Monday, June 30, 2008

The first time I went to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, I didn't know how to spin. But, the first thing I bought there was two ounces of tussah silk/baby camel (50/50%) roving that was so soft it almost hurt. I didn't know how to make it into anything and I wasn't sure that I needed to, so wonderful was it, just as it was.

Three months later, I had a spinning wheel and I was learning to spin. I knew that this roving was for a later date, when my skills were better and would allow me to turn it into what it seemed to be telling me it needed to be. So, I tucked it away and forgot about it.

Last week, when we were teaching a couple of friends to spin, I was looking for a variety of fibres to show as examples of how different they can be, I came across the little bag with the silk/camel in it. Now I'm ready, I thought.

Yesterday, after all the laundry and painting and cooking and cleaning were done, I started to spin it. I set my wheel on a fairly fast speed and, using the long draw technique, tried to spin it as thin as I could. The long draw technique means that you get some twist into the fibre then you draw it back and the twist pulls out an even, usually thin, strand. I am not an expert on it but I am guessing that the length of the fibres can make a difference - longer being better in this case. I draw with my right hand and with my left I can pinch or not to control the twist.

At first, I was a little rusty and I was gripping the fibre with my right hand in a death grip and I noticed that I had stopped breathing. I wanted a very thin thread and that meant that I was always on the verge of having no thread if it stretched too thin. I was trying to be poised to catch it if it seemed to be about to disappear through the oriface. After a little while, I realized that I was tense and frowning and sweating, so I made a conscious effort to relax.

A weird thing happened. When I relaxed my hand and breathed naturally, the fibres just sang--they drew out a good 30" or more, perfectly even. The less I thought, the more lovely the yarn. I was really only using one hand, barely touching the yarn with my left hand. I was still highly alert to any changes in how it felt but I was totally relaxed into the way it acted. It was pure poetry. Of course, if I suddenly started being conscious of what I was doing in any kind of analytical way, it all headed south again.

It reminded me of how one of the new spinners we were teaching caught on immediately. She was making lovely yarn from nearly her first moment. Then, she started thinking about what she was doing and she had a terrible time. It was as if her hands knew exactly what to do and only when her mind entered in with its questions and ideas did she start to mess up.

Shawn and I have a theory that spinning causes some chemical change in your brain, which is why it is so addictive. While we may laugh about it being less the new yoga and more the new crack, I think spinning does do something to your brain. I would compare it to calligraphy or archery for the way it requires a certain level of physical coordination married to a mind that is perfectly alert but perfectly empty too.

Of course, with calligraphy and archery, you don't get to handle 50/50% camel/silk roving or a deliciously coloured, hand-dyed BFL roving, or collect a stash of merino fleece that would cause you to strip off all your clothes and roll around naked in it (not that I am doing that or anything. I swear!).

In any case, I'm sure those other practices have their charms, too.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Capital "R" for Romance

Since spinning has completely engulfed my life (at least when I am not scraping off old wallpaper - I finished the second wall yesterday, thank you very much. Just 156,000 deft movements and five hours later...), I have seen the need for another fly wheel for my dearest darling, my sweet Sue, my Majacraft Suzie Pro. Although the Suzie Pro has a delta oriface (a triangluar piece of heavy wire rather than a traditional tube-like oriface) which allows for many sizes of yarn to move through it, one still must use the little wire slide-y thing (pretty sure that is the technical name) that feeds the yarn on to the bobbin. When I make those funky yarns with all sorts of slubby bits, I have to keep squeezing them through that little wire slide-y thing or everything gets jammed up. And, god love'em, those Majacraft bobbins are big but they still fill quickly with that kind of yarn.

So it is that I have been looking longingly at the Wild Flyer Kit online over the past few weeks. I told myself that I needed to sell some more yarn before investing in yet another piece of spinning equipment but each time I had to stop and feed a lump of wool through that damn slide-y thing, visions of the Wild Flyer danced in my head.

Then, in speaking with Dan, he made mention of getting me something for my birthday, which is fast approaching. Yesterday, a light went off in my head connecting these two thoughts: wild flyer and birthday. So, I emailed information about the Wild Flyer to Dan as a gentle "suggestion" of something he just might possibly want to consider if he were considering getting me a gift. You know, just on the off chance.

