Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peter Duck, 1932

Coot Club, 1934

Pigon Post, 1936

Secret Water, 1939

The Big Six, 1940

The Picts and The Martyrs, 1943

Great Northern, 1947

A few Arthur Ransome books I found the other day. Was looking for the first in the series, Swallows and Amazons, but these will do. Finished Coot Club, and The Big Six. Just starting Peter Duck and hope to find the rest of the series with same wonderful covers. They remind me a bit of the kids in the Archers, A Canterbury Tale. Ripping good yarns!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chebeague Island Fisherman's Wet mitten. (after fulling)

Chebeague Island Fisherman's Wet mitten. (before fulling)

I just knit up a pair of these. Bartlett's 2 ply yarn purchased at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. Pattern from Robin Hansen's excellent Favorite Mittens. They knit up very fast, over a weekend , more or less and about an hour to do the fulling (scrubbing in hot water and then plunging in cold water repeatedly). Hoping they will provide some much needed comfort in the winter riding ahead. The fishermen wet these in cold water and wring them out before going out for the day. We'll see how well that works. I suppose it's a bit like a wet suit. I wonder how these would stand up to the famous Dachstein mittens? From what I can tell they seem to be a bit thicker than these. Anyone out there own a pair?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Francis Rogallo, and his wife Gertrude, inventors of the V-shaped flexible "parawing."

Test flight of the parawing.

The Redstone booster carrying the spacecraft is mounted for testing in Langley's Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel.

Lunar Orbit and Letdown Approach Simulator.

Langley engineers check out the interior of the inflatable 24-foot space station in January 1962.

The "Whole Earth" as photographed by Lunar Orbiter V.

photos courtesy of NASA.

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn only by doing them. Aristotle

Friday, September 04, 2009

Gossamer Albatross

Preparing for the first flight, July 16, 1978

Assessing damage, March 12, 1979

Shafter, California. March 13, 1979

Over the English Channel, June 12, 1979.

photos coutesy of Donald Monroe

From Wikipedia: The Gossamer Albatross was a human-powered aircraft built by American aeronautical engineer Dr. Paul B. MacCready's AeroVironment. On June 12, 1979 it completed a successful crossing of the English Channel to win the second Kremer prize.

Very interesting Paul MacCready interview here.

Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight by Morton Grosser gives a detailed account of the project.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Library of Congress. Indian Bone Game on Fourth of July

Hoping everyone has a happy Independence Day.
I'll be making some cole slaw and bags.

Friday, June 12, 2009


plus this

plus this

plus this

plus this

plus this

plus this

equals this

and this.

Perhaps a bit past its expiration date, but this is the bike I cobbled together last summer before the job ended, and boy am I glad I did. Picked up some of my favorite parts, and put together a bike that serves nearly all my needs. A joy to ride, and hopefully, one I'll have at least as long as I've had my Trek (25 years). She feels a tad slow out of the gate, but once we get going, very nice. 4 gears, but I have to stop if I want to change; a chance to take a short break and ready myself.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Whoever has Cold Mountain's poems
is better off than those with sutras.
Write them up on your screen
and read them from time to time.

Han-Shan, fl. 9th century (translated by Red Pine)

Do you have the poems of Han-Shan in your house?
They're better for you than sutra-reading!
Write them out and paste them on a screen
Where you can glance them over from time to time.

Han-Shan, fl. 9th century (translated by Burton Watson)

Two translations of the same poem. Wish I knew some Chinese to see how I feel about this. I like them both, but can't help feeling that reading things in translation is, well, secondhand. One always has the feeling that possibly something is amiss. I experienced this when reading "The Magic Mountain". I'd read the H.T. Lowe-Porter translation several times, but wanted to read the John E. Woods translation, which I found slightly disappointing. Was it the translation or my familiarity with the earlier version? Which is "closer" to the original?

and to complicate it further:

Poems of Han-Shan?
Better than the sutras.
Post them on your screen
and remind yourself from time to time.

"Thomas Mann and Proust were lucky in their translators." Cocteau.

