What's new here?
4-1-07 Spent the day out at Tim Hensley's
enjoying a mushroom workshop. I won't attempt to detail the day's
activities here. Way too many pictures, way too much information.
If I get a chance, I'll do an "odds and ends" page about it in the next few
days. Tremendously educational and delightfully fun day!
(NOTE: There is a page of
and text up now.)
4-2-07 Last month I beat up about a pound
and a quarter of coffee filters just to see what kind of paper it would
make, but other than pulling and drying a few sheets, I've not done anything
with the pulp. Just haven't had time. I want to do a few vessels
to have for a demo I'm doing on the 20th at the Artisan Center. A few
days ago, I bagged up some birdseed
to see how that would work as a form. Today I pulled a few sheets of
the coffee filter pulp and formed them around the bag. Dunno. I
don't think it's going to work very well. The birdseed keeps shifting.
May have to go a different direction with this. We'll see after it
4-4-07 Well, the birdseed isn't going
to work. Judy on the Yahoo papermaking list suggested using perlite as
a form for vessels. I didn't have any around the house, but I did have
some potting soil. The vessel I started a couple of days ago was dry,
so I dumped the birdseed and found another plastic bag the same size,
stuffed it down into the dried form, then filled it with potting soil and
built it up above the dried portion of the vessel and packed it tightly.
After I was certain it wasn't gong to move around, I built the walls up.
It dried nicely, though the
irregularities from the birdseed are still there. Not sure what
I'm going to do with/about this yet.
4-5-07 Spent most of the day worrying
about the flowerbeds. The temperature is supposed to go down into the
mid to low 20's. This is not good! Because the
temperature has been well above normal, in the 80's for the last two weeks
or so, plants are something like three weeks ahead of where they should be
at this time of year. Now we're going from 85 down to the low 20's
almost overnight. Today I covered the tenderrdy plants and the ones
that have a sentimental value and can't be replaced because of that.
I'd hate to lose any of the plants, but especially the wile spider lily.
After my ex-husband and I sold the farm, I went back, dug the bulbs from
under the bluff and replanted them at my new home in Versailles. Then,
when I moved to Berea, they moved with me. They're not something I can
dig up and bring inside for protection. This morning I went up to the
pine grove, raked up a huge pile of pine needles, then spread them over the
six-inch spikes. Then I covered that with bubble wrap and a blanket.
I don't know what else I can do.
It's snowing! And the wind is
blowing 20-25 mph.
4-7-07 Okay, it went down to 21 last
night. The hostas are an odd shade of green and flat on the ground
now. No picture. It's just too danged cold to go out and shoot
one. The temperature never went above 33 today. Amazing...and
4-9-07 The cold is
unrelenting. Night before last was 23, last night 24. The days
have been raw and unforgiving with wind and precious little sunshine.
I'm reasonably sure none of the plants have actually been lost, they're are
amazingly resilient, but they've definitely been hurt. The tender
leaves on the Japanese maple froze.
The dogwood blossoms, which had been
full and wide open, are pitiful. Even
the dogwood leaves have frozen,
and I'm assuming the terminal buds, as well. The
sedum looks pathetic, while
the spurge is just wilted and doesn't
seem to be hurt beyond recoverry. The two plants that worry me most
are the hostas and the
daylily plants, however both will
recover. Because I use both of these plants for basket weaving, I'm
concerned about the length of the regenerated leaves on the daylilies and
the leaf stem on the hostas. I'm afraid they'll be short this year.
Tonight, with its forecast low of 28, should be the end of this. I
truly hope so. I'd like to remove the sweatshirts from my drawer to
make room for the stack of shorts I mistakenly pulled out of storage a few
weeks ago and piled on top of my dresser. I'm tired of looking at
4-10-07 We had frost
again last night, but not quiet as much, then the day warmed up
dramatically. I think the high was something like 64 degrees.
Lovely! However, the sudden warming revealed the true damage done by
the bitter cold of the last few days. My Bradford pear had been fully
leaved out, almost at summer coverage. Now, with the warmth, I can see
that all the leaves had frozen. They're drooped, folded and a sick
deep green. In the next few days, they'll dry and become crumbly, just
as the redbud leaves did. Those were fewer, smaller, more tender and
were frozen during the first night or so of low 20's. For the most
part, the flowering plants are only burned and will come out of it, though
many won't bloom now. The poor hostas will have to regenerate totally
anew. They lost everything above ground. So...we've been given
lemons...but there is lemonade! I won't have to trim hedge for several
more weeks. The six inches that had sprouted on the top of the hedge
froze and will die back. First glass of lemonade. Second glass
is the leaves - frozen ginkgo and
scarlet maple leaves. I harvested
them today and they're now in my dictionary, pressed and drying. The
colors on the gingko are lovely! I hope they hold. Third glass
of lemonade came when I opened the dictionary to put the leaves in. I
found silver dollar seedpods I had put in there to flatten two or three
years ago and had forgotten about. Ah...the joy of unexpected discovery.
