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Of arts and festivals and lint, oh, my

It's a frosty morning at the farmette. Glad we had the presence of mind to move the ancient, two-tonne hibiscus off the deck and into the toolshed last night. Poor thing has been through several near-death experiences including the day Rob and I moved in together in Toronto during the coldest day in February 1993. I didn't think it would recover - but it did, so I figure I owe it.

It was a chilly one yesterday, too, but clear, sunny and bright. My friend Jane from Toronto is up visiting, so we went on a bit of a tour through Grey and Simcoe counties, and man, did I learn a lot about our active communities. We started by checking out some of the art that's on display during the Autumn Leaves Studio Tour. There are 17 locations and dozens of artists who put out their best every weekend before Thanksgiving - and it's free! We started in Flesherton at the Starbox Studio where there was a great collection of photographs, and one in particular caught my eye, so I bought it. As readers may know, I'm a sucker for pictures with lots of action, so I could not resist this one - taken by Soo Joyce in Brighton, England, in 1991 as she was passing on a bus.

Gotta love the hat on the older lady, and the expression on the face of the one beside here. Yep. LOTS of stuff to look at in this one, so it has pride of place in my office.

We stopped off at Barbara Pearn's studio in Eugenia, where I chatted with the artist - who I happened to have met about a week before at a West Grey Chamber networking event. She and her husband have just started up an on-line newspaper called which is chock-a-block with stories about the many, many activities happening in the area. She's also pretty handy with a brush, and had many beautiful oil paintings depicting life in the county on display.

Next stop was Meaford, where the Scarecrow Invasion Festival was in full swing. Scarecrows were everywhere - in storefronts and on street corners, dressed as famous Canadians, and even hanging from the lampposts.

It all started in 1996, when the Business Improvement Association came up with an idea to attract visitors during the fall shoulder season. Now, it attracts people from across the country and around the world! To commemorate the festival year-round, a local artist created a bronze statue - appropriately named 'Schubird' that stands beside Meaford Hall in the centre of town. Handsome fella, eh?

Finally, we checked out the art that was being exhibited in conjunction with the scarecrow festival. There were many serious pieces demonstrating amazing talent, but I 'cottoned' on to the dryer lint. Yes, the artist actually uses dryer lint to create these attractive landscapes. I thought it quite inventive to take something that's normally chucked in the trash, and turn it into a lovely picture.

Anyway, today, I think I'll continue the adventure, since the studio tour is on for day two. We'll be going south and west instead of north and east, so stay tuned for more next week!

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