Friday, February 28, 2020

Things I've learned, some before today

The coffee Greg makes before we play cards is the best. I've thought about that. It's whatever brand is on sale, made in a restaurant sized coffee machine. Why is it so good? I finally asked Greg and he said the only secret is precise measurement of coffee and water.

I felt confident enough in my measurements for coffee and quit thinking about it, short of admiring Greg's coffee every Monday. But one day, using a can of baking powder or soda, I noticed the neat measuring spoon leveler across a third of the opening. I've done it ever since on my coffee cans.

I think the coffee is better.

I've had steroid injections in my knees. For the good they have done me, they were not so awful. Interesting, even. The doctor shoves his thumb into my knee until he locates the right place. He marks the spot, sprays the can of liquid ice until my skin is frozen, injects the steroid, and it's all over. 

My thumb injection occurred this morning. I do not know how successful it may be; the Novocaine, or whatever anesthetic was used, has only partially worn off. I feel like I'm typing on a rubber keyboard. It did not involve liquid ice. I could not watch this time.

One of you who lives in Canada purchased towels. We kicked around the best payment option for both of us, and the dear customer decided to pay the amount in Canadian dollars, per the Google conversion rate that day.

When I took it to the bank, the teller turned me away. Since US Bank is no backwater bank, I smiled and suggested surely she could call headquarters for instruction. It's not like she had any other customers at the moment. I offered to sit down and wait.

As it turned out, I couldn't sit for too long; I have to know everything. But, I didn't hang over the counter. And the answer is, money is money the world around, though you could wait longer for some, depending on how many banks are involved. 

I neglected to ask if I could deposit via my phone. Next time.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Township reforestation

The story of planned reforestation of the township fields could start in any of several places. One start could be its original deforestation in the westward expansion in this country following the Revolutionary War. Or, the story could begin with the acquisition of the park acreage by our federal government, with no plan in place, to provide a recreation area. Or the story could begin with some lightbulb moment, in a peripheral agency to the park, that fifty years of attempting to make the park acreage what it is not, a bucolic hamlet, has failed, and it is time to give the land back to its beginnings.

The great westward movement began in earnest little more than two hundred years ago. My end of the state was formed under the Northwest Ordinance, a piece of legislation Americans should be extraordinarily proud of. It established government by and for the people through the establishment of townships. Equally important, it excluded slavery north of the Ohio River.

Of immediate importance, the settlement of the frontier housed the floods of immigrants, both from the eastern states, and from most of Europe. There was starvation, there were wars, in Europe. People moved west, from Europe and from the thirteen original colonies. They moved to find a better life; they moved in cramped and endangered cargo vessels, even as indentured servants, and as prisoners to the penal colony of Georgia.

The trees came down, log homes and barns went up, and the pioneers, who started scratching a living at the beginning of the nineteenth century, wound up feeding the nation and then much of the world by the twentieth century. The Cuyahoga River Valley contributed to the growth and success of the nation. Food production, mining and manufacture was transported by canal, by river, by the lake to the world.

But, by the last quarter of the twentieth century, the valley was a bywater. It’s farming days had ended, its transportation glory days were over.

Boston Township, my township, was not clear cut, like so much of the land turned to farming. As the end of the last glacial moraine, there were ravines, ledges, ridges. And, the great Cuyahoga River. In the thirty years I’ve lived here, the river has pushed the flood plain out and out. Akron-Peninsula Road, that I travel almost every time I am out and about, in order to go and come back, has been compromised by the river, across from the Brandywine Golf Course. The river has severely undercut the road. Absorb that: thousands of people travel daily on a road with a river ten feet below.  The road is not a bridge, it is a road with eroding substructure.

There is no solution that even a bazillion dollars can buy, and so they just dump dams of rock and dirt over the edge, to hold the river at bay until it cannot.

