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Many of the companies presenting at Handworks next weekend have contributed door prizes that will be awarded to individuals via a random drawing. There is some really great stuff being offered up for this part of the event. Makes we wish I was eligible. Maybe next time I'll try to register just to see if Jameel or Father John will catch it. Of course I guess if my name was selected as a winner it would be nixed pretty quickly. Oh well, guess not.
However if you registered then all you have left to do is show up to be eligible to win one of the many door prizes.
At the 2013 Handworks event Brese Plane contributed a small thumb plane. The winner was a young man named Aaron Moore. I really believe in the Handworks event and want to see it continue and thrive so this year I wanted to contribute a more substantial tool.
Now all that has to happen is for everyone to make their way to Iowa and spend 2 days immersed in all things hand tool woodworking related. There are people traveling from around the globe to be present at Handworks and I'm looking forward to meeting new people and renewing acquaintances with people I've not have the pleasure of seeing for quite some time.
If you will be attending Handworks and are anticipating making some tools purchases then let me put your mind at ease as far as making the correct selections......the best tool makers in the world will be there......it's very much like the day my friend Charlie Levan was in my wood room selecting wood for the plane I was making for him. He turned to me and said, "you know, there are no bad choices here", it's the same way at Handworks.
See you in Iowa and good luck,
I've recently heard that Blues Legend B.B. King is in hospice care so in his honor my quotable quote for this post is a line from one of his songs,
"Nobody loves me but my mother, and she may be jiving me too",
I think tradition is a good thing. It's something you can depend on and in some instances it's the stuff that makes life worth the living.
I've developed a tradition with two very good friends. Steve Walls and Charlie Levan will take time once in a while to travel from their homes in Dallas, Georgia to Thomaston, Ga. for a visit to my shop. Steve and Charlie are customers but much more than that they're my friends.
Two things almost always occur when they visit. We have lunch at English's Cafe which has been in business since 1929 and sometimes if Julie happens to be off that day she will go into town and pick up food from there. Either way is fine with us, even though actually going to English's is it's own experience.
After lunch we have apple pie that I will have made that morning while they were making their way south thru Atlanta and to my shop. Dallas, Ga. is on the north side of Atlanta and so much so that I often jokingly tell them I think they actually live in southern Chattanooga, Tn.
We could actually eat lunch in several different places and that would be fine but the apple pie is a constant and there can be no deviation from the desert menu.
This visit usually occurs due to my need to borrow tools from them when I'm presenting at hand tool events and part of the deal is" tools for pie". This time around I'll be taking pie with me on my journey to return the tools after Handworks. I'm happy to do so because it creates another opportunity to visit with my friends and partake in the pie. It's a win, win for everybody as far as I can tell.
This past Friday morning as I was preparing the pie I thought it might be a good idea to publish a blog about the process and so I took many photos which I will post here with descriptions. The actual recipe will be offered in pieces in reference to a given photo so if you want the entire recipe you'll have to piece it together yourself but all the info will be included.
Put out your pie crust to thaw. If you're adept at making pie crust that would most probably enhance the pie, however in this instance I used a prepared crust (I usually do) and as long as you buy a quality product these work quite well.
Peel your apples. There are 4 apples in this pie because these apples are quite good size, however if the selection of apples is smaller your may need 5. Granny Smith apples are the apples of choice for pie. There is a good reason for this selection. The texture is correct, they are naturally tart and therefore combine with the sugar content of the recipe for just the right flavor. I've made this pie with other type apples and it was disappointing. Apples that are naturally sweet make for a pie that is too sweet and the texture is all wrong. Take my advice. Stay with the Granny Smith apples.
"Keep it between the ditches"
The variegated Hostas pictured below looked fresh and vibrant this morning with the dew still on their leaves and the dappled morning light making them look well........illuminated. By August the hostas will look dreary and depleted and from the harsh summer heat. Better enjoy them now.
More of the new emerging growth of the ferns,
Spring is a time of new life and revival. I remember helping my father plant azaleas in the edge of the woods behind my family home. I asked him why we were planting them there. He explained that when they matured and bloomed he and my mother would be able to see them when looking out the large glass door in their den. Later in my Dad's life we experience a harsh, hot, dry summer. The azaleas we planted years before persevered and the next spring the color of the azaleas in the edge of the woods was particularly vibrant against the green back drop of the trees. My Dad reveled in the beauty of the azaleas that spring. I'm glad he enjoyed them, it turned out to be his last spring.
I didn't really mean to make this post a melancholy experience but it does help make my point. You only get some many springs in your life, take the time to enjoy them.
On a recent doctors visit my physician suggested it might be time to do some blood work just to establish a base line for further checkups. When the nurse called to give me the results of my test she told me everything was good but I had two deficiencies and I needed to spend more time outdoors in the sun and I needed to include more dairy products in my diet. I replied, "this is all good news, you're saying that I need to do more fishing and eat more ice cream", she laughed and said "I like your interpretation". I now have my doctor's permission to take time to enjoy spring........and ice cream.
"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."
I've been busy making ready for this event and have several tools in process in my shop. I just hope the clock doesn't run out before I get them finished. I of course have to get them completed in time to ship them to the venue so it's not like I have up until the day before the event to get them finished. This shortens my time line considerably, however I won't let it stress me and I won't be rushed. There are some things about these tools that takes a certain amount of time to do properly and there are no short cuts. If you take shortcuts you get a different result, and I don't do "not exactly'. I will opt to show up with fewer tools in lieu of many that were rushed.
I'm not wired to accept less than my best work and that's typically the nature of the tool makers that will be showing their wares in Amana. Many of the businesses represented there blazed the trail of very fine hand tools and they set the bar pretty high. If you want to be among them you have to achieve that level of work, otherwise when your tools are in close proximity to theirs it shows up in stark contrast.
It almost makes me glad that Mr. Studley's work will be displayed at another venue in Cedar Rapids. I'm most interested in getting a glimpse of that legendary kit of tools housed in a finely fitted case. As a hand tool enthusiasts I don't think it gets any better than what will be happening in Iowa next month.
Above: An assortment of rear totes in process. 2 Macassar ebony totes in the foreground, a Desert Ironwood tote and finally at the back one of Olive wood.
Hope to see you there,