A Pieceful Life

A Pieceful Life


I'm so glad that you stopped by, and hope that you enjoy your visit. Here you will find pieces of my life - quilting, cross-stitch, family, travel, friends.
My name is Peg - I am a 60ish wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend - and if we're not already related or friends, hope to become your friend too.
We live in the eastern end of the beautiful Fraser Valley, about 1.5 hours east of Vancouver, BC. Empty nesters, we have one son living just a few minutes away, our other son and daughter live in Alberta.
Comments are always welcome, always read - and answered if need be. Feel free to share, I love hearing from all my cyber-space friends.
Please do check out some of the links in my side-bar - you'll find other bloggers and fabulous people to visit.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Michigan to Indiana

We crossed back into the US at Sarnia ON/Port Huron MI.  The view from the bridge was gorgeous and we felt almost like we were on the ocean again:

0301.Across Lake Huron

The rest of our drive through Michigan was unremarkable – we had no idea what might be there to be seen, and got no hints when we stopped at an information center.  Notably our first day driving was on an interstate, and typically there’s little to be seen from those fast highways.  Our second day driving we purposefully chose to get off the interstate, and drove through some nice little towns, but nothing caught our attention – and the next thing we knew we were in Indiana.

Stopping at an information center here, we found a brochure for a quilt designer in Goshen.  We’d been through Goshen on our east-ward trip, and wondered how we could possibly have missed that.  Looking at a map, we discovered Goshen was almost directly west of us, and as we kind of want to head that way decided it was worth the trip back.  Besides that, we’d tried to stop at a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives eatery the first time through and found it closed, maybe we could get there this time.  So off we went!

After we were set up at a campground, we headed for Goshen, and easily found the quilt designer’s shop.  I looked forward to maybe being able to purchase a pattern, but that wasn’t meant to be.  Quilt Designs is the shop for designers Shirley and Kim Shenk – where they showcase the quilts they’ve designed and made (hand-quilted by local Amish women), and sell quilts or commission custom orders for quilts.  They just don’t sell their patterns.  And, of course, no photos allowed.  So the best I can do is show you the 1837 log cabin that they use for their studio and shop:02

I must say I enjoyed seeing their work – a mix of traditional with their own unique innovations.

We then headed for the diner – South Side Soda Shoppe – it was closed!   We’d forgotten it was Monday.  Oh, well, just not meant to be either.

On our drive between campground and Goshen, we were apparently in the heart of the 2nd largest population of Amish people,our second experience of Amish/Mennonite culture.  Here, though, the people and their lifestyle were much more in evidence, probably because their population is much larger than that of the population (of Old Order Amish in particular) in Ontario. 

They seemed to be all around us, walking, biking, driving horse-and-buggy:


We noted some differences, such as the caps on the women.  In Ontario the caps were cotton and a variety of colors.  Here in Indiana we only saw white pleated caps.  Also, the women here often were seen in lighter colored dresses.  We didn’t see any bike-riders in Ontario.  Also, we saw a few mowing their lawns with gas-powered mowers – kind of wondered about that.

We didn’t see any meeting houses in Indiana, and the literature we read said they meet in their homes.  This was what I had previously read, which leads me to the conclusion that styles of meetings are determined by the individual group.

In Indiana, we didn’t speak to any Amish, but again the literature stated they speak mostly a low-German dialect at home, high German in their services, and learn English in school (parochial school to Grade 8, the same as in Ontario).  In Ontario, the Mennonites/Amish we conversed with spoke flawless English with no discernable accent.

As you can tell, I find the Amish life fascinating – hope I’m not boring you too much.

Along our drive we had no trouble picking out the Amish homes:1013

This building did catch our eye, and we wondered what it had originally been:


Maybe a school or a church – it just looked so lonely and abandoned.

We’ll continue our west-ward push – and I’ll keep on posting as and when I have internet.  Actually this posting is right up to date.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed your summer as much as we have ours.  Blessings, Peg

Mennonite Country

While in St. Jacobs village, I had the chance to walk through the Mennonite Story.  I thought I had a fair idea of the history of the Mennonites, but still there are always new things to learn.

