Deb McLeod Weekend 2017

Trent’s Account of the weekend.

Fourteen intrepid wood turners took up Deb McLeod’s generous offer to come to her home near Ruthilda, Saskatchewan from May 4 – 7 and spend three days messing up her woodworking shop. We enjoyed wonderful hospitality punctuated with the fruit of Deb’s three day cooking marathon as she fed us home made pies, buns, chicken and beef with all the trimmings one could imagine. Deb has an amazing array of accommodation with motor homes and in house bedrooms. Some people brought along their own trailer or motorhome so everyone was set up with a place to sleep.

Ten people brought their own lathes and all the associated paraphernalia and set up in the fully equipped large double garage attached to Deb and Ian’s house. Turning began in earnest by Thursday afternoon and was interrupted with regular trips to the kitchen and coffee machine. Sharon Genge brought along her spinning wheel and did her own form of turning using slightly different material.

The weather for the event was as perfect as you could ever order up. Every other weekend that Deb has held a turning event there have been cold, windy and often rainy days as part of our experience. We had a high of 28 C° and a continual display of the reason this province is called ‘The Land of Living Skies’.

One of the consequences of the ultra warm weather, time of year and expansion of ticks into new zones of the province was the not so appreciated presence of our ‘friends the tick’ on both dogs and people. Alex headed up the team to do a surveillance check on the dogs three or four times a day and pulled off many ticks for her reward.   Joanne and Bill brought Charlie the friendly lab with them, all the way from Whitecourt, Alberta. Molly and Tansley belong on the farm and were a delight for those missing their own dogs.

Mid way through our second day Deb pulled out a hidden gem she had been planning. Deb really enjoys a challenge and decided to share her love of collaboration by giving everyone present the chance to take one of her ‘failures’ and create something new with it. Many people took up the challenge and after much head scratching, cutting, burning, turning, painting and piercing a number of unique pieces were created. As Duncan explained we are not stepping out of our comfort zone as much as we are expanding our comfort zone. This was a highly successful endeavour and all of those that participated thoroughly enjoyed the fun and learned a lot of new skills in the process. One of the unintended consequences of a weekend like this, where you are exposed to all of the equipment and tricks that other people bring, is the strong desire (actually it’s a need!!) to purchase more ‘turning toys’.

The highlight of our entertainment for the weekend was a full blown ‘Newfoundland Screeching In’. Mel, our fully qualified native Newfoundlander, came prepared with Screech and the proper incantations to make the ceremony official. Trent created a colorful ‘Prairie Cod’ for the occasion so everyone could ‘Kiss the Cod’. After repeating the traditional ‘screeching in’ people downed the screech in one gulp. Quite a number of responses were elicited but the best was the face of horror that Deb produced upon the screech hitting the back of her throat. Everyone expressed their delight in kissing a cod with their own imagination of who or what they were kissing. Closed eyes, lingering tender kisses, full mouth smackers. You can see them all in the gallery of weekend pictures.

Each year when I come to Deb’s turning weekend I give extra traveling time to photograph birds I see along the way. I love to wander among the beautiful native grassland and sloughs that make up Deb’s back yard. Every year I find many birds and interesting subjects to photograph. If you notice any incorrect identification on the birds please let me know.


Pictures of the event HERE.

Pictures of the finished items HERE.

Pictures of Trent’s birds HERE.