Built sometime around 1750, Fort Klock, I’m fairly certain, was the oldest building within which I had ever set foot. It’s a magnificent property, lovingly restored over the years by a small handful of dedicated volunteers. During my lunch hour last Wednesday, I accompanied a few other co-workers to volunteer some time working with kids at their annual history camp. Naturally, I taught bull wrestling.
Er, I mean spinning.
The kids were so adorable, dressed in their vintage attire!
I’ve been spinning some yarn for my daughter, who loves to knit. And having been separated from the wheel for the better part of a year, it feels good to be back at it. My parents gifted me an old rocking chair that my great grandfather had made long ago. He was so proud of his chair and the work he put into it, from turning each spindle, to the engraving, to the sewing of the cushion (yes, my great grandfather was the seamstress in our family).
The thing about the chair is that it sits low, which I find quite comfortable. Moreover, it’s at exactly the right elevation for the wheel, making it ideal for long hours spinning. And it’s something to think about- the process of making a chair and how similar that is to the process of making yarn; how one cradles the other. That point is not lost on me.
Watched this video on hand-spinning and weaving this morning. Really incredible to think about how much time went into a single piece of cloth. This is particularly fascinating when you think about Native American women, who used sphagnum moss for their menstrual cycles or diapering of babies and even on large wounds. When it was suggested that they use cloth instead, they were appalled (and for good reason!) The making of cloth took such enormous effort, skill, and time.
The seed catalogs are piling up and it’s a constant reminder of how in flux we’ll be as of
June. It’s been a long time since I’ve not put in a large seed order, and frankly, I’m feeling a bit antsy about it this season. So, to take my mind off of what I won’t be doing, I’m thinking ahead to the things this extra time will provide in terms of opportunities for learning. An ever-growing, ever-bearing, zone 1-10 list of things to learn while not farming:
Tend to the travelling orchard
Improve spinning technique
Improve fiber processing set-up and technique
Experiment with natural dyes
Learn about medicinal herbs
Practice grafting techniques
Volunteer at school or public garden
Help a fellow farmer with farm chores, butchering, shearing, etc.
Learn old-fashioned candy-making
Focus on food preservation techniques:
Take a class in business planning for the fiber mill
Maybe, just maybe, learn a new knitting skill
Explore niche or value added markets
Take a botany class
Spend some time with growers using methods outside of your own, including conventional, biodynamic, and other permaculture or organic farmers and gardeners
Cut up seed catalogs to make art with the kids
Cut up seed catalogs to do some companion planting planning
Re-read Edible Forest Gardens
The list continues to grow and hope blooms eternal, so… suggestions are always welcome and may spring shine warm sunlight upon your gardens!