During the presidency of Gerald Ford, some clever inhabitants of the valley, well to do descendants of the early industrial barons, realized they could retain a green space between Akron and Cleveland, provide a recreational area for the large population of the old Connecticut Western Reserve, and unload their own estates on the government, at taxpayer expense, by forming a park For the Greater Good.

Most long time readers know how outrageous I found the formation of the park, much of it by eminent domain. No plan was ever presented. No hearings were held. The park came about by sheer will, and forced purchase of four hundred homes here in the valley. I was the Fiscal Officer of the township for thirteen years. I put together a web site that a town historian and I used to document the sad abuse of the valley by our federal and local governments. The web site is, and the left side column contains a link “History”. I invite you to begin with “For all people, For all time” and read through the “Park Service Land Grab”. You may not realize your government has done this all over the country. For the Greater Good.

This park has been through several iterations, probably because there never was a plan to make and sustain a park. The most egregious, in my estimation, has been the intent to “return” Boston Township to a hamlet. We are not a hamlet. We never were. There is no legal designation of “hamlet” in this country. We are the same township as we were formed to be, by the Northwest Ordinance. Hamletizing us is to Disneytize us.

The Peoples’Park, that I documented, is gone. It was bulldozed into hills and dales, to form a charming entrance to the new Visitor’s Center. All that remains are the stone urn, the sandstone surround, the flag pole. There is not enough land left for township residents to respectfully form up and proceed to the Cemetery on Memorial Day without a permit to use park property. The Township Trustee and I had a sad chuckle. As soon as one or the other or both of us are gone, that will be gone, too.

Let’s summarize what I could have said. Once much of the eastern half of the country was forested, and supported the lives of a few million natives. Then the continent was literally overrun by white people with black slaves. These inhabitants clear cut much of the land to support not only themselves, but much of the world. Two hundred years later, the extent of the damage is not only apparent, the damage is claiming the land, to the detriment of the people living here.

Effort to preserve some of the land in its natural state has been made since Grant made Yellowstone a national park. As decent an idea as are national parks, they frequently enhance damage to the land as they flounder to make a park for people. Enter another longtime scapegoat of mine, Conservancies.

Until recently I only saw them as another land grabbing machine. This problem of the Cuyahoga River undercutting Akron-Peninsula Road caused me to look more closely. A Conservancy has purchased the golf course along the road being undercut. In enough time, they will own the River, before it owns them.

First, I looked at the definition of Conservancy:  an organization that works to protect animals, plants, and natural resources especially by purchasing and caring for areas of land

The other day I was dumbstruck at the sight a broad slope of the old Black farm, white with sapling protectors, planted with thousands of new trees. Everywhere in the park I travel these days, there are tree saplings. I began reading current articles on reforestation. Many area acres are being purchased by conservancies, with the intent of returning the land, at minimum, to the woodland, farmland balance achieved by the original European founders about fifty years into the westward movement, 1850ish.

We need to restore the thick root systems that impede storm water runoff, provides habitat for breeding and migratory birds. We are past the point of “letting nature take its course.” We must manage the landscape to return to some normalcy, if possible. Multiflora roses, planted as hedgerows a century ago, are overrunning natural habitats, supplanting natural saplings, for instance.

Two hundred years of damage cannot be overcome, even in two hundred years. And we do not have two hundred years left. Google land reclamation in your area. There are conservancies across the country, happy to give a short course on good plans in your area, and give you a shovel and a sack of saplings.

This exercise has dragged me past my loathing of the park for damage it has added to the Cuyahoga River Valley and to my township. I still find it an example of wrongheaded thinking. But understanding the purpose of conservancies and finding there are hundreds of conservancies in my area alone makes me wonder: what if we can return Ohio to a continual canopy of trees for aliens to land in, in two hundred years.

Friday, February 21, 2020

I've had better days, but I've had worse

When I visited the pain specialist last, "we" decided it's time for relief of the tendinitis in my left wrist with a steroid injection. The RN and I scheduled it for today. It had to be done by my doctor, using ultrasound to guide the needle somewhere at the base of my thumb.

