OH yes, my Birthday Boy celebrated his very young 58 years. He was born in 1958, so turning 58 should be a kind of Golden Birthday, right?
He woke up Friday morning to a nice hot breakfast before he had to trudge off to work. He is in a countdown mode now to retirement, 36 weeks and counting. YAY! He loves the park very much, but it's a good financial decision time to retire by the end of the year, but still find some part time things to keep him busy.
He was showered with cards and gifts from family earlier in the week, but I waited until he got home from work to give him my gifts. There were a few ummm "personal" gifts we won't talk about, also some special treats he likes. Then his last present was a big big box....
I had decided to help him find a "hobby" for retirement. I knew he had enjoyed fixing my mom's cuckoo clock (twice now) and seemed to like the intricate workings of the clock. Soooo I found a great deal on the local Buy/Sell/Trade pages of a woman with TWO cuckoo clocks she wanted to sell. She said neither one worked, and she didn't know much about them. They had been gifted to her some time ago and never got used.
Steveio was quite excited to get his new "hobby" .... and darned if he didn't go RIGHT TO WORK on them! Argghhhh!!!! It was supposed to be a pleasant hobby to do sometime when he retired! Nope, not my Steveio!
In ten minutes he had one fully operational and set and working and hanging on the wall. The other one is almost workable, just needs one small part (a bellows for the cuckoo sound) and new pinecone weights for the chains. Both parts are ordered off Ebay and should arrive next week.
They are both valued in the $150 range, so he can now sell them and make some pocket change.
After I pried him away from his cuckoo clocks (unwillingly for sure) he chose the spot to go out to eat. We have heard for three years now to go to a nice little steak house just a bit south of Chilton in a tiny village called Charlesburg. It's called Roepke's Village Inn and features steaks, seafood, German cuisine and has a cocktail bar. Off we went for a great dinner, and even better yet, a surprise dessert for the birthday boy!
(we had told the bartender it was his birthday in hopes of a free drink..
and he must have passed on the word to our waitress!)
Saturday morning Steve got up early and headed over to the Calumet County Historical Museum. We volunteer there in the summer months when the museum is open on Sundays. The spring cleanup crew needed some help with a big Black Walnut tree. Last week Steve went there and helped cut it down. This week they cleaned up and chipped up all the branches and cut the wood into usable chunks.
He was done by 9:30 and rushed back home to me. We had seen an auction in the paper with listings of many many farm tools and commercial machinery items. Hidden down in the fine print, Steve had spotted the word "loom" and we decided to go have a look-see.
Like I really need another loom, eh?
We got there and saw lots of farmers, very few woman, and a lot of eager beavers perusing the shotguns, tools and farm machinery. I found a pallet of assorted old wood and wires and rusty stuff.. Yup.. it was a LOOM, alright!
One elderly gal was poking at the pile, as well as a Mennonite gentleman. She asked him if he fixed those kind of things. He replied that he had one at home that nobody used. I jumped in and said it was missing parts and had broken pieces. (which it did, I don't lie) They turned away from it and never looked at it again.
We hung around the auction most of the morning.... Steve bid on a group of electric appliances, and he won them for $3.00 It was a commercial ice crusher worth over $100 new and a four piece waffle iron like new that retails for $39.00 Not bad for $1.50 each! Margaritas and waffles???
I placed a bid on a long Rubbermaid box of quilting fabrics, which I won for $10. The auctioneer threw in a big box of a dozen or more flannel-backed red polka dot picnic tablecloths and a dog bed and a seat cover.
Oh vey! All I wanted was the fabric! LOL ..... heck, even the Rubbermaid container was worth the $10 and will go nicely in the basement storage compartment of the motorhome.
We sat patiently on our lawn chairs till noon... while people bid on farm stuff, lawn stuff, crazy stuff and junk stuff. We bought a burger from the little cook in the motorhome who vendors for the auctions. Soon they were coming up towards my little pile of pitiful lumber that constituted a loom, warping rack and spindle rack... with assorted tools in a box marked "Grandma Vetting's Old Rug Loom".
I looked to the sky and said to Grandma Vetting, now undoubtedly in heaven... "If you want someone to use that loom again, you can put in a good word for me, okay??" I whispered to Steve that my top dollar budget was going to be $50 bucks. He said I could go higher if I wanted to. Awwwww see what buying a guy a couple cuckoo clocks can accomplish???
Normally for our area of the country, a 2 harness rug loom goes for about $200 if it's in good working condition. This one wasn't.
I held my breath as the auctioneer opened the bidding
I raised my little number 74 card up high!
TO NUMBER 74"
We got what we came for, and loaded up the car. Steve's appliances, my fabric and the LOOM! We loaded up the car to the hilt, and didn't need to run back home for our Tracker SUV. It all fit!
The loom is called The Little Dandy, and was made probably in the earlier 1900's by the looks of it. It has been used a LOT but made of solid hard rock maple and made to withstand the tests of time.
We got it home and laid out the pieces
in the last available spot in my Loom Room studio.
I quickly moved the coleus plants to the front porch to make more room.
I winter them over indoors and wait till May before I plant them outside again.
(Dont'cha love the rainbows from the leaded glass window overhead?)
As much fun as it was getting the loom, also it was a lot of fun exploring the box of "go withs" that I won too. These are tools used by some long ago weaver named Grandma Vetting. This is a hand carved shuttle that was used to weave in the headers on each end of the rag rug. There were assorted rag shuttles too, but I prefer using longer shuttle sticks for my rugs.
I wonder how many miles that thing traveled back and forth
in the open shed of the loom warp,
year after year,
making more and more rugs?
This is a very creative tension box!
I have a nice newer one, but I think I will give this one a try.
It's used to group all 24 threads from a rack of individual spools,
and load the threads carefully onto the loom,
one section at a time, under correct even tension.
Steveio helped me set up the loom. I found out that a weaving friend in New York, Hilary, of www.crazyasaloom.com
had once owned the exact same loom. She had since sold it to a student. She asked the student to take some quick digital pics and forwarded them on to me. Ain't technology great? In less than an hour, we had the loom totally together!!!
I want to replace the red and white poly ropes with some proper sash cord (no stretching) and even out the harnesses after putting on new heddles. The original ones are so rusty they will mark up the rugs during the weaving. I just need to have Steve cut off one of my longer reeds to fit the beater, and we will be ready to wind on some warp thread and try this thing out.
I know it's kinda in the way here, and not a lot of room.
I have to weave on it first and decide if I want to keep it,
or finish restoring it and make it work
and maybe then sell it to some other weaver.
Maybe it's small enough to fit out on the front porch?
(Steveio would nix that idea!)
Oh... as another bright item of our day:
the poor weeping cherry tree
with the trunk that split over winter has blossomed!!!!
What an exciting day!