Thursday, July 30, 2009


I saw a knitted hemp pillow online with a $570 price tag. (the one with the patch is only $525, I think it was. I'm still working out the patch bit. . . . 'now just why are we patching this new pillow? So that it looks old? and we pay more for that? And why was that again?') I liked the cable one, but $570?!

"Ridiculous!" I thought. "I'll make my own!" and so I did.

Two weeks later, I had my own completed pillow - in a beautiful celadon cotton.

At some point, I did the math: OK. Two weeks - but not full-time - but yes, probably a good 40 to 50 hours. If not more! (It's fine yarn on thin needles) and then the materials. Hmmm. At $11 an hour, that's just about $570 for the pillow. . . .

Not that the hemp pillow-people are paying anyone eleven bucks an hour to knit pillows for them, but that's part of the problem, isn't it?! Somehow we've lost our yardstick for what's valuable, and what's worth what. I couldn't make a living making and selling hand-knit pillows because there aren't many people willing to pay $570 for a pillow. And, quite frankly, I don't know that I would accept a job that paid $11 an hour. Yet there are other handmade pillows - knit ones, too - for a whole lot less than $570. That's where it gets scary. Somewhere out there, there are people knitting these things for a whole lot less than $11 an hour. They may even be knitting them for less than $11 a pillow for all I know. Meanwhile, we're getting used to thinking that hand-knit pillows shouldn't cost $570. . . . We fail to see the work that goes into it; we certainly have failed to pay for it!

This is what I get for re-reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged after getting my PhD. . . . Add Ayn Rand, the non-instrumentalization of another person (part of Kant's Categorical Imperative) and E.F. Schumacher's Economics as if people really mattered and you get valid worries over the price of knitted pillows online. . . .

Meanwhile, I've got my pillow, to which I do not ascribe a monetary value. That's fine, so long as I don't fall off the other side of the horse and say that nonascription of monetary value is the same as a zero monetary value, or that there is no monetary value to be ascribed to the ability to create something that is beautiful, that goes beyond even the hours it took to make it.

Thankfully, no, the pillow is not for sale.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

canine cookies?! canine cookies. get 'em while they're hot!

Luther would like you to know that he receives absolutely no compensation as spokesdog for Carol's Canine Cookie Rolls (website still under construction).

That's because he isn't the spokesdog for CCCR, although he would like to apply for said position. He'd be a handsome spokesdog, well-spoken.

Remuneration could be in the aforesaid Cookie Rolls - which he'd never tried before last week - but which, after just one smell, he fell head over paws in love with! I've never seen anything quite like it. He didn't gobble the Roll, he inhaled its aroma. He licked it. He gently nibbled at it with his front teeth. He inhaled the aroma again. He finally bit into it and chewed - really seeming to taste it, savoring and enjoying it - and licked up every crumb and looked around for more.

Here's a picture. Carol had sent a bag of assorted cookie rolls (I have no idea what kind they are, but they all smell delicious!) and another bag of wee training treats for Luther through the queen-mum. I took one crappy picture with the business card, which didn't really turn out, but the information is Carol's Canine Cookie Rolls Home of the original Banana Fanny Roll", Carol Beatson, Owner/Executive Chef. They have a web site address, but (like I said) it's still under construction. Bummer! (Carol, go to Blue Oryx Simple Solutions for a quick, easy and inexpensive online sales presence, with shopping cart! No, I don't get a commission there, either. . . .) But for future reference, the Canine Cookies website will be here. In the meantime, written on the back of the business card: "To Order, Please Call 571-313-8284"

Sorry. No clue on cost. Ours were free. FREE! ["CAROL! Please send more cookie rolls, please!" - Luther howling, there. . . .]

It's a diabolical plot. Send free cookie rolls and get 'em hooked on the things. Suddenly the old Milkbones don't look so good any more. . . . They smell like saw dust.

These things look like you could have them with a glass of wine. Not that I did, but I did think about tasting them. But I didn't. Luther loves 'em, and I don't know when we'll be getting any more. If every one of you reading this calls Carol and orders Carol's Canine Cookie Rolls, telling Carol "Luther sent me", perhaps she'll send more. And tell you what, if she sends more, Luther says he'll share.

