Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Unexpected Visitor

Jean and I have been trying to arrange a visit for a while. One was canceled two weeks ago because of the ice and snow, so I was surprised and elated to hear that she was coming on Monday to spend a few days. It's nearly impossible to characterize the friendship that Jean and I have except to say that it endures. We managed, while tending to our small children, to make baskets, to sew clothes and dolls and quilts, to host neighboorhood cookie-baking sessions and book clubs and potluck dinners, to converse on most matters large and small. Our similarities and our differences informed and strengthened our bond. At some point our lives diverged but our friendship endured.
We have so much to learn about this gardening/hobby farming venture we are getting ready to try and Jean and Doug have already gone through the "growing" pains, so much of the conversation over the few days she was here focused on those concerns. She had given me a bread recipe which I put together while she was on her way here, so she showed me the tricks to baking it. It came from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. She brought a newly butchered and dressed heritage turkey they had raised, and we cooked it in a vinegar and pepper marinade. Delicious! We talked housing chickens, fencing chickens, feeding chickens and watering chickens. We planned a visit with them to learn how to slaughter chickens. And she informed us that the first rule of planning to raise goats is to assume that the goats are smarter than you are.
And of course we talked politics: a new president, the treacheries of the media and the financial concerns we are all facing. We remembered our common stories; we caught up on some of the memorable events we had missed in each other's lives.
Although we both still consider art and crafting, "making stuff", a major part of our lives, our interests have changed. She is a master knitter and I have to read directions to cast on each and every time I do it. She designs and makes quilts with an ease I can only envy. Thus much of our converstion was sharing our current passions. She showed me a book on making silk fabrics and papers from silk cocoons. Eureka! She talked about wool felting, an idea I had decided I didn't have room, resources, or energy to pursue, but I will definitely try it when I go to visit her. We both still have a thing for dolls but come at it from wildly different directions. I shared my interests in bookmaking and bookforms and a common interest was a fabric based book. We have both done some journaling; mine is casual, while hers is on the verge of becoming a personal and public history of the Cherokee people who chose not to participate in the mass movement of the Cherokees known as the "Trail of Tears." She wanted to try rubber stamping to create a valentine for Doug and as we were pulling out stamps to consider, I thought of my Sherril Kahn sets. She took one look at them and had at least "a dozen" projects she wanted to use them for. I gave her a few pointers and went in search of my brayers. About an hour later, I had found the well hidden brayers and she had created the posted card.
A marlevous time was had by all.

1 comment:

Kei Chi Lam said...

Mom, Jean and you are both so gifted :-)