Wind Girl and Building a Better Clothespin

Ash clothespins from Classic American Clothespins

Ash clothespins from Classic American Clothespins

Since it’s breezy to outright windy here throughout springtime, I’m realizing that we really could do with a clothesline. Between our endless sunshine and air movement, our clothes would dry in no time. So, to celebrate Earth Day 2015 I finished my assemble-them-yourself clothespins from Classic American Clothespins and am going to be putting up a clothesline within a week. Yay no HOA here where I live!

If you use clothespins for any purpose, you may have experienced clothespin failure, wherein they just come undone and catapault through the air, or ouch splintering of your phalanges when gripping them. The pins commonly available at retailers these days have really suffered in quality and dependability. A few years ago, my mom and I went searching for for a better solution and found Herrick Kimball, who has developed a US made product that will last for years. Kiln-dried ash from upper New York State and heavy-gauge, full-coil stainless steel springs give these babies heft, strength, durability and, in my eyes at least, beauty.

Sure, they are more expensive than the cheap alternatives, but I value the commitment and undertaking very much, and can’t wait to actually clip them to a clothesline.

Wind Girl, photo by and used with permission of Wind Girl's mom.

Wind Girl, photo by and used with permission of Wind Girl’s mom.

On Super Power day at school, my grand girl Noe assumed an identity so appropriate for where we live: “Wind Girl.” Don’t you love it?! The only hiccup was when she discovered that she couldn’t actually control the wind. Poor little five-year-old super heroine. She was distraught and thought her mom had lied to her. The magic of childhood thought processes sometimes presents learning opportunities so poignant that we’d rather forestall them for a few years.

Meanwhile, this grandma is in favor of mounting “Wind Girl” month in May. Picture legions of us wearing our tutus, capes and boots as we toil outside in our gardens and acreage. If we can’t control it, maybe we can heighten the experience of working in the wind, garb flapping around us powerfully. Aside just for my mom, perhaps this is how we can finally “Reap the Wild Wind!”

Happy Earth Day, all.


Reward Your Toil

All I can say is, Prescott gives Chicago a run for the money in the moniker “The Windy City.” It’s dry, on top of windy, meaning we are rapidly approaching the day when we are on high alert for wildfires.

Now my days are all about digging invasive weeds and busting up dead trees. My most complicated choices are whether to continue to haul the limbs to the dump or build more brush piles.

Found in a pit on property

Found in a pit on property

The number of amassed brush piles out here recently topped twenty and put me in mind of the signal fires lit on top of peaks in “Lord of the Rings.” Except here you certainly can’t burn anything this time of year due to windy conditions. And, as to the practice of creating brush piles for the purpose of encouraging and protecting wildlife habitat, I’ll never have to be concerned over the fertility of our bunnies and quail, and I certainly don’t need to create more hiding places for rattlesnakes. AND, those brush piles would just crank up a wild fire, so for this year, the branches have to go to the great shredder out on Sundog Ranch Road.


Petrified eggs or???

Teaching and website design (my first two careers) did not leave their mark on my hands. Therapeutic massage is still required for the space between my shoulders and is reflected in the absence of color in my hair.

Now my hands are desiccated, and I have actual calluses. My once elegantly career oriented wardrobe is full of rips and stains. I get all quivery when I have time to stop by Prescott True Value for some more tools. The weeds I’m battling are classified as noxious, and they can’t be eradicated with simple pulling or weed whacking. It takes a good strong shovel and plenty of leverage to get ’em out of here. No scheduling, conferencing, finesse, networking or ROI matters in my life now. All you have to do is throw on your work clothes, get out there and start digging.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

The stuff unearthed is wide-ranging: Some kind of amulet or talisman. Ovoids that look like petrified eggs. Lots of rusty horseshoes. Animal skulls. Well, I’m keeping all of it, no matter how much it creeps out my granddaughters. The earth gives up its treasures to those who work hard. “Reward your toil,” in other words.

How is it that it took me six decades to discover that most of my ancestors, going back to at least the 1600’s worked the land?

I WILL keep digging.

The Best Woman I Know



I owe everything I am to her. I am inspired by her wisdom, intelligence and strength and draw on those qualities daily. She is hilarious and spontaneous: who wouldn’t want to hang out with her? I live every day wrapped in her love and encouragement. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.



