Tuesday, May 28, 2019

an Epic Project...

in which our plucky heroine was recently commissioned to create Laurel regalia based on this Bronze Age Minoan bee pendant from Malia 1700 BCE

In some ways this is the most complex project I have ever done. It is 3 1/2" across and the enamel is 1/2" in diameter, made from sterling silver and enamel. There was quite the process involved in making this a reality. It starts with a concept and a request...

The initial sketch, followed by the working drawing done to scale.

Since the bodies of the insects need to be exactly shaped and very dimensional, the first step would be to carve two matrices with which to shape the silver. I traveled up to Mud Bay to work with my former studio partner Bill Dawson, and learn how to carve a matrix. After acquiring a suitable heavy bronze piece, the carving could begin. These are the tools I will use to create the matrices that will shape the silver for the bodies of the insects. Very tiny chisels and burnishers, and a Very Small Hammer.

The first matrix is outlined on the bronze block, and carving away the excess begins to create the shape

two mirror image matrices need to be created, so I get lots of practice using the hammer and chisels to carve with

creating the matrices took almost two days

to test how the matrix is progressing, plasticine clay is pressed into the mold, which shows where further work is needed shaping and smoothing the design

and, of course, it is really challenging to get a matched pair of bodies

finally 23 ga sheet sterling silver is driven into the two matrices, and the bodies of the insects are cut away from the extra metal using a jewelers saw

the shaped bodies and finished enamel laid atop the working drawing - looking pretty good so far...

additional "bug eyes" will be added to the bodies - tiny domed silver discs, which will be surrounded by beaded silver wire

These component parts will be soldered on to each body: a decorative eye, and bands of beaded wire for the abdominal stripes

One set of body comonents soldered in place, and another one will need to be done before the next step. Here you can also see the notches carved into the thorax to make space for the future legs

By the end of the third day, I was able to solder the bodies to the backing, which will form the wings and support the rest of the piece

the corrugated wire that trims the wing edges is patterned using Bronze Age technology. I used a bronze die on the silver wire, stamping on a stone anvil using a stone as a hammer. It worked astonishingly well, and in some ways was easier than using a modern hammer.

Once back at Acorn Cottage after my weekend up at Mud Bay, the next steps were to shape and solder to the backing plate the corrugated wire that will become the edges of the wings. I made good use of my new titanium strip clamps to hold the wires in place

Sawing away the excess backing plate, once the wing edges are all soldered down and the inner wing area has been shaped in a raised curve

Getting a sense of just where to place the enamel to leave enough room for the legs. The bezel will need to be carefully soldered in place. Each subsequent soldering operation becomes more and more tricky, figuring out how to get enough heat where needed without affecting any previous work

The bezel to hold the enamel is soldered in the center of the piece

The lower two legs are soldered to the edges of the bezel, and held in place in the notches in the insect thorax

The upper two legs are carefully shaped to overlap without rising too high on the bezel, then also soldered to the bezel edge

The last part soldered in place will be the bail that the necklace will hang from. This is a good place to stamp my makers mark - the running horse from my heraldry, and the crown because I hold a Royal Commission from the Crown of An Tir.


Once the soldering is done, the entire piece is polished, the enamel set in the bezel prepared for it, and I also fabricated three small decorative disc-pendants to hang from the bottom edge and add that aspect of movement so very appealing to our distant ancestors and to many of us today. The pendant is completed...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging yard waste bin
9 tween undergown
flowering plum pruned -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 Minoan pendant x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the chance to expand my knowledge, and to create lasting beauty of great meaning for others, and have that be my livelihood

Back in the world

in which our plucky heroine was awakened at 5:30 am...

by a loud, massive, and ongoing cacaphony of crows ! I pulled  on my dressing gown and went out the front door to reconnoiter. The ruckus went on for almost twenty minutes. They were swirling around two large fir trees on our block. As they quieted and slowly drifted away, I gave in and went back to sleep. The rest of today will be all about starting the new studio commission, unpacking the rest of the Egils gear, and beginning summer fruit tree pruning.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging yard waste bin
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, May 23, 2019

too much pollen

in which our plucky heroine is tired of sneezing...