There were other jobs needing done today, and I decided to save all the travelling jobs for after my 1:30 injection appointment. I spent the morning hemming the denim blue towels.

I arrived early for my doctor appointment, only to find it had not been scheduled. I stood amid the kerfuffle of several nice people trying to see if the doctor could add a third patient this afternoon, and me, attempting to cancel and reschedule. 

I knew I personally did not have the mental energy to get to the post office, get to a clinic for a blood draw and get to my accountant to retrieve my taxes after a delay to get the procedure done.  Eventually I prevailed, and was gone, until next Friday.

All the blue towels are done. I already posted them to their tab.

I made a change to the Good Ideas tab. Selling scraps for the cost of postage was fun, but on the whole did not go down that way. So I changed the "rules", because I can.

The current pile of scrap is shown on the Good Ideas page. If you purchase two towels, and would like the current scrap pile, let me know. It will go right into the envelope, first come, etc.

The next towels will be plum. It's a color I have not made before.

And after that I absolutely must make more sunshine yellow towels!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

With Ruth at the Quilt Show

I looked up more than you want to know about the Conservancy's reforestation project. It will be as heavy as my tour of the Lake Farmpark Quilt show today, with Ruth, and as heavily opinionated. 

So, I advise you to start with the quilt show, which simply will be pictures, and my opinion, where warranted. Let me see if Blogger can swallow all my pictures in one gulp!

Beautiful colors, beautiful piecing, beautiful quilting.
No ribbons.

Detail of quilting at the corner.

Socks. I love the whimsey.

Nice. I liked it. Ruth was hanging around and called me.

Your sister quilted this.
In fact, she quilted a lot of them.

Grandma's Flower Garden, well done. Especially the edges.
There is another Flower Garden. coming up.

Redwork, an American art form from the turn of the last century.
This quilt features Father Christmas.

Nice colors, nicely done. No ribbons.

This quilt flows out from a medallion in the center,
like a windmill. The feeling is flowing.

The quilting includes a racing horse.

I sent this to my sister to look at. The small squares are outlined by four rows of quilting, one thread apart. I asked my sister if that is "humanly possible". I.e., is this done by a computer program?
"Certainly not," she replied. "Look, she missed a few places!"
She sees quilting.

These album quilts are "in". I don't particularly like them.

I love this quilt, and it has so much wrong.
The quilter must be a complete novice.
It has ripples from the poorly measured borders, all three of them.

But the problem starts with the blocks.
The blue borders have little blocks to keep them square,
but the points don't match.

Jan quilted this. Once I realized her work was in the show,
I could pick it out across the room.

A sampler quilt. Dull colors. But, the current palette.

Great colors, in the current palette. The blue and grey sparks it up.

The trees are all applique. A lot of cutting and sewing.

Not my colors, but a lot of people like orange.

French wildflowers.

Down here where the cows are milked, this train model runs around the hall.

This quilt is called "My Mind at 2 A.M."
A blogger wrote about that yesterday.

This small hanging is another current fad.
It is applique of and on felt.

I like this. It has a cat and a dog. And border problems.

"Best of Show"
Another album quilt. Too orange for me.

This small hanging is called "No Y Seams".
Y seams are precise executions, and done well and precisely.
Well deserved ribbon.

"What's for lunch?"

The next two pictures go together. The quilter found this piece of linen on EBay. In quilting it, she has stabilized it forever.
It is a piece of cutwork, an artform my mother loved to make.
A well deserved blue ribbon.

Then we went to lunch.

This is for Allison. Hiking in the Southwest.
No cactus.

Another Flower Garden. I like the quilt's use of optics.

I made this one inch block quilt for Hamilton, ten years ago.
I wonder if he still has it.

These are the same Flying Geese blocks my sister used 
in the quilt she made for me.
These geese are flying south.

I wonder if there are two blocks alike.

There are four pictures of this quilt, called
"Long Ago".
Look for trapunto.
Look for reverse applique.
Just keep looking.

