Archive for Grandfather’s Wisdom


Old Tools

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Using ‘tools’ in the broadest sense – maybe anything that extends your hands/body to get something done more easily – what is the age of your oldest tools, specifically the ones that have been in fairly constant use?

This is an interesting question for me, and brings an awareness about my life I haven’t had before. There are tools that I use in my life that are almost as old or older than I am. My Mother’s garlic press is still in use, and the pin that holds it together still slips out if you’re not careful. I have some kitchen spoons that have been stirring things since before I was born – both wooden and metal. I have a pottery bread rising bowl that has three little legs and used to have a bail handle. It was used in the warm ashes to raise bread and I still use it. And my Mother’s pastry blender with a handle that my Dad manufactured when the first handle broke. All still in use.

Outside I still use the asparagus knife, the long handled weeder with the steel digger, forked at the end – that I used as a kid on the farm, digging up burdock! I need to fill the handle and reseat the cap – other than that it is an amazing garden tool. I have been working for my daughter in her landscaping company, using this tool at least two days a week for 7 hours a day for almost three years. It’s still going strong when all the new ones have broken or bent.

I have loppers bought in the late forty’s, a brace and bit and the bits to go with it. And some really fine knives.

There’s a little green stool in the bathroom under the sink. My Dad made it when my older brother needed a stool (1942?). It was used by all of us kids, by my Mom in the kitchen, by my Grandma Armstrong to get in and out of the VW Van and now by my grandchildren. It’s not a thing of beauty, it’s a thing of function. It connects me to my whole life – the  little, beat-up, dark green stool.

I even have a willow laundry basket I bought in Vermont in 1966 and I sure wish I’d bought two.

I am totally convinced that buying quality is the best investment you can have. For those things that are used all the time, and will be used by all, get tools that are forever instead of disposable. Your hand and body gets to know a tool and then the good use of it really begins. It’s such a pleasure to use a tool that has been well taken care of and cherished.

I know, some things go obsolete almost before you turn around. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the basic tools that only need elbow grease or skill to have them work. I love having that sense of certainty. I know I am an expert with these tools; I’ve had more than 5000 hours with every one of them.


Oil Spill: Another View

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Mother Earth was tired of the endless trouble around oil. It seems all these humans want is oil. They are spoiling this fine planet as if it doesn’t matter. The endless pursuit of  ‘stuff’ was trampling all over the delicate natural balances of wind, water, plants, and animals on Earth.

“That’s it! I’m done!! They want Oil? I’ll give them oil!” She Who is Our Home shouted; and promptly ruptured a vein.

“Will this be enough to stop the crazy neglect of our planet?” She whispered to the winds.  “Can humans hold the Earth as Sacred, treat the Earth as sacred and save their Home?”

Five years without insects and the world dies; five years without humans and the world starts to recover.  Hum-m-m interesting thought….


Basking In The Sun

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Cats in the Spring time basking in the sun; tulips and daffodils basking in the sun; and the dark, damp earth also basking, warming, sometimes steaming in the sunshine. Me, too. I can feel myself relaxing deep into my bones as the chill of winter easily slips away. Practicing Yoga, sitting in silence, grinning from ear to ear I bask in the Spring sun. As often as possible. Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h

From Grandmother and Grandfather on down the line,  I have watched my family greet the new day, especially in Spring. Some sniffed the breeze, turning to face the flow and catch all the fragrances in the air. Others gazed at the sky first, wanting to see in all directions, gauging the flow of the day by reading the clouds (or lack of) including color, shape, size, movement and the color of the sky as well. How the animals acted, how the air looked and felt, and how sound changed and carried through it. All of this was done with delight!  All of this was part of starting the day and ending it as well.

All of my Grandmothers and Aunts and Mother knew how to ‘bliss out’ in the sunshine, some just sitting on a bench or a wall or a rock in the garden. And some in a rocking chair with a bit of handwork in their lap forgotten in the bliss of basking in the sun. It is amazing how much good it does to relax into a moment like that – instantly ‘NOW’. Um-m-m-m-mm

It occurs to me how much I learn just by smelling the wind. I’ve wondered how much was actually passed on to my children since we were not on a farm anymore. Then when I moved to Denver, my youngest daughter (who had lived here a decade) told me that when I smell cow manure it’s Greely and it’s going to snow.

 The more awareness you can bring to each moment, the more Nature speaks to you. Listen, taste, touch, smell, feel and sense your environment and yourself. Whatever piece of Earth you live on, urban, suburban or rural, She loves to be greeted and ‘read’. There is so much information held there and it’s never the same any more than you can dip your hand in the same river twice.

There is deep wisdom in basking in the sun, smelling the breezes, looking at the sky and being aware of the phrases of the moon. When all other communications are messed up, there is truth in it. If all the animals are running for high ground, go with them as fast as you can. Know where the closest piece of open ground is, especially in a city. Go stand there and grow roots once in a while.