Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

18 February 2006

Sorry, that was a joke

Yes, I do know that it is actually the nurse, Anna Makarovna, in Tolstoy's "War and Peace" who knits the two stockings at once, and not Anna Karenina. And I should know by now that my dry and esoteric sense of humor often does not come through in print. And now if I try to explain the workings of my brain in making the joke, it won't even seem that funny to me any more.

It turned very cold here overnight, 5 degrees F, which is about -15 C. Wednesday I think it got up to 46 degrees F, and Thursday it poured with rain, carving channels in our gravel driveway and floating big bricks of frozen snow and ice along the drainage ditch.

This morning I went in the bathroom to fill the humidifier tank, and watched with dismay as the stream of water from the tap . . . dwindled. Uh-oh. We have a well with a pump in a covered concrete-walled pit. I began to imagine unsettling and expensive things about the pressure tank freezing. Or the pipes in the pit.

After listening to some irritating pronouncements of what was wrong from my husband, I bundled up in my scarf and my coat and my mittens and my boots and my hat, and went down to lift the extremely heavy well-pit cover up so I could check it out. Why me and not my husband? He cooks, I fix things. (That is why his pronouncements were so irritating. It was like me expounding on what spices he should use in the cooking.)

I had already checked the circuit breaker in the house, so I tried unplugging the pump and plugging it back in. Then I unplugged it and checked the *@#$%^ pump controller. This is a funky little thing with two pairs of spring-loaded contacts that must touch for the pump motor to get electricity.

[Brief aside: almost every May, right around the 24th, regular as clockwork, we lose water pressure. I go down to the well pit, heave up the heavy cover, unplug the motor, and take the plastic cover off the controller. Then I use an emery board to sand off the little dead beetle that has crawled in between the contracts and insulated them so electricity does not flow. I don't know what kind of beetle this is, as it is usually mashed flat. But I do know that A) it hatches around the 24th of May, and B) it does not conduct electricity.]

Apparently the moisture in the air had frozen, so the contacts were not moving. I flicked it back and forth, and then left it in the "On" position and plugged the motor in. Whummmmm, comforting sound of pump motor starting right up and refilling the pressure tank. Ahhh, comforting thoughts of getting a shower this morning after all. I left the soapstone bedwarmer down there in the pit and wrestled the cover back on.

We really need a heater for that pit when it gets this cold. It would be fine if we had normal snow cover, but the dusting we have doesn't insulate the ground at all. Even a lamp that would come on when it gets too cold down there. *sigh* But at least I wasn't confronted with burst pipes.

And of course, time spent messing about with the well pit in the bitter cold is time I am not knitting. Thank goodness for last year's round of mitten-knitting!

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