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Quarantine / Permies Project Plan aka the silver lining…

 
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I was thinking about if the place I work closed and we all HAD to stay home because of the coronavirus.  Best case scenario, I’m not sick and I’ve got enough supplies stockpiled to not stress and basically view it as a silver linings vacation.  Lots of daytime hours to work on the projects that I'm trying to squeeze in in the evenings and the (rainy/stormy) weekends.  I started daydreaming about the various projects I could make progress on, the seeds I could start, etc.  

Outside: I would start cutting some smaller trees to use for fencing and a hugelkultur.  Finish clearing away an old shed and prepping a site for the dogwood I just ordered.  Plant the fruit trees when they show up.  Add more layers to my garden site.  Chop/drop the kitchen garden “weeds” and volunteer plants from last year and add some new seeds for this year.  Cut the field in the area where I want to keep some clear space (around the bulbs that are coming up).  Wander around outside and just observe and take pictures when it strikes me.  I love to just BE outside here.

I have the supplies I need for most of these things but ideally, I want to get some manure to add to my garden site and a quarantine would put a damper on that.  

An inside/outside project that I need time to work on is around reconfiguring my zones and my plan.  My current house site will not be my future house  (the plan is to build this year!) but it’s nearby.  What will I do with my current house site in order to reclaim it – after many years of being covered by older /probably in some ways toxic mobile homes?  I need to think/research this.  I can’t imagine that growing food of any kind soon is a good idea even though it will be in the lower zones.

For inside / quieter options that are permies-related, I would start wading through more of the freebies I received for supporting the Better World in Your Backyard kickstarter – yay and to hell with my data cap!  Peruse my seed catalogues.  Read EVERY thread on permies, not just the ones I have time to read.  Basically focus on learning more about all the things because I have time to do so.  Not totally permies-related but catch up on some Netflix shows that I've downloaded at the library and work my way through the unread books on my shelf.  Or re-read old favorites.  

************************

I’m thinking for people interested in the PEP/PEX “badges” this would be a great time to make progress on achieving these too.  What’s PEP/PEX?  https://permies.com/t/96687/PEP-PEX

Recent posts about PEP/PEX – see if you find one that piques your interest:
https://permies.com/f/178/

Creative uses for broken washers / dryers:
https://permies.com/t/135617/permaculture-upcycling/ungarbage/Creative-ideas-parts-broken-washers

Make a kickass castle (I WANT THIS!  I WANT TO MAKE THIS!):
https://permies.com/t/132182/Building-materials-doll-house-castle

Here’s a 12-days of Christmas project that R Ranson did last year.  I remember looking forward to the daily updates:
https://permies.com/t/132172/permaculture-projects/Renovating-Loom-Room-day-Challenge

And an herb spiral (makes me wonder if anything is sprouting yet):
https://permies.com/t/133454/permaculture-projects/Herb-Spiral-perty

Maybe it’s time to start on your list of what you haven’t tried but want to:
https://permies.com/t/134860/haven

What’s your dream?  What’s your plan?  Do you have the supplies for a best/worser case project list?  I’m guessing I’ll be inspired by something one of you posts and need to get some supplies - so hurry and post before we’re all quarantined.  ;)

(Please note: There are other threads that discuss the risk and serious aspects of a possible pandemic so let’s not get into that here.)
 
master gardener
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Since I'm pretty much on property the majority of time, having to quarantine-in-place won't make a huge difference other than not running errands. That said, if *everyone's* home all day, having a bit of space is a good thing, so.... I planned in advance today by getting a light hung up above an old counter in a trailer hubby bought. It's not a huge space to work, but it would be large enough for small projects. There's a comfy camp chair there also, and with the light, I'd actually be able to sneak over to read a book for an hour without interruptions! If I take my insulated tea mug, I'll really have it made!

There are plenty of projects on my "gardening to-do list". I've got all the concrete blocks I need to build a second raised bed, but working on that stalled because there were trees blocking the sun that hubby finally agreed to help remove. The trees that are there are either already showing signs of rot, or are small with the potential to be huge. Getting them and the Himalayan Blackberry out will allow me to plant 2 apple trees, a mulberry, a fig and under-story plants like the 3 black currents I rooted last year that would like a new home. I've even got a couple of rooted seabuckthorn for nitrogen fixing and 3 thornless blackberry babies to run along whatever fencing I decide to use to keep the deer at bay long enough for plants to get established.

