Maple Festival Weekend 1

The middle two weekends of March are the time of the annual Highland Maple Festival in Highland County, Virginia, the least populous county east of the Mississippi (2200), the highest average elevation county (3000′) east of the Mississippi, and the southernmost outpost of maple syrup production in North America.  Over the years it has grown to where now tens of thousands of visitors come each of the two weekends, joining the residents in a rollicking good time of maple pancakes, maple donuts, shopping at scores of food and craft vendors, and milling about.


Normally in Monterey VA you could practically fall asleep in the middle of Main Street without much risk of bodily harm, but last Saturday, a beautiful warm and sunny day after a brutal winter (there had been 9 inches of snow the preceding Monday) there was a several mile back-up on each of the four routes into the town of 180 residents.


As is my custom I joined David Blanchard in his Main Street shop demonstrating hand tool woodworking.  This year I decided to finally build some real doors for my barn workshop.


After ripping by hand some 6″ x 5/4 southern yellow pine I planed it true for the door stiles.


Since it was going to be double glazed, befitting its function as the barrier between the inside (heated) space of my workshop and the barn-side (unheated) space, I shot a pair of rabbets along both the front and rear inner edges of the frame, where I will add the glazing.


Then I cut the tenons and chopped the mortises for the rails to fit into the stiles.


This is how far I got between chatting with the hundreds of folks who ventured in.  I hope to return to the project this coming weekend, but the truth is I must have done something to my shoulder shoveling that recent snowfall so it remains to be seen if I can do work this heavy this soon.  If not, I will do something smaller, like making a new drawer for my travelling tool box or perhaps making a new toothing plane.

Last weekend was especially blessed as we were visited by our older daughter, bearing some slightly tardy birthday gifts — SPAM and ammo!  Brings a tear to an old man’s eyes, I tell you.