Having suddenly had the high pollen levels activate my sneeze reflex excessively...well bah, the local Walgren's, that formerly carried the allergy med I prefer, no longer has it. There are no other drug stores that I can get to tonight. I am grumpy, and wish that the trees would keep their sperm to themselves!
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Fortunately, in the middle of the afternoon I remembered that I was partway through making strawberry-rhubarb sauce, so in the throes of packing, I have taken a break to put it into jars for pantry storage, which are now bubbling away in the kettle on the stove, and I am back to trying to match up the packing list with the things in the SCA closet (edited - ended up with four 8 oz jars and one 4 oz jar... not bad for a pound of rhubarb and a pint of strawbs)
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

catching up and company

in which our plucky heroine enjoys a visit...

Very late yesterday I finished the last two of the five tween garments I've been working on this week, and fell into bed. My pal Marya came over today to use my big table for cutting out SCA clothing for her family; her teens, like the Blue Cedar tweens, just keep growing. It was lovely to have company, even though I was done with my tween sewing (which was actually good, since that meant there was lots more room for her to use), Today I did almost all the prep for the class I'm teaching on Saturday, took care of some desk work, and also set up and ran the serger to do seam finishing while she kept sewing. I managed a tasty lunch of a combination of farmers market bok choy, salad table greens, some Trader Joe's frozen cooked teriyaki chicken, and a pot of Kokuho Rose rice... 
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I went looking for my blue floral fabric and when I found it, lo and behold, I had already cut out the pattern pieces for a blouse, but never sewn it together! Whoo hoo!! I think that I might actually be able to complete a new blouse by the end of May...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
-
8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - having backup food in the freezer so that when friends visit there is enough to make lunch for us both... I've been so busy with work that shopping has been sporadic

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

three in two days, and still sewing

in which our plucky heroine is more than halfway there...

My young tween friend Genevieve made some block-printed trim a few months ago, and I've made up a new calendula color linen SCA undergown for her, as well as a Viking Age apron-dress from blue linen, to wear at events this summer. I've of necessity been sewing like a madwoman, as both the tweens have kept on growing larger, and need, for decency sake, garments that actually fit them! I also finished one of the three new undergowns for Aesa last night, and have great hopes of getting everything completed by the first camping event of the season.
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The rhubarb and strawberries from the farmer's market are currently macerating in sugar, will be cooked into fruit sauce for yoghurt, and then due to be bottled up for the pantry shelf.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
-
8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - that I have space to lay fabric out for cutting, and machines (especially my serger) that allow for speedy sewing when it is necessary. I keep imagining our foremothers who would have had to take days and days to prepare fiber, weave, then sew fabric into garments...

Saturday, May 18, 2019

two tiny friends: Hazel and Zinnia

in which our plucky heroine remains amused...

it is tempting, but not possible/sensible, to dive into the rabbit hole of miniature creation. I did however, bring small bits with me on the bus whilst going to and from the farmer's market today (fresh peas! and strawberries! and rhubarb!! yes it is that time of year...) and finished up the second Tiny Rag Doll.

Made from scraps leftover from my blouse fabric (brown/cream linen chambray), and I decided to try a slightly different hairstyle. Apparently her name is "Zinnia" and her somewhat old-fashioned friend is named "Hazel". They will require clothing, more than just their wee felt shoes. I am tempted to make them some Viking Age clothing, since our big SCA event is next weekend, or more likely, take some fabric scraps with me and stitch some up while I am there...