So yes, Sonja, with a little planning, many people who may find themselves quarantined but not too sick (many young people have fairly mild symptoms from some reports) could find productive, useful, cost-effective ways to fill their time. I realize that for people who rely on an outside income things may be scarier, but if the time off means they get some hugel gardens built, they may discover that the money will be made up eventually with lower food bills, or spending time on a home study program may give them an extra skill that will help their financial recovery. Just sitting at home watching the TV isn't the only approach!

If someone needs a *really* cheap project, I've been wanting to try this one: https://permies.com/t/40025/ungarbage/twined-rag-rug
I did "rag rug" making on a loom decades ago. Several rugs I made are showing their age, but 30 years for a bathroom rug is a good score! So if you're stuck at home, here's your chance to go through closets and drawers for clothes you won't likely wear again, and make something useful out of them!
 
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The term in the news today is "Social distancing" which is basically minimizing situations where it's easy to spread illness between people.  So large groups, not going shopping more than needed, working from home if possible.  

I don't mind being stuck at home.  I have a lot to do and going out among other humans zaps my strength.  

There are a few home improvement tasks I want to learn and I want to get the garden off to a good start this spring.  If things get worse, more food will be better than less especially because a good chunk of our fresh food comes from overseas.

I'm also thinking about learning to make more youtube videos.

And it might be a lot of fun to learn a new skill.  I've been wanting to learn how to frame-knit (where you have lots of little pegs instead of two pointy sticks)

 
r ranson
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I like how one official put it - in a very Canadian way - Prepare as if you are preparing for a major snow event where you may be stuck inside the house for a week or three.  

That puts it in a different light.  I know how to do that!

If the weather is good, I'm going to sew some aprons and probably figure out a pattern for some farm skirts (lots of pockets, elastic waist, long enough I don't show my underthings if I fall over while wrangling sheep).  If the global trade breaks down, the price of clothing is going to skyrocket.  Best do some mending and patching while I'm at it.

But it means the mail-order system will work (unlike a snowstorm) so I'm going to plan some weaving projects.  I might even mailorder a tool I need to learn a new technique.  

 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:I like how one official put it - in a very Canadian way - Prepare as if you are preparing for a major snow event where you may be stuck inside the house for a week or three.



I like that a lot because it makes it usual and non-panicky.  

Concern is warranted but panicking is unhelpful.

I have so many projects to do at my dad's house in town, which is where I would quarantine if there's an outbreak in our region.  I'd rather be out in the country, but I have to stay with my old dad.
 
gardener
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I`m a bit concerned, honestly, because I am generally here and my workload is probably going to be normal to even higher than usual, while I may have family members here wandering around underfoot bored! I may have to introduce them to Permies and get them started on some of these projects to keep them out of my hair!!! (I have SO much knitting I could be doing, and painting, and writing, and reading, as always. And the garden.... but everyone else could make me some ferments, and there are the makings for a batch of beer...)
 
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Reading everyone's thoughts makes me want to say that now is a good time to do some planning and getting the supplies that might be needed.

We only go to town when DH runs out of bread and eggs which now is about every three weeks.

If it appears that we might not want to to into town then I can make bread and he can do without eggs.  We have plenty of other stuff we can eat.

If you don't have bread then eat cake.
 
Jay Angler
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Tereza Okava wrote:

I`m a bit concerned, honestly, because I am generally here and my workload is probably going to be normal to even higher than usual, while I may have family members here wandering around underfoot bored!

