Red Wing Roots II: Day 1

I played Bob Dylan on the way to this year’s second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival. I felt it was a decent way to get my soul ready for the day that awaited me in that magical, green pocket of Mt. Solon. When I parked and stepped out of my car to a distant harmonica chirp being carried through the trees with the mountain breeze, I couldn’t help but smile. I’m baaaaaack. Finally. I slung my camera around my neck, grabbed my cash and i.d. and followed the tunes. It led me straight to the Shenandoah Mountain stage where Charlottesville’s The Honey Dewdrops were mid-set. Sadly, I missed the Walking Roots Band all together because I got distracted by the awesome kids activities that Larkin Arts offered this year. They’ve really evolved with the festival and is one of the many ways the whole experience, that was already dang awesome, got even better. bsomeIMG_8551bsomeIMG_7384bsomeIMG_7452bsomeIMG_7373cbsomeIMG_7369bw bsomeIMG_7446 bsomeIMG_7470

Artery's blank canvas awaits hundreds of children and adult artist to leave their mark.

Artery’s blank canvas awaits hundreds of children and adult artists to leave their mark.

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I spy a Judy Chop!

I spy a Judy Chop!

bsomeIMG_7871Peyton Tochterman takes on the crowd at South Stage.

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#redwingselfie

#redwingselfie

WNRN volunteers were there and happy about it!

WNRN volunteers were there and happy about it!

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Old Hill Cider was my go-to when the sun heated up Day 1.

Old Hill Cider was my go-to when the sun heated up Day 1.

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I was particularly excited to see the performance by Many Nights Ahead. Amy, the lead gal, is my former art student and I’ve been trying to catch them live since they started playing. I let myself indulge in photos of these guys. They’re awesome and I felt so proud of them!

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I left the Local Roots Stage to take on what I feel is the most difficult part of the festival: deciding what to eat. There were so many goooood and local choices of festie cuisine available. Luckily I have friends that share so we ordered a bunch of food and taste-tested all of it!bsomeIMG_7752bsomeIMG_7759c

A Harrisonburg TRUCKS staple: Grilled Cheese Mania.

A Harrisonburg TRUCKS staple: Grilled Cheese Mania.

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Sexi-Mexi…oh God.

Sexi-Mexi…oh God. Straight from my other favorite ‘burg: Strasburg, VA!

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David Wax Museum and that sweet sounding jaw bone gets the crowd moving at South Stage!bsomeIMG_7784cbsomeIMG_7788bwbsomeIMG_7793bsomeIMG_7809bsomeIMG_7802bsomeIMG_7852bsomeIMG_7844bsomeIMG_7849bsomeIMG_7880bsomeIMG_7882bsomeIMG_7931cbsomeIMG_7938bsomeIMG_7985The Hackensaw Boys

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After witnessing all that is Pokey LaFarge last year, I could hardly wait to see him again. And I wasn’t alone. The crowd quickly migrated to the Shenandoah Mountain Stage, ready to shake a thang or two.

Also:
Dearest Pokey,
I love all of your faces. Every. Single. One.
Love, Brandy
P.S. I’m glad the watermelon didn’t hit me in the face. bsomeIMG_8395cbsomeIMG_8388bwbsomeIMG_8117bsomeIMG_8091bsomeIMG_8061bsomeIMG_8067bsomeIMG_8236bsomeIMG_8248bsomeIMG_8282bsomeIMG_8160bsomeIMG_8216bwbsomeIMG_8273bwbsomeIMG_8295bsomeIMG_8358bsomeIMG_8134bwbsomeIMG_8276bsomeIMG_8214bwbsomeIMG_8189cbsomeIMG_8152

Night came and The Duhks took the stage. I was ready to take a long nap and prepare for Day 2.bsomeIMG_8509bsomeIMG_8484bwbsomeIMG_8432bwbsomeIMG_8448bsomeIMG_8497

Don’t miss my photos from Red Wing Roots II: Day 2!

Check out an excellent writeup and MORE of my photos from Red Wing Roots 2014 on ilovemyburg!

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This post is part of my year long series Celebrating Life.

Check out my posts from last year: Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2013! Day 1Day 2, & Day 3.

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Beau Knows…Ravioli

There I was, in a pickle. And when you’re in the kind of pickle I was in…the my-ravioli-makers-have-all-fallen-through-and-I-only-have-six-days-to-photograph-and-compile-a-National-Ravioli-Day-post kind of pickle, you call the most knowledgeable local food guru you know. In my case, this culinary angel was Amanda Cannon. In less than ten minutes, I had a “very handsome” ravioli maker to photograph. Boomtown! 