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I'm worried about my computer, the power switch on the CPU/tower (don't laugh, I know it isn't state of the art, but it works) has started behaving badly. Half the time when I push it to start the computer it doesn't start "all the way" but begins to start and then stops. Are there some kind of springs inside the button that could stop working? I am a little nervous about taking the whole thing apart to find out... and, I still need to finish the Big Project of Importance, and have FIVE gorram tween undergowns to complete before Friday, so taking apart the computer zone will just have to wait its turn. I can, at least, simply use the power strip to turn it on and off, until I get the time to disassemble the whole spaghetti wire mess...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 x grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the double yr EBT program at the farmer's market, which makes buying produce a little more affordable...

Friday, May 17, 2019

an evening in the cathedral

in which our plucky heroine has an unexpectedly lovely evening...

I fell in love with Ann Wood's pattern for "the tiny rag doll". I thought it might be a great thing to do with my young friend Ellie, who is clever with her handcraft, and about the age I was when I fell in love with miniatures. Ann Wood has assorted other tutorials for miniature clothing and other miniature items (dishes... a bed made from clothespins...) on her blog as she gradually adds items to the small world she creates.

But first I needed to try it out for myself... The pattern pieces are so small it is perfect for hand stitching, and the instructions are really clear. I am eager to make some tiny clothing, and a few tiny friends. She is just over 5" tall. This kind of hand stitchery is perfect for interstitial time, I did most of it while riding the bus or waiting for appointments. ..
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Well that was wonderful!! Late this afternoon got an unexpected phone call, inviting me to join friends at the In Mulieribus concert tonight at St Mary's Cathedral... While this video isn't from the concert, it gives a sense of the type of music we heard tonight: exquisite a capella womens voices singing music inspired by the 12th C Hortus Deliciarum manuscript. What a special treat!!

My favorite tonight was "Primus parens hominum", one of the pieces from the manuscript that survived complete with music...

(different musicians, but gives an idea of what it sounded like)
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 x grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a delightful concert of beautiful medieval music, and the kindness of friends who thought of me when an extra ticket became available.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

brought to you by the letter B

in which our plucky heroine takes advantage of unexpected bounty...

Currently the yard has many beautiful things to see, and in the workroom, progress on The Project is proceeding apace; if all goes well it should be done by tomorrow. This is good, since there five garments for the tween girls that need sewn in the next six days. Bizzy buzz buzz here at Acorn Cottage!
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While there are many tools and supplies that would be good/useful additions to the workshop space here, what was needed was a wee saucepan that could be dedicated to non-food use. Yet another reason to be grateful for the Goodwill near Acorn Cottage. There was a gap in the rain, and a spectacular sunset, when I rode my bike over there and perused the shelf of kitchen equipment, which while sadly sparse in the metal zone, actually had exactly that, for $3.99.

Why, one wonders, is a saucepan desired for the workshop? There is a somewhat larger pan for fabric dyeing, but the current project in the works has some dimensional characteristics that seemed to be retaining tiny amounts of citric acid pickle which were drying in place. Not ever a problem with forms that have no hollow spaces, but unusual projects call for unusual measures. The solution is a solution... of baking soda and water. Simmer the piece in the liquid to neutralise any remaining citric acid before doing any finish work. And, obviously, kitchen pans for workshop use is a bad protocol (though technically both citric acid and baking soda are food safe).
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European black elderflower is blooming now in the parking strip... The persimmon tree, pruned again this year, is showing signs of future blossoms. I still need to prune the new quinceling, as well as the backyard apple tree. Summer pruning keeps fruit trees within bounds, winter pruning encourages growth, both are useful...
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Today the Church of Free Bread had raspberries! So in addition to the tasks for today, most of the 12 oz package will get bottled up for the pantry, because raspberries are super perishable... but some will end up on a bowl of yoghurt as an afternoon snack was delightful. The bottling was an experiment, and it will be curious to find out if the jars seal, since a lot of the liquid siphoned out when I removed them from the canning kettle. Usually I cook down fruit into a sauce or jam, but decided to try the raw pack hot syrup method, using the Very Light Syrup from the Center for Home Food Preservation.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the universe gave me raspberries... nothing more need be said!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tuesday tidbits

