Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Tao of Tools

One of my favorite quotes is from a Terry Pratchett book... I can't remember which one, perhaps Carpe Jugulum, maybe Good Omens.

"If the creator had meant for us to shift rocks by witchcraft, He wouldn't of invented shovels. Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about." - Nanny Ogg

There is nothing in the world like finding the right tool for the job, especially if it is a job you do on a daily basis. There is something sensual in using a tool that fits you - just you- just perfect.
A tool that turns a mundane task into a smooth dance is pure joy.

I have several tools that I love, some have been with me for a long time, through many houses and many different lives. Ones that come to the top of my mind are:

1. My milk pail. It is stainless steel, with a handle and sloping sides. It holds about 2 gallons of sweet, foamy, fresh goat's milk. On top of the pail I have a milk filter - a stainless steel bowl with a hole at the bottom. A stainless steel spring holds a disposable milk filter over the hole, so all that goes into the pail is milk - no hair, no bugs, no yuckies. I've had milk goats since 1982. I think I've had my milk pail about that long. I have not seen any where to get the same set up that I have, even searching on the internet. I think this is my favorite possession. I do so love good goat's milk and I cannot drink bad flavored goat's milk. My milk pail makes the difference.

2. My kitchen broom. Made by Tom and Allie Shadowens back when my two twenty something kids were tow-headed cuties. I have lots of brooms. I have had many more. This one works. It gets the floor clean. What a concept! And the handle is shaped just right for me. It is my broom, the relationship is good.

3. My camera. I've only had it about 5 years. When my grandfather passed on, he left me a bit of money. I bought a lap top computer and my wonderous, incredible, fantastic Minolta DiMage 7I. It has taken pictures on trail rides and fashion shows. It has shot photos in the rain and it took some of the most incredible drought dust-storm photos I've ever seen. This camera has been my constant companion and it has never given me any trouble - talk about a great relationship. Thanks Boppa!

4. My crochet basket. I do have to replace these every once in a while. They have to be perfect and I spend a long time finding the right one each time. This current one is several years old, and still in great shape.
I started making Spirit Bells in 1987. Since then I have crocheted thousands. My crochet basket travels with me everywhere. It is full of crochet hooks, bells, metallic thread, cotton thread, my good rings, a turquoise necklace, a clip on bracelet, finger nail clippers, felting needles, some pottery buttons, a book light, a gas card, some loose change, a stuffed snake that a dear friend gave me a dozen or so years ago and my favorite scissors are tied to the handle.

There are other tools that I am fond of - these are just what came to mind. They are woven into the daily strands of my life so firmly that they are almost a part of me.

Have you hugged your favorite tools today?

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