Coming into fall

The quilters drew the lucky raffle winner at the Lincoln County Fair on August 27th.  A Canadian woman won the beautifully pieced quilt and will pick it up this week.  Thanks to all of you who bought raffle tickets. It is one of the many ways we work to pay the bills to maintain the Historical Village.  Also at the end of August, the Historical Village was awarded a grant from the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation.  What a wonderful gift FullSizeRenderto help us cover the expenses we incurred this past summer including chinking one of the old cabins and painting a building.  And on September 9, the quilters will have their annual Fall Rummage Sale at the old school house from 10:00am – 3:00pm. Some great treasures and, of course, all proceeds go towards the Historical Village.  Stop by to purchase something you need and/or to talk with the women. The following Friday, September 15, the quilting season officially starts for the year.  It is open to anyone who has time on Fridays.  Even if you haven’t sewn before, we are happy to show you how.  Many of us started out as true beginners and are now addicted to showing up every Friday to stitch.  Bring a bag lunch and drop by anytime between 10:00am – 3:00pm.  We will even supply you with a needle and scissors to begin this new passion.

Perhaps you are seriously considering coming by on a Friday to quilt with us – or to learn how to quilt.  You study the photos that are part of this blog and notice how agreeable the women look who are sewing.  But then the balloons on the quilt catch your eye and you wonder what they are used for.  Has there been a recent birthday party?  Are the quilters prepared to fill them with water to deter anyone from littering on the Historical Village grounds?  No, the balloons are actually used for quilting. Sometimes it is difficult to pull a needle through multiple layers of fabric and batting.  When it becomes a challenge, a balloon placed around the needle gives the quilter that extra leverage to pull the needle through.

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Thank you

Are there enough hours in the day to thank everyone who helps in this community? We held our annual fundraiser for the Historical Village last Saturday.  A lovely five course dinner with a Spanish theme served at a private residence on Dickey Lake.  A cellist played during the evening, some volunteers prepared the food while others served it.  As part of the event, a small speech was made later during the meal to thank those who bought tickets, to those who provided the wine, prepared the meal, those who set out tables and chairs for forty people.  At an earlier pointIMG_1320 in the evening, before the first guests appeared, I took a photo of those wonderful women who served the dinner and helped sell tickets prior to the event.

If I count everyone including the couple who helped move the tables, the man who cleaned the terrace, the woman who brought over forty chairs, the next door neighbor who lent us use of  her oven, the owners of the house where the dinner was held, the friend who gave us green beans from her garden for the paella, it would be over seventy people who participated in some way to make this event successful.  And really this is a fraction of all those who help maintain the Historical Village throughout the year.

We might take it for granted that people help out in a small town.  How else can we maintain the museum and the park, run the Scout troop and Little League, do storytime at the local library and walk dogs at the animal shelter? So much that makes this valley great depends on volunteers. And we realize not all small towns have this wealth.  We are fortunate to have people in this valley who truly care.

Recently there was a wild fire near Eureka.  Some people were required to evacuate their homes.  Neighbors offered housing, storage, and pasture for animals for those who had to evacuate. Others donated water and food for the fire fighters.  There was so much donated that the surplus was given to the local food bank.  For all of this, the generosity offered during the fire as well as the generosity shown towards the fundraising dinner – we offer thanks.

Eureka Montana Quilt Show

Yes, in only a few days the annual Eureka Montana Quilt Show will be happening.  My suggestion is you come early like 7:00am to help hang the quilts and enjoy the cool morning of dew and colors. The town is transformed as hundreds of quilts are slowly  hung from Memorial Park down the main street and throughout the Historical Village.  Its truly magical as it happens and you can be part of that magic. Afterwards, volunteers usually stop at Cafe Jax or Four Corners Restaurant for breakfast and then go back out to enjoy the day. Quilts galore (previous years had over six hundred!), vendors, shady spots to sit and soak up the day quickly fill the hours til 4:00pm.  And besides all the activity that goes along with this annual event, there is the Historical Village itself.IMG_0505

All the buildings in the Village will be open throughout the day of the Quilt Show.  So take some time to amble through the museum and the old cabins.  There will also be volunteer quilters at a table in front of the museum who sell raffle tickets.  The winner will be selected at the county fair later in August. The prize is a lovely quilt hand stitched last winter. Needless to say, we will ship it to you wherever you live if you win.  We like getting our quilts out into the world.

