Lanark County

Irish-inspired basket making at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 11 March 2015 18:47  |  Published in Lanark County
Irish Ulster baskets were the focus at a special basket making workshop that took place at the MERA schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners on March 7. Veteran basket maker, Maike Polano, who lives in Brooke Valley headed up the workshop where six enthusiastic participants learned how to make Irish Ulster potato baskets, shallow circular willow baskets that were used by potato farmers in Ireland to wash and strain potatoes and sometimes also used to serve cooked potatoes in. Polano, who has been making baskets since 2009, began by showing the participants how to make the initial hoop or rim of the basket, onto which they then secured a number of ribs that were woven into place. Individual strands of willow were then woven through the ribs…

McDonalds Corners Seed Swap

Written by  |  Wednesday, 11 March 2015 18:41  |  Published in Lanark County
Over 30 local growers attended the 4th annual McDonalds Corners Seed Swap, which took place at the MERA schoolhouse on March 7. The event invites local growers to share the bounty of their cumulative efforts to grow and save their own seeds, many of which are heirloom and heritage varieties that they have been experimenting with for years. Set up inside the MERA schoolhouse were tables offering up a wide variety of vegetable, flower and shrub seeds. Kristine Swaren is one of a small group of local growers who founded the annual event, and she owns and operates Blue Chicory Garden, where she and her husband produce honey and grow a wide variety of produce that they sell at the Perth Farmers' Market. Swaren said…

MERA Seed Swap

Written by  |  Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:02  |  Published in Lanark County
by Kristine Swaren The best remedy for winter blues is to think spring! And that's best done in a convivial group, so come join us to swap seeds and garden stories. It's the fourth annual Seed Swap hosted by the McDonalds Corners Farmers' Market on Saturday, March 7, at the MERA Schoolhouse. Bring seeds - the ones you saved from last year's garden or the left-overs (commercial or saved) that you didn't plant. Bring containers (small bottles or envelopes, plus labels and markers) for the new-to-you seeds that you'll take home. Bring friends to share the fun! The seeds are all priceless, as we try to live the principle of free seed supply. On the sale tables will be garden accessories such as books and…

Stained Glass Workshops at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 04 February 2015 23:03  |  Published in Lanark County
Amazingly talented people live among us in Eastern Ontario. One of them is Steve Boyd, a stained glass artist – and fortunately for those who are interested in acquiring the skills involved, he will be teaching classes at the MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners starting on Saturday, February 14. In 1986, Steve started out by simply taking a course at Algonquin College. Part of the class-work involved helping out on a church restoration project – and over the next four years, he progressed from student helper to full time worker. He later opened his own studio near Westport. Then, from 2000 to 2004, he had an opportunity to work for Scotland’s National Trust, doing restoration work on Edinburgh Castle. Now back in Westport, he currently…

Upcoming Valentine's Day Dance/fundraiser with Feral Five

Written by  |  Wednesday, 28 January 2015 18:53  |  Published in Lanark County
For those looking for a fun way to celebrate this upcoming Valentine's Day, the Larocque, Noonan and Hill families are putting on a fundraiser for a much loved family member in need of a liver transplant. The family member, who has been ill and unable to work, has been on a transplant list for years but a match has not been found for her. She is now hoping that a family member currently undergoing testing will be able to be a live liver donor. In an effort to help her with future medical expenses the three families have prepared a special Valentine's Day Dance fundraiser that will take place on February 14 from 8pm - 1am at the Timber Run Golf Club and Banquet Hall…

Almonte artist showcases multi-media works at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:02  |  Published in Lanark County
Multi-media artist Elizabeth Veninga studied art at the Canberwell Art School in London, England in the 1970s and has been drawing, painting and sculpting ever since. Veninga, who also teaches art, was showcasing her multi-media works at the MERA School house in McDonalds Corners at her opening Vernissage on January 18. The show includes works in a wide range of media and subject matter. Two that stood out immediately for me were a mixed media drawing of the former Doctor's House in Sharbot Lake, now known as the Sharbot Lake Country Inn, and the second, a charcoal drawing on canvas of an old homestead on the Burke Settlement Road. “I'm really interested in history and older settlements and environments and I came across these two…

Fiddlin' in the New Year at a very big “Little Christmas” concert

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 January 2015 10:11  |  Published in Lanark County
Against all odds the annual Blue Skies in the Community “Little Christmas” concert went on at the Maberly hall on January 4 thanks to a courageous bunch of community fiddlers, their two fearless leaders and an enthusiastic group of listeners, who once again made the concert a huge success. It was touch and go in the hours leading up to the show after the year's first fierce snow/ice storm made a mess of roads and left a number of participants housebound, including scheduled emcee Linda Grenier, who was graciously replaced by Linda Tranter. The concert featured performances by the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra led by conductor Cindy McCall and the Celtic Heritage Fiddle Orchestra led by Carolyn Stewart. The show opened with two numbers…

A Meighbourly performance by the Tay Valley Community Choir

Written by  |  Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:40  |  Published in Lanark County
The annual Christmas concert by the Tay Valley Community has long been a musical highlight of the holiday season. This year’s concert was no exception and the Maberly hall as always was full for the concert, which took place on December 7. Under the direction of their new fearless leader, Rebecca Worden of Perth, the close to 40 singers who make up this four-part choir performed a refreshing and modern seasonal repertoire that included a number of favorite sing-along carols plus some well known but not often performed songs from a variety of musical genres. Highlights included the 1965 Peanuts favorite “Christmas Time is Here”, the long-time classic “Carol of the Bells” and the gorgeous “Do You Hear What I Hear”, each of which demonstrated…

