dogs on their way to the RiverWalk. Families come down to throw snowballs and even make a snowman. Of course, the quilters are in the old schoolhouse every Friday if you want to stop by and see their sewing magic. There are also numerous items available for sale including a wide variety of quilts, books by Darris Flanagan, art bags for children, pine needle baskets, scrubbies, potholders and catnip toys for your feline friends. So whether you are looking for something special for a birthday, anniversary, letting someone know you care, or just a reason to celebrate yourself, know there are wonderful items for sale at the schoolhouse on Fridays (or online 24/7 through our website).
If you are new to town, welcome! Someone stopped by to pick up her purchases from the Village this past Friday and wasn’t sure which building was the schoolhouse. It is the one with the bell tower. The steps leading up to the building are cleaned off (thanks to the Grasshopper people for doing a fantastic job on the boardwalk and steps for us!). At least to me, it seems that building radiates a lot of terrific energy on Fridays when the women are inside quilting. So if you are new to town, or have lived here for a while but now find yourself with more time, stop by any Friday if you are interested in learning to quilt, or just to visit.
And if you are new to town, the Historical Village even in winter is a great place to learn about the valley’s history. Many of the quilters have been here long enough to answer your questions. There is also a wide array of books available to purchase that give the history of Eureka, Fortine, Trego, the early European settlement and the original Native People.
We appreciate all that the Tobacco Valley has experienced to make it what it is today – the trails, the ranches, all the individuals who have lived here, the rivers and mountains that have shaped our lives. Take some time to learn more about it, and to see some brightly colored quilts on these wintry gray days.
Last winter we did a fundraiser for the Historical Village. Midwinter seemed a great time to offer people a chance to get out on a gray, cold afternoon to enjoy some live music, visit with neighbors and support our local museum. The event was a wonderful success and afterwards many people asked if we were going to do it again. And we are!!
On Saturday March 2 beginning at 4:00pm, we hope to see you at the Trego Civic Center to hear Mark Ross, musician and historian. Mark is someone who knows Montana well. He lived in Butte, Montana for twelve years and also spent eleven years in Missoula, five of them doing a live Saturday night show for Montana Public Radio. From 1997 – 2000 he was the Artistic Director and Producer of the Butte FolkFest. Needless to say, Mark Ross is also a consummate musician playing guitar, banjo, harmonica and a dozen other instruments. He lives in Oregon now but jumped at the chance to come back up to Montana (even in winter) for this fundraising event.
Following Mark’s show, there will be a potluck so bring your favorite dish-to-pass. We will have everything else needed at the Trego Civic Center. After dinner, there will be a jam with Mark and any local musicians who happen to bring along an instrument.
All proceeds from this home-grown event support the Historical Village. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon this time of year. So put it on your calendar and invite along some friends. Admission is $12 at the door. We will also have raffle tickets and our handmade quilts available for sale.
This past Friday it snowed. A lot. And it didn’t look good. It wasn’t just the fact that most of us are tired of winter by this point, but the concern that bad roads might hamper people coming to the fundraiser in Trego on Saturday afternoon. Saturday though dawned better with a bit of sun and so our anticipation became more optimistic. But you never know do you with these community events if there will be enough people, if its possible to even make the costs of putting the thing on let alone raise funds to help support the Historical Village? On top of the weather and other unknowns, there were questions about the event itself. We hadn’t really done anything quite like this before. A concert with a band from out of the area (actually The Wardens are from Canada so out of the country!) with a potluck and community jam to follow. We had decided to do it in Trego because the hall there is so nice with great acoustics and a large kitchen, plus enough space if we did get a real turn out. But would we? Would people drive from Eureka on snowy roads to support the Historical Village and enjoy this potentially great event?
Al went out early that day to get a fire going so the hall would be warm. He also plowed the parking lot (thank you so much!). The band arrived around 1:30 to start setting up. Quilters and John Linn came a little later to hang quilts and set up tables for selling some handmade items. With the concert scheduled to begin at 4:00pm, one might hope people would start to show up at 3:30ish but it started very slow. Finally around 3:45 cars began to pull in and then more cars. We had to set up extra chairs. When people were still coming through the door at 4:00, the band decided to start a few minutes late. What a fabulous turnout! Over seventy people came to listen to great music, potluck with neighbors and then hang a bit for the jam. Some people played music, some danced, some talked with friends, some met new people, some tried new foods (Dawn’s outrageous Bhutan momos).
