Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Activity and Clotheslines

It's hard to express how this place has gone from zero to sixty really, really fast. Well, for one thing, I now have too much to post about, whereas the past few weeks, well, I had nothing.

First, I didn't have a chance to post about Monday. I had the day off, and went with Nancy Ebel and five of her six children, Carmen, Blaise, Joel, Eli and Henry, to the final collection of maple sap out at Saint John's Arboretum. We spent about an hour dumping heavy buckets and bags into larger buckets and carrying those buckets to giant barrels where they could be picked up by the tractor. After that, it was Nancy, Carmen and me who continued the labor, while the boys played with snakes and dug around for other creatures. Then Carmen's attention turned more to saving moths that had fallen into the sap.

Henry, who is four, did join us now and again. Finally, Henry said, "Mom, WHY do we have to do this?" It did seem unreasonable, though there had been a lot of enthusiasm at the start of the process. So we called it a day. I'd say we collected about 200 gallons of sap, which roughly means 5 gallons of syrup after it's carted and boiled and finished and bottled. But it's been such a good season, they've run out of gallon jugs, so who knows. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera.

Steve finished the renovation project inside, including the cool steel banister and cables, rather crudely bolted and shimmed but quite solid and functional. Then he turned to his next project, a new clothesline. He's been talking about this design for a clothesline for maybe a year, perfecting it in his head. The banister got him going on welding, so he went and got the gears and metal for it, and put it together. Three pictures here: extracting the old T-style clothesline with the skid loader, and then the new clothesline. Then me getting my training lesson on how to use the new clothesline, engineering wonder that it is.

It spins, because of course you want to stand with your basket in one place. You start at the center, and after filling the four center pieces, step back once, and proceed to fill the next set of lines. Then step back once again, and repeat the process, until all clothes are hung. Steve's idea was to put giant metal blades on the four outside posts, so the wind would rotate the clothesline. I said I didn't really want my clothes to be on a "drying ride" whipping around in the wind. So he'll go back to another sculpture idea for a mobile with the giant metal propeller blades.


Anonymous said...

I grew up with this exact clothesline. Made a very distinctive rusty squeaking noise when spun. Kinda wish I had one now. -Connie

Susan Sink said...

You can have one without the squeak, now! Steve's sad-- he thought he invented the spinning feature.