Fallbrook potter sells out at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 10 December 2014 23:10  |  Published in Lanark County
On November 29, holiday shoppers at the annual Christmas Fair at the MERA Schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners, which draws buyers from near and far, enjoyed a fine array of crafts, fine art and comestibles courtesy of a number of local vendors. Felted, knit, sewn and woven wearables and seasonal decorative items were in abundance, as were fine chocolates, beeswax candles, body products, jewelry and much more. Hand crafted pottery is always a much appreciated gift at any time of the year and Fallbrook potter Jane Conley could not keep up with the demand for her newly designed cups. Conley has been making both wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery at her home-based studio in Fallbrook for six years under the business name Conley Pots. She has studied…

Tay Valley prepares for 200th Anniversary

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:59  |  Published in Lanark County
At a special gathering held at the offices of Tay Valley Township near Perth on November 22, staff members outlined the upcoming events they are planning to usher in the township's 200-year anniversary in 2016. The anniversary will mark not only the arrival of the first European settlers to the region but will pay tribute to veterans of the War of 1812, and to the First Nations people who were instrumental in helping the early European settlers survive their first, harshest winter here. The anniversary will also celebrate the communities that were developed over the 200-year period that followed, beginning in 1815 when Perth was designated by the British government as one of three military settlements that encouraged settlers, comprised of unemployed tradesmen and discharged…

Draftsman/artist makes his mark at MERA

Written by  |  Wednesday, 12 November 2014 23:35  |  Published in Lanark County
Michael Neelin is no stranger to McDonalds Corners. Neelin's family has owned a cottage in the area for almost 50 years and his love of both heritage architecture and natural landscape was one of the reasons why in April 2014 he moved from Pontiac, Quebec, where he had lived and worked for over 20 years, to McDonalds Corners. He moved into a new home in McDonalds Corners, which he designed and had built. With a degree in architectural history and trained as an architectural technologist, Neelin makes his living designing timber-frame homes, and he operates his own business called Riversong Design. While he loves his work and the fact that it has paid the bills for years, he admits that there is also an artist…

Ball and Chain: Album release and dance, dance, dance

Written by  |  Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:00  |  Published in Lanark County
Ball and Chain is the cheeky band name for the irrepressible singer/songwriter/guitarist Jody Benjamin and her fiddle player and singer husband, Michael Ball. Ball and Chain mix two great musical loves in their music, country dance music and contemporary Cajun music. They have released four albums containing original tunes sprinkled in with songs by Hank Williams, Webb Pierce and contemporaries like Julie Miller and Steve Earl, as well as an album of Cajun tunes, "Louisiana Love Bug". The sixth release from Ball and Chain "Surrender" is their first to include all original songs. This is how the album is described on the website cdbaby: “Their love of hard core Honky Tonk is evident but here they feature songs with a wide range of styles. There…

MERA art exhibition

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 21:28  |  Published in Lanark County
Submitted by MERA Every month a new local artist's work is featured in the main hall at MERA - a community arts organization in McDonalds's Corners in Lanark Highlands. You can catch the end of the October art exhibition at MERA before it comes down on October 31: Paintings & Portraits by local farmer, Rosemary Kralik. MERA receives 20% of all art sales for the exhibitions. Encouraging local artists and musicians is part of MERA's mandate. The November art exhibit features “Fenceline and Shoreline" - landscape and heritage drawings by Michael Neelin There will be an opening at MERA on Sunday November 2nd from 2 pm - 4 pm In his realist graphite pencil drawings, Michael seeks to capture and share moments out of time…

The Beaver: Pest or Eco-Hero?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 18:55  |  Published in Lanark County
By Susan Sentesy, MMLT Beavers have always had a special relationship with humans in Canada. Almost extirpated at one time, today they are widely recognized as a symbol of our country. But how much do we really understand them and their role in our world? Who to better help us understand and appreciate beavers and life in their ponds than Michael Runtz, renowned naturalist and photographer? On Friday, November 7, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) will hold its Annual Dinner and Benefit Auction at the Almonte Civitan Club Community Hall. Michael Runtz is our honoured guest speaker. The event also features a Benefit Auction offering a wide range of useful and uniquely interesting items, with proceeds going to help support the important work of…

Stellar opener at MERA's classical concert series

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 October 2014 18:50  |  Published in Lanark County
If the first of the three classical music concerts in the MERA Schoolhouse's Blue Jean Classical Sunday Afternoon concert series is any indication of what is to come, I'd have to say, get your tickets now. On October 19 I caught the stellar second set played by flautist Gertrude Letourneau and guitarist Garry Elliot, who captured and enraptured listeners with their top-notch playing. I did not get a chance to hear Letourneau sing, which was unfortunate since if it was anything like her playing, it must have been a real treat. That being said what I did see was mesmerizing. The two covered a wide range of musical styles from Piazzolla's Argentinian cafe-style music to Bach, to Bartok's Six Romanian Dances. This duo are powerful…

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