Tag Archives: hoarders

Adding Two Rooms to our Home

Jack and I have a big back yard. We wound up fencing it into two halves because, chickens. The other day, I referred to “the outside room” and Jack didn’t ask what I meant, just said “inner room or outer room?”

Twenty-five years of marriage counts for something in the mind reading department, but we also came to this conclusion out of common sense. The backyard added two rooms to our home. The inner room is for gracious entertaining, has most of my light garden (solar stuff that’s so pretty at night) and the flowers. The outer room keeps the chickens, the main gardens, the fruit bushes and the nut trees. (Black walnuts are why we have two gardens; some plants is juglone safe, some ain’t. Juglone is the stuff black walnuts put out while their roots are down there in the wood wide web talking to each other. Never mind cats; it’s black walnuts as seek world dominance, y’all.)

Neither of us were ever big gardeners. We grew heirloom tomatoes because I love to try blue and purple and green and yellow things that “should be” red. We grew potatoes because Jack is Scottish, and if you’re a gardener in Scotland, you are talking root vegetables. Gardening in that country takes place August 10-15.

Jack and I have always enjoyed turning something into nothing–which is an upscale way of saying “how cheaply can we do this?” We put down leftover fertilizer bags to kill weeds, dug up rocks to weight and drain tomato buckets, and otherwise tried to keep from growing veggies that cost $2.25 each once you tallied all that went into producing them. It’s been fun, not least because it looks so silly. Old chicken wire stuck to poles from a tent we no longer have, bound by an ancient blue polyester dress, make our gate. Someone gave us a wine-making tank and we took a piece of guttering that fell down and made a rain spout to fill it for watering. (Hauling 12 buckets a day will get you in shape fast, kids.)

And we drilled holes in the bottoms of about ninety-eleven-hundred plastic buckets leftover from kitty litter, which annoyed Jack no end. He didn’t mind drilling the holes to give the tomatoes we planted proper drainage. He just didn’t like validating my recurring theme that someday all those buckets we kept piling in the basement (some of which we MOVED with from our former bookstore home) would “come in handy someday.” When it turned out I was right, Jack knew there would be no stopping my future hoarding tendencies on household detritus.

He’s kinda right. We have milk jugs piled up so we can make self-watering drip containers, and an old gate salvaged from friends who said “you want this?” It’s leaning against one of the infamous walnut trees, waiting for its day. Gardeners may kinda by nature (no pun intended) be hoarders. Dunno; this is only our second year having fun with the inner and outer outside rooms of our home. Keep you posted. Meamwhile, we keep the inner room clean for visitors and stash all the stuff in the outer room, guarded by the chickens.

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Filed under crafting, home improvements, humor, small town USA, Wendy Welch

What Yarn has Taught Me about Writing

Wendy yarnMy name is Wendy, and I’m a yarn hoarder [pauses for hellos from the assembly].

Not that this is a problem, mind. I enjoy my addiction. In fact, yarn has taught me many good things over the years, particularly about writing. The processes are similar: sit down, follow a thread, create a whole piece.

So here are a few pieces of wisdom that have found me during yarn meditations:

1) Every tangle – be it plot, wool, or life – has two entry points: the beginning, and the end. FindĀ  either one, and it will eventually lead you to the other. And help you untie your knots. And leave you with a nice little ball to play with.

2) While tension is required to hold a project together, knowing when to finesse with gentle fingers (or words) versus when to give a good hard yank, is important. Too much tension creates an impossible situation–remember that television series known as 24?–while too little leaves a shapeless messy mass. Enough tension to keep the needle (or pen) moving with surety, not so much that the project fights its own creation: that’s the way to do it.

yarn kitten3) Cats do not help with the actual physical goal, but they sure are fun to have around during the work. Kids, too. Cuteness never hurts, and it lowers the blood pressure. Even if maybe you ought not let the cat or child actually write on any of the manuscript…. or play with the yarn.

yarn tangle 14) When dealing with a particularly large or vicious muddle, the first thing to do is separate out that which does not belong. Not everything in life is tied to everything else, even in Buddhism. Get rid of the bits that don’t contribute, and what you have left is a thread you can follow. Of course some projects are made of multiple colors and threads, but the time to weave them together is after they’ve been disentangled from each other and understood as themselves.

5) Don’t underestimate how much you’ve got to work with–or how fast words can pile up. Sure, kids, meals, day jobs, and the other stuff get in the way, but when you pick up your project–be it knitting needles, or nouns and verbs–just give it a few rows and don’t worry about speed. When you look back from the far end, you’ll be surprised at what those little bits and pieces of time and effort added up to, over the long haul.

birds in the nest6) Have fun. Joyless crocheting is like joyless writing: dull, misshapen and lumpy. You’re doing something cool. Disappear into it. Dive deep. Tangle and disentangle, sing the colors, swing those needles, and drink wine–or diet coke. It’s your project. Do what you want!

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