A Typical Saturday

Most Saturday’s are started with breakfast out, followed by the Farmer’s Market. Yesterday, we debated whether that would be a good idea as it snowed lightly all day, mostly horizontally as the wind howled, then enough after the sun went down to wreck havoc on some of our local roadways as they weren’t expecting it and the roads weren’t pretreated. When we got up this morning, there was barely a dusting in the grass and on the cars, the gravel drive was clear and we headed out. Any snowfall that slickened the steep roads last night was gone and it looked like the salt truck had been through even on our mountain road. After a fresh bagel at our local shop, a brisk stop at the Farmer’s Market for some weekly goodies we headed home. Just in time to meet up with our local blacksmith friend who has done some work for us lately.

I have previously described our Rumford style fireplace. It has a floor vent size hole that goes from the front of the firebox to the outdoors. We immediately put hardware cloth at the outer opening to prevent it from becoming a mouse freeway, but the air still had free movement. For all the years we have lived here, a piece of 1 x 6 board has sat on that opening when no fire was burning, and it has been replaced numerous times when someone tossed it in the fire as kindling. There is also another rectangular hole, not quite as large that had a hinged flap so that ashes could be scooped down it, but that made an awful mess when they fell a whole floor down and didn’t hit the bucket at the bottom. More than a decade ago, at a local craft fair, we bought a 3 piece hand forged fireplace tool set that lacked tongs.

This is where our local blacksmith friend enters the picture. First, he made us a metal cover for the floor vent sized hole and put a handle on it to make it easy to remove from the vent when we are going to light a fire. Last time we had the chimney cleaned, the sweep glued the door on the ash dump shut, but the fireplace heat broke it free again and so Josh welded it shut for us. About a week or so ago, we had a fire going and a log rolled over the vent hole which allowed smoke to start entering the living room and I wrestled with the log with a poker and the ash shovel, prompting a message to Josh about making us some tongs. He met us with us today because he finished them.

He made the tongs to match the older tools. And he makes both hammer in and screw in hooks, hanging hooks, shawl and hair pins, and other metal work as well as teaching blacksmithing locally. If you need anything, you can seek him out on his Facebook page JJL Forge.

Most of the morning chores are done and I am working on spinning the alpaca/merino and Cormo rolags I blended yesterday morning on my blending board. I have about 2/3 of them spun so far. I didn’t weigh it first, but I think it was close to 4 ounces of fiber.

I don’t know what it will become, but whatever it is will be soft.

Olio – 12/16/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Yesterday was spent in recovery from the long, cold, wet day on Saturday, but wasn’t totally idle. The craft display stuff was returned to the guest room closet where it is stored, the inventory checked, sorted, and put away this morning.

The pop up tent is still slightly open in the garage drying, but will be packed up soon and tucked away in the garage with the weights and cart. My next two events are spinning demonstrations in Colonial costume on December 20 for the local elementary fourth graders, and at Wilderness Road Regional Museum on January 6 for old Christmas and the burning of the greens. Neither of those events are vending events.

I have written about “the chair” and “the chair II.” At some point, once all of our furniture was moved to this house and the basement had been finished (several years after the house was completed), we did some rearranging. We had a leather couch and club chair that had been our living room furniture for years that moved with me. A Lazy Boy couch that is leather on the seats and back and synthetic leather on the low wear areas that stayed in the apartment in Virginia Beach until hubby retired and it moved with him and was added to the living room here initially. We had an oak futon that was in an office/guest room when we sold our home in Virginia Beach and it moved with me as a guest bed in my apartment in Blacksburg and later into the loft of the house. When the basement was finished we moved the Lazy Boy couch and the futon to the basement rec room leaving a huge hole in the living room, so we went to a local furniture store and bought a reclining loveseat to fill the hole. It didn’t match the color of the leather couch very well, so we decided to move the loveseat to the loft, and get another love seat, just like the first one but a better color match. One of the loveseat purchases generated a Father’s Day Sale coupon that resulted in the disposal of “the chair” and the purchase of “the chair II.”

“The chair II” was heavily used and the phony leather deteriorated pretty quickly. The loveseats which we thought had leather on the sitting surfaces were gently use, but once our daughter and her family moved in with us for a couple of years while they sold their Florida house, saved for the down payment for their local house, the living room loveseat started getting lots of use and it didn’t take long for us to discover that the leather sitting parts were not leather.

It was soon cracked and shedding pleather so I bought a stretchy cover to try to slow down the progress. The upstairs one was doing fine, but again, it received little use until “the chair II” was discarded. It only took about two weeks use for it to begin breaking down as well.

