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.)



02 June 2007

Short Essays. Or Paragraphs.

On Ground Hogs

The ground hog or woodchuck, Marmota monax, is a marmot, but I'm sure if you told someone in Michigan, "I saw a marmot," they would probably think you said "varmint".

The woodchuck is mostly regarded as a varmint (vermin, pest) in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources website says "Woodchuck may be taken year-round with a valid hunting license."

They dig deep holes and lots of them, and are not the farmers' friend. I often see them in fields, standing up like a little man in a very baggy fur suit. Given the evidence of the small one in my yard, at least some of them must be little women in baggy fur suits.

I've never seen one fling itself at a shovel blade like that before. The combination of a baby animal, an animal I had always thought of as relatively inoffensive, and its ferocity was what got my heart going.

On the National Guard

Although I try not to make this a "military spouse" blog, my husband has been in the Michigan National Guard since 1983. His day job is at a National Guard armory, and he wears the pixilated camo ACU every day. Sometimes his job involves moving vehicles around the state. More than a few times he's come home and said, "Someone bought us breakfast this morning."

They see guys in uniform and they go to the cash register and pay their tab.

This has a strange feeling for my husband. Well, for me. So far, he has not been deployed overseas. We know that could still happen. But sometimes I think he feels a little guilty that people are paying for his breakfast when he's not deployed.

On the other hand, it is the National Guard. Although it's always at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to equipment upgrades and funding, the National Guard is supposed to be there when stuff happens like Katrina or tornados in Kansas. "There" meaning "here," as in, in the country, available with fuel blivets and water tankers, mess tents and construction machinery.

Somebody has to be here, and I guess it's the ones who are here who people are going to see and buy breakfast or lunch for. It's certainly better than being screamed at or called a baby killer.

Which is a roundabout way of saying thanks to that guy who ended up paying for the piece of turtle cheesecake my husband brought home the other day.

On Fixing Washing Machines

I've tried to fix a washing machine (both top and front loader) four times now, three times successfully. All three of the successful times involved clearing a clogged impeller. (I do know enough to follow obvious safety precautions, like unplugging the machine first.)

The impeller is just a fan-like device that spins and pumps out the water. If you throw a sweat sock into a fan (don't try this at home) and jam the blades, that's pretty much what has happened when you get "washer fills but won't drain". (N.B. you can even jam and stop a lawnmower if you run it over a knee high sweat sock. One day I will share how I know this.)

My big beef about modern washing machines is that they usually don't filter the water during the cycle, before the water is pumped out. So any lint or floaty stuff in the water has to go through the impeller and possibly jam it. When I was a kid, my mom had a top loading washing machine that pumped the water through a lint screen that she could clear at any time during the load.

These days, if a washer even has a lint "filter", it's hardly worthy of the name -- instead of a screen, it's a goofy-looking plastic device with big stick-y up-y teeth. My front loader just has a series of holes in the rubber door seal that the water can randomly slosh through, but nothing systematic to get the lint out of the water before it is pumped out.

The take-away lesson on this is if a 27-year-old rug disintegrates in your washer [ahem!], it's a good idea to fish out the bits by hand before you let the washer hit the drain cycle.

(But it probably should be that there's a time when even a rug you wove yourself should be thrown out instead of washed.)

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1 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

I still think groundhogs are adorable, I've seen what they do to fields. If you decide to trap the little cuss, the old-timers I grew up around swore by Juicy Fruit gum to bait the trap.

And good for people buying the hubby lunch. Tell him not to feel bad - it's good for the rest of the populace to see people in uniform and THINK. And he serves his country, he deserves the free cheesecake.

12:42 PM  

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