(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
91 degrees as the high, 79 as the low, blue skies with feather platter above, and puffs building over the Everglades. I am about ready to take my jacket off as it finally got warm... Very light breeze that does not really help unless you are under a very large tree. Some possible showers late in the evening. Much the same the rest of the week. The past weeks we went from regular rain to very little, in the right places.
Mom’s house is in the driest location in the county. All her plants are in pots and they are now struggling. I keep teasing her that it will rain hard right after she waters everything.
This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Department of Tourism.
Still no wood working. We had a BBQ on the Fourth. Mom’s neighbor let us use his house for our gathering. He has a yard and the little ones in our family live in a Condo. They were running and running for a good portion of the day. We used my grill, which meant I got a chance to wash it a couple days later...
I agreed to mow his yard with the electric lawn mower I got him. It reduces the chances of him getting bothered by still storing my wood working machinery that has been in his garage since the storm last year. The front yard has about a two foot drop in 25 feet. Not a problem for me to mow. I learned to start at the house and work my way to the street so the extension cord does not get in the way. I had to lay down for an hour or two to cool down and rest after mowing one yard. The back yard is a bit more work as there are patios and a tree to go around which means twisting and turning to reach certain areas. I have to do that in two sessions, even though it is flat. I can only do one yard in a day. I need the rest of the week to recover.
One nice thing about the electric mower, I am not spending an hour pulling a cord over and over again to get it to start. Plug it in, move a lever and pull a handle and one has a running lawn mower. It is also not as heavy as a gas mower either.
Something I heard on a radio back in the 80s describes Florida so wonderfully. “We are entertained by a lightning show on the way home from work. The high nitrogen in rain then fertilizes the lawns to cause them to grow vigorously. You almost need a safari to get from the street to the front door from the growth that happens. If you mow the back yard first, by the time you finish mowing the front yard, the back yard needs mowing again. I found a great way to keep the grass under control. It is a flame thrower. It is not good at edging but it really knocks back the grass for a while......”
The week before the Forth, a friend at work gave me a skein of yarn. She said she wanted to do a project for her sister and realized she did not have the time or patience to do the project. She left the yarn on my desk. You know you have an addiction when you see something you like and you get a special warm feeling at the sight of it.
During this time, someone spent time in the hospital and I stayed there for an hour or two on most days. During this, I took the yarn and started a scarf. I used to start my scarves at one end and go back and forth. I had a lot of trouble keeping the rows even. I started end to end and with only six to eight ends, rather than 2 or 3 hundred ends, it is easy to keep them even.
I decided on a skip stitch scarf where you do like two stitches, then skip two with a chain, and then add two again. When you go back the other way, you put your stitches into the spaces of the row below. I had to pull the stitches out three times, once to the beginning due to mistakes. For example, one time I accidentally used 3 chains instead of two and got to the end and started the next row and saw it was not going to work. The next time I did it, I found a mistake after about 8 stitches into the second row, but adjusted for it, then about half way down, I found another mistake so I ripped it out to that second mistake.
Once I got the pattern working, I was able to whip it out quickly. Other than a few yarn tails, I had it done by end of the weekend before the Forth. She sort of gasped when I gave it to her Tuesday. She was shocked and delighted to get it. It sounded like she was going to keep it for herself.
I then started another scarf. This time, I did a row of the purple yarn she gave me, then a row of white, and alternated until I had three rows of white with purple on the outsides. I finished that the following weekend. I gave that to her that Monday and she was happy.
I have been working on teddy bear clothing which takes some concentration. These scarves were “mindless” and that made them fun to finish quickly. I thanked her several times for giving me the chance to do something that was pure fun.
Having to mow the lawn eliminates most of the yard sailing. If I yard sale, It is too late and hot to do the work. It is best to get on it early morning after breakfast. We have stopped at a few yard sales that were available. There is not much that I really need.
It is interesting about technology. When a technology is superceded by something else, it is usually near perfection. With the Steam locomotives, they were already testing the adding of diesel fuel into the steam chambers after the engine was up to speed. The fuel gave a jarring push rather than an expansion that steam gave so was harder on the linkages but was still being looked at as the next step in steam locomotives. Soon after that the diesel internal combustion engine with locomotives designed around them and electric generators running the motors came into being. The diesels proved to be easier to operate, maintain and their design solved a lot of problems that steam had.
With photography, film was nearing the maximum resolution they could get when digital cameras came into being. I have no proof but I have a feeling that modern digital cameras are near what film cold achieve. What makes digital great is you can take ten times the number of pictures, see the results instantly and not have the added expense of processing if you have a camera.
The propeller powered plane was at the maximum speed it could go when the jet became into use.
Battery technology is replacing corded motors. For contractors, getting an extension cord to where you needed is a real hassle. It is easier to plug in a fresh battery and get to work. The battery powered motors are getting to be as strong as the corded motors were. I know a couple contractors that only use battery powered machinery now.
Cell phones are as powerful as desk top computer and can do so much more. Many homes no longer have a house phone at all. Everything is cell phones.
Another thing I have seen is that as a profession gets replaced, it becomes a hobby and sometimes a small profession again. Manufacturing processes have eliminated the use of a blacksmith. Now black smithing is a hobby and a custom making business. Weaving was once done by individuals, then became a factory business, and now it is a great hobby by individuals again. The same with yarn and thread making.
Absolutely anything that was once done as a business has now become a hobby. Some people can turn their hobby back into a business, but more for more custom items rather than for production. There is always a panache to getting something hand made. One sometimes hears where they don’t want something that is perfect, that looks like it was made by a factory, but instead something that looks hand made (has mistakes).
Early in the year, I picked up a Garman Nuvi Tracker at a yard sale. It worked nicely. A few months ago, I came across a pair of them with some accessories. These were newer models. The people I bought them from said that they were getting rid of them because their phones do the same thing. One of the units cannot seem to find the satellites. The other one works nicely. I put my old one and the new one in my truck to compare them. Much the same but there are slight differences. I would have to pay to update the maps. There are differences between the maps on what they show. For me, these are wonderful. Just seeing what is ahead of me is fantastic. There was a time recently, I went to a part of the county I am not totally familiar with. I used the address location to one place I was going, but I did not know the address of the second place I was going. I did not want to take the freeway which is a real pain at that time of the day, so I went the back way. Being able to see about half a mile to a mile ahead helped me spot the roads I needed to take and get to my destination the back way.
I don’t have an advanced cell phone so I don’t have access to mapping. These are great. Older technology that has been replaced, but still works great.
There are no wood turning club meetings in June, July, and August. The school we meet at is closed for the summer. Two years ago, I was preparing to do a demonstration on how to make platters for the club. We had taken down the awning because of a storm that summer, and took several months before we put everything back up. By then, life got in the way. Last year, we had the storms again and have not put the awning back up because the frame needs repairs. When ever I get to do some wood turning again, I am going to have to start all over in my learning to do the platters and figuring out how to explain what I am doing and why.
I really need to get serious about carving. I can do that without the awning, and do it just about anywhere. Christmas is coming and I usually do several ornaments, but several of my planned projects either failed or I am not ready to start on them yet. Most require some machine that is packed at the back of the garage and covered in stuff.
One idea I had recently was to turn Christmas balls and carve designed into them. I sort of avoided that idea, intending to work on more complex kind of figures. It is hard to come up with something you have not done, especially since you have done something like 50 different designs already.
I guess I will have to see what happens next week.
the two colored scarf I made.
The scarf I am working on now, demonstrating the skip stitch.