Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Man and His Tree

 Jason decided he needed to cut down a tree, by himself, with an ax. My Uncle Chris had offered for him to come and take wood from his property, so, that is what he did.  He had plans for making a spring-pole lathe which began with a freshly chopped tree...
So he chopped.
 And he chopped.
 Then he chopped the other side.
 I think he took it just a little bit farther than this before it started to fall.
 But then it got hung up on a smaller tree. So we went inside to take a break and visit with family. It was 102 degrees outside, so I decided hanging out in the house for a while was wise. Meanwhile Jason got right back out there and began working on getting the smaller tree down. 
 When I came back his tree was down! The chopping up into smaller pieces was done with a chainsaw. But because of the heat, the gas kept boiling, so we would rest while the little machine cooled down. 
Here you can see the loaded wood and other stuff. I was busy helping while we loaded and sawed the logs, so not surprisingly there are no pictures of those events. It was a hot day, and the work was hard, but now he can say he not only knows how to chop down a tree by hand, but has done so. 
Since then, he has been working away and making his lathe, so perhaps soon, I will show you what his tree became.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm four weeks in and still walking at least 4 days a week, the last two weeks I walked 5 days. I'm consistently walking 2 miles each day and have decided to keep it at that for a while. I had wanted to bump it up to 4 miles before school starts, and I think I will get up to 4 miles before the end of this year, but I know if I push too much right now it will be that much easier to quit.

I like the walk. There are a couple of spots where the air turns a bit putrid, but it is bearable and doesn't last. And it is completely worth it to walk among trees and to see all the different birds. It is incredible to me that so close to our house are birds that I never see in our yard. But there they are every morning, chirping and darting and being birds, not an apparent care in the world, not even when the bikes go zooming by with no warning.

I'm also eating about 4 small meals a day, sometimes three, but I try to aim for four. I am finding that for the most part I do have more energy and an overall better feeling about life. So I am going to stick with it and see what happens.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spice Cabinets Part 1

 This is the watermelon stage.
 Watermelon with doors.

 Then I layered the paint.

 Did a bit of sanding...
 Put screens on the doors...
 Sanding detail, also, we won't use that kind of wood for anything that needs detailed jigsaw work again...

It's basically done! Just need to put the hangers on it and hang it. 

One of the first questions I wanted to answer about Spice Cabinets was about their origins. When was the first Cabinet used, by whom, and what did it look like? Strangely enough the answer to all of those is a bit illusive. I can find lots of information about the history of the Spice trade, but to find information about the history of Spice storage, that is going to require a bit more digging. But digging is good for me. I'm excited to spend a part of each day digging around and learning more about how to find this type of information. I remember learning to write a research paper in ENG 210, and thinking, this is fun, and kind of easy, just a lot to read. Well, now that I'm applying those skills to a subject which has received less press, and by press I mean the usual suspects, papers, journals and the like, I find that this is going to be tricky. I will need to read up on more than just Spice and Cabinets, but kitchens and valuables and how they were kept.

So, I will give you my assumptions thus far, based on what little I have found at this point. For instance, Spices have been used in so many ways in human history, as flavoring, medicine, perfume, and currency, to name a few. Have you noticed the similarities between the Spice Cabinets pictured and the medicine Cabinet found behind many a bathroom mirror? I don't have all the evidence that I want yet, but I think that there were several obvious reasons why Spices had to be kept separate. For one thing they are pungent, and need to be kept individually to retain their potency, so the storage had to have compartments. Before the industrial age, when bottles and canisters could be mass produced, it seems that drawers where a good way to keep them separate from each other and yet in the same box or Cabinet, so as to also keep them under lock and key. I'm finding some evidence that some still use drawers for their Spices, particularly in India.

Given that Spices were valuable, at one point in time a pound of peppercorns was worth nine fat cows. I know, a pound of peppercorns is a LOT of pepper, but nine fat cow's worth? The first part of the video linked below show us a reproduction of a Spice Cabinet from early America which has two secret compartments for other valuables. I have read in many historical novels about the butler, or head manservant having the key, or needing to obtain the key from his master, to the Spice Cabinet for the household. This makes me think that the information is attainable; surely they wouldn't just make that stuff up, right? (I am grinning a bit of a Cheshire grin about this idea).

 The search continues, and as it does, I keep thinking about something much more abstract, and yet possibly just as interesting. What would we keep in our Spice Cabinets? I don't mean what Spices, but if we had a Spice Cabinet that contained at least representations of what we value as highly about our lives as those of old valued their Spices, what would be filling our Cabinets? There are so many ways to go with that. Spices are and were a physical commodity, so we could look at the physical "things" in our lives that we value. And those things might also be what add a bit of "Spice" to our lives. But what I keep going back to is, what about ourselves do we value? Our courage? Strength? Compassion? What attributes or character traits do we value about ourselves, and/or want to see more of in ourselves? And how would we represent them, if we could, in our own personal Spice Cabinet?

