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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Taking Down Winter

So Thursday morning we wake up to nasty freezing rain all over west Michigan, but the promise of 40 degrees by noon, so I and dozens of other schools post a two hour delay to let our students and families take their time on the roads. That part worked with no complaints. Noon came. Still no 40 degrees. Three:05 dismissal came still no 40 degrees. They promised us a warm front on the heels of Thursday’s rain, but what did we get? Six inches of snow during the day Friday. I’m talking "sifting, blowing, drifting, growing" snow. This was not in the forecast! We canceled all after-school activities. Last night, we got three or four more inches, and they're talking about more lake-effect for our county overnight.

I love snow. I really do, and I must admit even this current snow has been beautiful to watch coming down, but the rest of my family is weary of it. Today, Julie declared her own personal end to winter.
Like most elementary-education-types, my wife decorates her classroom in standard “monthly themes.” February is, of course, red hearts; March brings green shamrocks; October pumpkins, etc. You all remember—some things haven't changed since we were in grade school. Well, to a lesser extent, Julie does the same thing here at home. Fall is all harvest; in November, rather than decorate just for Christmas, she goes with both Christmas things (that get put away at New Years) and lots of general “winter” things—particularly snow men, and all sorts of “cozy” things on the shelves, walls, etc., and these stay out all winter. To really do winter right... it takes a village.

About twelve years ago, a dear neighbor of ours on Berkshire Road gave us this blue
Berkshire House” from Department 56's New England Village. Each year after that, we added one or
two pieces until a few years ago when the mantle ran out of real estate.

The snow village stays up until Julie changes the house over to “spring.” Today was the day.

The bridge on the east end of the village reminds me of the bridge my dad built over the creek on our land. My nephew Ben has a picture of him and his grandpa fishing off the side of the bridge just like these two in the village.

The "set up" is like a very detailed train diorama without the train. It's a nice change of scenery for about three month, but now it's all packed away again until next November. March 17th it becomes official, but in the meantime, inside at least it's spring!

Here’s a tip: If you have a village and would like to add a touch of “realism” with some bare trees. I made those trees beside the blue house out of bundled fine stranded copper wire. Just gather wires of various diameters. Keep the sheathing on the bigger piece for the trunk and root base; force other narrower wires into the sheathing as you go up; slop hot glue on the whole thing for “bark.” Take the sheathing off the ends of the branches and untwist the wires into ever-smaller branches and twigs; dab hot glue wherever you need some “thickness” then paint and “frost” with white. If you click on that first picture of the blue house for a close-up, you'll even see a knot-hole in the trunk—that was a bit of empty wire sheathing pulled off from the branches. These two trees have heavy 2” washers on the bottom for weight and balance. Just think like a tree and it’s easy, but I will admit it takes about an hour a tree even after you know what you’re doing. [On an unrelated closing twang: My use of the words It Takes a Village should not be construed as a political endorsement for this Chicago-born New York senator who spoke this morning at a church in Kentucky where she could "just be herself". =) ] .


Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I'd rather leave the X-mas stuff on the mantle until spring--you know, the cottony-white snow and village--rather than have the real stuff outside that long. However, I understand, just because the weather isn't cooperating outside, doesn't mean it can't inside.

4/3/07 12:28 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

We woke up to some good news. The lake-effect inches they warned about did not happen so the driveway and roads are still clear from Saturday's work out. (I began qualifying snow removal as a "work out" when my snow blower stalled a few weeks ago. =)

4/3/07 8:31 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Oh ye of many talents... trees using a glue gun, washers and wire! I continue to be amazed. Is your wife amazed too? Still no snow in NC, I just wanted one good snow but I'm like your wife... it is time for spring! Maybe next year.

6/3/07 7:53 PM  

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