Hello again world. I realize it has been a long time since I have last written but I do have excuses. Honestly, I wasn't all that busy in March so I could have written more but I wasn't feeling inspired. I spent my hours paying due attention to March Madness basketball (which ended much to soon), going to a couple concerts, and observing a few unique Vermont traditions such as pond skimming and maple sugaring. It was a good month but I had a lot of downtime and thus felt little interest in writing about it. April was much different. By the end of the month my hours were accelerated as if someone had put their thumb over the trickling garden hose of time. First, I snagged myself a second job gardening for a Landscape Architecture firm, a job that will keep me outside in the summer and aid in the development of a nice farmer's tan. I also began volunteering with a new industrial design museum nearby, The Madsonian, created by Dave Sellers, the architect that started a mini-design movement back in the 60s on Prickly Mountain in Warren, VT. The small museum seeks to celebrate and revere the designers of fantastic yet ordinary objects such as a chair made of cardboard (in a good way, not the lazy college way), a small collection of simple and effective egg beaters, and the most elaborate and brilliant pencil sharpener you'll ever know. All of this is arranged inside a revamped old Vermont house. I'm excited to learn more about the items in the gallery and learn about their designers. I do find it funny that I'll be showing people objects that they may have used as children. It all looks old to me.
In April, I also took on an entirely new and big project. Animal husbandry. Being a vegetarian for four years, I decided that I could maybe enjoy some meat every once in a while, especially if I raised it myself. Well, that's what I'm trying to do and so far it's working out. The one problem however, is that the animal I chose is really darn cute. I'm raising rabbits. Sorry to anyone who is freaked out by this. Whenever something is small and furry it quickly hits pet status for most. But, rabbits are really the best option for where I'm living right now; they need relatively little space, a manageable amount of food and they create excellent fertilizer. I have one male and two females and in a month will have lots more than that. The plan is to have the babies be for meat and more than likely I will be too attached to the parents to let them become that as well. It's all a learning experience. For now this experiment means a whole new set of daily chores and will later mean facing my squeamishness and finding out how living animals become meat. Yikes. I did, however, get to exercise my new building skills to make a rabbit hutch-stravaganza for the male of the group. As with most design/build projects, there was much trial and error and trial again. Though maybe not fit for a museum, it turned out pretty solid and I'm quite satisfied with my first solo building project results. Farmchitecture at its finest.
To add to the busyness, I have also taken three Yestermorrow classes since I last posted. These were Electricity Safe and Secure, Ecological Water Systems, and the coveted Timberframing. In Electricity, I learned how to wire outlets, switches, lights, install dimmers, what that 3rd hole in outlets means, and a lot of what not to do. That was a great class for learning practical skills and understanding what is going on behind all of our walls. Hint: tons of wire. Ecological Water Systems was also very interesting and I mostly took it to get an understanding of what's going on beneath our feet and above our heads. We talked a lot about groundwater and how to keep it clean and moving slowly over and through the land. Storm drains are definitely not in vogue anymore and for a good reason. In cities, they are often coupled with the sewer system, effectively soiling good rainwater and causing overflows of both during large storm events. Not a pretty mixture to have dumping into a river. In class we also did a perculation test on a small area of soil and learned some simple ways to find and record topography with a few pieces of wood and tube of water.
And then there was Timberframing, that most gorgeous of all (well, most) building types, where whole trees are cut and joined together to create a beautiful and solid structure. As a class we spent 6 days carrying around huge timbers and chiseling out their joinery. At the end of the week we put it all together to create a 16 by 20 foot shed (though it was a little too pretty to just be a shed). As a woman, I wondered how I would fit in to a class of mostly guys, lifting very heavy objects and using tools I've never heard of. Turns out, timberframers and generally anyone at Yestermorrow has little to no prejudice against women in the building trades and I fully enjoyed the week of creating a piece of architecture. During the raising we all got to see why perfection in cutting the joinery is so necessary as some of the joints took some quick thinking and modification before they would work (one of those joints may or may not have been mine...) It was a fantastic week and I hope to find a way to use and improve my new found skills.
So, there you have it. A massive update of happ'nins. For now, it's to the grindstone for this lady. Gots to be bringing in the cash so I can keep up all of my many hobbies. And, of course, pay for rent and all of that practical stuff. Until next time.
I spent a year in Vermont taking classes at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. This blog is about my experiences in the snowy north.
Check out more of my photos on webshots here.