He told me he made sure to ask the shop to pick out the most romantic Wild Flyer they had in stock.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Sound of One Hand Scraping

Since The House Museum is on coast mode this summer, I have the opportunity to do some additional repairs and fix-ups around the house that would be impossible if I had visitors in and out. My first project is to get Dan and my bedroom in a better state of repair.

When we bought the house in 2002, it had been sitting empty for about five years, and previous to that, it was serving as a woodworking studio for the owner. The space we use as our bedroom was the area used to do the woodworking so the walls and floors are quite dinged up. We managed to clean up the years of sawdust and put back in a wall that used to divide the space into two rooms (originally a dining room and bedroom if previous wall coverings are an indication). Other than that general clean-up we left the room as it was because the more public spaces of the museum demanded my attention. So it was that, six years later, that our walls were still full of holes and covered in peeling wallpaper and paint.

A couple of days ago, I moved our bed and much of our accumulated stuff into the dining room. May we take a moment in our narrative to show a picture of the colour story in our dining room. It makes me weak at the knees it is so beautiful. Just look at all those colours!

Ok, I'm recovered now.

Yesterday, myself and my two able helpers got out the warm water and scrapers and started scraping off the old wallpaper. There were two layers. The first was a vinyl coated paper that peeled off quite easily but below that was an older wallpaper that was not quite as kind. Actually, I really love the older paper but it was in such poor condition that it had to come off.

Isn't it sweet? I wish I could have kept it. Actually I tried to see if I could find a new wallpaper that would be reminiscent of this one but...have you looked at contemporary wallpapers lately? Not my cup of tea and astoundingly expensive. Suddenly, scraping looked more attractive.

The tricky thing is that the walls are not plaster or sheetrock, they are made of a substance called "tintest" which is a kind of glorified cardboard that is almost impossible to repair once there is a hole in it. But I am a true believer in the power of paint to make everything look new again.

Here is our assignment for today:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Small Things

When I got up this morning and looked out the front windows, I saw a red fishing boat head down the bay, out from the fish plant in Curling. The morning was a bit grey so the red of the boat stood out brightly against the quiet colours of the water. A few moments later, I heard a deep horn sounding. The first time I thought it might have been the papermill in Corner Brook - they blast a horn blast at each shift change and sometimes the sound reaches as far as Gillams. But this horn kept going. Finally I checked back at the window and saw that the fog had become so thick that the bay was no longer visible - even my neighbor's house across the street had lost its sharp edges. Then, just barely visible, I saw the red hull of a large container ship heading up towards Corner Brook. This ship must be about 50 times larger than the fishing boat and still I could only just make it out. I know the people who go out to fish know the water and any local hazards very well and, fog being a regular visitor to the Bay of Islands, they are no doubt quite used to navigating in it. But still, one has to admire the skills and courage of the people who get their living out on the bay.

It makes my own little world seem yet more comfy, not to mention, dry. Our lives have pared down from the barely constained chaos that is our experience in NYC. No rushing up the street to the subway, no cramming into a crowded car and jostling our way into Manhattan, then walking fast to our destination, nearly always late. Indeed, no real destinations at all. For the first week or so, I would wake up each morning with a worry that we were late for something until finally I realized, there was no something, nothing to rush out for. After eight months of I-wish-we-could-stay-homeschooling, we are experiencing the luxury of time, the thrill of boredom, the excitement of finding fascination in small things.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Missionary Position

I know I am taking some chances with that title--especially with those 6 guys from Morocco and Iran who keep checking out my website using the search words "love fotos."

Yesterday Shawn and I spent two hours helping two friends learn to spin. One of women had once mentioned in conversation that she would like to learn and I bugged her...I mean...followed up with her on a regular basis until we made a date to really sit down and do it. There was a moment yesterday when I realized that, while I do enjoy teaching people to knit and gladly do so whenever someone asks me, I have something of a missionary zeal when it comes to spinning. I can't really put my finger on why I think the world would be a much better place if we all spent a little time each day at our spinning wheels, but at least I do have some illustrious precedents (think: Gandhi).

