Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Dead Apple Farm Style


Most everything I make starts with a crayon drawing. There's something about the colorfully clunky lines that makes my inability to draw not seem so displeasing. I just start with what I know and with what is familiar to me and just have at that blank page... or pavement. Sidewalk chalk has also become a new favorite. (For pretty much all the same reasons as crayons.) Though I can't keep what has been drawn on the driveway for any longer than it takes for the next rain cloud to come showering by, it does give me a chance to quickly try out new ideas.

I want my woodworking to have a sort of hand-drawn look. I want the sides of cases and the legs of tables to be playful and colorful and to not take themselves too seriously.

The drawer is made of one Oak board.
It's put together is such a way as to allow the grain to flow completely around all sides. 

Roey asked the other day if I had to cut down trees from the forest for my woodworking. It was as comforting for me to tell her as it was, I hope, for her to hear that I use as little fresh from the forest wood as possible and that most of the wood comes from people who no longer need it. The top for this wall shelf is pine mixed with oak from a hardwood floor that had been taken up during a remodel of someone's home.

I make things so that people can have fun, useful pieces of furniture that have been thoughtfully made. Whether it's a table the right size for your kid's little legs or a bookshelf that fits those oddly sized books you keep carting around or just a place to put those little things that seem to have no home, send me a quick email and we can start to talk about what you have in mind. Check out the facebook page as well for more pictures and to stay in touch while keeping up to date on the latest pieces and future doin's :) I really look forward to hearing from people and sharing ideas.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock, Hammer, Sewing Machine...

And So... We now have a door for a Table.
We all think differently and one of the things Heide and I have learned is that we are not like the other. And That's OK. It's OK because we like the other, and know the other, and really NEED the other. (See "The Creator and the Destroyer" post from a year ago.)

Heide will use a rock that's at her feet rather than use the hammer sitting just out of reach on the table across the room. Jay will go buy a new hammer, traveling 15 min one way on top of a half hour of browsing the aisles to get a hammer to replace the one he didn't / couldn't see ON THE TABLE just across the room. Then he'll come home and talk about how great it is to have the right tool for the job. The SAME job Heide GOT DONE using the tool of a neanderthal.

So the lesson from this is that sometimes it's better just to get something done. It might not be pretty, and it might not be representative of one's best abilities, but it's done. And quickly. Leaving more time to actually use the item.

In this case, we desperately needed a table on which to do stuff - everything from crafts with the girls to folding laundry to sewing. So I found an old door in the barn, made a few cuts on the chop saw to some scrap 2x4s, gave them a paint job, and voila. The perfect solution to a problem that has plagued us for too long.


Speaking of sewing, here is another found item at Dead Apple Farm that I am bringing back to life. I WILL NOT, however, begin yet another hobby/interest/craft. I promise. Mostly because Heide's head will explode if I throw more whims into the mix.

I do, however, feel that it's wise to be handy with a tremendously fast-moving needle and thread. You know, for the kids! And the myriad of other things associated with cloth around here.

Some of the wipes have seen their last mess.

And there's always the possibility of needing to provide a quick fix to a fairy wing, a pair of pants, or Roey's "Ban-ki Moonie". (Blanket)

So, if a guy has to be responsible for such things, he might as well have his own personal machine... Right?

Amidst the mending, the laundry, the dishes, and so forth, however, getting quality time in the shop has proven to be somewhat difficult. Its nice, though, to be able to take a small bit of wood and create in those brief moments of calm.

Cherry / Tried and True Danish Oil

Super MOON!

14% Larger - 30% Brighter

On March 19 a full moon of "rare size and beauty" (according to NASA) rose at 7:13pm. From what we gather, about every 18 years the moon is full and in perigee at the same time. We typically get the kids ready for bed around then so between brushing teeth and PJ'ing we kept opening the front door to see if it had arrived. It wasn't until nearly 8pm that it started to become visible above the hills and the treetops. Though we hadn't known about this event until that very morning ,we somehow managed to have an impromptu celebration.

Ahh, Yes...

It's a Super Moon... at bedtime... Let's blow bubbles.

When the kids had had enough of covering every surface in the house with the stamps of popped bubbles and dribbled bubble solution, we moved on to another special way to wait for the Supermoon. I've always thought it was neat to lengthen a camera shutter time and "write" with light, so I showed the girls how to "write" their names with a flashlight.

We started with just making shapes and squiggles.

Then letters. It appears as though the kids' arm spans are a bit short.

Mama, though, came through with a very nice one :)

I mistakenly left my camera in the open shutter setting when I took my first picture of the Supermoon, which proved to be a happy little accident. I was able to use the moon's brightness as a pretty good light source and had fun moving the camera instead of the flashlight:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

For My Birthday is it Going to be Spring?

Roey's Naked... Outdoors... It IS Spring!

