Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bacon, Bagels and Beer

What do you bring to a friend's cabin for the weekend? Well, really, we were just going for an overnight stay, so we brought some fresh king salmon steaks and some bacon, bagels and beer.

It is interesting to see different places and projects and what other people concentrate on. Dave is a systems guy, so six years into our place we have hot running water, abundant solar electricity and a flush toilet. But we don't have any fruit trees or fresh arugula.

Our friends' place is such a contrast to ours and it was delightful. It was our first time visiting them and it was fun to see all of their projects. Their land is flat and spread out, with a tight little log cabin and a lot of space around it. There is a lively creek off to one side and a large adjoining lot with a fine start on a new cabin. They have spent many hours in the garden and landscaping the grounds over the years and it really shows. They are on the beach, which is salt water with big tides, so the very air and all of the natural sights and sounds feel quite different than our lakeside spot.

Rick's place, on Shelter Island, the site of Spanish camp, is another variation. His site is upland from the shore, in a large muskeg meadow and he has focused on his organic garden and fashioning a summer only, outdoor living kind of retreat. He has many roofs but few walls. He has a wood fired hot tub and a propane stove and oven but only a small solar panel to charge his cell phone. There is no generator, but there is a monster rope swing. Rick, and his friends, have carried everything up to his land over a half mile trail that is still rough enough that one cannot use a wheelbarrow. Priorities get defined by such limitations.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Spanish Immersion Camp

Ray and I spent a week speaking Spanish with some other folks from Juneau. The camp was nearby on Shelter Island at the cabin owned by Ray's Spanish teacher. It was very wet. The land is mostly muskeg (aka swamp) and it rained hard most of the time we were there. Our tent was warm and dry, though, and the camaraderie of our fellow campers more than made up for the dank and dreary conditions.

There was music. A saxophone sounds great coming through the trees. I'd never heard a bassoon in the woods before, and though guitar music in the forest was not a first for me, it always sounds perfectly right. "Guantanamera" and "Friend of the Devil" were played at midnight. Ben Harper songs were sung at sunset on the beach in a strong, clear voice. I should have asked Ricardo for my favorite Leon Russell song, "Back to the Island". I'm sure he knows it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Estonian Garden Wrap

Pattern: Estonian Garden Wrap
Design: Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Fino - Alpaca with a Twist
70% Alpaca - 30% Silk
One skein
Needles: US 5

This went in the mail today. I knit it for a September bride, the daughter of our friends. Her mom chose the pattern and the yarn; I knit it up without changing a thing.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Furniture, Lighting and Tile

We spent another week at the cabin. The work is satisfying at this stage; the projects get started and completed in a few hours or a day and the progress is always visible.

There are new lights:

We made nightstands out of scrap lumber:

We also laid some tile under the woodstove. We have some more to do on the wall behind the stove - photo to follow.

I think the most fun is transforming rough lumber. I remember, once when I was twenty something, receiving a letter from my auntie who was in her eighties. She wrote "I am having fun with my new barometer." I was floored by how narrow life gets for old people and I laughed and laughed. Now, in my fifties, I am tempted to write "I am having fun with my new doweling jig." Life is narrowing right down. But - fun is fun.