Well, not particularly cold at 27 degrees (seriously better than -5 degrees earlier in the week), but the humidity hangs Basset dog low, and it feels colder.
Thus far, we’ve already had more snow than we had all last winter. Yippee! No one is complaining – the ranchers least of all. I am keeping warm with steaming pots of coffee, flannel-lined jeans, fleece-lined flannel shirts, and books about polar exploration. There is nothing like reading about shipwrecked whalers adrift in the Arctic, eating rancid walrus, drinking their own urine, and eating their deceased shipmates to make you realize that cold is relative, and you are warm.
I’m growing bulbs – Paper whites. They are small – nearly insignificant, but I thrill to the sprouting green inside the house when gardening is months in the future. In the photo below, you’ll note the Mason jar?
It holds another warming note: prune vodka – not something that you can get at your local liquor store. It is a do-it-yourself drink. Using a clean jar, pack it full of dried prunes. When the jar is full, top it off with vodka. Like any fine brandy, it needs to mature. Five years is good. Ten years is better. Trust me, even if you don’t like prunes (haunted my childhood memories of your mother’s efforts to regulate your bowels?) you will love this drink. Ten years? I’ll be 85! Something to look forward to.
As I downsize my belongings, I find things that I had forgotten. One such item is a five-by-seven-foot tablecloth. It is cutwork. I don’t think anyone does cut-work today. It is an onerous task. As to what cutwork is: cutting both the warp and the weft threads, you have a “hole” in the material. To keep the hole from raveling, you blanket stitch the raw edge and fill the hole with a geometric design. To illustrate, see a portion of the tablecloth that I am repairing.
Keeping in mind that I can’t seem to make time to neither get my hair cut or make an appointment at the chiropractor’s, you might rightly wonder why I am repairing this tablecloth – a task that will take far more time. I guess I’m thinking of my grandmother who passed the tablecloth on to me and Grandma’s mother-in-law who probably made it.
I remember my maternal grandmother opening her cedar chest and giving it to me. “Roll it,” she said. “Otherwise, if it is folded, the material will deteriorate along the fold lines.” Needless to say, 50 or 60 years ago I rolled it.
Grandma was an orphan who grew up in the Shriner’s New York City Orphanage, so I’m thinking that she got the tablecloth from her mother-in-law, a widow who supported her two sons by sewing bound-buttonholes in men’s coats. (The enormity of this task will only be apparent to anyone who has made a bound-button hole.)
My repairs are a bit slap-dash. Only a museum curator of textiles would spend the time mending the repairs to the standard set by the original handiwork. In my case, it’s a salvage operation. I’ll carefully hand wash the repaired tablecloth, starch the heck out of it, and save it for a special occasion. And no! Don’t even think of drinking red wine at the table draped with this cloth!
I have a fair number of heritage textiles. Who were these women who had the time and patience for needlework? They didn’t have cars, of course. Nor did they have Netflix. Even so…