Mornings have been going really well.  A Rainbow under the table has been a nice touch.  Seems as though with the help of our fish tank the sun is coming up just right to give a little treat for us to start our day.

             At Thomi's request, Heide made up a batch of Blueberry Muppins!

Thanks For that Thom!

You , too, Heidst ;)

As most know. I am not what people would call "Very Useful" first thing in the morning. Yet, playing piano this early has proven to have its advantages. My mind is clear and muscles are relaxed giving me a great chance to just go for it with out any worry. I'm too sleepy still to care about wrong notes or sound and the time has been exactly what I've needed.

Big Flip-Flops to Fill

There is NOTHING Heide doesn't do in her flip-flops.

It was in these that Roey pretty much summed up how I've been feeling. There is much that Heide did and does that goes unsung; I just hope I can pick up where she left off. Things are coming, though, and I'm getting my groove together.

If Painting the walls isn't something high on your list; Art work as wallpaper just may do the trick 

One of the best things I've done for MY-self is to have our creative provisions ready to go; having something for the kids to dive into when they get home is something i should have done much sooner. After the settling of the dust from the mad crash through the door...the "I'm so excited!" Lover Poo Kipsy on the inside colliding with the desperately needing SOMETHING children on the outside... There are things to be painted, glued, glittered and, yes Roey...Pinkified!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Staying Home

   Ice. On. Everything!
My favorite time... Mornings after storms. With temps back to just above freezing and the sun rising nice and full, the ice has begun to fall from the trees with the sound of glass wind chimes. The birch trees are quite springy and are coming back, though perhaps not quite to how they were.

The Birch trees on the left and right were to the ground
My first full day as a stay-at-home-dad did not go exactly as expected. The children were cooped up due to a winter storm that brought with it twenty hours of no power and as much time spent as a powerless dad. I fretted about wires being taken down by the birches, watched as widow-makers fell seemingly from the sky and hoped every moment that the heat would come back on. About 30 feet of our heating pipes leave our living area and spend their time just inside the outside sheathing, and I was mentally preparing for frozen pipes necessitating sheetrock removal

But "all's well that ends well" Ma always told Pa, and it's true now. No torches or sweating of copper pipe in this guy's life today! And although the aquarium temperature dropped into the 40s and its inhabitants were swimming at a glacial pace, the $16 worth of fuel saved by losing power wasn't canceled out by the loss of the $16 worth of fish we just bought.

Not to mention another lesson learned: A new appreciation for having stuff at the ready for kids to do.

Our new Friends Alive and Well :)
                                                     It is nice to be at home though . Heide and I have talked at great length about living in ways that are more true to one's strengths. It's nice to stop living as the man I am so clearly not and start being the Jay I have always been. I want better time with Thomi and Roey. I want to spend evenings with Heiders. I have a lot of dreams and right now I feel fortunate that I am able to start living them. Thomi is a couple of years into school now and Roey is right behind her come autumn. Life IS fast and very short. Without Heide's help I couldn't imagine having done what we have done so far...and as for the future, life would be down right impossible without her. I do Love you Heidst :)

Better Times - (Loving with Food)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Happy Wife is a Happy Life

It was a very merry Christmas!

To Mama, From Dada.

Finally, after some years of yearning and wistful glances in the hardware store, I got my Fat Max Fubar. I'll admit, it looks like a toy. But I've put it to the test, and for small scale demolition, it can't be beat. It weighs the same as a framing hammer, but it's got a serrated jaw that's perfect for grabbing onto 2 bys, a striking edge, a nail puller, and a chisel tip for prying. The ideal companion to my big girl crowbar. And oh, the destruction we wrought on the Cape this past week!

This was the final phase of demolition, and it was somewhat daunting due to the sheer volume of debris, the number of questionable electrical wires, and the unknown number of animals living in the "insulated" ceiling panels, plus the known number of animals living in a roll of insulation of the floor. We needed to contend with a massive upright stinky freezer, dozens of feet of built-in shelving covered with lots of heinous paint, yards of plaster and lath, and, of course, panels upon panels of wallboard.

And this is why the good Lord invented Dumpsters.

And firewood, too.

It didn't rain very much. :)
Suspect tree joinery.

Although this part of the bottom floor of the Cape was most recently 2 rooms, one for laundry and one as a sort of study, it originally (in the 1700s) was the kitchen and parlor. Our plan is to turn it into a large kitchen/eating area with a cookstove (Queen Atlantic, please), which will take advantage of all the morning sun on the front of the house. Every so often I feel a pang of remorse for making such drastic changes to what has been here for so long, removing wood that is 250 years old and came from trees that were saplings when the Abenaki Nation still prospered in this area. But then I remember that we are doing exactly what our Dead Apple Farm forebears always did: changing the layout and making additions to accommodate new family, new technology, and new ways of life. Only I hope not to do it every 10-20 years like they did.