Monday, February 15, 2016

Update and Winter Wheat

It's been, well, interesting lately.  I suppose that's a good word for it.  I'm working back into sewing after I had a mishap with my hand crank and a finger, but it was the first time I've ever had a needle through the finger since I started sewing 32 years ago.

I've also been writing again, and after filling 5 notebooks and over 50 pieces of notebook paper, I've put it aside for the moment.  If I had a camera, I'd post a picture of the fountain pens I've been using.  Since I can't, they are (so you can look them up if you wish): Edison Nouveau Premiere in Lilac, Fountain Pen Revolution Triveni Jr in green ebonite, Pilot Metropolitan in purple leopard, Pilot Prera in soft blue (when I discovered that the Metro was too cold on my hand in this weather, I switched the Prera because it was warmer on the hand), and a good old Platinum Preppy (which always work well for me.)  Oh, and on notebook #1 I used an Airmail 67T eyedropper pen (also from FPR).  (Usual legal disclaimers here, NAYY, as we say on Treadle On, all pens and ink I purchased, etc., just a happy customer.)  Inks (because someone will want to know): Noodler's Liberty Elysium (Preppy), custom mix in the Triveni Jr, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune in the Edison, Noodler's Dark Matter in the Airmail, and Pilot blue-black in the Pilots. 

  Anyway, so tonight I'm a bit blue, long story, part of the problem is I've been watching news again.  I wish the news reporters had to live with their own stories the way I have to live with their work.  The saying about "walking a mile in someone's shoes" says it all.  Well, I haven't read much since the CNV started, so tonight I did.  I read the entire book Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker (1944). 

  A little background -- I first read Winter Wheat about 28 or so years ago, when I was around 12.  My grandma had it on her shelf, and living with them on the farm, I didn't see a library as often as I went through books.  Well, when we moved off the farm I was able to claim it as Grandma didn't want it anymore.   It's probably been about 20 years since I last read it.  It's about Ellen Webb, daughter of a Vermont father and a Russian mother, and it leads up to the beginning of WWII.  It takes place in Montana.

  Throughout the story (Ellen's trip to Minnesota for college, then having to leave to teach a year for money) the wheat serves as a backdrop.  It's always there, unobtrusive, yet controlling, and yet it's a friend, even.  If the wheat does well... if the hail didn't get it... if they can sell for a good price... (short version.)  For all the times I've read this book, the optimism never jumped out at me until tonight.  There's lots of bad events that happen in the book, and yet, that wheat is always there to look forward to, and if it's a bad year, well, there's always the next year...

  That theme rings with me, having grown up on a farm.  The type of farming I knew is dead now, a victim of greed and corporations.  It's gone, never to return, and the county I live in, well, let's not go there (also a victim of greed.)  And even as blue as I am tonight, that little flame of hope is still going, "There's always next year.  Things will be better next year."  So, if you need a little bit of earthy comfort, try Winter Wheat.