Saturday, February 1, 2014

Giving Thanks

Today, although not fully recovered from whatever I had, I want to celebrate the installation of new bookshelves in my writing room. They're made from upcycled barn roofing we went to Zumbrota to buy. The wood is rough cut elm with a number of saw marks giving it character.

circular saw marks on elm      © harrington

The design was a joint effort between my daughter's financee and yours truly. All of the real work was done by those more qualified and knowledgable than I and if I was going to live forever, I'd be eternally grateful for the job he did. In the process, I purchased a new rotary sander (his choice) which I now hear downstairs sanding a coffee table he made some years ago. He wants to refinish it. While he's working on the coffee table, I have an opportunity to show you the finished bookshelves. (No, they're not crooked, I have a lot to learn about how to take pictures.) I do want to note that he's been a pleasure to work with and I'm looking forward to doing another project with him. Something your friendly old curmudgeon rarely says. We haven't yet become as sustainable as Donald Hall's Ox Cart Man, but that's the direction we're headed. Maybe if I finally teach him how to fly-fish, that will be another step in the right direction, and lots of fun.

finished bookshelves           © harrington

Ox Cart Man

By Donald Hall 
In October of the year,
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field,   
counting the seed, counting   
the cellar’s portion out,   
and bags the rest on the cart’s floor.

He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather   
tanned from deerhide,   
and vinegar in a barrel
hooped by hand at the forge’s fire.

He walks by his ox’s head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,   
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose   
feathers, yarn.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.   
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,   
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire’s light in November cold   
stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks   
building the cart again.

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