Course you'll have to fight him for them. . . . He is over the moon for the things. And there's not that many left. . . .

Friday, July 17, 2009

stash selections

We had dinner with dear friends last weekend, a beautiful evening, joint-project cooking, and an incredible setting:

on the water, with candles, fireflies, potted hibiscus trees in bloom and a table setting that looked like something out of House and Garden Magazine (although I said "Martha Stewart" when I complimented daughter J., which I'm not sure she appreciated. I meant it was thoughtfully beautiful, not that it was Martha-Stewart-fussy, which so many people take from any Martha reference. . . . but I like Martha! sorry.)

Anyway, all this leads to my having noticed: the table runner.

J. had put a gorgeous one on top of a lovely table cloth and I was just struck by how practical that is! And then I remembered this - a roll of yarn-dyed linen I am ashamed to think how long I've had, given to me by the queen-mum oh so many years ago (after she'd had it probably longer than she cared to think!)

It could stand a good ironing. But hey! After languishing in several countries in trunks and assorted linen closets, I didn't want waste any more time by just moving it into the ironing pile. . . . who knows when it would see the light of day again?!

I am advised (as I recall) that this was the standard source of dishtowels in years gone by - one merely cut off the desired length and hemmed it.

I've got another roll just like this one that's destined for the portico. With an orange and yellow stripe. To run right down the middle of the tablecloth out there. Thanks J! What a great idea. I'm so glad to have finally found a good use for some gorgeous vintage fabric from my 'stash.'

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

and. . . .??!

Whaddya do with these guys?

Besides arrange them in whimsical ducky poses?

Seriously - any hints?

No, these are from a friend's garden (although I believe the failed garden might be harboring a squash or two). . . . and no, I don't eat squash either. But hopefully the other greenwood inhabitants and visitors will!

Now. First things first. Do you peel 'em?

They sure are colourful!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


As in: "That first-grown tomato is history."

Stay tuned for new veggie pictures! (Be still my beating heart. . . .)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

moving indoors

As it's July, it should come as no surprise that it's hot outside. I take that back. It's not really all that hot - still below 90, which officially counts as HOT - but the sun has been out unrelentingly, and I stay out of the sun these days. That means I have a limited window of time in which I can be outside, unless I'm in the woods.

The good news: the house stays nice and cool, so far even when it's pretty scorching outside. We have yet to turn the air conditioning on! I simply close the windows that face towards the sun (and that's the front of the house - and the side, in the mornings) and put the fan on if there's no breeze. At night, the windows get opened again, and the cool temperatures cool the house off by morning.

That's one benefit of having slate floors and a conditioned crawlspace under the house. It's not quite the same blessing in winter. . . .

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

eat your vegetables. . . .

I'm sorry. I can't help myself. I don't like aubergines or tomatoes, but I am obsessed with the day-to-day accomplishments of them growing!

Look - the aubergines are getting a whole lot bigger.

And here, see the first reddening tomato! Unfortunately, the bugs got to it before I did. . . . but I'm letting it continue to ripen on the vine in the failed garden, just so the tomatoes in the tomato garden have something to emulate. From where they are on the other side of the pasture they'll never see the bug holes.

Also today, I ate my first wild raspberries. Only two so far, but there's lots more where they came from! Still ripening. . . .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July warfare

Coneflowers are said to be pretty nigh indestructible. Bugs don't touch them; neither do deer. They're prickly things, no aroma, but the colours are nice and they come back every year. What's not to like?!

I splurged this year and got one of the new cultivars that have scent, even prettier colours, and gorgeous names! Summer Sky - said to be the most fragrant of this new strain. They're gorgeous.

This morning, something looked wrong. The petals were missing! I walked over and this is what I saw. Note to self: fragrance can invite unwanted attention. I recall that Luther had also immediately tried to taste one. . . . this should have been a sign. Anyway, the culprits (and there were three) were also summarily executed, like the guys feasting on our aubergines! Constant vigilance is the order of the day. . . .

Luckily, I have only one of the Summer Sky's - and the other run-of-the-mill echinaceas are doing just fine, thank you very much. Several of them have been munched on, however, which I blame on the odorific ones. I don't know if they'll last here. We'll see.

They are pretty.