The living room one is going to be discarded and is currently sitting on the front porch to make way for the Christmas tree. After Christmas, a second rocking chair will be added to the living room. The cover will be put on the second one to try to get more use out if once the new chair is delivered mid week. It seems almost like fraud to sell furniture that wasn’t inexpensive junk (we thought) that can’t hold up to basic wear over a couple of years.

This morning, I had another check up at the hearing clinic to raise the functionality closer to 100% effectiveness on my hearing aid. While we were out and about, we drove to Joe’s Christmas Tree Farm, about 10 miles from home, hoping to get lucky like last year and find a precut reasonably sized tree right near the store, but not this year. We didn’t want a huge tree this year, nor did we want to spend a long time walking the farm in the rain. They had some 7 foot trees near the store and as we were the only customers at the time, the young man working the yard brought out his chain saw and cut down our tree for us, drilled it for the stand, tied it and put it on our car while we shopped inside and paid for the tree. The tree was small enough for me to handle once home and it is up and decorated.

This gave me the incentive to finish decorating with my Santa collection and the snow village. This weekend, eldest son and eldest grandson will arrive to spend two days with us. I will prepare Christmas dinner with all the fixings on Saturday for them and daughter and her family.

This is an impromptu Christmas decoration. This begonia has bloomed better since I brought it in for the winter than it did outdoors all summer.

And to close today’s post, “Esplain to me Lucy,” why does a box of raw sugar need vegan and gluten free labels on it. My science background tells me that sugar is a plant product, not a gluten bearing plant.

Olio – 11/7/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

We hired a contractor to do the log erection and rough carpentry on our retirement home. Our eldest and his family moved to the area to oversee that work and be our representative on site, eventually taking over the closed shell and doing all of the interior carpentry and interior and exterior stone work, including a very tall chimney from stone from our property. His wife worked with him, various student’s from the university, a cousin, even I assisted on parts I could do. All of his work is steller, open upper cabinetry, hand made doors, beautiful stone work. The contractor though wasn’t totally honest with him when he interviewed him and represented that he had built a log home before. Having never built a house before, we didn’t know whether to go with his flat estimate or go with cost plus. It turns out that with cost plus, if he worked, he paid himself so effectively getting paid twice. It also turned out that maybe he wasn’t quite as good as some aspects as he let on. One issue that we have had is leaks around roof vents, and one roof vent that failed due to sliding snow (not really his fault). We had snow strips added to the edges of the metal roof to slow down the slide, had that vent repaired, and the other vents resealed. Twice they have been resealed in the dozen years we have lived here and about 5 Christmas holiday’s ago, son tore down the dry wall soffit in the basement that we had only recently had finished by another contractor because of the leak. Son rebuilt the soffit with siding in a manner that I can quickly remove a panel to put a catch pan up there when the leaks begin. We recently after a long dry summer started having rain and a new leak. The panel was removed, the drip pan put in the ceiling, and roofing estimates gathered. That was frustrating as several roofers said they would come out and then called and said they couldn’t. One did come, he had been recommended by our daughter after she had to have her roof replaced after a wind storm, and he noted two issues. The vent stack boots were the type for asphalt shingle roofs, not metal ones and they were set in seams instead of between them. Two men climbed a very long ladder this morning, up on the three story part of the roof, loosened the metal panel where the two suspect vents were, and replaced the boots with the proper kind, sealed them with the proper kind of sealant (not silicone on a metal roof), and safely climbed back down before the afternoon rain. Hopefully the leak is stopped. I will monitor it through the next few rains before I screw the panel back in place.

Facebook denied my page name change for the third time with the same form letter. The page is gone. It will be difficult for me to leave Facebook entirely as I get notification from my re-enactment group and the museum where I volunteer through it, but I am going to become very inactive on it otherwise.

Last weekend, when my friend and I were demonstrating spinning in costume at Booker T. Washington National Monument, we were also allowed to vend. A gentleman approached and saw my hand spun, hand knitted fingerless mitts, realized I had a pair in men’s size, tried them on and liked them. He picked up a skein of hand spun yarn I had for sale and asked if it was possible for me to make him mitts from it. It is hard to turn down a request like that, but I really don’t like to knit the mitts from fingering weight yarn and the skein was fingering weight Coopworth with lots of color variation and texture. I have spent the week knitting the mitts two at a time so they will match.

I need about 1/2-3/4″ more of ribbing at the top and the thumbs and they should be on their way by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, I will don the Revolutionary War costume and demonstrate spinning at the Museum of Western Virginia for part of the day. It will be cold, again, but at least it will be indoors.