I hope this works….

If you don't experiment, you don't learn.

Sleeping in the Rain

Today I was rummaging through my under stairs closet looking for an old tarp to use so I could finally sleep outside in my hammock and I came across something else.  My very first tent that I bought all by myself.  It was a Sierra Designs Starlight and I loved that tent.  It started my mild obsession with tents.  It was a single-person tent, it was coffin-shaped and bright yellow and blue and easy to set up.  It had mesh screening on the roof so that you could look up and see the stars. It also had a matching yellow rain fly.  Those were the days before “low impact colors” were popular…..:)

When I worked for the YCC (Youth Conservation Corp) one summer in the 70’s, I had a long commute to work, so I bought the tent.  There was a campground near one of the areas we were working on, so I pitched my tent and me and my Alaskan Malamute stayed there for two weeks at a time.  I was a vegetarian at that time, so bought a wild food identification book and added to my diet what wild things I could find.  Once, I found one brown thing called a Pinesap that wouldn’t kill you if you ate it, so plucked it and threw it onto my soup.  I learned that just because something can be eaten, doesn’t mean it tastes good.  That was the exception to the rule tho, and I happily added Morel mushrooms to my supermarket basics.  Another time I invited my crew over for dinner and had spaghetti.  A dubious look came into their eyes as I expounded on what was in the spaghetti.  No one died – but no one ever came back for dinner.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take my dog with me to work.  Her name was Talia and being an intelligent animal, she got bored.  I had to tie her up when I was away and it must have been agonizing to be outdoors and not able to investigate all the wonderful smells.  One day, I came back from work and found that she had destroyed my beloved tent. Huge holes in the bottom and the rain fly was half ripped off.  I couldn’t sleep in it, so had to go home and take the long commute to work the rest of the week. That weekend I bought some blue ripstop nylon and began to sew. I was able to fix the rainfly with no problem, then I ran out of nylon.  Being from a camping family, we had plenty of it lying around, but most of it was scraps.  There was black, red, grey, green, white and blue.  So I did the rest of the repairs with those scraps…..and a lot of seam sealer.  My tent now looked like a patchwork quilt. I didn’t care, it was waterproof.  While I was sewing, I decided to add some extra touches.  I made little bags to go on the inside of the tent and I added a design to the door of the rainfly.

comet door

comet door

Artfully initialed bag. My initials were CED.

Artfully initialed bag. My initials were CED.

repaired floor

repaired floor

Anyway, the tent lasted for several more adventurous years.  Then I joined the Air Force and got married to a non-hiking man who is a wonderful cook.  I still managed to collect tents tho.  We did primitive car camping instead and I learned that “primitive” is a relative word….especially in relationship to cars.

Anyway. Obviously not finding a square or rectangular tarp that would work for a hammock, I bought a vinyl rainfly for 7 bucks at Sportsman’s Warehouse along with 50 feet of paracord.  I am now ready to sleep in the rain tonight.



of Aprons and Memories

I like to hang clothes on a line.  They smell good, I’m outside, I’m saving money, I’m outside….  In Colorado, we are a “right to dry” state, which means that anyone can have a clothesline in their backyard…..it usually is a roll-up type and if you are renting, the landlord has the final say and if you live in an area with an HOA, their rules take precedence over the state laws…?????? BUT we are a “right to dry” state.  This makes me happy.  When I lived in WA state and when I lived in the UK, I hung clothes out to dry. Even in humid conditions, they got dry.  In the winter, they freeze-dried…  Now I live in arid CO and boy, do clothes dry fast here, even inside.

Last year I made a little clothespin holder that hangs on the line.  It is an old plastic vinegar bottle that I cut up and drew on with magic markers to make a little brighter. It works, but sometimes if the wind is strong, it will fall off and finding clothespins in the grass is not easy, especially when your hubster won’t mow the lawn as often as your neighbors would like.

A few days ago, I saw a picture of a clothespin apron and knew I had to have one.  Rummaging around in my fabric stash I found some potential fabric, but I also found three old aprons that my grandmother had made.  One was red and black patchwork, the second was blue and white patchwork and the third was turquoise with touches of pink and brown.  My grandmother loved brown. I have a twin-sized patchwork quilt she made and the main colors are varying shades of brown, with touches of blue and orange. I recognize some of the fabric from shirts and dresses my mom kept.

My grandmother was a seamstress of mediocre ability. When I was a teen, she made me a pair of gold pants out of polyester that I hated, but had to wear as we were not rich enough to ignore gifts merely on the premise of dislike. I loved my grandmother, so that was another reason to wear them. I’m sure she made me other things to wear, but those pants are the ones I remember.

She was also a woman that didn’t blend in with the crowd.  True, she had married, but she also had a job as a secretary before she met my granddad and she was a member of the Women’s Institute, and went around speaking to other women on the latest medical practices of the day.  I have one of her speeches.  It is about child-birth.  At that time in the 20’s, the best thing you could do when pregnant was to not eat much.  The old wives tale about eating enough for two was considered “old hat”.  Babies were smaller when you didn’t eat much and therefore easier to deliver.  Ether and wine was considered the best pain-killer when giving birth.  My grandmother also included a short dissertation on the latest in child-rearing practices. The one that my mom remembers was that everything had to be on a schedule.  If it wasn’t time to eat, you didn’t eat.  Grandmother would play classical music until it was the correct time.  Both my mom and her sister love classical music.  I guess it was the promise of food at the end….lol   Later on, my grandmother loosened up and became much more easy-going. She was a gracious woman with a good heart who was always trying to help her fellow man.

Grandmother and me working together.

Grandmother and me working together.

It was the turquoise apron that caught my eye as a potential clothespin apron.  The front is partly stained yellow from some unknown substance but there is a row of triangles sewn to the bottom edge,  The whole things looks like grandmother sewed it up by hand. I found some checkered turquoise fabric and decided to use that as the pocket. I also found some pink trim that looked nice around the edges and along the bottom, just above the triangles.  I made the pocket big enough to cover most of the yellow stain. It went together in a jiffy and I am pleased with the results, I just need to wash it and am rather worried that I will ruin it because of its age. I think I will soak it first and see what happens.  Maybe I should have washed it first?  Too LAte!!!

update: I washed it. It held together. I have used it.  It works!  🙂 The pocket looks crooked in the picture. It is not.