"practice makes proficient" - not perfect, not necessarily progress...
proficient* = competent or skilled in doing or using something

So make good choices about what and how you practice, whether with hand or brain or spirit, because repetition makes whatever you repeat more likely to happen again. Some of the things I have practiced over the years/decades have really made my life easier, like I am much better at soldering than I was when I started. Some of the things I have practiced over the years/decades have made my life much more difficult, like assuming danger all the time, which has limited my life in uncounted ways. We most often think of practice in terms of trying to learn new skills, but we are practicing continually in all the different spheres we exist in. I continue to attempt to notice what I am practicing, and to practice by choice and not by default. This is way harder than it sounds, and is in itself a type of practice...
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Every time I've ridden the train between Boston and points west, this curious structure has fascinated me, and this trip I managed a few decent photos...

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as seen from the train, and enlarged to show facade

The water visible in the photos is Farm Pond in Framingham, the terminal end of the Sudbury Aqueduct, which was built between 1875 and 1878, and was in use for over 100 years. The small building is not an unusual home site, as I had imagined, but rather a "gate house" that houses part of the machinery that controlled the flow of water.
Here is a photo from 1910, looking in the opposite direction, and the rail line is clearly visible in the background.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 xrenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the internet makes doing research eversomuch easier, as only those of us who grew up before will ever appreciate

*late 16th century: from Latin proficient- ‘advancing’, from the verb proficere, from pro- ‘on behalf of’ + facere ‘do, make’.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

just keep working just keep working

in which our plucky heroine keeps on working...

One of several substantial regalia commissions will be due soon, and as most of last month was taken up with the trip to the other coast to visit family, there has been much effort in the workshop these last few days. Progress is happening. I'm pretty pleased, as this is probably the most challenging piece I've done so far... requires lots of cogitation. I shall be right nervous until it is completed.

Tullia came over and spent both days this weekend also doing metalwork; it was great to have the company while we each were working away on sekrit projects. In talking with her, it clarified for me the idea that well more than half of the work of creating a thing is in the mind... the design work, research, and sketching is one leg of a tripod, figuring out the sequences of steps is a second leg, and the actual handicraft skills are the third leg.

Sequential planning is quite the challenge for things as complex as this project, where I have no prior experience of assembly. I have been being very careful to take enough time to think through all the steps before charging ahead... Rather like how I imagine people who are gamers must think. I am really filled with gratitude about how much this project is teaching me both in technical skills and brainwork
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After a busy morning, it was time for what turned out to be a super tasty lunch break... Tullia and I tried XLB and their xiao long bao are yummy. I'd never had soup dumplings before, but I certainly hope to again in the future!

The side order of bok choy with oyster sauce was a great balancing addition of greenstuff, and the Shanghai udon noodles with pork and shrimp had a wonderful bit of stir fry char. It was really more than we could eat for lunch, but getting out of the workroom and eating lunch in the shade at one of their sidewalk tables was such a splendid diversion.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 xrenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

it takes however long it takes...

in which our plucky heroine reminds self that incremental progress is still progress...

green onions have been planted... these are one of the simplest things to grow. Get one or more bunches of green onions. Cut off the root ends of the bunch at about three to four inches long. Poke a stick into a planter, drop the end in (roots first), firm the soil back around them. Lather rinse repeat. I used three bunches.

I'll keep them watered, and soon new onion greens will sprout. Harvest as needed for kitchen use, they'll probably continue growing for months. (Green mesh is to prevent squirrel depredation)

Decided to try out this combination of a salvaged plant stand and a sturdy recycled paper pulp pot. Brings the plants up to waist height, and being right outside the front door will make them super convenient for cooking and for watering...


