The last several days have been a frenzy of nesting activity. Three days ago (Thursday) I found a gardening service to tame the overgrowth in the much-neglected back yard. They took out the fabric pots, hacked out the weeds, and left me with a clean slate:
It’s barer than it was in the past; our passion fruit vine died for no apparent reason earlier this year (we’re still discussing where to replant a replacement), and we took out the four peach trees because we weren’t happy with the flavor of the peaches. We’re still discussing what and whether to replant in their place. There will be more greenery come summer, though. The persimmon trees and the grape vines simply haven’t leafed out yet.
At any rate, the wild undergrowth and the weeds are gone. The lemon tree has some flowers, though, so the hummingbirds and honey bees are hovering and zipping happily about. I have started a few tomato plants (“few,” in Tien terms, meaning about fifteen to twenty – that is very restrained for a Tien!) but I think I will otherwise let the garden lie fallow this year. I have been hard-pressed to keep up with the garden over the last few years, and lately it’s been coming down to a choice between gardening and other creative pursuits. Last year I did almost no weaving or (personal) blogging. This year I’m trying to declutter my life to open some space for the creative work I value, and have done way too little of in the last few years.
Decluttering has been the big theme for the last three days, in fact. Friday I went through all the kitchen cabinets and got rid of the accumulated detritus of the last few years. There is something wonderfully freeing about finally discarding that half-empty bottle of rice vinegar that your wife brought as dowry when she shacked up with you fifteen years ago and which has not been used since. Plus, what on earth were we doing with four containers of baking powder, three jars of molasses, two bottles of liquid smoke, and a partridge in the kitchen cupboards?? (I’ve never even contemplated planting a pear tree!!)
Saturday I continued my purge, rolling into the dining room, which was suffering badly from “Well, we’re not sure where to put it, so let’s put it in the dining room” syndrome. A ton of junk went into the trash, more got given away.
Jamie also helped me put together my new dye table. My dye studio is my back patio – since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the weather is pretty warm year-round, it never freezes, and it rains only in the winter, infrequently, this works pretty well. But I had been dyeing on a ratty old wooden table with some six-foot boards laid across it, which was a pain to work with. One of the goals of the backyard cleanup was to get rid of the ratty old table and replace it with a stainless steel restaurant food prep table that I could use for dyeing.
Which we did. I don’t have pictures of it just yet because we didn’t quite finish it today – we got it assembled and stood upright, but I haven’t yet removed the protective plastic wrapper or set it up with the plastic bins that I’ll be using it with. But it’s gorgeous – a 30″ wide, 72″ long stainless steel table with two stainless steel shelves underneath. The bottom one is the perfect height to store two 5-gallon buckets stacked one atop the other, or larger stacks of 2-gallon or smaller buckets. The top one is great for smaller boxes holding spoons, syringes, scales, mixing cups, etc. for dyeing. I can’t wait to use it!
Tomorrow’s plan is to finish reorganizing the kitchen and dining room and scrub down everything for the dye “studio”. And then – dive in and actually use the new dye table to dye the next warps for Grace and Maryam! So looking forward to the inaugural dye job.
Stay tuned! (Lots of pictures tomorrow, I promise!)