Thursday, August 30, 2012

Construction Season

 Construction has started on the addition to our home.  The crawl space has been dug, the footers poured, and the block work done.  The corresponding cement pad for the garage expansion has been poured.  So far, we are all still alive (me from tearing out my hair and stressing over the project; my husband from doing his part of the work)!  The roof trusses arrived today.  Here's to projects!

While all that is going on outside, I got a new construction project for inside:

Yep.  It's a new loom.  It's definitely not a table loom, but it is a 16 harness loom!  Good thing we're building that addition out back!  This is an AVL production dobby, 48" wide, 16H.  I'm almost finished getting it put together.  What should my first warp be???  Probably something in 10/2 cotton since I'm comfortable with that yarn.  Towels?  Yardage?  I wonder what the waste is going to be on this loom!  I'm excited!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Special Russian Spindles

I volunteer at the local art gallery.  One of the wood turners there was watching me spin and we got to talking.  I mentioned that I was interested in Russian spindles and he offered to turn some for me.

He turned the prototype at the end of the spring. (It's at the left in the upper photo.) I tweaked the sketch some and took it back to him.  He has since had a stroke, but he still turned out four new spindles for me to try.  I've sanded them to get a point at both ends.  My husband showed me how to use a brillo pad as the final round of "sandpaper" to make an almost polished piece.  Each spindle has been wiped with mineral oil.  They spin beautifully!  My favorites are on the outer two edges of the photo--the long, yellow-ish one on the left and the rosy-er wood on the right. Both of these are denser woods and spin longer than the others.

Here's an overview of the sanding I did to finish these:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grape Juice and Jelly

Our neighbor brought these over!  We were so excited!  It didn't take long to rinse the grapes, pick them off the stems and get them on the stove. 

Once cooked, we passed the grapes through a food mill (it spits juice out one side and seeds out an end--great for processing apples, tomatoes, etc.  Here's a link to one similar to ours.) and then strained the juice through my jelly bags. The bags are hanging from our level.  It was the only thing long enough to reach from counter to counter and I needed something strong and sturdy!

After that, it was time to make jelly.  Yum!  Home made grape jelly is delicious!  We got two batches of jelly and a pitcher of juice from this batch of grapes. 

And then we had a knock on the door last night--a second box of grapes, even bigger than the first!  The kids were headed to bed, but Martin & I got the second box of grapes started right away!  Now we have another batch of jelly and some canned juice to put on the shelves!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Tree Removal Process

We are preparing for some work to be done on our house. The first step in the processes was the removal of two large maple trees--one on each side of the back yard.  I must have spent three or four hours outside watching and photographing the work.  Like so many forms of skilled labor, the tree removal was an art form.  From the man up in the air cutting the limbs, holding them so they would fall close to the trees, to the coordinated effort of the four-man ground crew protecting windows, removing limbs, and keeping the workspace clean.  It was amazing.

Here is the process in a nutshell:

The cherry picker squeezed in between the house and the tree that needed to come down.

After two hours, the foliage was gone and the trunk was all that was standing.
The stump grinder came a few days later.

And now, we are in the middle of cutting the wood, splitting it and stacking it for winter.