In 1525, during the Reformation movement of Martin Luther and others, Menno Simon was one of several who believed that baptism into the Christian faith should be an informed choice by an adult.  And so began the Anabaptists, and specifically the Mennonites.   They also believed in pacifism and community as a way of life.   The definition of ‘community’ did not necessarily include communal or colony living, although some did choose that style of living – possibly as much to retain their faith as to have some protection from the ‘outside’ world.  Rather, ‘community’ is defined as helping their fellow man.

From those original Mennonites have come many different groups, among them the Amish (who tend to live close to each other, but individually) and the Hutterites (who do live in colonies).  Today’s Mennonites range from the ultra-conservative Old Order Amish in their dark old-style clothing and driving their horse-and-buggy to those who live modern life-styles and would be indistinguishable from anybody else walking or driving down the street.

As we drove around the countryside west of Waterloo Ontario, we saw many signs of the way of life of the conservative Mennonites and Amish.

From the horse-and-buggy transportations:0704.Horse-and-buggy06

(And they always made sure they could be seen when coming up behind them):


To the farmers working in their field with horse and wagon:22

Their one-room schools


And meeting houses (they don’t call them ‘church’)


All demonstrate a simplicity in life-style, and a humility in attitude within the world.  Even their cemeteries and grave markers are ‘plain’:


Note the hitching posts nearby in each situation.

We visited a cheese outlet, where a nice young man in simple
Amish-style clothing served us.  The Old Order Mennonites don’t like to have their picture taken as it’s seen as a ‘graven image’, so I respected that in situations where we were face-to-face.  From what we read, though, it’s acceptable to have a photo taken from a passing vehicle, and some of the drivers smiled and waved at us as we passed with camera clicking.

We also stopped at a general store – where I discovered where the Amish men and women get their head-coverings:23.General store25    24

This store didn’t just cater to Mennonite styles in their goods, there was much there that would satisfy some of the most modern of us, just not electronics.  Oh, and they did have a freezer of ice cream!

It was a lovely relaxing day, just driving around seeing the country side and enjoying the sights.

Off to the U.S. of A. in the morning.  Semi- headed homeward.  I’m sure we’ll see some new country and experience more new things to share with you all!                   Blessings, Peg

Sunday, August 26, 2012

St. Jacobs Market and The Stratford Festival

Visiting the market at St. Jacobs, ON was a major goal for this trip, and we are so very happy that we came.  This is an amazing market!

Aisle after aisle of outdoor booths and fast food, with two large buildings repeating the theme.  Honestly, a person almost doesn’t have to go anywhere else to shop – and not just for produce.  Here you can buy everything from fruits and vegetables to breads and pastries to sausages to cheeses to table linens to shoes to dog bones to painted glass to rock art to dresses to shoes to jewelry to kitchen wares to CDs to quilts to maple syrup to home preserves to fudge:Market collage

Lunch – well, take your pick.  We chose a sausage that was proclaimed to be made by trolls.  The young lady selling doesn’t look like a troll to me:26

After the market, we went into St. Jacobs village and wandered through dress shops and artisans’ shops and a couple of quilt shops.  Just when we thought the only horse-drawn buggy (after all this IS Mennonite/Amish country) we would see would be the one on this mural:


They started traveling around (probably after the end of their day at the market):

Horse collage

A full day, and more to see and do in this part of Ontario.  We took Sadie to a kennel in the morning, and headed for Stratford, home of the world-famous Stratford Festival.  Some 60 years ago, a man decided his home town needed a boost, and performances of Shakespeare plays would fit the bill.  Now the town has 4 theatres, and performances of Shakespeare, traditional and modern musicals are produced every year. 

We chose to see a production of ‘42nd Street’, a remake of a 1950’s film that depicts the struggles of a stage production during the Depression years.  We enjoyed it thoroughly, as did the rest of the audience if the standing ovation was any indication.

The Festival Theatre is an outstanding building, situated in a park-like setting.