I Know a Knitter Who is a (fill in the blank)

I recently heard a podcast segment which reminded me that we aren’t JUST knitters or crocheters. We are all primarily something else, professionally or personally. It’s the alchemy of turning yarn into something lovely and useful that connects us across our other pursuits, whether careers, caregiving or child rearing.

The ties that bind.

The ties that bind.

The first time my mom dropped in on my fiber group she was surprised at our composition. “Everyone in your group is so accomplished and smart,” she commented. While I don’t think you have to be smart to catch on to how to use needles and hooks to make stuff, you probably do have to have a specific sort of brain. Our busy hands and those interesting brains drew us together despite our jobs which might have never allowed us to cross paths.

Here’s my list. What can you you add?

I know three knitters/crocheters who are nurses.

I know two knitters who are chemists.

i know four knitters who are stay at home moms.

I know a knitter who is a baker.

…who is a farmer.

…who is a computer tech support worker.

…who is an actress.

….who is a supply chain specialist.

…who is a geologist.

….who is a water resources specialist.

…who is an archivist.

…who is a realtor.

…who is a professional writer and minister.

…who is an X-ray technician.

…who is a jewelry maker.

…who is an English professor and roller derby athlete.

…who is a a self employed property appraiser.




Somewhere between “Everything is Awesome” and “Glory”

During our 2015 Oscar party, my DDIL and I both infamously voted for the “Lego Movie” as the winner in the best song category. No matter that I didn’t know that song because I forgot to watch “Lego.” And it shouldn’t have mattered that we hadn’t yet seen “Selma” and didn’t know that song. We both had busy years and weren’t up to speed on all the film stuff, despite the last few weeks of running around trying to watch everything before the red carpet started. And usually we just make a wild guess based on what we’ve heard and we get the answer right anyway.

30 seconds into John Legend’s performance of “Glory” we both knew we were done in that category and acknowledged it out loud. The rest of the partygoers said to us, “Really?!? You chose “Everything is Awesome” over “Glory?!?” What were you thinking???”

Despite that silly decision, though, I’ve been thinking that either awesome or glorious is a good target for daily my daily life outlook. Or, anywhere in between.

Hiding depression

Hiding depression. Used with permission.

Since becoming fully retired I have some of “those days” where I just don’t seem to get off square one. It’s like the months right after high school or college graduation. You know the rest of your life lies before you, full of limitless opportunity, but your brain is riddled with confusion and uncertainly. Eventually, you make some choices, you lurch forward, and you live your life. I think retirement is exactly the same, and I’m learning how to do it as the months go by.

I’m trying to learn more about depression in the senior population (of which I’m a solid member now) after having focused for years on adolescent depression. I hadn’t known that depression is common in older persons, and that it shouldn’t be considered a normal part of aging. In fact, symptoms of depression in older people can manifest differently than in younger persons, and is often misdiagnosed as a sign of another illness.

Now that I am aware of it, it feels like a topic that bears closer examination. A good place to start is at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). And here’s a great personal account of living with and addressing depression.

Shoot for awesome or glorious, knowing that some days will be neither. But if your days fall short more often than not, ask for support from someone you know and trust. And if someone you know is exhibiting some signs of depression, start a conversation.

“Too Much Time on My Hands”

Finding your valentine in nature.

Find your valentine in nature this year

I woke up from my antihistamine-fueled dreams today with this song playing in my head. In fact, I was never a Styx fan. The reality is, the tune dates back to 1981, the year my firstborn arrived and, therefore, the last time in my life that I really DID have too much time on my hands.

Now that son is 33 and I’m … well, never mind.

I think you can figure out I’ve reached a certain age. An age, apparently, where things like this happen:

  • I finally sewed up a terrific polartec jacket as a gift for my husband (two years after purchasing the fabric for it). Upon completion, I discovered that I inserted the cool separating zipper upside down.
  • After a quiet day at home baking, knitting and attending to other domestic goodness, I hurriedly tried to make myself presentable prior to heading out to a meetup with friends. Running my hands through my hair a final time I found I’d distributed a large amount of bright blue, gooey, extra whitening anti-plaque toothpaste throughout my locks.

I could go on, but why? I think it’s only when you have all the time in the world that you discover that you were far more efficient when every second counted. When the obligations of caregiving, working full time, and the raising of your kids gradually slide away, there’s a blissful interval during which you really can slow it all way down. For awhile. But then it’s time to reengage with some activities for which your natural born gifts are well suited.

When this time arrives in for you, enjoy the peace and quiet, but not for too long.

Happy Valentine’s Day.