Exactly the point of this thread, but in your case you need to get your family thinking now about "what if". Would they like a bunch of books to read, firewood to split, seeds to plant, all of the above??? Is there a home-based hobby or experiment they always wanted to try but had no time? Instead of "an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure" we have "a few hours of advanced planning could prevent 2 weeks of sheer boredom".
 
master gardener
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I'd just need to stock up on chicken feed, cream, coffee, & cheese, lol. The freezers, cupboards and pantry are stocked, the propane tank is 2/3full, there's plenty of firewood, hay for the goats, dog food, and we're on our own well, out in the sticks. Between daily chores, seasonal chores, important-to-us hobbies we've ignored (sewing, forging iron, putting up fences, etc) out of necessity, and getting seeds started,  compost turned, and moved, cleaning the hen house, cleaning, repairing, and adding onto the goat barn, building a much needed stanchion, (depending on when it hits, shearing goats & processing the angora, and possibly missing my does!)... Boredom will never be an issue. In fact, exhaustion is more likely to wipe us out, than anything else!
 
pollinator
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I just decided this was a good time to order a bunch of new (to me) old books!  Weaving, crafts, pottery.  Support a used book seller and stock up!
 
Tereza Okava
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Jay Angler wrote:"a few hours of advanced planning could prevent 2 weeks of sheer boredom".


A fine idea. I am unfortunately in one of those work weeks that has me working at 9pm, but I did come up with something without too much effort...... today when I took a break for dinner we played "you be my hands" and my husband cooked. He is willing if a bit trepidatious. I prepped the ingredients, but he made two quick Chinese-type dishes (mushrooms and cabbage, and Hakka chicken with cilantro) while I choreographed. Both used the same base techniques that hopefully he will use again. Taking on more of the cooking would be a massive plus for all of us, especially if I keep working while he is looking to keep busy. Chinese seemed the perfect start, as it goes really fast and the techniques are pretty straightforward and repeatable.
[Many years ago when I taught high school language I hurt my knee, and for a time I had to have a student volunteer write on the board and "be my hands". This was not so different...  
But no advance planning needed, and sows the seeds for future development!!]

Realistically, I sense lots of new furniture in my future. And perhaps a very clean attic? A freshly stained deck? I taught him to make beer, maybe sourdough is next.... this whole "snow event" is sounding better by the moment.
 
Carla Burke
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Hubs wants to teach me how to reload. I want to get the goats sheared, and do some felting! Lol!
 
pollinator
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Good ideas, and good planning!  I’ve had similar thoughts - gardening and taking care of animals and my handicapped daughter will give me plenty to do as the weather warms up.  Indoors, there is still work to be done on the old house, a stack of books to read, plus I have a Kindle Unlimited membership.  There are sewing projects waiting, and writing projects.  I am not at all worried about having enough to do!

Do keep in mind that any recommended isolation period could be longer than three weeks, though.  You would be wise to have food and supplies on hand to last for several months, if possible, not just because of the virus itself, but because supply lines may break down temporarily.

 
pollinator
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Two weeks I can handle. But if one of us gets sick and the time drags on to all of that time plus two weeks after everyone stops being sick, it could get very, very interesting. Mostly it would be about keeping the kids from killing each other, especially the two younger boys who are edging out of that fighting a lot stage. Otherwise, we'd do okay and the day to day routine wouldn't change that much. Feed the dog, let her out, let her in, check email, spending some more time with the kids who usually have school.

We've got food, we've got water, we've got more books than one person could read in a year unless they had literally nothing else to do. Might get a few projects worked on, or some extra reading done, but we don't spend a ton of time away from home as it is. That said, by the time it was over--if it was much more than the two weeks--I'd desperately need to get out of the house and away from the children. This is Wisconsin, and it's not quite spring yet so depending on the day there's only so much outside time we can take without freezing.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Families with school-age children should be prepping to homeschool even if you don’t normally do that.  One of the first things they will close will be the schools.  No biggie if the kids get a few days off, but if it drags into months....

 
r ranson
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Hey, do you guys have some good craft ideas for kids that don't take too much space or mess?  Do we have a permies thread for this yet?

My friend's kids are 3 and 7 and I would love to send her some suggestions if they have to homeschool for a while.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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There are lots of books with craft ideas, and probably lots of websites and YouTube videos.  Maybe Pinterest pages, too.  Crafts and games and puzzles are all good things to have on hand for adults as well as for the kids.

