I feel like my new sewing machine talks to me. “Let’s get to work,” she says. She’s practical and eager.
I always had a hard time sewing small pieces of fabric together on my Viking. If I started too close to the edge of the fabric, the needle would push the fabric into the bobbin case, or feed dogs wouldn’t pull it along.
But my Janome Sewist is up for anything. Now working with the small scraps of fabric that Hannah sent me is a pleasure.
I made a bunch more potholders today and plan on finishing up the Kitchenware Potholders I designed last week tomorrow. I’ll put them up for sale in my Etsy Shop in the afternoon (I don’t like not having any potholders in my Etsy Shop) and work on these new potholders next week.
You can see by White Hen’s feet that she’s been scratching around in the dirt, finding good things to eat. Both hens have pretty much abandoned the laying mash I feed them preferring live insects and those tender sprouts that are shooting up from the ground.
This morning I found a big juicy tick on the porch that must have fallen off one of the cats. Brown Hen was just a few feet away and I tossed the tick to her. She plucking it up like the treat it was.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be getting a couple of chicks. Two Brahma chicks, like White Hen. We decided to get Brahams because they’re bred for the colder climates and do well during our winters.
We’ve been getting an egg a day and the hens are once again laying in the coop.
Jon and I have begun thinking about making a place in the barn for the chicks. Robin no longer needs the heat lamps, he already has a nice layer of wool on him so I’ll be able to use them for the chicks since it still gets cold some nights.
When we got White Hen and Brown Hen, I purposely didn’t name them because our chickens didn’t tend to live too long and I didn’t want to get too attached to them. But these two are seven years old already and still doing well.
So I’m thinking it might be fun to get closer to the new chick, to train them to eat from my hand or come when I call them.
It was Jon’s idea to get chicks. We didn’t know when we ordered them that we’d also have a new lamb. But it feels like a good year to have some new life on the farm.
I was already in bed reading when I heard the clomp and rumble of the horse and carriage go by. I didn’t bother to look out my window, it was already dark out. Instead, I lowered my book, turned out the light, and let the sound take me back to a time when the house had no electricity and there would have been a horse and carriage in our own barn for the night.
The road wouldn’t have been paved, of course, so the sound would have been different. But I thought more of how the quiet would have been interrupted. Maybe I would even have known who was passing by and where they were going.
I remember the story we read in Florence Walwraths memoir. She lived in our house for 80 years and died there at the age of 104. She wrote about a blizzard that her parents rode through on their way home from the train one night. She credited the horse in getting them through it safely.
Florence wrote that, unlike the other horses which they put down when they got too old to work, they let this horse live out her life in the pasture.
Now there’s a lot more noise when a carriage passes by the farm, including cars and trucks and the dogs barking. I imagine we’ll get so used to seeing our neighbors drive by that at some point they’ll pass without us stopping to watch. The same way I no longer stare up at the sky every time the Canada Geese fly over in the spring and fall.
But like being able to look past the mountains in the distance and let the eye travel without stopping, I know this will have an effect on my everyday life. I’m not sure how yet, but it’s already rocking my world a bit.
Our podcast Katz and Wulf on Bedlam Farm was inspired by Jon’s radio show. I started calling into the show and we’d talk mostly about the animals on the farm, but sometimes about animals in general.
Now that Jon’s back on the Radio with his showKatz on Dogs from 2-3pm EST, I’ll be calling in this afternoon during the show again.
You can call in too at 802 442- 1010 with your questions about dogs or just listen by clicking onWBTNAM.org and then on “live” at the top of the page. You can also hear the broadcast from anywhere in America by using the APP tunein.com.
This morning Jon and I were talking about his blog post from yesterday What Is Animal Intelligence?We’re sure to carry on the conversation this afternoon on the radio. I’m interested in the idea of what an animal learns and what is instinct and if that isn’t a better way to measure their intelligence.
I made room on my desk then pulled my new Janome sewing machine out of the box. I barely had to read the directions but was glad I did when I saw the extra spool pin that can be used to wind a bobbin without taking the tread out of the machine.
I’d never seen that before, it was a nice surprise.
I did a few practice runs then pulled out a bag of tiny old fabric scraps and muslin to work with.
I knew working small would slow me down. That would give me a chance to get to know my new machine. Because as simple as it is, it still takes getting used to.
I haven’t worked on a mechanical machine in years. So it took me some time to figure out the right amount of pressure to put on the foot pedal. My other sewing machines both have a speed button along with varying pressure on the foot pedal.
I also had to get used to raising and lowering the pressure foot manually. And the self-threader is easier to use than my Viking but not as easy as my Brother. There’s not even the option of an automatic thread cutter.
But it really didn’t take long for me to make the adjustments. I guess it’s like riding a bike. I hadn’t forgotten what I learned when I first started sewing and had been doing for years before getting my computerized machines.
Unlike my old Singer, which chugs along, my new machine has speed and power. Can a machine be grounded? Because that’s how this one feels. It’s solid and purposeful. And it sounds as good as it feels.
I was thinking of getting an extension platform for it, but I think I’ll wait on that. I’ll make a quilt first and see how it feels without.
I started my Corona Kimono a year ago today. That first entry had sheep in it and the words “low hum of menace“.
It’s a different world today. Even with how hopeful things are now, I also feel a little ragged. Like the year has worn me down a bit. I hadn’t really thought of it this way until I looked at that first entry, which actually looks more composed, more peaceful compared to the one I did today.
I don’t think I can bring up the exact feeling of fear I had back then, but I can see the relief at having a place to express myself in that first drawing.
As an artist, the Corona Kimono became the thing that I was able to do during the pandemic.
What I really wanted to do was to help in some way. This was more a selfish desire than an altruistic one. “Doing” always makes me feel better than not doing.
Especially during difficult times.
Besides making masks, and being there for the people in my life, and trying to put positive things out into the world on my blog there was little I could do.
Creating my Corona Kimono has helped give my life as an artist meaning during this time.
Looking back at all the entries, I clearly see that some are rougher, more raw than others. I look at some and wish I could erase them, do them over.
But then if my Corona Kimono is truly a journal I guess that’s to be expected.
My last few entries have sometimes come a month apart. But that too reflects that the urgency has diminished.
This morning a bunch of phrases that arose from the pandemic and have become a familiar part of our vocabulary flashed across my YouTube channel. I quickly wrote them down thinking they might become a part of my Corona Kimono.
I’m not sure if I wrote them down because I thought I’d forget them, or if it’s because they are so much a part of life, I no longer think of them as being something other than a part of everyday life.