Sunday, August 28, 2016

Looking Up

 Earlier this week, I went out to do yoga on the deck, and I really just did not feel like it.  I unrolled my mat, stared at it for a few minutes, and sat down on a deck chair.  I looked up, and this is what I saw.  Incredible, isn't it?  Well worth not doing yoga to be able to see this.  And I could hear the cattle from Brasstown Beef lowing.  We buy all our beef from them, and they are less than half a mile from my house.  That's what buying local means!

 That afternoon, I had to fire one more person.  That makes four since I've started at the Folk School, and I believe it's my last for the foreseeable future.  I really hope so.  The person I let go simply refused to follow my direction, would not follow any recipe I gave him, and constantly tried to get his co-workers to do likewise.  I finally found a good, trustworthy, hard working and pleasant person to replace him.  And now, he's gone.  My team is now MY team, and I think we're gong to have fun.
  Bella and I went back to the Rivercane Trail yesterday, and had a lovely walk.  This is my new favorite Bella photo!  She loves hiking without a leash, something she could never do in the city.

 I love the way they make hay here in the east!  The big rolls left out in the field just make me happy to see.  We walked past a field on our way to the river, I think the Little Brasstown River.  

There's an overlook, so Bella looked it over.
And this morning, we went to campus at the Folk School and wandered around, exploring.  Afterwards, I started working on the turned overshot warp that has been a pain in my butt since moving Tootsie here.  Today, I was weaving along, following the pattern, listening to jazz, thinking about other things, having a good old time, being in the rhythm.  When I stopped to look at the weaving itself, darned if stupid old Tootsie wasn't up to her old tricks!  Shaft 5 was sitting on top of the castle, just hanging out, not getting woven into the pattern.  Many picks had happened since I'd last looked.  I unwove, fixed the problem, and kept going.  And then, about 5 inches later, it happened again.  
  I haven't unwoven it yet.  I started threading the heddles on Jenny with her hand-dyed warp instead.  Tootsie just makes me so angry!  I know many people love Tools of the Trade looms.  I wish I did.  She clacks and slams and the poor design of the shaft channels is so irritating!  But she's mine, and the only 8-shaft loom I have here, so we will make peace.  I'm going to ask two woodworkers I've met at the school if they have a solution, and how much it will cost.  
  On our walk this morning, at the back of the wood turning studio, I saw this flower.  I think it's a hibiscus, but I'm not sure.  I will scavenge some seeds and see if I can grow one in my yard next year!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

No More Nudity in the Studio

Since I've moved to Brasstown, Tootsie and Jenny have been naked, or nearly so.  Tootsie came with a problematic turned-overshot warp that was only wound on the back beam, but Jenny was, and still is, naked as a jay bird.  Last weekend, I unwound Tootsie's warp completely, and wound the tabby warp and the pattern warp together.  It was already threaded and sleyed, and it was a bit tricky.  It took several hours, and a little cursing and yelling--picture running cats and a dog who always thinks everything is her fault--but I got it done.  Originally a curtain for my kitchen in Knoxville, it will now become napkins.  

Today, I'm giving my first dinner party in Brasstown, but as I clean and cook, I'm going to be working on Jenny's new warp, a blue, green and purple hand dyed warp of 240 ends that will turn into Christmas gifts.  I have to run to Lowe's first to get some parts that I lost while moving, but then, she'll be closer to being dressed. She'll at least have a warp draped on her!  I've picked out a miniature overshot pattern LouAnn gave to our guild long ago, Cat's Tracks.  Appropriate given my usual company at home.

I always mean to take photos of the food we're making at the Folk School, but it's always such a rush to get it out, I forget to have my phone with me.  Some of it is beautiful, some of it is just comforting.  The students fill out comment cards every week when they leave, and some of them are nice, and some of them are just plain hateful.  I try to avoid reading them, but my immediate supervisor takes great pleasure in copying the worst and giving them to me.  This week, she not only did that, but she also read them aloud to me.  It was a rough week, and there are times when I certainly question my decision to take this job.  But I've learned a lot about myself, that I am a pretty good cook, and a good supervisor, and most importantly, that you cannot please everyone. 

Food is deeply personal.  It has all kinds of emotions and memories and wants and desires tied up in it.  I can't make everyone's favorite dish, or make it the way they're used to.  I can't accommodate every person's dietary preferences, and this whole gluten-free thing has gotten way out of control.  But my team and I do our very best, and more frequently as we go on, hit the mark.  There will always be mean people, right alongside the kind ones.  And anonymous comment cards are perfect vehicles for those who want to hurt people without getting caught.  The day I had to endure the ugly comments being read to me, I worked at the window in the kitchen, taking back dishes from the students, and so many were warm and friendly and encouraging, I realized that many more people like what we're doing than those venting their spleen in private.  