Did a bit of backyard effort as well: planted the two tomato starts from Molly, found/unsquashed the tomato cages and set them in the planter, and pruned a bit of the overhanging grapevine. Still need the apple tree pruned, and thinking about the plum thicket...
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After returning from my parental visit, the biggest takeaway (other than continuing to do what I can to maintain personal mobility) is a great desire to declutter Acorn Cottage much more intensively. Nothing like being away from a space to notice how much of it would better serve me by holding what is actually useful/beautiful and letting go of even more of the potentially-useful-someday/how. Once the several large projects currently on the workbench happen, there will be more clearing away, a big reorganisation of the workroom, and hopefully some more painting of walls...
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I cord edging - an addition to my Sólbein cardigan. After wearing it a few times, it seemed like the neckline and cuffs stretched out rather excessively, and adding a row of I cord edging, similar to the button bands, would be both tidy and useful. Tis much improved!


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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 xrenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table -
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x


today's gratitude - finding the pieces I put "in a safe place" and therefore not having to start a major project over again from scratch!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

not really a green thumb...

in which our plucky heroine attempts green fingers...

Over this last weekend young Heather came down to help with the yard. Since the lawn fairy had gifted me with a mowed front yard on Friday, that was removed from the list of needful chores. Instead, we went by Ikea and picked up some more big pieces of cardboard for backyard mulch, as underlay for woodchippings. The plantings in the parking strip (black elder, persimmon, and forsythia) were pruned. The raised beds had their soil renewed and fertilised in preparation for planting. The old chicken house was listed on Craigslist-Free. Refilling the propane tanks at U-Haul didn't work out. A trip to Portland Nursery brought an assortment of salad greens starts. There was another tasty dinner at Enat Kitchen, our favorite local Ethiopian restaurant. All too soon it was time for Heather and Ellie to go back home.
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Yesterday the chicken house went away, along with the chicken waterer. End of one era here, though I am not ruling out maybe getting hens again at some point, if a balance place can be found for their needs of safety and my needs of being social with other humans. Still it is good to send something useful along to someone who can use it. If/when Acorn Cottage gets hens again, I will build the modular easy-to-move chicken house I have planned and have supplies for.

Wanda kindly gave me a ride to an actual propane dealer, so that the small torch tanks could be refilled. UHaul only refills 5 gallon or larger tanks, and tried to sell me a new third tank... um no thank you! The small 1 gallon propane tank was filled. The 2 gallon tank needs used until entirely empty, so it can come in and be recertified (which has to happen every 12 years... Who knew?) I highly recommend Ferrelgas for their good customer service, lack of any wild west attitude or behaviour, and thorough explanations about safety. I will definitely be using them again whenever I have propane needs.


Later in the day, I planted the salad greens in the salad table, which should do well for the next few months. The tomato starts are going to go in the raised bed along the backyard fence near the grapevine; I was going to wait a bit, but since the temperatures are climbing crazy high (80 yesterday and supposed to hit 90 by Friday, I figure that they are safe to put in the ground. Picking up a few bunches of green onions will let me put some green onion starts in the small round planter near the front door. Best good trick from Mother Earth News years ago - take a bunch of green onions and cut the white parts off a few inches long, and plant them... before you know it, you have more green onions, and can cut a stalk or two for months!
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 xrenewed raised planters -
4 x
plant salad table -
5 x- -
6 x x
-
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x


Today's gratitude - Ferrelgas, that didn't treat me like an idiot just because I was female...

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Dark of Night completed

in which our plucky heroine finishes a second handknit...

I'm not a fast knitter, but this year I have managed to complete two additions to my wardrobe: the Solbein cardigan, and now this Ursa pullover, both in Lettlopi wool. I finished the casting off late last night, and while it still needs to be blocked, I couldn’t wait to try it on… so cozy and so adorable!

This was my first time using bust darts in knitwear, and it made a big difference in the fit. The additional pattern modifications I added* are hopefully in the spirit of the design, and I am really happy with the outcome. My sweater will coordinate with most of my wardrobe and the doubled Lettlopi worked really well as a “bulky” yarn.