When I think of it, I realize that the experience of taking a dirty, greasy, sometimes poopy sheep fleece, washing it, drying it, dyeing it, carding it and spinning it (and then knitting it, if you must), is all about moving from the chaotic to the sublime. And it is an experience that requires huge amounts of patience, a challenging skill to learn at the best of times. I may not be able to stop the ice caps from melting or prevent a child starving for want of a few grains of rice, I may not ever convince Dick Cheney that war is not the answer, but I can do this. Spinning as metaphor for everything.

So my apologies to all whom I have bored with long soliloquies about the advantages of one wool over another or the concept of navajo plying. I know shoving a ball of fleece under your nose and saying "just feel it! touch it!" may not be winning me friends or influencing people, but like every missionary, I am a bit overly enthusiastic. I do appreciate your patience.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dear Binny

Thank you so much for checking out the blog - I love to know that someone, anyone, is out there taking it in. Regarding your comment on my post listing my Top Ten Favourite are so right! I should have mentioned the unsurpassable A Ripple of Laughter (the Greg and Kara Story). It is a rare find, however, being an edition of only one handmade book so it may be a little obscure for the average reader. For those who are unfamiliar with this great tome, it is the story of two educational reformers who meet over a ripple of laughter that goes around the table at a gathering of teachers (this is hot stuff!). They go on to marry and have children and move to Arkansas after being accused of a crime. I won't spoil the ending by revealing it here (also, even the author, who is standing right next to me at the moment, can't remember it). ANYWAY, I laughed, I cried, I put it on our second quarter homeschooling report to the Dept. of Ed under "Literature". If you read only one book about educational reformers on the lam, choose "A Ripple of Laughter"! literate can you be, Binny, if you think Old Gregg is a book? I think you have been drinking a little too much of that creamy Bailey's.

Kindest Regards,

My Fair Isle

Friday, June 20, 2008

Introducing the Chocolate Screamers!

Their first song to go public - She's Got the Whole Pool in Her Ear. Check it out!

When the Hoo-Doo Trance Takes Me

I was on fire...

I mordanted .5 lbs of BFL roving in tin and another .5lbs in alum, along with .5 lbs of soysilk. Check out that yellow! That is osage with the tin mordant. A keeper. The lighter yellow is the soysilk, the deep purple/red is a mixture of cochineal and brazil wood with the tin mordant.

While I was burning up the kitchen with the joo-joo magic of plant dyes, I thought I needed some strong orange so I did use a wee bit of kool aid on another .5 lb of merino. What can I say? Sometimes it gives you the results you crave. Then I made fast and loose with some onion skins that I had collected over the past weeks. I didn't even mordant the yarn. Yee-ow! The dye bath was a lovely colour but it wasn't really translating to the yarn so I thought I would add just a touch of iron, which is a mordant that is usually added afterwards. With a look of horror on my face, I watched my golden russet colour change to this:

Holy moly. But all was well when I realized that it was dyeing the wool a greenish/brown colour that is actually really lovely. In fact, it is definitely another keeper. This photo doesn't really do it justice - the colour is quite rich.

All in all, a good morning's work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Lately I have been struck by the difference between urban and rural physical activities. In Sunnyside, we have a gym literally in our backyard. I think I have a picture here somewhere. Here is our backyard in mid-May looking absurdly lush:

See the vine-covered brick wall? That is actually the back of a gym. I go there regularly as a way of keeping the wolves of gravity and heart disease at bay (and I like a good sweat). But it is full of machines to artificially create what was once a normal part of daily life so it always feels a bit weird. I won't even go into the amount of electricity that place uses between all the machines and TVs, stereo systems, lights, etc.. This routine is supplemented by a large amount of walking because, in NYC, walking is king. The one comment always heard from tourists is about how much they walked, which is I suppose revealing of how much people in other places don't walk anymore. Life in NYC can have many rhythms and one of the strongest is the walker's rhythm. It is easy to get caught up in the wave of pedestrians and walk miles without being conscious of "working out" or anything at all except the flow of the street. It is one of the greatest pleasures of city life, in my opinion.

When I think about leaving that behind I have a moment of panic. What will happen when we come to Gillams with no gym and where it takes an act of personal virtue and strong will to walk anywhere? But I really don't have to worry because rural life has its own rhythm and requires its own kind of physical labour. For one, I have my non-electric washing machine that requires carrying buckets of water to and fro and 200 agitations/load. Then we have our woodstove that requires kindling to be chopped, although I freely admit that I get Dan to do most of that work since I am a terrible woodsman. To keep the grass trimmed, I use a push mower and clippers, and given the dandelion situation, this is a full-body workout.

