Monday, October 31, 2016

Seepy barn,canning marathon , the theory and evolution of sewing and some gratitude

The barn isn't leaking but its still wet inside. That's how much rain we have had since summer ended. The wet is just seeping in from everywhere.   Since I keep the chickens in the barn, its an issue. I think I am going to have to build that new coop much sooner than the  spring time.  The problem is that  when I am forced to  do something before I am ready, any  fine , well organized plans go straight down the toilet and I end up  throwing   something together  with whatever I have handy.  In this case I have  a 4 star chicken hotel planned for  the spring time in an all new location. If I have to do it now, in the rain and cold and dark with only  a few hours of daylight to work in, its going to wind up a  run down shack. A dry shack but still.... a shack.   I like  pretty plans. Given enough time  my plans turn out like my vision.  My best is example of this is my new kitchen curtains. A couple of years ago I got an amazing deal on some fabric.  Its  a very  delicate  loose weave muslin with  a   ladder weave  stripe in it.  The edges were woven to look unfinished.  Its cream  and a kind of very light rose-ish color.   The whole effect is  country rustic   but elegant. It lets in light but provides the needed privacy. I have huge windows so the privacy thing was important.   I have been planning on making these for  two years and they turned out  exactly like I wanted them too. I have to give credit to the Good Typist  for actually  getting them done. She inspired me with her  newly found enthusiasm  for  sewing.  I  have taken sewing for granted for  most of my life.  I learned the art watching my Great Grandmother  churn out  items on her  treadle sewing machine.   If a textile  item was needed  she would excuse herself and return a  while later with the item in hand, pot holders, pillows ,  a quick dress for yours truly (seriously, it took her  about 15 minutes to make a sun dress for a 6 year old).  I learned the craft almost by osmosis.  So, the only time I  ever really think about sewing is when I want something.   My thinking about it always consists of  what the end product will be. It might  be a throw pillow or a Halloween costume ,   a heavy canvas bag for my rock hounding  or just putting  a hem in a piece of fabric that I like  to use for a table cloth but, its always about the end product.  While I know the history of  the craft of sewing and the evolution of  textiles over the centuries , I have never taken the time  to  contemplate  the philosophy or   theory behind the craft until  The Good Typist pointed some things out to me.   Her expressed  thoughts have made sewing interesting again.  Will they make me an  amazing seamstress? I'm pretty certain they  wont change my skill level but,  only because I'm content  with simply being  adequate  at the craft.  So, thank you Good Typist for the infectious  enthusiasm  you have  injected into  my craft world.   I  also need to thank  Mini Break Massage  owner Sherry Williams for the enormous bolt of fabric that  she gave me on our last visit together.    Its a very  artsy  print  that will need to be  contemplated  before I cut into it.
And then there is baby sister.  She showed up this weekend with all of her canning supplies in tow determined to break last years record of 80 jars in one day.   We did . 90 jars in one day.  65 jars on day 2.   At the end of the weekend we split up 155 jars of  blackberry, salmonberry, plum, apple butter and persimmon.  I  found the persimmons at the  local fruit  stand and accidentally bought $30  worth of them. No I am not going to go into the  full Lucille Ball moment  that lead  me to  drag home way more persimmons  than any normal  person would need.  We used part of them to make jam and the rest of them I am going to ferment.    Baby Sister and I  were blank eyed  canning robots by the middle of day 2 when DD showed up to   add her support.      We had the process finely tuned by the time DD arrived  so she  took a turn stirring a pot, washed  some  dishes  for us then raided the fridge and took a nap on the couch while  Sis and I finished up. To my credit, I added a second water bather to my canning tools this year  so we cut the water bathing time in half this weekend. I would add a third but my stove isn't big enough for another one.   Jimmy was a man-saint  throughout the whole weekend. He would wander up from the basement and his xbox every so often  and get a taste of what we were creating and then wander quietly back down  stairs. We hardly knew he was here.   I cant say the same for him . We spent a full 24 hours  stomping around and banging pots and pans right above his  head.   Altogether it was a very productive time even though I still think  baby sis is a slave driver.
There is still more canning to be done  but most of this years preserving is finished. I finally took the last  batch of hawthorn tea out of the dehydrator  and  unplugged it for the season.   The dehydrator got a pretty good workout this  year.    The herb rack is almost done for the season as well. It has the  last of this years harvest  on it and they should be ready to grind and put in jars in about two weeks.   I think I miss the herb rack most of all  during the winter.   It really is my indicator, my seasonal stopwatch even.  Its the first thing to go up in the spring and the last thing to get put away in the late fall.   While it is still up , there is still work to do.