This is a two picture quilt. Above is a Crazy Quilt, the
artists learned from her home health physical therapy patients.

The other side is redwork patterns. The quilter's mother is
an artist who adapted one row of blocks to closely resemble
the quilter, her daughter and her granddaughter.
The quilter embroidered a tiny heart in each of those three.

The End

Monday, February 17, 2020

Handsfull, tossed at a wall

Cards today, hurrah, and Nancy is back. She even walked in her new hip with a cane, not much past three weeks.

I packed carefully to go to cards today. I had a bag of towels to mail and a script to pick up. If I don't need to spend money on my trip out, I generally leave my purse, with wallet, home. Today I remembered to put it the bag of towels and a very important birthday card.

After cards I was reminded of Mardi Gras next week. I put it on my calendar, and left, my mind on Mardi Gras.  Half way down Akron-Peninsula Road, I remembered the post office.  With an appropriate remark, I turned around in the defunct golf course and headed back to the post office.

I could see the school at the top of the hill. No cars. Of course not. Presidents' Day. That's why we had some card playing grandchildren at the church today. And why the post office is not open.

I turned around, worked my way back to A-P, and overshot Quick Road, my route out of the valley and up to the drug store. Not a problem, I turned up Wetmore, a favorite park owned road with crumbling farm buildings.

Along the edge of the ridge, I admired both the bad state of the "abandonded" road and the stalwart effort of the township road guys to keep it passable, though at a much reduced speed. Halfway or so up, there is a trail head, both for hikers and riders. 

The trail head has been planted with plastic tubes! The park is determined to turn us back two hundred plus years and reforest the township and the village. Every one of those tubes protects a seedling from hungry deer.

Enlarge the picture and the sign in front announces "Restoration work in process." Indeed, in 1805, this was forest. It was said a squirrel could travel across the entire state via trees.

Enlarge the picture a bit more, and the lower left hand corner says "River Restoration in Process." No further explanation. That's a little precious. The river is in the valley. And nothing up here can repair the undercut the Cuyahoga River has made of Akron-Peninsula road, in the valley. I will call some park people tomorrow and see what they have to say.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Another day

With gritted teeth, I finished Siberia this morning. The man is besotted with Siberia, I said to myself. I riffed through the last fifty or so pages of notes, and closed down the back cover, only to read one of those obligatory blurbs. I'm not about to go get the book to quote, suffice it to say the blurb said Frazier is besotted with Russia. Not necessarily a bad thing.

I had a decent day. First I removed half a dozen inches of wet snow from my deck and steps.

Then I started in on my car. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow I hope not to cancel. It will be 13F overnight and a high of 17F tomorrow, and if the snow continues, as much tomorrow to clear away. Not to worry, it will be in the forties over the weekend.

All this because I had to take out the trash and start in on the car. Apparently Joseph is at work today. As he should be. Then I went to work myself.

The blue is far enough around the beam to separate it from the rose.

I cut it off at the "idle weave" space between, pinned the blue back onto the apron, wound it onto the take up beam, and there it will sit until I get back to it.

I weave with unmercerized cotton. That basically says the thread is cotton that is not preshrunk. Here is the rose, just off the loom.

If you count all the squares, it is 21" wide and 11 pattern repeats are 5". The fabric web was 22" on the loom, but off tension, the web loses an inch of width, and some length, too, but I've never measured that.

I have stabilized the ends of the web on my serger, and off to the washer and dryer.

The process is called "fulling". The web must be subjected to water, pressure and a fulling agent (soap). In the very old days, this happened in a trough, with people walking up and down. Now that job happens, for a hand weaver, in the washer and dryer.

This is the finished length of fabric that I'll make into towels. Now it is 18" wide and there are 14 repeats in 5".  The take up (shrinkage) is 15%. 

All the threads are thickly settled in and ready to do what cotton does well, soak up water. It only remains for me to cut the three hundred odd inches into towel lengths, and hem both ends.