Then there is the garden. I was trying to upload a photo of my garden bed which looks like nothing so much as a recent burial, but blogger won't let me for reasons unknown. In any case, these are the beds in my "lasagna garden", a technique that layers soil and other goodies on top of the hardcore weeds and rocks that masquerade as "soil" here and allow one to grow things like vegetables and flowers. Most of my neighbors have given up on such shocking luxuries because of said weeds and rocks, and they looked askance at me when I started in with the lasagna thing. I had a nice moment yesterday when a couple of them came over to admire my beds and admit that perhaps I wasn't completely insane. I also have another plot of garden that isn't using the lasagna technique - I think of it as my "control" bed in this experiment. This is a bed that is about the size of a queen-sized bed that has taken me two years of tilling and fertilizing to get to the point where I might be able to plant in it. Originally it took me weeks with a pick axe to get the bed started. Then last year, it took a couple of days to till over plus all summer to add compost. But yesterday I was able to go over it with the pick axe in about an hour. For that pleasure, my back is a bit sore and I am reminded of areas of in my shoulder blades that I normally take for granted. And so it goes here in Gillams. No gym, not much regular walking, but just the act of living day to day is a workout.

Friday, June 13, 2008

BTW: Do Not Squander Your Life

I am stealing a moment from preparations for a visit to THM from two representatives from the Newfoundland government who are coming by this morning. They are visiting the west coast to talk with craftspeople about issues related to their craft and tourism. They wanted to meet with a group of artisans in the Corner Brook area to talk about ideas related to a conference on that topic they are planning for next spring. Shawn generously suggested that THM would be the appropriate place to meet, given that it is all about culture and tourism, and that I now count myself among the craftspeople on the west coast. I have had to get the place in shape in its THM incarnation to some extent, as well as get my yarn and spinning stuff to look a little less like I have been madly grabbing colours and fibres in my wild-eyed spinning binge. I am not quite finished yet but I think it will be ok. Olive has promised to bring her rhubarb/apple muffins and I have just pulled a lemon blueberry coffee cake from the oven, so we can stun them with baked goods if all else fails.

In the meantime, this is my 200th blog post! It calls for some kind of reflection.

How about this. Called the Evening Gatha, I first noticed it as a little sign that is beautifully written in calligraphy and hung over the entrance to the zendo in Brooklyn where I sit zazen. I have long planned to crochet an antimacassar with the last two lines on it. Time swiftly passes by...

Let me respectfully remind you,
life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken... awaken...
Take heed.
Do not squander your life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


When we returned from Shawn's house yesterday, I discovered that my sourdough starter had finally decided to ferment actively. In fact, so actively that it had overflowed its container and was fermenting down the side of our fridge and on to the floor. Gooey! It was clear that I need to bake bread immediately.

Oh my dears, you won't find this at Sobey's!

With that taken care of, I could again concentrate on yarn...

Things are bubbling up all over!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I knit up the sample I made the other day and it helped me understand how to make the yarn better. The funny thing about these "wild" yarns is that they take a ton of planning and preparation.

Today we head into to Corner Brook to have a minor repair done to our car but more exciting than that is that we will spend our time waiting for the car to be fixed at Shawn's house helping her get acquainted with her new spinning wheel. Never have I hoped more that a car repair will take a good long time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Patti is the culprit, but since this is my first (aaaww), I am excited to answer the call. So what were those questions...? Oh yes...

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Jasus, I can hardly remember 10 minutes ago, but let's see...I was in the middle of being pregnant with Lucy while chasing around an 18 month old Finnian. I do remember reaching a point where Finn could run faster than me but I don't think I had quite achieved that level of immense pregnancy by June. Other than that I mostly don't remember much, which is the world's way of encouraging you to have more children.