One more for the road:

In a tangle of cliffs, I chose a place -
Bird paths, but no trails for me.
What's beyond the yard?
White clouds clinging to vague rocks.
Now I've lived here - how many years -
Again and again, spring and winter pass.
Go tell families with silverware and cars
"What's the use of all that noise and money?"

Han-Shan, fl. 9th century (translated by Gary Snyder)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I've been busy sewing and have a few tote bags made of waxed cotton and canvas with a zippered pocket on the inside. bag dimensions: 16.5" w x 14"h. pocket is roughly 9" w x 5" h. Etsy store should be up soon, still working out some details. If you're interested send me an email: franklinstreetbags(at)gmail(dot)com. Perfect for the market, rain or shine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Example of blind stamping

Large A2 cryo knife

Beaver stick

Knife by Fred J. Birck, ca. 1913-25

all photos courtesy of Jeff Peachey

I have only minimal experience with book conservation, but as a preservation technician for several years, and as one who has worked in libraries and archives for nearly a decade, I think I can safely say that Jeff Peachy has some wonderful ruminations on the craft. He obviously knows what he's doing and speaks on a number issues that come his way during his daily practice. Well worth a look see. And he has footnotes! His tools look good, too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Photo courtesy of the Rue des Archives/The Granger Collection, New York

Erich Abram, Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni during the ascent of the 28,250-foot K2 in July 1954.

"Achille Compagnoni, one of the first two men to reach the summit of K2, the world’s second highest peak and among the most dangerous, died Wednesday in Aosta, in northwestern Italy. He was 94."

more here and here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Within a week I have had made a pair of corduroy pants, which cost when done $1.60. They are of that peculiar clay-color, reflecting the light from portions of their surface. They have this advantage, that, beside being very strong, they will look about as well three months hence as now,—or as ill, some would say. Most of my friends are disturbed by my wearing them. I can get four or five pairs for what one ordinary pair would cost in Boston, and each of the former will last two or three times as long under the same circumstances. The tailor said that the stuff was not made in this country; that it was worn by the Irish at home, and now they would not look at it, but others would not wear it, durable and cheap as it is, because it is worn by the Irish. Moreover I like the color on other accounts. Anything but black clothes.

Henry David Thoreau
May 8, 1857

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kiln shed

Main fire box.

Frank stoking the fire.

"Peep" hole

Inspecting the flame.

Junji and Willi

Sealing up the stoking ports.

Spring firing at Willi Singleton's noborigama kiln, Hawk Mountain, Pa.

Spent the weekend helping to fire a kiln. My brother has been helping out for nearly a decade and I was lucky enough to be able to join him this time. When we arrived Saturday evening they were stoking the main fire box. By the time our shift came around early Sunday morning, they were stoking the second chamber. By 4 in the afternoon all the chambers had been fired and the kiln was sealed up. In about three days, after the kiln has cooled down, the pottery will be removed. Think barn raising and sitting around a campfire all wrapped up into one. The flame is mesmirizing and has something just a little bit holy about it.

Willi on firing: "Firing is not something to be rushed through as quickly as possible. The Thanksgiving ritual of spending all day cooking the turkey and side dishes is more like my idea of firing: gathering with friends and spending all day (or two) enjoying the undertaking. The memorable Thanksgivings in my life have been as much about preparing the food with people you enjoy and care about as sitting at the table and partaking of the meal. My firings, which take place twice a year, have been made possible by the friends and family that gather kiln-side and work in concert. It may not be gourmet cooking, but the warmth and camaraderie can be felt, and the opportunity to interact with the powerful flame leaves an impression on participants. It may look like a party at times, but there is serious work going on and the experienced stokers know that good timing and focusing on the flame is paramount." from "Slow Clay".

Working with a group of people, many of whom I had never met before, was a blast. Thanks to Willi, Celia, Tom, Bev, Junji, Micah, Charlie, Audrey, Andrew, Frank, Barney, and many others who made the weekend so much fun.