Friday, October 21, 2016

Grip Gloves

These sticky-palm work gloves are effective force multipliers and designed to save nanoseconds. They protect fine motor skills when heavy lifting is involved. They will substitute for a handkerchief in field conditions. The right hand is distinguished from the left by color coding.

I use them in the garden, gym, shop, and on the bus now and then for passenger safety -30- More after the jump.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sea Grass

Now and then I look at the floor covering, notice a worn spot, and enjoy the prospect of eventually composting the rug in the back yard. I use sea grass matting, the kind that is braided and woven into squares. Presumably, choosing sea grass protects wetlands.

Sea grass is period for American interiors back to the Federal era, although I first encountered it in  SF in the Fifties. The matting wears well, stands up to family traffic, and can easily be reconfigured to fit any space. It forms a pleasantly neutral background that flatters furniture, the squares make it easy to arrange a space, and small rugs look good placed on top of it.

Grit will drift through the matting and accumulate on the floor beneath it. It is wise to cover the floor with contractor's protective rosin paper before laying the matting. A friend who grew up with sea grass said it was hard on her baby knees. Those are the drawbacks of which I am aware.

That said, I love sea grass, especially in town, where natural textures are in short supply. Sea grass is an organized version of the rushes that used to cover medieval floors -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shovel Lotion

It's time to look over the garden tools and put them down for a nap. A friend grumbled about finding that her rakes and shovels that had been left to weather in the yard of a house she was renting out. The handles, she said, looked like driftwood and must be re-hafted.

It's easy to overlook one simple fact: we are damned lucky to own usable iron garden tools and even luckier to be able to buy them so inexpensively. Make the most of what you have by dressing the wood with linseed oil and keeping the business end clean. To make the most of your personal energy, keep your shovel sharp -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Recently a gifted knitter described the raw material being offered by one shop as "not being from any sheep you'd ever want to meet". That is the essence of lesson number one for home production: use good materials.

In the Sixties, Paula Simmons of Suquamish, Washington, revolutionized wool production by searching for black lambs, that had become rare. She said the mass wool industry wanted only white fleece, because it is easier to dye. Simmons wanted wool that had its own color. She fed her sheep with the greatest care, even using vitamin supplements, an unusual practice for the time. 

Simmons named her yarn after the sheep of origin. I mentioned this to someone who had owned a sweater knit from Simmons' yarn, and he began to reminisce about Moonbeam, the sweater in question. Moonbeam was silky and warm beyond even cashmere, like the softest, finest hair.

My mother knit a sweater from Simmons yarn to give to a young woman working for a major design firm in New York. Danielle said the staff in her office went nuts about her cabled cardigan. In 1970 Tacoma, this was a very big deal.

As we go into the soggy days of a Northwest winter, I am grateful to Sara for reminding me of the essence of local housekeeping-wool, and only wool. Blankets, socks, clothing, if you can wear wool, wear it. It's the best value out there -30-

More after the jump.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Beat The Clock

It's time to race foul weather and execute minor repairs to the outside of the house. Few things are as comforting as fresh paint in a perfect match of existing color. 

Extend the useful life of stored paint by putting it in a new can. I keep empty quart tins in stock so that I can fill and label them with source, date, and a spot of color on the lid once the original project is complete. Every time Ihappen across a can, I turn it over. Revive settled solids by rolling them from one side to another over the course of a week. A hand blender makes short work of remixing.

For tiny samples of touch-up color, I use glass spice jars. They're relatively costly, but the convenience makes up for the apparent waste of money -30- More after the jump.