So, we will soldier on!  I'm making good friends and getting good things done on my days off.  Life could be worse!  I could still be going to work at 4 in the morning, working two jobs and never having energy left to do the things I love or being with the people I care about.  As LouAnn pointed out last time I was in Knoxville, I see her more now than I did when I was there full time!
After I finish the green-blue-purple shawls on Jenny, she will be covered in dish towels of the Huck lace variety.  I'm warping on an old warping board I got from Mom, that my dear handy sister Liz put back together for me.  It's a little high up, hanging from the bathroom door, so I can only wind about 24 ends per bout, but it will be done soon!  488 ends!  It's some organic 8/2 cotton I bought from Lunatic Fringe several years ago, and I am excited to get started!  I've wanted to do some more Huck lace, and I love the way it looks in natural cotton.

I smell the charcoal outside, ready to smoke a nice fat pork butt.  Time to make some 'cue!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


As you know, if you read Loomy Tunes,, LouAnn and I celebrate our birthdays for at least a month.  She and her sister, Joyce, came to my house last in Knoxville last week, and loaded up two looms, Tootsie and Jenny, and brought them to Brasstown.  I should be weaving by now, but I can't remember what I did with all the bits and pieces I took off to get them in the car.  I know they went into my shorts' pocket, but I don't think they were in there when I was driving.  I suspect they're in Knoxville.  Which is fine, since I'm going back there this weekend, and can get them, but I can't weave until then.
So, they sit upstairs in the studio-guest room-loft, nekkid and unused.  All I can do right now is occasionally fondle them and dream about what's to come.  I filled a large bookcase with all my cone yarns, and was surprised at how much it is, especially since it's minus the carpet warp, that is still in Knoxville.
  I have two warps vying for attention to be the next on Jenny.  I think I'm going with the purple-green, because the orange one is probably too wide for Jenny.  I dyed it to go on Jennifer, who is still in Knoxville.  

 I haven't been doing other crafts, except knitting an occasional round on the socks.  I had another person quit last week, and have been cooking a lot more than I'm supposed to, according to my job description.  We have someone trying out today, and our fingers are crossed that he is good.  
  All around the Folk School is lovely right now, though a bit hot.  Last Friday, I took a break after lunch and went to the Cooking School herb garden.  Isn't it lovely?  And in the shade, it wasn't as hot as the kitchen had been.  
  It was the first birthday in many years that I didn't go to Richmond to be lauded and honored on the actual day, so I tried to make it special on my own.  I drove to Blairsville, GA, because I read they were having a Green Bean Festival.  Well that sounded like fun!  It's not far, and it was easy to find.  But it was just the weekly farmers' market, and they were selling t-shirts, which I totally meant to buy one of, but forgot.  I was on hand to see the kazoo parade, and that's probably why I forgot about the t-shirt!
 Yes, that's a large green bean she is holding!  The funny part is that there were only two stands in the entire market selling green beans!  In my garden, the season is past, but in the mountains, it's still cool enough.  
  After the festival, I went to Blue Ridge, GA, and I suppose I should have taken pictures of it.  It's certainly picturesque enough, but just imagine any other tourist-y town with turn of the century buildings turned into t-shirt shops and "upscale" women's clothing and trendy restaurants, and you've got your own picture.  It wasn't special, judged on those terms.  But it was a pretty drive, and I had a good burger.

That night, Bella wanted out at 1:04 am, and when she went out, so did Leo.  I've been really careful to not let him out during the night, because this place is the WILDERNESS!   It's no place for 15-year-old orange tabbies!  But out he ran, and I couldn't catch him.  I yelled an impolite warning to him, and went back to bed, thinking he'd be out on the deck when I woke back up. 
  Well, he wasn't, and I couldn't find him, and he didn't answer my calls.  I went to breakfast and to Home Depot, and he still wasn't on the deck, waiting for me.  Every few minutes, I looked outside, called, walked up the road calling.  At about 6:00 that evening, I swear I heard him screaming, just twice and not far away.  I ran into the woods, hollering his name, but got stuck on an evil vine over and over again.  This vine in leafless and covered in thorns and kept ripping my flesh.  I stood very still and tried to hear Leo again, but he didn't cry again.  I could only picture him in his death throes out in the woods, alone, and I realized then how much these furry guys mean to me.  Of course, I love them and take care of them, but Leo has been with me since he was 5 weeks old, and imagining life without him was tearing me up.
  I slept restlessly that night, getting up every so often to check the deck and holler for him, but not answer.  At about 7:30 yesterday morning, Bella and I went for our walk, and not 25 yards up the road, sat a sad orange tabby, staring at us, about 10 feet from the road.  I screamed, scared him and off he ran!  But he's old, and I caught him.  He struggled to get out of my arms, probably because I might have been gripping him a little too strongly.
  When we got to the house, he ate an entire bowl of food, drank like a parched sailor and then collapsed on the floor.  He just had the strength to reach and touch my shoe.  24 hours later, he's still pretty tired and isn't up to jumping up onto anything.  I'd love to know what adventures he's had!  But he isn't talking.  He's already eyeing the door, but he isn't getting out any time soon!