*added half-brioche stitch ribbing border to neckline edge in order to have it actually stay on my shoulders, stopped waistline triangle detailing partway through in order to have it not become a hip length sweater…

(image lightened in photoshop to show details)

close up of center front ribbing, showing how I continued the HBS from the center of the body, up into the ribbing:
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches -
2 Ursa pullover --
3 x- -
4 x
- -
5 x- -
6 x x
-
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

a large small tidbit

in which our plucky heroine enjoys whimsy unexpectedly found...

There is a rather large spectacular sculpture of Multnomah Falls, done in Lego, near the baggage claim area in the Portland Airport... I just happened to notice it for the first time when there to meet my sister, prior to our transcontinental train ride.

Here is some more information about the sculpture

there and back again, once again...

In which our plucky heroine travels a long way to honor a long traveling...

It was in recognition of my parents 65th wedding anniversary that I took most of the month of April away from my ordinary life, to go by train cross country once again. My parents live in Lexington, just outside of Boston, so seeing them in person is not something I can do often. This trip, my little sister flew up here from Palos Verdes so that she and I could travel together via Amtrak. Indeed, it was the first time ever that we have taken a trip with just the two of us, and after over three days in close quarters, that we both are still friends says much for both of us.
here she is, sitting on the couch/bunk, reflected in the wall mirror in the wee bed/sit we shared... (I measured, and the floor space was slightly less than my SCA tent, yet contained two bunks, a table, a chair, a sink, and a tiny enclosed commode/shower unit)

once out of the Portland metro area, the train travels along the Washington side of the Columbia river, with many beautiful vistas... Sometimes there is wildlife visible, I saw a bald eagle in a tree, and on the return journey, a group of three deer foraging along the riverside

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The days on the train seemed to go by both interminably and very fast. On our layover in Chicago, Gigi and I decided to find somewhere to eat dinner, and by total random chance, ended up at the Little Goat Diner. One of the best meals I've had in a long time, and my only regret was that there was no way to package up the leftovers to be food-safe without refrigeration.

Before we knew it we were in Lexington... The years have been relatively kind, though relentless, in their effects on my dear mother and father. I am very grateful that they are still of sound mind, if rather more frail each time I visit.
:::

After spending two weeks with family, it was time for me to get back on Amtrak and head west for home. The trip home I'd be back in a roomette (more like a bunkbed with doors), as opposed to the larger "bedroom sleeper" I'd shared with my sister.  The Metropolitan Lounge in Boston had a beautiful decorative ceiling:

Eastern farmland is very green in the springtime

in Albany, the section of the Lake Shore Limited from Boston joins up with the section from New York City, before continuing on to Chicago.

Union Station in Chicago is the primary Amtrak hub for the whole country. There are interesting bits and corners around the station, and this section of fountain caught my eye... very Deco. Instead of a restaurant brunch, I was eager to get in a bit of walking, since the weather was quite moderate. I ended up picking up cheese and tomato and some fruit at a grocery store, and put together a lunch plate of my own when back in the first class lounge at the station. After that, and availing myself of the spa shower (much larger and not moving from side to side like on the train) it was time to switch over to the Empire Builder for the remainder of the trip. I Much Prefer the western train, which still has an actual dining car; the eastern trains have felt the Unkind Hand of the new CEO, and have box meals, which are quite inferior in both choice and quality to what was formerly available...


crosssing the Mississippi...

the train stopped somewhere in the middle of the night, for long enough that I woke up from the lack of movement. I think that this is Minneapolis/St Paul, but was too sleepy to look it up and make a notation in my journal.

more Big Sky vistas - the open water here had been still frozen three weeks prior...

Rocky Mountains, as we head into Glacier... not a lot of snow visible compared to previous trips in the past

Sunrise, looking out the back window of the sleeper car towards the east