Other things to occupy their time could include helping with chores, learning to cook (a three-year-old can learn to fix a sandwich and put everything away after he’s done), gardening even if only in a window....  One really important thing will be to make sure they get enough exercise.  Kids will go nuts - and drive parents nuts - if they are fidgety from not moving enough.  

 
Sonja Draven
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r ranson wrote:Hey, do you guys have some good craft ideas for kids that don't take too much space or mess?  Do we have a permies thread for this yet?

My friend's kids are 3 and 7 and I would love to send her some suggestions if they have to homeschool for a while.


I asked my sister who homeschools and is artistic for ideas. She's going to send me some links soon and I will share!  I don't remember seeing a thread but I'm not the target audience so may have missed it.
 
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I have health problems, have had them for 20+ years. I always keep projects ready for any energy level. I don't do boredom. My energy level system ends up looking like the layers of a food forest, just as there are plants growing from below ground to in the trees, my projects go from no energy at all to very strong, from creative to practical, from mindless tasks to needing a lot of thought, from indoors to outdoors. The exact tasks change to fit the person, but the pattern is useful to think on. Some of my projects in various categories:

No energy: Read, study on the net, learn things, straighten up files,
Light tasks only: Easy hand work, crochet, jewelry making, sort though seeds
Medium light: Sewing, mending,
Medium: Batch cooking, use up old stuff in the freezer, small garden tasks, fix small machines
Medium heavy: Bigger garden tasks, clean out closets, clean cars, wash blankets, repairs
Heavy: Serious garden work, construction, fix large machines
 
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I've recently developed an interest in weaving. My current loom is made from a cardboard box, with Fiddlestix for the warp beam and heddles, and a reed made from popsicle sticks. I have a real loom ordered, but I'm getting some practice in while making a nice scarf. If stuck inside, I'll probably get a lot more weaving done.

Along with lots of reading, sketching out my garden layout for this year, and doing research for other projects.

I'm introverted enough that I actually prefer being home alone. It's my family that I'm not so sure about. Dad is an extrovert, and one of those people who needs to be constantly overworked. If he doesn't have more problems than he can deal with, he starts inventing them. He would also break quarantine in a heartbeat, and would convince himself that it was ok, because "they didn't really mean _xyz_." (This is the guy who, when floods washed out several main roads around us and State Patrol was begging people to stay home, he decided to go on a road trip through the countryside, and threw an absolute fit when Mom and I refused to join him.)

Living with him on a normal day is stressful. Being cooped up under quarantine for weeks? That's a freaking nightmare!
 
Molly Kay
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've recently developed an interest in weaving. My current loom is made from a cardboard box, with Fiddlestix for the warp beam and heddles, and a reed made from popsicle sticks./quote]

This is off topic but do you have any pictures of this loom? Sounds like a creative improvisation and I'd love to see how you put it together.

 
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r ranson wrote:Hey, do you guys have some good craft ideas for kids that don't take too much space or mess?  Do we have a permies thread for this yet?

My friend's kids are 3 and 7 and I would love to send her some suggestions if they have to homeschool for a while.



When I was a kid I had terrible hand-eye coordination so my mom had me do fake sewing to help.  Essentially letter-sized boards (2mm thick?) with holes drilled through them in a connect-the-dots pattern.  Then I used yarn and a big plastic needle to sew the picture.  I think the 3-year-old would like that.  I assume something like that is still for sale, or better yet make your own with cardboard.

Meanwhile, give the 7-year-old an embroidery needle and have him/her freestyle something on dishcloths.  If there's enough interest the 3-year-old will want to do it too.

Cross-stitch kits can be found 2nd hand for cheap, but the actual cross-stitch would probably be mind-numbingly boring for kids that age.  But they could trace around the pictures using the thread, etc.
 
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I work as a on call substitute teacher while I'm interviewing for a regular job so I'm used to a bare-bones budget.  We just had 2 two snow days last week, so I might be home another 2 days this week as regular teachers and staff are trying to make up their hours.  It's nice to be able to decide how many days I want to work to cover my bills, but I really need something that full time and more fulfilling than babysitting from 7:40-4pm!

I'm prepping napa cabbage for kim chi today, then sorting seeds to be planted for the cold crops by March 10th.

