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October Morn

October 12, 2013

The morning in Watertown was beautiful. Not what the forecast had been at all. The sky was blue with minimal clouds visible from my kitchen window and the sound of the migrating geese was a perfect accompaniment to the perfect fall morning. But by the time I was getting into my truck to head to the farm it had clouded over and the entire drive down the sun seemed ambivalent about whether to show for work. At Wollaston Beach I could see that the wind was out of the North, making for a low chop in the bay and even some minor whitecaps. The runners were bent into the wind, and even with the windows up and the tide high I could smell the ocean. Not that I needed any confirmation, but on Rockland Ave. in North Cohasset, I could see the big wind turbine, Hull Two, churning powerfully in the strong North East breeze. It was certainly the chilliest day I had been at the farm this fall, though not unpleasant. In fact, by ten I was able to work comfortably in a tee shirt. I had come down with a plan.
Last year, on Halloween or the day after, it had occurred to me that it might be fun to make small decorative brooms to sell at the farm stand. Of course, by then it was to late for last year, but somehow after a year, I managed to remember and my plan this morning was to go out into the salt marsh and cut some salt grass. There are several scythes lying around the farm and I thought I might give one a whirl so to speak. The farmers were wondering what I was up to as I made my way down to the marsh. It just so happened that a lovely gentleman, by the name of Hap Pompeo was visiting as well. He worked with my grandfather many years back, and longer ago than that he had worked with his grandfather cutting hay with a scythe. I don’t know what he must have been thinking when he saw me with the implement, but he was kind enough to wish my good luck on my way by. Well, I hacked away at the tall grass for a bit and came away with plenty of material for my project, but all I could think of was how those Bruegel peasant’s would really have had something to laugh about if they had seen me, and if Death had been as inept as I with a scythe, the bubonic plague would have been remembered not as the Black Death, but the annoying sniffle. Anyway, I carried my harvest back to the barn under one arm and the scythe in the other and began.

I cut a few curly branches that seemed unlikely to ever make it as actual furniture, and tapered the ends with my drawknife. Then I made a small slipknot of twine and slipped it over the end of the stick. After putting some grass around the stick I placed a small loop of string along the grass and put the slipknot over the stick, grass, and loop of string. Then I wound the twine around all three for a couple inches. With the loop of the string sticking out, I cut the twine, placed it through the loop and pulled the string under the wound up twine. I have tried to show that in these photos.

I had several brooms finished before the farm stand opened and sold not a one. But as always, the fun is in the doing. It was a good day for visitors, lots of families, and lots of questions and compliments. Maybe next week I will actually sell something.

The farm stand, by the way, is looking great these days. Harvest, bounty, cornucopia, all these words come to mind as you look at the beautiful result of the summer’s labors. On the way down I had stopped at a bagel shop and was asked if I wanted a tomato on my sandwich. Looking at the tub of green-pink vegetable matter, I bit my tongue and said no thank you. Then I bought a “second” from the farm stand that was better than any “tomato” to come within a mile of that bagel shop and put it on my sandwich. It is a magical time of year.

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