Friday began with a gathering at a local restaurant for breakfast. People trickled in from various local hotels over the course of half-an-hour or so. We took over a room to one side of the main area, to avoid overwhelming the locals with a huge crowd of strangers. The harried waitress performed miracles in keeping track of everyone’s orders, and thoroughly deserved the outsize tip we gathered together for her. (We warned the proprietress that there’d be even more of us on Saturday. She’s promised to set up our very own coffee machine in the side room, to keep us supplied.)
From there it was off to the local stores. Several people needed to replace things they’d forgotten to bring, and others took advantage of the presence of farm supply stores offering goodies that are seldom found in big-city shops. I enjoy that, too. It’s hard to think of a reason I might need a set of outsize, longhorn-embroidered, insulated overalls with a leather-reinforced backside, but the concept is intriguing! I wanted to buy a couple of cheap folding chairs for use in the barn, where our numbers had already overtaken the existing supply. Miss D. suggested that instead, we should buy two more expensive outsize folding rocking chairs, big enough for comfort and easy to get into and out of (important to us, given our physical limitations). They proved very comfortable during the day and evening. There are many reasons I love my wife, and her practicality is definitely among them!
It was a busy day for the more DIY-minded among us. Farmdad roped in several folks to help build shooting tables, erect new targets, and get the shooting range ready for Saturday. He gathered wood and scrap steel from various places around the farm, and more supplies were bought in town after breakfast. Much cutting, drilling, welding and hammering ensued, providing a soundtrack from the barn for Farmmom and her helpers as they prepared chicken-fried steaks for supper. (Her recipe is so good, and her country gravy and mashed potatoes so delicious, that they’ve become an icon of our Blogorado gatherings. Everyone looks forward to them. She even managed to whomp up a few gluten-free examples for some of our group with dietary restrictions.)
More people trickled in through the day, leading to many joyful reunions and lots of banter. The farm kittens had a great time; lots of new people who wanted to play with them, stroke them, and let them sleep in the sunshine or near the fire, curled up on their chests or inside their jackets. Kitty heaven! I suspect several of them may be heading for new homes when our gathering is over.
We lost Ray Carter earlier this year to cancer, which saddened all of us. He was a great character, and a welcome member of our clan. I understand several of our more pyrotechnically inclined members (some with military training in things that make a loud bang) are planning an explosive tribute to his memory tomorrow. They gathered around a table, muttering dire incantations involving the Munroe effect and shaped charges and glitter and Tannerite, cutting out various shapes and bending, twisting and contorting them in strange and mysterious ways. A very large paper and cardboard heart, realistically colored, was a central element in the proceedings. I’m not sure whether it was safe to allow them to work in the same barn as the rest of us! I daresay we’ll see the results of their labors on Saturday. I just wish I didn’t have this mental picture of Ray sitting on a cloud in heaven, rubbing his hands (and his wings) together in gleeful anticipation and calling, “Hey, St. Peter, watch this. It’s going to be a blast!”
Supper was as delicious as one could desire. Stingray, the male half of the Atomic Nerds, did the cooking in a big vat of oil brought to a rolling boil over a gas flame. The rest of us savored his handiwork, and the fruits of all the preparations by Farmmom and her helpers. We stuffed ourselves. (The food at Blogorado is always good enough, in both quality and quantity, to make our meals an epic experience in and of themselves. Diet? What diet?)
Large quantities of beverages of various descriptions had mysteriously appeared, loading up a table with bottles of assorted hues, flavors and alcoholic natures, and filling a fridge with more bottles and cans of liquid goodness. Two kegs of beer occupied an outsize ice-filled storage container, which kept them satisfactorily cold. After supper, people filled their glasses with various and sundry beverages, as the mood took them. The evening was crisply cool, so Farmgirl lit a fire in the barn doorway, using a home-made brazier made of steel wheels from farm implements, welded together into a tower with a window cut out for a fireplace. It radiated heat very satisfactorily. People wandered from group to group, catching up on other folks’ news, sharing laughter and banter, playing with kittens, taking pictures, and keeping a wary eye on our pyrotechnic plotters gathered around a table as they cut, shaped and fiddled.
Saturday morning will see us rendezvous for another mammoth breakfast, then it’s hi-ho for the shooting range. If I survive the tribute to Ray Carter, I’ll let you know how it went!