Eureka is a special place most of us enjoy calling home.  It sparkles in the winter with snow and the summer is bustling with visitors walking on main street enjoying local businesses. Cyclists from all across America come through sometimes camping in Riverside Park, often stopping for a meal or a milkshake.  But the first Saturday in August when the Quilt Show takes over the town is spectacular.  Eureka is at its brightest!  The colors compete with any rainbow.  The variety of quilts is astonishing.  And the crowds add to the festive sense.  Whether you live in Lincoln County or elsewhere in the state or region, think about coming to Eureka on August 5 this year.  You won’t regret it.

Summer

We get so caught up in the flurry of summer its hard to remember to take photos of all that is happening.  The schedule of special events piles up as do summer visitors.  Sometimes people say there are only two seasons in Montana: winter and summer guests.  And perhaps it was the severity of the past winter that makes this particular summer seem to fly by.  Before it disappears entirely, there are a few dates you want to remember, exciting things happening at the Historical Village or for its support.

On August 5, the Eureka Montana Quilt Show takes place which is certainly a remarkable experience.  Early morning if you are tempted to show up to help, hundreds and img_2100hundreds of quilts are hung on store fronts along the main street, in the Historical Village and in the Memorial Park.  It is a day of kaleidoscopic transformation and beauty with quilts of all shapes and sizes, booths, demonstrations and art offered.  And then in the late afternoon, volunteers take down the quilts (many of which have been bought by then) and the town goes back to its normal somber colors.

Again this summer, the Tobacco Valley Board of History will put on a luscious dinner for forty at a private residence on Dickey Lake. The five-course meal including wine is the perfect summer evening to enjoy wonderful food and conversation with friends while being served and listening to live music.  The setting overlooks the lake so you watch the golden sun reflect off mountains and water as you finish your meal.  Tickets are limited so contact us immediately if you want to order yours. The dinner occurs on August 12 starting at 6:00pm.  Proceeds go towards maintenance of the Historical Village.

On August 22, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks puts on “Macbeth,” a performance free to the public and wonderful. The troupe of professional actors goes around the entire state putting on these full length plays.  The Historical Village is the persipvillagefect location in the evening for this, to sit on the lawn watching the theatrical magic unfold.  The play begins at 6:00pm but you might want to come early to get a good piece of lawn for your blanket or chair.  Delicious box dinners made by Cafe Jax will be for sale starting at 5:00pm.  A portion of the dinner sales as well as donations help cover the cost of bringing the Shakespeare troupe to Eureka.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer.

 

The lilacs are blooming

The lovely quilt with pale green and lilac florals is finally done and put away.  Perhaps we will offer it for sale at the Eureka Montana Quilt Show in August.  Or raffle it off next year. It is easy to imagine it gracing a bed in a guest room or given as a gift to newly weds.  As always, when examining a quilt we take off the frame to ensure there aren’t mistakes, I marvel at the countless stitches, all that wonderful energy  added to the quilt by the women who sewed on it over the months.close quilting

The quilt is in the cupboard now and the old school house is set up as part of the Historical Village museum again.  I stopped by the other day as the museum is always the ideal place to buy postcards of the valley or handmade items.  I was surprised that although it was during regular hours, the museum was closed.  I heard later the volunteer in charge is having a tough time finding enough people to put in an afternoon every week.  It doesn’t sound like much does it?  The museum is open 1:00 – 5:00pm and with a bit of time to open and close all the buildings and such, perhaps four and a half hours. That is what someone would give if they volunteered to help out in the summer (and yes, you are allowed to take vacations): one afternoon a week for four and a half hours.

