I finished up the masks I started making yesterday and now they’re all in envelopes ready for tomorrows mail.
I was young enough not to comprehend how old my grandmother was when she retired (she was in her seventies). Actually I didn’t even understand the meaning of retirement.
But I do remember that she walked from our house (she lived upstairs from us) to the bus stop, about a half-hour away and took the bus into New York City, where she worked in a sewing factory.
I just finished eating dinner and I’m tired. I spent the day making facemasks. My neck aches, my brain is numb and I can hardly keep my eyes open.
So I’m thinking about my grandmother, who sewed in a factory for much of her life after coming to America from Sicily in the early 1920’s. And then when she got older and moved out to Long Island from Brooklyn how it added a two-hour commute to her workday.
I walked thirty feet from the back door to my studio which is a space I love to be in. I control the temperature and listen on my iPhone to whatever I feel like while I work. In between sewing, I came in and made lunch when I was hungry, took a walk in the woods after spending some time brushing the donkeys this afternoon, and took a quick drive into town to get a bottle of wine for dinner.
If I had to sit as my grandmother did, day after day, year after year, at a sewing machine in a factory, I don’t think I’d survive.
I imagine she was grateful to have a job. But I don’t really know how she felt about it. We didn’t have the kind of relationship where we talked to each other. I do know that when I think of the photos I’ve seen of the sewing factories in NYC I fall in love with my life all over again.
I know I that could easily have been my life if I were born at a different time or in a different place.
I finished making ten masks today and have twenty-three more that are almost done. Unless I miscounted, which is very possible, they’re all spoken for. I’ll put the final pleats in them tomorrow then get them in the mail.
Next week, if I get requests for more faces masks, I’ll gladly to make more.
I’ve been making about 10 face masks a week and am giving them to people who need them. I’m limiting it to 2 masks per person. And I have five masks available. So if you need one or two, just email me here at [email protected]
The masks are free, but if you do get one and can and would like to, you can make a small donation to the Army of Good.
For those of you who don’t know The Army of Good is all the people who have been donating to help Jon help the residents at The Mansion Assisted living facility and the refugee kids (and now their families) from Bishop Maginn Highschool. You can read more about it here.
You can send the donation to Jon Katz PO Box 205 Cambridge NY 12816 or through paypal at [email protected]
The ten little Norway Spruce trees came in the mail late yesterday.
They got me out of myself for a while this morning because I had to get them planted. I took two buckets one with water the other with peat moss, a shovel and some cotton ribbon over the Gulley bridge and into the clearing in the woods.
There are three trees still alive from that I planted in the same spot two years ago. I counted six feet from one of them and planted the first Norway Spruce sapling. Then I tied a ribbon around it so I could find it easily.
When all the trees were planted I walked back to the stream and filled both buckets with water.
As the cold water sloshed into my boot and I put the buckets down to rest, I thought of all the stories I’ve read of people hauling water back to their homes. It made me grateful, in a way I hadn’t experienced before for our clean, hot, and cold running water.
I left the red bucket by the pasture gate. Tomorrow and for the next week, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll go back and water the trees again.
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to plant at least ten trees a year to replant the trees we burn to keep warm in the winter. I got this year’s trees from the Arbor Day Society. Next, I’ll be looking to get some hardwood saplings.
Our friends Kitty and Charlie came by today to get some donkey manure for their gardens. They wore masks and Jon and I kept our distance as Charlie loaded up the bags and Kitty put them in the car.
It’s become a seasonal occurrence at the farm and having Kitty and Charlie here, even if they were wearing masks and we couldn’t help them, felt just a little bit normal.
As I watched them bag the manure, I knew I wanted to record it on my Corona Kimono.
I started the drawing this evening but didn’t get to finish it. I’m planning on filling the background in with veggies which will grow in Kitty and Charlie’s gardens.
There will also be some daffodils because to thank us for the manure, we got two very special ones from our friends.
I don’t know if I would have painted the shakes on the front porch if Jon hadn’t mentioned it. Soon the flowers will grow tall enough in front of them and I won’t even see the old pealing paint.
A part of me was afraid to start scraping them. Some are so rotted they’re frayed at the edges more like hair than wood. And then, with an old house, there’s always the mystery of what’s behind the soft and curling wood.
More rotting wood?
A few years ago we had one corner of the porch replaced because it was rotting. But the rest was still in pretty good condition. So I’m hoping it still is.
Today by painting the shakes on the front porch I feel like I’m helping to preserve it for a while anyway. And I found, to my surprise, that most of the shakes were in pretty good condition and really just needed a coat of paint.
It was the perfect day to do it too. It hasn’t rained in a while so they were all dry. And it’s a warm sunny day so they’ll dry completely before tomorrow’s rain.
I’ve had the paint in the basement since last year but never got to it. Now it feels good to have it done. And I think the flowers will look even prettier in front of the fresh paint.
A few of the potholders I made last week had some butterfly fabric in them. People seemed to like them, so I used the rest of the butterfly fabric I had to make more potholders this week.
I’ve noticed that people are sending small gifts, like my potholders, to family and friends since the coronavirus has made so many of us shelter-in-place. I’d be happy to send a Zinnia postcard along with a message to anyone who buys a potholder (or any other of my other pieces) for someone else.
Fate ran around the sheep, ignoring her as usual, until her tongue was long. Zinnia chased Fate and tried to kiss the sheep. Jon took pictures. I leaned on Fanny, letting the sun warm me. The sheep and donkeys ate and ate.
Everyone had a good time in the pasture this morning.
I unhooked the worn-out bungee cord from the fence and replaced it with a new one. Then I cut it in half to see what was inside.
I had just gotten a Facebook message showing how bungee cords are filled with 1/4 ” elastic implying it could be used to make face masks.
I checked two different kinds of bungees that we have on the farm and neither had 1/4″ flat elastic in them.
Like so many other people, I’ve been scrounging around looking for 1/4″ elastic to make face masks with. And like so many people I’ve come across many suggestions, all that so far haven’t worked for one reason or another.
I even came up with a few ideas of my own.
I bought 100 elastic stretch loops from clearbags.com. Unlike everything else that now takes at least a week to get in the mail, these came in three days. So I made a test mask and found that the thin round elastic slipped through my stitches.
I did some experimenting and tied a knot on each end of the stretch loop so it couldn’t slip through. But then it was way too long. I fiddled with it some more and gave the mask to Bev to try out.
Bev our neighbor and owner of Carroll’s Trading Post, gave me the box of old notions with some of the elastic I’ve used to make masks so far. I was able to cut one roll of elastic from the box lengthwise (that works with the right kind of elastic) into 1/4″ strips.
This morning Bev emailed me to see if she could buy a mask for her and her husband.
I’m sending out about ten masks tomorrow but I only had one left for Bev. So I made one with the stretch loop for Bev and she said it works.
But I wouldn’t feel comfortable selling masks with it because I don’t know how it will hold up and in a couple of weeks I should have more 1/4″ elastic.
Anyway, that’s my idea for now. I’ll see what happens tomorrow.