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Thoughts on a Sunday night

Summertime is very busy for everyone, but here are a few thoughts.
1. This is a sawhorse. One of the things on my ‘to do’ list (which is becoming more urgent as time goes on, as I get older) is getting more involved in woodworking. On an odd chance, I searched on ‘wood working classes’ in my area and found a terrific place which frankly caters to women. Hammerstone School of Carpentry for Women They have lots of courses, but the basic carpentry one attracted me the most. I can tell you that after two full days of swinging hammers and using everything from power saws to hand saws in the company of women just like me (well, not JUST like me; I was the granny of us all), I can tell you a couple of things about an all-woman class in a traditionally male skill. Women come into stuff like this with a clean slate; we tend to pay very close attention to what is happening and being said. The women in my class were very cooperative – everyone helped everyone else since there were only one set of tools for each team of two. So, while one person used a saw, the partner would hold the wood. Worked very well. That being said, it was not all sunshine and roses. I heard too many women moaning about how their sawhorses looked when they were finished. We basically all came into the class with little or no experience and certainly no experience using the big, shrieking saws set to 15-degree angles. So, what if it didn’t end up looking as if it came out of “Fine Furniture” magazine? This is a sawhorse, not a diningroom table. The next one will look better; it take practice. I sometimes think women have this performance anxiety issue – if it is not perfect, we get all disappointed and give up. I put one of the 2.5 inch screws through the leg and the top in a particularly awkward way; I had at least two people come up to me and ask me why I wasn’t taking it out and doing it again since it stuck out under the top of the sawhorse. “I’m not going to do that because a) the screws are there to just hold the legs on until I get the bracing on, which is really what’s going to hold this baby together, b)I’m not going to do that because I want to get this done and we’ve got limited time in the class, and c) this is my first sawhorse and at the moment, I think it looks pretty damned fine.”
I’ve got the pieces of sawhorse number two sitting in the van at the moment and I’ll get that done this week.

What’s the point of this? Well, a) if you have something you’ve always wanted to do, don’t wait ‘until it’s a better time,” because … that will never arrive. Trust me on that. b)Lack money for the workshop or course you want to take? Ask if they have scholarships or give discounts. Many do. c)Be forgiving with yourself when learning something new. I know it’s easy, looking on the internet at some of the bloggers out there, that they seem to have produced perfect whatevers their first time out. Does…not…happen. Even if you have a family member with heaps of experience and who is a good teacher, your first whatever it is will not be perfect. But everyone has to have a first time, and perhaps a second and third and fourth before they get the feel of it. It’s all a learning process.

2) In the garden: We have baby tomatoes!!! Fantastic. Given the crazy weather this spring, I’m overwhelmed (or perhaps just ‘whelmed’). We also have rabbits and have done something which we probably should have done a long time ago, which is to fence in the thing — there are plenty of other plants and grass for the bunnies (and wood chucks also, frankly) to eat on the property. I’d rather keep a bit for us. Also, I’m noticing that seed sellers out there are promoting putting things in for a fall (or even, in places such as the Pacific Northwest or warmer parts of the US) garden. What that requires, though, is getting plants started NOW so that you have things on hand for when you have spots opening up in the garden. All sorts of things (depending on where you live, how cold it gets and how fast it gets cold, whether the ground freezes and so on) are good in a fall garden – whatever can be grown in an early spring garden can be grown in a fall garden. Some seed sellers even have varieties of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and so on which can be started in the fall, mulched heavily once the cold weather really sets in, and finish up growing in the early spring. There are a limited number of things here which can be over-wintered – kale and onions are two of them – but I’m going to try to get some things started and give it the ‘old college try’. That means I have to get more seed.

3) The fruit trees. Well, we have to admit that some of the trees we put in have gone ‘roots up’ and are not going to make it. So, we will be contacting the grower for replacements. Disappointed? Yes, but that’s part of the deal, I’m afraid and this winter and spring were brutal. On the good side, the other trees have been going gangbusters and I had to change out the screen rabbit guards I put around them (rabbits love to eat the bark off young trees; if they do that, it’s called ‘girdling’ and it basically will kill the tree) to wider, taller ones. I also secured them with metal ‘staples’ that the DH made out of cutting pieces of old wire coat hangers.

4) Harvesting. We have recently started our fruit season here with strawberries. Everyone is dependent on the flowers being out, the weather not being too hot, and there not being a frost at the wrong time. We got lucky this year and the DH and I went out and picked twenty pounds of strawberries which we brought home, rinsed (and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed), took off the stem ends, cut them up and processed them. Half were put through the dryer; the other half were put on cookie sheets in the freezer and once frozen hard, packaged up in plastic bags using a vaccuum sealer. vacuum sealer These things really pay for themselves in terms of preventing freezer burn and you can re-use the bags multiple times. Ordinarily, the next fruit available would be cherries but growers lost all the flowers in a frost in April so unless we want to drive several hours to pick (which sort of defeats the purpose of saving money by doing ‘you pick’), we’re out for cherries this year. Disappointing for sure but blueberries will be ripening in late July so we won’t have time to pine for cherries.

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  1. Vivian says:

    My husband built a sawhorse from directions from Mother Earth News and I thought it was such a smart idea. We’ve been married for 30 years and it’s still in the garage. Here’s a link to the website and an a image of the sawhorse with measurements. Scroll down and read the comments on the 2nd page for some more good tips about a sawhorse. I admire your gumption in D-I-Y!!! Vivian from Texas

  2. htwollin says:

    ooo, Vivian – thanks so much for the links – I’ll have to check those out and see what the differences are!!

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