Ladysmith Oktoberfest

This past weekend I headed out with Thing 2 to the cottage that my parents were renting to help them clean it out for the season. Not coincidentally, this happened to be the same weekend as the Ladysmith Oktoberfest celebration, so we had to stop on by. I’m mostly of British, Irish, and Scottish descent myself, although heaven knows that our family tree hasn’t been tracked back very far, so it’s possible that there are many other nationalities mixed in there further back. My husband, though, has strong ties to German and Poland (close to the German border) through his maternal grandparents, so my children share this heritage as well. I thought it might be nice for Thing 2 to get a glimpse of this part of her family history.

Oktoberfest in Ladysmith is a pretty big deal locally. As of the 2016 census, there are only 448 people who live in the Thorne township; I would estimate that less than half of that population lives in Ladysmith proper. Nonetheless, when Oktoberfest rolls around, the hotel and nearby cottages are booked solid, and the fields and yards nearby are filled with campers and trucks and tents. People come to visit with friends, take in the entertainment, shop, dance, drink, and celebrate their cultural heritage. After all, a large percentage of the population thereabouts is of mixed British Isles and German descent — which is why, despite being in Quebec, the area remains predominantly anglophone.

For Thing 2, the highlight of Oktoberfest was the live music. Music has always been able to soothe this savage little beast. She sat, enraptured, as the Kyle Felvhaver Band did two sets. When the Ottawa Valley Step Dancers came in, she was enthralled by the rhythm that their shoes tapped out. And when the band played slow dances and waltzes, her eyes followed the dancers on the floor as they circled around the room. She enthusiastically proclaimed to me that when she is old enough to take music at school, she wants to be a drummer! With Thing 1 starting to learn clarinet this year (just like her dad did), I have a feeling that between the two girls, any peace and quiet we ever did experience at home is now a thing of the past. And yet I can’t begrudge them an instant of it.

Thing 2 also insisted that I take a picture of the decorations on the ceiling with all of the “fairy lights”.

Of course, Thing 2’s second-favourite part of the day was the Bratwurst sausages, which might just be her favourite food ever. She managed to eat a whole one herself, which was pretty incredible considering their size.

Sadly, the weather for Oktoberfest was not the greatest; it alternated between rain and shine all day. But this meant that before we left the cottage for the last time this season, we were treated to an especially brilliant rainbow over the lake. Not a bad goodbye, if you ask me.

Knitting For Myself

I don’t knit for myself very often. I always have approximately a million of ideas of things that I’d like to make for other people, but inspiration often fails me when I turn my attention to something I might want. But over the Christmas holidays, after the main celebrations, I finally had a chance to sit down, binge some Netflix (loved the first season of The Punisher and the latest season of Black Mirror, in addition to the 7 Sisters movie), and knit a few things for myself.

First, I wanted to use up the odds and ends of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn left over from making cloths throughout the fall. I made at least two dozen as gifts for friends, family, and my kids’ teachers. All of those ones had lovely, coordinating colours — leaving me to make ugly, mismatched cloths for myself. I thought I had enough Black Licorice and Hot Purple to make a Brick Stitch Dishcloth, but as you can see I ran short, so I just went with 45-stitch knit squares for the other ones. How they look doesn’t matter too much to me, though, since they’re just going to be used for cleaning up messes.

The second thing I knit was a hat from the Red Heart Super Saver Stripes in Favorite Stripes that I got in my Christmas stocking. I thought that something especially warm was in order since we’ve been seeing record-setting cold here lately; New Year’s Eve it went down to –28.6°C (-19.5°F) before wind chill, the coldest it’s been in 71 years. I whipped up double-layered rainbow tuque, using all but the last few meters of one ball of yarn. The hat is so thick and comfy that it muffles sound significantly when you put it on! I used some scraps of white yarn from my stash to make a pompom and to do the accent stitching. I finished it last night right before bed, and my timing couldn’t be better. The temperatures had dropped again from a relatively comfortable -5°C-ish (23°F-ish) during the day to a nighttime temperature of -20°C (-4°F), -32°C (-25.6°F) with the windchill. This is the kind of weather where the air hurts your face as soon as you walk outside, so anything to help prevent frostbite is a plus.