I also have:
warm weathing seeds to start,
4lbs of potatoes sprouting,
3 bins of fabric lengths (3-5yds each) to be hand-sewn into skirts and tunics,
muslin to be sewn into summer curtains,
a raised bed to be dug up and relocated to a perennial border bed,
an asparagus bed to be weeded,
Forsythia to be dug up
A raspberry bed to dig up and made into an annual veggie bed
a dog yard right behind the house full of "Tree of Heaven" weeds that need to be trimmed, poisoned, and dug up
a re-purposed bedroom vanity that is now a bathroom vanity that needs to be tiled
and lots of piano music to organize.
Oh, and TAXES!!!

This weekend I made 4qts bone broth and taught myself how to bake flatbread from scratch.  Mind you, these are the regular evening/weekend chores...  As a precaution, I'll be stocking up on 3 months of meds, 2 months of pet food, and apple cider vinegar, bleach and pantry stuff this week because if I prepare, I probably won't need it!

A quarantine would be "Oh? More time to do chores? Why don't we try to knit a 5 foot tall fence out of fishing line like that lady did in Scotland! I'm quite good with squares and rectangles."

https://returntonow.net/2019/07/25/woman-knits-lace-fence-with-giant-needles/
 
Jay Angler
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That knit fence is just too cool! I wonder how long it will last?
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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joanna Powell wrote:


A quarantine would be "Oh? More time to do chores? Why don't we try to knit a 5 foot tall fence out of fishing line like that lady did in Scotland! I'm quite good with squares and rectangles."

https://returntonow.net/2019/07/25/woman-knits-lace-fence-with-giant-needles/




I could totally see myself crocheting something like that. With crocheting, it wouldn't require a giant-sized hook longer than my arm. Just a large one would do.

I'm not sure I'd be able to lift those knitting needles she's using.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Molly Kay wrote:

This is off topic but do you have any pictures of this loom? Sounds like a creative improvisation and I'd love to see how you put it together.



I don't have a photo handy, but I'll post one as soon as I find where I put my camera.
 
Tereza Okava
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I keep running into pictures of that fence and I think it must be some sort of sign.... MUST REPLICATE!
 
Jay Angler
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Tereza Okava wrote:I keep running into pictures of that fence and I think it must be some sort of sign.... MUST REPLICATE!

What I'd like is an alternative to the artificial material she used. (I'm assuming the "fish net string" is some sort of nylon or other plastic-based material). Suggestions anyone?  Maybe I'd better ask over on the animal fibers forum?
 
Tereza Okava
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I was thinking precisely about this. Someone gave me a synthetic string (which I could totally describe as a thin fish net string) a few years ago and I tried to put it to use for knitting and crocheting and it was a horror show, not just in environmental terms but in terms of twisting. SO TERRIBLY TWISTY!!! I gave up on crafts and tried to use it in the garden and it basically just decomposed immediately in the sun. I think I ended up giving it to some other poor soul.
If I were to try it I`d use some kind of sisal-like fiber rope (not sure what my options are, but I know I can make rugs and such out of that too).
 
Sonja Draven
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With all the very rapid changes here in OR just this week  with schools now closed through end of April at least and restaurants and bars takeout only, gatherings above ten discouraged and above 25 illegal, I'm guessing very soon we'll be "sheltering in place."

I got more seeds yesterday and today I plan to get some chicken wire to finish protecting my garden from deer, plus lavender to plant around my trees, etc. I hope I thought of everything I need but I will be rereading this thread for ideas. My sister just went and stocked up on fabric for specific sewing projects with her kids and they are starting a garden.

How are all your projects and planning coming?
 
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The last of my new seeds arrived earlier this week and I remembered to pick up some potting soil.  So I'm good to start seedlings.

This timing coincides with maple syrup season around here so that will occupy about half my time

After that, I'll be working on PEP stuff stuff.  If anyone wants to help with that, shoot me a PM!
 
