May 31, 2013

Potato Famine in Bucks County

Well, not in all of Bucks County. Just this .97 of an acre.

I love planting potatoes. What I really love is harvesting them, snaking my fingers through the soil till I get all the spuds from the bed. Another one! And another!  Its like those sand table treasure hunts we used to have at the kids' preschool Purim carnivals. If you have never been to these exercises in pediatric chaos, count yourself among the lucky.  They are the only thing in my life that has made me contemplate another religion besides Judaism. 

But I digress.

For the past several weeks, I have been coaxing my seed potatoes into sprouting some growth and by Monday, they were ready to go into the ground.  I cut them into pieces and laid them out on a cookie sheet so they could get a protective skin around them before I planted them Tuesday evening.  I put the cookie sheet in the center of the kitchen table.

Which is exactly where I found it when I came home from work on Tuesday.   Only it looked like this.
I was dumbfounded (don't you love that word??) Do we have mice and if so, do they have biceps the size of those little cartoon mice you see carrying away hunks of swiss cheese?  Do we have ground hogs that go grocery shopping in our kitchen? Oh wait.  We have this.
In Clutch's defense, there was no barfed-up potato skin anywhere.  There was no spud smell on his dog breath (visualize me figuring this out), and most important, look at his teeth. Those little nubs peeking through his smile are all he has, courtesy of some pre-rescue jackass who filed them down.

But there is that smile...smug and self-satisfied, I say. And there is history of prior offense.  There was the dozen bagels that turned into an empty bag with a few poppy seeds on the living room rug. The entire soup-pot of veggie chili left on the back of the stove that evaporated into a licked-clean pot, left upright on the kitchen floor.  And of course, the legendary tray of baclava that Allyson left us as a gift, which turned into exactly that: a tray.

I think, Grace, that losing raw potatoes to a toothless dog who knows how to cover his tracks is the singular definition of The Unforseen!

May 28, 2013

The Discipline of Discipline

Because we are leaving at the end of this week for an adventure in Spain, I wanted to get the Haze Kilim triangles cut. (Isn't that what every traveler has on her to-do list?) 

I spent this cool and windy weekend cutting triangles while listening to the first 10,000 hours of an audiobook novel called Shantaram.  It was a great combination--my imagination carried off with the main character into the vividness of Bombay, all the while creating little color stories of my own.

And before I knew it, there they were, all 570 triangles, plus a few spares. I had intended to just stack them in piles for my return, but they had me at hello, those little patches of jewel tones.  I started arranging them on the wall,  just a few,  just to see...

...and I looked up two hours later.  

 I still have to lay out the bottom row, which puts my eyes just inches above the floor molding and requires contortions reminiscent of the last moments of a limbo contest. But it will be worth it.  To me, this quilt is turning into a novel made up of lots of wildly compelling major characters and some really neat minor characters, too.
Thanks, Jude, I took the time to learn Picasa "collage."
The real trick awaits: precision sewing of these triangles. I look forward to this about as much as I do stepping on the scale at Weight Watchers after Halloween. But I am intrigued not only by the idea of having this morph into its next phase (the color stories will shapeshift yet again as I stitch 1/4" seams all around).  I am also intrigued by the challenge of discipline...can I sew slowly and carefully? Can I fix mistakes when they happen so that a short seam on a triangle doesn't catapult an entire row off its rocker? There's no crime when that happens and I am most attracted to the imperfection of folk art. But what if...what if I approach this task differently than I have other projects?

What if I impose the discipline of discipline on myself for the duration of this quilt? That's something I've always envied in others...not so much for their perfect seams, but for sustained healthy living, sustained use of mind, heart, and soul. Sustained farming of time.  You know what I mean.  

What would it feel like to intentionally impose discipline on my self in a defined (and thankfully limited) way? Can I do it? What will it teach me about the way I live? 

I'm going to take two weeks under the Andalusian sky and inside bottles of Cava to mull it over.