What are the 5 things on my to do list for today (in no particular order)
1. Bake bread and try to get my sourdough starter to be more active. I always get one going in Gillams and every year it takes much longer than the stated four days to really get it to work. I don't know why but it does. I will make a non-sourdough focaccia today, which may be the world's most quick and simple yet tasty bread.
2. Make an appointment at our local bank for when Dan arrives so we can set up joint accounts now that we are officially Landed Immigrants (hooray!!). Bummer about the state of the US dollar, however...
3. "Gently" encourage F&L to do more than sit around in their pjs reading books all day. Humph.
4. Have I said anything about spinning yet? Maybe some carding too. I know, such a party animal!
5. IF there is time among the cooking and cleaning that has gone as yet unmentioned, I will do some yoga led by my new favorite yogi, Shiva Rea. I would drink that woman's bath water!

Snacks I enjoy
Almonds. Dates, if I need a sweet thing. And I do have a less admirable weakness (read: addiction) for potato chips. We are all heavily into the salt and pepper chips that are popular here.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Billionaire? That sounds exhausting. I suppose we would travel spontaneously, raise sheep (and hire people to care for them while we travel spontaneously), and work hard to give away all that money.

Places I’ve lived
Burlington, Gloucester, and West Boxford, MA, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, NY, Hoboken, NJ, Westerly, RI, Jamaica Plains, MA, Gillams, NL. What can I say? I am a northeast kind of gal.

People I want to know more about
Oh my, I fear most of my favourite online friends don't like this kind of thing! Will I be breaking the chain if I don't tag people? I am worried they will be know who you are. I want to know more about you! We all do!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Go With the Flow

I know they are sweating bullets in NYC right now but it is cold and rainy here. While my garden is getting nowhere, my spinning continues to be very engaging. I made up a little sample yesterday:

It was kind of pain to have to stop and add the little bits but part of that was not knowing if it would look like what I wanted it to look like. After I put together to wool part, I plied it with crochet cotton - just propped the spool on the lazy kate and started plying. I am pretty happy with the sample so I think I will try to make up a whole skein.

One thing I have noticed in my experiments is that, although I know that certain colours and textures have a certain look that would be popular, if I don't like them, I can't spin them. Or rather, my patience with spinning them is very limited. It is like you know you could write a Harlequin Romance and make money but the process of actually doing it is so forced and unpleasant that it actually can't happen.

Or something like that...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Betwixt and Between

Things are taking shape for the summer - not the shape I anticipated when we drove away last September but something new and different. Last summer I started a conversation with a local Mi'kmaq group about presenting a project at The House Museum that would relate to the history of the North Shore and its inhabitants. I met with a dynamic woman who was very excited about some ideas we brainstormed. An FYI - the North Shore is known as a place where many people have mixed (First Nation/European) blood. This has been a sore point for many, many years with many people, something seen as shameful, and it is only recently that people have started to feel genuine pride in their heritage. I wanted to explore this tension, as well as the way local history has conveniently left out most of the Mi'kmaq story.

Things were cooking along but somewhere around December, things quieted down. Then, as we prepared to head up in May, I dropped a note to my contact suggesting we get together shortly after my arrival. Silence. It was at this point that I started thinking about what would happen if I had no special project for THM this year. And I started to think about how, in many ways, this would be a lovely thing. The silence of my Mi'kmaq friend was no longer a frustration or mystery but a gift. (Isn't it amazing how a simple shift in your mind can re-shape the world - just a side note, that.)

The fact of the matter is that my intentions in creating THM were born of a set of circumstances that I observed in 1997 and 2001. Now, seven years later, Newfoundland is a very different place. The point of THM was to create a space that blurred boundaries between tourists and locals in hopes of creating a new way of presenting culture. I wanted to offer an opportunity for people normally overlooked in the decisions about what and how to present in the culture to be integral to the process. This need no longer seems so urgent. Indeed, many of those decisions have been made and formalized and the "tourist industry" has grown shockingly quickly in these seven seasons.

I also created THM as a way of blurring the boundaries between art and life in my own life. The house as museum, my entire life as art project, has been a much harder project than I first imagined. My experience of it has been that, by summer's end, I am wiped out from the constant sense of being on public display, or at least potentially, at any moment, being on public display. I would be lying if I said I was not a little tempted to have a summer (after a very busy winter/spring) where I could be a little more private and quiet.