Carla Burke
master gardener
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My daughter (23yrs old) was here for a 4day visit, and went home to IL yesterday, to find herself unemployed. The one boss who swore she wouldn't be cowed into closing ended up closing due to lack of business. I'm not surprised, and frankly thought her confidence in being able to stay open was naive, at best. I'm so glad we were in a position to be able to send a bunch of food and herbal remedies back home with her.

Otherwise, we're doing well, and I'm actually enjoying being at home, having a chance to get some stuff done here, without hubs dragging me off to 'just get out, for a while'. Hopefully, the weather will be kind enough soon, too let me get out in the sun and groom the goats, and set how their will has fared, over the winter. They're good, but it's hard to see the details of the wool, in the dimness of the barn. I can see that my buck has snagged his fluff and left some on the corners of the stalls, and they all have a ton of straw sticking out, from playing on the bales I'd left for them. I'm really looking forward to getting them sheared, so I have wool to play with.

Since Keeli (my daughter) was here, I wasn't working on my long list of stuff to do. That starts today! W00t!! First - tackling the naked up emails, while sucking down my coffee! 😁😉☕☕☕
 
Ellendra Nauriel
pollinator
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Finally found where my camera was hiding. This is the cardboard box loom I mentioned. Overall it's pretty basic. The warp threads are tied to sticks, then laid across the open part of the box. The sticks are connected to each other on the underside of the box by some nylon twine. The twine has another stick looped through it, which is twisted or untwisted to adjust the tension.

The reed was probably the most finicky part to make. I had read elsewhere that reeds were too complicated to be worth making at home, and I kind of took that as a challenge. Mine is made from popsicle sticks. There is a hole burned into them at each end, and a threaded rod passed through the hole. There are washers in between as spacers, and a wingnut at each end to hold them in place. It takes some time to get it set up every time, but it works.

If I wanted to combine the reed and heddle into a rigid heddle, I'd probably just glue the popsickle sticks together in groups of 3, with the center stick having the middle cut out. I haven't decided yet if I want to try that.

Side-view.jpg
Side view
Side view
End-view-with-heddle.-The-threads-on-the-heddle-are-hard-to-see.jpg
End view with heddle. The threads on the heddle are hard to see
End view with heddle. The threads on the heddle are hard to see
Close-up-of-the-reed.jpg
Close up of the reed
Close up of the reed
Other-end.jpg
Other end
Other end
 
Carla Burke
master gardener
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personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
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Great news, thought I'd share - my daughter's employer who finally decided she couldn't stay open has decided to pay all her employees, through the week, so they'll be out one less week of pay. I think that's incredibly generous, for a small business owner!
 
Sonja Draven
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Carla Burke wrote:Great news, thought I'd share - my daughter's employer who finally decided she couldn't stay open has decided to pay all her employees, through the week, so they'll be out one less week of pay. I think that's incredibly generous, for a small business owner!


Carla, can you add this to the heartwarming stories thread I just started? Love this and want to keep this thread on topic but not lose neat updates!!
 
Sonja Draven
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Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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There are some good ideas on that list!  

We’ve had an interesting week, and I thought it would be good to remind people to take care of their health in general.  This is not a good time to end up in the ER.  Our issues weren’t particularly preventable, just served to make me think.  I’ve had symptoms for a while which might indicate a retinal tear, and my older daughters finally convinced me to see a doctor about that - I don’t have a retinal tear, yet, but he wants to see me back in a month.  And my handicapped youngest daughter had an episode that same evening which ended up in the ER getting a bunch of tests, and then a visit to a urologist yesterday.  Come to find out, she has a severely enlarged bladder, and apparently spina bifida occulta which may be the root cause of several of her problems.  And if I can’t keep her peeing on her own at home, she has to go back to the ER to be catheterized again.  More tests and procedures are scheduled, but can’t be done until this virus subsides.  So it’s not like someone was stupid and hit their leg with an axe, or fell out of a tree.  But going into hospitals and doctor’s offices right now was an interesting experience, and made me think.

Also, I just saw a request from one of the hospitals in Washington for people who sew.  They have mask kits and need home sewers to put them together.  I would be glad to help with that for my local hospitals if they make the materials available locally.  I’ve done small-scale production sewing at home before (making doll clothes for a vendor on a piece-work basis).  
 
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