It isn’t only the wonderful turn out but the energy people brought to the event that made it such a great evening. Lots of laughter and hugs. We sold a quilt and a box of Mary Louise’s homemade chocolates. Some folks generously wrote checks to support the Historical Village. Others asked for information to learn more about the Tobacco Valley Board of History. And the help that made this all possible! From John climbing his 10′ ladder to hang quilts to Mike washing dishes and Mircea mopping the floor. Everyone pitched in to set up chairs and then at the end of the evening, to put chairs away. Ray got the jam circle going, Ed helped the band carry their things out to the van, Patty and Darrell took trash bags to the dumpsters. What a special evening…what a special community. Thank you, Eureka!
Late winter in this part of Montana can be gray. And once we move from constant snow to snow with mud, that grayness feels even more difficult to endure. Which is why the Historical Village volunteers had the great idea to have a late winter community event that promises to rock your socks and raise some funds for maintaining the Village.
On March 3rd, The Wardens play at the Trego Hall starting at 4pm. An easy time of day to drive out and catch this great band from Canmore, Canada. Up in those parts, a ranger is called a warden. These three musicians/wardens have worked in the back country around Banff for a lot of years so know mountains and horses as well as music. Admission for the concert is $8/per with tickets on sale at the door.
We figured once folks come out to Trego to hear good music, they might just want to stay and enjoy themselves a bit longer. There will be a potluck after the concert (starting around 5:30) and then a music jam. Ray and Shirley Jacobs met The Wardens recently and encouraged us to bring them to Eureka. They will be there. Hope you are too. If you want a preview of The Wardens, check out their website here.
So mark March 3rd on your calendar and come out for a good time. Bring a dish to pass if you want to stay for the potluck, and if you play music then please bring your instrument along. Otherwise come to listen and enjoy this late winter treat. Oh, and there will be beautiful handmade quilts for sale as well.
The holidays are happening. Snow is starting to pile up. Sidewalks are slippery. Bazaar sales at the Historical Village have gone well although of course we hope there will be last minute shoppers on December 22nd. Last Friday the quilters had their annual party – a potluck and then gift exchange. The delicious food put everyone in a sleepy mood but we continued sewing until our usual closing time. Lynda and Sally even set up a second quilt that we will tie next week, a colorful cotton one Cathryn pieced. Although I am often content to sit and talk rather than sew, the pace is such that I feel compelled to be as productive as the others (no easy task with this group of women).
As usual we are sewing, talking with any visitors who stop by to drop off something or to buy some lovely handmade item, and discussing how to raise money to cover the Village’s costs, and how to get all the things done from archiving to replacing broken pieces of the boardwalk. It often feels there isn’t enough time for all we need to accomplish but somehow we still manage to listen to stories about families and friends, laugh at Bev’s jokes and grumble if the needle is not going through as easily as we might like.
Amidst the talk, different quilters talk about other volunteer work they are doing – helping with the Winter Bird Count, the library, the thrift store, the church. Its amazing how these individuals find time to do all this to make our community as good as possible. There might be a concern when we don’t see younger people stepping up to help with these projects and really in this case, younger is broad. We not only think about high school students but adults in their twenties to fifties. Of course there are volunteers but there never seems to be quite enough. So we hope some folks out there will put volunteering down as a New Year’s resolution. Once a week for a few hours surely would mean a lot.
Warmth. Isn’t that what quilts are mostly about? Of course there are summer ones or those incredible intricately constructed one that individuals hang on walls or keep in boxes, but for the most part we have quilts to use, to keep us and those whom we love warm. So yes, the warmth factor. Yet some patterns and colors seem to increase the warmth factor exponentially. Like the one we are working on now. We believe Judy brought the fabric from Hawaii (Judy is out with a bad wrist so we couldn’t ask). Joan pieced it. The quilting design along the edge is a new one that we haven’t sewn before.
Some would say though that the fabric is a bit of challenge to sew. Actually a lot of the women say this, even Bonnie who tends never to complain. At the same time I appreciate the strong colors when everything outside is white or a pale shade of gray. It is winter in Montana after all. The mountains are white, the fields are white, even most roads are white. The sky here in the Tobacco Valley is often overcast. Thus to walk into the old school house out of the whiteness on Fridays and see this beautiful tropical design is a treat. It reminds me my eyes are still working, that there are places where flowers bloom and where people sit in light cotton clothes, where the smell isn’t one of cold crystallized air, but soft scents of verdant vegetation and the sea.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” This is a useful concept to have on many occasions whether it is quilting Hawaiian fabric during a Montana winter or deciding how to go productively into 2017. We can be upset with the way the fabric grabs the needle but we can appreciate the colors and design of this quilt, doing our best to sew well. We can look at the world around us wondering how any progress will be made and yet still keep focused on our efforts in the community, with our families and friends, and with strangers we meet along the way.