Visiting Easton Friends Meeting

Sunday, September 25: Because the balloon festival essentially ended when all the balloons had flown, we were to leave the camping area by 10 AM. That gave me lots of time to go find this historic Quaker meetinghouse, and join them for worship. Built in 1788 to replace an earlier log building that had burned (and where the “Indians” joined in worship when they found the Quakers unarmed; see below sign), this building is used June through September, and in the winter they use a smaller, brick meetinghouse that is easier to heat.

After visiting for a while, as I headed back to my Roadtrek I spotted these mushrooms. Obviously something thinks they are edible – but I wasn’t going to take chances!

It looks like Job S. Wilbur’s stone made a good table.

All God’s Critters

Sunday, September 20: “All God’s critters got a place in the choir” was the theme for my outdoor Quaker worship – we were visited by the snake in the grass, and some of the resident chicks. The snake was particularly silent.

Friends General Conference, Grinnell, Iowa

Friday, June 28: We pulled into Grinnell at about 10:30 that morning, and I hit the ground running, starting out helping sort stuff for the registration which began on Saturday. This is a gathering of mostly North American Quakers, about 850 of them, although I also met people from Australia and Bolivia. For more information on FGC, their website is

One of the first evenings I helped – with a dozen others – hang a large watercolor done by one of our artists (Zan Lombardo), in a space with curved walls, where it fit beautifully.

Mornings start with worship and/or Bible study, which I never seemed to be moving fast enough to get to – and then workshops before lunch. Mine was on the Sustainability of Stuff, led by a recently retired chemist. She certainly knew her stuff – and gave us a good sense of what is needed to make recycling successful: go back to sorting, and make sure everything is clean. About half of the time was spent exchanging information, and half changing trash into treasure. FGC many r'sI’d gone with a project in mind – I wanted to upcycle an old, worn and moth-eaten sweater I’d first knit decades ago. I completed this hat – looks much better when the yarn is no longer matted and dirty!FGC upcycle sweaterThe first day I also turned a calendar page into a beautiful envelop, and took a piece of used one side paper to write Mom a letter about being there. Others upcycled t-shirt fabric, other paper, file folders, plastic bags – anything that was otherwise trash was fair game. One young man started learning to tie fancy knots – I wish I had a photo of his work.

Afternoons I spent working in the office for several hours, and knitting, and visiting with friends of old, and staying in the air-conditioned spaces. The women’s World Cup happened – many of these serious Quakers took that seriously, too! Cheers resounded through the student union building with every U.S. goal. Awfully small TV though…FGC World CupEvenings generally had a serious talk, a panel on systemic racism, a man successfully working to reintegrate inmates in his native Muskogee Nation in Oklahoma, and to lighten things up mid-week, John McCutcheon. He’s a well known singer/songwriter, and played pretty much anything with strings. FGC John M church

FGC John M piano

One of the highlights was leading us in a Russian folk song, sung with the phonetic Russian held up by young volunteers, then in English, then signed.

One night, a few of us went into town after the program, walking past this gas station:

Oh, for the days when one expected to fill up for less than $10.00!

Other sights from around campus: FGC clouds

FGC Onion EpodermisOne of the more striking buildings has been built around one of the old ones. I wish I’d had the time to find out the history!    FGC Grinnell architectureThe young people create their own statements and decorations:

One morning we happened across a portable art installation – Art in the Parks is apparently a local summer program for youth; there was a truck decorated by them during successive summers, and it goes from park to park, including being on the Grinnell campus. FGC art truckFrom a distance, Tai Chi in the garden early in the morning –   FGC Ti chiAnd suddenly the week was over, it was Saturday, and after worship we loaded up and started the trip east again.

Quakers, and More Quakers!

With driving, driving, driving in between! Starting June 21, I was cooking for 20 – 30 (depending on which meal) for Quaker Spring, including all the shopping, and preparing ahead what I could. It was a constant job, feeding very appreciative Quakers, for five days of three meals plus snacks a day.

Quaker Spring is basically summer Bible camp for adults, and was held this year at Woolman Hill, in central Massachusetts. The people who participate are wonderful – especially for an unprofessional cook, who is not all that familiar with that kitchen, and does not chop as quickly as one would like! I did have help every meal, for at least a half hour, and people not engaged in deep discussion often came through to see if I needed anything.

Woolman Hill is a wonderful conference and retreat center; there are some photos that are classics – every photographer notices the gloves at the dish washing station!  Woolman Hill glovesI’d never met a psaltery before; it’s essentially a bowed harp, and one woman played in the dining hall a few times, keeping the cook entertained. I loved it.

It poured rain, feeding the moss –

And there were some good sunsets.Woolman Hill sunset 2Woolman Hill sunsetThen it was time to head for Iowa, and Friends General Conference. I had a young man carpooling with me on the drive west. The first night we spent inFGC drive Rock City ForestIt was flat enough, and certainly dark and quiet – and free – and I could have chosen to park at the old CCC site closer to the entrance. But we had plenty of daylight to explore, so did that, about as far in as we could get! We did go past several other possible sites, deciding that drier ground was better than risking getting the Roadtrek stuck. My fellow traveler uses a hammock tent, so looks for a pair of suitable trees. The second night we found the FGC drive Hennepin signThis area is not free, but there was no way to pay there, and the office was closed by the time we got there, and certainly wasn’t open when we left at dawn; I owe them a whopping $8.00! And it is flat. Very flat. FGC drive Hennepin Canal dawnSome images from an early walk around the area:  FGC drive Hennepin Canal bridgeFGC drive Hennepin Canal downstreamFGC drive Hennepin canal locksFGC drive Hennepin canal gears

FGC drive Hennepin Canal gatesFGC drive Hennepin Canal gates 2And as were driving out to Route 6, we crossed the canal again: FGC drive canal viewThen it was into Iowa. We stopped at the welcome center, admired their sculpture, FGC drive Iowa welcome sculptureand thought it ironic that the smoker chose to stand directly under the “No Smoking” sign.                                               FGC drive Iowa no smoking?!?Then it was on to Grinnell,  and a week of hanging out with Quakers.