Before anyone starts to get too blustery about this – four and a half hours out of MY day?!?! – lets think about it.  Last year the New York Times ran an article stating the average American spends five hours a day watching television and then there is the time (additional hours) spent on their tablets, smartphones and computers.  This doesn’t include work time but the leisure time people spend absorbing media.  Could that be the kicker?  Perhaps people think leisure time should be…well….leisurely. It shouldn’t be volunteering.  Perhaps volunteering seems too much like work.  Fortunately as the bubble of Baby Boomers move into retirement age, there are more studies being done on volunteering and its benefits.  Volunteering can keep you physically active, socially connected and mentally stimulated.  So instead of sitting alone on the couch surfing the Net this summer, why not sign up to help at the Historical Village?  Thanks.

Teetering on Summer

The current quilt is nearly done.  Last week four women sewed on it while others prepared for the rummage sale that happens on May 19th.  The week following that we convert the space we quilted in all winter back into the museum that it will be during the summer.  From Memorial Day until Labor Day, people can tour the buildings at the Historical Village – the old church, the school house, the first cabin and the various other ones.  The lawn’s rich greenness will beckon children to roll around and young people to sit and talk about life.  Families will gather at the picnic tables and tIMG_0953he cyclists camping in Riverside Park will come over to walk around the grounds.

Yes, this time of year is a clear reminder of why we quilt. To raise funds to keep these buildings and the grounds in good condition so they can be enjoyed and so that locals as well as tourists can learn about the history of our valley.  During the winter it sometimes feels we quilt for our own pleasure as its such a treat to sit around the quilting frame talking quietly with the other women, laughing over Bev’s jokes or smiling when Bonnie arrives with her banana bread.  We are there together on Fridays because it is the ideal place to be for those of us who show up.  But now in late spring when we transition the place we quilt in back into the museum space, its a reminder.  We are quilting to maintain the buildings and the history.  The fact that we enjoy the quilting so much, is really just a perk.

Its finding a balance some of us look for in life.  Giving to make our community (however we define that) the best possible place and at the same time taking pleasure in what we do.  I see Scout leaders in our community give time to do projects and go camping with the boys.  Or the group of people who organize the weekly community soup night, finish up Tuesdays at 7:30pm exhausted.  But these individuals as well as the women quilting, also enjoy aspects of what they give.  The women savor Fridays’ quilting.  The Scout leaders appreciate their time in the forests hiking with the young people.  I watch the soup night volunteers smile at the families and older folks who come through to eat on Tuesdays.  It is giving in a way that also brings pleasure to those who give.  It isn’t drudgery although of course there might be touches.  The Scout leader finding enough other adults to go on camping trips; the soup night volunteers getting enough donations to cover the cost of ingredients.  And for the quilters, there are also harder moments.  How much will it cost to get the old library building painted this year?  Who will chink the first cabin? But in general, these individuals nurture our community and themselves at the same time.

Sweet Spring

We celebrated by having pizza IMG_0879last Friday.  The Hawaiian quilt is finished! We just began work on a lovely new quilt that contains colors of spring. The pale but vibrant greens and the lilac prints are so much easier to sew on then the other quilt.  There have also been a few younger women who dropped by, learning the basics of hand quilting.  Their energy and ideas are a welcomed addition.  It is a good exchange as they learn the sewing techniques and listen to advice offered by the older women. We listen to them describe their children’s activities, their own struggles to find a place in the community.

Its an excellent reminder of the interconnectedness of generations. I suspect it might be harder to experience this in urban areas, although I could be wrong.  But here in a town with just over a thousand inhabitants, paths cross frequently regardless of age.  Some of the quilters also help with Friends of the Library.  Katie, a young mother who volunteers with that library group, stops by with her children to pick up a key from Joan.  Her children come in close to look at the quilt, to watch the sewing.  Bev shares photos and stories of her new grandchildren with us. Mary Louise is catching a ride later in the day to watch her great-grandson, a high school student, wrestle. Jan, a fairly new person in our community stops by around noon.  We offer her pizza and she asks about the history of the valley, filling in gaps left by her reading.

There is value in having cross-pollination of generations.  Everyone benefits.  Young people gain a sense of history as well as the perspective offered by a long life.  The elders luxuriate in hearing tales of young ones today, their trials and their joys. There are exchanges about technology and travel, cooking and gardens. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has something to gain. Although we accomplished a lot this winter, we appreciate the arrival of spring.