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.)

29 June 2006

Summer Days

Things have relaxed some since we got done with science camp.

Yesterday I mowed our little nature path, which goes from the house to the back of the property, loops around, and comes back. From the road to the back of the lot is a quarter-mile, so the loop is probably just under a half mile. I mowed it twice around to make the path wide enough to walk on . That's twice around with a gas push-mower. My hands are sore, but it was fairly cool (70 F) and they didn't blister.

This morning I took a walk on it and remembered why I keep it mowed: because it's fun to walk on. At the far end, I rousted out a white-tail deer, which I never saw, but only heard leaping away in the canary grass. As I got back within sight of the house, I came up on the turkey hen again, and five young ones, definitely five.

For some reason, while I was mowing, I was thinking about cramming.

One of the things that school taught me was that it was possible to skate along doing the bare minimum, and then at the last second jam a skyscraper full of facts into my head, to be dumped onto the test paper at high speed and never thought of again.

But other activities, such as gardening, taught me the opposite. You can't "cram" a garden. I don't care how good you are, if you wait until September in Michigan to put in your tomato seedlings and to plant the basil seeds, you will not be picking ripe homegrown tomatoes and big crinkly fragrant basil leaves. These things have to be planned in advance and done by littles over time. And even if you do them to the best of your ability, they are still subject to chipmunks, cutworms, and the current year's weather weirdness.

Another thing that gardening taught me was that people can't see the things I meant to do, but didn't. When I was still in college, I was gardening at my parents' house. I had a fair-sized, hand-dug, organic garden right next to the driveway. That particular summer, I remember that I thought the garden was pretty much a failure. There were so many seeds I hadn't started or planted in time. So much I had meant to do, but somehow not gotten to. All I could see when I looked at that garden were the ghosts of the "might have beens".

Then one day one of my brother's friends stopped over to pick him up, and told me earnestly how much he admired my garden. He and my brother left, and I was left standing there looking at the garden through his eyes. He couldn't see any of my undone things. All he could see was the enormous broccoli plants, the tall corn planted in stages, the tomatoes, the delicate-petalled poppies. All he could see was what I had done. Those ghostly might-have-beens were completely invisible to him. And the garden he could see was bursting with big healthy plants.

In Don Aslett's "How to Have a 48-Hour Day" he says, "Most accomplishment is the result of a lot of small or even tiny things added up over time."

I think any gardener, and certainly any knitter who has used size 0 or smaller needles, can relate to that!


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