So all signs point to a summer of reassessment and reflection on the purpose of this thing I have made. It is causing me to look afresh at Newfoundland, the North Shore, Gillams. While some of that re-examination has knocked the stars from my eyes, the flip side to it is that I am beginning to feel a re-kindling of what it was that originally compelled me to take up residence in this place. Somehow that interest got a little lost in all the events and brochures and visiting hours. It is reassuring and kind of exhilarating to know it is still there. It makes me feel ok about the fact that not all 30,000 residents of the Bay of Island will be directly involved in my project and it gives me permission to make my house. Still an artwork, still an expression of what it is like to be betwixt and between in the culture but just not a tourist attraction.

And then, of course, there is the yarn...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

See What an Evening with Shawn Will Do

It is a gorgeous, sunny day today so it is no day to be thinking about things past. No, today is a day to be in the present moment! In my present moment, I am being totally inspired by a book that the gorgeous, sunny Shawn loaned me. It is called Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns and Creative Spinning. The author has become well known for her wild yarns spun from the usual suspects: wool, alpaca, etc., but also fabric, beads, buttons, newspaper, springs and washers, you name it. I have never seen such yarn. Some of it seems like it might be unpleasant to knit up (if very fun to make) but many of the projects she makes are just fantasic and fun and very inspiring.

My spinning to date has very much been about improving and adding to my skills, but after reading and looking at this book, I feel ready to break some rules. My first attempt was made as part of the etsyFAST (Fibre Artist Street Team) June challenge, the theme of which is heroes. I chose Elizabeth Goudie. Elizabeth Goudie was among the last generation of women married to trappers in Labrador who had to survive in that harsh environment, often for months at a time with small children, before any modernization came to that part of the province. She also is the only woman, as far as I know, to ever write an autobiography about what that experience was like. To read her story is to be awed by her mental and physical strength as well as her amazing attitude about life. I made her yarn from a wide variety of fibres, all in their natural colours - mostly white to symbolize the snow of Labrador (it is still falling there, btw). I added some browns and greys because her life, like the Labrador landscape, was not all pristine and contained a good dose of hardship and tragedy. I plied it with a bit of sparkle. I wanted to give her a little glamour and glitter after all her hard work.

Here is Elizabeth Goudie's yarn:

But after enlightenment, the laundry, as they say. And so it will be on this sunny day but perhaps there will a moment or two to spin some more. The ideas are flowing fast and furious.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Three Ps

Well, still without internet over here in Gillams (I am at the Corner Brook Public Library, which I must say is much nicer than our branch in Sunnyside). I am hopeful that, with a little luck from Canada Post, I will be back online within the week but I am not setting my watch by it.

This time away from email and internet has taught me a number of things. One is patience. The hyperspeed of everything internet is addictive and habit-forming. The pace of life without these elements is much, much slower and required a lesson, for me, in patience. Patience while it took a week to "check the lines" to figure out if I could get high speed internet (answer: no), patience while I worked out what my options were, patience when I discovered that Apple in Canada doesn't take American credit cards (I know, I know, aren't they supposed to be cutting edge??). And now patience while I await the delivery of a little piece of equipment that had to be mailed via NYC. All this patience led to my second P.

Productivity. When you are not checking email a dozen times a day and getting sucked into the sticky world wide web, you have lots and lots of time to do other things! Amazing! So, I have been dyeing and spinning and knitting like a mother bitch (with apologies to Mighty Boosh fans). I just mailed the remaining skeins to fill the order with the craft council shop in St. John's, I have skeins awaiting for etsy, I have a bucket of fleece ready to spin. Plus I have been working on some prototypes of knit items that I hope to sell at a small craft fair in late July here. Busy as freaking bee.

And the final P: privacy. Each year, when we make our way north, the experience of place takes on a different flavour. This year, with its numerous frustrations, has given me a more nuanced look at what is life here. In addition to the internet snafu, I have been wrestling with some issues related to The House Museum and its direction for this summer. I would like to explore them further here but I will say that it is possible and even probable that THM will have a very limited season this year for several reasons. The more that this possibility takes shape, the more I grow attached to the idea of having a private summer. A summer where people are not dropping in at any moment for a tour. After a busy winter and early spring, this idea is quite attractive. But, as I say, it is complicated by several factors. For the time being, I am spinning and knitting and enjoying the distinct lack of car tires crunching on the gravel in the driveway.

Hope to talk with you soon!