Inside, there were pictures of some of the behind-the-scenes departments that go into stage productions like this.19      18

Across the street, a park set around a lake, perfect for an after-theatre stroll to stretch the legs.


While we were in Stratford, we visited a ‘You Have Got to Eat Here’ diner – Boomers Gourmet Fries.  And really, folks, you have got to eat here.  Just a wee diner, with fries of almost every description on their menu (written on a blackboard) and some of the most innovative hamburger, hot dog, and poutine combinations that we’ve ever seen.

27.Boomer's Fries  30







Grizz had goat cheese and gravy poutine.  I had a dog-scetta – hot dog with bruschetta veggies and goat cheese.  Yummy!


And there’s more to see yet in south-western Ontario.  We’ll head out next day to explore the country-side.  More to come!  Blessings, Peg

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Last time we came through Ontario, we drove along Lake Superior and Huron to Niagara Falls, and then east along Lake Ontario and the St. Laurence – coming back we headed through Ottawa.  This time around, we had decided we wanted to spend some time exploring the Niagara Peninsula, south-western Ontario, Mennonite country.

Thus, leaving Quebec City, we headed straight along the Trans-Canada highway.  Kaaren of the GPS took us on a little bit of a skirt around Montreal – thank heaven for Kaaren.  Nine years ago, we made a wrong turn, and as I struggled with a map trying to find where we were and where we should go, Grizz dealt with narrow streets and construction.  This time – easy peasy.

We just simply admired Montreal from a distance01.Montreal skyline

I must say, though, for the most part, driving the major highways is just simply BOOOORING!  It’s so much more interesting to go through little towns, even though that slows down progress.

But we arrived at Prescott, ON to be situated right on the St. Laurence, looking at a bridge crossing into NY state:05

Which was beautifully lit up at night:62.Night across the St. Laurence

Because we took the fast route, we had enough time to visit Ft. Wellington, site of a British stronghold during the War of 1812 and again during the Rebellion of 1837-8.

Wooden pickets outside earthen walls fortified the structures and people inside:


06.Ft. Wellington








Inside we found the usual officer’s quarters, and a block house that housed soldiers as well as storage and vantage points for fending off attackers:


The costumed guides were cooking a delicious meal of pork in wine sauce with bread, as well as a vegetable soup:1516.Veg stew

The latrine divided officers from soldiers from women and children (officers’ door is set apart on the left, women and children used the center door:


This quilt was preserved carefully behind glass:42








We drove around the town of Prescott and found this inn from 1832:


As well as the barracks/hospital built in 1810:


We stopped at the site of the Battle of the Windmill, fought in 1837 at this windmill-turned-lighthouse:


Our forbears, led by William Lyon MacKenzie, fought valiantly for reform of Canadian government and a democratic society – they lost the battle, but won the war (at least we’re told they are the reason we have the type of government we have today).

As I write this, we’re in Waterloo, ON – plans to visit the famous St. Jacobs Markets and take in a production of the Stratford Festival.  I’ll cover all of that in a separate post.

I see that I’m approaching 500 posts, which will happen weeks before we get home, if I keep posting regularly.  I also note that I have 99 followers.  Actually I’ve reached the 100 mark a couple of times through this trip, but those folks appeared to be advertising commercial services and web-sites, so I chose to block them.    But, if I reach the 500 mark, and have 100 followers (official – I know there are those out there who follow this blog but have not ‘joined’ for reasons of their own) by the time I get home, I’ll look at a celebration give-away, maybe with some fabrics purchased on this trip.

So keep reading, keep following, join if you haven’t already (and want to) and keep your eyes open for the give-away.

Oh, and to all my blogger pals out there – I’m still reading your blogs as time allows, but not often commenting.  Between driving, sight-seeing, some regular house-keeping type stuff, managing the hundreds of pictures, keeping track of expenses, posting my own blogs, and keeping in touch with our kids and family back home…….well, you get the picture – reading blogs and commenting has taken a bit of a back seat, and is often done late evening when I’m too tired, and lazy, to make the effort to comment.  But, I’ve not forgotten you all.

Blessings, Peg