Sunday, May 25, 2014

Recycling, Fava Beans and Anadama Bread

Any reference to criminal activity is for entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to me is purely coincidental. 

She decided the bathroom wall color had to go, and rightly so. It was a shade best enjoyed with fava beans and a bottle of chianti- f-f-f-f. We both enjoy painting projects, but hadn't done one together. I came in late, but was happy to cut and roll the ceiling.

Two rooms away is a possession I've had longer than most anything else. At a job site in Bowdoinham, I was tasked with continuing a paint job also from the internal organ series- the kind of grotesquely poor taste that can only be obtained from pricey architectural firms. In a pile of sawdust, lumber scraps and other construction debris was a half gallon cardboard paintpot, half crushed in. I picked it up, straightened it and put it back to work. Many colors later, the pot was no longer flimsy cardboard, but could probably be run over by a lawn tractor with no damage. Thirty years on, it lives in my den and holds things like pens, audio adaptors, spare guitar strings and such.

I've had a nerdish compulsion to reuse things all my life. Part of what drew me to setting my own traps here on the island was the great abundance of lost and abandoned gear. There was a giant mound of rope in my back yard, along with some well aged traps. Along the rocky shore are tons of lost buoys, rope and mangled traps.

I was running short of buoys  a few days ago and knew where to find them. On the wild southwest corner of the island is a rocky cove that is prone to buoy accumulation. We walked down the trail to the shore and picked our way over the rocks to the sweet spot. Dozens of buoys were wedged between rocks, driven up into the puckerbrush and in twisted bales of rope and other gear.

We cinched up three dozen or so, and dragged them back over the rocks and up the trail. One I recognized and took to my neighbor. The rest have been whale-proofed, scraped and painted and now hang in my cherry trees off the side of the shop. They're all different sizes and shapes, but all my colors. They are no longer abrading microplastic bits into the ocean.

It is very satisfying.

P.S. along the lines of reuse, Eva's anadama bread stands up very well to a longer life cycle than you would think. I only had use for half a loaf a month ago and the rest went in the freezer. After thaw, its still very sweet and fresh.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

You're Really Back When...

How I can tell I'm really back on Matinicus:

Aside from starting work at 5:30 on Sunday and going 11 hours or so, it was really the lawnmower afterwards that confirmed my official welcome home.

After said day's work and a couple of congratulatory brews with a friend, I got inspired to start mowing the lawn. This is the season when about the time you finish one end, the other has grown 4 inches or so. I am exaggerating. It actually looks plush for at least 6 hours before becoming shaggy.

I pulled out the Trusty Rusty and found the throttle cable to be corroded in place. Somebody probably left it out half the summer last year. WD-40, pliers and eloquent profanity all fail to loosen the cable. So here it is- how I know I'm really back. I clipped off a piece of trap wire and muckled it around the throttle lever on the engine, and off I went, plushing up the place.

I hadn't thought about how to stop the engine. Usually, thick grass works fine, but not so today. Pliers come back out and silence the motor.

After supper, I went out to finish and knew I was really, really back. The last couple of tablespoons of gas went in the tank and then wouldn't you know it, the elastic band holding my ziplock baggie gas cap in place lets go. After installing the new rubber band, I give a stout tug on the starter cord which parts company with itself.

I pull on the tail end what's left and get it done anyway.