Saturday night, instead of going to a birthday party with friends, I stayed home sick and built an Erector set. I’d never built one before, but received one as a gift last Christmas & didn’t crack it open until last night. It was fun and not terribly difficult to build.
Invented 100 years ago, Erector sets use nuts, bolts, pulleys, and gears and I had the option of building 4 or 5 different things (that’s why I had extra parts left over). I’ve seen some cool antique Erector sets at antique shops & almost picked one up once. I may do it yet.
For a long time I’d wanted to build one like the legions of children through the years. It’s cool to think of this old cultural bit of playtime that included inventive and industrial components. At least when I built mine, I was away from the tv and internet for a bit, so I do have some degree of self-control and completion. Even though it looks like Frankenstein’s airplane, it’s swell and I’ll have to build another set soon.
by Jonathan B. Perry
Saturday night I went into Ace Hardware to use my $5 birthday gift card before it expired (I’m on their mailing list). I dragged my car the 3 minutes through the snow and ice with the single purpose of buying a tree pruner, one of those telescoping tree pruners for high spots in your tree that you can’t reach with the regular clippers. Now, in December I actually climbed one of my trees to trim it, but that didn‘t feel so safe and I was a bit lightheaded after coming down. I’m not the monkey I used to be. Ace has 3 telescoping pruner models and even though there was a big price gap between the 8 foot and the 12 foot models, I went with the more expensive 12 foot pruner and can’t wait for it to warm up just a little so I can pretty-up my trees.
Taking my long pruner down from the display, it occurred to me how much this felt like a medieval weapon. This was perhaps why I dawdled in the store a little longer, walking up and down the aisles, either feeling like a guard with a spear or a horseless jouster. It was pretty excellent. I even ran into an old friend who was shopping for a drill bit (I won’t say anything about tool size comparison). The cashier asked a bit sarcastically if she could bag it up for me. It felt great to finally get this excellent gardening tool-weapon to add to my arsenol of domestication.
I remember using the telescoping pruner on my grandparents’ property in CA over the years. They had walnut trees, oaks, and eucalyptus, mostly. They’ve since sold the grand old acreage, much to everyone’s great sadness, but I bet they still have their tree pruner. They still have trees. They still like tools. They’re still alive.