Spice Cabinet of Early America

Monday, July 11, 2011

Soon to be Suddenly Searching

Originally I started this blog so that family and friends could keep up with all the wedding preparations, and it was called Soon to be Sinco. Then, once married, I called it Suddenly Sinco. After being married for a year I needed to change it again, because the Sinco was no longer Sudden. Searching seemed like a good idea because I am always searching, or researching, mostly for the fun of it. I would like this blog to be more about that. More about the things I want to research, or just learn more about. The problem is there are such a variety of things I study or try to learn about that I think going in that vein would be too jumbled. But, then, this blog is currently just about whatever is going on in my life, which can be pretty jumbled. So, here is one of the things I want to learn about, and yes, I'm starting with something very easy. :)

Spice Cabinets.

That is right, Spice Cabinets. The one on top is my first to design, and with LOTS of help from Jason, build. It is far from finished. My hope is that by the time I am ready to post pictures of the completed cabinet, I will also have more information to give you about them. Like, when did we start using them, and why? Just for starters.

I especially like that the last one is really being used as a spice cabinet, a crafting spice cabinet, but a spice cabinet none the less.

Can I type it one more time?

Spice Cabinet. (Yes, it makes a bit giddy.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

About My Summer

It occurs to me that I sound, what, odd? Ridiculous? I get to take a nap everyday if I want to and I'm complaining or at least worried about this?

Yes, but not because I get to choose my ideal sleep schedule.

I am now not contributing to our household. Though I know what I contributed before was meager, it was something. So that is part of why I need to find some students. The other part is that I want to stay in the subject I study as much as I can. And while teaching piano, or music to children is not what I would like to do once I have my "career", it is something I can do now, and that I think I would enjoy doing now that will keep me in music, as opposed to, say, working at Dillons. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. A job is, after all, a job.

The other facet to this stone is that I haven't not had someplace to be or something to do on someone else's schedule for over a decade now, and I still feel weird not having someplace I need to be at a certain time. It is just for a few weeks. I must keep that in perspective too. :)

OK, enough about that. Next time perhaps I'll blog about why this blog is called Sinco Searching......perhaps.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Summer

This is my Summer. 

Each index card has the name of a project, I would like to finish all these projects this summer. So far my days go about like this: wake up at 6 am, do the usual morning stuff and go for a walk, right now I'm walking about 2 miles, I want to get that up to 4 by the end of August, then I do some yard work, followed by more morning stuff, then I make something, or clean something, or both. By 11 am I am ready for a nap, so when it's not in the mid to high 90's I go out and lay in the hammock and try to sleep until about 1 pm. Then  I have a little time with Jason before he goes to work, and in the evening I try to do the noisier cleaning and creating. I try to fit in an hour or so everyday to do some online networking. I am trying to do what I can to promote our Etsy shop, as well as see what I can do to get some piano students. 

When Jason told me that he wanted me to focus on getting students this summer and not try to find a part-time job someplace, I was not sure how well I would do with that. I have tried giving my self a schedule and tasks. So far so good. It's been a week or so and I'm not crazy yet, so this might work...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another June Passing

This past month marked the first full year after Grammy's death. It also marked 20 years after Grandpa's death.
Unexpectedly though, this past June someone I thought so highly of, who I have spent many happy hours with, has died. Debbie Blanchard was one of the strongest women I've met. She was so full of life and light. Her joy and laughter were fierce and contagious. I find it a bit ironic that one of the things she was so adamant about, self-respect, was ultimately the reason for our so infrequent contact the last five years. Once I started to take back my self-respect and power, I realized I had to put some distance between myself and the person that brought Debbie and I together. I am sorry for that. I have wished many times that I had tried harder to keep the connection with Debbie current. I wish so even more now.
Debbie was an avid photographer. Her photos have been published and she was active in local photographers groups. She did everything with such gusto! I used to be on her and Jim's team in the bowling league. What fun that was! I will also never forget all the times we'd sit at the table and drink wine and eat cheeses and such and talk, just talk and talk. And of course laugh ourselves silly. Or the time she called seemingly out of the blue to see if I wanted to go with her and Jim on a Missouri wine tour. We just drove around in the country stopping at three or four different wineries and sampling their wines.
There are so many things about her to remember and love. Her jungle of house plants! But also I remember how much Jim adored her! My heart breaks for him. I hope fervently, and feel pretty sure having met many of their friends, that he will have friends there for him at every turn. She has left behind many many grieving hearts. How could we not grieve the loss of such a force of nature? But knowing Deb, she also wouldn't want us to sit around driveling. She would be glad to know that she has left us with so many things to celebrate about her life. She never hesitated to share her loves and passions with those around her, I intend to do the same. This life should be enjoyed to the fullest possible, and that joy should be shared.
Thank you Debbie, for being the strong, independent, and hilarious woman that I knew, you are missed and shall be for years and years to come.