When I arrived at Amanda’s cozy cottage, I was greeted by a mischievous black cat, “Bad Kitty”, who led me to the door while offering intriguing conversation. Chatty cat-hy. Amanda prepared a cup of coffee for me, introduced me to her boyfriend, Beau, and left.
bsomecIMG_0267bwbsomecIMG_0265 bsomecIMG_0263bsomecIMG_0301What a great way to meet someone for the first time, in the comfort of a home, with warm coffee in one hand and my camera in the other PLUS the lingering thought of homemade ravioli filling my gut in the near future. Lay off me-I’m starving! Beau is the sous chef at Bella Luna Wood-fired Pizza which gives him instant credibility. Bella Luna came to town with great anticipation and did not disappoint. Probably because they hire kick-ass people for front and back of the house, like Beau. Starting the noodle dough from scratch, he got out the ingredients and kindly explained the whole process to me: a ravioli virgin.
bsomecIMG_0297bsomecIMG_0279 bsomecIMG_0313 bsomecIMG_0333bsomecIMG_0316bsomecIMG_0353 bsomecIMG_0364Once the milk was heated for the ricotta, Beau added apple cider vinegar to create the milky, curdy separation. <–Clearly I’m a pro now. After a few moments, however, Beau realized that he accidentally used light cream instead of milk. In his defense, the two cartons looked very similar. Waddayagonnado? He started the ricotta again from scratch. I’ve never tasted fresh, warm ricotta before but his was deeeelicious.bsomecIMG_0272bbsomecIMG_0340collagebsomecIMG_0306 bsomecIMG_0311 bsomecIMG_0322collagebsomecIMG_0357It’s awesome watching someone in their zone…doing something they love. There was joy on Beau’s face, there in the kitchen. In the chopping, the mixing, the cooking, the mishaps and even in the cleanup. A chat about this sort of thing was brought up when he noticed that I took a photo of the dirty wooden spoon in the sink. In my effort to explain why I saw this as photo-worthy, I recalled the book “The Sun My Heart” by Thich Nhat Hanh. There’s a section in the book that discusses dish washing. It’s quite transformative, but here’s the gist: “…the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them…. If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully.” Since reading this book I try to find those beauties in my daily life; in my job; in my chores. Folding warm clothes, shoveling the (constantly falling) snow, making my bed, hand dryers, rainy days, rush hour traffic jams…you get the point. I have countless photos of my sink. It’s not just a sink full of dirty dishes. It’s proof that I just made epic pumpkin pancakes for two happy kids that sit full-as-ticks on the sofa. It’s evidence of the existence of the last 2 hours of preparing a feast for my friends. It’s beautiful, really.

Beau’s history, naturally, is different from mine but his time in the Army offered circumstances that led him to a similar philosophy: “Embrace the Suck” as he put it. When he found himself in really awful places and less-than-desirable conditions, he would remind himself that even that would have a say in who he is and will become as a man. He is no doubt a stronger human for taking life, and all that it has thrown at him, in stride.
bsomecIMG_0319bsomecIMG_0330bsomecIMG_0281bsomecIMG_0284 bsomecIMG_0295 bsomecIMG_0372bsomecIMG_0376 bsomecIMG_0384 bsomecIMG_0386 bsomecIMG_0396bsomecIMG_0435c bsomecIMG_0421 bsomecIMG_0400collage bsomecIMG_0429bsomecIMG_0351Ravioli stuffing was ready. The dough was ‘resting’ (shhh!) in the fridge and the clouds parted to reveal the beautiful, blue, Saturday sky. The cats, Bad Kitty and Bijoux, were becoming increasingly vocal as aromas of sun dried-tomato white sauce poured out of the kitchen. It was time for the exciting part, noodle stretching! (That may or may not be what the process is actually called.) A familiar kitchen tool appeared (the bench scraper/knife) followed by a new one: the pastry cutter/crimper. All this newness was so.exciting. And I’m not exaggerating. Beau demonstrated the crimper but also explained how a drinking glass can easily be substituted. The sauce on the stove was turning into a mouthwatering, gravy-esque thickness. At this point, he was doing the traditional kitchen dance that occurs just as everything begins to come to the end of its cooking cycle, all at the exact same moment. So there’s Beau, with a strainer full of ravioli over a sink full of dishes with cats circling his feet like two inverted vultures waiting for a noodle to fall to it’s death. And there I was, standing there with my camera in hand. Laughing. Ha! Sorry, Beau.bsomecIMG_0409 bsomecIMG_0426bsomecIMG_0441 bsomecIMG_0447 bsomecIMG_0451 bsomecIMG_0452 bsomecIMG_0476 bsomecIMG_0485 bsomecIMG_0496collagebsomecIMG_0499 bsomecIMG_0506 bsomecIMG_0508 bsomecIMG_0510 bsomecIMG_0513 bsomecIMG_0515 bsomecIMG_0524 bsomecIMG_0530 bsomecIMG_0535bsomecIMG_0577 bsomecIMG_0575 bsomecIMG_0572 bsomecIMG_0566bsomecIMG_0567 bsomecIMG_0555 bsomecIMG_0570bsomecIMG_0610bsomecIMG_0584

Then…magic. All the chaos gets placed on a plate like the edible masterpiece it is. I even noticed a happy little basil-tomato face smiling up at me…then I ate it! Happy National Ravioli Day everyone! Go indulge yourself in some tasty carbs, wouldya?!bsomecIMG_0588 bsomecIMG_0608 bsomecIMG_0602

Read more about my Celebrating Life series here. And get caught up on the January & February posts!