The holidays are over and the cold snap has broken so I’m no longer hauling wood and loading a stove every hour or so and fretting about farm animals suffering in below zero temperatures. There are difficulties getting anything done in a timely manner this time of year, not the least of which is the lame internet access available where I live. Getting media uploaded for publication can take days – yes, days. Consequently this particular post will be without video, bummer.
A few weeks ago began the loom move I wrote about in A Warped Sense of Fun. There must be something about holiday weekends that attracts us to seemingly impossible tasks, New Year’s seemed to work for those of us committed to follow through.
Let’s begin by saying it was cold. Bone chilling, icy, snow on the ground, windy, cold. Dressed for the weather we arrived at Peggy’s barn to initially figure out how to get the engine hoist where it needed to go. It was heavy, on wheels and there was nothing but a snow/ice-covered path to get there.
The legs came off and on a sled it went. The beginning of a day of figuring out how to do things with what we had.
A lot of planning and discussion went on with this group. How to move the base, where to place the head, how to pick it up. Slow and steady was the call of the day, much different from the last session where everything seemed so rushed.
Planning – tools and parts in place.
Wondering if a plan will actually work.
For as much trouble as we had getting the head off and moved initially things seemed to go more smoothly moving it around in the shop and putting it back where it belonged. Although about this time I was thinking my father and grandfather would be thinking of much easier ways to do this stuff (or laughing at our ineptitude). Knowledge and experience, it’s what we’ve lost and none of us are the wiser until we work with things whose time has long passed.
Up and put in place.
Slow and steady.
As this was hanging in midair I couldn’t help but admire the paint Lenny had so painstakingly applied during its restoration. It was a true labor of love.
Trying to get things put together.
Once the head was on the beater was put in place.
Finally it looked like a power loom again (something I wasn’t sure I’d ever see).
These are the faces of people who have accomplished something. I love being involved in this sort of thing. It makes you think until your brain hurts. Everything you do has risks. Everyone was thrilled (especially Peggy) that the big parts were all moved and put back into place without anyone getting hurt – the potential was certainly there.
We went in for some coffee and soup once the work was done for the day, a time to rehash what had just happened. Richard commented on what a satisfying afternoon it had been. It was a considerably different atmosphere on this workday. Evenly paced, well thought out. We did have our token youngster with us, we needed a strong back. Andy is an old soul though, he seems to be channeling the mechanics of way back. He gets it and loves it. He is in this to see it run, not just to get it moved. Good work had been done. The loom has a way to go before it’s running but we no longer need a hoist to do the work.
I lost my grandfather decades ago, I was 20 at the time. There are pieces of him everywhere still in the house I live in. My father never got rid of anything – he had a desk drawer set up exactly as his father had, with his father’s things – a shrine of sorts. Family members kept the stories alive. The woolen mills were there lives. I am a kinesthetic learner. Watching Peggy weave, learning to build chain, winding bobbins, fixing broken threads, just listening to the loom run always seems to bring up more questions. This is a visceral way to learn but it has given me the sights and sounds and smells of something that is part of who I am and where I come from. Figuring out the mechanics is something we have all done, back generations and it feels comfortable and comforting to recognize that this sort of thing is genetic. It’s also fun to work with people whose brains work the same way as mine.