Back to the top
4-12-07 The last few days I've been
working on several paper vessels to have on display during the demo at the
Artisan Center. Haven't been at all happy with the surface of any of them.
I've been using the coffee filter sheets. They may look like abaca in pulled
pressed sheets, but the don't act like it when molding. Every edge of a
sheet shows, no matter how carefully it goes down or how many pains I take
to smooth them out. One of the
vessels is the one I was working on earlier. I wasn't sure what to
do with the top, so I put a rolled
rim on it. You can see how
and irregular the pot's surface is. Okay, if smoothing doesn't get
it, why not exaggerate the irregularity and make it a *feature*? :) I
put another layer of patches over it, then pushed and shoved each one making
ridges. It actually looks pretty interesting right now. Don't know what it
will look like dry.
Yesterday was the first decently warm day we've had,
and even that wasn't what you'd call warm. I think the high was 57.
But it was sunny, so I took the opportunity to break out the beater to make
pulp for the demo. I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is to beat good
rotten cotton. Seems like the last few times I've beaten cotton, it has been
fairly new stuff that still had some life in it. Yesterday's beating was old
t-shirts that had truly lived a good life and were definitely at retirement
age. What a joy! They beat to a good pulp in less than an hour and a half.
Didn't even have to stop the critter to clean the sides of the roller. I was
doing a plant inventory in the garage beside the beater, so I have a feeling
it's not going to be the cleanest white cotton rag I've ever made, but hey,
this is for the Earth Day demo. I'm going to add cooked/blundered Kentucky
bluegrass to it, and a few other stray fibers will never be noticed. **Today
was cold and rainy and depressing. It didn't help that I'm reading The
Road. Someone should have warned me about the book, though I should
have known. Years ago I read McCarthy's Child of God.
4-15-04 Again, cold and rainy. I'm still taking
inventory of the damage done by the freeze. Every leaf on the red oak
that stands in a neighbor's yard froze along with the blooms that would have
made acorns. There will be none for the squirrels this fall. No
tiny Bradford pears, no dogwood seeds no maple seeds, not even any
hackberries. It's going to be rough on the animals in late summer and
fall. **Did a little work on the vessels today, but not much.
Just dreary enough outside to kill off inspiration inside.
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4-17-07 Yesterday was windy and cool, but the sun was shining,
pleasant enough to pull me outside. I love Berea, but there are
things I miss from the farm. One of them is dry land fish, or
morels as they're called here. I knew many places I could gather
them where I came from, but here I'm at a loss. They grow where
they grow, and I don't have any "spots." Other morel hunters are
chary about sharing theirs. Can't say that I blame them.
On a lark, I went to a couple of different woods looking for them, but
had no luck. I don't know whether that was because they weren't
up today or whether they don't grow where I was looking. Finding
spots means being in the woods often, and I'm not. What I did
find, though, was Japanese knotweed killed back by this month's
freeze. Last year I didn't get out early enough to harvest any.
There is such a small window of opportunity because the plant grows so
quickly anf becomes too large before you can turn around. Again,
this year, I thought I had missed it. Not so. The freeze
saved it for me. The four and five foot stalks I found were
drooped over to the ground and soggy, but the fiber is perfectly good.
I harvested about a hundred stalks
and threw them in the back of the van. At home, I stripped the
leaves, and because the stalks were soggy wet, even dripping water, I
split them, then hung the strips
on a fence to dry them out. Once they're dry, I'll run them
through the chipper to shred them, and either store or use them right
away. Knotweed makes amazingly good paper. There's no need
to separate the bast from the stalk. Both make the same fine
paper. **There is something about me that hates to retire jeans.
Over the years, they become beloved friends. This morning when I
put on an older pair, my foot went
through the knee. In this case, RIP has two meanings.
So sad. On the other hand, these jeans are all cotton.
They will go on to live another life as paper.
