I came into last week a flurry of emotions, exhausted from a brain that just wouldn’t shut off. Then BAM – a friend needed emotional support and our cat needed a rush trip to the vet and suddenly I’m busy enough to keep my mind from wandering and I get a little perspective on what really matters and somehow end up feeling back on track.
I posted last Monday with some hesitation because that excessive rambling was very personal and probably more well suited to a journal than the internet. That said, since posting I’ve received more words of encouragement and genuine feedback than any other posts, so I’m excited at the prospect of 1. having any audience at all! 2. having an audience that appreciates my voice!
Last Monday I talked about how I obsess about All the Things That Can’t Be Fixed Right Now and it’s really my strongest talent in this world, thinking about things with no course of action. Note, I didn’t say its my best talent, just my strongest. It’s my default mode, but I’m making a conscious effort to be better. To that end, I targeted the letterpress issue as an immense source of stress right now. I know, I know, that sounds so silly. It’s just a machine. But it’s not a machine. I’m Sisyphus and that hunk of cast iron is my boulder and we’re just plugging along, never actually going anywhere. It’s a symbol of all the things I’d rather be doing with my life. Of huge dreams and very small realities. Of my lack of follow-through and poor planning and all these things that I’m trying to improve. I decided I’d had enough and just because I can’t use THAT letterpress doesnt mean I can’t use a letterpress, and so I’ve been combing Craigslist and Ebay for a tabletop alternative. Which I found. Oh yes, yes I did. And he’s glorious.
Let’s backtrack. For Christmas my parents got Mister a tool chest and full set of tools. Since then, for a variety of long winded (believe me, I just tried to rationalize the entire process to you, then deleted it) not particularly interesting reasons, the tool chest has remained at the farm. We targeted this weekend for a day trip there and back to retrieve the chest. Then, thanks to my ability to turn a simple task into a roundabout one, I found the press! Just over an hour away! So our round trip to the farm turned into a day-long tri-state circuit – our home to Toledo to the farm then home again. Mister came along, of course, to perform his patented shady craigslist seller attack avoidance moves.
So the letterpress. It’s awesome. It’s also in nearly perfect condition and I probably paid more than I should have because really, it’s a cast iron track and a cast iron roller. More specifically though, its a Miles Nervine Proof Press. Based on everything I’ve read, Dr. Miles had these presses produced in the late 1800s and distributed them to small town newspapers in exchange for advertising for his Nervine, thus – the Miles’ Nervine name. They come in two varieties, one displaying Miles Pain Pills (like mine) and one reading Miles Heart Cure. I asked the seller (by the way, he was a dear and not even slightly shady) for some backstory and he only indicated that he picked it up from its original print shop in southern Michigan. I choose to still believe there’s some possibility Laura Ingalls Wilder was once in proximity, therefore its priceless. I’ve already picked up some supplies so I’m hoping to do test runs soon. I’m definitely planning to talk about this press compared to my (much!) larger and fundmentally different Chandler & Price, along with a look at my “print shop” here in the house. It’s so much less cool than it sounds.
We hung out at the farm with my parents for a bit and checked out their work in the big barn. They’re making awesome progress with the place and the upper level should soon be home to massive game/movie room for family fun fests.
I stopped by to say hi to the ladies, of course. The girls were babies last summer so this will be our first season dealing with shearing. We also talked about getting the dogs, Cooper (ours) and Winston (theirs), some herding training. They’re both border collie mutts with ridiculously strong instincts they can’t shake despite lives that consist almost solely around napping and chewing on toys. Having the pups (instead of us) herd would likely be less stressful on the sheep, but I’m not a professional so don’t quote me.
Otherwise, the weekend came to an entirely non-dramatic unexciting close with a Friday Night Lights marathon while I worked on my latest knitting project for Mister. Details on that insanity soon, I promise.