Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Winds Down

Sitting in a sky chair on the back deck in Polson, birdsong, a distant motorcycle and a barking dog for my morning music. Today the new contractor comes to fix the mess the last contractor made of the roof over the deck, and so the summer ends as it began with construction. This is the first morning I have been up and out on the deck this early, and it is truly wonderful. We got rain last night for only the second time in a hot month, and it cleared a lot of the dust and smoke from the air.  The fire danger has been listed as Extreme for over a month now and fires have been popping up all around us. Fires have been started by people mowing their fields, hitting a rock with the mower blades, and causing a spark--that's how dry it is. And there's the doorbell...

Three hours later, I pick up this post, and now my music is the sound of a compressor, hammering, whistling, and the grunting of contractors (no kidding, real grunting interspersed with the occasional imprecation). Add the bass note of the mower in the front yard run by the lawn service guy, and my symphony is complete. Apparently I have lucked into the magic circle in Polson in terms of neighbors (now friends) and professional service people. Our next-door neighbor Ed knows (and thinks highly of) both the current and the previous lawn care guys, and the lawn care guys and Ed all know and think highly of the new contractor. The city building inspector also knows and thinks highly of the new contractor. It's been one, big happy reunion up here today.

As I look down the last two weeks of summer it's time to plan and prepare for fall. Seems like a perfectly good waste of summer to me, but that's the way life works. It wouldn't do to land back in Atlanta with no idea what to do homeschooling the Sprout, no websites for either Siyeh Glass or Siyeh Studio, and nothing planned for the studio going forward. Though at this point I would be perfectly happy to stay in Polson for the fall, put a small studio in here (I am already having the wiring done for a big kiln and I could just put in an order with Bullseye for frit and clear irid), and just keep going on as I have been.

The summer is ending way too fast, as it seems to every year. I brought so many projects out to Montana to work on, and easily 80% of them I never even got started. There was no work done on the quilt I started in a class last spring. I made no jewelry from findings and shells (though I bought the materials), nor did I finish any of the silver pieces I had left over from my Spruill jewelry classes (in spite of the lovely jewelry bench gifted me by my spouse for my birthday and shipped here). I did not get the garden weeded. We (J and I) did no pottery, nor did we dye either fabric or yarn. The sewing projects I had lined up with Jessie never happened. I still don't know how to do kumihimo or use a rigid-heddle loom (the Cricket).

However I learned to spin, bought 13 alpaca fleeces and have made good progress in processing them for spinning (well, except for the one that I accidentally felted). I built my own table for blowing off the dirt and learned to use a picker box (think sandwich of slanted nails that the fleece goes between to get fluffed and picked over) and a drum carder in addition to the spinning wheel.

My head is awhirl with thoughts of woolen and worsted, yarn for knitting and yarn for weaving, dyeing (not the alpaca), blending (silk, merino, angora and bamboo), and all the possibilities opened with creating one's own yarn. In my boundless enthusiasm, I would like to take it a step further and raise my own alpaca and angora rabbits, but my spouse has employed both the stick ("No! No more animals!") and the carrot (talk of living in different exotic foreign locations as we homeschool--not a realistic goal with a lot of animal dependents) as a means of putting down that revolution before it even had a chance to get started. So I plan to assist Rosemarie in shearing back in Atlanta as much as she will have me in exchange for fleeces. Fleeces don't eat, drink, breathe, or poop and can be left in a bag (if well washed) for years until you can get to them (lucky for me).

I learned to play "Fate" (thanks a lot Kyla!) and have gotten to level 16, dyed my child's hair (twice) in rainbow shades of teal, aqua, magenta, and fuchsia, made (thus far--more to come) 25 qts of Everclear infusions from fresh, local. organic or wild produce (huckleberry, basil, rhubarb, and peach with rosehip, chokecherry, goathead peppers, anaheim peppers, backyard plum, and mint still to come). I have also begun (with my uncle) planning on a twin house (fancy duplex) on the lake property and almost put together family and business budgets. There has been passing thought given to redoing both my websites (damn robotic hackers injecting their silly malicious code into my sites--I fart in their general direction) and will actually follow through with action sometime later this week.

For three weeks of the summer I had three little girls instead of my customary one, and I took them on adventures as diverse as the Happy Hippo amphibious vehicle tour, boat tours, hiking, and the Park After Dark Astronomy gathering in Glacier National Park (with the accompanying junior ranger badges), bungee jumping and exploring the 4-H animal exhibits at the Western Montana Fair, and go-cart racing and laser tagging. There were also many days at the lake swimming and afternoons snacking on yummy frozen yoghurt.

In the spirit of home ever-improvement, I wrangled contractors and got two decks--one with a roof--built. The building included me preparing many of the boards, pickets, rails and beams with two coats of oil-based stain. I modestly conquered operation and maintenance of a riding lawnmower (for the lake property), researched, purchased and installed a portable air conditioner, and uninstalled a hard-wired dishwasher and prepared for the installation of a new one (picked and purchased by Mom). I have planned a new garden bed for the spot in front that used to be covered by the  old deck, but I don't think I'll get the retaining wall put up for it or the topsoil delivered to fill it--much less the plants chosen for it (that'll be a plan for winter when I'm cosied up on the couch in Atlanta dreaming of summer). I need to put in the 6-8 herbs, the 2 perennials and the 9 lilies I bought at the farmer's market (and I really should get the main big bed weeded!), but that shouldn't be too difficult. I did weed and tame the existing herb bed and I did plant six tomato plants that are beginning to bear fruit.

Before I sat down to post today, I would have said my summer glass was half empty--that I had not done anything I had planned on or very much worthwhile at all. But now I'm thinking my cup runneth over with beer (Sip 'N' Go Naked Apricot Ale from the Tamarack Brewery in Lakeside) and it foams over the rim of the glass with an abundance of fullness. Good thing I occasionally post so I can review and take stock honestly to keep my life in perspective!