April 18-22 I'm playing catch-up
here. It has been one heck of a week. I do
specifically for the Artisan Center here in Berea. They're
handbound books containing travel quotes randomly scattered throughout
the otherwise blank pages, leaving room for the owner to jot thoughts
and notes. They're printed on commercial linen paper and bound
with a handmade paper cover. The Center hadn't ordered any, but
because I had a demo scheduled for the 20th, I checked their
inventory. They have everything logged on computers, so that's
simple enough to do, just ask any clerk. Hmmmm...they had no
Journals. H'okay, I thought, bet they'll need some. So I
spent a day making up a dozen. And I was right. The
morning of the demo, the Center called saying, oops, they had intended
to send me an order for the Traveler's Journals and some other things
I sell through them. ::insert smug grin here:: "Um, I
thought you might need them, so they're ready and the invoice is
printed out." The Artisan Center celebrated its Earth Day on
Friday, April 20th. For the last four years, they've asked me to
be the demonstrator for the event, and each time they've specified the
paper - recycle cotton rag with Kentucky Bluegrass inclusions. I
had made the rag pulp a few days ago, then gathered and cooked the
Bluegrass on the 19th. The grass is used strictly as an
inclusion, so it isn't run through a blender, just mashed well when
rinsing. The combination
makes a gorgeous paper. It pulls easily enough so that
even a novice can create a perfect
sheet. The paper has the advantage, too, that it can be
ironed dry so the new papermaker can take the sheet home. I had
a ball, and so did the employees. Several of them
took their breaks at the vat.
The Center was crowded with
from all over the country, many of whom pulled and ironed sheets
to take home with them. (Teased my husband by telling him
his old t-shirts were now scattered all over the country.) To
help visitors understand a little about papermaking, I bring printed
material and a board to help
illustrate fiber sources. It's always a pleasure to talk
with the people, learning something about them and what they do.
During the day, I met a young writer and shared information with him
about a couple of agents I know, met a distant cousin of Barbara
Kingsolver and an engineer involved in the commercial papermaking
industry. He was amusing, because while he knew the commercial
end of the subject, he knew nothing about hand papermaking. He
was fascinated by it. He made the comment that it was
interesting how the process had been adapted for hand papermaking.
Then he laughed and agreed when I said, excuse me, it was the
other way around, that hand papermaking had come first.
Delightful fellow! (The photographer for the Richmond Register
spent the morning there taking pictures, which made the front page
below the fold on Sunday. Neat!) I closed up shop at the
Center at 3:30 and drove 150 miles west to Bowling Green to be with my
husband, Jim Tomlinson, at the Southern Kentucky Writers' Conference where he had taught a session that day. Then
Saturday, he participated in the
Book Fest where I played
author's photographer. The woman beside JimT is Kathy Hardy
Rhodes who was there with her anthology. There was a nice surprise Sunday when
I got home. As part of Earth Day, I learned that the state of Kentucky had
honored eight Kentucky artists for being earth friendly and I was one
of them. Here is
a link to the press release. What a nice ending to a
wonderful weekend, a tiring one, but definitely fun.
4-24-07 I would call what happened
to day a senior moment except it's been that way all my life.
Way too many things going on remember small, insignificant details,
like which book I used to press the ginkgo leaves a couple of weeks
ago. I looked for them today...off and on for the better part of
the day. Particularly frustrating because I thought I knew
where they were. Three large books have been stacked on the
floor beside the computer since April 10th. They held the leaves
that had been frozen. I knew that, but when I opened the books,
the ginkgos weren't among the pages, just the two types of maples and
the oak leaves. Huh? They're not here? Surely I
didn't put the ginkgos in a book, then put it back in the bookcase!
I wouldn't have done that...but maybe I did. So I thumbed
through every book that could conceivably hold leaves, but they
weren't there. Given that I have two walls of books in my
computer room, that took some time. Then I went through two
walls of books in the living room...none of them held ginkgo leaves.
Neither did the books stacked beside my reading chair in the living
room. It was only after all the thumbing, all the mind searching
for what kind of book, that the light bulb went off. Kind of
book! That's the key. That's when I remembered taking a
picture to post here on the journal. And when I looked back at
it, the kind
of book was obvious. Ah, ha! I know where that
book is! It's under my mousepad. I use it to raise the pad
to the proper height! And I remember thinking two weeks ago that
the leaves would dry just as nicely there as on the floor with the
other books. I would start writing notes to myself except I'd
have to remember that I had done that and remember where I put the
note. No, just best to accept that stuff like this is going to
happen, live with it gracefully and laugh at myself.
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